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Religion Today Summaries, February 12, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, February 12, 2004

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

  • Airline Investigates Pilot's Evangelistic Remarks
  • Minister Says Schools' Pro-Homosexual Settlement Shames Area Christians
  • Churches Threatened, Protested in Indonesia 
  • Philosophy Prof Punished for Expressing Religious Beliefs

Airline Investigates Pilot's Evangelistic Remarks
Charisma News Service

A Christian pilot who recently invited passengers to participate in a discussion of Christianity during a cross-country flight may be grounded for his actions. Just before takeoff last Friday, American Airlines (AA) Capt. Rodger Findiesen asked passengers aboard Flight 34 from Los Angeles to New York to raise their hands if they are Christians. Using the plane's Public Address system, he then suggested they discuss their faith with other passengers aboard the 4 1/2-hour flight. "I just wanted to give Christians a chance to talk about why they're Christians," Findiesen said. “I felt that God was telling me to say something. ... There's actually no regulation against doing what I did." But AA spokesman Tim Wagner said that Findiesen's comments fall "somewhere between questionable judgment and inappropriate behavior," and that the airline has launched an investigation. He said the pilot hasn't been suspended, but isn't "scheduled to fly for a few days.” Wagner noted that Findiesen had recently visited a Christian mission in Costa Rica, and wanted to "share his emotions." The airlines learned about the incident when at least one passenger complained to the media. Wagner said the results of the inquiry would not be made public because it is a personnel matter.

Minister Says Schools' Pro-Homosexual Settlement Shames Area Christians
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A Kentucky pastor is expressing concern and disappointment over the outcome of a two-year dispute between a local school board and the American Civil Liberties Union. Last year the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Boyd County school system over its refusal to allow a "Gay-Straight Alliance" club to meet on school grounds. After months of negotiation with the ACLU, the school board recently agreed to recognize the GSA and provide homosexual tolerance and anti-harassment training classes for students, faculty, and staff. However, Pastor Tim York of Heritage Free Will Baptist Church in Ashland says the settlement is not sitting well with the conservative community. "Morally, those who are opposed -- whether they are Christian or not -- are embarrassed. They are very ashamed that that kind of lifestyle is being promoted in the school system," he says. York feels the Boyd County case is just another example of how the federal court system is permitting public schools across the country to be bombarded with the homosexual agenda. But the pastor says the school board's acceptance will not change his message to teenage church members. The minister says his church will continue to teach young people Christian civility: that is, "to treat everyone with honor and human respect, to take their Christian stand, to share their moral views but make sure they're not harassing, that they're being very kind and gracious."

Churches Threatened, Protested in Indonesia
Charisma News Service

Muslim protestors recently attacked at least five churches. A crowd of approximately 100 people attacked the Gereja Protestan Indonesia congregation, a Dutch Reform church, in East Bekasi last month. Government officials had given permission to Christians to renovate an old house, which they had used as a church since 1975. However, leaders of the local mosque encouraged Muslims to protest against the renovations. On Jan. 12, church members met with local government and mosque officials, agreeing to suspend renovations temporarily. Meanwhile, three other churches were attacked in Surubaya, East Java, in December and January. Muslim protestors forced the three churches in Surabaya to close their doors. The pastor of one of the churches received death threats from the attackers. Additionally, a bomb was placed in a church in Medan, North Sumatra.

Philosophy Prof Punished for Expressing Religious Beliefs
Jim Brown and Jody Brown, Agape Press

A philosophy professor at an Ohio community college has been punished for disclosing his religious beliefs.  The educator is asking the school to rescind the punishment, which was levied after he discussed his Catholic beliefs in class. After a student at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland complained last Spring about Dr. James Tuttle discussing his Catholic beliefs in his "Moral Philosophy" class, Tuttle added a disclaimer to his syllabus informing students that he was a Catholic theologian.  However, Tuttle was then warned by a Lakeland administrator that his disclaimer was inappropriate, and that he should keep his religious opinions out of the classroom. The college then punished Tuttle by reducing his class load and pay for the fall semester, and having him monitored by a fellow professor. Greg Lukianoff with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is advising Tuttle.  "Saying that a philosophy professor cannot discuss his own personal philosophy or his own personal take on philosophy -- particularly something that has as many great minds behind it as the 2,000 years of Catholic philosophy -- is both outrageous and absurd," the FIRE spokesman says. In a letter to the president of Lakeland, FIRE says Tuttle's treatment shows a "distressing disregard" for academic freedom.  The FIRE spokesman says the school is engaging in religious discrimination. FIRE's letter says. FIRE is calling on Lakeland to restore Tuttle to his full class load and to use "no further contrivance ... to censor his religiously based philosophical point of view."