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Religion Today Summaries, June 23, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, June 23, 2004

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

  • ACLU Continuing War on Religious Symbols
  • South Korean Christian Beheaded in Iraq
  • Kerry Appoints Controversial Religious Advisor
  • Seminary President Hopeful about New Generation

ACLU Contining War on Religious Symbols
Agape Press

Flushed with success after forcing the removal of a small cross from the Los Angeles County seal, the American Civil Liberties Union is now setting its sights on other cities with similar religious symbols. The civil rights group says the cross on the seal of Virginia Beach, Virginia, will likely be the next target in what amounts to a hostile takeover of religious expression. But the ACLU is not fighting the battle unopposed: the American Center for Law & Justice says it will assist any city that comes under attack. ACLU chief counsel Jay Sekulow tells Family News In Focus that in a very real way, the issue is going to be in litigation all over the country. "Ultimately, some of these cities are going to stand up to the bullying tactics of the ACLU -- and we'll be there to defend those cities," the attorney says. Sekulow is preparing a legal memorandum that focuses on the constitutionality of religious symbols.

South Korean Christian Beheaded in Iraq
ASSIST News Service

A South Korean translator working for a company that supplies equipment to US liberation forces in Iraq has been executed after a deadline set by his captors passed. Al jazeera television network reported that in a videotape it received, the resistance group Jamat al-Tawhid and Jihad said it was fulfilling a pledge it made that the 33-old-year South Korean translator Kim Sun-Il would be beheaded if the group’s demands were not met by the South Korean government. The captors threatened on Sunday to kill Kim (who was captured last Thursday near Fallujah), in 24 hours if South Korea did not cancel its plan to deploy 3,000 additional troops to Iraq. South Korea rejected the demand, Al Jazeera reported, and on Monday said it would send forces to Iraq despite an earlier video showing Kim begging for his life. Kim, an evangelical Christian and Arabic speaker had worked in Iraq for a year as a translator for a South Korean firm supplying goods to the U.S. military. CNN reported that a senior coalition official in Iraq said the body, which was found by U.S. military police west of Baghdad, appeared to have been thrown from a vehicle. “The man had been beheaded, and the head was recovered with the body,” the official said. CNN reported that Pentagon sources said the body had been booby-trapped with explosives.

Kerry Appoints Controversial Religious Advisor
Agape Press

Some people are questioning Senator John Kerry's choice of a religious advisor. The addition of Mara Vanderslice to the Kerry team left William Donahue of the Catholic League wondering what is going on. He believes the Christian community will be outraged at Kerry's move. "It's an incredible slap in the face to evangelical Christians to have a woman who is associated with Marxist politics, and [who in college engaged] in civil disobedience in the most left-wing demonstrations in the country, trying to shut down Washington, DC, and also in Seattle," Donahue says, adding that Catholics will be "glad to find out that she's also spoken at ACT UP rallies." ACT UP is an activist homosexual group known for its outlandish stunts. "This is explosive," the Catholic League spokesman says. "If Kerry really wants to reach out to people of faith and he chooses someone like this, who's fallen off the bleachers in left field? Boy, does that say something to us." Donahue says Kerry is not in touch with the mainstream of America -- and that the selection of Vanderslice proves that fact. Donahue's group reported on Friday that Vanderslice has been "silenced" by the Kerry campaign and is no longer permitted to talk to the press. The campaign is blaming the Catholic League for disclosing Vanderslice's background.

Seminary President Hopeful about New Generation
Agape Press

A Southern Baptist seminary president has declared that God is raising up a powerful new generation for the ministry. Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says many American ministers today neither believe nor preach the Bible. "When we read the newspapers and watch the media and see what is happening in the name of Christ in so many places, we begin to wonder if when the Son of Man returns, He will find faith on the earth," Mohler laments. But he says there is also reason to be optimistic because of a new generation of seminarians coming along who have the courage and the boldness to engage their culture. "They were not brought to us by the currents of cultural Christianity," the university president says. "They have been fighting the tide of secularism and humanism and the postmodern worldview all the way from their infancy until now." Mohler says in a nation where many ministers have turned against the truth of scripture, it is essential that Southern Baptist seminaries ground the next generation in sound doctrine.