Religion Today Summaries, October 28, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 28, 2003

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

  • Attorney Says University Anti-Discrimination Policies Violate Students' Religious Freedom
  • Egyptian Police Protect Coptic Girl's Kidnappers
  • Pro-Family Group Rallying Pastors to Action
  • Egyptian Police Arrest 22 Christians in New Crackdown

Attorney Says University Anti-Discrimination Policies Violate Students' Religious Freedom
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A Christian student group has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against a university in Minnesota in a move designed to protect the group's right to remain distinctively Christian. The University of Minnesota is requiring the Maranatha Christian Fellowship to sign an "equal opportunity statement" which would not allow the group to demand that its members and leaders be Christians. At least two U.S. universities, Tufts and Rutgers, have already tried to kick student groups off campus for requiring their members and leaders to be Christians. Attorney Jordan Lorence with the Alliance Defense Fund says he is suing Minnesota as a matter of "preventative medicine." "Universities cannot require student organizations that are Christian to sign these [equal opportunity statements] in order to meet on campus or to receive funding," Lorence says. The attorney says requiring Christian groups to sign the statement would be forcing them to compromise their basic Christian principles and say about their most fundamental beliefs that "even though that's the reason we have this organization, we won't demand that anybody really believe them." Lorence believes the school's administration is acting unconstitutionally. Lorence says many Christian groups on campuses across the U.S. have already signed away their right to be distinctively Christian, and they do not realize it because school administrators have not yet enforced their rules.

Egyptian Police Protect Coptic Girl's Kidnappers
Barbara Baker, Compass Direct

An Egyptian Coptic Christian teenager kidnapped a month ago by Muslims who claim she's converted to Islam is being refused direct access to her Christian family. According to Nagy Edwar Nagy, his sister disappeared on September 27, the day after she had celebrated her 19th birthday. Ingy Nagy Edwar, is reportedly being held against her will by a Muslim couple in the Haram district of Giza governate, adjacent to Cairo. State security police officials temporarily detained her father and other male relatives a few days after her disappearance, showing them an alleged declaration of conversion to Islam signed by the girl. That same day, the Giza State Security Directorate held a hearing on the girl's case, producing Ingy herself dressed in an Islamic veil. "She was not in a normal mood," Nagy stated. At a second hearing on October 18, the girl did not come, sending word instead that she was very sick. Ingy's family believes the girl is being given drugs which affect her moods. A third hearing on Ingy's case has been set for Saturday, November 1, when her father will press for his parental rights to regain custody of his daughter. "She told me by phone she wants to commit suicide," Nagy told Compass last week.

Pro-Family Group Rallying Pastors to Action
Agape Press

A pro-family group is attempting to rally at least 50,000 pastors in America to take a committed stand in support of traditional, biblical marriage. is asking pastors to sign an online pledge in defense of the biblical concept of marriage as between one man and one woman, and stating their opposition to "homosexual marriage" and to giving the benefits of marriage to "civil unions" between members of the same sex.  The American Family Association, sponsor of, says the goal of the campaign is to form a coalition of thousands of pastors "who will take action on issues that contradict God's Word and negatively impact our families" -- the first being the defense of marriage.  In an online message to pastors, AFA founder and chairman Dr. Don Wildmon -- himself an ordained Methodist minister -- pleads with pastors to take up God's call to be "salt and light."  "Christ's command to preach the gospel and make disciples remains our primary mission. But for too long the Church has been silent on critical moral and social issues," Wildmon says.  "It can be silent no longer! We must begin to restore the foundations...and, for the sake of our children, we must begin now."  The Coalition plans to spur pastors to action via e-mail alerts.

Egyptian Police Arrest 22 Christians in New Crackdown

Barnabas Fund News

Some 22 Christians, many secret converts from Islam to Christianity, have been arrested by police since 21 October in a disturbing new crackdown on apostates and their supporters in Egypt. The Christians have been taken from Alexandria to police stations in Cairo and are being beaten, interrogated and tortured. The dramatic crackdown began on Tuesday 21 October with the arrests of two converts Mr Yusuf Samuel Makari Suliman (whose former Muslim name was Muhammad Ahmad Imam al-Kurdi) and his wife Mrs Mariam Girgis Makar (formerly Saher As-Sayid Abd al-Rani). The following day some seven others were also arrested and taken to the office of the Attorney General. Yesterday (23 October) the number rose to 22 as more and more converts and Christians who have tried to assist them were rounded up and arrested in dramatic sweeps by police. Local Christians fear the arrests will continue and many other converts from Islam, who have been living quietly as Christians may now be arrested in the next few days. The 22 are all being charged with falsifying ID papers.