Religion Today Summaries - April 5 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 5 2006

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

  • Tens of Thousands Hold Vigil to Remember John Paul II
  • Nuns Fired for "Preaching Christianity"
  • Falwell Defends Choice of McCain as Graduation Speaker at Liberty
  • Renowned Writers & Artists Tell the Bible Story with Words, Art, Music

Tens of Thousands Hold Vigil to Remember John Paul II

An AP story on The Christian Post reports that tens of thousands of people clutching candles filled St. Peter's Square on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death. With a blessing by the current pontiff, the scene resembled that before John Paul's passing. "He continues to be present in our minds and our hearts; he continues to communicate his love for God and his love for man, he continues to arouse in everyone, especially the young, enthusiasm for goodness and the courage to follow Jesus and his teachings," Benedict told the crowd. In his message, Benedict recalled his predecessor's suffering, evident during the final days and weeks when John Paul was unable to speak and managed only to bless the faithful weakly with his hand. City officials said they had expected between 100,000 and 150,000 people to attend the vigil, some 10,000 of them from John Paul's native Poland, where anniversary commemorations also were held Sunday. John Paul was remembered from Mexico City to India as an advocate for the poor who helped fell communism.

Nuns Fired for "Preaching Christianity"

According to CNN-IBN, Catholic nuns will no longer be able to serve in an Indian-government-run leprosy hospital as the Gujarat government thinks that their services are required no longer. The reason the government cited for not renewing the contract of the nuns was that they were preaching Christianity among the patients. "It is a rumour and what people are falsely talking about, I did not believe it my self. I know it is in my agreement that I am not supposed to preach here and you can ask the patients to find out that I don’t," Sister Karuna, former president of the hospital says. The patients however, deny allegations made by the government towards the catholic nuns. They say the nuns have been thrown out on baseless charges. "We were never sermonised from the Bible and we were never made to convert to Christianity," Laganpat, patient of the leprosy hospital says. The goverment terminated the contract of the catholic nuns with the Christian society of Dioses without informing them. The issue has created a stir in the Christian community of Ahmedabad.

Falwell Defends Choice of McCain as Graduation Speaker at Liberty

Dr. Jerry Falwell is defending his decision to invite Arizona Senator John McCain to speak at Liberty University's spring commencement ceremony, AgapePress reports. McCain will make his first ever appearance at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school when he delivers the commencement address on May 13. The invitation from Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell may come as a surprise to some conservatives, considering McCain's past opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, his support for embryonic stem-cell research, and his recent cameo appearance on movie Wedding Crashers. But Dr. Falwell said he wanted to invite a "dominant Christian leader of the free world." "There are several very good pro-life, pro-family candidates who are vying for the White House, and I thought I would invite one of them who's an American hero, a military hero, who's a U.S. Senator, and who, very frankly, is at the moment the frontrunner," Falwell explains. "That doesn't mean we're endorsing Senator McCain, but it does mean we're taking a very close look." According to Dr. Falwell, Senator McCain assured him during a telephone conversation earlier this week that if federal courts were to toss out state amendments protecting traditional marriage, he would be "a champion and a leader" for a Federal Marriage Amendment.

Renowned Writers & Artists Tell the Bible Story with Words, Art, Music

Imagine experiencing the Bible as a collection of stories, poems and songs. Imagine the Bible being translated not by scholars, but by poets, writers, musicians, artists and historians. What would the Bible look and sound like then? The Voice is a new project from a team of renowned writers and artists—people like Erwin McManus, Leonard Sweet, Don Miller, Lauren Winner and Brian McLaren. The goal: Retell the Bible the way it was originally told — through art, poetry, history, and song. And retell it in ways that are contemporary, ancient, literary, challenging and beautiful. The brainchild of Chris Seay, a speaker, writer and pastor, The Voice is a series of books, songs, and images that will eventually retell the entire biblical story — from Genesis to Revelation. More than a Bible translation, The Voice is an effort to recapture the story of the Bible by utilizing the talents of dozens of renowned writers and artists. The first three projects from The Voice include two books and one music CD, all releasing in 2006.