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Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 6, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 6, 2009

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

  • Flood Death Toll Rises to 205 in India
  • Islamic Groups Shut Down Worship of Church in Indonesia
  • Churches Challenged to Break Silence on Domestic Violence
  • Georgia High School Bars Religious Banners at Games

Flood Death Toll Rises to 205 in India

The Associated Press reports that flooding in India has claimed at least 205 lives and forced three-quarters of a million people to seek higher ground. The flooding hit Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states, where hundreds were already displaced by religious violence over the last year. "We are rushing medical teams and equipment to the camps" to ward off outbreaks of disease in the camps, Andhra Pradesh state chief minister K. Rosaiah said. Ironically, the five days of torrential rain and flooding follow weeks of severe drought brought on by the failure of monsoon rains. Air force helicopters have dropped food and drinking water to hundreds of villages that authorities have not been able to reach, while more than 100 relief camps have tried to help the 750,000 displaced people.

Islamic Groups Shut Down Worship of Church in Indonesia

Compass Direct News reports that several Islamic organizations have pressed officials near Indonesia's capital city to forbid Jakarta Christian Baptist Church to worship in a house. As a result, the church has been ordered to cease worship. The groups told officials in Sepatan sub-district, Tangerang district, near Jakarta that worship activities cannot be conducted in a residence. The house belongs to the Rev. Bedali Hulu. Both District Officer Ismet Iskandar and a sub-district officer support the closure and have ordered Hulu to use his home only as a residence, the pastor said. "But they have not put forth a solution," Hulu said. "For a long time we have suggested that we build a place of worship, but there has been no response from the local government." Church members feel terrorized by mobs that have stopped services, the pastor said.

Churches Challenged to Break Silence on Domestic Violence

Christian leaders are urging congregations to wake up to domestic violence in their churches as the nation observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Christian Post reports. According to the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church, about one in three women will be the victims of some kind of violence during their lifetimes. About half of this abuse comes from intimate partners. And many pastors still don't realize the danger, surveys show. According to a survey featured in "What Women Wish Pastors Knew" by Denise George, 26 percent of pastors said they would counsel women who came to them for help with domestic violence to continue to "submit" to her husband, no matter what. Christian authors like George and Jocelyn Andersen and evangelical leaders like Chuck Colson have recently pointed out the Church's role in this issue.

Georgia High School Bars Religious Banners at Games

ABC News reports that Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School opened its Friday night game with a twist -- for the first time in years, a Bible banner was absent from the field. The school's tradition of Bible-inspired banners such as "In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid." ended after a parent questioned the constitutionality of the banners at school-sponsored games. The superintendent reluctantly agreed that the actions could open the school to a lawsuit. "It broke my heart to have to tell those girls that they could not display that message on the football field. It was hard to be the bearer of bad news. This is the law, and we will follow the law," said Denia Reese, superintendent for Catoosa County public schools. Still, students showed their support for the tradition with their own biblical banners -- and even body paint -- in the stands.