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Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2005

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

  • Schiavo's Mom Asks For Prayer; Attorney Says Case In 'God's Hands' 

  • Michigan Christians Denied Permit for Local NDP Event

  • Prominent Eritrean Pastor Disappears in Asmara  

  • Vietnam

Schiavo's Mom Asks For Prayer; Attorney Says Case In 'God's Hands'
Joni B. Hannigan, Baptist Press

"Absolutely" relying on prayer while their daughter's life is apparently in the hands of lawmakers and judges, Mary Schindler told the Florida Baptist Witness March 22 she believes prayer can help. "We're still asking for prayer," Schindler said. "Right now it's the only thing I have." The fate of the 41-year-old disabled woman looked grim on the fifth day she was denied food and water-on the order of Florida Judge George W. Greer, who directed her feeding tube be unhooked Mar. 18. But despite a seemingly endless process of filing appeals and trying to provide judges with information relative to a very complicated case, David Gibbs III, the attorney for the Schindler family, told the Witness the case is "completely in God's hands." "We've watched God do many miracles to this point," Gibbs said. "I am putting my complete faith and trust in Him and I believe He's going to save Terri. "I just hope He does it quickly." Acting on Greer's orders, healthcare workers not only stopped delivering nutrition and hydration to Terri though a tube March 18, they also removed a balloon type device in her abdomen to which they hooked the tube twice a day for her to receive sustenance.

Michigan Christians Denied Permit for Local NDP Event
Allie Martin, Agape Press

Officials in one Michigan city have denied a group of Christians a permit to meet for National Day of Prayer observances -- and may face legal action as a result. For the past ten years, Christians in Troy, Michigan, have joined hundreds of thousands of believers nationwide in National Day of Prayer observances on the first Thursday in May.  But this year, Troy city officials refused to issue a permit for the event. According to local coordinator Lori Wagner, this year's planned meeting was challenged by the Jewish, Muslim, and Indian community. " The whole focus [according to those opposing the event] is that [the event is] about diversity -- but diversity does not amalgamate our faith.  It does not force us to be one in our belief on any subject, but it allows us the freedom to function within our appropriate subgroups," Wagner says.  "[City officials'] basis for denying this was that the city has not established the area in front of city hall as a public forum -- so therefore they can control who meets there," she explains. But according to Wagner, the city attorney has informed her group it could argue that even though the area has not officially been designated a public forum, it is a public forum. Fifty-three churches are trying to sponsor the Troy event on May 5.  The theme for this year's national observance is "God Shed His Grace on Thee." 

Prominent Eritrean Pastor Disappears in Asmara 
Compass Direct

A leading evangelical pastor disappeared off the streets of Asmara four days ago, presumably detained by Eritrean security forces. Kidane Weldou of the Full Gospel Church was apparently taken into custody at mid morning on March 18. For the past four days, Weldou's family and church members have been unable to learn anything about his whereabouts or the charges under which he is being held. Two other leading pastors in the Full Gospel Church have been jailed for the past 10 months without charges or trial. On March 19, Eritrea's ambassador to the U.S. tried to defend his nation's religious freedom record in a Tigrinya-language interview broadcast over Voice of America. According to listeners, Girma Asmerom compared Eritrea's independent Christian churches to Al-Qaeda and said the Eritrean government should be commended for persecuting the evangelical "terrorists."

Charisma News Service

Police recently disbanded a women's prayer meeting at the home of a jailed Mennonite leader and briefly detained 10 men who came to their aid. On March 8, 32 Mennonite women were meeting for prayer when authorities entered the home in Ho Chi Minh City and told them to disperse, Radio Free Asia reported. None of the women were arrested, but 10 men were taken into custody and released later the same day, said Le Thi Phu Dung, owner of the house and wife of pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, the outspoken general secretary of the Vietnamese Mennonite Church. According to New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), Mennonites in Vietnam "have come under fire in recent years, in part because Quang has publicly criticized the arrests of religious and political dissidents, defended land rights cases of farmers from the provinces and used the Internet to call for religious freedom." Quang and three other Mennonites remain in prison on charges of resisting police after a scuffle broke out in March 2004 with undercover policemen who had been monitoring their Ho Chi Minh City church, HRW said. (www.charismanow.com )