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Religion Today Summaries - January 3, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 3, 2005

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

  • Making Sure Relief Funds Are Used Honestly

  • Classical Christian School Attempts To Provide A Biblical Justification For Southern Slavery

  • Compassion Provides Tsunami Disaster Relief

  • Conservative Minister Quits Episcopal Church To Become Bishop

Making Sure Relief Funds Are Used Honestly
Jeremy Reynalds, Assist News Service

Americans have responded with overwhelming generosity to meet relief needs in the wake of the devastating Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami in Asia. But how do they know their donations are being used as they intended? Richard E. Stearns, president of the Christian relief and development organization World Vision, said donors need to know their gifts are being used responsibly. In a press release, Stearns suggested that before giving to any agency donors should do a little homework. He said they need to ask what percentage of their donation goes to administration, request a copy of the organization's annual report and find out how long the agency has been operating. In addition, he said, if supporting a particular charitable project on an ongoing basis, donors should request periodic updates on the project they're contributing to. Stearns emphasized that charities should be using donations for the purpose for which they were given - and if for any reason a charity ends up unable to use a gift for the project it was given for, the charity should communicate with its donors and offer to refund the gift. Responsible organizations carefully monitor their programs and costs, Stearns said in the release. While donors are considering to which charitable relief organization they should donate, groups have to address serious misconceptions in the American public about disaster relief.

Classical Christian School Attempts To Provide A Biblical Justification For Southern Slavery

A classical Christian school in North Carolina is being questioned over its use of a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for southern slavery.  At issue is a booklet being used at Cary Christian School titled "Southern Slavery As It Was."  In it, authors Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins argue slavery was not a systemic evil, but rather a benign institution. Idaho Presbyterian pastor Jack Davidson, who has written a critique of the booklet, says it purports to be a biblical and historical treatment of slavery, but falls well short of that. Wilson and Wilkins, according to Davidson, week to use anecdotal accounts of relationships between slaves and masters to discredit the traditional view of slavery in America.  Davidson says the controversial material is a double indignity to black Americans.  "What we're doing when we accept into our curriculum booklets like Wilson and Wilkins -- even though it sounds as if we're trying to speak in a conciliatory way -- is it basically robs the black American of his history.  That's what it does," the pastor says.  "It basically tells him and her there was really no problem; there was really no issue."  Cary Christian School would not return phone calls seeking comment.

Compassion Provides Tsunami Disaster Relief
Jeremy Reynalds, Assist News Service

Compassion International, the well known Colorado Springs based child development organization, has set up a Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund in the wake of the recent disaster. Compassion will use the funds raised to care for orphaned children as well as delivering food, clean water, medical care and counseling to families in crisis. Compassion is providing the relief aid to in a three-phased relief plan over the next three months. Compassion is leading its relief initiative on the ground in Aceh, Indonesia; one of the areas devastated by the tsunami. Compassion officials said that while Compassion doesn't usually do a lot of emergency relief, the gravity of this situation demanded a different response. According to Compassion, its relief activities in the initial emergency stage will include meals, medical treatment, emergency shelter construction, identification of unaccompanied children and distribution of basic household and hygiene kits. Its second stage response will include distribution of dry rations, cooking kits, continued medical care and counseling and ongoing efforts to reunite children with their parents. Compassion will round out the initiative with what it called a "long-term assessment for stabilization."

Conservative Minister Quits Episcopal Church To Become Bishop

A conservative minister from Pennsylvania has quit the Episcopal Church to become a bishop in the Anglican Church in America.  David Moyer will oversee the traditionalist denomination's military chaplaincy.  Moyer says he could not submit to the heretical teaching of Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison, who once said since the Church wrote the Bible, the Church can rewrite the Bible.  Bennisson, says Moyer, "denies the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus -- which I guess would mean that the tomb was not empty on Easter day."  And there is more, Moyer says.  "He also is the leading advocate in the Episcopal Church for same-sex marriages," he says, adding that Bennison "brags about the fact that in the diocese of Pennsylvania there are 22 priests serving the diocese [who have] live-in, same-sex lovers in their rectories."  Bennison defrocked Moyer in September 2002, a move that Moyer is fighting in court.  Moyer's parish, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, does not accept his defrocking and has voted to keep him as rector.