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Religion Today Summaries, April 17, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, April 17, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:

  • Dad Sues Over Ban on Sending Religious Material to Deployed Son
  • SARS Quarantines Entire Religious Community
  • Canadian Imam Apologizes for Jihad Remark
  • Religion Bestsellers - Paperback

Dad Sues Over Ban on Sending Religious Material to Deployed Son
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) The father of a soldier serving in the war in Iraq has sued the U.S. Postal Service, alleging he was not permitted to send him Christian texts due to a prohibition against "religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith." In a suit filed Friday (April 11) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Jack Moody of Lenoir, N.C., said he wanted to send a package to his son Daniel that included a Bible study publication, other scriptural materials and other Christian texts. He alleged that a local postal supervisor told him such materials were not permitted in the postal code covering Kuwait and Iraq. "By preventing private communication and dispersal of religious beliefs, the USPS rule creates an unconstitutional burden on the ability of private American citizens to freely exercise their religious faith," states the suit filed by the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization based in Charlottesville, Va. Mark Saunders, a spokesman for the postal service, said he could not discuss the particulars of the lawsuit, but he said the restrictions are for mass mailings, not individual ones. He said a postal bulletin that is updated every other week would be updated so the E2 regulation reads: "Although religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith are prohibited in bulk quantities, items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible."

SARS Quarantines Entire Religious Community

(RNS) Nearly 500 members of an international Catholic charismatic community have been quarantined after public health officials identified a cluster of SARS cases that spread during a Mass and a prayer meeting, infecting 31 people, including three children and two doctors who treated them. All the members of the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Covenant are in isolation. Ten members of the group, whose name means Open in Spirit to God, are believed to have Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and another 19 are suspected of having the virus. Three of the cases are children under the age of 10 who are receiving medical care. They are reported in good health. Bukas Loob sa Diyos, or BLD, was founded in the Philippines and has chapters throughout Canada and the United States. It's noted for spiritual programs focusing on marriage and youth. Health officials obtained mandatory quarantine orders against two members of the community who refused to isolate themselves. SARS spread to the community after several members attended a wake on April 3 for a person who, it was later learned, died of the illness. Some members of the deceased's family were coming down with the disease at the wake and officials say they may have passed the infection to some people who attended.

Canadian Imam Apologizes for Jihad Remark

(RNS) The imam of the Ottawa mosque has apologized for having called on Muslims across the Middle East to engage in a jihad against American troops in Iraq. Gamal Solaiman issued the apology after Denis Coderre, the minister of citizenship and immigration, said he intended to conduct an "investigation" into the inflammatory comments and determine whether the imam was a Canadian citizen. During the April 6 edition of Global TV's Ottawa Inside Out, Solaiman said he supports the call for jihad "because to my mind, it (the American-led military action) is not a war for justice. It is not a war for principle." The comments sparked a furor across the country. In his apology, the imam said he does "not support or promote violence in any form against any country or any group of people. I deeply regret and sincerely apologize for my misunderstood comments and the hurt which it may have caused."

Religion Bestsellers - Paperback

(Editor's note: This list is compiled by Publishers Weekly magazine from data received from general independent bookstores, chain stores and wholesalers within the month of March. Copyright 2003 Publishers Weekly. Distributed by Religion News Service.)


1. The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian. (Harvest House, $9.99)
2. The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. (Northfield/Moody, $12.99)
3. The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. (Zondervan, $12.99)
4. The Power of a Praying Woman, by Stormie Omartian. (Harvest House, $9.99)
5. The Power of a Praying Husband, by Stormie Omartian. (Harvest House, $9.99)
6. Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. (Harper San Francisco, $10)
7. Matters of the Heart: Stop Trying to Fix the Old, Let God Give You Something New, by Juanita Bynum. (Charisma House, $13.99)
8. Walking the Bible, by Bruce Feiler. (HarperPerennial, $14.95)
9. The Remnant, by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins. (Tyndale, $14.99)
10. The Visitor, by Lori Wick. (Harvest House, $10.99)