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Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 10, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 10, 2006

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

  • Charismatics' Numbers Growing, Influence Spreading
  • Documentary Explores Evangelicalism's Internal Debate over the Environment
  • High Court's Refusal to Hear Muslim Indoctrination Case "Typical," Author Says
  • Mostly Godless Down Under

Charismatics' Numbers Growing, Influence Spreading

AgapePress reports a new ten-nation survey of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians, considered the fastest-growing stream of Christianity worldwide, shows they are deeply influencing the Roman Catholic and mainstream Protestant churches and are poised to make a big impact on global affairs. The poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that "spirit-filled" Christians, who speak in tongues and believe in healing through prayer, comprise at least half the population of Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya, 44 percent of Filipinos and nearly one-fourth of U.S. citizens. The study also found that charismatic and Pentecostal Christians increasingly are willing to bring their values into public debates, which could shape government policies in the years ahead. The Pentecostal movement, which began a century ago in Los Angeles, spread quickly overseas because of its adaptability to local cultures and the exuberance of its worship.

Documentary Explores Evangelicalism's Internal Debate over the Environment

In evangelical churches across America, there is a debate raging over how to handle the environment. According to a Religion News Service release, for more than a decade, progressive Christians have made it a holy duty to take care of the earth. Now they are being joined by many of their conservative brothers and sisters in faith and are being met head-on with opposition from some powerful pillars of the religious right. What does it mean for American politics and the future health of the planet? In “Is God Green?” airing Wednesday, October 11 on PBS (check local listings), Bill Moyers will take viewers inside the heated conversation taking place in the conservative evangelical community over the environment.

High Court's Refusal to Hear Muslim Indoctrination Case "Typical," Author Says

A conservative author and parents' rights activist says she is not surprised the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case brought by a California couple who believed pupils in a 7th grade history class were being subjected to pro-Islamic religious indoctrination. The high court refused to hear the case of Jonas and Tiffany Eklund, who sued a school in Byron, California, for basically having students in a world history class, in effect, become Muslims for three weeks. AgapePress reports the parents thought the school exercise was a violation of the separation of church and state; however, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the school, and the Supreme Court would not consider the plaintiffs' appeal. Phyllis Schlafly of the conservative pro-family group, Eagle Forum, says she is not surprised at the high court's rejection of the case. Typically, the Supreme Court justices "don't like to take parents' cases," she says. "They've turned down almost all of the parents' rights cases. They back the schools."

Mostly Godless Down Under

A three-year study on youth spirituality in Australia found that just 48 per cent of Generation Y, a group defined as those individuals born between 1976 and 1990, believed in a god, AgapePress reports. The study, known as The Spirit of Generation Y project (2003-2006), was conducted by Monash University, the Australian Catholic University and the Christian Research Association. The study found that Generation Y relies on family and friends as the sources of its beliefs, values and social support, but that fewer than half of the members of this group identifies with any traditional religion. "It's well-known that there has been a turn away from church attendance and participation in young people," notes study co-author Dr. Andrew Singleton, "but we thought there was going to be a move towards alternative spiritualities." Instead, the majority of Australia's Generation Y adults seem content to have no spiritual belief at all.