Religion Today Summaries - June 7, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 7, 2005

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

  • Bible-Based Baby Videos Offer Infants Interactive Learning Fun 
  • Air Force Instructs Officers Against Using Their Positions To Advance Religious Beliefs
  • Thirteen Suspects Arrested in Indonesia for Tentena Bombing 
  • Kuwait: Expatriates, Locals Reached with the Gospel

Bible-Based Baby Videos Offer Infants Interactive Learning Fun
Mary Rettig, Agape Press

A new DVD series is introducing the youngest children to the Bible. Little Leaders founder Brad Silvius says parents can find numerous DVDs catering to kids age in the infant to toddler range, but his company offers the only truly Bible-based developmental product for this age group currently on the market. The Little Leaders company produces DVDs that tell Bible stories for children from age 0 to 3, using colorful puppets, music, interactive activities, and computer animation. A DVD titled Little Joseph, tells "the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors," the Little Leaders spokesman explains, "and we use that as a platform to teach children the six basic colors." Other titles in the series, he notes, include Little Noah, which teaches children about animals, and Little Ruth, which teaches basic counting. Little Ruth is the newest Little Leaders DVD, and Silvius says in addition to introducing children to the biblical story of Ruth, this video will offer "a very revolutionary interactive bonus track where the parent can actually sit with the child and manipulate through this interactive track to reinforce the learning of respect -- and also to teach their children the sign language version of each of these particular facets of it." Titles available so far can be found at

Air Force Instructs Officers Against Using Their Positions To Advance Religious Beliefs
Agape Press

A former commander of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy believes the Colorado Springs institution has become a victim of a "witch hunt," resulting from claims by non-Christians of over-zealous proselytizing by Christian cadets and staff.  Associated Press reported this week that the Air Force has instructed its top commands worldwide to make sure officers do not use their positions to advance religious beliefs.  The move comes in the wake of allegations by the Air Force Academy that Jews and others were "harassed" by evangelical Christians. Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson, who served three years at the Academy, says he never encouraged or saw any inappropriate proselytizing.  "The fact that they're 90 percent Christian?"  Patterson muses.  "Oh well, that's the American demographic, that's the American dynamic.  I believe this is a witch hunt, personally.  I never forced or saw any cadet being forced to do anything other than he wanted or she wanted to do."  And Patterson has no respect for Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who helped push the probe. Patterson says the Air Force "bent over backwards" to accommodate non-believers at the Academy, including Muslims and Wiccans.

Thirteen Suspects Arrested in Indonesia for Tentena Bombing
Sarah Page, Compass Direct

Muslims and Christians in the predominantly Christian refugee town of Tentena have agreed to maintain peace despite a twin bomb blast on May 28 that left 21 people dead and 74 injured. On June 1, police arrested Abdul Kadir Sidik and Elvis, former government officials in Poso district, in connection with the bombing. The two men were previously convicted of embezzling 2.3 billion rupiah ($242,105) worth of refugee funds but were granted an early release from prison. Police also questioned Andi Makkasau, Ahmad Laparigi and Anwar Ali, prisoners convicted in the same embezzlement case. Makkasau and Laparigi were also accused of involvement in the November 4, 2004, beheading of Sarminalis Ndele, 48, a Christian pastor and chief of Pinedapa village in Poso Pesisir district. By June 2, police had arrested 13 suspects. The bomb blasts may have been an attempt to cover up the corruption scandal; others say the bombs were an attempt to re-ignite conflict in the region.

Kuwait: Expatriates, Locals Reached with the Gospel
Christian Aid Mission

While the Kuwaiti government is one of the more tolerant in the Middle East, the country has only a few hundred known native believers. The over 100,000 professing Christians in this oil-rich land are mostly foreign workers. Proselytism of Muslims is forbidden. Many workers are from Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country become infamous in recent weeks for sectarian violence, some of it directed at Christians. Despite dangers presented by Muslim extremists, native missionaries spread the gospel among their countrymen in Pakistan and abroad. Recently, a native gospel worker made a visit to a Pakistani Christian community in Kuwait to encourage and disciple Christians. He said several people gave testimonies of how the Lord was using them to reach both Pakistanis and Kuwaitis. A brother told the leader, "I am going out tomorrow to give a New Testament to a police officer who has been asking me for a copy. Before, I was afraid, but now I believe the Lord is calling me to take the Word of God to the people of Kuwait. Please pray for me." The challenges facing these brave Pakistanis will not end when they return to their home country. Muslim families may disown them or even threaten their lives; angry neighbors may target them with violence, as in the early April slayings of a Protestant pastor and his driver in northwestern Pakistan.