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Religion Today Summaries - February 17, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 17, 2005

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

  • Bible Teacher, Prolific Author Judson Cornwall Dies at Age 80

  • School Board Upholds Bible Classes

  • Calif. Student Sees Free Speech Double-Standard on Campus

  • Eritrea Jails another 31 Christians

Bible Teacher, Prolific Author Judson Cornwall Dies at Age 80
Charisma News Service

Renowned Pentecostal Bible teacher Judson Cornwall whose itinerant ministry ended four years ago because of cancer has died at age 80. After suffering a severe stroke on Feb. 8, Cornwall died last Friday night in his Phoenix home. "It was while listening to his wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Justine, sing a favorite chorus, 'Into Thy Presence We Come,' that he entered the presence of the Lord," said Iverna Tompkins, Cornwall's sister. Cornwall was preaching in Texas in July 2001, when he suffered excruciating pain in his back. After returning to Phoenix, where he lives, Cornwall was diagnosed with inoperable, malignant cancer on his spine. He also battled diabetes for several years. The disease cut short Cornwall's ministry, which featured speaking engagements at four churches monthly before he got sick. But in 2003, Cornwall, who ministered worldwide for more than 20 years and was a third generation minister, started recording his books on tape for an Oklahoma-based blind ministry. One of the fathers and pioneers of contemporary worship, Cornwall authored more than 50 books, many of which have been translated into other languages. "His last book was written at the urging of the publisher after learning that Cornwall continued to counsel others from his wheelchair," Tompkins, a Bible conference speaker, said. "The book is well named 'Dying with Grace' for this is exactly what he did to his last breath." (www.charismanow.com)

School Board Upholds Bible Classes
Erin Curry, Baptist Press

A school board in Staunton, Va., has said children in its district may continue the tradition of leaving school for weekly Bible classes despite complaints from some parents that students who choose to stay behind are disadvantaged. In a 5-1 decision Feb. 14, board members ruled that the weekday Bible classes attended by more than 80 percent of the district's first-, second- and third-graders will be allowed for the remainder of the current school year but the issue will be revisited for next year. The voluntary 30-minute classes came under fire from some parents who said their children were missing out on valuable instruction time during the period they waited for their classmates to return, according to The Washington Post. Besides the idle time, students who opted not to attend Bible classes were stigmatized, parents said. Staunton, part of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, is along a corridor of Interstate 81 known as the state's Bible Belt. The school district is one of about 20 in the region that release public school students from classes during the school day for religious instruction at nearby churches, The Post said. The classes began in Virginia in 1929 and were moved from classrooms to churches in 1948 when the Supreme Court said the lessons violated the separation of church and state.

Calif. Student Sees Free Speech Double-Standard on Campus
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A Kuwaiti Arab Muslim student is speaking out after his community college approved an article indirectly comparing him to Adolph Hitler. Last semester, Foothill College political science professor Joseph Woolcock flunked Ahmad Al Qloushi and ordered him to get psychological treatment because he wrote a pro-American essay as his take-home final exam. Standing his ground on the essay, Al Qloushi explained that if it were not for U.S. intervention into Kuwait when he was younger, he would not have had the opportunity for furthering his education.  Woolcock filed a school grievance against Al Qloushi, charging him with intimidation and harassment for mentioning his name to the media. Now comes word that the Foothill College Student Activities Office has approved an article that labels Al Qloushi "irrational" and accuses him of endangering Woolcock.  The 17-year-old freshman says he cannot understand why the school would allow a "terrible personal attack" on him. "I just don't understand why they would approve something which personally attacks me and compares me to one of the most evil dictators on the face of the earth," the student says.Al Qloushi happens to be chairman of the campus group Foothill College Republicans.  Administrators have told that group it is not allowed to include the school's name in a press release regarding its chairman.

Eritrea Jails another 31 Christians
Compass Direct

Another 31 Eritrean Christians have been jailed over the past 10 days, making a total of 187 arrests for "illegal" Christian activities since the beginning of the year. Fourteen members of the Kale Hiwot Church in Adi-Tekelzan were apprehended February 4 during a Bible study at the home of their pastor. The previous day, Professor Senere Zaid of the agriculture faculty at Eritrea University was put under arrest in Asmara. Compass also documented the arrest of a physician identified as Dr. Segid in Keren during the last week of January. Last Saturday, 15 Christian women were jailed at the police station in Keren.  Local authorities reportedly described the evangelical believers as "a threat to national security." However, "all the sisters exposed to imprisonment and insult by the authorities in Keren were gathered merely for the purpose of prayer, not any political purpose," one of their colleagues confirmed.