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Religion Today Summaries - July 22, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 22, 2005

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

  • Christian Groups Cheer Bush's 'Strict Constructionist' Court Nominee

  • Not All Conservatives Are Happy With President Bush's Nomination 

  • Vietnam Government Razes Portion of Mennonite Church

  • Pakistan

Christian Groups Cheer Bush's 'Strict Constructionist' Court Nominee
Charisma News Service

Christian organizations are praising President Bush's choice this week to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- a nomination that would bolster the court's conservative faction if accepted by the U.S. Senate. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has worked with Roberts since 1990. "He is exceptionally well qualified, knows the role of judge and has a judicial temperament that is respected by all who deal with him," Sekulow said on the ACLJ Web site. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins added: "Judge Roberts is widely respected for his fair judgments, intellect and integrity, all things qualifying him to serve as the next Supreme Court justice. ... Judge Roberts ... deserves a fair up or down vote. There should be a fair hearing for this fair-minded judge." Christian Coalition president Roberta Combs applauded Bush for keeping his campaign promise to nominate a "strict constructionist" in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Confirmation hearings could begin as soon as the final week of August. Rod Parsley, senior pastor of the 12,000-member World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio said the president's choice "sends a clarion call to return our country to the principles of its Founding Fathers." (www.charismanews.com)

Not All Conservatives Are Happy With President Bush's Nomination
Chad Groening, Agape Press

Not all conservatives are happy with President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Some prominent right-wing voices are raising questions as to whether enough is known about the nominee. One who has voiced that sentiment is columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter. And another syndicated columnist, Harvard Law School student Ben Shapiro, shares Coulter's concerns about Roberts. "He's a stealth candidate," Shapiro asserts, "just like [David] Souter was. We don't know where he stands on Roe v. Wade. His only statement on Roe v. Wade came as a brief that he signed back in 1992 ... that cannot be guaranteed to reflect his actual views." The 21-year-old conservative feels Bush should have chosen a judge more definitively to the Right and perhaps even controversial. Shapiro says Bush should have nominated someone like Judge Michael Luttig and forced the Left to filibuster a highly qualified candidate.

Vietnam Government Razes Portion of Mennonite Church
Compass Direct

About 70 workers took sledge hammers and electric saws to tear down a legally disputed section of a Mennonite church building, as well as another 4.8- meter section of the sanctuary and apartment above it that had not been contested. They destroyed the apartment home belonging to the family of Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, who is in prison for three years for allegedly resisting an officer was recently moved to a prison in distant Dak Lak province. The relentless pressure on the Vietnam Mennonite Church, a house-church organization, continues unabated despite supposedly liberalized legislation on religion. Mrs. Quang has written two appeals to Prime Minister Phan Van Khai asking how the Mennonite Church might become legal; she has received no answer. House church leaders in Vietnam informed Compass that they remain "highly skeptical" of Vietnam's supposedly liberalized religion laws inviting unofficial churches to register. Since the announcing the Ordinance on Religion in November 2004, no churches have accepted the invitation to register. Among the signals they are waiting for is a cessation of repressive actions such as those taken against the Mennonite church. They also question whether the U.S.-Vietnam agreement in May on improving religious freedom will produce any benefits for Vietnam's large and growing house church movement.    

Charisma News Service

A radical Muslim mob recently attacked the homes of Christians near Peshawar after a Christian man was accused of burning pages of the Quran. According to the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Yousaf Masih, 60, who had worked for almost 20 years as a janitor for the Pakistani military, was told by his superiors to burn some papers on June 28, which turned out to be pages from the Quran. Masih is illiterate, and did not know what was written on the papers he had been told to burn. But Muslims in the area found out and accused him of blasphemy. Police then came to Yousaf's home, where he was arrested. Insulting Islam, the Muhammad or the Quran can be punishable with death under the country's harsh anti-blasphemy laws. Following Yousaf's arrest, a group of angry Muslims came to his home and began to beat Yousaf's three sons and his brother, Yaqoob. The group later returned to the area and burned and looted about 200 houses. Police have reportedly arrested 16 people involved in the attacks, VOM said. "The situation in the area is critical, threatening and alarming for the Christians and especially for [Masih's] family," the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said, Assist News Service reported. "APMA is ... helping the local community to avert any unpleasant situation and to defuse tensions. This incident is a clear example of [the] growing misuse of [the] blasphemy law in Pakistan against Christians and other minorities." (www.charismanews.com)