Religion Today Summaries, December 23, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 23, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • British Red Cross Removes Christmas Decorations
  • Atheists Target City's Angels Display
  • Green Movement Turns to God to Advance Cause
  • Nepal: Mothers Reach Mothers

British Red Cross Removes Christmas Decorations
Mike Wendling
( The removal of a Christmas display from a second-hand store operated by the British Red Cross has led to allegations that the charity has "banned" the holiday.  The controversy began when a volunteer at one of the organization's 430 British stores complained to the press after a nativity scene and a tree were removed from the premises.  Christine Banks, who volunteers at a store in the county of Kent south of London, said her manager was ordered to take down all Christmas-themed decorations.  "It seems we can't have anything that means Christmas,” Banks told the Daily Mail tabloid.  “We're allowed to have some tinsel but that's it ... we were told it is because we must not upset Muslims."  But the organization's chief executive denied that the Red Cross was "banning" anything and contended that the removal of the decorations was in accordance with a policy that forbids materials of an "overtly religious nature.”  "The Red Cross has not banned Christmas," said Sir Nicholas Young.  "Our volunteers and staff are welcome and actively encouraged to celebrate their own particular religions and festivals whenever and however they please.  We are not, and never have been, a religious organization," Young said.

Atheists Target City's Angels Display

(Charisma News) A Florida community has placed two angels outside city hall despite complaints from an atheist organization over its use of religious Christmas decorations.  According to "The Washington Times," Wildwood City Council unanimously voted last month to display the angels after Greg McDowell, the Florida director of American Atheists, threatened to sue in a letter to Mayor Ed Wolf if the central Florida city used the Christian symbols for display.  "Last year, while driving through Wildwood, I noticed that along with other ornamental hall had angels outside on the lawn," McDowell wrote.  "Angels are without question a religious symbol, and must be omitted this year and in the future."  However, Wolf said he does not understand McDowell's complaint.  "There was no intent to make [the decorations] religious," Wolf said, the "Times" reported.  "It is not a manger scene, but little wire frames of angels and deer with clear Christmas lights."  Wolf told the "Sumter County Times": "It's like television, it has an off-and-on switch.  If you do not like it, do not look at it."

Green Movement Turns to God to Advance Cause
Marc Morano
( It may or may not be a marriage made in heaven, but environmentalists are enlisting the help of religious groups to persuade Americans to consume and pollute less through "self-restraint."  Gary Gardner, director of research at the environmental group, Worldwatch Institute, helped coordinate a meeting between environmental and religious groups last week in Washington, D.C.  "I think there is a real opportunity to advance the cause of sustainable development by having the environmental community and people of faith work together on issues of common concern," Gardner told  Many of the participants praised the recent anti-SUV campaign called, "What Would Jesus Drive?"  They said they had no doubt Jesus would choose an earth-friendly mode of transportation.  "I also think [Jesus] would use public transportation," he added.  Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free-market environmental think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, found it ironic that the greens would attempt to merge forces with religious groups.  "There's nothing like the political Left dropping, on a dime, their objection to attempts by the [religious] faithful to impose their values on others through the political process," Horner told

Nepal: Mothers Reach Mothers
(Missions Insider) The elderly widow of a church-planting ministry based in northern India recently led a team of mothers on a ministry trip through the Himalayan Mountain area of Nepal, their ancestral homeland.  The leader tells of their journey:  “On December 2, twelve mothers and I left for Nepal to visit four branch churches in the Himalayan Mountain area.  We went as far as we could by vehicle; then we walked from church to church.  I taught the women and the mothers from our home church shared their testimonies.  In one place the mothers were very old--one was 90.  In every place, we had wonderful fellowship and the women received a special blessing from God.  We slept in the churches at night and held our meetings during daylight hours.  We didn’t have any night meetings as the political situation [activity of rebels in the area] is very unstable.  The people of these places are very poor and live in miserable conditions.  We were very touched to see their impoverished condition, but praise God that we were able to encourage them.  These days the Lord is blessing not only the mothers but also the youths and fathers. Please pray for us.”