Religion Today Summaries, August 3, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, August 3, 2004

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

  • Eritrean Police Halt Christian Wedding
  • Bush to Address Catholic Men's Group Tuesday
  • Thailand Missionary Reaches Out to Prostitutes Via Bar Visits
  • San Diego Memorial Cross Center of Debate

Eritrean Police Halt Christian Wedding
Compass Direct

Police disrupted a Christian marriage ceremony in the Eritrean town of Senafe on Sunday, July 25, and arrested 30 guests and members of the wedding party. Charging in and demanding a halt to the ceremony, police officers ordered everyone who was not a "Pente" (a derisive abbreviation for "Pentecostal") to leave the place immediately. Many of the guests did so, but the 30 evangelical Christians who remained were hauled off to a police station. Yesterday, all but two of the prisoners were released after signing a document promising not to participate in any evangelical Christian wedding in the future. Police continue to hold an evangelist, identified as Michel, of the Kale Hiwot church and Teame Kibrom, a man in his 80s. Officials declared the two responsible for the wedding that allegedly defied a government ban on evangelical church activities. More than 400 evangelical Christians are currently jailed by the Eritrean government, including prominent pastors Rev. Haile Naizgi, Dr. Kiflu Gebremeske and Tesfatsion Hagos.

Bush to Address Catholic Men's Group Tuesday
Agape Press

On Tuesday afternoon, President Bush will appeal to a key segment of voters who could help him win crucial swing states -- Roman Catholics. Bush is scheduled to address the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus -- the world's largest lay Catholic organization with 1.7 million members. About 2,500 Knights and their families are expected at the convention in Dallas, along with 60 bishops and 13 cardinals. The Knights of Columbus did not invite Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry -- a professed Catholic -- to speak. While officially nonpartisan, the conservative-leaning group strongly supports President Bush's opposition to abortion and homosexual marriage. The nation's 65 million Catholics constitute 27 percent of the electorate.

Thailand Missionary Reaches Out to Prostitutes Via Bar Visits
Charisma News Service

Thailand missionary Nella Davidse goes to bars and hangs out with prostitutes three nights a week in order to reach them for Christ. She lives in Pattaya, a popular resort town on the coast of the Asian nation, where an estimated 20,000 women work as prostitutes. The promise of big money and the hopes of meeting a rich, foreign husband lure most of the women. Many are raising children in extreme poverty. Most loathe their jobs, but feel they have no choice. It's not an easy place to be. But Davidse believes it's where God wants her. "I needed perseverance," Davidse, 42, who left her native Holland to join Youth With A Mission in Thailand nine years ago,said. "For a long time we didn't see much fruit," she added. "I felt like I had my feet in the door, and if I pulled back, it would smash. ... I had to say ... 'God, I trust in You and not in people.'" In 1999, Davidse founded the Tamar Center, a downtown mission offering English lessons, job training and discipleship to the bargirls of Pattaya. "God told us we shouldn't call this place Sodom anymore," she said. "We should call it Nineveh because this is the city that will come to the Lord. ... We see girls coming to the Lord and really excited, but to really persevere and be changed -- we haven't seen it." Davidse said among other things that she is praying that the Holy Spirit will convict the city of its sin.

San Diego Memorial Cross Center of Debate
Agape Press

Citizens of San Diego will be able to decide the fate of a hilltop cross in a city park.  Last week, San Diego City Council members voted to give residents a chance to determine the future of the Mount Soledad cross.   The 43-foot landmark has been the focus of a 15-year legal battle sparked by complaints from atheists who claim the cross's presence violates California's constitution.  Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, says people are passionate about the issue.  "The average American, and particularly those in San Diego, feels that they should in no way have to tear down any memorial or monument to those who have died and suffered for defending freedom in our country." The attorney says.  "That's why it's so basic and so important for so many Americans to fight to defend these symbols of American justice and freedom."  The Mount Soledad cross has stood for almost 100 years.  It is the centerpiece of a memorial honoring veterans.  The council's decision marked a rejection of a settlement offer to move the cross to a neighboring church.