Religion Today Summaries - December 23, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 23, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today's edition:

Americans Continue to Open Wallets

Religion News Service


Americans are generous people when it comes to donating money and time in the wake of natural crisis. Donations to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the September 11 relief fund, and tsunami survivors have now reached almost $6 billion. Yet, amid all the talk of "compassion exhaustion," Americans from all walks of life continue to donate, even well into the holiday season. Helping to feed the fire of giving is a new breed of philanthropists – Generation Y. Gen Y has grown up appreciating their good fortune in a world they see vividly each day where TV and internet images convey a sense of urgency, which often translates into rapid donations. Richard Blackmon, President of RSI Institutional Services Group, said, "We have every reason to believe that the percentage change in charitable giving will outpace that of the gross domestic product, yielding a positive environment for capital campaigns to begin and to continue." In 2004, approximately 83 percent of U.S adults donated money to one or more nonprofit organizations, but the average pretax contribution of 3.2 percent of income indicates most Americans could be giving more in context of consumption patterns: Americans spend $23.5 billion a year on candy and gum, and $40 billion a year on weight loss.


Priests, Nuns Brutally Assaulted in China

Compass Direct


Mobs attacked nuns in Xi’an and priests in Tianjin during the past month as the Roman Catholics peacefully tried to settle property disputes with the government. At press time, Chinese police surrounded a group of Catholic priests and nuns who have locked themselves into the building they claim. About 30 people with steel bars, sticks and bricks on December 16 had attacked a group of priests applying for recovery of the property. AsiaNews reported that police detained the clergymen, not the attackers, denying the severely beaten priests hospital care. And on November 23 in Xi’an, a group of 40 men armed with wooden sticks attacked 200 nuns peacefully protesting the illegal demolition of their diocesan school. The nuns had started a sit-in in this northern city when the mob, widely regarded to have been sent by the government, mocked and then physically attacked the nuns, shouting ‘Kill them! Kill them!”


Father of Murdered Pakistani Christian Requests Protection

Compass Direct


The father of a Pakistani Christian tortured to death by Muslim seminary students in 2004 requested police protection last week after receiving death threats for refusing to drop charges against his son’s attackers. Pervez Masih appealed for protection from radical Muslim clerics at a December 15 hearing. Islamists have stepped up pressure against Masih since the re-arrest last month of Maulvi Ghulam Rasool, charged with torturing Javed Anjum until he would convert to Islam. Members of a radical Islamic group have targeted Masih and his lawyer three times over the past three weeks. On each occasion small crowds of 50 clerics armed with pistols gathered outside the courtroom, yelling that they would not “spare the lives of liars,” and jostling the plaintiff as he exited trial hearings. The court has not yet taken action to ensure the safety of Masih and his lawyer.


The Christian Academy in Brookhaven, PA, Announces Good News of $6 Million Bequest

The Communication Solutions Group


The Christian Academy (TCA), a private school of over 400 students in grades K-12, announced to families during a Dec. 13 Christmas concert that it will be receiving a $6 million bequest from the estate of Joseph and Emily Fisher, who founded the Chester-based Fisher Tank Company in 1948. “In this season of giving, we are thrilled to be the recipients of this most generous gift, which is unprecedented in our school’s 55-year history. It is true evidence that the Lord supports our mission,” said Dr. Timothy Sierer, Headmaster for TCA. “We are eternally grateful to Him and to the Fishers for this gift, which we believe will lead to many more blessings for TCA.” The size of the Fishers’ bequest was a blessing that took the TCA community by surprise. TCA is planning to use the donation as the seed from which The Christian Academy will be able to foster five distinct fundraising initiatives: The Blessing of Knowledge through Scholarship, The Blessing of Financial Independence, The Blessing of Superior Instructors, The Blessing of Shelter, and The Blessing of Advancing Christian Education.