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Religion Today Summaries - August 25, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - August 25, 2005

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

  • India's Supreme Court Will Hear Private Petition For Dalit Christians

  • Ex-Pastor Writes 'Open Letter' to Anti-War Mother of Slain Soldier

  • Iraq: Gospel Spreads Amid Political Uncertainty 

  • Court Sides with Student on Right to Wear Scripture-Bearing Shirt

India's Supreme Court Will Hear Private Petition For Dalit Christians
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service

India's Supreme Court will on August 25, hear a private citizen's petition challenging the Presidential ordinance of 1950 which took away affirmative action benefits from Dalit Christians. According to the Dalit Freedom Network, the Constitution had earlier allowed for affirmative action benefits for all Dalits. Then an ordinance which took away this fundamental right from Dalit Christians was passed. It was argued that since the Christian faith does not teach or support the caste system, all affirmative action benefits must be withdrawn from Dalit Christians. The Dalit Freedom Network says that in the past 50 years, Dalit Christians have tried to influence the Indian Parliament to rectify this situation. The Dalit Freedom Network says the Indian Supreme Court has allowed a petition filed by a Dalit Christian lawyer challenging the denial of this fundamental right. The Supreme Court has now sent a notice to the Indian Government asking for a response to this groundbreaking petition. The date for the hearing featuring the Government's response is August 25, 2005. The Dalit Freedom Network is urging concerned American Christians to write a polite letter to the Prime Minister of India encouraging him to prevail upon the Government of India to take this opportunity to redress the inequality experienced by Dalit Christians.

Ex-Pastor Writes 'Open Letter' to Anti-War Mother of Slain Soldier
Charisma News Service

A former pastor and best-selling author is garnering national media attention for writing "an open letter" to the mother of a slain soldier who has camped outside President Bush's Texas ranch this month to protest the war in Iraq. A week ago on his blog, www.mansfieldgroup.com, Stephen Mansfield, author of "The Faith of the American Soldier," posted his 502-word letter to Cindy Sheehan, whose son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq in April 2004. Since Aug. 6, Sheehan has generated a media firestorm as she kept vigil outside Bush's home in Crawford in hopes of meeting with him. The Vacaville, Calif., resident says she wants to ask the president what her son -- an Army mechanic who was killed in Baghdad -- died to achieve, CNN reported. Mansfield said he does not want to make less of her grief, but he is concern that she is diminishing the heroic death of her son by her demonstration. "I fear, though, that what began as a mourning mother's righteous cry for meaning is becoming something that threatens to dishonor Casey's heroism," Mansfield wrote. Bush met with Sheehan after her son's death, and the White House said the president has no plans to meet with her again. (www.charismanews.com)

Iraq: Gospel Spreads Amid Political Uncertainty
Christian Aid Mission

In the middle of a charged political atmosphere, one indigenous ministry is drawing scores to Christ, often at great risk to missionaries. Over the past year alone, Iraqi missionaries have set up a discipleship school in one of Iraq's largest cities and have held a training conference for new believers in the north. They have also begun offering Bible studies specifically for women. Mercy outreaches in some of the areas hardest-hit by war are drawing many to Christ as missionaries distribute food, clothing and other necessities. Through this ministry's efforts, new cell groups have been started. This past year, 72 Iraqis made decisions to follow Christ. Though the situation in many parts of Iraq remains unstable, many Iraqi people are continuing to respond to native missionaries' message of hope in Christ.

Court Sides with Student on Right to Wear Scripture-Bearing Shirt
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A federal judge has told an Ohio school district it can no longer bar a middle school student from wearing a t-shirt with a Christian message. Judge George Smith has ruled that Sheridan Middle School in Thornville violated the constitutional rights of student James Nixon by prohibiting him from wearing a t-shirt bearing a quote from the Bible verse John 14:6.  The front of the shirt reads: "Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'"  The back of the shirt contains the statements: "Homosexuality is sin. Islam is a lie. Abortion is murder." Although no complaints were filed over Nixon's t-shirt, a few school officials -- described by the student's attorney as "overzealous" -- deemed its message may be "offensive" to some individuals and "potentially disruptive," and thus could not be displayed. Nixon's attorney, James Nelson of the Orlando-based American Liberties Institute, says the decision handed down by Judge Smith has a "broad, sweeping significance," especially for students in the southern district of Ohio, many of whom he says were watching for the outcome. Nelson asserts the judge's ruling sets a persuasive precedent. The attorney feels that due to the jurisdiction of Smith's court over other schools and school districts, the ruling will allow students to freely express their viewpoint on the same issues and to wear the same t-shirt to school.