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Religion Loses Respect, Tanzania, Tbilisi & Harvest Crusade

Religion Loses Respect, Tanzania, Tbilisi & Harvest Crusade

In Today’s Edition:
  • Poll Finds Religion Lost Respect in Past Year 
  • Church Groups Attacked by Mobs in Tbilisi 
  • Harvest Crusade Yields Great Crop 
  • IBS-Tanzania Provides Scripture for Train Wreck Victims 
  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee Provides Hope at Disaster Sites

Poll Finds Religion Lost Respect in Past Year ... According to a report in the Washington Times, U. S. confidence in religious institutions is at a 30-year low, down to 45 percent. The results from an annual Gallup Poll show that while the Protestant confidence rate of 59 percent is about the same as a year ago, Catholic trust dropped to 42 percent.

"Although this year's poll broke down respondents into Protestant and Catholic for comparison, it usually does not make that distinction," said the Washington Times. The Gallup confidence poll in 1991, however, found that Catholics and Protestants were virtually the same in how they ranked religion.

The Washington Times report said that the last time religion's public image decreased so drastically was in 1989, when the televangelist scandals regarding sex and money pushed down American confidence in religion to 52 percent. The implications for this year's elections are clearly more tied to Roman Catholic issues, said James Guth, professor of political science at Furman University.

Church Groups Attacked by Mobs in Tbilisi ... The Persecution & Prayer Alert from Voice of the Martyrs notes that two Orthodox priests led an attack on a Russian-speaking Pentecostal church in the Nadzaladevi district of Tbilisi over the weekend, resulting in several people being beaten. "They arrived to blockade the house on Friday evening," the daughter of Pastor Nikolai Kalutsky told Keston Institute. "On Saturday, incited by the priests, the mob of about 30 or 40 people burst into the house, beat people, frightened the children, stole Bibles, rummaged through people's bags and uttered very many threats - to the believers and to our family." Unlike similar attacks in the past, the police arrived to intervene and help the people.
In a separate incident, a mob led by two Orthodox priests attacked a Catholic pilgrimage in eastern Georgia on July 3. They told the pilgrims that they had no right to walk in their diocese.

The headquarters of a leading human rights organization in Tbilisi was also attacked. According to eyewitnesses, 10 to 15 young men walked into the headquarters of Liberty Institute around 2:30 p.m. on  July 10. Without saying a word, they severely beat the director and other staff and
smashed computers, furniture and other equipment. While the Liberty Institute is not a Christian organization, they have been working vigorously to confront the religious mob violence and intolerance that has led to many attacks on non-Orthodox groups in the country.

Harvest Crusade Yields Great Crop ... (ANS) -- The 13th annual Harvest Crusade with Evangelist Greg Laurie, held July 12-14 at Edison Field in Anaheim, turned into a fiesta of souls for 10,000 people who received Christ during the three nights of Gospel music and preaching at the stadium, as well as for the thousands who watched via the Internet and listened by radio on the Calvary Satellite Network. The three-day event at the home of the Anaheim Angels baseball team saw a total of 100,000 casually dressed people attend the crusade led by Laurie, the
senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.

A yearly fixture in Anaheim, the Harvest Crusade was extended in five languages worldwide via a unique live, interactive Internet web cast, broadcast nightly and archived at www.harvest.org. This year, the Harvest02 crusade focused outreach on Latinos with invitations to Hispanic churches and additional Spanish translation headsets being provided. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, spoke before Greg Laurie delivered his final sermon called "The Fear Factor," based on John 14:1-6.

IBS-Tanzania Provides Scripture for Train Wreck Victims .. The International Bible Society (IBS) is providing comfort and hope to the survivors and victims' families of the June 24 train collision near Dodoma that claimed the lives of more than 300 people. IBS ministry groups distributed New Testaments during burial ceremonies and will continue to distribute them in homes, hospitals and churches. Drawing on its Emergency Scripture Fund, International Bible Society is providing 1,000 Kiswahili/Arabic New Testaments and 1,000 Kiswahili New Testaments. "We are giving
out these Scriptures as quickly as possible to people who were involved in this crisis," said Mrs. Helen Lema, National Coordinator of IBS-Tanzania. "We hope the Scripture will truly ease their pain." Mrs. Lema, her husband and 20 young people are currently carrying out the distribution. More than 1,000 people were on the passenger train when it collided with a freight train. Over 300 are confirmed dead. For more information, call 1-800-987-3595, or visit www.IBSMinistry.org.

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee Provides Hope at Disaster Sites ...  From typhoons and drought to floods, recent natural disasters have left thousands of Americans wondering where they can go for help. Volunteers and staff from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) are answering that call by providing hope at disaster sites across the country. 

Texas: A week of heavy rainfall in the San Antonio area has caused extensive flooding in 20 Texas counties. Recent estimates indicate that 12 people have died and more than 48,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. C.H. VanDyke, regional manager for CRWRC's Disaster Response Services, has been in regular contact with Texas voluntary organizations and emergency management officials to assess the immediate and long-term needs of affected communities. VanDyke expects CRWRC to be involved in needs assessment and home reconstruction during long-term recovery.

New Mexico: Drought conditions are prevalent in many parts of New Mexico. The abnormally dry season has stunted crops and left farmers with insufficient food for their animals. CRWRC has on-going community development programs among the Navajo people in New Mexico. As part of these programs, Mitzie Begay, CRWRC New Mexico staff, has been working with Navajo community groups to develop an appropriate response to the drought situation. So far, community chapters on the Navajo reservation have used emergency funds to purchase some feed, but those funds are depleting and the need for hay continues. As a next step, CRWRC will be collecting donations of hay from farmers across the country and transporting it to New Mexico. Those who can donate or transport hay are asked to contact Begay by e-mail at [email protected], phone at 505-371-5832 or fax at 505-371-5330.