Religion Today Summaries, September 30, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, September 30, 2003

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

  • Detroit Cardinal Urges Bill to Ban Late-Term Abortions

  • 'Under God' Talks Commence

  • Christian Persecution Continues in India

  • Ten Commandments Battle Persists

Detroit Cardinal Urges Bill to Ban Late-Term Abortions
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

 Michigan's highest-ranking Catholic official urged the state legislature on Sunday (Sept. 28) to approve a bill that would prohibit late-term abortions.  Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida, in an ad placed in seven state newspapers by the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the Legal Birth Definition Act would protect both mothers and their unborn children.  "Certainly, believers and nonbelievers alike can agree that our state has a compelling interest in protecting the life of a born person," Maida wrote. "The Legal Birth Definition Act secures those rights, declaring that a partially born child is legally born, while providing for the life and physical health of the mother."  The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Michelle McManus, a Republican, says a fetus cannot be aborted once any part of its body clears the birth canal. The bill is primarily aimed at ending so-called "partial-birth" abortions in which the fetus is partially delivered before an abortion is performed.  Two versions of the bill have passed the House and Senate, and negotiators are currently ironing out the differences. Pro-choice groups, including Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, oppose the bill. Planned Parenthood calls the bill "another attempt to ban legal medical procedures."

'Under God' Talks Commence
Agape Press

The U.S. Supreme Court began discussion yesterday on whether the phrase "under God" should continue to be part of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Nearly 2,000 appeals have been filed with the high court since a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a petition from a California atheist who argued those words constitute a state-endorsed religion.  Michael Newdow claimed his daughter was offended by having to say the words "under God."  But it was later learned that Newdow no longer lives with his wife and daughter.  In fact, they are both Christians and have no problem with the Pledge just as it is written.

Christian Persecution Continues in India
Charisma News Service

An evangelist was recently arrested in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, on charges of drug trafficking. Police raided Yusi Hey Yobin's home Aug. 21, claiming to find heroin. However, local Christians say Yobin's arrest is part of an ongoing conspiracy to defame church leaders. Yobin, who is associated with the Meghalaya Christ Church, also served as a research scholar for North Eastern Hill University. But officials at the college terminated Yobin's fellowship because of the charges against him. Hindu fundamentalists have increased their anti-Christian activities in Kerala, considered India's "cradle of Christianity." Local Christians are concern that the area may be next in a series of Indian states to adopt "anti-conversion" laws. Regarded as a safe haven for religious minorities, Kerala's population is 19 percent Christian, 23 percent Muslims and 58 percent Hindu. Religious groups have lived in relative harmony for many years, but numerous clashes among them have been reported in recent months.

Ten Commandments Battle Persists
Agape Press

The ACLU is continuing its campaign to remove Ten Commandments monuments from public property -- this time in Montana.  The 2,500-pound display had been on the lawn of the Custer County Courthouse since 1968.  It was a gift from a local club.  County commissioner Duane Mathison opposed its removal.  "I want to take this to court and, you might say, go down fighting -- but I want to fight this.  I think we're probably going to lose, but at least give a fight."  Mathison was the only commissioner who refused to sign a consent decree ordering the Commandments be taken away.