12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - July 25, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 25, 2005

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

  • Iraqi Church Leaders Fear Imposition Of Islamic Law

  • Evangelical Christian Leaders Meet In Washington To Plot Strategy

  • Petition Drive Launched For Religious Freedom In Iraq

  • Internet Turning Preachers Into Thieves

Iraqi Church Leaders Fear Imposition of Islamic Law
Jeremy Reynalds, ASSIST News Service

A letter signed by the leaders of nine Christian denominations in Iraq pleads that the new constitution should ensure the equality of all faiths in Iraq. The leaders’ concerns arise from reports that the Shi’a majority is pushing for Islamic law (shari’a) to be enshrined in the constitution. According to an e-mail from the Barnabas Fund, the letter reads in part, “If there is a move towards the confirmation of the role of the Islamic religion in Iraqi society, then it is only natural to confirm the role of other religions that have been historically established in Iraq. We are only asking for … equality, freedom and equal opportunities and the prevention of racial, religious and denominational discrimination.” A draft constitution is currently being prepared by a sub-committee of the Iraqi Assembly, which must be completed by Aug. 15. Church leaders are fearful that if shari’a is given a place in the constitution, Christians and other non-Muslims will face the same kind of discrimination and second-class status which they experience in other countries where shari’a law is in effect. Iraq would become an Islamic state. According to the Barnabas Fund, Bishop Andreas Abouna, who presented the letter, said a pro-shari’a constitution would result in such a massive exodus of Christians from Iraq that the Christian presence could practically disappear. For more information:  www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39754&SelectRegion=Iraq_Crisis&SelectCountry=IRAQ%20.

Evangelical Christian Leaders Meet In Washington To Plot Strategy
Agape Press

Evangelical Christian leaders have been meeting in Washington to plot strategy on issues, including winning confirmation of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rev. Rod Parsley of The Center for Moral Clarity says evangelical leaders also discussed their desire for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Parsley says that issue, and a belief that homosexual "marriage" is being imposed by courts on an unwilling electorate, has awakened many Christians from their slumber. In his words, "We didn't pick this fight, but we'll sure show up when it ends on our doorstep." Canada this week became the fourth nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Petition Drive Launched For Religious Freedom In Iraq
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service

As the country of Iraq considers how to structure its new government, an international petition drive is urging Iraqi leaders to include a guarantee of religious freedom. According to a media release obtained by ASSIST News Service (ANS), World Compassion, a faith-based organization that works in dangerous areas of the world, launched the petition drive to urge that guarantees of religious freedom be included in the new Iraqi constitution. "The goal is to collect one million signatures, not only from American-Iraqi citizens, but also from concerned people around the world," said ministry founder and president, Dr. Terry Law, who will present a sampling of the petitions to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in early August. Dr. Law met last year with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to discuss religious freedoms in the country, and highlighted the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states, "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" "We’re not asking that a specific religion be practiced in Iraq," said Law. "We just want Iraqis to have the freedom to choose for themselves." Those interested in signing the petition can log-on to: www.worldcompassion.tv. In addition to the prime minister, Dr. Law will meet with those working on the new constitution, which has an August 15 deadline for completion.

Internet Turning Preachers Into Thieves
Agape Press

Brian Larsen of PreachingToday.com says the Internet is turning some preachers into thieves. He is calling attention to the extraordinary phenomenon of sermon plagiarism, a trend he says is on the rise among preachers. Larsen believes this kind of intellectual property theft creates some heavy ethical problems. "People assume when they hear someone preach that the general outline is their own and the specific words are their own," he says. But when the words and presentation structure are taken from someone else without crediting the source, he contends preachers are being dishonest with their listeners. Also, the PreachingToday.com spokesman asserts, preachers who use material generated by others are representing themselves as having gifts, abilities, and insights they do not actually have. Larsen says the same rules against plagiarism should apply to preachers just as they do to others in society.