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Religion Today Summaries, February 17, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, February 17, 2004

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

  • Conservative TV Network Partners with Fox for Added Value, Right Values
  • Christian Groups Seek to Block Gay Marriages in San Francisco
  • Divinity School Offers Degree in Defending Biblical Creation
  • Christian Samaritan Falsely Accused of Forced Conversion

Conservative TV Network Partners with Fox for Added Value, Right Values
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A Christian cable network is expanding its lineup to help believers better influence the culture for Christ. Executives with FamilyNet, the television subsidiary of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced its plans during the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The expanded fall lineup will include alliances with Fox News and conservative Christian personalities such as radio commentator Janet Parshall, Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, and Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family. FamilyNet CEO Bob Sutton says Christians cannot make a difference in society if they are not informed. He notes that partnering with such widely respected commentators will help the network ensure that important information is given comprehensive and trustworthy treatment. The cable network executive says believers are called to make a positive mark on society and will be held responsible for the impact they have had -- or should have had. "I don't want to stand in front of the King and say, 'You gave me this opportunity, and I flubbed it.' It's because of His grace that we are able to do this," Sutton says. FamilyNet's weekly schedule includes more than 50 hours of original, values-based programming produced by the network, as well as many other exclusive programs.

Christian Groups Seek to Block Gay Marriages in San Francisco
Charisma News Service

More than 1,700 other gay and lesbian couples have exchanged vows in the last few days in San Francisco, but Christian legal groups are hoping to block the same-sex unions. Newly-elected, liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom touched off the wedding spree by ordering officials last Thursday to issue licenses to same-sex couples, declaring that he was merely ensuring equal treatment of homosexuals. Shortly after Newsom's controversial decision, the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund sued to block same-sex unions, and San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren has scheduled a hearing today in the case. Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Fla.-based Christian firm, also plans to ask the court today to issue an emergency injunction blocking Newsom's attempt to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Conservatives point to a ballot initiative approved by 61 percent of California voters in 2000 that says the state will only recognize marriages between a man and woman. Randy Thomasson, director of the Campaign for California Families, another group challenging the gay marriages in court, said that Newsom "can't play God.” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins added: "The state of California must rebuff the efforts of this rogue mayor. His actions ... show that homosexual activists are ready and willing to ignore the people and to ignore the law to further their agenda of normalizing homosexuality and gaining public acceptance of their behavior."

Divinity School Offers Degree in Defending Biblical Creation
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A Christian distance-learning school in Indiana has launched a biblical creation apologetics program. Evansville-based Master's Divinity School is hailing the program as the first of its kind in the world. "This particular program is designed to prepare the pastor, the school administrator, the Christian school teacher, or just the layman, who wants to become a thoroughly trained apologist for biblical creation," Frey says. He believes the need for such a program is great because most Christians are uninformed about the truth concerning origin of life theories. According to Frey, Darwin's evolutionary theory is more than just a matter of popular bad science. "I know the negative consequences of the teaching of evolution in our society are not insignificant." he says. "They're tied back to the holocaust of abortion, and so many of our social ills in today's world have some…link back to the teaching of evolution." The divinity school president says the MDS apologetics program prepares students to confront evolutionists with practical, Bible-based, and scientifically defensible evidence supporting the Genesis account of creation, and other related issues. Frey says in fewer than five years of existence, the distance-learning school has grown to such a degree that its current student body numbers nearly 3,000 students.

Christian Samaritan Falsely Accused of Forced Conversion
Charisma News Service

Brothel owners have accused a Christian activist of "unlawfully converting" Hindu sex workers in India. Anson Thomas has rescued scores of girls 18 years and younger from prostitution in Mumbai, located in Maharashtra state, Compass Direct reported. When a report of the allegations recently appeared in "The Times of India," activists from the Hindu political party Shiv Sena protested Thomas' activities by gathering outside a local police station. Police warned Thomas to refrain from giving Hindu child prostitutes Bibles and delivering sermons. "Mr. Thomas is indulging in unlawful acts which could lead to religious and social trouble," Nawal Najaj, a deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai, told Compass. Thomas has denied that he forced anyone to convert to Christianity.