Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 15, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 15, 2009

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

  • Advisers Urge Caution on Religious/Federal Partnerships
  • Bible Society Sends Scripture to Typhoon Victims
  • One in Four People Worldwide Are Muslim
  • Woman Loses House to Fire, Builds Church

Advisers Urge Caution on Religious/Federal Partnerships

Religion News Service reports that White House advisers have recommended that federal officials do more to ensure that government partnerships with faith-based groups are constitutional, transparent and support religious liberty. "We want to make sure that (religious providers of social services) understand all these ideas ... so that they're not confused, they're not hamstrung and they're not sued," said Melissa Rogers, a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Rogers, director of the Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Life, said advisers differ on whether faith-based groups that receive federal grants should remove religious symbols or form separate corporations for taxpayer-funded charitable work. Richard Stearns, president of the Christian relief agency World Vision and a member of the council, said that it "lacks common sense" for such disputes to focus more on the symbols than the effectiveness of the programs.

Bible Society Sends Scripture to Typhoon Victims

Christian Today reports that Bible Society is trying to reach destitute typhoon victims in the Philippines with 50,000 booklets and 50,000 copies of the Bible. The Society has already sent 5,000 booklets for aid agencies to distribute, hoping to replace some of the Bibles lost in the storms. The group had already begun a campaign to distribute one million Bibles before the two typhoons hit earlier this month. "In all, 3.1 million people have been affected by this disaster. Bibles have been washed away from homes and many churches left underwater," said Nora Lucero, General Secretary of the Philippines Bible Society. "Now more than ever people need God's Word to give them hope and sustain them in the coming months."

One in Four People Worldwide Are Muslim

Baptist Press reports that about one in four people worldwide is Muslim, according to a comprehensive demographic study by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The estimate is in line with previous data from other sources like the United Nations and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The statistic should remind Southern Baptists that the world is full of people who need to hear the Gospel, a spokesman for the International Mission board said. The study found that 1.57 billion, or 23 percent, of the world's estimated 6.8 billion people are Muslim. By comparison, the worldwide Christian population is estimated to be about 2.2 billion, or 1 in 3 people on the planet, according to the CIA Factbook. More than 60 percent of the global Muslim population lives in Asia while about 20 percent is in the Middle East and North Africa.

Woman Loses House to Fire, Builds Church

KUSA Colorado reports that one 93-year-old woman will soon see a new church rise from the ashes of her old home. Margery Kusulas's previous house burned in February, when sparks from a train caught her property on fire. In compensation, the Union Pacific Railroad gave her a sum large enough build not just a new home, but something bigger. Kusulas hopes that her new home, in the basement of the church she built with the funds, will be ready by the end of the week. She says having a church on the spot has been a life-long dream. "Years ago I stood out here and I called this Mount Zion from what I had heard in the past, so I would think, 'I've got to have a church here some day.' And so when the fire happened I had the money to do it," she said. The new church will be named Mount Zion Church.