Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 12, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 12, 2006

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

  • Homeless Need Christian Compassion, Not Bashing, Says Homeless Advocate
  • Third-Generation Graham Opens Inaugural Crusade
  • Growing Number of Christians Undecided Who to Back at the Ballot Box
  • Missions Prove to be Backbone of Gulf Coast Relief

Homeless Need Christian Compassion, Not Bashing, Says Homeless Advocate

Jeremy Reynalds, advocate for the homeless and director of Joy Junction, the Southwest’s largest family homeless shelter, is calling for increased protection of the homeless by government officials across America, ASSIST News Service reports. “Physical attacks against the homeless are increasing,” said Reynalds, “and they must come to a halt.” He called for police to take extra steps to protect homeless people. He agrees with some observers, including Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless, that attacks on the homeless are a new type of hate crime. Reynalds, author of “Homeless In The City: A Call To Service” said, “There were 76 [murderous] hate crimes of all kinds recorded between 1999 and 2004. In that same period, 156 homeless people were killed, simply because they were homeless.” Reynalds, who was once homeless himself, but now holds a Ph.D. from Biola University, said, “Our culture is becoming increasingly violent as Christian values fade. Many killers of the homeless believe they are doing a service to humanity by ridding the streets of homeless people in this way. Attacking the homeless is becoming a new urban sport... The homeless are not disposal people,” said Reynalds. “They are people for whom Christ died, and we want to help restore their God-given dignity.”

Third-Generation Graham Opens Inaugural Crusade

Baptist Press reports that nearly 60 years after his grandfather held his first citywide crusade in Charlotte, William (Will) Franklin Graham IV held his first U.S. crusade just a few miles to the west in Gastonia, N.C. Among other similarities between grandfather and grandson: Billy was pastor of one church before beginning his crusade work, the Chicago-area First Baptist Church in Western Springs, while Will was pastor just over a year at Wakefield Baptist Church in Wake Forest, N.C. Will Graham opened his three-day Greater Gaston Celebration Oct. 9, with a crowd of more than 4,500 on hand at Sims Legion Park. He was introduced by his father, a beaming Franklin Graham, who has taken over the reigns of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. With the characteristic Graham look and voice, the third-generation evangelist quickly called the crowd to examine whether they had sin in their lives. Graham took a clear stand on issues such as abortion, society’s acceptance of sin, and coveting others’ possessions.

Growing Number of Christians Undecided Who to Back at the Ballot Box

According to a Family News in Focus story, a new poll shows that values voters aren’t pleased with the recent scandals in Washington... and it’s taking a toll on their vote for both parties. Pollster John Zogby says you can typically count on born-again Christians to vote Republican, but that’s not what he’s seeing now. An increasing number of born-again Christians are withholding their votes from both parties, even though mid-term elections are less than a month away. “And generally when I see a pattern like that I know that those undecided are not going to vote for the Democrat more than likely, and so the concern among Republicans will be whether or not they vote at all.

Missions Prove to be Backbone of Gulf Coast Relief

Religious leaders are seeing a growing commitment to missions by the faithful, says a report in the Asheville Citizen-Times. Much of the growth has to do with volunteers wishing to help the hurricane-Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast. For example, in any given week, 1,000 Baptists from North Carolina alone are in the Gulf. That doesn’t include people of a dozen or more other denominations and faiths who come individually and in groups to help people rebuild what they lost in the storm. “It’s amazing how many people we’ve had come here to help,” said Stephen Richer, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. Still more people have gone to Louisiana, to the devastated 9th Ward of New Orleans and the bayous and small towns nearby." "I think people are seeing a new way of doing mission,” said Steve Smith, interim director of the N.C. Council of Churches. Smith has seen the trend growing slowly for several years, after hurricanes Andrew, Floyd and Fran. “It used to be the idea of a mission was someone going overseas, and they were full time,” Smith said. “But now, churches are sending delegations out locally and regionally, and it’s for a week or two."