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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 14, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 14, 2007

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

  • America's Biggest Donors Ignore Religious Causes
  • Christian Emergency Network Encourages Churches, Ministries to Prepare for Disaster
  • Nigerian Church Struggles to Survive in Muslim-run State
  • House Votes to Honor Real Reason Behind Christmas

America's Biggest Donors Ignore Religious Causes

According to a new study released by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR), higher education, health, and cultural arts organizations receive the lion's share of the largest gifts that individuals, foundations, and corporations contribute to American philanthropy. A Religion News Service release indicates that higher education received nearly half of the dollars from gifts of $10 million or more. Gary A. Tobin and Aryeh K. Weinberg, the study's authors, analyzed over 8000 gifts of $1 million or more made between 2001-2003. "Mega-gifts are very concentrated in a few types of organizations. Religious organizations, human services for the needy, and umbrella campaigns like the United Way are the big losers in attracting the largest gifts. Colleges and universities are the biggest winners," according to Tobin, president of IJCR.

Christian Emergency Network Encourages Churches, Ministries to Prepare for Disaster

OneNewsNow.com reports that Mary Marr, founder of the Christian Emergency Network (CEN), says many churches aren't prepared for tragedies such as the recent shootings in Colorado. New Life Church, where the gunman lost his life thanks in part to an armed security guard, is a ministry partner with CEN. Marr says New Life was one of the first churches to create an emergency response plan several years ago, and believes other churches can easily implement CEN's program. "You can simply walk through the step-by-step process; any church can, to learn how to be able to be ready for a situation like that," explains Marr. CEN also offers a sermon series to helps church members prepare for tragedies.

Nigerian Church Struggles to Survive in Muslim-run State

After the government destroyed its church building in 2001, a Church of the Brethren in Nigeria congregation bought the Bight of Benin Hotel for 5.5 million naira (US $46,610) as a place of worship. Compass Direct News reports that the Kano government offered no explanation for the demolition, much less compensation, and the Rev. James Zoaka said his church’s 13-year-old struggle to survive is far from over. “We are yet to get approval for us to continue to use this place as a place of worship,” said Rev. Zoaka. “The Kano state government may decide at any time to declare this place illegal and then demolish it.” The congregation, which in 1994 stood at about 1,000, has not lost members to splits or defections to other churches. Rather, Rev. Zoaka said, about half of its members have fled Kano city in the threats that accompanied the government demolition of the church and subsequent attacks on Christians. The sanctuary the state demolished had been rebuilt, Rev. Zoaka said, after Muslims burned it down – for the third time.

House Votes to Honor Real Reason Behind Christmas

The Christian Post reports that the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution this week recognizing the importance of Christianity and Christmas in America. Congress voted 372-9 to recognize "the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world" and acknowledges "the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith." Representatives also agreed to acknowledge and support “the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization.” “For us to move forward towards Christmas without honoring Christ is, I think, a great omission, especially if we're going to honor other religions,” Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa), who sponsored the measure, told One News Now.