Religion Today Summaries, January 21, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, January 21, 2004

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

  • Organizations Prepare for National ‘Day of Purity’
  • Mainstream Political Leaders Denounce Attacks on Christian Minority
  • Pro-Family Forces Urged to Join Campaign against Broadcast Profanity
  • 14 Year Old Girl Kidnapped, Feared Raped, in Pakistan

Organizations Prepare for National ‘Day of Purity’
Agape Press

Hundreds of individuals, organizations, and churches are answering a call to a national "Day of Purity" set for next month.  The observance, scheduled for February 13, is being organized by Florida-based Liberty Counsel.  Rena Lindevaldsen, national coordinator for the Day of Purity, says the event is a response to a culture that tells young people that sexual experimentation and exploration is healthy and normal.  "We [felt that] we needed to do something to oppose that message that kids are receiving every single day," she says, "and we believe the national Day of Purity -- as one day where the kids unite together -- is a day where a message can be sent to administrators and to their legislatures throughout the country."  Lindevaldsen says the message of purity is not only effective, but also practical.  “We want this ... to be that one day where they all unite from all the different [abstinence-based] organizations and say 'We're here, and we want to be heard.'"  Among other ways to observe the Day of Purity, students are being encouraged to hand out flyers promoting the biblical view of marriage and abstinence until marriage.

Mainstream Political Leaders Denounce Attacks on Christian Minority
Barnabas News Fund

A large number of Iraqi intellectuals and politicians have called upon Islamic religious leaders, the Iraqi Governing Council, other party leaders and the Coalition Authorities to prevent Shi’a Muslim groups attacking Christians. This call to stop attacks on Christians and cease forcing women to wear the veil, was published on Sunday 4 January on the Arabic website Elaph, by more than 200 mainly Muslim intellectuals and political leaders from Iraq. They specifically called upon Islamic religious leaders to issue fatwas forbidding such “atrocious crimes against humanity and the Islamic [sic] religion.” The declaration said “horrific” crimes had been committed against women in forcing them to wear the veil, but worst of all was the “terrorising of our Christian brothers,” intimidating them to become Muslims. It drew attention to the fact that Christians had lived in Iraq for two thousand years and had contributed greatly to the region’s civilisation, both before and after the coming of Islam. Shi’a militant groups which bear names such as God’s Vengeance and Hezbollah have been subjecting the Christian community in Iraq to a relentless series of attacks. These bold calls by over 200 key Iraqi intellectual and political figures are a welcome move for the country’s Christians, acknowledging the problems they are facing and calling for change. 

Pro-Family Forces Urged to Join Campaign against Broadcast Profanity
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A Christian e-mail campaign is encouraging pro-family activists to throw their support behind the efforts of a California congressman who is trying to ban expletives on television and radio., an Internet campaign sponsored by the American Family Association, is asking pro-family activists to e-mail their congressmen and senators and urge them to support a bill by Representative Doug Ose. H.R. 3687 would ban eight profane words or phrases from radio and television. The bill also would punish broadcasters who air any form of the obscene words or phrases. AFA executive assistant Buddy Smith says such legislation is needed. "The use of these words on network television and radio…would just further add to the coarsening of our society," Smith says.  Although many people feel helpless against the tide of media filth, Smith says concerned Christians need to speak out against the constant lowering of standards. "We've got to engage our culture with godly standards," Smith says, "and I think an opportunity such as the one we are facing here is a call to make a difference, to take a stand and represent the Lord and his people.” The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications has scheduled a hearing on the matter of H.R. 3687.

14 Year Old Girl Kidnapped, Feared Raped, in Pakistan
Voice of the Martyrs

Young Christian girls in Pakistan are often abducted and raped. They are a powerless minority without real rights or recourse for crimes committed against them by Muslim men. They are often abducted and forcibly "married." Shamim Kausor daughter of Afzal Masih was a resident of a village, (their family is one of only 2 Christian families in the Muslim village) was abducted (for the second time) on 12/31/03. Her sisters saw a jeep pull up outside their home-several men jumped out and abducted her at gunpoint. Several neighbors recognized one of the kidnappers. He had previously abducted the young girl a few months ago but prompt action from the father and the police led to her rescue. The Father tried to initiate legal proceedings against the man but was strongly dissuaded by Muslim village leaders. The kidnapper taunted and threatened Shamim after the first abduction. At one point he said "A beautiful girl like you should not remain Christian. I will make you Muslim and you will bear a Muslim child.” The police are not interested in helping the Father this time around.