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Religion Today Summaries - June 28, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 28, 2005

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

  • Graham, Amid New York's Tapestry, Continues To Point Toward Heaven 

  • Court’s Ten Commandments Ruling ‘Denigrating to Our Culture’ 

  • Sky Angel TV Answers Call For Family-Friendly, Multi-Channel Television Programming 

  • UMC Conferences Criticized for Anti-Israel Divestiture Votes

Graham, Amid New York's Tapestry, Continues To Point Toward Heaven
Berta Delgado-Young, Baptist Press

As he has for 60 years, Billy Graham ended his three-day New York crusade by offering about 90,000 in the crowd a glimpse of heaven Sunday night. But as in perhaps no other crusade in his long history of evangelism, New York provided heaven's face. Tucked into a corner of Queens where more than 130 languages are spoken each day, the June 24-26 Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade drew more than 230,000 people from every part of the world -- whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, people whose families came to America generations ago and people so fresh they still marvel at this nation and its freedoms and opportunities. The remarkable diversity reflects the host city, home to the sort of integration of God's people Graham has advocated for all his evangelical career, and fitting for what many considered could be his last such gathering. They answered Graham's calls to salvation by the thousands, some 8,300 over three days. In New York, Graham went a long way toward bringing revival to the city, the crusade's stated goal. But he only hinted at his own future, and left the question of whether this was his final crusade unanswered.

Court’s Ten Commandments Ruling ‘Denigrating to Our Culture’
Charisma News Service

Christian groups are condemning the Supreme Court's ruling that said Ten Commandments displays should not be allowed in courthouses. A split Supreme Court ruled that two Ten Commandments exhibits in Kentucky cross the line between separation of church and state because they promote a religious message and were motivated by a religious purpose, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The court's 5-4 decision was the first of two seeking to mediate the bitter culture war over religion's place in public life, the AP reported. In it, the court declined to prohibit all displays in court buildings or on government property. Justices left legal wiggle room, saying that some displays - like their own courtroom frieze - would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history. "This ruling by the Supreme Court is not only denigrating to our culture but it undermines the very laws we already have in place," Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, said. "Forbidding the Ten Commandments opens the door to hostility toward religion, which is contrary to the free exercise clause of the first amendment. … This country has a legacy of religious freedom and religious tolerance. Banning displays of the Ten Commandments suggests otherwise and that is lamentable." (www.charismanews.com)

Sky Angel TV Answers Call For Family-Friendly, Multi-Channel Television Programming
Religion News Service

As lawmakers urge cable and satellite operators to provide “family-friendly” programming tiers, The nation’s third direct broadcast satellite television provider, Sky Angel, has answered the call for family-friendly TV by not just committing one programming tier but rather its entire multi-channel satellite system to being a friend to the family. Sky Angel, which for nine years has been delivering to homes nationwide multiple TV and radio channels of Christian-inspirational and family programming, is enhancing its 36-channel family-friendly lineup by adding Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movie Channel and Fox News Channel, and soon HGTV. Viewers can finally get 24-hour news, family entertainment and faith-based programming all on one system without having to get other channels they would rather not have. Sky Angel has always been dedicated to family-friendly programming, but viewer demand motivated the satellite operator to enhance its system of faith-based channels to include mainstream news and family-oriented
entertainment networks as well. The addition of Hallmark Movie Channel, HGTV and Fox News will provide family viewers a wider range of news and entertainment options that they desire. And Sky Angel’s monthly subscription fee of under $15 for 36 TV and radio channels makes the package attractive to families who cannot afford to pay high subscription rates. (www.skyangel.com or 1-800-SKY-ANGEL)

UMC Conferences Criticized for Anti-Israel Divestiture Votes
Jim Brown, Agape Press

Two regional conventions of the United Methodist Church  (UMC) have voted to divest from companies that do business with Israel.  A conservative Methodist activist is critical of that decision coming from the two groups within the eight-million-member denomination. Last year, the Presbyterian Church USA voted overwhelmingly to endorse a divestment campaign against the Jewish state.  Now the New England and Virginia Annual Conferences of the UMC have called for their denomination to divest stock in firms whose products have been used to destroy Palestinian homes.  In Virginia, the resolution was proposed by the state chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. The Palestine News Agency has lauded both of the Methodist conferences for taking action against what it calls "apartheid Israel." Mark Tooley, who heads the United Methodist Action Committee for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, says mainline "church elites" are very hostile to Israel primarily because the Jewish state is an ally of the United States. The IRD spokesman points out that while the United Methodist Church has been quick to condemn Israel for alleged human-rights abuses, the denomination's General Conference has refused to consider resolutions on human-rights violations in China, North Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Pakistan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, and Egypt.