Religion Today Summaries - July 21, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 21, 2006

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

  • Pakistani Children of Forced Marriage Still Missing
  • Turkish Nationalists Accuse Church of 'Treason'
  • Christian Minister Calls Wicca "A Demonic Cult of Rebellion"
  • Cycling Event Raises Money to Help Young Victims of Uganda's Civil War

Pakistani Children of Forced Marriage Still Missing

Compass Direct News reports that a Pakistani Christian kidnapped and sold into marriage continues to pray for the return of her missing children, even as she chooses to begin a second family. Almost two years after her children were kidnapped by their Muslim father, Maria Samar John has not given up hope of recovering Joshua and Miriam, now 7 and 5 years old. But neither has she given up on starting a new life. In March, John married an employee at the women’s shelter where she has been living since she escaped from a forced marriage five-and-a-half years ago. “I am happy, but the wound that I have because of my children, that can never be completely filled until they come back,” John said.

Turkish Nationalists Accuse Church of ‘Treason’

Nationalists in Turkey’s northern city of Samsun have stepped up a two-year campaign against a Protestant church, denouncing in the media the legally registered congregation’s right to exist, Compass Direct News reports. Izzet Altunbas, chairman of the Samsun Association of Balkan Turks and a prominent member of the local Nationalist Movement Party, publicly attacked the Agape Protestant Church in vicious terms in mid-June. In speeches broadcast over three local TV channels on June 16, Altunbas declared that establishment of the church, officially registered as the Agape Church Association, revealed “extensive damage” to the nation in that it reflected Turkey’s compliance with European Union legal norms strengthening a dangerous “assimilation” drive against both Turkish ethnicity and Islam. “I find this association and its secret activities a huge danger for Samsun and for Islam,” Altunbas said. “This is treason against our Muslim and Turkish identity.”

Christian Minister Calls Wicca "A Demonic Cult of Rebellion"

Christian minister Tom McMahon, president and executive director of The Berean Call, a ministry that encourages spiritual discernment among Christians, says Wicca is a demonic cult of rebellion. AgapePress reports that McMahon, co-author of The Seduction of Christianity, says Wicca is a pantheistic cult dedicated to the achievement of spiritual power through nature worship, spells, and rituals. According to the ministry leader, Wicca is one of many such cults around the world -- and they all have a common source. "They have a common denominator, they have a common idea -- even their rituals are the same. Yet these people have never been connected to one another," he comments. "There must be an intelligent source that promotes this throughout the world; and the scriptures call him the adversary, the god of this world. It's really Satan." McMahon says many teenagers -- and even professing Christians -- are drawn to Wicca because it offers power and has a rebellious aspect.

Cycling Event Raises Money to Help Young Victims of Uganda's Civil War

A Christian organization in the United States is trying to raise awareness of the plight of children living in northern Uganda, where an ongoing civil war has taken a devastating toll on the lives of the citizens, according to AgapePress. The Virginia-based ministry Sports Outreach Institute recently sponsored a 440-mile charity bike ride along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Twelve cyclists took part in the week-long ride, which began in Natchez, Mississippi, and ended in Franklin, Tennessee. The charity sporting event was called "Gifts for Gulu." Proceeds from the ride will go to help build the "Good News Community Center," a Christian outreach facility for children in Gulu, Uganda. Gulu is a government military base to which thousands of children displaced by violence have fled for safety.