Top 10 News Stories of 2009
1.The Great Recession reduces missionary sending and closes hundreds of Christian schools as layoffs hit World Vision, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Asbury Seminary, CT, and many other ministries.
2. Orthodox Anglicans launch a North American province as the Episcopal Church drops its moratoria on gay clergy and same-sex unions. The ELCA narrowly approves clergy in same-sex relationships, prompting conservative Lutherans to create a rival body. Methodistsand Presbyterians maintain their bans.
3. Religious groups agitate for health-care reform. Pro-life Democrats and Republicans in the House surprisingly succeed at adding a ban on taxpayer-funded abortions to the House reform bill, largely thanks to Catholic clergy's lobbying.
4. The Obama administration permits federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research and overseas groups that promote abortion, while cutting funds for abstinence-only education.
5.Deadly Gojra riots in August prompt a government examination, and fresh international criticism, of Pakistan's notoriously abused blasphemy laws.
6.Swine flu causes Christian churches worldwide to modify services. Egypt slaughters all pigs, devastating the livelihood of its Christian minority.
7. Multisite churches and video-venue campuses evolve from megachurch experiment to near-default option as large congregations expand.
8. Zondervan discontinues the controversial TNIV and announces that an updated NIV translation will debut in 2011.
9. Gaza war hinders reconciliation efforts between Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians. Believers continue to flee Iraq; Somalia's Christians almost entirely vanish.
10. Hispanic evangelical leaders debate boycotting the 2010 Census as a way to call attention to immigration reform. Meanwhile, the National Association of Evangelicals and other groups prepare for the immigration debate to reignite in 2010.
Top 10 News Stories of the Decade
January 2001: President Bush launches his faith-based initiative.
September 2001: NYC terror attacks prompt intense reflection on Christian-Muslim relations.
March 2003: U.S. invasion of Iraq prompts debate on just war and Muslim extremists' retaliation against Mideast Christians.
August 2003: Gene Robinson, who is in a same-sex relationship, is confirmed as an Episcopal bishop.
February 2004: Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ shocks observers by earning more than $600 million.
November 2004: "Values voter" analysis draws more attention to U.S. evangelicals as a voting bloc.
April 2007: Supreme Court upholds partial-birth abortion ban, the first national restriction since Roe v. Wade.
August 2007: Taliban takes Korean missionaries hostage, igniting debate on short-term missions.
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