Religion Today Summaries - May 4, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 4, 2007

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
  • Christians Taking Sides in Global Warming Debate
  • House Passes 'Thought Crimes' Bill
  • Religious Freedom Watchdog: Vietnam Rewarded Too Soon, Saudis Must Be Monitored
  • Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton Help Dedicate New Billy Graham Library



Christians Taking Sides in Global Warming Debate

Efforts aimed at curbing carbon emissions blamed for global warming could have a negative impact on the world's poor, according to a Christian group formed recently to oppose what it sees as climate change alarmism in evangelical circles. reports that the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation (CASC), officially launched Tuesday, grew out of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance. The new group is a coalition of religious leaders, academics and scientists "committed to bringing a proper and balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development." The group believes that the earth is warming but does not believe humans are responsible or that the phenomenon will have catastrophic consequences. Instead of pursuing policies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, CASC supports policies that would make it easier for developing countries to access efficient energy, to promote growth. "Punishing the use of energy is going to hurt the poor first, obviously," Roy Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said at a news conference Tuesday. "The only salvation we have ... is through new technology."


House Passes 'Thought Crimes' Bill

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would punish offenders more severely if a criminal assault or murder could be proven to have been motivated by the attackers alleged hatred for the victim because of the victim's "sexual orientation," though that term is not defined in the legislation. One News Now reports that Christian policy groups are deeply concerned. A news release from the Family Research Council (FRC) called the legislation "a direct violation of the 14th Amendment which affords equal protection under the law." Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, warned that the true intent of the bill was "to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality." If you read the Bible in a certain way, he told his broadcast listeners, "you may be guilty of committing a 'thought crime.'"


Religious Freedom Watchdog: Vietnam Rewarded Too Soon, Saudis Must Be Monitored reports that a panel that advises the U.S. government on religious freedom Wednesday questioned the Bush administration's decisions to remove Vietnam from a list of egregious violators and to waive sanctions against Saudi Arabia, where religious freedom does not exist. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom also placed the Iraqi government on notice that it could be named a "country of particular concern" (CPC) because of worsening conditions there. "We recommend that Vietnam be re-designated as a CPC in 2007," the commission wrote in its annual report, released Wednesday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last November removed the communist-ruled South-East Asian country from the list, which under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act provides for the use of sanctions or other measures to prod foreign governments to respect citizens' freedom to worship. In the case of Saudi Arabia, which was added to the CPC list in 2004, the administration has waived sanctions, a decision criticized by the commission. The commission, however, remains unimpressed. "Because previous reform pledges made by the Saudi government have not been implemented in practice, the commission remains concerned about whether and how the newly reported Saudi policies will be implemented and how the United States will monitor them," it said.


Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton Help Dedicate New Billy Graham Library

Family, friends, and former presidents will be among the guests joining Billy Graham in Charlotte to help dedicate the new Billy Graham Library on May 31, 2007. The 40,000-square-foot Library depicts the life of evangelist Billy Graham and rather than simply serving as a memorial, is designed to inspire visitors as part of the ongoing outreach of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Located on the grounds of the organization's international headquarters, the Library is designed to resemble a barn, recalling Graham's childhood on the family dairy farm in Charlotte. It will house six exhibits, four galleries, and two theaters, covering the span of Graham's lifetime work on six continents speaking to more than 210 million people. The Library will also be the repository for Graham's personal papers, including his correspondence and sermon manuscripts. Some 1,500 invited guests, including family, friends, longtime supporters, and dignitaries, will attend a dedication ceremony. President George H.W. Bush will deliver the keynote address and President Bill Clinton will also take part in the ceremony.