Religion Today Summaries - September 15, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 15, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Court Orders Teacher to Remove Christian Banners
  • Moody Radio Affiliate Drops David Barton's Show Over Defense of Glenn Beck
  • State Department Chides Eight Countries on Religious Freedom
  • Imprisonment Didn't Deter Pastor's Ministry


Court Orders Teacher to Remove Christian Banners

A federal appeals court rejected the claim of a San Diego-area high school math teacher that his 1st Amendment rights were violated when the school's principal ordered him to take down classroom banners that referred to God, the Los Angeles Times reports. Bradley Johnson had displayed banners in his classrooms for two decades that celebrated the religious heritage of America, including "In God We Trust," "God Bless America," and "God Shed His Grace on Thee." But after he transferred to a new school in 2007, a principal ordered the banners taken down. Johnson thought he was being singled out because the phrases involved Christianity, and he filed a lawsuit. A federal judge last year sided with Johnson, but the school board appealed. The federal appeals court reversed the judge's ruling, saying the principal and school board had the same authority as any employer to set limits on the speech of employees, and also ordered Johnson to pay the school district's legal expenses.

Moody Radio Affiliate Drops David Barton's Show Over Defense of Glenn Beck

According to Dr. Warren Throckmorton's blog on, an affiliate of the Moody Broadcast system in East Texas, KBJS-FM, canceled David Barton’s Wallbuilders Live radio show during the show while Barton was discussing Glenn Beck’s religious beliefs. Randy Featherstone, KBJS manager, said the show was dropped because of Barton’s failure to distinguish between Mormon theology and Christianity. On the September 13th program, Barton said he believed Beck was a Christian, dismissed Beck's Mormonism and asserted that Beck used the same Bible. “When David Barton said it doesn’t matter whether you are a Mormon or a Baptist or a Methodist, we felt we had to do something,” Featherstone said. "We don't want to confuse listeners into thinking that Mormon doctrine and Christianity are the same." He added that the station had received many calls during the broadcast from people objecting to Barton's views. All but two callers supported the decision of the station to drop the show.

State Department Chides Eight Countries on Religious Freedom

According to the Religion News Service, the State Department designated eight nations as the most serious violators of religious freedom, naming the same countries as the Bush administration: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. All but Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan also received sanctions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued previous reports on religious freedom, but it was the first time the Obama administration has published its list of the worst violators. "It is our core conviction that religious tolerance is one of the essential elements not only of a sustainable democracy but of a peaceful society that respects the rights and dignity of each individual," Clinton said. The Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, the administration's new ambassador at large for religious freedom, has plans to visit China and Saudi Arabia and work on a U.N. resolution to counter religious intolerance through education, interfaith dialogue and public debate.

Imprisonment Didn't Deter Pastor's Ministry

According to, a Gospel for Asia-supported pastor in South Asia was recently released from prison after serving 17 months for being falsely accused of being part of an insurgent terrorist group. But Roshan Kuma made the most of his time behind bars. "While he was in prison, he was actually sharing the gospel with all the inmates," said GFA spokesman Daniel Punnose. "And so he was kind of doing prison ministry while being in prison. And by God's grace, a lot of the prisoners were able to give their hearts to Christ because of his testimony." Punnose explained that the prison conditions were poor and many prisoners were difficult to handle, so the fact that Kuma endured and effectively presented the gospel to them was an "indication of his character." Despite his imprisonment, his church of about 100 members continued to grow during his absence.