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Religion Today Summaries - June 29, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 29, 2005

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

  • Dobson, Others Respond to Supremes' Rulings on Decalogue 

  • Send President Bush a Birthday Greeting 

  • FTE Announces $1.2 Million In Fellowships For Aspiring Pastors And Scholars

  • Indonesia

Dobson, Others Respond to Supremes' Rulings on Decalogue
Jody Brown and Allie Martin, Agape Press

Several respected Christian leaders say the prognosis is not good for public acknowledgement of God and His laws.  They say Monday's Supreme Court rulings in two Ten Commandments cases do not bode well for those who might wish to publicly express their faith and exercise their God-given right to do so. Speaking to a national radio audience June 28, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family said by ruling against the display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky courtrooms -- but, in a separate decision, stating a granite monument in Texas depicting the Decalogue is constitutional -- the Supreme Court "tore a hole through the First Amendment." Dobson sees very little in the seemingly contradictory decisions to be encouraged about.  "This was no affirmation of the right of religious expression," he said in reference to the Texas ruling.   He added that the 5-4 vote in the Texas case was "chilling" because it means that four justices sitting on the Supreme Court bench "can't even condone the Commandments under decidedly non-religious circumstances."  And if just one of those five justices in the majority had changed their vote, Dobson added, "sandblasters would have had to be taken to just about every government building in Washington, DC -- including the Supreme Court itself."

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 (see link below). "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.

FTE Announces $1.2 Million In Fellowships For Aspiring Pastors And Scholars
Religion News Service

To encourage a new generation of gifted young people to consider vocations in ministry and theological scholarship, The Fund for Theological Education (FTE) will award $1.2 million in fellowships and other support to more than 170 students nationwide named as 2005 FTE Fellows. Research by theological organizations and denominations shows significant concern about the need to attract high-quality candidates to ministry and theological scholarship.  In addition, recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics indicate that vacancies for needed clergy rank among the highest for professions requiring an advanced degree. FTE Fellowships provide financial assistance and other support to talented students from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate the professional and personal skills needed to be effective pastors, scholars and educators. The Fund for Theological Education is a leading national advocate for excellence and diversity in Christian ministry.  It supports the next generation of leaders among pastors and scholars, providing fellowships and a network of support for gifted young people from all denominations and racial/ethnic backgrounds. The Fund is also a resource for educational and faith communities, offering programs that encourage high-quality candidates to explore vocations in ministry and teaching.  Since 1954, the Atlanta-based Fund has awarded more than 5,600 fellowships in partnership with others committed to the future of quality leadership for the church.  (www.thefund.org)

Charisma News Service

In the wake of the May 28 bombing in Tentena, which left 21 people dead and 74 injured, both Muslim and Christian leaders have expressed concern about corruption and violence in Indonesia. Some Muslim leaders say the bombing is yet another reason why the nation should adopt sharia, or Islamic law, to combat moral decline, Compass Direct reported. To date, efforts to amend the Constitution of 1945 to include sharia have failed. However, supporters of sharia are now using provincial laws as their entry point. Regarding the bombing, police recently arrested two former government officials in Poso district in connection with the May 28 bombing, which occurred in the predominantly Christian refugee town of Tentena, located in Central Sulawesi. The two men were previously convicted of embezzling the equivalent of $242,105 in refugee funds, but were granted an early release from prison. Police also questioned three prisoners convicted in the same embezzlement case. Two of the prisoners were also accused of involvement in the November beheading of Sarminalis Ndele, 48, a pastor and chief of Pinedapa village in Poso Pesisir District. Meanwhile, churches are still being destroyed or forced to close. A total of 966 churches have been burned or closed down since 1945, six of those since current President Yudhoyono was elected seven months ago, Compass reported. (www.charismanews.com)