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Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 11, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 11, 2008

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

  • Oprah Winfrey Denies Jesus Christ
  • President Signs Second Chance Act; Prison Fellowship Applauds Landmark Bill
  • Christian Professor's Lawsuit against Employer Going Forward
  • As FEMA Shuts Trailers in New Orleans, Rebuilding Need Mounts

Oprah Winfrey Denies Jesus Christ

According to Christian Newswire, Oprah Winfrey has recently taken up preaching - including pushing Eckhart Tolle's new book A New Earth - on the idea there are now millions of ways to get to heaven. Now, Winfrey has in effect denied the teachings of the Bible and of Jesus by asking her viewing audience, "How can there be only one way to heaven or to God?" When a women in her audience asked, "What about Jesus?" Oprah answered by repeating the question, "What about Jesus?" She then explained she had been a Baptist until she heard a charismatic pastor say God was a jealous God. In her opinion God was simply love, and God being described as jealous made her really stop and think. Don Swarthout, President of Christians Reviving America's Values said, "Oprah Winfrey has in reality just exposed her own lack of understanding about the God of Christianity... for Oprah to come out against [biblical] teaching so strongly is simply appalling." Rebecca Chadwick of CRAVE commented, "All cults share the same premise; they misrepresent the nature of God. Let's pray for Oprah and Tolle... and all those who are lost."

President Signs Second Chance Act; Prison Fellowship Applauds Landmark Bill

A release from DeMoss News Pond says that President Bush was due to sign the Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593) on April 9. Aimed at reducing recidivism and increasing public safety, the landmark bill - which Prison Fellowship helped draft and guide through Congress - authorizes $362 million to improve the way U.S. prisons prepare inmates to reenter society. It passed in the Senate unanimously and passed in the House 347-62. The Second Chance Act includes key elements of President Bush's Prisoner Reentry Initiative which: Encourages community and faith-based organizations to deliver mentoring and transitional services; connects former inmates to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs; and expands job training and placement services. Some 700,000 inmates will be released from prison this year. "Currently, little is done to prepare them to lead productive, law-abiding lives," said Prison Fellowship Vice President Pat Nolan, who leads Prison Fellowship’s criminal justice reform efforts. "As a result, more than half end up back in prison within three years."

Christian Professor's Lawsuit against Employer Going Forward

OneNewsNow reports that a federal court has refused to dismiss a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by a professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Dr. Mike Adams was hired in 1993 and named associate professor in 1998. In 2000, Adams became a Christian and, in 2004, applied for full professor status. However, Adams claims harassment by his colleagues and supervisors began after his conversion, and that the then-interim chair of his department, an outspoken feminist, raised concerns about Adams' conservative political activity during his review for full professorship. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) sued the university in April, claiming Adams was denied the promotion because of his beliefs. Now, an appeals court has ruled the lawsuit had raised legitimate arguments supporting Adams' contentions. "Dr. Adams' harsh treatment at the hands of the administration after his dramatic conversion to Christianity in the 1990s is an illustration of the lack of tolerance that the supposedly tolerant... have for Christians and conservative viewpoints," contends Steven Aden, ADF senior legal counsel.

As FEMA Shuts Trailers in New Orleans, Rebuilding Need Mounts

Baptist Press reports that plans to discontinue use of FEMA trailers in New Orleans have added a new sense of urgency to Southern Baptists' Operation NOAH Rebuild, a three-year initiative to rebuild or repair Hurricane Katrina-ravaged homes. "We need more volunteers because FEMA wants to get homeowners out of the trailers and back into their homes because of the formaldehyde threat," said David Maxwell, Operation NOAH Rebuild coordinator. "If we had 500 volunteers a week, we could get an awful lot done." "We moved out of the FEMA trailer about four months ago," said Leticia Robinson, whose family and other relatives -– seven in all -– now live in a two-bedroom house. "I became sick and so did members of my family," Robinson, a licensed practical nurse, said. "We had headaches, burning eyes and respiratory problems." Andrew F. Thomas of FEMA public affairs said use of the trailers has declined from a peak of 23,280 in Orleans Parish down to 7,282 today. "FEMA's goal is to have every family now resident in a FEMA trailer moved into permanent housing by June 1," Thomas said. Maxwell, who served as pastor at Ridge Avenue Baptist Church in West Monroe, La., before joining Operation NOAH Rebuild, said skilled team leaders are particularly needed.