Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 19, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 19, 2006

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

  • Indonesia Vows to Maintain Religious Pluralism
  • Police in India Arrest Workers at Home for Destitute
  • Anglican Church in Australia to Elect Aboriginal Leaders
  • Hawaiians Thankful: No Deaths or Serious Injuries from Powerful Quakes

Indonesia Vows to Maintain Religious Pluralism

A Reuters report says Indonesia stands by religious pluralism, and radical Islamists are a small minority in the world's most populous Muslim nation, presidential spokesman and adviser Andi Mallarangeng said Wednesday. In recent years Indonesia has suffered from a series of deadly attacks on Western targets blamed on Islamic militants, while an increasing number of local and regional rules and regulations have been passed that are in line with Sharia, or Islamic law. But Mallarangeng, speaking to foreign correspondents and diplomats on a panel about President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's first two years in office, said most Indonesian Muslims rejected the more extreme versions of the faith. "Indonesian Islam is not like that," he said. He also said election trends as well as recent polls suggest support for political parties who want to make Indonesia an Islamic state is dropping.

Police in India Arrest Workers at Home for Destitute

Compass Direct News reports that eight Christian workers at a home for the destitute in Karnataka state are in jail on charges of wrongful confinement and abduction after 500 villagers on Saturday (October 14) stormed the facility following false television news reports. The workers at the Lourd Matha Seva Ashram home for the destitute in Thyagarathi village, near Sagar, were remanded to judicial custody by the Shimoga district court until October 28 for “unlawful assembly, wrongful confinement, abduction and cheating.” Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told Compass, “Hindu radicals are behind the harassment of the Christian home, and they have levied several fabricated charges, including trafficking in human organs, against the Christians.”

Anglican Church in Australia to Elect Aboriginal Leaders

The Anglican Church in Sydney will for the first time give Aboriginal people a voice on its supreme decision making body, the Synod, ABC Online reported. The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen orchestrated the move. Two Indigenous Anglican Christians, a minister and a lay person, will be elected. "It will enable them to explain directly to one of the major denominations their views on social issues and other issues that affect them," Archdeacon Geoff Huard said. "Because the church themselves are very keen to hear these directly from Indigenous persons." In other developments, the church has also set up a new streamlined complaints handling system for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse by the clergy and church workers.

Hawaiians Thankful: No Deaths or Serious Injuries from Powerful Quakes

Hawaii Baptists are expressing thanks that no deaths or serious injuries were reported when a 6.7-magnitude earthquake shook the island chain around 7 a.m. local time Sunday, Oct. 15. Bob Duffer, director of missions for the Neighbor Islands Baptist Associations of Hawaii, told Baptist Press that First Baptist Church of Waimea in Kamuela on the Big Island sustained some water damage from broken pipes and some broken windows. At the parsonage there, a chimney fell and caused some structural damage. Waikoloa Baptist Church, also on the Big Island, was closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, and the church’s pastor, Emerson Wiles, said people were grateful to be recovering material possessions rather than lost lives. “Surprisingly, there’s very little damage in our entire village,” Wiles told BP. Two Baptist churches that sustained damage will need help in making repairs. Veryl Henderson, executive director of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, said the story emerging from Hawaii in the aftermath of the earthquake is one of “good fortune” as God protected people. “I think our churches are doing a lot of reflection and discovering that we need to be better prepared because if we’re going to be the caregivers for our community we need to have ourselves ready to serve,” Henderson told BP. “We discovered we weren’t ready.”