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Religion Today Summaries, February 28, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, February 28, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians

In Today's Edition:

  • Orthodox Jewish Leader Declares Support for Bush Against Iraq
  • Vatican Says War Against Iraq Would Be a `Crime Against Peace'
  • Nigerian Christians Arrested Following Riots
  • Third Day Among Gospel Grammy Winners

Orthodox Jewish Leader Declares Support for Bush Against Iraq
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) The top executive of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America has voiced strong support for the policies of the Bush administration concerning Iraq.  "President Bush speaks with great clarity, not only in moral terms, but in religious terms as well in distinguishing between good and evil and seeing Saddam Hussein as `evil personified,'" said Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, at an observance of a "National Day of Prayer.”  Weinreb said leaders of his organization "pray for a peaceful solution" but would stand by Bush "100 percent" if he determined that military action was necessary.  Weinreb also used the occasion to express solidarity with Israelis who have suffered from terrorism and to declare that the Orthodox Union believes that killing in God's name desecrates the name of God.  "We believe in God as fervently as the most fervent Muslim, but we do not believe that God wants us to kill other people, but on the contrary to do everything we can to preserve life and all its wonderful values," he said.  "We protest against those who in the name of religion murder others."

Vatican Says War Against Iraq Would Be a `Crime Against Peace'
Peggy Polk

(RNS) Speaking after a weekend in which Pope John Paul II discussed the Iraq crisis with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and called a worldwide fast for peace, a high Vatican official said Monday (Feb. 24) that war without United Nations approval would be "a crime against peace."  Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the pope's foreign minister, said the Vatican believes that every action in the Iraq crisis "must be undertaken and decided in the context of the United Nations."  "No rule of international law authorizes states to have recourse to force unilaterally to change a regime or a state's form of government only because it possesses weapons of mass destruction," the French prelate said in the Vatican's most explicit condemnation so far of Bush administration policy.  At his 30-minute meeting with Blair, John Paul urged Washington and London to "make every effort to avoid new divisions in the world" in their efforts to defuse the Iraq crisis, a Vatican statement said.  Blair's spokesman said in a statement, "We acknowledge the pope's concern and we share the desire to avoid war but, ultimately, the decision will be a decision for Saddam."

Nigerian Christians Arrested Following Riots

(Charisma News) Seventeen Christians from various denominations in Aba, a city in the country's southern Abia state, were arrested last month over reprisal attacks on Muslims.  According to Compass Direct, sources said the believers were reacting to "incessant" assaults on Christians in northern Nigeria by Muslim extremists.  Religious clashes on Jan. 11 in Central Nigeria's Plateau state left one Christian dead.  Joel Nimfa, a Christian leader in the Kanam community, was killed in his farmhouse when Muslim bandits attacked the farm and other Christian settlements.  Christian leaders in the northern state of Kaduna filed a lawsuit last month against the Nigerian and the Kaduna state governments and the newspaper, "ThisDay," over last November's religious riots.  An article in "ThisDay" has been blamed for the death of 1,000 people and the destruction of about 125 churches in the city of Kaduna, Compass reported.  "We are also aware that no amount of wealth can pay for a single human life, and that is why we are demanding compensation for destroyed churches and not for lives," said Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, Catholic Bishop of the Kafanchan Diocese and the chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria.  www.charismanews.com

Third Day Among Gospel Grammy Winners
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Third Day won its first Grammy on Sunday (Feb. 23), joining five other artists in taking home honors in the gospel music categories.  "What an amazing honor it is to win a Grammy," said band member Mac Powell in a backstage interview with reporters.  "I know it sounds cliche,
but we've always believed it is a great honor just to be nominated.  And it is -- especially to be in the same category with artists who are great friends and remarkable musicians."  Third Day won in the Best Rock Gospel Album category for its "Come Together" album.  Other winners in the gospel categories at the New York ceremony were:

  • Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: "The Eleventh Hour" by Jars of Clay
  • Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "We Called Him Mr. Gospel Music: The James Blackwood Tribute Album" by the Jordanaires, Larry Ford and the Light Crust Doughboys
  • Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album: "Higher Ground" by the Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: "Sidebars" by Eartha
  • Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album: "Be Glad" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, directed by Carol Cymbala.