Religion Today Summaries - January 19, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 19, 2005

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

  • Bush Says 'A Relationship With The Lord' Essential For The Presidency

  • Inauguration Targeted in Religious Censorship Attempts

  • Tsunami Relief Airlifted Monday from North Carolina

  • Christians in Nigeria Criticize Government Report on Religious Violence

Bush Says 'A Relationship With The Lord' Essential For The Presidency
Charisma News Service

President Bush outlined the role of his faith, saying he doesn't "see how you can be president without a relationship with the Lord." Bush told The Washington Times in an interview in the Oval Office that many in the public misunderstand the role of faith in his presidency and his view of the proper relationship between religion and the government. "I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," said Bush, who will be inaugurated for a second term on Jan. 20. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. "I fully understand that the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit," Bush told the Times. "That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban. The greatest freedom we have or one of the greatest freedoms is the right to worship the way you see fit." The president said there is no reason to fear his conspicuous practice of his faith or his approval of religious expression in the public square. Bush noted that he leans heavily on his faith daily and cannot imagine handling the pressures of the presidency without leaning on God. (

Inauguration Targeted in Religious Censorship Attempts
Jenni Parker and Bill Fancher, AgapePress

A new cloud of controversy has arisen over the inaugural events horizon, this time regarding a traditional Christian symbol. A recent communiqué from the United States Secret Service suggests that crosses are now considered a dangerous weapon and, as such, are banned from the U.S. Presidential Inauguration celebration. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition applied for a permit to demonstrate at a certain location along the presidential inauguration parade route. The Christian minister says he was granted the permit but, at the same time, he received a letter of guidance, including a communication from the U.S. Secret Service that astonished him. The letter contained the Secret Service's directives to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., about security measures for the Inaugural Parade, including information about items that would be prohibited. The Christian Defense Coalition spokesman says this is the first time in U.S. history that the government has labeled crosses as weapons and banned them from the public square. His organization is asking the Secret Service to reconsider its equation of the Christian symbol with objects of force and violence. The Christian Defense Coalition is calling the Secret Service's specific banning of the cross rank discrimination and "religious bigotry and censorship" in its worst form, as well as a violation of the Christian demonstrators' First Amendment rights.

Tsunami Relief Airlifted Monday from North Carolina
Samaritan's Purse Newsroom

On a bright, chilly afternoon, a massive cargo jet filled with relief supplies lifted into the sky over Charlotte, N.C., toward a mission of mercy half a world away. Boone, N.C.-based Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization, began packing the 747 cargo jet before dawn. The provisions ranged from medical supplies and water filters to plastic sheeting for temporary housing. "But by far, the most challenging piece of cargo was our helicopter," said Barry Hall, a Samaritan's Purse relief worker who helped coordinate the flight. "To get the helicopter inside the plane, we actually had to take it apart," Hall said. "When it arrives, our crew of mechanics will put it back together and get it in the air to help the relief effort." According to Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan's Purse who is currently in Southeast Asia assessing the region's needs, much of northwestern Indonesia is virtually inaccessible. Many roads are gone and those few stretches that remain are covered in mud and debris. Graham will remain in Southeast Asia this week to provide a hands-on assessment of the relief effort. "The plastic sheeting now on the way from our airlift, can provide shelter for more than 8,000 families," said Graham. (

Christians in Nigeria Criticize Government Report on Religious Violence
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct

Christian leaders in northern Nigeria say a report released in December by the government of Kano state grossly underreports the number of Christians killed by Muslim militants in violent attacks last year. Estimates of the value of churches and homes destroyed in the clashes are also much too low, leaders claim. The report states that 84 people died in religious violence in Kano in 2004. However, Methodist Bishop Foster Ekeleme, chairman of the Kano chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), told Compass that reliable estimates place the casualty count close to 3,000 Christian dead. Christians may well face more violence in Kano this year. At a press conference on December 21, State Information Commissioner Alhaji Abubakar Garba Yusuf revealed that government security agents have uncovered plans by Muslim militants to attack Christians and burn down churches in order to force the observance of Islamic law in Kano state. Yusuf indicated that groups of militants have been recruited and sent to Saudi Arabia to undergo training. He said the government has intercepted inflammatory pamphlets circulating in the Islamic community that aim to incite Muslims against their Christian neighbors. Yusuf said that police have arrested about 30 Muslim militants in possession of weapons and military and police uniforms.