Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 27, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 27, 2007

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

  • Episcopal Bishops Back Off Support for Gays
  • False Charges Plague Christian Workers in India
  • 16 U.S. Senators Accused of Rejecting Catholic Faith
  • UMC Steps Up Sexual Misconduct Policy to Halt 'Disturbing Trend'

Episcopal Bishops Back Off Support for Gays

The Washington Times reports that "Episcopal leaders agreed yesterday to 'exercise restraint' in approving another homosexual bishop and will not approve prayers to bless same-sex couples. It will not be known for weeks or even months whether the bishops, who were pressured to roll back their support for homosexuals, went far enough to help prevent a schism in the Anglican Communion. Episcopal leaders said they made the decision 'with the hope of mending the tear in the fabric' of the communion. 'We all hope that our sacrificial actions and our united actions at this meeting once again demonstrate to the wider communion that we treasure our membership and we treasure the other members of the Anglican community,' Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said."

False Charges Plague Christian Workers in India

In a case typical of false accusations that Hindu extremists file against Christian workers, a pastor and his sister have been cleared of charges of rape and abortion in Chhattisgarh state, Compass Direct News reports. The Evangelical Fellowship of India announced that pastor Simon Tandi, a convert from Hinduism, and his sister Sanjeela Begum were acquitted by a court in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district on September 12. Tandi was facing charges of raping and forcing a girl to terminate the resultant pregnancy after she filed a complaint against him – prompted by a Hindu extremist group – in June 2005. His sister Begum was accused of abetting the crime. Tandi had spent six months in jail, and his sister four months, before they were released on bail prior to the acquittal. The court reportedly found discrepancies in the statement of the complainant and a lack of evidence against the accused. Christian rights activists say facing false police complaints is common for Christian workers in several parts of the country.

16 U.S. Senators Accused of Rejecting Catholic Faith reports that sixteen Catholic senators recently voted against an amendment that would have restored the Mexico City Policy, and Catholic pro-life groups are not happy. The policy, instituted by President Reagan in 1984, prohibited U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding organizations that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries. Catholic activist Judie Brown, president of American Life League, says she was especially disappointed by the vote of a freshman Democrat from Pennsylvania who claims to be pro-life. "Other than Robert Casey, who is an enormous disappointment to me, I think we could have expected the pro-abortion vote from the other 15 so-called Catholic senators," says Brown. "It's no surprise to me that those 15 individuals voted against life because they've been doing so consistently for a very long period of time."

UMC Steps Up Sexual Misconduct Policy to Halt 'Disturbing Trend'

The Christian Post reports that a United Methodist watchdog introduced new resolutions to counter a "disturbing trend" of sexual misconduct in the denomination. "The use of pornography continues to increase as it becomes more accessible and allows more immediate, realistic and anonymous sexual contact and gratification," stated the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women in a resolution. The resolution, presented last week at the commission's annual meeting, will be submitted to the United Methodist General Conference – the highest legislative body in the United Methodist Church – when it convenes next year in April for its quadrennial meeting. According to the commission, sexual harassment and misconduct, including the use of Internet pornography by clergy, laity or volunteers, often on church-owned computers, remains a concern of the church body.