Religion Today Summaries, January 23, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 23, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians

In Today's Edition:

  • Movement Winning Struggle After 30 Years of Abortion, Pro-lifers Say
  • Number of Abortion Doctors Declines
  • Chinese House Church Leader Sent to Labor Camp
  • Hindu Fundamentalist Party, BJP Electoral Win in India a Blow to Christianity

Movement Winning Struggle After 30 Years of Abortion, Pro-lifers Say
Tom Strode

(Baptist Press) Despite 30 years of legalized abortion and all its consequences, at least some pro-life Americans believe they are winning the battle to restore protection to unborn children.  In spite of this three-decade-long record, pro-life leaders are hopeful.  "I think we are certainly not where I would like for us to be, but I think there has been definite progress, and I think that progress is accelerating," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.  "I think there is every reason to believe the pro-life movement has yet to crest.  It is still on the ascendance.  I would say that we are slowly but surely winning the struggle for the hearts and minds of Americans.”  The evidence Land and others point to for their optimism includes: The growing influence of pro-life voters; strategic pro-life officeholders; the increasingly pro-life sentiments among young people; the widespread distaste for the word "abortion"; and advances in technology.

Number of Abortion Doctors Declines

(Charisma News) As the nation observes the 30th anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, a recent survey reveals the number of physicians performing abortions has dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, the "Washington Post" reported.  According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion statistics, the number of abortion providers dropped from 2,000 in 1996 to 1,819 in 2000. The number of abortions also dipped slightly, from 1.36 million to 1.31 million in the same four-year period.  Guttmacher researcher Lawrence Finer said the decline could be attributed to "the availability of contraceptive methods...[to] avoid unintended pregnancies," as well as pro-life activists' success blocking efforts to "establish basic abortion services," the newspaper said.  Abortion rights advocates described the findings as a positive indicator that more physicians and women find abortion "morally reprehensible," the "Post" reported.  A recent Gallup poll showed that a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal, but on a limited basis.  Meanwhile, Family Research Council President Ken Connor decried the attendance of six Democratic presidential hopefuls at a gala last night sponsored by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.  Said Connor: "Surely millions of pro-life Democrats will be deeply ashamed over this unseemly celebration of a decision that resulted in 42 million dead babies."

Chinese House Church Leader Sent to Labor Camp

(Charisma News) A 47-year-old house church leader has been sent back to labor camp for 18 months, amid fears that he may not survive a further detention.  Jubilee Campaign USA said that it had learned from relatives of Guoxing Xu that he had been sentenced Jan. 7, although "there has been no due process of law, and no conviction has been given."  Xu was arrested in December, when police burst into his home in Shanghai, detaining him and some of his church members -- who were later released.  Police searched Xu's house, confiscating written materials, tapes and a computer.  Jubilee said that Xu had previously been detained for more than six years, including an extended period of hard labor.  "He is unlikely to physically endure another term of hard labor treatment," the organization said.  "Please pray for [him] and for those who persecute him."

Hindu Fundamentalist Party, BJP Electoral Win in India a Blow to Christianity

(Compass) Fundamentalist Hindus won a landslide victory in a state election in India with anti-Christian and anti-Muslim rhetoric.  Defying every poll forecast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, won 126 seats in the 182-seat state assembly, giving it a two-thirds majority.  This followed the worst genocidal attacks against the state’s religious minorities since India’s partition 50 years ago.  The victory is a harsh blow to Christians and other religious minorities.  Fundamentalists vow to turn India into a Hindu nation within two years, threatening a “death sentence against all who oppose Hindutva” (nationalist Hinduism).  Gujarat politicians promise to pass an “anti-conversion bill” similar to a law enacted last October in Tamil Nadu.  Possible election fraud may have contributed to the BJP victory, as names of more than 200,000 voters were expunged from the registration rolls. The government is blaming the problem on computer error.