Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Send President Bush a Birthday Greeting
- U.S. Jews And Christians Protest Prime Minister's Plan To Evict Jewish Settlers From Gaza
- N.C. Church At Heart Of Koran Controversy Withdraws From SBC
- Christian Lecturer in Nigeria Disappears After Death Threat
Send President Bush a Birthday Greeting
Presidential Prayer Team
The Presidential Prayer Team (PPT) is inviting participants from around the world to send happy birthday greetings to President Bush from the PPT website at www.presidentialprayerteam.org. "We sent close to 19,000 greetings last year," said John Lind, PPT's President/CEO. "When I met with Tim Goeglein, the White House liaison to the faith community, he said that the President received and appreciated those greetings. He also expressed appreciation for the people who pray daily for President Bush's wisdom and protection." The President turns 59 on July 6. Greetings will be collected and screened for appropriateness until the end of June. They will be compiled and sent to President Bush in early July. The Presidential Prayer Team is a non-profit, non-partisan Internet Ministry Provider dedicated to informing and encouraging people to pray daily for the president and our nation. Membership is free and open to anyone who is willing to commit to pray each day. Participants receive weekly email prayer updates, access to prayer resources on the Internet, and a membership decal. To join the Presidential Prayer Team, call 1-800-295-1235 or visit www.presidentialprayerteam.org.
U.S. Jews And Christians Protest Prime Minister’s Plan To Evict Jewish Settlers From Gaza
Dozens of U.S. Jews and Christians were in Israel to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evict Jewish settlers from Gaza and turn the land over to Palestinians. The American Jews and Christians wanted to show solidarity for the Jews who will be forced to give up their homes as part of the plan to create a Palestinian State. One of the protesters is Pastor James Vineyard of Oklahoma City, a man who says he strongly opposes the Israeli pullout from Gaza. "Israel needs to keep all of this land," he says, "and not give one grain of sand to the uncircumcised Philistine. This land belongs to the Jews." Another American demonstrator, New York State Senator John Sampson, comes from a district with many Jewish constituents. He feels it is wrong for Israel to eject settlers who have been in Gaza for decades. "This is a humanitarian issue ... a civil rights issue," Sampson insists. "To be uprooted after you've been here 20 or 30 years, after you have family, a generation and a foundation -- this is not the right thing to do," he says.
N.C. Church At Heart Of Koran Controversy Withdraws From SBC
The North Carolina church at the center of a recent controversy over the Koran has voted to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention, the Biblical Recorder newspaper reported June 6. The congregation, Danieltown Baptist Church in Rutherford County, N.C., was embroiled in a media storm in May when its pastor, Creighton Lovelace, placed a derogatory message about the Koran on the church sign in front of the building. It read, "The Koran needs to be flushed." Lovelace subsequently apologized and removed the message from the sign. Subsequently, however, about two dozen people at the church's monthly business meeting unanimously voted to withdraw from the SBC, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Sandy Run Baptist Association, the Biblical Recorder reported. The newspaper is the official journal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. The vote means the church is now an independent Baptist church. In a statement released May 25, Lovelace said he "did not realize how people of the Muslim faith view the Koran -- that devoted Muslims view it more highly than many in the U.S. view the Bible." "Now I realize how offensive this is to them, and after praying about it, I have chosen to remove the sign," he said at the time. "I apologize for posting that message and deeply regret that it has offended so many in the Muslim community."
Christian Lecturer in Nigeria Disappears After Death Threat
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct
Andrew Akume, a Christian lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria city, Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, has disappeared since the issuance of a death sentence against him. A militant Muslim group at ABU passed the sentence on him claiming he blasphemed Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. Akume asked a Muslim female student not to wear the hijab (head-to-toe covering) because it didn't conform to the Council for Legal Education's dress code for law students. Meanwhile in Kano state, Christians are being held to Islamic law in the way they dress. On May 16, Governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau ordered all Christians in the state to dress in accordance with Islamic tenets. The order was sent to Christian churches and institutions in the state and implemented immediately in schools. The Rt. Rev. Zakka Nyam, the Anglican Bishop of Kano, has accused the state government of persecuting Christians.