Religion Today Summaries, August 12, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, August 12, 2003

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

  • Saudi Arabia Deports Eritrean Christian
  • Actor's Candidacy 'Terminates' Moral Leadership
  • Canada's Catholic Leaders Vow Fight on Gay Marriages
  • Commandments Rally 'Draws Line in Sand'

Saudi Arabia Deports Eritrean Christian
Barbara Baker, Compass Direct

After 20 weeks in a Saudi jail for participating in prohibited Christian activities, Eritrean Christian Girmaye Ambaye was deported from Jeddah by plane back to his home country on Saturday, August 9. According to one of his brothers who spoke to Compass today, Ambaye has remained in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, since his arrival on Saturday night. The brother did not know where Girmaye was staying; it is assumed that he is being interviewed by Eritrean authorities regarding the details of his deportation by the Saudi government. Ambaye had been jailed at the Bremen deportation center in the Saudi port city of Jeddah since March 25, when local police put him under arrest for talking to Muslim Arabs about his Christian faith. His deportation had first been said to be stalled over the sale of a car registered in his name and later because of an alleged traffic fine that he failed to pay. Ambaye is one of a dozen members of an Ethiopian-Eritrean Christian congregation in Jeddah who have been jailed and deported. Jeddah police keep church leaders under frequent surveillance.

Actor's Candidacy 'Terminates' Moral Leadership
Charisma News Service

The head of a pro-family Christian group says Arnold Schwarzenegger would "terminate" moral leadership in California if he became California's governor. Last week, the actor announced that he was running for governor, in response to the recall campaign against Gov. Gray Davis. "As governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger would be a darker villain than any he has faced in his movies," the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, said. "And when it comes to the moral issues that Californians really care about -- he gives us inaction not action." A Catholic, Schwarzenegger supports legalized abortion, "sensible" gun control and adoption by homosexual parents -- which are a tough sell for California conservatives. "We may get rid of Gray Davis and end up with a Republican governor who is out of sync with the views of most Republicans in the state -- and certainly with most primary Republican voters," a prominent Republican campaign consultant said. Sheldon has formed Californians for Moral Government to oppose Schwarzenegger's candidacy. "It is hard to imagine a worse governor than Gray Davis but Mr. Schwarzenegger would be it," Sheldon said. "California has enough problems without adding a Gov. Schwarzenegger to the mix ... There is no evidence that Mr. Schwarzenegger has any strong moral convictions on any public issue."

Canada's Catholic Leaders Vow Fight on Gay Marriages
Alexandra Alter, Religion News Service

Canada's political leaders are pushing ahead to legalize same-sex marriage despite warnings by the country's Roman Catholic bishops that politicians could pay the ultimate spiritual price for their stance. Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary said last week that Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and other Roman Catholics in his cabinet could burn in hell for their efforts to extend marriage rights to gays and lesbians. "I pray for the prime minister because I think his eternal salvation is in jeopardy," he said. After an Ontario court last June approved marriage rights for same-sex couples, a British Columbia appeals court issued a similar decision, paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage across Canada. Last month, Prime Minister Chretien's government drafted a bill redefining marriage as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others." Advocates of same-sex unions scored another victory when the United Church of Canada, the country's largest Protestant denomination, condoned same-sex marriages during a meeting last week, and urged politicians to push ahead with the legislation. But the country's Roman Catholic bishops have followed the Vatican's lead in opposing same-sex marriages, stirring a resistance movement that is unlikely to reverse Canada's revolutionary leap toward gay marriage.

Commandments Rally 'Draws Line in Sand'
Charisma News Service

A federal judge has ordered the chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state's judicial building. Meanwhile, organizers of the "Restore the Commandments Rally" (RTCR) hope to attract thousands of Christians to support Roy Moore this weekend. Last Tuesday, Myron Thompson, who ruled last month that a Ten Commandments monument violates the constitutional ban on government promotion of religion, lifted a stay he had previously issued while Moore appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has refused to hear previous cases challenging public display of the Ten Commandments. Thompson gave Moore, known as the "Ten Commandments Judge," 15 days to remove the display. "This modern-day Daniel is guilty only of openly practicing his faith in God," said Rick Scarborough, president and co-chairman of Vision America. Scheduled for this Saturday, Vision America's RTCR seeks Christians to kneel around the Ten Commandments monument on display in the Montgomery courthouse. Speakers for the rally include conservative Alan Keyes, Jerry Falwell and Gen. Raymond Davis, the nation's most highly decorated living war veteran. "A line in the sand needs to be drawn in Montgomery," said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition. "We're seeing an incredible erosion of civil liberties ... in the area of religious free speech and expression."