Religion Today Summaries - October 17, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 17, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Hundreds Dead in Thailand, Cambodia Floods
  • Obama Sending U.S. Troops to Africa to Fight Guerrilla Group
  • Sudan to Adopt Entirely Islamic Constitution
  • Gay or Straight? Check Yes or No


Hundreds Dead in Thailand, Cambodia Floods

Heavy monsoon rains and widespread flooding have killed 283 people in Thailand and more than 200 in Cambodia, and millions more have been affected, Mission Network News reports. In the northeastern and central plains of Thailand, residents brace for more flooding as the government plans to release water from overflowing dams. The floods, which have affected 58 of Thailand's 77 provinces, are the worst in more than 50 years. The government said Bangkok would be spared, but with thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days, the worst might not yet be over.

Obama Sending U.S. Troops to Africa to Fight Guerrilla Group

President Barack Obama is sending 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help regional forces hunt down leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, a notoriously violent guerrilla group, CNN reports. Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate president pro tempore Daniel Inouye, "I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa." The U.S. troops will advise African troops but not engage in combat unless necessary for self-defense. Obama notes that The Lord's Resistance Army has "murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa [and] continues to commit atrocities ... that have a disproportionate impact on regional security."

Sudan to Adopt Entirely Islamic Constitution

Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced last week that Sudan plans to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution and strengthen Islamic law now that its former civil war enemy South Sudan has seceded, Reuters reports. South Sudan became independent in July after decades of war between the mainly Muslim north and the mostly Christian, traditional south. Sudan has given all southerners still living in the north until the spring to either leave or obtain the legal right to stay, but many say they feel unwelcome and are uncertain what the future will hold in the now-Muslim state.

Gay or Straight? Check Yes or No

This year, Chicago's Elmhurst College became the first in the nation to add a question about sexual orientation on its 2012-13 admission application, WORLD News Service reports. The private college, affiliated with the United Church of Christ -- a denomination that endorsed same-sex marriage in 2005, asks students, "Would you consider yourself a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community?" If students answer yes, they are eligible for a diversity scholarship totaling up to one-third the cost of tuition. Gary Rold, Elmhurst's dean of admissions, said, "I thought from the recruitment standpoint we might be more proactive [in attracting gay students]." But will heterosexual students facing loan burdens "be compelled to consider 'broader' sexual horizons?" asks Nathan Harden of National Review. He says it's absurd that a school "that knocks one-third off the sticker price of 'an education' because of sexual orientation [is] effectively doling out tens of thousands of dollars on the basis of students' bedroom behavior."

Publication date: October 17, 2011