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Religion Today Summaries, January 14, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 14, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top religious news stories from around the world!

In Today's Edition:

  • Columbine ‘Christian Tiles’ Case Rejected
  • Harsh Persecution Documented in China
  • Pamphlet Urges Pakistani Muslims to Kill Westerners and Christians
  • U.S. Corporations Halt ‘Hate Funding’ Contributions

Columbine ‘Christian Tiles’ Case Rejected

(Charisma News) The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by families of two students slain during the 1999 Columbine High School massacre who claimed that officials violated their constitutional free-speech rights by refusing to display commemorative ceramic tiles with Christian messages.  The justices let stand an appeals court ruling that the ban on religious symbols was reasonably related to the legitimate goal by officials of preventing disruptive religious debate on the school's walls, Reuters reported.  Painted on tiles as part of an on-campus memorial, the messages featured "God is Love" and "4/20/99 Jesus Wept," referring to the date that students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 fellow students and a teacher in a Littleton, Colo., school before killing themselves. The parents of Daniel Rohrbough and Kelly Fleming, two of the slain students, painted the messages on two tiles.  Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia complained yesterday that courts have gone overboard in keeping God out of government, the Associated Press reported. Scalia, speaking at an event for Religious Freedom Day in Fredericksburg, Va., said the constitutional wall between church and the Supreme Court and lower courts has been misinterpreted.  As an example, he pointed to a ruling in California that barred students from saying the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase "one nation under God." The crowd repeatedly cheered Scalia, whose son Paul, one of nine children, is a priest at a nearby Roman Catholic church.  www.charismanews.com

Harsh Persecution Documented in China

(Compass) The New York-based Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China has released detailed reports from persecuted Christians in China, revealing that in the three-month period between June and August 2002, 182 house church Christians from 24 cities and 16 counties were arrested. Most were detained, interrogated and fined and many were tortured by police. For example, in July some 150 Christians praying in the West Lake district of Hangzhou city when more than 70 police surrounded the house, arrested three church leaders and destroyed the church kitchen with a bulldozer. The same month, police arrested eight house church members in the Fengrun district of Tangshan while they worshipped, tortured them with beatings and electric shocks and forced them to pay fines of $121 to $483.

Pamphlet Urges Pakistani Muslims to Kill Westerners and Christians
Michael Ireland
(ASSIST News) An inflammatory pamphlet being distributed in Pakistan by Islamic fundamentalists calls on Muslims to kill Westerners and Christians wherever and whenever they may be found.  According to the Washington, D.C.-based International Christian Concern (ICC) the pamphlet, which is printed in Urdu and Arabic, was distributed on January 9, 2003 in Bulochistan and North West Frontier Province (NWFP), as well as in some other major cities. Pictured on the pamphlet is a monogram of Mecca surrounded by swords. Government authorities have reportedly collected a number of the pamphlets and have started an investigation.  ICC said the main purpose of the pamphlet is to encourage armed jihad among Pakistani Muslims, stating that: “The non-believers have made the lives of Muslims miserable leaving them with no option except jihad.”  www.assistnews.net

U.S. Corporations Halt ‘Hate Funding’ Contributions

(Compass) Leading information technology companies in the United States suspended donations to an American-based charity following reports that the organization channeled the funds to militant Hindu groups for use in propaganda campaigns targeting Christians and other religious minorities in India. Cisco Systems, one of several IT companies in the United States that contributed funds to the Indian Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), suspended donations to the organization following publication in France of an exposé entitled “A Foreign Exchange of Hate.” The report confirmed that the IDRF has been funding Hindu fundamentalist groups linked to the militant Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which misused monies donated for charitable purposes to pressure tribal Christians to re-convert to Hinduism. Meanwhile, a BBC investigative report airing on December 12 revealed that Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram received millions of pounds from two U.K.-based charities to fund campaigns to stage violent attacks against Christians and Muslims. The Charity Commission of the British Treasury immediately ordered an investigation.