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Religion Today Summaries - June 8, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 8, 2005

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

  • Atheist Throws Legal Challenge at Wording of Mt. Soledad Cross Ballot Initiative 

  • Large Reservation Has Become Wellspring of 'Sweeping' Revival

  • Second Pastor Found Dead in Andhra Pradesh, India 

  • Indonesia: Local Christians Threatened by Muslim Extremists

Atheist Throws Legal Challenge at Wording of Mt. Soledad Cross Ballot Initiative
James L. Lambert, Agape Press

James McElroy, the attorney for atheist Philip Paulson, has told five San Diego area personalities that he will file a legal challenge next week to the proposed wording of a July 26 City of San Diego ballot initiative. The initiative will determine the fate of the 43-foot cross located on city land atop Mt. Soledad in nearby La Jolla. The area personalities identified in the threat include KFMB radio talk-show host Rick Roberts, KOGO radio talk-show host Roger Hedgecock, San Diego Padres baseball club announcer Jerry Coleman, Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and SoledadNational.com director Phil Thalmeimer. All five men recently signed off on the wording for the July 26 city-wide initiative. McElroy claims that a number of their statements on the ballot are "false and misleading." Some statements at issue include, "as in the case with Mount Soledad, wherever veterans are honored with the symbols of the fallen, an intolerant few will launch frivolous lawsuits that waste our tax dollars ...." On Friday, Roberts indicated by phone that he and the others "will defend the wording in court." Roberts stressed that this issue is important for those who want to preserve the heritage of San Diego, which includes the La Jolla cross. Donations for that cause are being taken at www.SoledadNational.com.

Large Reservation Has Become Wellspring of 'Sweeping' Revival
Charisma News Service

Ministry leaders claim some communities in the largest American Indian reservation in the United States are experiencing a move of God that is comparable to the miracles recorded in the book of Acts. They say that in parts of the Navajo Nation, entire families have come to Christ, crack houses have been turned into houses of worship as drug dealers have been converted, many have been delivered from alcohol and drugs, and a well that was dry for years is now filled with water that brings healing. "The only big name involved in this revival is God, and it is sweeping the Navajo Nation," Ray Saragosa, missions pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, told Charisma magazine. Saragosa has taken ministry teams seven times to the Arizona communities that are located in the Navajo Nation, which extends through a large portion of the Grand Canyon state and into New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo Nation is the largest of the 275 reservations and 500 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. A Navajo native who was raised on the reservation, Daniel "Larry" Furcap, senior pastor of Whippoorwill Fellowship Church, said a "full explosion of revival" is happening in Whippoorwill and Ganado. (www.charismanews.com)

Second Pastor Found Dead in Andhra Pradesh, India
Satya Kumar, Compass Direct

Police in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh found the body of Pastor Isaac Raju on June 2. Raju went missing on May 24. Just days earlier, on May 21, the body of Pastor K. Daniel was found with marks suggestive of an acid attack. Both Raju and Daniel pastored churches on the outskirts of the state capital, Hyderabad. A letter sent to a local newspaper claimed the murders were the work of an organization called the Anti-Christian Forum. After the letter was received, police questioned 150 members of Hindu nationalist organizations but at press time, had no suspects. A reward has now been offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the murders.

Indonesia: Local Christians Threatened by Muslim Extremists
Christian Aid Mission

Tension between Muslims and Christians in parts of Indonesia has led to church closures, service cancellations and threats, according to reports received from native missionaries there. In one Muslim community, a local witchdoctor and his apprentice (many Muslims in Indonesia blend traditional Islam with pre-Islamic animist beliefs) came to Christ one year ago. Since then, their local Christian church has received many threats from Muslim leaders in the area. In another area, a church has been getting bomb threats from a local Muslim group. The church had to change its meeting time from Sunday evening to Sunday morning after government officials, in response to growing unrest in the region, prohibited any church services after 8:00 PM. In light of these recent incidents, a native mission leader told Christian Aid that animosity against Christians is growing in what used to be a tolerant land. It was not until the 1990s that clashes began to break out between members of Indonesia's Islamic majority and Christian minority. Throughout last year, a series of attacks on churches and their congregations increased the tension. Perhaps most devastating was a July attack on a church that resulted in the death of the pastor. Indonesian missionaries continue their work, even among some of the country's most difficult Muslim groups.