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. 18, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 18, 2008

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

  • Int'l Furor over Forced Abortion Case in China
  • Diocese in Texas Leave Episcopal Church
  • Baptist State Conventions Report Budget Deficits
  • Lao Officials Release Christians from Stocks

Int'l Outrage over Forced Abortion Case in China

ABC News reports that a six-months pregnant Chinese woman is being kept under guard at a local hospital, facing the forced abortion of her third child. Arzigul Tursun and her husband have been told by authorities that they are only allowed two children because of their location and registration in western China. Arzigul has fled the hospital twice, only to be found and brought back after her relatives were threatened. "The deputy chief of the village threatened that if we didn't find Arzigul and bring her to the village, she would confiscate our land and all our property," Tursun's husband Nurmemet Tohtasin told Radio Free Asia's Uyghur Service. This example of China's population control policies have sparked international outrage for its human rights violations.

Diocese in Texas Leave Episcopal Church

The New York Times reports that the fourth U.S. Episcopal diocese broke with the national church on Saturday, as the Diocese of Forth Worth, Texas, voted to align itself with the Anglican Southern Cone based in South America. Bishop Jack L. Iker laid blame for the split on what he described as “a church that is increasingly unfaithful and disobedient to the word of God, a church that has caused division and dissension both at home and abroad, a church that has torn the fabric of the communion at its deepest level... It is time to say enough is enough." The diocese voted 72 to 19 amon gthe clergy and 102 to 25 among lay persons, culminating a year-long exploration into the possibility of a split.
Baptist State Conventions Report Budget Deficits

The Christian Post reports that the tightening economy has produced hard times for churches supported by their members, as Baptist state conventions have shown. Many state conventions are reporting 2008 budget deficits this month as giving declines. Tennessee Baptist Convention reports $1.4 million lacking, and Georgia Baptist Convention reports a $3 million deficit. The two conventions are 3.67 percent and 5 percent behind their budget projections. “It's just part of the national context right now," said the Rev. Willy Rice, outgoing state convention president in Florida, which had a deficit of $562,000."The convention is healthy. It's been well-managed, but what churches can give has impacted us. We have a hiring freeze and have consolidated some departments. We hope that'll get us through till things are better."

Lao Officials Release Christians from Stocks

Compass Direct News reports that Lao officials have released three prisoners from Boukham village, Savannakhet province, after several weeks of detention, but restrictions on Christian worship in the village are still in force. Pastor Sompong Supatto, 32, and two other believers, Boot Chanthaleuxay, 18, and Khamvan Chanthaleuxay, also 18, were released on Oct. 16 against the wishes of the village chief, who had threatened to hand Supatto a life sentence at a maximum-security prison. Authorities had temporarily arrested Supatto and four other believers on July 20 for “believing and worshiping God.” When they continued to gather for worship, police arrested Supatto and two members of the Chanthaleuxay family on Aug. 3, detaining them in handcuffs and wooden foot-stocks in the nearby Ad-Sapangthong district police detention cell. The village has also threatened to expel all 55 Christians within it, although that has not yet happened.