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Religion Today Summaries - April 7, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 7, 2005

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

  • Slaying of Two U.S. Missionaries in South America Prompts FBI Inquiry

  • In Jerusalem, 'Gay Pride' Festival Sparks Opposition From 3 Faiths 

  • Christian Student Group Sues Southern Illinois University For Violating First Amendment Rights 

  • Eritrea

Slaying of Two U.S. Missionaries in South America Prompts FBI Inquiry
Charisma News Service

The FBI has sent agents to the South American country of Guyana to help investigate the recent slaying of two American missionaries. The seven-member FBI team arrived yesterday to look into the murder of Richard Hicks and his wife, Charlene, who were found dead a week ago at a farm in San Jose district, about 12 miles outside Lethem, the Associated Press reported. Police in Guyana say robbery was the likely motive in the slaying of Hicks, 42, and Charlene, 58, whose house was torched in a case that has deeply shocked residents in the southern Guyana region. They had been in Guyana at the behest of the Dallas-based Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Florida. The couple was translating the Bible into the Wapishana language. "We were shocked and saddened to hear of the deaths of Rich and Charlene Hicks in Guyana," Bob Creson, president of Wycliffe USA, said in a statement. "We share the grief and express our condolences to their family, friends and colleagues. Yet we rejoice, knowing that the Hicks are now safely with the God they served." Guyana police have asked Brazilian authorities to help track two suspects who they believe murdered the duo last Wednesday night and fled with cash stolen from the thatched house they lived in on the ranch, The Guyana Chronicle reported. The prime suspects are a Brazilian who worked at the cattle ranch and his Guyanese cousin, sources said.

In Jerusalem, 'Gay Pride' Festival Sparks Opposition From 3 Faiths
Baptist Press

Leaders of three major world religions are uniting in Jerusalem against what one New York Rabbi has called "a spiritual rape" of the Holy Land -- a homosexual pride festival expected to draw thousands of people from around the world in August. Christians, Jews and Muslims are speaking out against the festival. A dozen top religious leaders formed a rare alliance March 29 to draft a joint statement urging the Israeli government to stop the festival. "We are shocked to have received notice that a worldwide assembly of ten days including an immodest parade devoid of minimal propriety is scheduled to be held in Jerusalem this summer, which will offend the very foundations of our religious values and the character of the Holy City," the leaders said, according to The Jerusalem Post. "Such an event would constitute a severe affront to the hearts and souls of adherents of all religions -- Jews, Christians and Moslems alike." The alliance further called on the Israeli government "and all responsible officials and Israeli police to realize the full implications of their plans and to prohibit any march of this kind, and especially in the Holy City of Jerusalem." The event is being organized by the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Coordinators. Jerusalem's religious faithful contend the event would only serve to desecrate the city and provoke believers. 

Christian Student Group Sues Southern Illinois University For Violating First Amendment Rights
Center for Law and Religious Freedom

The Christian Legal Society chapter at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law sued school officials for revoking the chapter’s registered status because the chapter requires its members and officers to affirm the group’s religious beliefs. Southern Illinois University School of Law permits students to form and register student organizations. CLS is a nationwide association of Christian lawyers, law students, law professors, and judges that maintains attorney and law student chapters across the country.  All CLS members must sign a Statement of Faith, indicating that the member holds certain Christian viewpoints that are commonly regarded as orthodox.  The Christian Legal Society chapter at SIU accordingly requires its voting members and officers to sign and affirm the CLS Statement of Faith and to endeavor to live their lives in a manner consistent with the statement.  Although individuals who do not adhere to the CLS Statement of Faith are not eligible to be members or officers, they are welcome to attend chapter meetings and other events.  The chapter states in its lawsuit that it does not employ anyone, it has no employment policies, and the chapter’s membership and leadership policies do not violate any federal or state laws concerning nondiscrimination and/or equal opportunity.  The lawsuit also claims the university violated the chapter’s First Amendment rights of expressive association, free speech and free exercise of religion.

Charisma News Service

Police recently arrested 16 Protestants for watching a Christian video in the town of Adi-Kibe. On March 13, the members of Kale Hiwot Church were detained, although two older women in the group were released after paying fines the next day, Compass Direct reported. The 14 Christians remain jailed, even though no official charges have been filed against them. Police also raided a private home in Assab on March 9 and arrested 10 members of the Kale Hiwot Word of Life Church while they worshipped together. The 10 remain jailed at the Assab police station with no official charges filed against them. In another spate of raids against Christians, authorities closed down a company in Asmara that publishes Christian literature on March 22. Also, Demoze Afwerki, an active member of the Full Gospel Church, was arrested on March 18 and jailed at Wongel Mermera, Compass reported. Meanwhile, a Christian professor was released by authorities and allowed to return home to his wife and children on Feb. 28. A member of the Living God Church in Asmara, Senere Zaid was arrested on Feb. 3 after police discovered his name on the rental contract of a facility for worship used by the Kidane Mehrete revival group. Zaid was released on bail reportedly on the condition that he must not participate in any more Christian activities in the future. No charges were filed against him, Compass reported.