Religion Today Summaries, February 4, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, February 4, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians

In Today's Edition:

  • Evolutionist Professor's 'Religious Bigotry' Attracts Federal Attention
  • Homosexual Group Wants God Left Out of European Constitution
  • Deadline for Jordanian Christian to Hand Over Children to Muslims Tomorrow
  • Murder Trial for Massacre of Christians Postponed in Egypt

Evolutionist Professor's 'Religious Bigotry' Attracts Federal Attention

(Charisma News) Federal officials are investigating a Texas biology professor who refuses to write letters of recommendation for his students if they don't believe in evolution.  A legal complaint has been filed against Texas Tech University in Lubbock and professor Michael Dini by the Liberty Legal Institute (LLI), a religious freedom group that calls Dini's policy "open religious bigotry," the Associated Press (AP) reported.  "Students are being denied recommendations not because of their competence in understanding evolution, but solely because of their personal religious beliefs," LLI's chief counsel Kelly Shackelford said.  The Department of Justice asked Texas Tech in a Jan. 21 letter to respond to the allegations.  University officials said that the school stands by Dini, and his policies do not conflict with those of Texas Tech, the AP reported.  An associate professor who has been at Texas Tech for 10 years, Dini advises students on his Web site that those seeking a recommendation should be prepared to answer the question: "How do you think the human species originated?"  LLI is taking action on behalf of student Micah Spradling, who withdrew from Dini's class and the university in the fall and enrolled at Lubbock Christian University after learning about Dini's policy.  The 22-year-old said that, as a creationist, he couldn't "sit there and truthfully say I believe in human evolution."  Spradling re-enrolled at Texas Tech this semester, after obtaining a recommendation letter at the other school.

Homosexual Group Wants God Left Out of European Constitution
Mike Wendling
( Citing the "increased secularization of morality and public life" in Europe, a British homosexual group is demanding that all references to God be left out of the preamble to a new European Union constitution.  "We are not opposed to a clause that would establish the freedom to practice religion," GALHA spokesman Terry Sanderson said Tuesday.  "What we don't want to see is religion moving out of the area of freedom and becoming predominant right there in the beginning (of the constitution).  To include references to God or 'our Christian heritage' would be to start turning back on our 500-year journey from the Enlightenment," the group wrote.  "Instead, we should be proud of our progress, and growing humanity."  The homosexual group suggested the following words be included in the preamble: "The Union is founded on the principles of secular rule of law: freedom, equality, democracy and pluralism.  It guarantees the respect and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Deadline for Jordanian Christian to Hand Over Children to Muslims Tomorrow

(Charisma News) A Christian widow faces 30 days in jail for refusing to hand over her two children to be raised as Muslims.  Authorities told Siham Qandah last month that unless she surrendered custody of her children to their court-appointed Muslim guardian, she would be arrested and sent to prison, Compass Direct reported.  Qandah has until tomorrow, February 5, to comply with the order.  Assist News Service said that according to Middle East Concern, only King Abdullah II can save Qandah from facing the choice of going to jail or handing over her children to an estranged brother, by personally intervening in the case.  After a four-year legal wrangle, Jordan's Supreme Court ruled a year ago that Qandah must relinquish her children.  But Jordanian authorities have not yet enforced the decision, apparently due to international media coverage and appeals to the Jordanian royal family.  Authorities claim that before his death several years ago, Qandah's Christian husband secretly converted to Islam, making his children Muslims under Jordanian law, Compass reported.  Qandah received firm assurances from officials in Amman several months ago that a solution would be found enabling her to retain custody of her children, who have been raised as Christians.

Murder Trial for Massacre of Christians Postponed in Egypt

(VOM – USA) According to ASSIST News Service, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that amid heavy security in a session that lasted only five minutes, a judge announced the postponement to February 27 of a murder trial stemming from a massacre three years ago. Twenty-one Christians and one Muslim were killed in violence, which broke out in El-Kosheh in January 2000. An Egyptian State Security Court acquitted the murder suspects on February 5, 2001. Following a protest by Coptic Christians, Cairo's Court of Cessation, the highest appeals court in Egypt, overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial, which opened on May 7, 2002. Egypt's Coptic Christians are very disappointed in this delay. Pray for a just verdict when this case comes to trial. Pray God will protect the Christians from further attacks by radical Muslims.