Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Ten Commandments Pin Costs Alabamian His Job\
- One Thousand Jewish Leaders In Budapest Discuss Hope Amid Anti Semitism
- Athens 2004 Olympics: Opportunity for Ministry and Evangelism\
- Church Attacked in Sri Lanka
Ten Commandments Pin Costs Alabamian His Job
Allie Martin and Jody Brown, Agape Press
A former executive in the Hoover, Alabama, Chamber of Commerce claims he was fired because he refused to remove a Ten Commandments pin from his lapel. The former Chamber employee says his case should serve as a wake-up call for Christians. Christopher Word served as membership services director for the Hoover Chamber of Commerce for nine months before he was fired earlier this week. Word says his boss, Chamber director Bill Powell, voiced concerns about the pin as a possible political statement in light of the controversy over former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Word says Powell gave him an ultimatum earlier this week: remove the pin at work, or lose his job. Word explains that he had a choice to make. "I could keep the job...or I could be willing to stand up for what's right," he recalls. He contends that his firing demonstrates the perilous times in which we live. A press release from the Hoover Chamber states that Powell "personally observed" Word using his position as a "platform to advocate his personal political views." But two Alabama congressmen see it Word's way. Congressman Spencer Bachus says it is outrageous that the Chamber fired Word for wearing a Ten Commandments pin. Fellow Congressman Robert Aderholt agrees.
One Thousand Jewish Leaders In Budapest Discuss Hope Amid Anti Semitism
Stefan Bos, ASSIST News Service
About one thousand Jewish leaders from over 40 countries have gathered in Budapest to discuss the challenges and opportunities of being Jewish in the enlarged European Union, amid concern about anti Semitism on the continent. The 3rd General Assembly of European Jewry, which was due to end Sunday, May 23, comes as delegates report that despite the rising tide of sectarian hate crimes, the new Europe is experiencing a revival of Jewish life and culture, not seen in more than a century. Delegates hope Hungarian and other Eastern European Jews contribute to what they describe as Europe's largest reawakening of Jewish life and culture in over a century, said Jonathan Joseph, who is president elect of the European Council of Jewish Communities. "The countries that have now joined the E-U were the countries that were the cradle of the major populations of Jews up to the Second World War," he said. "And it is the joining of those countries...that is the exciting thing." Not everyone is pleased with the spread of Jewish culture. Security measures around the conference are reminders that only last month Hungarian police discovered an anti Jewish bomb plot. The one thousand Jewish leaders attending the conference were expected to adopt a collective strategy to encourage Jewish people not to abandon their heritage and culture.
Athens 2004 Olympics: Opportunity for Ministry and Evangelism
Allie Martin, Agape Press
Officials with a Christian ministry say a major evangelism outreach will take place as planned at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Greece, despite safety concerns. Recently three small time bombs were detonated near a police station in the area of the site for the 2004 Olympics, scheduled to begin August 13. Amidst the security concerns surrounding the games, and among the thousands of athletes descending on Athens, will be those called to an eternal purpose. Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel, or AMG International, will send 17 teams to Athens as part of a massive outreach effort involving various ministries. Paul Jenks, a spokesman for AMG International, says there will be many opportunities to present the gospel during the 17-day international event. He says much work has already been put into his group's evangelistic efforts. "We are developing a center that we call the 'Cosmo Vision Center,' and temporary housing facilities are being prepared," he explains. "We have sports facilities and facilities for showers and toilets that have been prepared and are being finished now. And hopefully we'll have hundreds of guests that will, in fact, be there during the time of the Olympics to do outreach." AMG is part of a local organization called Flame 2004, which is a consortium of different ministries planning outreach during the Games.
Church Attacked in Sri Lanka
International Christian Concern
On Sunday, May 23rd the A.O.G. Church in the District of Gampaha in Sri Lanka was attacked. During the intervening week, the Pastor received information that his Church would be attacked on the 23rd. However, the worship service was held as usual. At the end of the service, while the congregation was still there, a group of about 20 persons arrived, some armed with clubs and sticks. The Pastor hid from the mob, fearing that they would attack him. He succeeded in calling the Police from his hiding place. Meanwhile, the mob proceeded to verbally abuse the congregation and assaulted some of them. They also assaulted a lady, mistaking her for the Pastor's wife. Chairs, the pulpit and musical instruments were broken. When the Police arrived on the scene, the attackers ran away. However, one of them was caught by the Police. A Police entry has been made, identifying some of the attackers. It is commendable that the Police and the local grama sevaka have acted impartially in this case. Investigations are continuing. The attack followed one that occurred the Sunday before.