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Religion Today Summaries - March 17, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 17, 2005

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

  • Philly Court Nixes Christian's Lawsuit Against Temple Univ. 

  • Syria: Prison Ministry Draws Muslims to Christ 

  • ADF Calls for Christian Counterpoint to Homosexuals' Day of Silence 

  • India: Hindu Extremists Seeking To Embarrass And Discredit Missionary Minister

Philly Court Nixes Christian's Lawsuit Against Temple Univ.
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A Philadelphia jury has ruled against a former student of Temple University who sued the school after administrators attempted to commit him to a mental hospital in 1999.  Earlier in the day the jury was hung, but ultimately came down on the side of the Philadelphia school. Michael Marcavage opposed the campus presentation of the controversial play Corpus Christi which portrays Christ as a homosexual.  He approached Temple officials about his opposition to the play, but they tried to have him forcibly committed for treatment.  Marcavage sued the school, claiming officials violated his constitutional rights. Steve Crampton is chief counsel for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, which represented Marcavage.  He claims the judge dealt severe setbacks to Marcavage's case that prevented the jury from hearing both sides of the story. "They had the story from the defendants [William Bergman and Carl Bittenbender, the vice president and the head of campus security, respectively], but they don't get the rest of the story," Crampton says. "They don't get Michael's version, which includes the doctors who said he was perfectly normal when he arrived at the hospital -- basically indicating that there was no legitimate reason to bring him in in the first place." Crampton says the judge in the case basically rewrote Pennsylvania state law to protect Temple University. Crampton says he will appeal the jury's ruling.

Syria: Prison Ministry Draws Muslims to Christ
Christian Aid Mission

Even as political turmoil plagues Syria, the work of the gospel continues. Native missionaries involved in prison ministry especially are seeing many come to Christ. One gospel worker writes that he was able to lead a Muslim prisoner to the Lord who in turn has become a witness for Christ throughout the prison. He reportedly stood up in an assembly of inmates, held his Bible aloft and shouted, "Listen you people! From now on I'm a new person and a Christian." Curious prisoners have been more open to hearing about the Lord since seeing their fellow inmate's dramatic conversion; one has already committed his life to Christ. Yet the gospel is not spread without opposition, even though Syria is considered one of the freer countries in the Middle East and does not have the intense religious persecution of some of its neighbors. When the families of the two newly-converted prisoners learned of their conversions, they disowned them, cutting them off from any support. Gospel workers are helping the prisoners by meeting their physical needs while they are in jail. Though they know they could face similar treatment by Muslim family members, many in Syria continue to choose Christ.

ADF Calls for Christian Counterpoint to Homosexuals' Day of Silence
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A pro-family event next month will encourage Christian students across the United States to engage in peaceful expressions of their biblical viewpoint on homosexuality. The Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty defense group, is sponsoring a national "Day of Truth" on April 14, just one day after the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) observes its annual pro-homosexual "Day of Silence." ADF senior counsel Joseph Infranco feels confident that the Christian observance next month will be respectful and non-disruptive. He describes the emphasis as "an opportunity for Christian students to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda in schools across America" and says, "The Day of Truth, held the day after the Day of Silence, encourages respectful debate rather than silence." Infranco adds that the project "brings a Christian viewpoint, which is the mainstream viewpoint, into the discussion." An ADF public service announcement advertising the Day of Truth features the voice of a California high school student who was barred by school officials from wearing a T-shirt expressing his Christian views about homosexuality. The ad ends with an encouragement to visit the Alliance Defense Fund's Day of Truth website at http://www.telladf.org/truth.

India: Hindu Extremists Seeking To Embarrass And Discredit Missionary Minister
Charisma News Service

Hindu extremists are seeking to exploit the affair of a pastor's wife with one of their members in order to embarrass and discredit the minister. Married to Dharmesh Ninama, a pastor in Gujarat, Manulaben Dinana was reportedly kidnapped by fundamentalists in May, and finally returned home on Nov. 2, Compass Direct reported. However, Dinana, 23, was pregnant with the child of one of her kidnappers, with whom she allegedly had an affair before the kidnapping took place. Ninama and both sets of parents refused to accept her when they discovered she was pregnant. Dinana then returned to the kidnapper's home. Local Christians say the kidnappers wanted to exploit Dinana's affair in order to embarrass her husband. "This is clearly a case of Hindu fundamentalists exploiting her because the man with whom she allegedly had an affair had links with fundamentalist groups," a prominent Christian leader from Gujarat told Compass. "Manulaben's husband is a missionary in an area dominated by Hindu fundamentalists," he added. "Although he is well accepted by villagers, fundamentalists are trying to hinder his missionary work. He was threatened by extremists on several occasions before the kidnapping incident took place." (www.charismanews.com)