Religion Today Summaries, August 29, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, August 29, 2003

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

  • Poll, Rally, and Commentary Follow Monument Removal
  • Conservatives Not Convinced
  • WCC Names Kenyan Pastor as New General Secretary
  • Church Adds 'New Life' Via Fair Outreach

Poll, Rally and Commentary Follow Monument Removal
Adelle Banks, Religion News Service

As a new poll shows that more than three-quarters of American adults disapprove of the federal court order removing the Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of Alabama's state judicial building, evangelical leaders continue to voice divided opinions about the controversy.  A poll taken Monday and Tuesday found that 77 percent said they did not approve of the order, 19 percent approved of it and 4 percent had no opinion.  On Wednesday, workers rolled the granite monument out of public view after suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore declared he would not comply with an order calling for its removal. Alabama's eight associate Supreme Court justices overruled Moore and told the building manager to find a way to move the monument, which was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. At a rally Thursday outside the building, hundreds of Moore's supporters continued to demonstrate in favor of the monument's placement in the rotunda. "The liberal elite and the judges at the highest level and some in the media are determined to remove every evidence of faith in God from this entire culture," said Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson at the rally. White House spokeswoman Claire said, "It is important that we respect our laws and our courts... There's always opportunity for appeal of the court's decisions."

Conservatives Not Convinced
Agape Press

Despite trailing California's Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante in the most recent polls, Arnold Schwarzenegger still leads all other Republicans in the race to unseat Governor Gray Davis. However, many conservative Republicans are having a hard time getting excited about the actor's candidacy because of his liberal leanings. Pro-family activist Gary Bauer, former president of the Family Research Council and current president of American Values, is one of those not sold on Schwarzenegger's Republican label. Bauer and other conservatives claim that this is why America is in trouble today. He says were he a California voter, he would have deep concerns about Schwarzenegger because of the candidate's pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights stances, his economic policies, and the people with whom he is surrounding himself. Bauer says people need to think about the national implications if voters start electing Republicans who are liberal on all the values issues that are "at the heart of the Republican Party." He points to many "RINO's" -- "Republicans in name only" -- who hold liberal views on social issues, but run as Republicans to get elected. Bauer says Californians will be jumping from the frying pan into the fire if they trade one failed governor for another "just because he has a little R next to his name."

WCC Names Kenyan Pastor as New General Secretary
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

The World Council of Churches on Thursday (Aug. 28) elected a Methodist pastor from Kenya as the next general secretary of the Geneva-based ecumenical agency. The Rev. Samuel Kobia, a member of the Methodist Church of Kenya, was elected by the 134 voting members of the WCC's central committee. Kobia beat out the only other candidate, the Rev. Trond Bakkevig of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway. Kobia will assume the WCC's top post in January, succeeding the retiring Rev. Konrad Raiser, a German pastor who has held the post for 11 years. The WCC is a global fellowship of 342 churches from 100 countries. Founded in 1948, the WCC includes most Orthodox and mainline Protestant churches from the United States, but does not include Roman Catholics or evangelical groups.  Kobia, the WCC's special representative for Africa, quoted an African proverb, saying, "If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to go far, walk together with others. My prayer is that we shall go very far, walking together, strengthening each other to fulfill that prayer of ours --that all may be one."  A former head of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Kobia served as director of the WCC's Justice, Peace and Creation office.

Church Adds 'New Life' Via Fair Outreach
Charisma News Service

An Assemblies of God (AG) church in Ohio has added new life to its congregation by using an innovative outreach at a local fair. Instead of evening services at New Life Assembly of God in Circleville, members ministered the last two Sundays in June at the Pickaway County Fair, serving as greeters and gate attendants at the fair's three main entrances. Planted in 2000 with nine people, New Life uses the fair -- attended by more than 10,000 people annually -- as a way to exhibit Christlike friendliness, while creating community awareness about the church, senior pastor Tim McGinnis said. Members wear neon-green T-shirts as they hand out leaflets with information about the church. More than 30 people have joined New Life's now 175-member congregation as a result of the outreach from the past three summers. McGinnis said 85 percent of New Life's adherents are new converts. "The church is a spiritual hospital," he added, "where people should feel that they can come dressed as they are, with habits as they are, income as it is, and not be looked at in shame." The church recently completed a $50,000 addition to its facility, which sits on the 70-acre fairgrounds that is the location of the annual county fair.