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Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 7, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 7, 2009

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

  • Supreme Court to Hear Mojave Desert Cross Case Today
  • Report: U.S. Officials Unaware of Child Sex-Trafficking Problem
  • Egypt: Police Arrest Coptic Father for Aiding Kidnapped Daughter
  • Lutherans Will Work Together Despite Differences

Supreme Court to Hear Mojave Desert Cross Case Today

Christian Newswire reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today regarding a 75-year-old National World War I Memorial with an 8-foot-cross. The memorial is located in California's Mojave Desert. Following a lower court ruling in Salazar v. Buono, the cross was covered with a cloth and now is boxed in with plywood so it looks like a blank sign. Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in support of the memorial. The memorial was originally erected in 1934 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) as a wooden cross with a plaque stating, "The Cross, Erected in Memory of the Dead of All Wars." Congress most recently turned the memorial to private ownership, but the ACLU and other groups say that action has not addressed the underlying issues of establishment of religion.

Report: U.S. Officials Unaware of Child Sex-Trafficking Problem

Baptist Press reports that most Americans, including some government officials, have no idea that child prostitutes are being shipped from state to state, according to a report from an anti-sex trafficking organization. An estimated 100,000 American children under 18 years of age are victimized through prostitution every year. Children rented for sex acts might be raped 6,000 times over the course of five years. The United States should be -- but is not -- listed on the "Tier 2" watch list in the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report. Share Hope International (SHI) conducted the investigations in 10 U.S. cities with a grant from the Department of Justice. "Few participants in the assessments realized that the victims described in the [federal anti-trafficking law] definition of sex trafficking victims included specifically U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident minors under 18 years of age regardless of their perceived consent to the commercial sex activities," SHI reported.

Egypt: Police Arrest Coptic Father for Aiding Kidnapped Daughter

ASSIST News Service reports that Egyptian police arrested and held several Coptic men after they tried to help a Christian woman leave her Muslim husband. The men's wives were also arrested, but were released when neighbors protested the way they were handled. The men who were arrested are relatives of Rafaat Girges Habib, a man who helped a Coptic father free his kidnapped daughter from her Muslim husband's home. The arrests continued until Habib turned himself in to the police. The incident began when 20-year-old Myrna, who had been abducted and forced to marry a Muslim man, called her father and begged for help. Habib volunteered to help, and the men brought Myrna back after a struggle. Her husband, Mohamad Hefnawy, filed a complaint with police. Myrna was forced to return to her husband in order to secure her father's release along with the other Copts.

Lutherans Will Work Together Despite Differences

Religion News Service reports that the leaders of two Lutheran denominations have pledged to continue working together on ministry projects. The projects will move forward despite deep disagreements over the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's recent decision to permit non-celibate gay clergy. The more conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the larger Chicago-based ELCA have worked together on a number of social welfare projects and disaster relief. "We in the LCMS have a genuine concern for the people whose lives are impacted, both temporally and eternally, by the cooperative ministry of the many inter-Lutheran agencies that currently exist," LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick wrote to ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson on Oct. 1. "It is our desire to be able to continue to provide Christ-centered ministry through such agencies, always doing so in faithfulness to the doctrinal positions of our church."