Religion Today Summaries, August 15, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, August 15, 2003

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

  • Promise Keepers' First Conference in Prison
  • Newspaper Poll Shows Backlash against Homosexual Issues Continues
  • Christians Combat Voodoo with Prayer in Haiti
  • Pro-Family Activist Questions Schwarzenegger's Stands

Promise Keepers' First Conference in Prison
Charisma News Service

A small group of Christian inmates in an Ohio prison was cited yesterday for helping bring Promise Keepers' (PK) first conference behind bars. "Redeem the Time" was the theme of the men's ministry's event at the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) in Ohio. An estimated 10,000 men in 70 prisons across the United States, Canada, England and Ireland tuned in to the Web cast to hear the message of God's forgiveness. "Today, I live for God's glory," said Larry Reed, a Marion inmate. "I was given hope when someone in prison shared the gospel with me. One man can make a difference; you can make a difference." A handful of prisoners began praying years ago for a revival inside Marion. More than 1,000 men attended the men's conference yesterday. "You were the influencers out on the street," Bishop Larry Jackson, senior pastor of Charlotte International Church, told the men. "Now, God's going to use your influence for good. Today we're here because a small group of men prayed. We'll change the whole earth from inside this prison!" Warden Christine Money said the praying prisoners have changed the prison's spiritual environment. "The impact at MCI can be seen through a very low rate of rule violations, inmate grievances and any other serious incidents," Money said. 

Newspaper Poll Shows Backlash against Homosexual Issues Continues
Michael Foust, Baptist Press News

Most Americans disagree with the Episcopal Church's decision to allow the blessing of same-sex unions, according to a new Washington Post poll that also shows a continuing backlash on the homosexual issue. The poll found that 60 percent of Americans disagree with the Episcopal Church's decision giving its local bishops the option of blessing same-sex relationships. But the poll also mirrored the findings of a July Gallup poll that showed a backlash against homosexual issues. The Post poll, released Aug. 13, found that by a 58-37 percent margin, Americans are opposed to legalizing Vermont-type civil unions that would give homosexual couples some of the legal rights of married couples. It is the first sign that the Gallup poll -- widely touted in the media as showing a backlash following the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision on sodomy -- was not a statistical glitch. In fact, The Washington Post percentages on civil unions are both records. "There is a backlash and there really seems to be an unwillingness to have the church sanctioning homosexual activity. That's clearly what the poll shows," Peter LaBarbera, senior policy analyst with the Culture and Family Institute, said. LaBarbera said the numbers are encouraging. He noted that opposition to legalizing civil unions is increasing as the country debates same-sex "marriage." (

Christians Combat Voodoo with Prayer in Haiti
John Lindner, Christian Aid Report

Today, while Haitians celebrate their National Day with sacrifices to their Voodoo demons, Christians will mount a National Day of Prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. The National Day hearkens back to August 14, 1804, when a slave named Boukman sacrificed a pig to form a pact with the devil. The Haitians agreed to give their land to the devil for 200 years in exchange for freedom from the French. The Haitians gained freedom from the French, but have been in bondage to Satan ever since. Traditionally on this anniversary date a child is sacrificed by Voodoo ritual. Last week, a baby was stolen from a local hospital, presumably to be sacrificed. President Jean Bertrand Aristide has now made Voodoo an "official" religion. Tomorrow many will flock to Voodoo ceremonies to renew their contract with the devil. At the same time, thousands of Christians will converge on a National Day of Prayer event. It could be a real spiritual tug-of-war as Aristide reportedly is paying radio stations to play Voodoo music as an open attack on Christians and the churches. One ministry in northern Haiti said five of its pastors had been murdered recently. The strong influence of Voodoo was blamed. Christians are spear-heading a year-long prayer movement to "take Haiti back from Satan."

Pro-Family Activist Questions Schwarzenegger's Stands
Michael Foust, Baptist Press News

There may be more than 100 candidates for governor in California's recall election, but for pro-family voters there are far fewer options -- at least among the major candidates. Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for California Families sees only two. While actor Arnold Schwarzenegger leads in the polls, Thomasson said two other Republican candidates -- Tom McClintock and Bill Simon -- deserve a look by California's pro-family voters. Both are pro-life and against homosexual "marriage." "Pro-family and people of faith have to look at the moral issues," Thomasson said. "It is wrong to worship any man, and what is happening right now is virtual idolatry.... People are getting all excited about an entertainment figure without any regard to any of his policies." Schwarzenegger is pro-choice and has made comments that seem to put him on the side of homosexual rights, although he has yet to say where he stands on specific moral issues such as parental notification for abortions by minors and same-sex "marriage." California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the lone major Democrat on the ballot, is "in the pocket of the homosexual activists," Thomasson said. Bustamante has finished second behind Schwarzenegger in polling. For any of the candidates to win on Oct. 7, the current governor, Gray Davis, must lose in the recall effort.  (