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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 21, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 21, 2007

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

  • NRB Top Honors Recognize Salem Communications on Air and Online
  • North Korean Christians Sit Out Dictator's Birthday Celebrations
  • Latest Barna Study Finds Billy Graham Most Widely Known
  • US To Blame For Muslim Antagonism, Says Supporter of Suicide Bombings

NRB Top Honors Recognize Salem Communications on Air and Online

The National Religious Broadcasters has announced its full complement of annual awards for 2006 including three top honors for Salem Communications media. The 'Radio Station of the Year - Talk Format' goes to WAVA 780 AM/105.1 FM serving the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas. The 'Best Radio Talk Show' award recognizes The Frank Pastore Show on 99.5 FM KKLA in the Los Angeles market. The 'Best Broadcast Website' honor goes to OnePlace.com, the largest provider of Christian audio content on the Internet today. "These NRB awards constitute the Religious Broadcasting industry's version of the Emmys, so this is indeed a very high honor," said Joe Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Salem Communications. "To win three of them is not a small thing, especially when they represent a cross-section of what we do - best station, best talk show, and best broadcast website."

North Korean Christians Sit Out Dictator's Birthday Celebrations

Last week, North Korea held a lavish celebration for dictator Kim Jong-il, whose birthday is seen as one of the top three national holidays in that communist nation; however, many North Korean Christians opted not to celebrate, AgapePress reports. A spokesman for an international ministry to the persecuted Church says the North Korean believers' decision could prove dangerous. Kim Jong-il is seen as a deity in North Korea, where thousands of people danced in the streets as part of the annual celebration of his birth. Lavish parades and banquets are held to honor the dictator; however, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, writer-at-large for Open Doors International, says "The essence of North Korea is that you have to worship Kim Jong-il; he's not just a leader, he's a god," Boyd-MacMillan explains. He says the North Korean people are compelled to say grace to the dictator and bow to his statue; and, according to what they are taught, "he's supposed to be responsible for the peace of the world."

Latest Barna Study Finds Billy Graham Most Widely Known

Billy Graham is the most widely known religious leader among U.S. adults; Pat Robertson has the highest negative rating among the eleven religious leaders tested. Overall, The Barna Group's latest study found born again Christians differ from other people regarding their religious beliefs, but their awareness of cultural icons and their feelings about most celebrities are indistinguishable from those of the population at-large. The public figures generating the highest favorability scores were Denzel Washington (85%), Oprah Winfrey (83%), Bill Gates (80%), Tim McGraw (72%), Faith Hill (71%), Mel Gibson (69%), Jimmy Carter (68%), George Clooney (67%), Bill Clinton (64%) and Graham (64%).

US To Blame For Muslim Antagonism, Says Supporter of Suicide Bombings

The United States and its foreign policies have come under fire at a conference on relations between the U.S. and Islam, with figures like suicide bombing apologist Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi accusing America of responsibility for Muslims' animosity, CNSNews.com reports. Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Sunni scholar regarded as the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, told the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha the U.S. had created the problem by searching for "an alternative enemy" in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse. "The U.S. has initiated the animosity when the neoconservatives chose Islam as an alternative enemy," Gulf Times quoted him as telling the gathering. The three-day meeting ended on Monday. Qaradawi said if the billions of dollars the U.S. spends on its efforts "to dominate the world" were instead channeled to needy Third World countries, Washington could easily have won over the hearts and minds of the people in those parts of the world. "America will never be the master of the world. One day it will be replaced by new powers like India or China," he said.