Religion Today Summaries - January 17, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 17, 2005

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

  • Baptist Leaders Urge Christian Exodus from Public Schools

  • Spain: Protestant Church In Madrid Still Looking For Home

  • Court Ruling Rips 'Evolution as Theory' Stickers from Science Texts

  • Fresh Outbreak of Religious Violence in Nigeria's Plateau State

Baptist Leaders Urge Christian Exodus from Public Schools
Jim Brown, AgapePress

Southern Baptist advocates of Christian education are pointing to a rash of religious censorship incidents in Plano, Texas, as indications that local Christians are having little influence on the public school system there. Four families have recently sued the Plano Independent School District over its ban on traditional Christmas colors and on students handing out religious-themed gifts. Grady Arnold is a Southern Baptist pastor who heads a group that advocates a Christian exodus from public schools. He is openly critical of what he sees happening but says, unfortunately, many Christian pastors are afraid to speak out against anti-Christian discrimination in government-funded schools. GetTheKidsOut exists to help Christians work within their own denominations to alert parents of "the staggering loss of faith and morals in children who attend the 'officially neutral' public schools," and assist them in finding ways to move children into Christian schools or home-schooling situations. "Certainly, God's called us to give our kids a thoroughly Christian education," the group's executive director says, "and doing that in the public school is nigh to impossible." Arnold says more Christian parents need to awaken to the danger of an even larger and more devastating disaster going on in their midst -- a wave of secularism, humanism, relativism, and other spiritual toxins that is daily consuming thousands of children on a continual basis in the public schools across America.

Spain: Protestant Church In Madrid Still Looking For Home
Charisma News Service

A Protestant church in Madrid is still looking for a home a year after authorities evicted the 250-member congregation and tore down the chapel in which they had worshiped for 19 years. Jesús Jimenez, pastor of Filadelfia Evangelical Church, said the congregation's homeless odyssey has taken a toll in dwindling attendance, Compass Direct reported. "Being unable to meet together has been a very, very heavy blow to the congregation," Jimenez told Compass. "People have quit attending; others have lost touch with us." City officials reportedly vowed to provide Filadelfia Church with new property within 60 days of the Jan. 8, 2004 eviction, but that promise has gone unfulfilled for 12 months. The plight of Filadelfia Church highlights the religious discrimination that Spanish Protestants have endured for years. "We are certain that if the church in Caño Roto had been a gypsy Catholic church, it never would have been demolished," said attorney Mariano Blázquez, executive secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain. "In the entire history of Spanish democracy, this is the first time in which this has been done without a prior judicial ruling, and of course without providing the alternative of a different meeting place," Blázquez told Compass. (

Court Ruling Rips 'Evolution as Theory' Stickers from Science Texts
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A Christian attorney says a federal judge has joined the ACLU in its crusade against critical thinking by ruling that a suburban Atlanta school district must remove an evolution disclaimer from science books. On January 13, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper ordered the Cobb County Board of Education must remove from inside the textbooks a sticker that says "Evolution is a theory not a fact, regarding the origin of living things." Continuing, the sticker admonished students that the material "should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." Evidently the caveats did nothing to dissuade Judge Cooper, who said the stickers violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Parents and the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the stickers in court, arguing they violated the "separation of church and state" -- and Cooper agreed. Judge Cooper went even further in his ruling, saying the sticker "conveys an impermissible message of endorsement and tells some citizens that they are political outsiders while telling others they are political insiders."  Brian Fahling, who is with the Tupelo-based American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, implies that Cooper is simply falling in line with the educational establishment. The ruling, says Fahling, does not bode well for future attempts to offer genuine science in opposition to evolution in public schools.

Fresh Outbreak of Religious Violence in Nigeria's Plateau State
Compass Direct

Fresh violence broke out in the central Nigerian state of Plateau when Muslim militants attacked the village of Gana-Ropp, killing Christian community leader Davou Bulle and critically injuring his wife and son. Assailants shot Bulle in the chest as he and his family were returning home from their farm. The attack came just weeks after the federal government lifted a six-month state of emergency imposed on the state between May and November 2004. Police later announced the arrest of eight suspects in the attack. Plateau state Police Commissioner Jose ph Apapa told journalists in Jos that the suspects, all Muslims, would be charged following the completion of investigations. Three years of religious violence in Plateau, beginning in September 2001, has left more than 10,000 people dead, the majority of them Christians. Sources in Nigeria predict that if the Nigerian government fails to check the activities of Muslim militants, there will be an escalation of conflict between the adherents of the two major faiths in Nigeria.