Religion Today Summaries, July 7, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, July 7, 2004

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

  • Michigan Coalition Collects Signatures to Protect Marriage, Credits God 
  • Jordan: Islamic Court Rejects Jordanian Orphan's Case
  • July Fourth Weekend Intercession Held in 'Place Where Chiefs Are Made'
  • Former Addict Urges Christians To Tackle Drug Problem

Michigan Coalition Collects Signatures to Protect Marriage, Credits God
Agape Press

A pro-family coalition in Michigan is crediting God with a miracle after tens of thousands of signatures were gathered in one week on a petition to let the state's voters decide whether the state constitution should be amended to protect traditional marriage.  After almost three months of work and with the deadline seven days away, it appeared the petition would fall substantially short of the 317,000 valid signatures required for the measure to be placed on the November ballot.  But according to Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, a member of the coalition called Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, God more than made up the deficit.  "One week before the deadline, we were 150,000 signatures short of our goal with little reason to believe it was possible, but we continued to walk on faith, pray hard, and work hard," Glenn explains.  "We give God the credit for the absolute miracle that over 180,000 signatures were received in just the last seven days."  This means Michiganders will decide this fall whether to add the following sentence to the state constitution: "To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose."  Nine other states will be voting on similar pro-marriage measures between now and November.

Jordan: Islamic Court Rejects Jordanian Orphan's Case
Compass Direct

An Islamic court in Jordan has rejected a teenage Christian girl's lawsuit to cancel her Muslim uncle's legal guardianship over herself and her younger brother. The June 20 ruling was a setback for Christian widow Siham Qandah, whose estranged brother Abdullah al-Muhtadi has been trying for the last six years to take custody of her two minor children to raise them as Muslims. Qandah herself could be jailed for disobeying orders from the Supreme Islamic Court of Jordan to hand over her daughter Rawan, now 15, and son Fadi, 14. However, advocate Rateb al-Dhaher, who is providing legal counsel to Qandah and her daughter Rawan, promptly filed an appeal against the new ruling. The appellate hearing is set for July 18. Baptized Christians, Rawan and Fadi were orphaned when their soldier father died. An Islamic court produced a "conversion" certificate, claiming her husband had converted to Islam. As minors, both children's legal identity changed to Muslim. Their Christian mother was not allowed to handle their financial affairs, so Qandah asked al-Muhtadi to serve as their Muslim guardian. In 1998, he launched a four-year lawsuit to take custody of the children away from his sister, so he could raise them as Muslims.

July Fourth Weekend Intercession Held in 'Place Where Chiefs Are Made'
Charisma News Service

Though most Americans celebrated the Fourth of July weekend with fireworks and barbecues, intercessors gathered in Philadelphia to pray, repent and worship for the United States and the upcoming elections. The Cause, a grass-roots movement of prayer and fasting that's an offshoot of The Call, held a prayer meeting on Saturday at Penn Treaty Park, which was expected to draw hundreds, including California pastor Lou Engle. Three years ago, Engle launched The Call, a national prayer movement that urged youth to pray for the nation. The Cause organizers said Philadelphia was chosen as the site for the prayer initiative because it was "the Washington, D.C. to the First Nations people." "It [Philadelphia] was called Schackamaxon which means 'place where chiefs are made,'" said Steve Espamer, prayer pastor at Life Center International Ministries. "The Bush campaign said that Pennsylvania is the 'key swing state for the election.' It is still the place where chiefs are made." The Cause is also urging thousands of young adults to come to Colorado Springs, Colo., for 50 days of day and night worship and intercession from July 10 to Aug. 28. "It is critical that godly senators and congressmen are elected this November," Engle said.

Former Addict Urges Christians To Tackle Drug Problem
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A North Carolina man spends most of the year traveling the nation, encouraging churches to take the lead in the war on drugs. Ted Stone came to Christ as a child in North Carolina, but later rebelled and started using illegal drugs. Eventually Stone was arrested, and while in prison, rededicated his life to Christ. Upon his release from prison, Stone began telling his story at churches nationwide.  For years, he says, churches seemed unwilling to take a stand on the problem of drug addiction. But he believes this is beginning to change because, " realize the problem is genuine, because so many of them have family members with the problem." However, the public speaker notes, although some churches have willingly tackled the issue of illegal drugs, the problem of alcoholism and social drinking is still very often ignored. Through his talks, he tries to get people to understand alcoholism and drug abuse as more than personal problems, and he urges individuals to commit to proactive resistance, for the sake of their families and communities. According to Stone, the only way out of any addiction is complete surrender to Christ. He often tells his listeners, "I am ... recovered forever by the grace of God, and this hope can also belong to you and those whom you love."