Religion Today Summaries - June 30, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 30, 2005

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

  • Christian Attorneys See Both Pros, Cons in SCOTUS' Decisions on Commandments 

  • Talk, Uncertainty Abound Over When Graham Crusades Will End 

  • Judicial Activism Extends Even To The Nation's Highest Court 

  • Orissa Court Orders Christian Prosecution

Christian Attorneys See Both Pros, Cons in SCOTUS' Decisions on Commandments
Allie Martin, Bill Fancher, and Jody Brown, Agape Press

Christian, pro-family attorneys continue to offer their thoughts on and discuss the ramifications of the split decision handed down on Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court on the displaying of the Ten Commandments. The chief counsel for Liberty Legal Institute, which represented the Fraternal Order of Eagles in the Texas case, says that decision is a major victory.  "If a six-foot-tall, three-feet-wide Ten Commandments monument in front of the State Capitol is okay," says LLI's Kelly Shackelford. According to Shackelford, the narrow victory shows how important it is to have conservatives on the high court. Richard Thompson, chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, is concerned, however, that the split ruling will discourage some public entities from displaying any sort of religious symbols.  "The court announced no rule of law, which government entities can depend upon that will give them any reasonable certainty they are complying with the requirements of the Establishment Clause [of the First Amendment]," Thompson states. Brad Dacus with the Pacific Justice Institute admits he had hoped the Supreme Court would find display of the Ten Commandments constitutional in both cases.  Still, he says, the rulings provide "some clarity" he believes will benefit many types of religious expression. Other pro-family leaders are echoing the sentiment that the Supreme Court appears to be openly hostile toward religions -- and especially Christianity.

Talk, Uncertainty Abound Over When Graham Crusades Will End
Berta Delgado-Young, Baptist Press

Was it or wasn't it Billy Graham's final crusade? For months, the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was billed as likely his last, or likely his last in North America, or his final "planned" crusade because of talk of an invitation from London. But, as always, the 86-year-old evangelist wasn't ready or willing to provide a definite answer. On Sunday, he said he'd been asked if this was his final crusade. "I said, 'It probably is -- in New York," he said in his southern drawl. "But I also said, 'I never say never.'" Graham, now in fragile health, has always said that evangelists don't retire. But others hinted that this could be it. If so, there were plenty of high-profile attendees over the three days to witness the event that many called historic. Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, New York Sen. Hilary Clinton, joined Graham on stage one night. Country singer Vince Gill and his wife, Christian artist Amy Grant attended. Mystery writer Patricia Cornwell was there. Evangelist and California pastor Greg Laurie and fellow California pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren attended all three days.

Judicial Activism Extends Even To The Nation's Highest Court
Agape Press

The Christian Coalition of America views the Ten Commandments rulings as an indicator that judicial activism extends even to the nation's highest court.  Accusing the Supreme Court of making "tyrannical decisions" over the last four decades -- and most of those supported by justices who were nominated by Republican presidents -- CCA president Roberta Combs says it is "long past time" for those who are nominated to the high court to respect the U.S. Constitution.  Referring to the Commandments decisions handed down this week, Combs says the Supreme Court is "completely out of step" with most Americans.  "This must change," she says.  "[Monday's] flawed Ten Commandments decision ... makes the confirmation of strict constructionists to that court more important than ever."  Christian Coalition has formed a "Judicial Task Force" with a chairperson in every state to push for a fair up-or-down vote on all nominees to the federal bench.

Orissa Court Orders Christian Prosecution
Gospel For Asia

The High Court in the Indian state of Orissa has ordered a local government to begin prosecuting missionaries involved in "forced conversions" of Hindus. The anti-Christian forces in Indian society often bring charges of "forced conversion," even though the individuals freely choose to change their religion. The court order came in response to a petition filed by 269 anti-Christian activists, and also comes on the heels of the same court canceling the death sentence of one of the men convicted in the murder of missionary Graham Staines and his sons in 1999. The guilty man's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, while 11 others charged with the crime were acquitted. The latest order could endanger GFA native missionaries, even when Hindus seek them out to learn more about Jesus. Ironically, the law is called the "Orissa Freedom of Religion Act," but it is mainly used to deny men and women their basic human right to freely follow Christ. Please pray that God will protect GFA missionaries and others sharing the Gospel, and for the new believers as they seek to follow Christ amid much opposition.