Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:
- President Joins Government Leaders to Pray, Speak of Faith
- Cheney Leads Memorial for Seven Astronauts at National Cathedral
- Evangelical, American and African Political Leaders Meet on AIDS
- Ga. Governor Seeks Churches' Help for Foster Children, Inmates in Transition
President Joins Government Leaders to Pray, Speak of Faith
Adelle M. Banks
(RNS) President Bush and other top political leaders gathered Thursday (Feb. 6) for the annual National Prayer Breakfast, speaking openly about their faith in the midst of the nation's difficult times. "I believe in prayer," the president told about 3,000 people in the Washington Hilton ballroom. "I pray. I pray for strength. I pray for guidance. I pray for forgiveness." Some of Bush's key advisers, including keynote speaker and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, the director of the CIA and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, quoted Scripture and recited prayers. The words of faith were interspersed with remembrances of lost astronauts, terrorism and members of the military faced with the possibility of war. Bush and many other speakers recalled the loss of the "seven brave souls" who perished Saturday when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during its return to Earth. He said he felt "the presence of the Almighty" when he gathered with the grieving families who attended a Houston memorial service Tuesday for their loved ones. "I attribute it to the fact that they, themselves, are in prayer," the president said. "And our country prays for their strength."
Cheney Leads Memorial for Seven Astronauts at National Cathedral
(RNS) Vice President Dick Cheney and NASA officials at Washington National Cathedral mourned the fallen crewmembers of the space shuttle Columbia on Thursday (Feb. 6). "May a merciful God receive these seven souls," Cheney said. "May he comfort their families, may he help our nation to bear this heavy loss, and may he guide us forward in exploring his creation." The majestic cathedral was packed with NASA officials, members of the military and Congress, and the families of the astronauts. An Israeli flag, to honor Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, was displayed with an American flag on the steps leading up to the high altar. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, in remarks honoring the seven explorers, remembered Commander Rick Husband's words that "there is no way you can look at the stars, at the Earth, at the moon, and not come to realize that there is a God out there who has a plan and has laid out the universe."
Evangelical, American and African Political Leaders Meet on AIDS
Adelle M. Banks
(RNS) U.S. evangelical leaders and top American and African politicians met at the Capitol on Wednesday (Feb. 5) to foster relations as leaders on the two continents make plans to further address the AIDS crisis in Africa. The meeting, hosted by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., came just a week after President Bush proposed $15 billion in funding to assist in battling the disease in Africa. Religious leaders said the meeting of about 30 people affirmed their role in assisting in the global cause. "Frist views the evangelical community as an important actor on the scene," said the Rev. Richard Cizik, of the National Association of Evangelicals. After the meeting, NAE President Leith Anderson said that evangelicals have not addressed AIDS "soon enough or adequately.” Steve Haas, a vice president for World Vision, said the African leaders who detailed the plight of those affected by AIDS also affirmed the necessity for religious assistance. "It was important for them to state the importance of the need for the church to weigh in the way in which the church can weigh in, through its moral messages, through arms of compassion," he said.
Ga. Governor Seeks Churches' Help for Foster Children, Inmates in Transition
(Baptist Press) Newly elected Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue sketched out a plan to involve churches in his "New Georgia" strategy during the second annual Georgia Legislative Prayer Breakfast. "In the near future I'll be asking Georgia churches to help us in two new approaches called 'One Child, One Church' and 'One Inmate, One Church.' These are two areas of society that could greatly benefit from churches reaching out and wrapping their arms around others who need their support," Perdue explained. "I want you to know that your governor is not afraid of churches or other faith-based institutions and he's not afraid to say that Jesus Christ is his Savior. I believe that the Bible is not a passive book -- that it calls us to action, and this is a wonderful opportunity for churches to play an important role in building society. The gospel is all about redeeming our society for the Kingdom of God. We are going to be knocking on your doors in the coming months to ask your help in being the salt and light in our world." www.bpnews.net