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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 25, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 25, 2006

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

  • Another Episcopal Diocese Rejects Incoming Presiding Bishop
  • Will Georgetown Reinstate Evangelical Campus Ministries?
  • Pakistan: Teenage Christian Jailed for Blasphemy
  • Indonesian Catholics Put to Death by Firing Squad amid Doubts of Guilt

Another Episcopal Diocese Rejects Incoming Presiding Bishop

An eighth conservative Episcopal diocese is rejecting the authority of the incoming head of the denomination and asking for oversight from another Anglican leader, AgapePress reports. The Diocese of Quincy, Illinois, voted against accepting the leadership of Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports homosexual relationships. Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead the denomination, will be installed November 4. The eight dioceses are asking Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, to assign them an Anglican leader who shares their traditional views. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican branch in the United States.

Will Georgetown Reinstate Evangelical Campus Ministries?

An attorney representing some of the evangelical ministries kicked off the Georgetown University campus in Washington, DC, is hoping to persuade the Catholic school to have a change of heart, AgapePress reports. An official with Georgetown's Office of Campus Ministry (OCM) recently notified six evangelical groups that they would no longer be allowed to reserve rooms for weekly meetings or to use the university's name. The groups were informed that Georgetown now wants to focus its ministry efforts through the school rather than through outside groups. David French, who heads the Alliance Defense Fund's Center for Academic Freedom is urging officials to correct "OCM's discriminatory decision." Now the university is reportedly reviewing its policy toward evangelical students. French indicates the school may be open to persuasion. The groups ejected from the Georgetown campus include InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.

Pakistan: Teenage Christian Jailed for Blasphemy

Compass Direct News reports a young Pakistani Christian jailed last week on suspicion of ripping book pages containing Quranic verses appealed to Punjabi police yesterday through his lawyer for his case to be cancelled for lack of evidence. According to lawyer Khalil Tahir Sindhu, the sole evidence against Shahid Masih, 17, was the testimony of a Muslim man already accused of the same crime. If convicted of breaking article 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, Masih will serve a life sentence. Masih’s family has employed the help of Joel Amir Sahotra, a Christian representative in the Punjab Provincial Assembly, to secure his release. Sahotra is convinced Masih has been falsely accused. More than 200 Islamist fanatics attended the first hearing against Masih and his Muslim accuser Muhammad Ghaffar before a judicial magistrate in Faisalabad on September 14, Sindhu said. At least 23 people involved in blasphemy cases have been murdered in Pakistan since the laws were instituted in the 1980s, a quarter of them Christians.

Indonesian Catholics Put to Death by Firing Squad amid Doubts of Guilt

Three Catholics accused of masterminding a 2000 riot between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia were executed by firing squad at an undisclosed location in the island nation’s Central Sulawesi province Sept. 22, the Jakarta Post reported. According to Baptist Press, government sources said Fabnianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu had admitted their roles in religious violence, but doubt has surfaced in both Christian and Muslim circles about their guilt. Even Indonesia’s former president, Abdurrahman Wahid, called for a stay of execution the day before the death sentences were carried out. Wahid said the executions were “against Islam,” but that Attorney General Abdurrahman Saleh insisted on moving forward with the executions “because he doesn’t understand religion.” “In hadis (Muslim tradition), if there is doubt, in this case if the prosecutor has any doubt, don’t do it,” Wahid said. “It’s just that the attorney general did not pay attention to religion.” The men, called “Christian militants” by the paper, were the only individuals executed in a long-term conflict that ran from 1998 to 2002 between Muslims and Christians in the volatile Poso area of the Sulawesi province.