Religion Today Summaries, January 20, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, January 20, 2004

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

  • School District Faces Lawsuit after Confiscating Student's Church Invitations 
  • Pakistani Police Arrest Karachi Bombing Suspect
  • Pro-Commandments Groups Active on Legislative Fronts
  • Postal Campaign to Honor Azusa Street Revival Pastor

School District Faces Lawsuit after Confiscating Student's Church Invitations
Allie Martin, Agape Press

The Broward County (Florida) School District is being sued in federal court after a student was told she could not distribute an invitation for a meeting at her church to classmates. The lawsuit was filed by John Curran along with his daughter Christine, who took a flyer to school when she was a student at Driftwood Middle School in Hollywood, Florida. The flyer was an invitation to hear a Christian youth speaker at her church. As Christine was heading to class, a teacher saw her handing out the flyers and confiscated the material, claiming school guidelines had not been followed. The suit states that Christine was told by school officials that she could not pass out the invitations. Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel says the school district's policy is unconstitutional for two reasons. "Number one, it requires prior review," Liberty Counsel's president says, "but also ... it requires prior review particularly of religious literature, so it really is singling out religious viewpoints to the exclusion of secular viewpoints." Staver says the school's policy allows blatant censorship of religious viewpoints. The legal expert says public school students have the right to distribute religious literature at school, as well as the right to be free from discrimination based upon the content of the literature they are distributing.

Pakistani Police Arrest Karachi Bombing Suspect
Barbara Baker, Compass Direct

Pakistani police arrested one suspect and seized a “huge” cache of explosives in Karachi over the weekend, declaring both were linked to grenade and car bomb explosions at a Bible Society shop on January 15. Suspect Shamim Ahmed, 25, a militant of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, was arrested Saturday in a middle-class neighborhood of eastern Karachi. Information from Ahmed’s interrogations led police to a bomb-making factory in Karachi’s Mehmoodabad district, where Sunday night they discovered a store of heavy ammunition, detonators, grenades and two large bombs ready for use. At least 13 people were injured in last Thursday’s two blasts, occurring 15 minutes apart shortly after 3 p.m. at the Karachi branch of the Pakistan Bible Society. “The people who are doing this are not friends of Pakistan,” Bible Society director Anthony Lamuel told Compass. After touring the bombing scene with Lamuel and Anglican Bishop John Alexander Malik, the governor of Sindh promised that damages caused to the shop and the adjacent cathedral compound would be repaired at government expense.

Pro-Commandments Groups Active on Legislative Fronts
Bill Fancher, Agape Press

A public-interest legal organization is about to launch an effort that, if successful, would mandate the display of the Ten Commandments in state buildings. The Southeastern Legal Foundation's Todd Young has unveiled a new strategy for displaying the Ten Commandments.  The "American Religious and Legal Heritage Project," he says, is an attempt to develop "blueprint legislation" for states to consider and adopt that would mandate the placement of the Ten Commandments and other historically significant documents for the United States in courthouses and public buildings throughout the nation. Young says the project will kick off soon.  "Within the next two weeks, we're going to be announcing our plan and offering our first draft proposal for the governor of the State of Georgia, who's already indicated early support for such a resolution," he says. The Southeastern Legal Foundation is the pro-active group that managed to get former President Bill Clinton disbarred from the law profession in Arkansas.

Postal Campaign to Honor Azusa Street Revival Pastor
Charisma News Service

A Florida evangelist has started a grass-roots effort to have the U.S. Postal Service recognize the black pastor who led the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906, which is credited for sparking the Pentecostal movement. Larry Martin, the dean at the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in Pensacola, wants to honor William Seymour with a postage stamp. The son of former slaves, Seymour was the pastor of the Azusa Street Apostolic Faith Mission. On Aug. 1, Martin plans to submit a formal petition asking the postal service to issue a stamp on April 2006 to honor the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. "In a year when more African Americans were lynched than in any other year, the races mixed freely at the Azusa Street Mission," a letter Martin hopes to send to the U.S. postmaster general says. "Under Seymour's leadership, blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians all worshiped together. ... Few men have overcome greater odds to accomplish so much." Yale University has recognized Seymour as "the most influential black leader in American religious history." In 1999, the Religion Newswriters Association named the Azusa Street Revival as one of the top 10 events of the past millennium. "By honoring Bishop Seymour, we will also glorify God and direct the world's attention to the unparalleled success of the modern Pentecostal-charismatic movement," Martin said.