Religion Today Summaries - May 12, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 12, 2005

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

  • Baptist Pastor Embroiled in Controversy Resigns

  • Christian Firm Hails Decision Blocking ‘Radical Sex Education Program’

  • Level Of Anger Being Spewed At People Of Faith Has Risen To New Heights

  • Eritrea: Sixteen Full-Time Pastors Are Among Nearly 900 Christians Jailed

Baptist Pastor Embroiled in Controversy Resigns
Agape Press

In North Carolina, a Baptist pastor embroiled in controversy over the dismissal of several church members has now resigned. Press reports last weekend indicated several members of the East Waynesville Baptist Church, all Democrats, were voted out for not supporting President Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Congregants of the 100-member church have claimed their pastor, Chan Chandler, endorsed Bush from the pulpit last year and said anyone who planned to vote for Senator John Kerry should "repent or resign." Some news accounts suggested that Chandler ran the nine non-Bush supporters out of the congregation. Later reports revealed that, in reality, the minister had merely criticized church members who supported any pro-abortion candidate, regardless of whether they were Democrats or Republicans. But at a church meeting last night, Chandler resigned. His attorney, Jay Pavey, told Associated Press the pastor does not regret anything he has said from the pulpit but does regret that "many of the things he's said have been taken out of context, and they've been manipulated to imply things that simply were not true." Pavey added that the 33-year-old Baptist minister admits a side of him "would like to expose all the misstatements, but he said in the long run, that would not glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and would be more harmful than good."

Christian Firm Hails Decision Blocking ‘Radical Sex Education Program’
Charisma News Service

A Christian legal firm is praising a federal judge's recent decision to block a Maryland school system from instituting a new health curriculum that includes discussions of homosexuality and religion, and a demonstration on how to use condoms. A week ago, Alexander Williams issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the Montgomery County school system in suburban Washington, D.C., from using the pilot program in six schools, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The curriculum explained what Jesus allegedly did and did not say about homosexuality, portraying evangelicals as intolerant and prejudiced, and referring readers to gay-friendly religious organizations. Williams agreed with two groups that filed a lawsuit last week claiming the curriculum's discussion of homosexuality amounted to preferential treatment for religions that preach tolerance of homosexuality over those that reject it. "The curriculum is full of information that is biased, inaccurate and unashamedly hostile to Christian beliefs," said Mathew Staver, president and general counsel for Liberty Counsel, which represented Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum. School Superintendent Jerry Weast said after the ruling that he was suspending use of the curriculum for the rest of the school year and had ordered a review of its materials before deciding the future of the program, the AP reported. (

Level Of Anger Being Spewed At People Of Faith Has Risen To New Heights
Bill Fancher, Agape Press

A Christian leader in Washington, DC, says the level of anger being spewed at people of faith has risen to new heights. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition believes differing views on social issues are driving an angry wedge between the debaters, especially those on the liberal side, and mean-spirited name calling has become a mainstay of Democrat lawmakers in particular. Mahoney observes, "I think we are seeing the Democratic Party scrambling. I think they don't know how to deal with the faith and values community, particularly on abortion." Recently, Christian organizations and leaders have been called the anti-Christ, Nazis, and hate mongers by those who disagree with their values, and a conference was convened in New York City in an effort to fight what participants called the growth of a theocracy. Mahoney and other Christian leaders feel things will only get worse.

Eritrea: Sixteen Full-Time Pastors Are Among Nearly 900 Christians Jailed
Charisma News Service

Sixteen full-time pastors are among nearly 900 Christians who are jailed in prisons and military camps, according to a documented list recently compiled by evangelical sources in the tiny African nation. Despite a heavy-handed clampdown by the country's security police, the sources have managed to compile the list of 883 Christians now being held without trial or charges because of their faith, Compass Direct reported. Only a handful of prisoners have been released -- after recently being coerced to sign pledges to stop attending religious services of the unregistered, "illegal" denominations. Of the pastors and hundreds of church members arrested since January, most were apprehended either at prayer meetings in homes of fellow believers or while attending wedding ceremonies. Several others were arrested individually from their homes or offices, Compass reported. (