Religion Today Summaries - December 13, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 13, 2004

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

  • Storms Destroy Homes, School for War Victims in Burundi 

  • Christian Ministries in U.S. Reach Out to Haiti

  • Philippines: Native Missionaries Suffer after Typhoons 

  • Harassed Professor Files Suit Against Univ. of Oklahoma

Storms Destroy Homes, School for War Victims in Burundi
Christian Aid

An indigenous ministry supported by Christian Aid suffered great loss recently when violent storms swept through a community it had developed for war victims. The ministry, located in the central African country of Burundi, had constructed 150 simple houses and a school building to serve returning refugees. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who fled Burundi's decade-long civil war are now, because of relative peace established in the country, returning to their homeland. But hundreds are finding that the ravages of war have destroyed houses, schools, medical clinics--entire villages. One indigenous ministry, burdened to help homeless returnees, built a community of houses for families and a school for children. Now, most of these structures are rubble. Pray for this ministry as it works to rebuild. Pray for the war victims who have lost their homes, either to recent storms or to years of fighting, that they might experience the love of Christ through the aid of native missionaries. Any readers interested in giving towards this need may call 1-800-977-5650, or write [email protected] and put E-ALERT 576-MCM on the subject line.

Christian Ministries in U.S. Reach Out to Haiti
Allie Martin and Chad Groening, AgapePress

A global missions and relief organization based in North Carolina is trying to make a difference for Christ in Haiti. This weekend, New Directions International in North Carolina is sponsoring a series of conferences for men in Haiti. The event, co-sponsored by Promise Keepers, is called "Haiti at the Cross." J.L. Williams, who founded NDI, says the ministry has worked hard to lay the groundwork for the Promise Keepers conferences. One way it has done this, Williams notes, is by keeping focused on the PK value of racial reconciliation. He says NDI "has always been, since our inception back in the tumultuous civil rights days, seeking to be proactively involved in racial reconciliation" and to be "an interracial ministry from the biblical standpoint." Williams says his group has always sought earnestly to model racial reconciliation and was invited to Haiti "to try to demonstrate and share that model." NDI's founder says that missions outreach and relief organization has been working in Haiti for decades, and now he believes the Caribbean nation is ripe for revival. During the years the ministry was laying its foundation there, Williams remarks, "little did we realize that it was perhaps not only for all the interim years, but for such a time as this, to stand alongside our Haitian brothers and sisters and try to be agents of reconciliation and change in the country." "Haiti at the Cross" is being held in conjunction with the Caribbean nation's bicentennial celebrations. The conference series wraps up this Sunday with a closing event at the National Stadium in Port Au Prince.

Philippines: Native Missionaries Suffer after Typhoons
Christian Aid

A succession of storms that battered the eastern Philippines left over 1000 people dead or missing. An estimated 500,000 have been affected; native missionaries have not been spared. The most deadly typhoon hit the eastern part of Luzon Island approximately 40 miles east of Manila on November 29. It was followed by Typhoon Nanmadol only days later. Rescue efforts were inhibited due to extensive flooding and landslides, blocking roads for miles. Though pinpointing an exact figure is difficult due to hampered communication and travel abilities, estimates place the death toll at over 550. Numbers could rise as hunger, lack of clean drinking water and unsanitary living conditions contribute to disease among displaced flood victims. Among those victims are many native missionaries supported by Christian Aid. Ministry headquarters have also been affected; one has been frantically digging a deeper drainage canal around its facilities in an attempt to divert rising flood waters. Indigenous ministries want to help many of the thousands affected by the typhoons as soon as funds and road conditions allow. They will use their relief efforts as a way to spread the gospel of Christ among flood victims. Please remember those victims, and the gospel workers among them, in your prayers. If you are interested in giving towards flood relief in the Philippines, write [email protected] and put MI- 536 801-DIS on the subject line, or call 1-800-977- 5650.

Harassed Professor Files Suit Against Univ. of Oklahoma
Jim Brown, AgapePress

Administrators at the University of Oklahoma are being accused of conspiring to punish an outspoken professor for his political views. Tenured geology professor David Deming has filed a lawsuit against OU for stripping him of his office and most of this courses.  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has advocated on his behalf, claims OU administrators plotted to ostracize Deming for his outspoken political views and attempts at whistle blowing. FIRE's Greg Lukianoff notes that four years ago, Deming was charged with sexual harassment for mocking a columnist's pro-gun control arguments.  Since that time, Lukianoff maintains administrators at the school have gone through "extensive efforts to marginalize and punish Professor Deming for his speech and for bringing up very legitimate concerns about potential double-dealing of the university." Deming has raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest between the OU School of Geology and Geophysics and a private company called Fusion Geophysical, which is owned by one of the professors. According to the FIRE spokesman, Deming was removed from the department after questioning the ethical judgment of some department officials. According to FIRE president David French, university e-mails and documents illustrate a conspiracy to silence Deming.  The school's conduct, he says, "has been shameful" and constitutes a "naked attempt to subvert academic freedom."