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Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 9, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 9, 2007

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

  • Jerusalem Prayer Unites Christians, Jews
  • Members Vote to Retain Accused Megachurch Pastor
  • Air America Launches Nationwide Atheism Program
  • British Clergy Advised to Remove White Collars when Off Duty

Jerusalem Prayer Unites Christians, Jews

The Christian Post reports that a global day of prayer for Jerusalem on Sunday united Christians and Jews to pray for peace in the holy city where followers of both faiths trace their religious roots. Pastors, rabbis, and Israeli lawmakers in Jerusalem joined millions of people around the world for the fifth annual Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DDPJ). The event brought together more than 150 countries and over 150,000 churches worldwide in prayer for Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post. “The fact is, whatever our theological or political positions regarding Israel, we can all agree there is a biblical mandate and a current crisis that should cause us to pray,” said the Rev. Robert Stearns of the ministry Eagles’ Wings, in a statement. Stearns organized DPPJ together with megachurch pastor Dr. Jack Hayford of The Church on the Way.

Members Vote to Retain Accused Megachurch Pastor

According to an Associated Press story, members of Two Rivers Baptist Church have voted to keep the Rev. Jerry Sutton as pastor, after Sutton was accused of misspending money at the Southern Baptist megachurch. A lawsuit filed last month by about 50 members accuses Sutton of failing to abide by church rules and punishing those who question his authority, and alleges that Sutton spent church money on his daughter's wedding reception. But members voted 1,101-286 in favor of retaining Sutton during the church's services Sunday. Sutton has pastored Two Rivers for more than 20 years. He lost a bid to become president of the Southern Baptist Convention last year.

Air America Launches Nationwide Atheism Program

CNSNews.com reports that the liberal talk radio network Air America announced this week it will launch a nationwide show focusing on atheism. The first national show will feature Christopher Hitchens, author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." The Freethought Radio Program, hosted by the co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has been airing on Air America's Madison, Wis., affiliate since April 2006. On Saturday, Oct. 6, the show will begin airing on 14 other affiliates from Palm Springs, Fla., to Eugene, Ore., and on XM Satellite radio. "You can turn on the radio or TV 24/7 to be preached at," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, said in a statement. "This is one hour a week of the public airwaves that offers an alternative." Gaylor said the program "offers irreverent views, news, music and interviews," including a regular news feature called "Theocracy Alert."

British Clergy Advised to Remove White Collars when Off Duty

Catholic and Anglican clergy should remove their clerical collars while off-duty to avoid being singled out for attack, a British church safety group said Sunday, according to a story in the Canadian Press. Criminals often target clergymen because they are perceived to have money. The neck pieces can also attract those bearing a "grudge against God," said Nick Tolson, who heads National Churchwatch. "They've got to be aware that when they're on their own, they're at high risk," Tolson said. "What we're saying is that when clergy are off duty - say when they're shopping at (the supermarket) - they should slip off the dog collar and put it in their pocket." Britain does not routinely monitor violence against clergy. But a 2001 University of London study found that seven in 10 clergy had experienced some form of violence between 1997 and 1999.