Religion Today Summaries - December 31, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 31, 2004

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

  • Christian Relief Groups Mobilize Aid for Tsunami Victims in Asia

  • South Asia: As Death Toll Increases, So Do Indigenous Relief Efforts 

  • Hollywood's View Of Religion Grows More Negative

  • Nigeria

Christian Relief Groups Mobilize Aid for Tsunami Victims in Asia
Charisma News Service

In what is described as the largest relief operation the world has seen, Christian aid organizations are mobilizing help and distributing supplies for survivors of the giant earthquake and tsunami that rocked southern Asia. With staff and volunteers already embedded in Sri Lanka, the Christian Children's Fund quickly began distributing food, water and other supplies to catastrophe victims, The Washington Post reported. The charity hopes to set up child-help centers and is sending an international team that includes specialists from Virginia. Within hours of the undersea earthquake that struck near Indonesia, indigenous missionary teams of Charlottesville, Va.-based Christian Aid Mission (CAM) were delivering loads of emergency relief to tidal wave victims in coastal areas of seven countries, Assist News Service reported. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City-based Feed the Children (FTC) is sending more than 50,000 pounds of food, water and disaster relief supplies to the devastated region. FTC is working with other relief organizations to assess the need and find an undamaged port to receive the supplies as soon as possible. Food for the Hungry, based in Phoenix, is working on providing physical and spiritual hope for the victims. Relief organizations are trying to head off the threat of cholera and malaria epidemics that could break out where water supplies are polluted with bodies and debris. (

South Asia: As Death Toll Increases, So Do Indigenous Relief Efforts
Christian Aid

The unprecedented catastrophe of the December 26th earthquake and tsunami is being met by an unprecedented relief effort. Many native missionaries are on the frontlines, providing physical aid and spiritual encouragement to thousands of victims. Christian Aid assists more than 100 indigenous ministries in areas affected by the disaster. Many of these ministries were among the first on the scene to help, providing what aid they could in the name of Christ. They continue to do so as financial help reaches them from compassionate Christians. Native missionaries urgently need more assistance from believers around the world as they carry on relief work. Disease spread by contaminated water and dead bodies of humans and animals is projected to take many more lives. Indigenous ministries are providing food, blankets, clean drinking water, clothing, medicines, tents and cooking utensils for victims. Christian Aid is receiving emergency contributions for these ministries by telephone at 1-800-977-5650 or online at Checks designated for Disaster Relief should be sent to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906.

Hollywood's View Of Religion Grows More Negative
Erin Curry, Baptist Press

Television's treatment of religion has become increasingly negative in recent years even though mentions of God are occurring more often, according to a joint study by the Parents Television Council and the National Religious Broadcasters. The study, released Dec. 16, said Hollywood is not accurately portraying viewers' beliefs. PTC watched a total of 2,385 hours of primetime entertainment programming on the seven commercial broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS and NBC, during the 2003-04 season and found 2,344 treatments of religion. In a similar study released in 1997, they found only 551 treatments of religion in 1,800 hours of programming, a Dec. 16 PTC news release said. Among those 2,344 mentions of religion, PTC judged 22 percent as positive, 24 percent as negative and the remainder neutral. Negative depictions of clergy were more than twice as frequent as positive depictions, the study said, and more than 32 percent of mentions of religious institutions and doctrine were negative while just 11.7 percent were positive. References to faith in general were most common and most likely to be positive, PTC said. "These findings lend credibility to the idea that Hollywood accepts spirituality but shies away from endorsing, or even tolerating, organized religion," PTC President Brent Bozell said in a statement. For more information about the study, visit

Charisma News Service

Muslims students recently killed a Christian college student after opposition to evangelism broke out on the campuses of two universities. Sunday Nache Achi, a fourth-year architectural student at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in the northern city of Bauchi, was strangled to death on Dec. 9 and his body was abandoned next to a mosque, Compass Direct reported. Authorities have not yet arrested any suspects in the murder of Achi, who served as president of the campus ministry of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA). University officials had earlier expelled students Abraham Adamu Misal, Hannatu Haruna Alkali and Habakkuk Solomon for distributing a Christian leaflet that compared the teachings of Jesus with Islam. Additionally, Muslim students at the nearby Bauchi Federal Polytechnic threatened two Christians with death before the pair was expelled from the school for similar evangelistic activities. After the murder of Achi, arsonists destroyed the offices of the Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students. Authorities in Bauchi then ordered Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University and Federal Polytechnic closed. Achi was buried on Dec. 11 in his hometown of Kibori, located in the central state of Kaduna. Funeral services were held at the Kibori ECWA church, Compass reported. (