Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 26, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff | Thursday, November 26, 2009

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 26, 2009

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

  • 16 Colombian Christians Kidnapped, Told to Recant
  • Episcopal Group Denounces Anti-Gay Law in Uganda
  • OM Ministry Ship to End Service
  • Megachurch Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty Dies at Age 57

16 Colombian Christians Kidnapped, Told to Recant

Mission News Network reports that 16 Christians in Columbia have been kidnapped and told to recant their faith if they want to be released. The Christians, who are members of Columbia's Kogui tribe, were captured by the Kogui governor after he called them to a community meeting. The governor reportedly wants to eliminate the 120 Christians from the rest of the 11,000-member tribe. The abducted Christians include men, women and infants, two of whom are seriously ill. Their captors have refused to let them seek medical attention and continue to hold them in a remote location. According to Voice of the Martyrs Canada, the largest inhibitors of religious freedom in Columbia are guerrilla and criminal groups. They often target Christian leaders who actively oppose corruption and the drug trade, trying to cut off their influence.

Episcopal Group Denounces Anti-Gay Law in Uganda

Religion News Service reports that a U.S.-based group that includes several Episcopal bishops is challenging Anglican leaders to denounce a proposed bill in Uganda that would severely criminalize homosexuality. "The Anglican Communion has committed itself to the pastoral care of gay and lesbian people," said the Rev. Lowell Grisham, co-convener of the Chicago Consultation. "At a time like this, we implore its leaders to speak out." The Chicago Consultation, which includes several Episcopal bishops on its steering committee, is dedicated to the "full inclusion" of gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual individuals in the Anglican Communion. Numerous human rights groups have denounced the proposed bill, which was introduced last month (Oct.). The bill would punish "aggravated homosexuality" by death and homosexual contact with life in prison, while outlawing groups that work with gays and lesbians.

OM Ministry Ship to End Service

Christian Today reports that the world's oldest ocean-going vessel will be decommissioned from Operation Mobilisation (OM) at the end of the year. The Duolos, which launched in 1914 and joined OM in 1977, would cost more than $16 million of work before its certificates would be renewed. OM has used the ship, whose name means "servant" in Greek, to carry Gospel and educational resources to more than 100 countries. Fully staffed, the ship carried an all-volunteer crew of 300 people. OM said it "remained committed to operating a two-ship ministry" and is looking into the short-term hire of another vessel while a replacement for Doulos is sought.

Megachurch Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty Dies at Age 57

The Christian Post reports that charismatic megachurch pastor Billy Joe Daugherty has lost his battle with cancer just one month after his diagnosis. His church, the 17,000-member Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Okla., spun off numerous Bible schools in 93 countries. "It was a peaceful passing with his family and loved ones by his side," church leaders announced on Sunday. "We are sad to lose the presence of our pastor, shepherd, father, and brother. We are thankful, however, for his life, love, and influence on the individuals and ministries he inspired for the last 30 years," they added. Daugherty's ministry started 911 Bible schools. He also served as interim president of Oral Roberts University in 2007. He was 57 years old.