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Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 24, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 24, 2008

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

  • Mike Huckabee, Rick Warren to Address Politics From the Pulpit
  • Hindu Nationalists Plan to Revive Tensions in Orissa, India
  • Turkish Murder Suspects Blame Alleged Ringleader
  • Hitler-Themed Hotel Suite Raises Ire of Jewish Group

Mike Huckabee, Rick Warren to Address Politics From the Pulpit

Two of the country’s most notable preachers —presidential candidate and Southern Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee, and Saddleback pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren – will address how preachers can effectively use the pulpit to address political, social, and cultural issues at the 19th Annual National Conference on Preaching, hosted by Preaching Magazine and preaching.com. The two well-known preachers will headline the conference, themed “Preaching and the Public Square: Where Do Pulpit and Culture Meet?” to be held in Washington DC April 7-9, 2008. The annual conference brings preachers from a broad range of denominations and traditions together to focus on the art and ministry of preaching through workshops, panel discussions, and listening to leading preachers from around the country. “Preachers look forward to hearing Rick Warren describe what goes into speaking on issues such as global warming, AIDS, and other provocative topics, or when he invites a political figure to speak from his pulpit,” said Michael Duduit, editor of Preaching Magazine and www.preaching.com. “They also look forward to hearing directly from Mike Huckabee, who in his own career has connected the pulpit and the political world.” The National Conference on Preaching will examine the role preaching can and should play in engaging and shaping contemporary culture, with the input of preachers and thinkers who offer a wide variety of perspectives on the issue.

Hindu Nationalists Plan to Revive Tensions in Orissa, India

Amid reports of forced conversion of Christians to Hinduism following an unprecedented spate of violence over Christmas in Orissa state’s Kandhamal district, federal intelligence sources have warned churches of the likelihood of more attacks, Compass Direct News reports. The intelligence department intercepted a letter by an extremist of a Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) group stating members will renew efforts to spark tensions in Kandhamal district and neighboring Chhattisgarh state, said Father Babu Joseph, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. Joseph told Compass that the letter, written by an extremist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Murari Lal, and sent to his colleague, Saudan Singh, reveals that the Hindutva group has planned an effort to create more tensions for Christians called “Mission 2008.” “Our hope is to create Gujarat [state] type communal frenzy in Orissa,” the letter says.

Turkish Murder Suspects Blame Alleged Ringleader

According to Compass Direct News, the first of five young Turkish Muslims on trial for torturing and killing three Christians in eastern Turkey took the witness stand last week, vigorously denying that the group had planned to kill the evangelicals. In chilling testimony of the final hours of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske, accused killer Hamit Ceker stated before Malatya’s Third Criminal Court on Monday, January 14, that during the savage attack on Zirve Publishing Company’s office on April 18, he saw leading suspect Emre Gunaydin slit the throats of two of the Christians. Although Ceker testified that they had brought along guns, a lengthy section of rope, and that each of them carried a newly purchased knife, a pair of plastic gloves and an Islamic jawshan (protective prayer inscription), he insisted the purpose of the operation was to seize incriminating evidence against the Christians, not to kill them.

Hitler-Themed Hotel Suite Raises Ire of Jewish Group

The Anti-Defamation League is demanding that a Belgrade hotel remove the large portrait of Adolf Hitler and change the theme of its most popular suite, CNSNews.com reports. The Mr. President Hotel, in Belgrade, Serbia, offers hotel rooms named after past or present world leaders. Among them is the $200-a-night Hitler suite, where a portrait of the uniformed German dictator, with a swastika on his arm, hangs on the wall over the king-sized bed. Other suites honor President George W. Bush, former President George H.W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Cuban Leader Fidel Castro, former Russian dictator Joseph Stalin and former Yugoslavian communist dictator Josip Broz Tito. But the Hitler room is reportedly the most popular and is occupied mainly by German, Croat and Slovenian guests. The Anti-Defamation League has appealed to the Zabunovic to remove Hitler's portrait and change the suite's theme before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday.