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Religion Today Summaries, January 9, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 9, 2003

In Today's Edition:

  • Coalition, Christian Doctors Push for Cloning Ban
  • LifeWay, Nashville Churches Challenge Move to Protect Sexual Orientation
  • House Church Leader and Family Beaten in China
  • PC Lunacy Targets Religious Freedom

Coalition, Christian Doctors Push for Cloning Ban

(CNS News)  A bipartisan coalition in Congress introduced legislation Wednesday to enact a permanent ban on human cloning.  Opponents of the legislation claim a total ban is unnecessary and stifles needed scientific research, while the nation's largest organization of faith-based doctors urged support for the bipartisan act.  Claims in late December 2002 by biotechnology company Cloneaid to have successfully created the first clone of a human being motivated Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to reintroduce the legislation.  "Adult stem cells have been used for 20 years to treat a multitude of different diseases.  Every month, a new method is shown that can use adult stem cells to treat a new disease," said Weldon, a practicing physician.  "Cloning, in my opinion, is unethical and unnecessary."  David Stevens, M.D., Executive Director of the 18,000-member Christian Medical Association -- the nation's largest organization of faith-based doctors-- urged support for the bipartisan bill.  Dr. Stevens explained that human cloning must be banned for medical, ethical and spiritual reasons:  "Medically speaking, human cloning risks mutation, gross abnormalities, transmission of mitochondrial diseases, and other yet-unknown effects of tampering with the mystery of aging."

LifeWay, Nashville Churches Challenge Move to Protect Sexual Orientation

(Baptist Press) A proposed change in Nashville law that supporters say will put the city in line with a nationwide move to prevent homosexuals from being fired or denied housing because of their lifestyle is headed for a final council vote Jan. 21.  Under the proposal, the words "sexual orientation" and "disability" would be added to Metro Nashville's Fair Employment and Housing Law stipulating that people cannot be discriminated against because of their "race, color, religion, national origin or sex."  The word, "sex," meanwhile, would be changed to "gender."  The proposal does not exempt churches, religious organizations or Christian business owners who believe that homosexuality is a sin.  The change could have a major impact on the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, both located in downtown Nashville.  In a memorandum, James P. Guenther, an attorney representing the SBC Executive Committee, and D. August Boto, vice president for convention policy with the Executive Committee, noted the lack of clarity and probable unconstitutionality in the proposed amendment to Metro Nashville codes.  Thirteen states and dozens of cities have passed similar laws.  www.bpnews.net

House Church Leader and Family Beaten in China

(Charisma News) Members of a Christian family active in the house church movement were beaten in their home earlier this month.  According to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), 10 men burst into the home of Hua Huiqi and his wife, Ju Mei, in Beijing on Jan. 5.  The attackers forced the family -- including Huiqi's elderly parents and his young daughter -- to lie on the floor.  They then beat the family, breaking one of the legs of Huiqi's 80-year-old father.  Before leaving, the attackers confiscated the family's portable heaters.  Christian sources in China believed the intruders were either sent by authorities or could even have been policemen, VOTM said.  The attack followed a peaceful protest by the family the previous day, when they and other members of their neighborhood objected to the cutting off of electricity and water to their homes.  Authorities had terminated the utilities because they were unable to obtain the names of various house church members from Huiqi.  Huiqi has been arrested and beaten several times because of his house church activities, which have included distributing used clothing.  www.charismanews.com

PC Lunacy Targets Religious Freedom

(Family Research Council) Political correctness continues to run amok.  A Christian student group is suing New Jersey's Rutgers University because the school blocked the group's access to campus facilities and yanked its funding.  Why?  Because the Christian organization bars non-Christians from holding leadership positions!  In New York, meanwhile, Catholic dioceses have brought suit to block a new law that requires Catholic schools and hospitals to provide contraceptive services.  In both cases, the state presumes to determine what a private religious organization can and cannot do.  In both cases, the state seeks to impose its own notions of diversity and political correctness on religious organizations in violation of the First Amendment's protection of the free exercise of religion and freedom of association.  www.frc.org