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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 18, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 18, 2006

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

  • Iran Wants to Host Debate on Reality of Holocaust
  • More Christians Attacked in Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Surveys Reveal Sex Practices of Homosexuals
  • Lay Committee Acquires Papers Showing PCUSA Anticipates Major Division

Iran Wants to Host Debate on Reality of Holocaust

Amid Iran’s tension with the international community over nuclear weapons comes a controversy over the historical accuracy of the Holocaust, with Iran displaying caricatures of victims and planning to host a conference dismissing the event as “exaggerated.” Baptist Press cites an AP report that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, has called the Nazis’ killing of 6 million Jews a myth and has said Israel should be wiped off the map or moved to Germany or the United States. Now an Iranian official has said the nation may sponsor a conference debating the reality of the Holocaust. “God willing, a conference on the Holocaust will be held in the autumn,” outgoing Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said, according to AP. “I have visited the Nazi camps in Eastern Europe. I think it is exaggerated.”

More Christians Attacked in Madhya Pradesh, India

Attacks against Christians in Madhya Pradesh continued this week, with Hindu extremists attacking at least three Christian gatherings, Compass Direct News reports. A total of eight Christians were accused of attempted forced conversion or hurting Hindu religious sentiments. One was released without charges and four were released on bail, while another three remain in police custody. In the most recent case, on Tuesday (September 12), police in Jabalpur district, Madhya Pradesh, detained Assemblies of God pastor Venkatesh Kumar Sadhu after extremists accused him of attempted forced conversion. A family in Ghama Thana village had asked Sadhu to visit their home and pray for a sick family member. While he was praying, members of the Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal arrived, attacking the pastor and damaging his scooter. The Bajrang Dal then filed a complaint against Sadhu, and the pastor was taken to the local police station for questioning. The police later admitted that Hindu extremists were pressuring them to prosecute Christians such as Sadhu.

Surveys Reveal Sex Practices of Homosexuals

Two recent surveys of the homosexual community -- one in the U.S. and one in Ireland -- reveal that the homosexual lifestyle continues to be plagued by promiscuity and unsafe sex practices. AgapePress reports that a survey by The Advocate, a homosexual magazine, revealed that promiscuity is a reality among homosexuals. The poll found that 20 percent of homosexuals said they had had 51-300 different sex partners in their lifetime, with an additional 8 percent having had more than 300. Unprotected homosexual sex is also a concern among health professionals. A survey in Ireland by the Gay Men's Health Project found that almost half of homosexuals said they were having unprotected sex. The fact that many homosexuals appear to live their lives in sexual overdrive does not seem to concern leaders in the movement. The Advocate said: "[Homosexuals] have been proud leaders in the sexual revolution that started in the 1960s, and we have rejected attempts by conservatives to demonize that part of who we are."

Lay Committee Acquires Papers Showing PCUSA Anticipates Major Division

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is being accused of taking "draconian" measures against local congregations that are considering leaving the denomination, AgapePress reports. The Presbyterian Lay Committee has obtained confidential strategy papers created by lawyers from the denomination's headquarters in Louisville, advising area officials how to grab the property of local dissenting churches. The so-called "Louisville Papers" also advise Presbyterian officials how to oust the ministers of dissenting churches and how to get rid of their governing bodies. The documents advise Presbytery officials to play hardball with these churches by filing civil actions against them, freezing their bank accounts, changing the locks on their buildings, and defrocking their ministers. Meanwhile, the papers obtained and made public by the Committee suggest to those Presbyteries filing civil claims against dissenting parishes that they try to get an Episcopal judge rather than a Baptist judge. The reason for this, according to the strategy documents, is because Episcopalians understand church hierarchy better than do Baptists.