Religion Today Summaries - June 15, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 15, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • Christian See Clemency for Alleged Wrongful Imprisonment of Pastor

  • 'Love Won Out' Offers Way Out for Those Entrapped by Homosexuality 

  • First Interfaith Streaming Media Web Site Launched By Faith & Values Media 

  • Hindu Extremists Attack Church in Chattisgarh, India

Christian See Clemency for Alleged Wrongful Imprisonment of Pastor
Charisma News Service

Thousands of Christians nationwide have written letters expressing support for a Pentecostal pastor serving a 41-year sentence for a crime he said he was coerced into committing. Dino Gentile of Chatsworth, Calif., is seeking clemency from President Bush for his role in a 1998 bank robbery in Pensacola, Fla. The former pastor affiliated with the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship Inc., said he was forced to drive the getaway car at the threat of harm to his wife and two children in California. Gentile, 49, said he became involved in the robbery when Jeffrey Durham, now serving time for the robbery, asked if he could accompany Gentile on a cross-country evangelism and fundraising trip. By the time Durham revealed his plan to rob the Pensacola bank, Gentile trusted him. But as he sat outside in Durham's getaway car with a bomb on the seat behind him and a threat of death if he did not cooperate, Gentile said he was forced to make a decision. Durham was arrested for the robbery in 1998, and FBI agents later linked Gentile to the crime, charging him with aiding and abetting. He received 30 years for his alleged use of an automatic weapon, and 11 years for the abetting charge. Since then, friends, relatives, former parishioners and members of his 3.2 million-member denomination have written some 3,000 letters and faxes requesting clemency. (

'Love Won Out' Offers Way Out for Those Entrapped by Homosexuality
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A conference aimed at uncovering the truth about homosexuality takes place in Seattle later this month.  Focus on Family is sponsoring its "Love Won Out" conference in the northwest metropolis on June 25. Focus on the Family promotes the message that homosexuality is both preventable and treatable -- and maintains that such a message is "routinely silenced" these days.  To overcome that obstacle, the ministry sponsors one-day "Love Won Out" conferences at venues around the country that feature former homosexuals and other experts who tackle a wide variety of questions about the subject -- such as, Can homosexuality be prevented?  Is it genetic? and What causes homosexuality? The Director of the Homosexuality and Gender Department for FOTF's Public Policy Division, Mike Haley, says the conferences are always met with protest by homosexual activists. Haley acknowledges that in the past, some in the body of Christ have done "very harmful" things in dealing with homosexuals.  But many churches, he says, are finally dealing with the issue in a more constructive and loving way. "... we're helping people to understand that this is a mission field that we need to reach for Christ," he says. The site of the June 25 conference is Northshore Baptist Church in Seattle.

First Interfaith Streaming Media Web Site Launched By Faith & Values Media
Religion News Service

Faith & Values Media, the nation’s largest coalition of Jewish and Christian faith groups dedicated to media production and distribution, announced the launch of (, the first web-based interfaith service to incorporate streaming video and video-on-demand (VOD). In addition to video, the new site will also include all content from the award-winning Faith & Values Media Web site ( Now ready for its full launch, offers a 24-hour distribution vehicle for a wide range of video material, including dramas, documentaries, worship, panel discussions, music, and magazine shows.  Content will be provided by more than 30 members of Faith & Values Media, as well as by Faith & Values Media itself. will provide a free 24-hour stream of scheduled programming, repeating in six-hour blocks, with VOD available on a subscription basis. Both streamed video and on-demand programs will be high-resolution, with a larger picture available to VOD subscribers. “With, we are creating a unique, electronic library that will provide access to programs on topics ranging from peace and justice to arts and culture, rituals and traditions, faith and healing, sermons and scripture, even movie reviews, “ said Edward J. Murray, President and CEO of Faith & Values Media.

Hindu Extremists Attack Church in Chattisgarh, India
Vijayesh Lal, Compass Direct

Around 200 Hindu extremists attacked a church in Moti Chowk village, Chattisgarh, India, on June 6, while services were underway. Police then arrested nine church members and charged them with "disturbing the peace" under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code. The nine Christians were kept in prison for two days before being released on bail. Meanwhile, the Hindu extremists called for a social boycott against the Christian community in the village, preventing them from using the community well or buying food supplies in local markets. Three days earlier, 13 Christians in Hathod village, Durg district, Chattisgarh, were summoned to a village meeting and asked to renounce their faith. Seven Christians who refused were locked up in the district jail. Police made it difficult for the Christians to be released on bail, saying that the bail amount must be raised within the village. However, fellow villagers who sympathized with the Christians were afraid to post bail because of the social influence of the village headman and Hindu extremists.