Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:
- Virginia's Episcopal Church Bishop Supports Bush on Iraq
- Vandals Sentenced to Procession With Donkey for Defacing Jesus Statue
- Indonesian Court Frees Muslim Terrorist, Jails Three Christians
- Youth Work Balances Fads and Faith
Virginia's Episcopal Church Bishop Supports Bush on Iraq
(RNS) The Episcopal bishop of Virginia, whose diocese includes the Pentagon and counts Secretary of State Colin Powell as a member, said the United States has a right to "name the threats to peace and to participate in removing them." Bishop Peter Lee, in an address Friday (Jan. 31) to his diocesan convention in Reston, Va., emerged as one of many mainline Protestant religious leaders to support President Bush's war plans in Iraq. "In a fallen world, we understand that one of the responsibilities of international leadership is to name the threats to peace and to participate in removing them first by diplomacy, and if necessary, by measured, necessary force as a last resort," Lee said. Lee has been the leader of the nation's largest Episcopal diocese since 1985. "Pray that we may participate in planting seeds that will grow into an international order that promotes justice, peace and love," he said. Lee asked for prayers for Powell, a member at St. John's Church in McLean, and for "faithful members of our diocese whose work for peace is to assure the strength of our diplomacy through their active military service."
Vandals Sentenced to Procession With Donkey for Defacing Jesus Statue
(RNS) The religious symbolism was hard to miss as church members clutching Bibles watched a young couple trudge down a snow-covered road in search of salvation. Jessica Lange and Brian Patrick, both 19, had been ordered to make the procession after they admitted defacing a statue of the baby Jesus stolen from the Nativity scene at St. Anthony's Catholic Church on Christmas Eve. The procession allowed Lane and Patrick to avoid a longer jail sentence. Police said the statue was stabbed and the Satanic numerals "666" painted on it. "This is a kind of conscience-flogging," said Painesville Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti, who is known for his unusual sentences meant to shame criminals. "It is intended to bring them some public humiliation. Hopefully it will serve as a deterrent." "Maybe this will teach them to respect others," said Stanley Braid, one of several hundred who watched the parade. "I think the judge got his point across." When the journey ended at the Fairport Harbor police station, Lange spoke to the crowd. "I just want to apologize to Fairport Harbor for the prank," she said. "It shouldn't have been done."
Indonesian Court Frees Muslim Terrorist, Jails Three Christians
(VOM - USA) According to BBC News, a court in Indonesia has cleared the leader of a former Islamic militia of inciting violence between Muslims and Christians. Jafar Umar Thalib was accused of the offence while he led the Laskar Jihad militia on the religiously divided Moluccan Islands. The acquittal came two days after two Christian leaders were sentenced to three years' imprisonment for subversion during the violence in which thousands of people were killed. The cleric was arrested May 4 following a speech in which he reportedly implored Muslims to "prepare our bombs, and ready our guns". Two days later, 13 people were massacred in the Christian village of Soya. www.persecution.com
Youth Work Balances Fads and Faith
New attractions may draw young people to church, but it is the unchanging message of the gospel that keeps them there. Joel Scrivner says that Neotropolis, the 25,000-square-foot youth center he pastors in Carrollton, Texas, a converted cinema with basketball, TV and arcade games, movies, karaoke and a snack bar, "is a benefit." But, he told "The Dallas Morning News: "[It] doesn't keep them. It's cool to come for a while, but teens get bored. If they stay, they stay for the ministry." At Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, leaders have enlisted a group of teens to help them keep up with youngsters' interests. A rock-climbing wall at the church's 45,000-square-foot youth center was recently taken down after interest waned. Pastor Cory Wise at Restoration Church in Euless, Texas, used to be "hyped on the big events...exciting things to draw youths," he told the newspaper. "But the bottom line is it's not about having all the fun things. It's about having the vintage things of the faith, building a community, helping connect people with Christ and one another. You either have that or it's all wood, hay and stubble, and it's not going to last anyway." www.charismanews.com