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Religion Today Summaries - June 17, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 17, 2005

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

  • Send President Bush a Birthday Greeting 

  • Crackdown On Christians

  • Jordanian Widow Wins Final Court Battle

  • Religious Rights: Christians Are Usually The Ones Denied

Send President Bush a Birthday Greeting
Presidential Prayer Team

The Presidential Prayer Team (PPT) is inviting participants from around the world to send happy birthday greetings to President Bush from the PPT website at www.presidentialprayerteam.org. "We sent close to 19,000 greetings last year," said John Lind, PPT's President/CEO. "When I met with Tim Goeglein, the White House liaison to the faith community, he said that the President received and appreciated those greetings. He also expressed appreciation for the people who pray daily for President Bush's wisdom and protection." The President turns 59 on July 6. Greetings will be collected and screened for appropriateness until the end of June. They will be compiled and sent to President Bush in early July. The Presidential Prayer Team is a non-profit, non-partisan Internet Ministry Provider dedicated to informing and encouraging people to pray daily for the president and our nation. Membership is free and open to anyone who is willing to commit to pray each day. Participants receive weekly email prayer updates, access to prayer resources on the Internet, and a membership decal. To join the Presidential Prayer Team, call 1-800-295-1235 or visit www.presidentialprayerteam.org.

Crackdown On Christians
Agape Press

The Islamic government of Saudi Arabia has undertaken a crackdown on Christians in that nation, taking them into custody and confiscating their Bibles and religious material.  The crackdown, which the Saudi government is denying, is the worst in recent memory, says Jeff King, director of the Interfaith Christian Concern. King says the reason behind the purge is obvious.  "The thing that really is the background on all this persecution is that Saudi has a zero-tolerance policy towards other religions," he explains.  "They spend billions of dollars building mosques here in America -- I mean literally billions of dollars -- but in Saudi Arabia, they will arrest, torture, and jail Christians just for having a Bible."  Despite denials by the Saudi government, King says there is something "the average Christian" can do about it. "The average Christian out there should call their national legislator -- whether it's a congressman, congresswoman, or senator -- and ask them to contact the Saudi Embassy and ask them to stop persecuting Christians, especially in light of this recent crackdown, " he suggests.  King would also like to see demands made on the State Department to pressure the Saudi Muslim government to cease its zero-tolerance policy against all other religions. Will the calls make a difference?  "The average Christian has more power than they realize," King says.

Jordanian Widow Wins Final Court Battle
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct

A Jordanian court of appeal rejected a last-ditch appeal this week from the Muslim guardian fighting for custody of Christian widow Siham Qandah's two minor children. The June 13 decision reconfirmed an earlier verdict from Amman's Al-Abdali Sharia Court two months ago which revoked the legal guardianship of Abdullah al-Muhtadi, the maternal uncle of Qandah's daughter Rawan and son Fadi. According to Qandah's lawyer, this final verdict from the appellate court cannot be appealed. It effectively cancels all other pending cases regarding permanent custody of the children. Al-Muhtadi has been ordered by the court to repay misspent funds he had withdrawn from his wards' inheritance accounts without judicial approval. Qandah may now select a new guardian for court approval to oversee her children's legal affairs until they reach maturity at age 18.

Religious Rights: Christians Are Usually The Ones Denied
Agape Press

A family-values advocate says when it comes to religious freedom and rights, it is almost always Christians who are discriminated against. Both houses of Congress are considering a bill that, if enacted, would force pharmacists to dispense life-threatening medications -- such as the "morning-after" pill -- even if doing so violates their Christian beliefs.  Janet Folger of the group Faith2Action says she is not surprised, because when it comes to religious rights, Christians are usually the ones who are denied. "There's no doubt," Folger asserts.  "This is part of what I write about in my book Criminalization of Christianity -- the assault against people of faith.  And it is really forcing pharmacists to do something that they can't in good conscience do, which will force them out of their profession of being a pharmacist."  At the same time, a judge has ruled that a Philadelphia firefighter who is a Muslim can violate department policy by wearing a beard -- even though it is considered a safety hazard.