Religion Today Summaries - June 20, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 20, 2005

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

  • Bush Scheduled To Address Messengers Via Satellite  

  • Churches Work With Habitat For Humanity During The Jimmy Carter Work Project 

  • Memphis-Based Ministry Protested By Homosexual Activists

  • Iran

Bush Scheduled To Address Messengers Via Satellite
Baptist Press

President Bush is scheduled to address Southern Baptist Convention messengers via satellite Tuesday, June 21, marking the fourth year in a row he has spoken to the annual meeting. Bush is scheduled to speak at approximately 10:55 a.m. Central. He also spoke to SBC messengers via satellite in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, he sent a taped message. During last year's speech Bush told messengers his administration would work to build a "culture of life" and uphold the sanctity of marriage. "The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith," he said at the time. "And government, by strengthening and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. So I am calling for funding for healthy marriage programs, and I support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as a union of a man and a woman." He also said he would "work with Congress to pass a comprehensive and effective ban on human cloning. Life is a creation of God, not a commodity to be exploited by man." This year's speech can be viewed live on the Internet at

Churches Work With Habitat For Humanity During The Jimmy Carter Work Project
Religion News Service

Volunteers from more than 50 churches will help sponsor and build more than 40 homes during Habitat for Humanity's 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Michigan, June 19-24. During the annual event, thousands of volunteers will join former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, to make the dream of homeownership come true with families in need. Volunteers will complete more than 230 homes throughout Michigan and in Windsor, Canada. Leading up to the project, denominational leaders Bishop Gary Hansen of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Bishop Bob Gepert of the Episcopal Church led a campaign to get denominations engaged by providing seed money and matching grants to encourage involvement from local congregations. Diverse church groups represented include Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Baptists and many non-denominational churches including Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, which is sending more than 200 volunteers and sponsoring two homes Representatives from faith coalitions such as Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, and Michigan Faith Leaders Council will show their support by building along with church members from various denominations and nondenominational churches.

Memphis-Based Ministry Protested By Homosexual Activists
Agape Press

A Memphis-based ministry designed to provide treatment and recovery for sexual problems is being protested by homosexual activists. The group's executive director says he cannot understand why a message of love and hope is being met with such hate. Love In Action International is a Christ-centered recovery treatment center that helps individuals make informed decisions about sexuality choices.  The program helps people who are willing to leave the homosexual lifestyle.  The ministry's headquarters in Memphis have been picketed by a group of lesbians who do not like that message. LIA executive director John Smid says his group simply offers solutions -- and that includes helping parents with confused children.  It is that stance which has sparked the lesbians' protests.  "With our adult program, that is absolutely our philosophy:  if a person wants to pursue counseling and therapeutic groups and support to live a sober and obedient life in Christ outside of inappropriate sexual behaviors, we offer that option to them," Smid explains.  "For the youth, we believe very strongly that the parents hold the convictions about how they will raise their children."  Smid says he is simply asking everyone to show a little tolerance and open-mindedness about his ministry -- something he notes homosexuals claim they care most about.

Charisma News Service

An Islamic court has acquitted an Assemblies of God (AG) lay pastor on apostasy and proselytizing charges. During a court hearing last Saturday in Bandar-i Bushehr, a judge reportedly declared he was acquitting Hamid Pourmand because he had "done nothing wrong" based on Islamic law, Compass Direct reported. Pourmand had faced execution by hanging under Muslim law for leaving the faith for Christianity 25 years ago. Despite the acquittal, the pastor remains imprisoned, serving out a three-year jail sentence for a separate military court conviction also linked to his religious conversion. Pourmand, 47, was arrested last September. An army colonel, he pastored an AG congregation in the southern port city of Bandar-i Bushehr. After five months of interrogation in strict solitary confinement, Pourmand was arraigned in February before a military court, accused of "deceiving the Iranian armed forces" by not reporting his conversion to Christianity. Despite clear-cut evidence to the contrary, he was ruled guilty, dishonorably discharged and handed down the maximum three-year prison sentence for his "crime." (