Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Convoy of Hope Entrenched in Largest Hurricane Relief Effort in its History
- Young Life Reaches Out to Help Hurricane Victims
- Religion Becomes Important Issue for World Economy
- Texas Grandma Simply Requests Right to Publicly Distribute Religious Literature
Convoy of Hope Entrenched in Largest Hurricane Relief Effort in its History
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service
Convoy of Hope (COH), the Springfield, Missouri-based relief agency, says it is now entrenched in the largest hurricane relief effort in the history of the ministry. "And we need your compassionate help immediately!," President Hal Donaldson pleaded. "Despite the fact that our resources are stretched to the limit because of Katrina...we were there -- ready to respond -- with three truck loads of food, water and medical supplies when Rita hit," he says. "With the Lord's help and the outpouring of generosity from friends across the country -- like you -- we have already supplied more than 400 truck loads of emergency relief for Katrina's victims." Now that this second tragedy has added "insult to injury" on the Gulf Coast, Donaldson says: "We cannot turn our backs on those in need!" Furthermore, says Donaldson, make-shift shelters are overflowing with the now homeless victims of Rita. Donaldson is asking Christians across America to "Please help us say 'YES'" by giving a secure, online donation immediately at the ministry website. To give a gift to help Convoy of Hope provide desperately needed aid to the hurricane affected areas, make a secure online donation at the COH website, www.convoyofhope.org
Young Life Reaches Out to Help Hurricane Victims
A Christian ministry that targets youth has seen expanded opportunities to reach out to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Colorado-based Young Life has chapters throughout the South that felt the brunt of Hurricane Katrina. Five or six staff members in the Mississippi Valley area have been displaced and are trying to find temporary housing. Also, Mississippi Valley director John Evans says nearly every city in which Young Life works in the South has an influx of new students because of the storm, providing "great opportunity" for the ministry. "There's a whole lot of kids that have been displaced, and we're getting folks in new schools," Evans shared with Mission Network News. "We're just trying to figure out how to reach out to a lot of those kids as best we can." According to the Young Life spokesman, practically every ministry his organization has in the South will have an opportunity to touch the lives of young people who were forced to evacuate the Gulf Coast. "We're just trying to figure out how to make sure that every one of our existing ministries stays funded so we can keep doing what we need to do." Evans says Young Life leaders are also being encouraged to go with hurricane victims to shelters to reach out and help other victims.
Religion Becomes Important Issue for World Economy
Wolfgang Polzer, Assist News Service
Religion is rapidly becoming a most important issue for international commerce and industry. Religion affects both the internal relationships of employees and the integration of different cultures in international corporations. In its newsletter the Confederation of German Employer’s Association in Berlin points out that many joint ventures have failed not least because of cultural and religious incompatibilities. Insight into religious backgrounds is therefore essential at the management level, according to the association. The German employers are concerned about extremist religious and political tendencies, which may threaten the world economy. One of the goals of radical Islamic forces was to bring about a political system based on the rule of the religious law, the Sharia. These Muslim extremists are adversaries of the western world with what they perceive as a purely hedonistic lifestyle. They oppose the Western influence on the Islamic world. Their battle against individualism and the separation of religion and state has repercussions for international economic relations, according to the German employers. As their newsletter points out, Islam with 1.3 billion adherents is the fastest growing world religion. Christianity with two billion adherents remains numerically the strongest religion. The numbers of Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians are growing, but at a lower rate. Hindus number 1.1 billion and Buddhists 450 million. Only 2.5 percent of the world population (149 million) are considered to be atheists.
Texas Grandma Simply Requests Right to Publicly Distribute Religious Literature
Allie Martin, Agape Press
A Texas public school district could soon find itself in court for allegedly violating the free-speech rights of a Christian. Last spring Janice Colston, a Christian woman who lives outside of Dallas, was distributing religious literature on a public sidewalk outside Crowley High School when administrators forced her to move to the end of the street, preventing contact with students. Believing that her right to free speech was being denied, Colston sought legal advice from the Liberty Legal Institute in nearby Plano, then tried several times to resolve the issue with school officials, to no avail. Now Liberty Legal has sent a demand letter to the Crowley Independent School District, requesting that she be permitted to distribute the literature on the public sidewalk with no interference from school officials. Liberty Legal's Hiram Sasser says the Texas grandmother is being denied a right that every citizen has. Liberty Legal describes that the First Amendment protects the right of all citizens to share their religious faith on a public sidewalk, whether it's in front of a school or in front of a courthouse. Sasser says the next step is legal action, unless the school district reverses its actions. Thus far, according to Colston's co-counsel Tom Brandon, the district has continued to "bow its neck" in the face of clear constitutional law.