Religion Today Summaries - February 10, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 10, 2005

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

  • Author: 'Peace' for Palestinians = Annihilation of Israel 

  • Senator Attempts To Remove Bibles From Chapel

  • Former 'Israel of the West' Now Far from God, Says Dutch Journalist 

  • India: Protests Against Evangelist Benny Hinn's Recent Crusade

Author: 'Peace' for Palestinians = Annihilation of Israel
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A Christian author and bible prophecy expert says attempts to make peace in the Middle East are a fraud -- because "peace" for the Palestinians, he says, is the destruction of Israel. Yasser Arafat's successors may not be quite as evil as he was, but they too are bent on taking over Israel's God-given land. So says Dave Hunt, author of several books on Israel and Bible prophecy, including "A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy". Hunt says Mahmoud Abbas and other Muslim leaders of the Palestinian Authority worked closely with Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, and still seek the destruction of the Jewish state. "Mohammed said the last day will not come until the Muslims confront the Jews and the Muslims destroy them," says Hunt, quoting, "Islam teaches that all of that land belongs to the Arabs." Hunt explains that the Palestinians will always claim Israel's land belongs to them because Arabs believe Ishmael, not Isaac, is the "son of promise" who was offered on the altar at Mount Mariah -- and Islam teaches that once Muslims have controlled an area, they can never give it up. President Bush recently pledged $350 million in aid to the Palestinians to help promote a Mid-East peace agreement.

Senator Attempts To Remove Bibles From Chapel
Erin Curry, Baptist Press

A Democratic state senator ordered his staff to remove a cross, Bibles and hymnals from the nondenominational chapel in the rotunda of the North Carolina legislative building, saying the Christian emphasis was inappropriate in a public building used by people of different faiths. But a higher-ranking senator reversed Sen. Tony Rand's decision Feb. 3 after Republican lawmakers complained. "The cross and the Bible are going back in the chapel," Norma Mills, chief of staff for Senate President Marc Basnight, said, according to The Charlotte News & Observer. In recent years, a group of lawmakers began holding weekly services in the chapel, bringing with them privately donated Bibles, hymnals and a cross, which they left in the room. Rand was not opposed to such services, but he said worshipers should take their items with them when they leave to avoid offending lawmakers of other religions. Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., told The News & Observer that Rand was probably correct in banning the permanent display of religious material. "Not only is it probably the sensitive thing to do to keep the chapel available to all, but it may also be the First Amendment thing to do," Haynes said.

Former 'Israel of the West' Now Far from God, Says Dutch Journalist
Chad Groening, AgapePress

The editor of a Dutch Christian newspaper says his country has moved a long way from the Christian principles that once earned it the title "Israel of the West." Wim Kranendonk is editor of the Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformed Daily), which has about 60,000 subscribers.  The paper is one of two daily Christian newspapers in the Netherlands. Kranendonk says his country is "far away" from the Word of God. The journalist calls the situation "very distressing," considering how things used to be in the Netherlands.  "A few hundred years [ago], Holland was known as the 'Israel of the West' -- and now we have the highest standard of secularization in the Netherlands," he says. But Kranendonk says there is hope. "We have half a million people or a little bit more going to church every Sunday [in Holland]," he shares. "So in many towns and villages, [there are] signs that the Lord is doing His work." Kranendonk says the Reformatorisch Dagblad was started in 1971 in order to stem the tide of spiritual decay in the Netherlands. But despite the publication's success over the past three decades, he says there remains a great deal of skepticism among the nation's media elites about the credibility of a Christian newspaper.

India: Protests Against Evangelist Benny Hinn's Recent Crusade
Charisma News Service

Hindu organizations, priests and state legislators led angry protests against evangelist Benny Hinn's recent crusade in Bangalore, because they feared conversions would take place. According to the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, more than 10,000 police were needed to protect the Jakkur Airport Grounds where Hinn held his Festival of Blessings crusade from Jan. 21-23, Assist News Service (ANS) reported. One eyewitness to the protests noted that both Hindus and Muslims demonstrated, closed their businesses and rioted. According to Hinn's Web site, the three-day crusade drew more than 7 million people, making it "the largest healing services in recorded history." Hinn said he will hold a similar crusade in Hyderabad in February 2006. Meanwhile, a Hindu fundamentalist group in December ordered a Christian school in Sukma district, located in Chattisgarh, to stop preaching Christianity and singing Christian songs. They also demanded that the school erect a statue or picture of the Hindu goddess Bharat Mata on its property, ANS reported. The militants have also asked district officials to close down the school if it fails to comply. The school is negotiating with the district magistrate. (