Religion Today Summaries - January 26, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 26, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today's edition:

Canada's Election Results Encourage Christians


Mission Network News reports that when Voice of the Martyrs’ Glenn Penner was asked whether a Conservative Canadian Prime Minister would help Christians in their efforts toward evangelism, he said, "We're optimistic that we're not going to see more of the same. We're not going to see, I think, an increasing slide away from social conservatism, but not, at least in the short term, are we going to see an undoing of some of this legislation such as same-sex marriage, the hate literature laws, [or] abortion laws." While that's disappointing news, it's not for lack of interest. Rather, says Penner, it's due to the rest of the poll results. "He simply doesn't have enough strength in the House of Commons." New Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to end corruption, cut taxes, get tough on crime, and repair strained ties with the United States. After 13 years, the public decided to take control away from the Liberal Party and handed Harper's party the national elections, but they still have nowhere near the 155 seats needed to form a majority in Parliament. Under the last administration, a bill was passed last year that calls portions of the Bible 'hate literature.' Undoing that will be a challenge. Penner urges prayer for the believers who will grapple with these issues in office.


Virginia Church Demands Bishop Repent


Leaders of the largest Episcopal church in Virginia have demanded that the bishop of the diocese 'repent' his vote to elect an openly gay bishop, a UPI story reports. The letter was sent to Bishop Peter J. Lee in October but only released to members of Falls Church Episcopal Church this Sunday, according to The Washington Times. The letter was signed by the parish`s senior and junior wardens, the top lay leaders. 'A Christian does not approve of sin, or purport to declassify it,' the letter says. Lee, with all but one lay delegate from Virginia, approved the consecration of the Right Rev. Gene Robinson as the Anglican Communion`s first openly gay bishop in 2003. Lee later defended his vote, saying he believes homosexuality is a sin but has voted in the past for other bishops he believed to be sinful, like those who had divorced and remarried. The Falls Church rector, the Rev. John Yates, last summer confronted the bishop with 20 other priests and in November said that Lee`s attitude towards homosexuality could mean a 'major schism.'


Attorneys Organize to Protect Christians on Campus


Several studies have shown that bias against conservatives on college campuses is increasing, reports Family News in Focus. Litigator David French, who will lead a new branch of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), claims that some of the actions taken by administrations are illegal. “There has been an assault against Christian students at campuses across the country. And there’s actually nobody that’s really focusing like a laser in this area from a litigation perspective.” French says you can tell a school’s actions are illegal if they would be illegal off-campus. For instance, “Are you being forced to go through ideological indoctrination that is against your beliefs as a prerequisite for getting a degree?” French comes to ADF from a successful stint at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), where he tracked liberal college bias. Greg Lukianoff, the current President of FIRE, confirms the number of cases is increasing. “The problem on campus is a combination – sort of a perfect storm of ideology and bureaucracy.” FIRE recently coordinated a case where a student was kicked out of school for advocating corporal punishment as part of an ideal classroom. The student won when the court found that “performance, not personal beliefs,” would govern whether he officially matriculated.


America’s Teens Add Charity to Their Super Bowl Sunday


Teens across the nation are transforming Super Bowl Sunday into the nation’s largest youth-led day of giving through Souper Bowl of Caring, according to a DeMossNewsPond release. This Super Bowl weekend, teens armed with soup pots will be collecting dollar bills at churches, retail outlets, and Super Bowl parties. Youth from all 50 states will raise funds to benefit the LOCAL soup kitchen, food bank, or shelter of their choice. By using this weekend as a time to serve the hungry and hurting members of their own communities, thousands of young Americans will be working to transform one of the nation’s universal days of parties into an opportunity to care for their neighbors in need. In the last 15 years, Souper Bowl of Caring has collected more than $28 million. Every penny goes to local charities. “This will be an especially poignant year for Souper Bowl of Caring”, said Brad Smith, founder of the effort. That’s because the Super Bowl is being hosted in Detroit, recently identified as America’s poorest big city. Souper Bowl of Caring — an officially-sanctioned event of the 2006 Detroit Super Bowl XL Host committee — is building momentum and inspiring youth nationwide to participate.