Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 27, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 27, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Two More Christians Expelled from Morocco
  • Co-Habitation in America Jumps Up 13 Percent
  • Embattled Philadelphia Bishop Says He Won't Resign
  • Faith Leaders Urge Obama to Act on Iran

Two More Christians Expelled from Morocco

ASSIST News Service reports that two more foreign Christian have been expelled from Morocco on charges of proselytizing, while other foreign organizations continue to be investigated. On Sept.17, the Moroccan newspaper Al Massae reported that Harder and Sanhi Russell were expelled from the country for "carrying out acts of proselytism" in the city of Kenitra. Harder, a Canadian citizen, was teaching Arabic at a local school, while Sanhi, of Korean descent, worked with women by teaching "literacy through the teaching of the Bible." Also, Moroccan secret police are allegedly investigating a pastor that distributes school supplies with the help of 15 foreign Christians. Police questions the group for an hour as a "precaution" to ensure that the group was not proselytizing.

Co-Habitation in America Jumps Up 13 Percent

The number of unmarried couples living together rose 13 percent from the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 7.5 million opposite-couples lived together without getting married in 2010, up from 6.7 million in 2009. Increased financial stress and a poor job market likely pushed some couples to move in together, as only 49 percent of recently cohabitating couples say both of them have jobs. That's down from 59 percent two years ago. To combat the trend, The Christian Post reports that some churches have offered free mass weddings to cohabiting couples. Trinity Fellowship Church, a megachurch in Amarillo, Texas, organized a nearly $3,000 event called "The Big Summer Wedding" last year designed to get couples who are living together to the altar. In total, 32 couples were married by the senior elder at the church.

Embattled Philadelphia Bishop Says He Won't Resign

The embattled Episcopal bishop of Philadelphia is defiantly refusing to resign. According to Religion News Service, Bishop Charles Bennison said his three years of "suffering" through various church trials has "strengthened" his ability to lead his diocese. Bennison was temporarily removed from ministry in 2007 after being charged with "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy." He was found guilty in 2008 for failing to investigate or discipline his younger brother and former fellow priest John Bennison for an affair with an underage parishioner in the 1970s. On Sept. 22, the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops called for Bennison's "immediate and unconditional resignation," after a church appeals court said the statute of limitations on the charges has run out.

Faith Leaders Urge Obama to Act on Iran

A coalition of Christian leaders, including several Southern Baptists, has urged President Obama to act quickly to stop Iran from producing a nuclear weapon. According to Baptist Press, the letter cited reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has processed enough uranium at its primary facility for two nuclear weapons. "The acceleration of its uranium enrichment and advanced military applications suggest we are in the eleventh hour," the coalition's letter said. The letter's signers included Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC); Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship; Pat Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network; and Jordan Sekulow, director of international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice.