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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 4, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 4, 2006

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

  • Presenting the “Billion Dollar Bill” Tract
  • Half of All Christians Have Fled Iraq since 2003, says Baghdad Bishop
  • More Colleges Severing SBC Ties
  • African American Church Leaders Prepare to 'Break the Silence'

Presenting the “Billion Dollar Bill” Tract

Since the Dallas-based branch of the U.S. Secret Service seized a number of evangelist Ray Comfort’s million dollar bill tracts in June, the author and co-host of “The Way of the Master” television show says that his ministry has hardly been able to keep up with the demand, ASSIST News Service reports. Speaking in a news release, Comfort said, "I was surprised that a Texas judge sided with the Secret Service in believing that the million dollar bill is too close to real currency, and for weeks we've been expecting them to seize (the rest of) our supply. It's because of that concern that we have just produced a billion dollar bill tract. This has two Bible verses hidden on the front, and a 170-word gospel message on the back. But just in case that isn't enough to show that it's not real U.S. currency, we have gone full color. The image on the front isn't even of a U.S. president -- it's of the 'Prince of Preachers,' Charles Spurgeon. According to Way of the Master, the million dollar bill tracts have become so popular since they were seized that a new book has been published called, “Thanks a Million,” co-authored by Comfort and Kirk Cameron.

Half of All Christians Have Fled Iraq since 2003, says Baghdad Bishop

Half of all Iraqi Christians have fled their country since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, said the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad. Catholic News Service reports that Chaldean Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad said that before the invasion there were about 1.2 million Christians in the predominantly Shiite Muslim state. Since then the overall number has dropped to about 600,000. What's more, 75 percent of Christians from Baghdad have fled the capital to escape the outbreaks of sectarian violence. "What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq," the bishop said. "When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous -- dangerous for the future of the church in Iraq."

More Colleges Severing SBC Ties

More than 50 U.S. colleges are affiliated with their state’s Southern Baptist Convention, but half a dozen of them have pulled out, says a Family News in Focus story. Georgetown College in Kentucky is the latest school to disassociate from their state SBC. Dr. Hershael York, former President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said, “[Georgetown] will tell you that the core issue is academic freedom. I will tell you that the core issue is... that they think you cannot be intellectual and believe that the Bible is literally true.” Furman University "broke with the South Carolina Baptist Convention because of the move toward a fundamentalist perspective," professor Helen Turner said. Meanwhile, Dr. Bill Leonard of Wake Forest University suggests his school split with the North Carolina convention for financial reasons: “It became problematic for schools to be dominated by a group that paid so little of the bill.” In other colleges, battles rage over the interpretation of the Bible, control of trustees, and the teaching of evolution.

African American Church Leaders Prepare to 'Break the Silence'

African American clergy and church leaders will gather next month to "break the silence" about the dismal statistics affecting African American families, The Christian Post reports. The National Council of Churches (NCC) USA and Progressive National Baptist Convention Women’s Department have partnered to sponsor “African American Congregations: Breaking the Silence for the Good of All Families,” on Aug. 7 in Cincinnati. The ecumenical leadership conference will focus on the role of African American congregations in promoting strong families and healthy marriages. Participants will address the issues that undermine African American families: low-income households, and higher divorce rates and health problems among African Americans.