Religion Today Summaries - May 24, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 24, 2005

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

  • Quaker Organization Delivers Over 40,000 Peace Petitions To Capitol Hill 

  • Federal Funding of Christian College Under Fire 

  • Saudi Arabia: Five Elders Of A House Church Arrested

  • Christian Families Have A New Tool For Family Devotions

Quaker Organization Delivers Over 40,000 Peace Petitions To Capitol Hill
Religion News Service

Hand delivery of petitions by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to key senators was temporarily disrupted by the evacuation of the Capitol when a plane strayed into D.C.'s restricted airspace.  The Service Committee was in Washington delivering more than 40,000 signatures urging an end to the Iraq war. Across the United States, people concerned about this country's military involvement in Iraq signed AFSC petitions affirming that "war is the wrong path."  It was the Service Committee's second delivery of the peace petitions in Washington, bringing the total to 50,000 who have signed the call to bring the troops home. AFSC has called for a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq. While in Washington, the Service Committee, a peace organization founded in 1917, hoped to convey to Senate offices its determination to continue to oppose more war funding and demonstrate growing support for a diplomatic - rather than military - solution to the conflict.  The visit coincided with U.S. Senate approval of the "Supplemental Appropriations Bill (HR 1268"), which provides continued funding for the Iraq war.   The petition effort is part of the American Friends Service Committee "Wage Peace Campaign".  More than 50,000 people across the country are now wearing blue "Wage Peace" bracelets. Approximately 120,000 have viewed its
two-minute on-line movie. (

Federal Funding of Christian College Under Fire
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A two-year college affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska is hoping a new lawsuit won't result in the Christian school losing federal financial aid. The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation has sued the U.S. Department of Education to rescind federal funding to Alaska Christian College (ACC). The group claims federal aid to ACC amounts to an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. But ACC president Keith Hamilton says the lawsuit could derail the transition made by Alaskan natives into higher education. "We believe that our government ... believe that it is within our rights in a religious institution to have an opportunity to give students scholarships," Hamilton says. "We're standing to lose $100,000 of student scholarships, which will devastate our students who are going to be able to come next year to Alaska Christian College." Hamilton is optimistic. "In some ways we're grateful that this is being brought to light so that we have a way to tell the story of the amazing things that are happening up in Alaska with these young people who really have very few choices for any kind of education after high school," he says. Last year, 92 percent of the students at ACC commuted from the Alaska western bush, a rural area that is only accessible by airplane.  The U.S. Department of Justice is handling the case.

Saudi Arabia: Five Elders Of A House Church Arrested
Charisma News Service

Religious police recently broke up another private worship service of expatriate Christians, arresting five elders of a house church in Riyadh's central Al-Olaya district. High-ranking Muslim sheikhs reportedly took part in the April 29 raid on a congregation of 60 Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians who had gathered for prayer, Compass Direct reported. The worshipers' Bibles and one woman's cross necklace were confiscated. During the initial fours days of their incarceration, the five Ethiopian elders were permitted telephone contact with their families, but they have reportedly been transferred to undisclosed prison facilities. The group of East Africans had met for prayer and worship in Riyadh for the last four years, a local source told Compass. It was the second recent crackdown of expatriate believers in Riyadh. On April 22, 40 Pakistani Christians were arrested for participating in a joint Catholic-Protestant prayer service. Except for two men held an additional day, the Pakistani Christians were all released the same day. (

Christian Families Have A New Tool For Family Devotions
Agape Press

Christian families have a new tool for family devotions. Chad Williams Chad Williams is a business owner in the Nashville area who struggled with regular devotions for his family.  Williams says he came up with the idea of putting 15-minute devotions on a DVD.  The result is "Family 15," an eight-week collection of interactive devotions on DVD.  Williams says the devotions are tailored for families with preschoolers to teenagers.  "These are the days that your kids will remember, when you're sitting with them and making eye contact with them, just talking about who God is and how He moves in our lives and the resource that He is.  If this tool would help them, I would encourage them to get it because they will build some great memories with their families."  Family 15 also includes a special CD-ROM for teens, an audio CD, prayer journal, and leader's guide. (