Religion Today Summaries - October 13, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 13, 2004

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

  • Washington, D.C., Prayer Gathering 'to Ask God to Help Our Country'

  • Supreme's Nine Will Consider Almighty's Ten 

  • IMB, Virginia Baptists Team Up On Caribbean Hurricane Relief

  • Uzbekistan: Protestant Students Harassed

Washington, D.C., Prayer Gathering 'to Ask God to Help Our Country'
Charisma News Service

Just days before the Nov. 2 elections, tens of thousands of Christians are expected to converged at the Mall in Washington, D.C., later this month for an 18-hour prayer and fasting gathering for the nation. Scheduled for Oct. 22, America for Jesus (AFJ) will attract Christians from various denominations and regions who are concerned with the direction the country is headed, said bishop John Gimenez, pastor of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Va., and organizer of the event. Gimenez is the man behind the Washington for Jesus (WFJ) rallies that gathered thousands of Christians in the U.S. capital in 1980, 1988 and 1996. He noted that although the vision God gave him for AFJ is similar to WFJ, "America's need has never been greater." More than 100 influential Christian leaders support AFJ, including Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson and National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard. Based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, AFJ features a prayer rally from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Mall, followed by a praise and worship celebration from 6 p.m. to midnight. For more information on America for Jesus, visit www.americaforjesus.org. (http://www.charismanow.com)

Supreme's Nine Will Consider Almighty's Ten
Allie Martin and Jody Brown, AgapePress

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the Constitution allows the public display of the Ten Commandments on government land and buildings.  Lower courts have yielded conflicting rulings that allow displays in some instances but not in others. In a surprise announcement, the high court said today that it will hear an appeal early next year involving displays in Kentucky and Texas.  The Kentucky case centers on whether a lower court wrongly barred the posting of the Ten Commandments in two state courthouses and in school buildings.  In the Texas case, justices will decide if a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds in Austin is an unconstitutional attempt to establish state-sponsored religion. Until now, Supreme Court justices had repeatedly refused to revisit issues raised by their 1980 ruling barring copies of the Decalogue from public school classrooms.  But controversy surrounding Ten Commandments displays -- and sharply divided court decisions concerning the constitutionality of such displays -- have left the public confused.  Currently four federal circuit courts and one state supreme court hold that displays of the Ten Commandments are constitutional; but three federal circuit courts hold the opposite view, that they are unconstitutional. The high court will rule on the issue by next June.

IMB, Virginia Baptists Team Up On Caribbean Hurricane Relief
Baptist Press

Southern Baptists are reaching out to Caribbean islanders in the aftermath of four hurricanes that ravaged the region in August and September. Food, plastic sheeting, roofing supplies and water purifiers have been delivered, and volunteers will help with clean-up, reconstruction and crisis counseling, according to spokesmen for the International Mission Board and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, which has a partnership with Baptist churches in the Caribbean. The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, Haiti and other islands were devastated by hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Ivan, killing thousands of people and destroying homes, roads, power supplies, water treatment facilities, businesses, crops and hospitals. On Grenada, about 90 percent of the homes were damaged by Hurricane Ivan, and many islanders are still sleeping in their cars a month after the storm. Similar needs exist in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti and other islands, and proposals for those relief efforts are being drawn up, Brown said. Efforts to distribute relief supplies in Haiti were stymied by chaotic conditions in the streets. As in all its relief efforts, the International Mission Board will be focusing on projects with long-term benefits that will continue to minister to families long after the "hit and run" assistance provided by other agencies has been forgotten, Brown said.

Uzbekistan: Protestant Students Harassed
Charisma News Service

Two Christian students were expelled last month from a medical institute for being members of an "illegal" Protestant church. Aliya Sherimbetova and Shirin Artykbayeva are part of the Church of Christ in the town of Nukus, located in the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan, Forum 18 News Service reported. Six other local Protestant students have been harassed in Nukus this year. A Tashkent Medical Institute teacher reportedly raided the apartment of Sherimbetova, Artykbayeva and two other students in April, confiscating Christian literature and forcing them to move to communal lodgings where they could be more closely scrutinized. Sherimbetova is a second year student and Artykbayeva is in her third year of medical study. Karakalpakstan is a region where it is almost impossible for Christian churches of any denomination to gain official registration, making it illegal for believers to meet for worship, Forum 18 reported. Uzbekistan's religion law bans unregistered religious activity.

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