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Religion Today Summaries, August 27, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, August 27, 2003

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

  • Ten Commandments Supporters Make Last-Ditch Court Effort
  • Innocent Christian Released in Peru
  • Bishops' Labor Day Statement Appeals for Migrant Workers
  • Pastor Launches 'America Say Jesus' Campaign

Ten Commandments Supporters Make Last-Ditch Court Effort
Stan Bailey, Adelle Banks, Religion News Service

Supporters of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore have filed a suit seeking to keep a Ten Commandments monument in the state's judicial building days after ethics charges were filed against Moore when he refused to move the monument.  The suit, filed Monday in federal court in Mobile, intends to keep Justice Gorman Houston, the acting chief justice, from removing the monument. It was filed on behalf of the Rev. Richard C. Dorley, a pastor, and Kelly McGinley, a woman who hosts a Christian radio show called "Re-Taking America."  While the district judge who ordered the monument removed declared it unconstitutional, plaintiffs in the latest suit said they view it "as a cornerstone of justice and fairness by the courts."  Opponents to the monument, who filed suit for its removal, said they consider the suit to be "without merit" and likely to be dismissed.  A hearing has been set for Wednesday on the case.  Moore was suspended with pay and Houston became acting chief justice on Friday when the state Judicial Inquiry Commission filed ethics charges against Moore for refusing to obey a federal court order to remove the monument.  Meanwhile, observers near and far are continuing to react to the controversy.

Innocent Christian Released in Peru
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service

A Christian widower has been reunited with his seven children after spending almost eight years of a ten year sentence in prison. Julian Jorge Godoy, 42, lived in a small village in rural Ayacucho.  Shining Path guerrillas swept into the area and took over, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The guerrillas appointed Godoy 'commissariat,' a position he was unable to reject, as it would have meant death for him, his wife and young children. He was forced to attend the guerrilla ideological meetings. In 1991, Julian and his family fled to Huamanga,. In 1995, a captured Shining Path terrorist accused Julian of participating in subversive activities. He voluntarily presented himself to the police believing when they heard his story they would understand. He was detained for 11 days and tortured for five. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. The Peru based human rights organization, Paz y Esperanza (Peace and Hope), took up Julian's case, petitioning for an emergency release on humanitarian grounds pointing to the serious situation of his family. Godoy was released this July.  In the 1990's ex-President Alberto Fujimori put into place emergency terrorist laws to eradicate terrorist groups from Peru. He implemented a system of arbitrary detainment and 'faceless judges'. Thousands of civilians were picked up by the military or the police.

Bishops' Labor Day Statement Appeals for Migrant Workers
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

The annual Labor Day statement by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops appeals for fair treatment for migrant farm workers who "still have a claim on our conscience."   Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, chairman of the bishops' domestic policy committee, said migrant workers deserve safe working conditions, affordable housing and legal rights.  "The plight of agricultural workers may not be on the evening news or in the headlines, but it should be at the heart of our thoughts, reflections and priorities as we celebrate Labor Day this year," McCarrick said. He called for a "just and fair legal pathway" that "protects the basic labor rights of foreign-born workers and recognizes the reality of so many of these workers in the field." Migrant workers already in the United States should be eligible for legal residency, McCarrick said.  "At a minimum" migrant agricultural workers deserve a decent wage and safe living and work conditions. "When farm workers do come, they too often find meager jobs, decrepit housing and unsafe conditions. Some end up living under bridges or even in caves," McCarrick said. "Many of us seem content to avert our eyes or ignore the reality that so many who provide our food live in such misery," he said.

Pastor Launches 'America Say Jesus' Campaign
Charisma News Service

A Florida pastor started a grass-roots campaign to get every Christian in America to say the name of Jesus three to five times more daily. David Allbritton said God told him in a vision to launch the "America Say Jesus" effort, which includes sending a petition to President Bush and Congress. "From the beginning of the church, the devil tried to keep Christians from preaching or teaching or even speaking in His name," said Allbritton, who pastors America's Church in Largo, a charismatic congregation he started earlier this year. "Just think what a revival would break loose if Christians all over America started saying the name [of] Jesus to their friends, family and neighbors." Allbritton, who is looking to publish a book titled "America Say Jesus," noted that God is popular again since the 9/11 attacks, but the name of Jesus is shunned, even ridiculed. "I believe God would honor him and our nation and send us a spiritual awakening and millions of Americans would be saved. ... Hopefully and prayerfully, the Lord will use it to touch our country." Terry Kirk, pastor of Central Christian Assembly, an Assemblies of God congregation in Baltimore, said he supports the effort by Allbritton. "The campaign will be viewed by many as provocative but so was Jesus in His time," Kirk, 56, said.