Religion Today Summaries - March 7, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 7, 2005

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

  • 12-Day Detention In Mideast Soothed By God's Peace & Purpose

  • Veteran Will Keep Fighting for Bible Course in California School District

  • Muslim Militants in Nigeria Kill 36 in Christian Community 

  • Senator's Specialty 'Pledge Plate' Proposal Seems Well Supported

12-Day Detention In Mideast Soothed By God's Peace & Purpose
Tammi Reed Ledbetter, Baptist Press

During 12 days of being detained in the United Arab Emirates for distributing Bibles, Marie Bush was given no promise for how quickly a higher court would hear the charge for engaging in illegal activity. Even so: "God had a purpose through this entire situation," Bush told Baptist Press in her first interview after being deported March 2 to return home to Waxahachie, Texas. "He was in total control.... God will reveal His purpose and nothing was by accident. Everything is in God's hands," she said confidently from her home March 3 after being reunited with her husband. The 55-year-old Texan was detained Feb. 19 in Dubai where police observed her distributing Bibles at a large, international market. Quick to realize that various other members of the mission trip with Tom Cox World Ministries might never know what had happened to her, Bush rushed around the corner to get the attention of another who was a part of the group. Although the oil-rich nation on the coast of the Persian Gulf prohibits the distribution of religious tracts, Bush and other members of the team had been told that Bibles could be passed out as gifts from Americans. While she isn't allowed to return to United Arab Emirates, Bush is willing to go wherever God leads in the future.

Veteran Will Keep Fighting for Bible Course in California School District
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A California school board has rejected a popular elective Bible course being offered in public schools across the United States. Korean War veteran Glenn Stankis and some local pastors in Paradise, California, recently requested that Paradise High School adopt the nationally known elective "The Bible in History and Literature."  But the Paradise Unified School District Board unanimously said no to the course. Stankis feels the popular Bible course offers students important information and insight on a document that has had major influence on American culture and history. He points out that similar Bible-related courses have been offered for credit by dozens of other high schools around the Golden State. According to the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, its Bible course curriculum has been voted into 292 school districts in 35 states -- and 92 percent of school boards that have been approached thus far have voted to implement it. The Paradise resident says he encountered problems, including resistance from school superintendent Steve Jennings. Stankis proposed that the local high schools incorporate the course into its curriculum after the board prohibited a moment of silence in the district schools following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and also -- at the request of the local teachers union -- banned prayers at the beginning of their meetings. He still maintains the elective is a much-needed addition.

Muslim Militants in Nigeria Kill 36 in Christian Community
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct

Muslim militants attacked the Christian community in Demsa village, Adamawa state, northern Nigeria, on Friday, February 4, killing 36 people, destroying property and displacing about 3,000 others. The surviving Christians have taken refuge in Mayolope village in the neighboring state of Taraba. Alhaji Saleh Jatau, a Muslim who spoke to Compass in Mayolope, confirmed the attack on Demsa. However, he said the militants do not have the support of the Muslim community when they attack Christians. While visiting the displaced Christians on February 7, Rev. Jolly Nyame, governor of the state of Taraba, expressed sadness over the attacks and said the country could progress only through peaceful coexistence. "No community can move forward while crisis takes the center stage. It is only peace that can usher in development in the country," he told the refugees. "Only tolerance and forgiveness can bring about peaceful co-existence among people of different religious backgrounds." He further said the Nigerian government needs to check the activities of Muslim militants which have provoked crises in different parts of the country. The attack on Demsa village by Muslim militants is the second in Adamawa state.

Senator's Specialty 'Pledge Plate' Proposal Seems Well Supported
Mary Rettig, Agape Press

An Ohio legislator is proposing a specialty license plate that would say, "One nation under God." State Senator Robert Spada is enthusiastic about the idea to have a state license plate bear the familiar line, of which he comments, "It's a catchy phrase, isn't it?" Spada says although the idea for the plate may sound novel, it arose out of an everyday activity -- saying the Pledge of Allegiance. "I thought that we should have that on a license plate because it's part of our pledge," he notes, "and also I felt that on our license plate it would look good with an American flag on it." The Ohio lawmaker says he is not worried about any partisan wrangling about the proposed plate, since 30 out of the 33 senators in the Ohio legislature endorsed to the measure. Moreover, he says he does not expect any outside challenges to the plate either. In fact, Spada notes that much of the feedback he has had from the public so far indicates a high degree of support for the measure. The proposed specialty plate bill still has to be approved by the Ohio State Senate and House and be signed by the governor before production can begin. If the legislation is approved, Ohio residents will have to pay an extra fee to get the special plate.