Religion Today Summaries - October 31, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 31, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Eritrea: Three More Christians Die in Military Prisons, Toll at 21
  • Less Than Half of Americans Know Romney's a Mormon
  • Tim Tebow Teams With Children's Health Organization
  • Study to Research How Americans Relate to the Bible


Eritrea: Three More Christians Die in Military Prisons, Toll at 21

Three more Christians imprisoned for practicing their faith have died in military prison camps in western Eritrea, bringing the total number of imprisoned believers' deaths to 21, the Christian Post reports. Two Christians, ages 28 and 21, who were arrested during a 2009 prayer meeting and subjected to two years of physical torture, died as the result of starvation and untreated health problems, and a 26-year-old Christian died after being denied medical treatment for malaria because he refused to recant his faith. "Eritrea is a small country that has a bull's-eye on the backs of evangelical Christians," said Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors USA. All religious activities outside of the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran and Islamic faiths have been outlawed since 2002; the government denies the persecution of evangelical Christians although it is well-documented.

Less Than Half of Americans Know Romney's a Mormon

A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that less than half of Americans know GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon, despite recent media attention focused on his faith, the Religion News Service reports. Just 42 perent of Americans indentified Romney as a Mormon, a figure that remains unchanged since July 2011 even though Romney's faith has been the subject of attention since Texas Gov. Rick Perry called it a cult. The only group that showed an increased knowledge about Romney's religion was white evangelicals, whose awareness of his Mormon faith rose from 44 percent in July to 53 percent in mid-October. This "is potentially problematic for Romney, since we know from our research that six in 10 evangelicals do not see the Mormon faith to be a Christian religion," said Daniel Cox, the PRRI's research director.

Tim Tebow Teams With Children's Health Organization

Christian football star Tim Tebow is taking his ministry off the field and helping disabled children overseas. He announced last week that his Tim Tebow Foundation would partner with CURE International for an overseas hospital construction projects, the specifics of which will be announced next month. CURE formed in 1998 with the goal of providing medical treatment for children with disabilities in developing countries, and similarly, the Tim Tebow Foundation constructs hospital playrooms and provides support for orphans and seriously ill children. "I am truly excited about this partnership," Tebow said. "When I learned about what CURE does and how intentional the organization is about sharing the Gospel and healing children, I knew it would be a great partnership."

Study to Research How Americans Relate to the Bible

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has received a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., to study how Americans relate to the Bible in their everyday lives, according to Inside Indiana Business. The three-year project, "The Bible in American Life," is the first large-scale national study on the way scripture is read and interpreted. Philip Goff, one of three who will lead the study, says the project is driven by the recognition that although the Bible has been central to both public life and Christian practice throughout American history, not much is known about how people read the Bible for themselves or how religious life and practice affect people's understanding of scripture. The first stage of the study, in 2012, will focus on research, and the second stage, in 2013, will involve a cultural and historical interpretation by Bible scholars. A national conference of the findings will be presented in 2014.

Publication date: October 31, 2011