Religion Today Summaries - June 7, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 7, 2006

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

  • More Christians Joining AIDS Fight
  • 16 Christians Acquitted in Murder Case in India
  • America’s First Arabic Christian Channel Already A Hit
  • Half of Americans Say Faith Transformed Their Lives

More Christians Joining AIDS Fight

Churches and Christian organizations have changed their attitude towards HIV/AIDs since the first report on AIDS was published twenty-five years ago, The Christian Post> reports. Many churches are now joining the fight against what experts have called ‘‘the worst and deadliest epidemic that humankind has ever experienced.’’ Stigma barriers and lack of awareness had churches out of the scene when it came to responding to the epidemic in 1981. AIDS was largely thought of as a “gay plague” or a divine punishment for drug users and those considered by many Christians and conservatives to be living deviant and sinful lifestyles. “Just go ahead and admit it. We have largely not been there,” said Kay Warren last November. “We have to take a moment to say that we were wrong. We know that God cares about people with HIV/AIDS. We believe the Church has a significant role to play.” "I do think more churches are now emphasizing care rather than judgment," commented Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. "We are all sinners.” And the churches, as Warren pointed out, are the best choice to help solve this global ill.

16 Christians Acquitted in Murder Case in India

A district court of Madhya Pradesh state has acquitted 16 Christians accused of killing a Hindu fundamentalist in the violence that erupted after the body of a young girl was found inside a Catholic school in Jhabua in 2004. The Alirajpur sessions court acquitted the Christians on May 31, with Judge Shaida Bano Rahman citing lack of evidence and saying prosecutors had fabricated testimonies against the accused, according to Indira Iyengar, member of the Madhya Pradesh Minorities Commission. Arjun Pal, the slain Hindu fundamentalist, was killed on January 16, 2004 by one of his own group in the confusion that followed a mob attack on Christians, Iyengar said; the extremists then put Pal’s body into a jeep and rushed away, later accusing the Christians of killing him. A source requesting anonymity told Compass Direct that Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sought help in covering up the murder of Pal from a state legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who pressured police to charge the Christians.

America’s First Arabic Christian Channel Already A Hit

ASSIST News Service tells the story of Egyptian-born businessman Sam and his wife Mona, residents of Southern California who have started America’s first 24/7 Arabic Christian television channel – Alkarma TV, which means “the vineyard” in Arabic. Viewers with different faith backgrounds inquire non-stop about the content of the various programs beamed out via satellite. Many receive a copy of the JESUS Film in Arabic and other materials about the Christian faith. After Sam and Mona were married, he felt God’s call to visit the United States in 1998. When 9/11 occurred, it changed his life forever. “I knew that God wanted me to do something big for Him. I began to think about the media and how it could be used to present the ‘Good News’ to Arabic-speaking people of America and other parts of the world. I came to believe that the media can be... used as a weapon or it can be used for good. I found out that all of these hijackers were all from an Arab background and, because of my own background, I knew these kinds of people; how they think and, most importantly, how to reach them. I took an equity loan of more than $150,000 to do this, and then we started producing programs that we sent to Christian TV channels in the Middle East. The feedback that we received was above and beyond all that we imagined.”

Half of Americans Say Faith Transformed Their Lives

Over half of all American adults say that their life has been ''greatly transformed'' by their religious faith, according to a new Barna study, but a significant number of born again Christians indicated no transformation. The Christian Post reported the results from the new survey, conducted on more than 2,000 adults. 51 percent said they have been greatly transformed, 28 percent said their faith has been helpful but has not produced significant transformation, and 17 percent claimed their faith has not made much of a difference in their life. Those who read the Bible and attend church regularly were more than twice as likely as those who do not to have been changed by their faith. The most frequently mentioned "influencers" named as a catalyst in the change process were the person's church, family members, other people, spiritual practices, special experiences and reading the Bible. The people group most likely to say they have been impacted by their faith was African-Americans (62 percent). Whites measured 50 percent, Hispanics 49 percent, and Asians 27 percent.