Religion Today Summaries, May 27, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, May 27, 2004

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

  • Constitutional Expert Exposes Establishment Clause Error 
  • Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians United Amid Bloodshed
  • Salvation Army Vows Not to Compromise in NYC
  • Iran: Police Arrest Christian Pastor

Constitutional Expert Exposes Establishment Clause Error
Chad Groening, Agape Press

A Christian attorney who specializes in the United States Constitution says he wants to set the record straight about the myth of "the separation of Church and State." Dee Wampler, who practices law in Springfield, Missouri, has appeared on Good Morning America and similar programs, seeking to negate the "lie" that he contends is being advanced by liberals -- that the U.S. Constitution mandates a total separation between the Church and the State. One of the biggest untruths being touted as fact in modern society, the constitutional expert says, "is that there is a separation of Church and State, and it's in the Constitution." Wampler says revisionists have tried to erase the truth about America's origins. Thanks to revisionist history, the author says, U.S. citizens are no longer taught that their country was founded as a Christian nation by Christian people. As a result, he believes Americans have lost their moral compass. "Worse, than that," Wampler says, "we are revising our history today to be politically correct. And as a lawyer who specializes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I decided it was time to help set the record straight." Through his book, The Myth of Separation Between Church and State, Wampler seeks to document the origin of the widely-believed fallacy and to show that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that deals with a separation between religion and government.

Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians United Amid Bloodshed
Stefan Bos, ASSIST News Service

Israel's withdrawal of parts of the Gaza Strip following a week of bloodshed has boosted an unprecedented unity among Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews as well as church growth, a Christian organization working in the region said Wednesday, May 26. Evangecube International official Tom Doyle told a Christian news service, that "people are discovering that Christ is providing all the answers they need," after dozens of people were killed in the worst bloodshed in Gaza in recent memory. Doyle said that uncertainty is "bonding the Messianic Jewish Church and the Palestinian Church." He said Evangecube wanted to be an effective tool for churches to help them tell the story of Christ. "We go into churches and train them to share the Gospel." He stressed that "because of pressure on both sides, God has allowed this to cause different churches" to cling together.  Doyle added that Messianic churches of Jews accepting Christ as Lord have grown from about four two decades ago to "over 200." He said the same church growth was reported in Palestinian areas where "a brand new church in Bethlehem" just started a year ago and "has over 300 people."  Doyle was quoted as saying that both Muslims and Jews "are very open to the Gospel" of Jesus Christ.

Salvation Army Vows Not to Compromise in NYC
Agape Press

The Salvation Army is vowing to stand by its Christian principles in a pending battle over the more than $250 million in contracts it has with New York City.  The city is on the verge of passing a law which would force entities with city contracts to write same-sex benefits into their hiring policies.  Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, says such laws illustrate several implications of legalized homosexual "marriage" -- the economic cost, the threat to religious liberty, and the willingness of activists to sacrifice the needy to advance their agenda.  "The bottom line," says Perkins, "is that religious organizations will either be forced to compromise their moral principles, or the neediest people in our nation's cities will be deprived of the effective services faith-based organizations can provide."  New York City is the Salvation Army's largest area of ministry, with soup kitchens, thrift shops, and recovery centers ministering to tens of thousands.  But Army spokesman Major George Hood tells Family News In Focus that they will not compromise.  "Our existing policy is that we will not sign any contracts that require domestic-partner benefits, or contracts that force The Salvation Army to change its spiritual integrity," he states. 

Iran: Police Arrest Christian Pastor
Compass Direct

Iranian police arrested a Protestant Christian pastor in northern Iran three days ago, jailing him along with his wife and two teenage children. Pastor Khosroo Yusefi and his wife Nasrin were arrested on May 23 in Chalous, a town along the Caspian Sea coast. Together with their 18-year-old son and a daughter age 15, they remain imprisoned without known charges. “The police have found out that people have come to Christ in that city, that’s all,” an Iranian Christian told Compass today. “We don’t know whether somebody was spying on them, or what.” Reportedly dozens of believers from two of Yusefi’s church groups were jailed in the first week of May and later released. However, Sunday’s arrest marks the first time that the entire family of a Christian leader has been taken into custody. The majority of Christians meeting in secret house-church groups in Iran are former Muslims.