Religion Today Summaries - April 28, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 28, 2005

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

  • Rift Continues Within Episcopal Church

  • Nigerian Church Forced to Move Headquarters 

  • India: Incidents Of Violence Against Christians Are Increasingly Common

  • School Counselor Under Fire for Excising God from Pledge

Rift Continues Within Episcopal Church
Erin Curry, Baptist Press

When the Anglican Consultative Council meets in June, delegates from the U.S. Episcopal Church will not be allowed to participate, because of the ongoing dispute over homosexuality. In February, 35 top leaders of world Anglican churches requested that the American leaders withdraw their delegates in response to conservative demands that the Episcopal Church be suspended from full participation in the Anglican Communion after it consecrated the openly homosexual Bishop V. Gene Robinson and has allowed blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press. U.S. representatives will be present at the meeting but will simply observe discussions and be open to answer any questions, and the Episcopal Church will provide the council with a formal theological explanation of its homosexual policies, AP reported. In related news, six Episcopal priests in Connecticut are facing possible suspension and defrocking for rebelling against their bishop's support for homosexual clergy members. Andrew D. Smith, the bishop of Connecticut, is considering what action to take against the six after they rejected his plan for letting them report to an alternate bishop and stopped paying their diocesan dues. Smith described the priests as local troops in a nationwide strategy by conservative Episcopalians to secede and establish a "replacement" church that would take the place of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. in the world Anglican Communion, according to The New York Times.

Nigerian Church Forced to Move Headquarters
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct

Devastation caused by religious conflict and the hostile attitude of Muslims toward Christian refugees returning to their villages in the central Nigerian state of Plateau has forced the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) to relocate its regional headquarters from the town of Wase to Kadarko. “The decision to relocate our regional office and the church in Wase town was made by our church council following the complete destruction of all our churches in Wase town and the killing and displacement of the church members in the area,” Dr. Pandang Yamsat, President of the Church of Christ, announced at an April 24 church service in the town of Langtang, Plateau. Yamsat said the relocation of the church’s regional office aims to give the church’s leadership time to strategize on how best to carry on evangelism in the town of Wase amid a hostile attitude of local Muslims towards Christians. First established in 1904 in Wase through the united efforts of the Anglican and other Protestant churches in Britain, the Church of Christ in Nigeria is one of the dominant churches in northern Nigeria today, with an estimated membership of over two million.

India: Incidents Of Violence Against Christians Are Increasingly Common
Charisma News Service

Hindu and Muslim villagers recently burned down a prayer hall and attacked three church members in a village in Kerala State. The attack came on April 1 after 26 people were baptized in a discreet early morning ceremony, Compass Direct reported. Built three years ago, the prayer hall was completely demolished. According to 2001 census figures, 19 percent of the total population of Kerala is Christian. Muslims account for 23 percent and Hindus make up 57 percent. Incidents of violence against Christians are increasingly common in Kerala. On Feb. 22, five pastors from the Church of God were beaten in Karunagapally, near Kerala's Kollam district, while they were holding a convention. Meanwhile, a court has charged Christian businessman Vidya Sagaran of Kerala with attempted forced conversion. Sagaran was arrested on March 30 and released on bail the following day. Hindu activists in Kerala have also objected to the work of Christian relief groups in tsunami-torn coastal areas. Two Catholic priests were recently accused of inducing tsunami victims to convert to Catholicism, Compass reported. Elsewhere, a recent showing of "The Jesus Film" in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh State, was broken up by at least 35 Hindu extremists who attacked the film crew and caused viewers to flee the scene, Assist News Service reported. (www.charismanews.com)

School Counselor Under Fire for Excising God from Pledge
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A middle school employee's politically correct version of the Pledge of Allegiance has caused a stir among students and outrage among parents in a Colorado school district. The controversy arose when eighth-grade counselor Margo Lucero filled in for the absent principal of Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge. Among other duties, Lucero took over the responsibility of making announcements and reciting the Pledge over the public address system in the principal's absence. However, when she came to the part that usually states "one nation under God," she replaced the traditional words with "one nation under your belief system." Rick Kaufman, a spokesman for Jefferson County Public Schools, says the school counselor's actions were unacceptable. "We have a responsibility to uphold state policy," he explains, "[T]he Pledge of Allegiance is the accepted pledge in the United States at this point in time.  And that is what we expect our staff who are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to do -- to recite it exactly as it is written and accepted." Kaufman acknowledged that Lucero has had a meeting with Everitt Middle School's principal and the district superintendent. He would not say, however, whether the school counselor will be disciplined for her politically correct substitution. Kaufman says JCPS has sent a letter home with students to explain the situation and to offer the school district's apologies.

 

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