Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 13, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 13, 2008

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

  • Georgian Conflict: Aid Groups Begin Relief Efforts
  • Court: Univ. of California Can Reject Christian School Classes
  • Arab Ministry Hopes to Spark 'Upper Room' Revival in Israel
  • Poll: Homeschooling a Constitutional Right

Georgian Conflict: Aid Groups Begin Relief Efforts

The Christian Post reports that World Vision has begun providing emergency assistance in the form of food, soap, blankets and other essentials to civilians displaced by the conflict in Georgia. The United Nations' World Food Program has also started providing food rations to some 2,000 people. The U.N. agencies and NGOs are working closely together to coordinate an effective response. Since Friday, more than 2,000 people had been killed, according to a Russian official. "I have seen war, but what I saw today was terrible," one 36-year-old mother told World Vision staff.

Court: Univ. of California Can Reject Christian School Classes

Religion News Service reports that a California federal judge has ruled that the University of California had a "rational basis" for rejecting science and history courses taught at Christian high schools. Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, Calif., and the Association of Christian Schools International had charged that the university had an unconstitutional admissions process because it refused to certify courses that taught creationism and other beliefs. Private school students are required to meet certain high-school requirements before they can be eligible to apply to one of the undergraduate campuses of the University of California. U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero ruled Friday (Aug. 8) that concerns about a course whose primary text was called "Biology: God's Living Creation" was deemed by UC experts to have failed at teaching critical thinking or the theory of evolution in an adequate manner. The judge also said UC reviewers found that a text published by Bob Jones University titled "United States History for Christian Schools" taught that "the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events" and did not include modern methods for historical analysis. In these cases, Otero said the Christian school defendants did not adequately refute the findings of UC's reviewers. The judge also found that the university system did not reject the courses out of animosity.

Arab Ministry Hopes to Spark 'Upper Room' Revival in Israel

A set of upcoming meetings aims to ignite a 1st century-style revival in Jerusalem with a gathering of Jews and Gentiles later this month, ASSIST News Service reports. "We are praying that revival will come down and that Jews and Arabs will worship together," said Jeries Kawash of Jerusalem-based Upper Room Ministries. "Jesus prayed for unity of believers and we are hoping this will bring believers of all backgrounds who are coming together to worship." "The message has gone out to the world," notes Andre Mubarak, another of Upper Room Ministries' elders, but "is far away from this city. Jerusalem is far away from revival." According to Nicole Jansezian writing for , the meetings will take place Aug. 23 to 25 and will feature Andres Bisonni, a young revivalist from the United States.

Poll: Homeschooling a Constitutional Right

Baptist Press reports that more than eight in 10 Americans were at odds with a California appeals court that ruled in February that parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children, according to just-released data from LifeWay Research. It seems the California appeals court now agrees. In a stunning move Aug. 8, a three-judge panel of the court reversed itself, saying the state legislature has implicitly accepted homeschooling as legal. "We... conclude that California statutes permit homeschooling as a species of private school education," the justices wrote in their unanimous decision. LifeWay Research, in an April telephone survey, found that 86 percent of the respondents agreed that, "Parents have a constitutional right to homeschool their children."