Religion Today Summaries, January 28, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, January 28, 2004

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

  • Illinois Senior Defending Right to Say 'God Bless' in School

  • Pakistani Christian Jailed on Dubious Blasphemy Charge

  • New Website Helps Christians Donate According to Personal Interests

  • Gospel Workers Beaten in India

Illinois Senior Defending Right to Say 'God Bless' in School
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A pro-family law firm is defending a Christian student who was kicked off his public school's daily TV broadcast program for uttering two words while on the air: "God bless." Dupo High School in Dupo, Illinois, has suspended senior James Lord for at least a month for telling people before the Christmas vacation: "Have a safe and happy holiday, and God bless."  The school claims Lord's comment was inappropriate for public school and violated the so-called "separation of Church and State." But his attorney, Frank Manion with the American Center for Law and Justice, says the school acted unconstitutionally.  "This is, at best, a sham, an over-reaction, [and] a misinterpretation of what the law requires with regard to religion in schools," Manion says.  "We are prepared to vindicate James' First Amendment free-speech rights in court." A member of the Dupo School Board is quoted as saying the Superintendent Michael Koebel "knows the rules and knows what people can say and can't say."  Lord will attempt to address his local school board by asking members to revoke his suspension and acknowledge the right of a student to use the expression "God bless."  The senior distributed more than 400 flyers to encourage local citizens to attend the meeting.  He told a local newspaper he cannot guarantee he will not repeat the phrase.

Pakistani Christian Jailed on Dubious Blasphemy Charge
Barbara Baker, Compass Direct

In an apparent attempt to settle an old grudge, a Pakistani man who converted to Islam several months ago has implicated a Christian acquaintance for alleged blasphemy. Anwer Masih, 30, was arrested on November 30 by police officials in Shadhra, an industrial town on the northern outskirts of Lahore . Two days earlier, Masih chanced to meet a former neighbor who had become a Muslim about three months earlier and changed his name to Naseer Ahmad. Since becoming a Muslim, Ahmad has lived in Muridke at the Markaz-e-Tayyabba madrassah , an Islamic school linked with the banned Lashkar-e-Tayyabba militant group. According to local residents, Ahmad carried a grudge against Masih from an incident two years ago, when Ahmad was indicted for severely beating one of his Christian neighbors. Shahzad “Gora” Masih, 23, went into a coma and still remains paralyzed from Ahmad’s beating. Masih had angered Ahmad by encouraging the victim’s family to register a case against him, neighbors said.

New Website Helps Christians Donate According to Personal Interests
Agape Press

A new online tool has been developed for Christian donors who want to support organizations and ministries that line up with their personal interests. The website is a project of Generous Giving, a non-profit organization that helps Christians give according to their personal values. Daryl Heald, president of Generous Giving, says the concept of is simple. "That's the impetus -- we're trying to create an 'eBay-like' atmosphere where ministries and givers have an opportunity to look, explore, and search particular issues or a geographic area so they can be more strategic and intentional in their giving," he says. The free service offers a library of charitable organizations and initiatives that are seeking financial assistance.  Heald says it is important for Americans to understand what it means to give not only generously but also strategically. He encourages families to develop a year-long plan for sacrificial giving, and to look at long-term giving as well.  He encourages individuals and families to set a lifetime giving goal and to ask God how much out of what He has entrusted to them they should give away or invest in His kingdom.

Gospel Workers Beaten in India
Voice of the Martyrs

Six GFA missionaries were warned by anti-Christian Indian fundamentalists to stop preaching about Jesus, but the men continued to preach the word to the needy people. As punishment, the fundamentalists beat the six missionaries and tried to kill them.  They were prevented from doing so by onlookers, but the men had to go to the hospital because of the severe beatings they endured.  In the Hospital, they all testified of their joy in being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.