Religion Today Summaries - October 21, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 21, 2005

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

  • Pakistan's Children Receive Quilts and Quake Relief

  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Parental Notification Law

  • The Legality of Celebrating Christmas in Public Schools and on Public Property

  • Misery Continues To Reign In Darfur

Pakistan's Children Receive Quilts and Quake Relief
World Vision

A new tally from regional officials in Pakistan has placed the death toll at over 79,000, with more than 1,000 more confirmed dead in India. The number continues to climb as many affected areas are remote and the wounded succumb to their injuries. Much of the hardest-hit area is in the virtually inaccessible Himalayas and poor weather is also hampering rescue efforts. More than 4 million have been affected and more than 2.5 million of those are homeless and living in the open, despite temperatures which have dipped below freezing. The impact of the earthquake on children in the area has been particularly devastating. The United Nations estimates that more than 32,000 children have perished, and tens of thousands more are wounded, many in remote areas without access to medical care. The World Health Organization has warned that survivors could face the risk of hypothermia as winter snows begin settling on mountain peaks. With harsh winter weather coming, 2.5 million homeless need help now. World Vision staff are in Pakistan, responding with tents, blankets, water purification kits, medicines and more. Through a gift to World Vision's SAVE Fund, you can provide urgently needed disaster relief supplies to children and families in crisis situations. The SAVE Fund will help provide critically needed items. With gifts and donations, World Vision is able to stay in disaster-affected areas for the long haul, rebuilding communities and lives. (

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Parental Notification Law
Religion News Service

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and 40 other religious and religiously affiliated organizations have filed a friend of the court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down New Hampshire's mandatory parental notification law. The religious organizations' brief in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England explains that the law unconstitutionally threatens the health and lives of young women and undermines their ability to choose an abortion in accordance with religious faiths that place great value on women's lives and health. "Religions believe life is sacred, and a gift from God, and that it is a moral responsibility to promote and protect health and well-being, especially of those who are the most vulnerable," said Reverend Carlton W. Veazey, President of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. "The New Hampshire Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act unconstitutionally restricts the ability of a minor who may not be able to seek parental involvement or obtain a judicial bypass to protect her health and even her life when they are threatened by a pregnancy. This law is harmful and dangerous to young women who need compassion, not coercion." The organizations signing the brief, filed by the law firm of Covington & Burling, are from Protestant, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, and humanist traditions.

The Legality of Celebrating Christmas in Public Schools and on Public Property
Agape Press

Two Christian organizations -- one a legal firm, the other an educators' group -- have decided to join forces in an annual campaign to educate schools about the legality of celebrating Christmas in public schools and on public property. For the past three years, Liberty Counsel has conducted its "Friend or Foe" Christmas campaign, offering pro bono legal advice and defending government entities that do not censor Christmas, but also filing suit whenever observance of Jesus' birth is censored.  This year, the Christian Educators Association International has come alongside Liberty Counsel, and will distribute the legal group's memo about Christmas to school and government officials -- and report any violations of the law to Liberty Counsel for follow-up.  According to a press release, the religious viewpoints of students, teachers, and public employees have been discriminated against on numerous occasions, from the distribution of Christmas cards and candy canes, to singing carols, to displaying Nativity scenes, to wearing of red and green, and even to addressing others with a traditional "Merry Christmas."  CEAI's Finn Laursen says his group's teachers and administrators will do their part to ensure that the "reason for the season" remains part of the holiday celebration. And Liberty Council president Mat Staver says his cadre of religious liberty attorneys intends to "stop the Grinch from stealing Christmas."  And in explaining the name of the campaign, Staver says "we will be the friend of government officials who do the right thing, and the foe of those who don't."

Misery Continues To Reign In Darfur
Christian Aid Mission

Misery continues to reign in Darfur. Thousands have fled as refugees over the border into Chad, already one of the world's poorest countries. No one can estimate how many hundreds of thousands have been murdered. Most outside groups have left because of grave danger and terrible conditions, but Sudanese and Chadian believers persevere with the gospel and the few resources they have. You can help native missionaries witnessing for Christ as they continue to provide food, clothing, medicines, and shelter for this suffering people. Christian Aid is able to get your funds to gospel workers in both Chad and Sudan. (