Religion Today Summaries, October 29, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 29, 2003

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

  • Australian Case Should Serve as Christian Wake-Up Call
  • Evangelical Pastor Assassinated In Chiapas , Mexico
  • Judge Moore Tells Christian Conferees Nation Needs to Turn Back to God
  • Church of Scotland Elects First Woman Moderator

Australian Case Should Serve as Christian Wake-Up Call
Agape Press

A group dedicated to exposing and fighting Christian persecution says a court case in Australia should be a wake-up call for all Western Christians.  In March 2002, Pastors Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah of the Christian ministry "Catch the Fire" held a seminar in Victoria, Australia, about jihad.  The two pastors lectured on the differences between Christianity and Islam, and quoted information about Islam directly from the Qu'ran.  Now the two men have been hauled into court to answer charges that they "incited hatred against Muslims."  Todd Nettleton of the group Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) says the pastors are on trial for simply telling the truth -- and that the situation should be a wake-up call for Christians because the two men are not accused of telling lies about Islam, but of hurting Muslims' feelings.  "So when speaking the truth is not okay if it hurts somebody's feelings, obviously that is something that should be very scary to Christians in free countries," Nettleton says.  The VOM spokesman says in court, the two pastors are not even being allowed to argue in their own defense that their statements about Islam were true.  If the two are convicted, they face six months in jail and an unlimited fine.

Evangelical Pastor Assassinated In Chiapas, Mexico
David Miller, Compass Direct

An evangelical Christian pastor on his way to a prayer service was assassinated last Friday near the town of San Juan Chamula in Mexico’s troubled southern state of Chiapas. Mariano Díaz Méndez, 38, a minister of the indigenous Tzotzil Evangelical Church, was traveling near the village of Botatulán around 3 p.m. on October 24 when heavily armed assailants stopped his automobile. Witnesses said it appeared that Diaz got out of the car and attempted to evade his attackers before they shot him to death. Diaz is the second evangelical pastor to die in the space of two weeks. According to sources in Chiapas , Jairo Solís López was killed in the municipality of Mapastepec on October 17. Since the advent of evangelical Christianity in the Chiapas Highlands in the 1960s, caciques (powerful community chieftains) have used violent tactics to discourage its spread in indigenous regions. Scores of evangelicals have died and hundreds more have suffered injury. Veteran human rights attorney Esdras Alonso expressed fears that the caciques are stepping up attacks against evangelical Christians.

Judge Moore Tells Christian Conferees Nation Needs to Turn Back to God
Allie Martin, Agape Press

The man at the center of the battle of the right of government to publicly acknowledge God told those attending a weekend conference in Florida that the nation is on a dangerous and crooked path that must be reversed. Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore gave the closing address to nearly a thousand Christian activists at the "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference in Fort Lauderdale.  During his speech, Moore said the recent effort by judges to remove all mention of God from the public square is in direct conflict with the first Congress of the United State. "The first thing Congress did on September 25, 1789, was to ask the president to acknowledge a day of public thanksgiving and prayer -- and it was on [that same day] that they finalized the words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Moore said. According to the Alabama jurist, too many judges want to put themselves in God's place -- and the American public has remained silent.  He wonders if that silence can be attributed to too many Christians having bought into the lie of secular humanism, and falling away from God.  Moore said many people are finally realizing that something is wrong in America's judicial system.

Church of Scotland Elects First Woman Moderator
Robert Nowell, Religion News Service

The Church of Scotland's general assembly will have its first woman moderator next year -- and its first elder, rather than minister, to hold this post since the 16th century. Alison Elliot, 54, associate director of Edinburgh University's Center for Theology and Public Issues, was elected Monday (Oct. 27) as moderator-designate. Elliot was the convener of the denomination's Church and Nation Committee from 1996 to 2000. She is married with two children. Her term of office will begin when the general assembly convenes in Edinburgh next May.