Religion Today Summaries - October 9, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 9, 2003

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

  • Opportunity for Gospel in Sudan after Security Compact

  • Lawyer: Constitution Prevailed in Nigerian Stoning Case

  • At Christian `Feast of Tabernacles,' Evangelicals Support Israel

  • Author Challenges Christians to Resist Discrimination

Opportunity for Gospel in Sudanafter Security Compact

Allie Martin, Agape Press

 

The president of World Relief (worldrelief.org) says churches in America have a chance to help Christians in war-torn and poverty-stricken Sudan. A recent security deal signed by Sudan's government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army is a significant step toward peace in that country, according to World Relief president Clive Calver. He says the new security arrangement and opportunities for relief come at a critical time for many Sudanese who are suffering from hunger and health issues caused by a combination of war and natural disasters. Calver says the opportunities have never been greater for spreading the gospel in that country. "There's been almost no transportation -- there are no telephones [or radios], so…it's been a huge problem for the spreading of the gospel,” he explained. “And yet, Southern Sudan is [home to] one of the fastest growing churches on Earth.  People are so ready for Jesus." According to World Relief, the security pact has important implications for the relief and development community. "The message from the church [in the Sudan] to the brothers and the sisters in the West is…we're going to get peace; now we've got a chance to share Jesus and change our country."

 

Lawyer: Constitution Prevailed in Nigerian Stoning Case

Michelle Gabriel, Religion News Service

 

The Nigerian government prevailed over Islamic Sharia law when an appeals court overturned Amina Lawal's death-by-stoning sentence after she was convicted of adultery in March, Lawal's lawyer told a news conference Wednesday (Oct. 8). Hauwa Ibrahim, the first female lawyer in northern Nigeria, was Lawal's lead counsel in both her appeals cases. "The rule of the law and due process were our ultimate goals," Ibrahim said. The decision set a precedent in Nigeria, where in some Muslim-dominated states, Sharia laws are held above those outlined in the Nigerian constitution. Ibrahim and her team of lawyers argued that Lawal had not been read her charge in her native language -- it was read in Arabic -- and had not been represented by a lawyer in her first trial. "This was a huge victory for Amina Lawal ... but it was an even more huge victory for Nigeria because it upheld the constitution," Ibrahim said. Ibrahim said her victory in Nigeria's highest appeals court also reinforced that the prosecutor -- not the victim -- had the burden of proof in court. Ibrahim, who defied her village's rule that women older than 13 cannot continue their education, received bachelor's and master's degrees from a Nigerian university.

 

At Christian `Feast of Tabernacles,' Evangelicals SupportIsrael

Michele Chabin, Religion News Service

 

At a time when most tourists avoid Israel due to the ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis, more than 3,000 evangelical Christians from 80 countries are expected to arrive in Jerusalem this week for the 24th annual Christian Feast of Tabernacles. They will be joined by 3,000 local Christians and non-Christians. The event, which is being organized by the International Christian Embassy, a Jerusalem-based organization of Christian supporters of Israel, is timed to coincide with the biblical Feast of Succot, when Jews commemorate the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and their sojourn in the desert. "Christians are coming from all around the world this Succot to demonstrate their sincere love and concern for Israel," ICEJ Executive Director Malcolm Hedding said in a statement preceding the conference, which will open on Oct. 12. "They will bring joy and encouragement to the streets of Jerusalem and to a nation under fire." Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to present the conference's keynote address, and many other prominent Israelis will also take part in the event.

 

Author Challenges Christians to Resist Discrimination

Agape Press

 

A best-selling author and political columnist says Christians in America need to wake up and understand that their religious liberties are being selectively denied by self-appointed liberal "tolerance police." David Limbaugh, a practicing attorney in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has already written a New York Times bestseller called Absolute Power, which detailed the horrors of the Clinton Administration. Now Limbaugh has published Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity (Regnery Publishing, 2003). The author says he wrote the book because he "kept seeing reports in the news about discrimination against Christians, oppression of our religious liberties and intolerance showed toward Christians when tolerance is demanded from Christians toward everyone else." Limbaugh claims that Christianity is being treated as a disease or virus, and is under widespread attack in American culture, adding that Christians are denied religious freedom "in the name of the so-called separation of Church and State," and it is time for the Church to fight back. Limbaugh says if Christians do not preserve their political liberties, they will not be able to obey the Great Commission and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

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