Religion Today Summaries - February 15, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 15, 2005

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

  • Christian Radio Continues To Grow In The United States

  • India: Native Missionaries Reach Out to Untouchables after Tsunami

  • Religious Liberty Advocates Applaud Religious Freedom Victory In Sweden

  • Kenya: Threat of Widespread Famine Grows, Missionaries Request Prayer

Christian Radio Continues To Grow In The United States
Dan Wooding, Assist News Service

Dr. Frank Wright, President of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), has revealed that Christian radio in the United States has shown "tremendous growth" within the last five years. Speaking on Friday, February 11 in Anaheim, California, at a press conference at the start of the 62nd annual National Religious Broadcasters' (NRB) Convention and Exposition, Wright referenced the Arbitron numbers that showed growth in the actual number of radio stations with religious formats over a five-year period. He said that the actual number of Christian radio stations has increased to 2,014 or by 12% during this period. At same time, out of the total number of U.S. based radio stations (13,838), 15% are religiously formatted. Wright also noted the stronger reach of these particular formats when compared to others, such as Country music, which in the same five-year period had a 9% decrease in the total number of stations. "NRB is greatly encouraged by these numbers, because of the strong commitment to proclaim, transform and preserve," he said. The Association also reported that a new NRB channel will be available on satellite television. "This channel will give NRB greater opportunities to further reach into the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ," said Wright.

India: Native Missionaries Reach Out to Untouchables after Tsunami
Christian Aid Mission

Dalits, or "untouchables," are on the lowest rung of Indian society. They have no caste and are considered unclean by higher castes, confined to the most menial jobs. Even after the December tsunami disaster, there were reports of Dalits being treated with contempt and prejudice: whole families were forced out of relief camps, denied rations of food and water or made to use separate toilet facilities, according to The Indian Express. While enduring such treatment, which has been ongoing in India for many years, these "untouchables" have been very receptive to the gospel. Christian Aid's field surveyor in India reports that nearly 60 percent of Christians in the country are Dalits. He also says that native missionaries are among the most effective in befriending and presenting the gospel to Dalits, particularly as they distribute tsunami aid and rebuild coastal communities. Much work remains to be done, however. Christian Aid's field surveyor writes, "The whole system here is anti-weak, anti-poor, and the Dalits face the brunt of it all." Yet many are opening to the gospel of Christ and the acceptance in Him it promises. Pray for native missionaries as they work to reach India's Dalit community for the Lord, especially in the aftermath of the tsunami, when many have faced discrimination in relief distribution. (

Religious Liberty Advocates Applaud Religious Freedom Victory In Sweden
Dan Wooding, Assist News Service

Christian Legal Society and Advocates International have applauded a Swedish court's decision reversing Pastor Ake Green's "hate speech" conviction for preaching what he considered to be the biblical view of homosexual conduct. The Swedish Court of Appeal held that principles of freedom of expression protected those speaking on controversial topics from criminal prosecution. After preaching a sermon about the Bible's condemnation of homosexual conduct and other sexually immoral conduct, Green was accused of inciting hatred and showing contempt in violation of Sweden's hate speech laws. Samuel B. Casey, Executive Director and CEO of Christian Legal Society, said, "We are grateful for Pastor Green's resolve and for the Swedish court's sensible decision. Casey went on to say, The Christian Legal Society, founded in 1961, is the national membership organization of Christian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, as well as supportive laypeople in all fifty states. They are organized in more than 1100 cities into attorney chapters, law student chapters, and fellowships throughout the United States.

Kenya: Threat of Widespread Famine Grows, Missionaries Request Prayer
Christian Aid Mission

Over two million Kenyans are in danger of starvation after extended rain shortages this past year caused a huge decrease in crop production. March through August, rainfall was extremely low in major agricultural areas, causing drought in 26 of Kenya's 74 districts. Production of maize, the country's main crop, dropped drastically. Yet it was hoped that rains in later months would alleviate some of the drought conditions. However, December rains were also poor. Now, Kenyans are facing a major food shortage throughout the next year. Soaring grain prices and limited food imports from neighboring countries worsen the problem. Along with starvation, drought brings increased risk of disease caused by malnutrition and illegal activity as desperate people resort to any means to feed themselves and their families. Christian Aid assists nine indigenous ministries in Kenya who have hundreds of missionaries on the field. In addition to providing for themselves, native missionaries are burdened to show the love of Christ to their communities by supplying food for the neediest families. The leader of one ministry writes, "Continue praying for us, for there is great famine in our country. People go hungry for many days. We want to buy food for the hungry people in our areas, but the prices have gone so high. Please pray for us." (