Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 9, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 9, 2008

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

  • Three Iraqi Christians Killed in 24 Hours
  • Church Leaders Pave Way for World's Largest Reformed Body
  • Atheists File Suit over National Day of Prayer
  • Harvest Event Draws 45,000 in Philadelphia

Three Iraqi Christians Killed in 24 Hours

Three Christians in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq were killed within 24 hours of each other on Tuesday, the Christian Post reported. Gunmen killed a father and adult son at their workplace in one district while attackers killed a Christian pharmacy assistant in another, according to Aswat al-Iraq news agency. None of the gunmen have been apprehended. The murders are the lastest violence Iraqi Christians have suffered in the increasing violence since 2003, contributing to the drastic drop in Iraq's Christians presence from 1.4 million before the war to less than half a million today. According to the Christian Post, the indigenous Assyrian Christians of Mosul are often "denied their most basic human rights and are the target of incessant attacks."

Church Leaders Pave Way for World's Largest Reformed Body

The Christian Post reports that the world's two largest Reformed church bodies began meetings this week to finalize a draft constitution that will merge the two entities. The merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) into a single World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) will represent 80 million Reformed Christians worldwide. “When the two organizations dare to journey together in God’s mission, our member churches will be served better and, in fact, our witness as Reformed churches will be stronger,” stated Nyomi when the REC initiated the invitation to merge in July 2005 after 7 years of bilateral talks. The groups hope the merger will open the door to joint projects and joint staffing, cutting costs while fostering unity.

Atheists File Suit over National Day of Prayer

A Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics has filed suit against President Bush over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer, Religion News Service reports. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which urges a strict separation of church and state, also names White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, and National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairwoman Shirley Dobson in the lawsuit filed Friday (Oct. 3). "The point is to stop the National Day of Prayer," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, in an interview Monday. The law, created in 1952 by Congress and signed by President Harry Truman, establishes an annual prayer day. In 1988, President Reagan amended the law, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of May. "We hope to buttress the wall of separation of church and state," Gaylor said.

Harvest Event Draws 45,000 in Philadelphia

ASSIST News Service reports that Harvest with Southern California Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie in Philadelphia last weekend drew 45,000 people. According to a news release, more than 3,300 people made a profession of faith in Christ during the event. The news release stated that more than a year in the making, the Greater Philadelphia Harvest was hosted by 390 local churches from a variety of denominations extending from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Delaware. About 4,000 volunteers from the hosting churches served as ushers and follow-up workers throughout the weekend. Each night of the Greater Philadelphia Harvest featured a message from Laurie, and music from top name Christian artists including MercyMe, TobyMac, Leeland, Kutless, the Katinas, and Jeremy Camp.