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Religion Today Summaries - April 29, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 29, 2005

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

  • New Pope Thought To Recognize Threat Muslim Religion Poses For Europe

  • Indian Ministry Offers Refuge for Orphaned Children, Prostitutes 

  • Christian Parent Arrested After Being Denied Say-So in Son's Education

  • Philippines: Indigenous Missions Reach Muslim Tribes

New Pope Thought To Recognize Threat Muslim Religion Poses For Europe
Agape Press

An authority on radical Islam is confident that the new pope recognizes the threat the Muslim religion poses for Europe. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch believes Pope Benedict XVI sees the growing expansion of Islam throughout the European continent. "He has even spoken openly how the necessity for Europe to recover its Christian roots, if it truly wants to survive, which indicates that he has a clear understanding of the deep crisis that Europe is in," Spencer says. By all indications, he observes, the Roman Catholic pontiff will be an avid fighter against terrorism. The Jihad Watch spokesman notes that Benedict "has already, in his many writings before he became pope, taken a stronger line against the rapid encroachment of radical Islam in Europe than his predecessor ever did." At its current rate of expansion, many analysts predict that Europe will be dominated by Islamic ideals within a decade; Spencer says Pope Benedict has called upon the European nations to reconnect with their Christian heritage before Islam takes over the continent.

Indian Ministry Offers Refuge for Orphaned Children, Prostitutes
Charisma News Service

A Teen Challenge ministry is bringing hope to the abandoned in a large city of India. Since 1990, the Rev. K.K. Devaraj has combed the red-light district of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) offering refuge to orphaned children, addicts and women sold into prostitution. Devaraj, or "Uncle," as he is called, is described by locals as a gentle man with a big heart. Though the city's name has changed, the ministry Devaraj leads is still known as Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC). The outreach operates six safe houses for women rescued from sex work, as well as health clinics and homes for street children and AIDS orphans. BTC sends medical vans daily into the heart of the city to offer food, health care and the chance of a new life. It also operates a drug-detoxification program and offers former addicts education, job training and employment opportunities. Many women are lured to Mumbai under false pretenses, only to find themselves forced into a life of brutality and shame. BTC maintains a constant presence among the brothels, operating a Spirit-filled church in the area and offering prayer, acceptance and hope. Hundreds have responded to his invitation, and Devaraj has no plans to slow down. The ministry operates a night shelter for children whose mothers work in the red-light district, and for those who have been abandoned or orphaned by AIDS. Devaraj also is building a hospice for HIV-positive children. (www.charismanews.com)

Christian Parent Arrested After Being Denied Say-So in Son's Education
Jody Brown, Agape Press

A Massachusetts group battling judicial activism and the advancing homosexual agenda in their state is reporting that the father of a kindergarten student was arrested on Wednesday during a scheduled meeting with the principal of his son's school. The father of the six-year-old had been attempting to get his son opted-out from discussions portraying homosexuality as acceptable. David Parker and his wife Tonia had been in contact with the school principal regarding material brought home by their son.  The "Diversity Book Bag" included a book titled Who's in a Family, which portrays same-sex parent families as morally equivalent to traditional families.  The Parkers attempted to make it clear they wanted their son removed from the classroom any time discussions or displays dealt with homosexuality -- and they sought a commitment from the principal that their desires would be accommodated. "You are not permitted to infringe upon our religious beliefs and parental rights or obviate our freedom of choice, to exclude our son from material that would expose him to beliefs contrary to the Word of God in our Christian faith," the Parkers wrote in an e-mail to the principal. During a meeting with the principal Wednesday, April 27, Mr. Parker reiterated his requests and they were reportedly denied by the principal, the director of education, and the superintendent. Parker refused to leave the school unless his requests were granted and school officials had Parker arrested for trespassing.

Philippines: Indigenous Missions Reach Muslim Tribes
Christian Aid Mission

Despite obvious dangers, native Christians faithfully work among Muslim tribes on remote islands. Though some have had to pull out due to threats, many remain to spread Christ's love. One of their most successful outreach strategies has been medical and educational ministry. Missionaries establish clinics, dentists' offices and drugstores; build sanitary toilets and water systems; and conduct adult literacy, preschool and kindergarten classes or vocational training. Not only do such outreaches meet felt needs of tribal communities; they also give missionaries an entrance into closed regions. By alleviating poverty, missionaries also address a main cause of terrorist activities: desperately poor tribal people sometimes join terrorist groups simply so they will have a way to feed their families. One mission leader reports that when he and his coworkers conduct medical outreaches among one Muslim and animist tribe, they are often asked, "Why have you crazy doctors come to this place?" His response is quick: "We come because of the love of Issah Almasih [Jesus Christ]. We hope you too will know this love." In this way the message of Christ is spread, as well as through showings of evangelistic films and Bible story telling in tribal languages.