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Religion Today Summaries - March 30, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 30, 2005

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

  • Terri's Supporters Wonder Why Congress Choosing Not to Intervene 

  • Jerry Falwell In Critical Condition In Lynchburg Hospital 

  • Catholic Relief Workers Evacuated From Recent Quake Area

  • Laotian Christians Arrested at Village Church Meeting

Terri's Supporters Wonder Why Congress Choosing Not to Intervene
Jody Brown and Bill Fancher, Agape Press

Christian activists are appealing to God and to Congress to save the life of Terri Schiavo, who because of a court-imposed order is preparing to enter her twelfth day without food and water. A bioethics analyst with Focus on the Family says while it may be difficult for Terri's supporters to face, time may have run out for the 41-year-old Florida woman. Christian activists on the scene and across the country believe Congress can play a role in the ultimate outcome and should enforce its subpoena ordering that Terri be brought to Washington. Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, tells Family News In Focus that Congress has the option to exercise some legal actions. "Congress still has this outstanding subpoena to Ms. Schiavo, and they were going to hold a hearing on the issue," Fitton points out.  "And Judge Greer ignored the subpoena. Congress has it within its power to vote Judge Greer in contempt to enforce its own subpoena, and refer it to the Justice Department for action, and they haven't done that." Fitton believes the lawmakers on Capitol Hill are afraid to act.  He says they appear to be wary of "political blowback" that may result from any efforts they expend to save Terri Schiavo.

Jerry Falwell In Critical Condition In Lynchburg Hospital
Baptist Press

Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell is in critical condition in a Lynchburg, Va., hospital after being admitted late March 28 for difficulty breathing. Lynchburg General Hospital released a statement saying that Falwell is on a ventilator and his condition has stabilized, the Associated Press reported. Church officials and hospital officials told AP that Falwell is experiencing another case of viral pneumonia. "Rev. Falwell is clinically stable, but he is still critically ill," Liberty University said in a statement. "He is undergoing evaluation and his physicians will have a clearer picture on Wednesday. His cardiac status is stable and there is no evidence of a heart attack. He is alert and responding to questions." Falwell also was in the hospital for nearly two weeks in late February and early March, battling pneumonia. He recovered in time to watch, in person, Liberty's women's basketball team advance to the NCAA Sweet 16. "He's resting comfortably and in stable condition," Ron Godwin, Falwell's executive assistant, said, according to the Associated Press. "It's a recurrence of the viral pneumonia." The 71-year-old Falwell serves as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist, a Southern Baptist church in Lynchburg.

Catholic Relief Workers Evacuated From Recent Quake Area
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service

All 150 Catholic Relief Services (CRS) staff in Aceh Province have been accounted for following the latest earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale hit parts of Indonesia previously affected by the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. CRS personnel evacuated agency offices, staff housing and hotels in the three areas where the organization has been operating. They have been in working in Banda Aceh, Meulaboh and Medan. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) staff, including the agency’s president and two members of the board of directors, are beginning assessments of damage that has been caused by the most recent earthquakes that struck off the coast of Indonesia. They were in Medan when the earthquake hit. According to a CRS report received by ASSIST News Service (ANS), electricity has been cut and the extent of damage is still uncertain. There have been reports of deaths on the Island of Nias, where CRS is working with partners, but fuller assessments both on the island as well as throughout Aceh Province will be reported in the coming days. "The recent quakes have taken an emotional toll on those who survived the catastrophic tsunami in December. Even in Sri Lanka, where the quake did not register, people in the coastal areas evacuated to camps CRS had initially set up in the aftermath of the tsunami," the CRS report says. (www.CatholicRelief.org)

Laotian Christians Arrested at Village Church Meeting
Christian Aid Mission

At least eight gospel workers have been arrested in Hueyhoy village, Phin district, Savannakhet province, Laos, within the last few days. Charged with "possessing weapons," they were taken into custody after refusing to heed authorities' warnings, issued on March 10, to stop evangelistic activities. The exact number arrested at the village church meeting remains unclear. What is known are the names of two of the believers: Khamthan, age 59, and Vangthong, age 31. At least six others were arrested and accused of illegal weapons possession. A Christian leader in Laos writes that "Christians commonly have been charged with social crimes, such as possession of weapons, in order to divert the real issues behind the arrests and imprisonment." Savannakhet province, in southern Laos, is a region of much Christian persecution. Christian Aid has received reports of believers being imprisoned and churches being closed there repeatedly. Pray for protection and encouragement for these eight arrested gospel workers and also for their families as they struggle in their absence.