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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 10, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 10, 2007

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

  • Messianic Jews under Fire in Israel
  • Texas Seminaries Victorious in 'Landmark' Religious Freedoms Case
  • Poll: Presidential Hopefuls Must be Religious, but not 'Very Religious'
  • Episcopalian Writer Madeleine L'Engle Dead at 88

Messianic Jews under Fire in Israel

“The state of Israel promises religious freedom to all faiths. However, in some Israeli towns, Jews who believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah face persecution. One of those places is in a town called Arad.” This is how Chris Mitchell, who works for CBN News Jerusalem Bureau, began his recent report on what is happening in Arad, Israel, ASSIST News Service reports. He continued, “Arad sits in the middle of the Negev Desert, about a two hour drive south of Jerusalem. For most of the nearly 25,000 residents, it's a quiet setting. But for others, it's been the scene of noisy protests and almost daily harassment. “An ultra-orthodox sect called the Gur harasses many of the Messianic Jews in the town.” Mitchell quoted Yakim Figueros, a messianic pastor in Arad, as saying, “We meet at a congregation building. There's a narrow way to go in, I mean the gate. So they have two of their people standing on either side and reading curses against everyone that walks in: ‘May his children be orphans. May their wives be widows’ and so on. You know it's not nice for the simple people to come in and go through this.” Mitchell went on to say, “The center of town is another place of harassment, where many retired Jewish immigrants gather."

Texas Seminaries Victorious in 'Landmark' Religious Freedoms Case

OneNewsNow.com reports that "seminaries in Texas have won what is being called a landmark religious freedoms case. Last week's unanimous ruling by the Texas Supreme Court overturned two lower-court opinions and a Texas law that gave the state power over seminaries and their training of pastors and ministry leaders. Liberty Legal Institute (LLI) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tyndale Theological Seminary in 1999, after the state's higher education coordinating board threatened to fine the seminary thousands of dollars as punishment for issuing theological degrees without seeking government approval of its curriculum, professors, and board."

Poll: Presidential Hopefuls Must be Religious, but not 'Very Religious'

An article in the Washington Post cites a recent Pew poll that notes: It is important for presidential candidates to be seen as religious, but there is not much benefit to being perceived as "very religious." Data also showed that the public knows very little about social and religious views of the candidates. Generally, if people believe a candidate is "not too" or "not at all" religious, they are not likely to view that candidate favorably. But there are smaller, if any, rating differences between those who say a candidate is "very" vs. "somewhat" religious.

Episcopalian Writer Madeleine L'Engle Dead at 88

Episcopal News Service reports that the author of the beloved children's classic "A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle, died September 6 at age 88. L'Engle was a lay Episcopalian who wrote more than 60 books ranging from children's stories to theological reflection. She died of natural causes in a Connecticut nursing home. "A Wrinkle in Time" won the John Newbery Award as the best children's book of 1963. L'Engle had served as writer-in-residence and librarian at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. In November 2000, she told an interviewer for Religion and Ethics Newsweekly that suffering and grief are a part of life.