Religion Today Summaries -- March 10, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries -- March 10, 2004

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

  • Christians Axed to Death in Church Meeting by Muslim Warriors
  • Attorney Says Double Standard Lets Obscene Sculpture Stand
  • Bolivia: Angry Mob Destroys Church in Bolivian Andes
  • Pastors Urge Apology From Senator For Remarks Regarding Marriage Amendment

Christians Axed to Death in Church Meeting by Muslim Warriors
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service

Forty-eight people have been hacked to death in Yelwa, Nigeria, by armed Muslims, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). During an early morning prayer service on February 24, armed Muslims invaded the service, ordered the congregation to lie face down and proceeded "to machete and axe them to death in their house of worship" according to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). A local source told CSW the attack was carried out by as many as 400 heavily armed Muslims who shouted "Allah u Akhbar" (God is great), wore red and black uniforms and moved with military precision. In a strongly worded statement of March 2, CAN called on Muslims in northern Nigeria to emulate their western counterparts by living peaceably alongside northern Christians. The latest violence is part of a campaign organized by a coalition of local and external extremists, CSW said. CSW's Advocacy Director, Tina Lambert, said: "CSW is deeply disturbed by the renewed violence and horrified by the massacre of Christians during a prayer service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those affected. (www.assistnews.net)

Attorney Says Double Standard Lets Obscene Sculpture Stand
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A judge has denied a request by a Catholic group to have an obscene sculpture removed from a public university campus in Kansas, ruling that Washburn University did not violate the Constitution by displaying a statue that some critics say is an overt attack on the Catholic faith. According to a lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Law Center, the sculpture -- titled "Holier Than Thou" -- depicts a Roman Catholic bishop wearing a grotesque facial expression and a miter that resembles a private male body part. Thomas More attorney Robert Muise says the judge in the case wrongly concluded that a reasonable observer would not view the work as hostile to Catholicism. Muise believes the case gives evidence of a common double standard under the Constitution's establishment clause. "If this sculpture had been, for example, a sculpture of Martin Luther King wearing a phallus," he says, "or a sculpture of a Jewish cleric, a rabbi, or a Muslim cleric, I have no doubt that the diversity-multicultural-thought-police who are out there would not only have it immediately removed, but would have those who were involved with the decision-making [in displaying it] removed from their particular official positions."

Bolivia: Angry Mob Destroys Church in Bolivian Andes
Compass Direct

An angry mob of Quechua-speaking Indians destroyed the only evangelical church in the remote village of Chucarasi in the Bolivian Andes on February 28 because they blamed them for a hail storm that damaged local crops. Trouble began in this indigenous community -- located 100 miles southeast of the city of Oruro in the province of Bustillos -- during the annual Carnaval festival celebrated to mark the beginning of Lent. Chucarasi observes the holiday with veneration of Christo-pagan icons, ritual dances and excessive consumption of alcohol, believing such activities are essential to appease local deities and avoid natural disaster. Since converting to evangelical Christianity several years ago, the 30 families belonging to the Church of God in Chucarasi have declined to take part in Carnaval celebrations. Two days after Carnaval ended, a severe hail storm struck Chucarasi, damaging fields of potatoes and grain and fueling fears that evil spirits were punishing the community for the evangelicals’ refusal to participate in Carnaval. Witnesses say that, around midnight, an irate mob carrying picks, axes and wrecking bars arrived at the church, and proceeded to destroy Bibles and hymnals, smash the pulpit and pews and dismantle the windows, doors, roof and walls of the building. Chucarasi leaders are insisting that the Christians renounce their faith or leave the community.

Pastors Urge Apology From Senator For Remarks Regarding Marriage Amendment
Melanie Hunter, CNS News

A group of pastors are calling on a Minnesota senator to apologize for remarks he made against Christians seeking to protect traditional marriage. "We are grieved by your name-calling of those who hold to a traditional view of marriage and we believe you owe the people of Minnesota a public apology for your harsh and intemperate attacks on people seeking to uphold basic Christian beliefs," the pastors wrote in a letter to Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.). The pastors, who are from Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist and Assemblies of God churches were responding to a recent speech delivered by Dayton at the Rainbow Families Conference in Minneapolis, Minn. During the speech, reported by the Star Tribune, Dayton said people who seek to protect traditional marriage through a constitutional amendment exhibit "only disgust and disdain while they spew hatred and inhumanity." The Star Tribune quoted Dayton as saying, "Christ was silent on homosexuality even as he repeatedly condemned adultery and divorce." In response, the pastors wrote, "You also stated that Jesus was silent on homosexuality. Jesus was also silent on rape and incest but we are not to interpret the lack of recorded comments as approval of such behaviors. Both the Old and New Testaments condemned homosexual behavior and Christians are obligated to uphold the Scriptures' teaching.""

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