12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 13, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 13, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Homeless Shelter Ordered to Stop Having Religious Services
  • Churches Saving the Wrong 'Lost,' Says Youth Leader
  • Palestinian Christians Fleeing Holy Land
  • Pakistani Christian Accused of Blasphemy Acquitted after 8 Years

Homeless Shelter Ordered to Stop Having Religious Services

AgapePress reports a federal court has ordered Boise Idaho's Community House homeless shelter to stop holding religious services and re-admit women and children who were residents there before it was converted into a men-only shelter. The city of Boise took over Community House in 2004 after the nonprofit Community House corporation, which had been running the shelter, ran out of money. The city turned over operation of the shelter to the nonprofit Boise Rescue Mission, which houses men and women separately. Community House, Inc. sued, claiming that violated the Fair Housing Act. The former operators also claimed that the city violated separation of church and state because the Rescue Mission held religious services on site and asked those residents who declined to attend prayer meetings to explain why before they were fed or sheltered.

Churches Saving the Wrong 'Lost,' Says Youth Leader

The Christian Post says more youth leaders are preaching the alarming exit of college students from the church yet churches don't seem to be grasping the significance of the loss of even one youth. "I'm fearful that we as a church in the U.S. are using the word 'lost' incorrectly," says Youth Transition Network coordinator Jeff Schadt. The church community generally refers to the unsaved people as the "lost." Leaders of the Billion Soul Initiative are pointing out that the Christians in America have lost the understanding that the world is unsaved. Schadt, however, is expressing concern over the misuse of the term "lost" and the priority of the churches. "All our focus goes towards evangelism. But when Jesus... is talking about the lost sheep, he's talking about one of his sheep. "I'm wondering what priority our churches and our ministries have when someone walks out our back door. Do we really worry about it?" Schadt was referring to the 65 to 94 percent of youth that fall away from the church when transitioning from high school to college.

Palestinian Christians Fleeing Holy Land

In Bethlehem, flyers curse Arab Christians and Pope Benedict and accuse a Palestinian Christian of selling mobile phones carrying offensive sketches of Muhammad, AgapePress reports. The frightened phone dealer has gone into hiding and is now thinking of moving abroad. It is part of a modern exodus of the tiny Palestinian Christian minority that could lead, some predict, to the faith becoming virtually extinct in its birthplace. Palestinian uprisings and the separation barrier started by Israel in 2002 have accelerated the flight by turning once-bustling pilgrimage sites such as Bethlehem into relative ghost towns. The growing strength of radical Islamic movements has added distinct new worries. During the protests after the pope's remarks about Islam in September, some of the worst violence was in Palestinian areas with churches firebombed and hit by gunfire.

Pakistani Christian Accused of Blasphemy Acquitted after 8 Years

Ranjah Masih who was accused of blasphemy during a protest demonstration against the events leading to the committing of suicide of Bishop John Joseph has been acquitted by the Lahore High Court on Friday, November 10, ASSIST News Service has learnt. Masih was arrested on May 7, 1998 and a charge was lodged against Ranjha Masih on May 8, 1998 under section 295/C of blasphemy law. A man called Jahanzeb Malik lodged a complaint against Ranjah Masih. Talking to ANS on phone Khalil said that one Muhammad Ramazan, a witness in the case hurled threat to him in the court in the presence of the honorable judge and others. He went on to say that the judge missed out the threats that were hurled at him in his verdict but incorporated them later in his verdict at his request. Hope for his acquittal resurrected when the court opened hearing of Ranjah’s case on November 9.