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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 26, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 26, 2007

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

  • Study: Christianity No Longer Looks Like Jesus
  • Iranian Women 'Freest in the World,' Ahmadinejad Says
  • See You at the Pole Set for Today
  • Arab American Pastor Seeks Help to Reach Muslims in America

Study: Christianity No Longer Looks Like Jesus

The Christian Post reports that young Americans today are more skeptical and resistant to Christianity than were people of the same age just a decade ago. A new study released Monday from The Barna Group shows that negative perceptions toward the faith have outweighed the positive, as more younger Americans associate with a faith outside Christianity. Only 16 percent of non-Christians aged 16 to 29 years old said they have a "good impression" of Christianity. Just 10 years ago, a vast majority of Americans outside the Christian faith - including young people - felt favorably toward Christianity’s role in society.

Iranian Women 'Freest in the World,' Ahmadinejad Says

According to CNSNews.com, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defied several human rights groups when he said Monday that "the freest women in the world are the women in Iran." Ahmadinejad cited the following examples: "If you look at our women, they're active in every level of society as researchers and social groups and universities, in parties, in the press, in the arts, in politics, in political associations... Human rights groups say what they want and we tell them that they're wrong." Even so, the Iranian penal code is discriminatory toward women, and violence and mistreatment of women is widely tolerated, according to a report released in March 2007 by the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and a "morality force" beats women in the street for "wearing makeup or clothing regarded as insufficiently modest." Meanwhile, women who appear in public without the appropriate Islamic head coverings can be sentenced to fines or lashings.

See You at the Pole Set for Today

At schools across the nation this morning, students are marking the annual See You at the Pole gathering by praying for their schools, friends, teachers, government and nation. The student-led event started in Burleson, Texas, in 1990, Baptist Press reports, and has taken root nationwide. This year's theme is "Gather. Unite. Pray. Come Together," based on Jesus' prayer for believers in John 17:20-23. "It's tough being a Christian student today," a message on the gathering's official website notes. "We're forced to make a lot of choices about who we are, and who we're not. We're supposed to be deciding on our future, when the present is hard enough to deal with... See You at the Pole isn't about groups, grades, clothes, or churches. It's about praying." At most schools, See You at the Pole starts at 7 a.m. around the flagpole. Last year, more than 2 million teenagers met for See You at the Pole in all 50 states and in countries on six continents.

Arab American Pastor Seeks Help to Reach Muslims in America

ASSIST News Service reports that more than 300,000 Arab-Americans attend a street festival in Dearborn, Michigan every year, and one pastor was there with a team of volunteers to pass out Christian literature and DVDs in Arabic. “We felt like we were in the Middle East, not in America,” says Pastor George Saieg, founder of Arabic Christian Perspective. After the attacks of September 11, God placed a burden on Saieg;s heart to reach his fellow Arab-Americans with the gospel. Since then, he’s organized small teams of volunteers for outreach at mosques and other places where Muslims gather throughout the U.S. This summer, he and 70 volunteers from six states passed out 38,000 Jesus Films in Arabic at the 12th Annual Arab International Festival, the largest street festival of its kind in the U.S. “I want to see every Muslim in America have the opportunity to hear the gospel,” he says.