Religion Today Summaries - June 27, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 27, 2005

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

  • Attorney to Colleges: Use Common Sense When Dealing with Christian Clubs

  • Burma: Native Missionaries Fall Victim to Disease 

  • New Jewish Group Forms to Fight Anti-Christian Bias

  • Nigeria Joins Islamic Development Bank

Attorney to Colleges: Use Common Sense When Dealing with Christian Clubs
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A federal lawsuit has prompted an Ohio university to relent in its discrimination against a Christian student group.  The chapter of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) at the University of Toledo has been granted official recognition after being initially denied access to funding and meeting space on campus. The university had originally refused to renew the registered status of the group, alleging its requirement that club members and officers adhere to a statement of Christian faith violated the school's non-discrimination policy.  But after CLS filed suit against the school, the university changed its mind and agreed to recognize the group. CLS litigation counsel Tim Tracey says now that a settlement has been reached with the University of Toledo, the campus CLS chapter feels vindicated. "It is the University of Toledo recognizing that Christian student groups have a First Amendment right to define their membership requirements," Tracey explains, "and what they have said is that their nondiscrimination policy does not prohibit religious student groups from selecting their officers and members on the basis of religion." CLS has won similar legal battles this past year at Ohio State University, Penn State University, and Washburn University. According to Tracey, officials with the University of Toledo have assured him the campus CLS chapter will be allowed to abide by its Christian principles.

Burma: Native Missionaries Fall Victim to Disease
Christian Aid Mission

In this country, one of the world's poorest, native gospel workers are not spared the struggles of those they reach. Especially in rural areas, where less than half of the people have access to medical care, diseases such as cholera, malaria, tuberculosis and dysentery take thousands of lives each year. According to statistics, less than half of this impoverished country's rural people have access to clean drinking water or acceptable sanitation. Average life expectancy in Burma is around 50 years. (Comparatively, the average life expectancy in the USA is 77.) In response to such need, indigenous ministries are conducting medical outreaches. One operates small mobile clinics on bicycles and motorbikes, taking medicines to remote regions where no doctors exist or are willing to go. Please pray for the needs of these servants of Christ. They sacrifice much, including health, to work in rural regions among tribes who have never heard the gospel. Indigenous ministries in Burma desire to meet medical needs of missionaries and those they reach. Often, missions need only $4500 to support a medical outreach for a year. For more information call Christian Aid at 1- 800-977-5650 or write [email protected] and put MI-621 715-WMN on the subject line.

New Jewish Group Forms to Fight Anti-Christian Bias
Bill Fancher and Jenni Parker, Agape Press

Attacks on Christianity have led to the formation of a group of defenders of the faith -- that is, Jewish defenders of the Christian faith. According to Boston radio talk-show host, author and commentator Don Feder, the recently organized Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation (JAACD) was formed to respond to negative criticism and attacks against Christians, and to combat prejudice against that group in Hollywood, the news media, academia, politics and the courts. The group primarily exists, he explains, to educate the public about the "toxic nature of what has been called the last acceptable form of prejudice." Feder is president of JAACD, which was organized, he says "because a group of Jewish Americans -- authors, scholars, columnists, radio talk-show hosts, people in the media and politics -- decided that it was important for Jews as Jews to speak out against anti-Christian bias and discrimination." The Jewish organization recognizes the value of the support the Christian community has shown Israel throughout the years and wants to express general solidarity with those who hold to biblical values as followers of Jesus. Feder says JAACD came about because its members understand that "Christians are the last remaining obstacle to the moral deconstruction of America."

Nigeria Joins Islamic Development Bank
Compass Direct

Nigeria has formally joined the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in spite of protests by Christian leaders, who see the move as the continuation of the Islamization of the country by Muslims. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance minister, announced the membership of Nigeria as the 55th member of the Islamic bank on Wednesday, June 15. Christian and Muslim legislators in the lower chamber of the National Assembly adamantly opposed each other on Wednesday, May 25, while debating Nigeria's decision to become a member of the bank. Okonjo-Iweala said the government decided to take the membership because, "The IDB is a multilateral development financing institution which promotes economic and social development of member states." A Muslim legislator claimed that Nigeria's membership in the Islamic bank will attract about $200 million to the country annually.