Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 11, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 11, 2007

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

  • Violence Continues in Serbia against Religious Communities
  • U.S. Religious... but Religiously Illiterate
  • Former ORU Professor Speaks Out about Lawsuit
  • Islamic Court Endorses Abduction of Girls in Nigeria

Violence Continues in Serbia against Religious Communities

ASSIST News Service reports that the number of attacks on Serbia's religious communities appears to continue to be declining. Forum 18 News Service reported the story in its latest annual survey of such assaults, however, the attacks themselves seem to be becoming more violent. Few violent attacks against religious communities in Serbia – on individuals or religious property - ever result in any punishment, Forum 18 observed. This continues the pattern of previous years. The latest Forum 18 survey of such attacks covered Sept. 2006 to Sept. 2007. The apparent decline in the number of attacks continues a trend noted from Sept. 2005 to Sept. 2006. However, members of religious minorities are still especially likely to be attacked and have in the past year been beaten and stabbed. Places of worship of minority communities have been the victims of arson attacks. The information in the survey may be incomplete, but has been gathered from as wide a range of sources as possible, including religious communities themselves, human rights groups, official information and the Serbian media.

U.S. Religious... but Religiously Illiterate

An article in the Indianapolis Star reports that the United States, one of the most religious countries in the world, is also a nation of appalling religious illiteracy. The article discusses Stephen Prothero's "revealing" book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't. According to Prothero, in the U.S., "faith without understanding is the standard" and "religious ignorance is bliss." He also regards religious illiteracy as dangerous "because religion is one of the most volatile components of culture and has been, in addition to one of the greatest forces for good in the world, (also) one of the greatest forces for evil." Some examples the article cites of our country's religious illiteracy include: "nearly two-thirds of Americans endorse the teaching of creationism in our public schools, [but] fewer than half can identify the Book of Genesis... [Just under half] of Americans attribute the words "Let there be light" to Thomas Edison... Two-thirds believe that the Bible is God's word, [but] only half of American adults can name even one of the Four Gospels... Ten percent of Americans believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife."

Former ORU Professor Speaks Out about Lawsuit reports that a former professor at Oral Roberts University says he had no other choice but to file a lawsuit against school officials -- after they allegedly fired him for raising concerns about questionable use of university finances and resources. Three former ORU professors -- John Swails, Tim Brooker, and Paulita Brooker -- filed the lawsuit, in which university president Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign as well as lavish spending at donors' expense, including home remodeling projects, use of the university jet for his daughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a Mercedes convertible and a Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay. Mrs. Roberts is also accused of running up more than $800 in monthly cell phone bills and sending text messages to underage males in the early morning hours on phones provided by the university.

Islamic Court Endorses Abduction of Girls in Nigeria

It has been more than a year since Allabe Kaku Chibok lost his three daughters because he became a Christian – paradoxically, he lost custody of them only after his ex-wife died, Compass Direct News reports. An Islamic court in the northern state of Born granted custody to Chibok’s wife’s Muslim relatives after a chain of events that began in November 2004, when he allowed his daughters to attend the funeral service of their mother; she had divorced him when he left Islam. The girls stayed for a week with Muslim relatives at his former wife’s house, but when Chibok arrived there to take them to school, he found that a retired female police officer, Hajiya Maryam Aliyu, had helped his ex-wife’s Muslim relatives abduct them. On August 4, 2006, Borno Upper Sharia Court I ruled that under Islamic law a non-Muslim father cannot be a custodian to his children if the mother of his children is Muslim – or, in this case, if the deceased mother’s relatives are Muslim.