Religion Today Summaries - May 16, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 16, 2005

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

  • Ga. Schools Denied Time to Appeal Evolution Disclaimer Ruling
  • Dorothy Patterson, On Dobson Program, Notes Biblical Stance On Gender Roles
  • Summer Event Offers Teens a Taste of Religious Persecution
  • Egyptian Convert Locked into Mental Hospital

Ga. Schools Denied Time to Appeal Evolution Disclaimer Ruling
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A federal appeals court has denied a request by the school board of Cobb County, Georgia, to delay an order to remove evolution disclaimer stickers from science textbooks. The printed stickers advise students that evolution is "a theory, not a fact." Six parents had sued to remove the stickers, successfully arguing that they are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Federal Judge Clarence Cooper ordered the school system to remove them from 34,000 textbooks. The Cobb County School Board requested a delay while appealing the court's decision that the textbook stickers violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment -- the so-called separation of church and state. Brian Fahling, a constitutional lawyer with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, says although it is unlikely the 11th Circuit Court will rule in the school board's favor, the Cobb County district officials should continue with their appeal of Judge Cooper's ruling. "It was simply because some Christian parents were concerned that evolution was being taught as fact and not as theory," Fahling says. Cobb County school system officials have made tentative plans to discard the stickers. At the time of this report, dates for the removal had not been set.

Dorothy Patterson, On Dobson Program, Notes Biblical Stance On Gender Roles
Gregory Tomlin, Baptist Press

"God started with the home," Dorothy Kelley Patterson said on James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program May 12. Patterson is a professor in the women's studies program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Speaking from Genesis 2, Patterson said the account of creation illustrates clearly defined roles for men and women. The first responsibility for man in the account, she said, was to tend the garden God had created. The man also was charged with guarding the garden. He was to protect it and the remainder of creation as husbands today should protect their wives and families. But the greatest responsibility given to man, Patterson said, was that of spiritual leadership. Women are given a different role than men in society, Patterson said. She is to be a "helper" to her husband, she said, even though she is created equal to him. "We are equal before God ... but from Genesis in creation it is clear that we have different roles." Still, the plan for the home remains the same as it was in the Bible, she added. Dobson said he chose Patterson's address for the broadcast because she articulated well the same principles he has been advocating his entire career. He said his goal in life has been to combat the "radical feminist distortions" about marriage, the family and the role of women in society.

Summer Event Offers Teens a Taste of Religious Persecution
Allie Martin, Agape Press

Christian youth groups nationwide will have a chance this summer to experience a small sample of what believers in persecuted nations endure on a daily basis. Open Doors USA is giving young people the opportunity to participate in "Night of Persecution," a program that is designed to help them understand what life is like for persecuted Christians by showing them in a vivid way. According to Jeff Shreve, who coordinates Open Doors' youth ministry, "Underground,” the experience is intense. "Their eyes are opened to the reality of Christian persecution," Shreve notes. In the course of their ordeal as "persecuted Christians," he says, "a lot of young people are forced through the interrogation and the intimidation that they face, the intense pressure, to really give an account for why they believe what they believe -- not so much to the interrogator but for themselves." Open Doors is sponsoring the "Night of Persecution" in the hope that, for many young Christians, it will help them begin to develop that deeper, more real faith as they learn about their brothers and sisters in the persecuted Church. Twenty-five dates are being booked for the summer months.

Egyptian Convert Locked into Mental Hospital
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct

An Egyptian convert to Christianity is being held in a Cairo mental hospital, where supervising doctors have told him he will stay until he recants his faith and returns to Islam. Gaser Mohammed Mahmoud, 30, was committed to the El-Khanka Hospital in early January by his adoptive parents, with the assistance of local state security police, after they learned he had become a Christian two years earlier. Under the supervision of Dr. Mohsen, director of the hospital's medical committee, Mahmoud was subjected to psychiatric examination and placed in Section Three, a closed ward for mental patients. He has remained there ever since, under the care of a woman physician identified only as Dr. Nevine. Sources describe Dr. Nevine as a "fanatic Muslim" who had treated Mahmoud "badly" for deserting Islam. Since his forced confinement, Mahmoud has reportedly endured beatings, whippings and potentially fatal injections. Egypt's Muslim citizens do not have the legal right to change their religion, although non-Muslims are allowed freely to convert to Islam and change their official religious identity. Officers of Egypt's State Security Investigation regularly harass, interrogate and sometimes arrest Muslims suspected to have converted to Christianity.