12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - February 28, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 28, 2005

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

  • Hodel Retiring As President Of Focus, Succeeded By James Daly

  • Complete Insensitivity The Left Has For People Of Faith 

  • Sudan: Anglicans Struggle To Regain Church Headquarters

  • Virginia Delegate Proposes to Protect Religious Liberty

Hodel Retiring As President Of Focus, Succeeded By James Daly
Baptist Press

Don Hodel is retiring as president of Focus on the Family and will be succeeded by James D. Daly, the organization's current chief operating officer, it was announced Feb. 25. Hodel, 70, had served as president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based pro-family organization, since April 2003. The move is effective immediately and will be discussed March 2 during the organization's radio broadcast, when Hodel and Daly join Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson on the program. Dobson applauded Hodel for increasing the organization's efficiency by reorganizing Focus' staff and operational structure. Dobson said Hodel "literally revolutionized Focus on the Family." Hodel will remain on the organization's board of directors, which he joined in 1995. Hodel previously served as president of the Christian Coalition and, earlier, as a cabinet member in President Reagan's administration, first as secretary of energy and then as secretary of the interior. Daly has been with Focus on the Family since 1989, serving mostly in the organization's public affairs, marketing and international efforts departments. Daly became vice president of public affairs in October 2003 and then chief operating officer in November 2004.

Complete Insensitivity The Left Has For People Of Faith

A conservative television analyst says the recent remarks by a liberal TV personality illustrates the complete insensitivity the left has for people of faith.  Comedian Bill Maher was a recent guest on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, where he said Christians and others who are religious suffer from a "neurological disorder" that "stops people from thinking."  Tim Graham of the Media Research Center says that is clearly not the voice of tolerance.  "If a conservative had said that homosexuality was a neurological disorder, their career would probably be over," Graham points out.  "The fact of the matter is, he is on HBO where he can pop off all the time -- and he's not just on HBO; he's regularly on MSNBC."  And Graham says Maher seems to have no problem with radical Islam.  "The liberals seem to be much harsher about Christianity than they are about Islam," he says, adding that liberals like Maher can get away with joking that terrorists flying planes into buildings is a faith-based initiative.  Maher notes that Maher "is the same guy who tried to suggest that these people [who hijacked the planes] weren't cowards, unlike our pilots."  Graham says Maher has become the "voice of the secular jihad."

Sudan: Anglicans Struggle To Regain Church Headquarters
Compass Direct

Nine months after the Anglican Church headquarters in Khartoum was confiscated at gun point, the Arab company now claiming ownership of the property has started making renovations to the building in violation of a court injunction. The June 2004 judicial order forbids Al-Ghazal Residence Enterprises from tampering with the property until the courts resolve the ownership dispute. The attorney for the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) filed objections against the renovations before the Khartoum Public Court, prompting a written response from the construction company's lawyer acknowledging the court injunction -- and flatly denying that his clients were working on the premises. During a visit to Sudan last month, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey raised the thorny issue in a face-to-face meeting with Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Taha. Part of the Anglican Communion, the ECS is the largest Christian church in Sudan with about five million members.

Virginia Delegate Proposes to Protect Religious Liberty
Jim Brown and Fred Jackson, AgapePress

A proposed change to the Constitution of Virginia takes aim at the proverbial wall of separation between church and state. The constitutional amendment would secure the rights of individuals to pray in public buildings, including schools. Delegate Charles Carrico says HJ-537, his proposed "Religious Liberty Amendment," was prompted by recent court rulings suppressing Christian expression, such as the recent decision by a federal appeals court, which ruled that Cadets at the Virginia Military Institute cannot pray audibly during lunch. HJ-537 has already passed the Virginia House by a decisive 69-27 margin, and a hearing on the proposed measure was held February 21 in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. "The amendment that I've offered to the [State] Constitution only strengthens that which we have in place," Carrico says, "to spell out for the courts that it's not a violation of our constitution to acknowledge God according to our conscience, and it's not a violation of the constitution to pray and express our religious beliefs, heritages, and traditions." According to the Virginia delegate, the Religious Liberty Amendment seeks to prevent court-sanctioned anti-Christian bias. He is urging the people of his state, particularly those who "really want to stand up for what they believe and feel that they are being suppressed in the way that they are able to express their religious beliefs," to let their representatives in the State Senate know how they feel about the measure.