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Religion Today Summaries - May 29, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 29, 2006

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

  • The Bible on the Front Lines in Iraq

  • Vietnamese Officials Resort to Force in Civil Dispute

  • Church Members Detained and Questioned During Bible Distribution in Russia

  • 81% Say Nation's Moral Values Getting Worse

The Bible on the Front Lines in Iraq

For over a year, Brad Blauser has been collecting the Bibles from friends and family in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and distributing them to soldiers in Iraq, ASSIST News reports. One of the men who received a Bible began to pass them out to his bunk-mates. A few weeks later Nils Thompson was killed in action. Thompson's testimony only intensifies Blauser's and other personnel's acute awareness that they may face eternity the next time they leave the base. When Blauser decided to begin a class for soldiers who had recently trusted Jesus Christ, he realized he was missing one crucial element -- Bibles. So, he issued a plea over the Internet to his friends and family back home in Texas to buy Starting Point Study Bibles and send them to him in Iraq. Blauser has already given away over 600 Starting Point Study Bibles, and this year he has a lofty goal to give away 6,000.

Vietnamese Officials Resort to Force in Civil Dispute

Compass Direct reports that police and other officials used overwhelming force to address an alleged building permit violation by the Vietnam Mennonite Church. An estimated 50 public security police and other security forces and officials from Binh Khanh Ward in District 2 converged on the Mennonite church, office and residence of the Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang on Monday afternoon (May 22). Beating construction workers and others, authorities arrested 11 people, including Rev. Quang, who had been released from prison last August after serving 15 months of his three-year sentence for “interfering” with police officers. Pastor Quang was the last to be released on Tuesday evening (May 23). He had received a building permit to repair the damage authorities had previously done to the Mennonite building. His peers believe that authorities resorted to use of force in a civil matter in order to set a trap for him, hoping to provoke him. A long-time Compass source noted that it is especially puzzling that Vietnam would risk the fallout of more negative publicity at a time when it is trying hard to get off the U.S. list of religious liberty offenders.

Church Members Detained and Questioned During Bible Distribution in Russia

ASSIST News reports that three members of a church in the Ivanovo region of Russia are being detained and questioned following the break-up by authorities of Bible distribution after the showing of a Christian film. Vladimir Miskevich, Senior Pastor for Vladimir and Ivanovo region, Russia writes: "On the 14th of May 2006 the ECB church 'Resurrection' organized a meeting in the cinema center 'Sovremennik' (Contemporary) and showed the film 'The Climb.' "After the film all those who wanted to have New Testaments received them. The NTs were distributed by members of our church at the exit from the cinema hall. The New Testaments were published by the Christian society Gideon for Russia. During the distribution of the NTs the officers from regional Home Affairs office came up to our church people, who distributed the books, and said that the distribution of the books was illegal. As a result of such action, the distribution of the NTs was stopped and three members of the church were detained and brought to the department of Home Affairs of Okryabrsky district of Ivanovo town."

81% Say Nation's Moral Values Getting Worse

More than eight in 10 Americans say the country's moral values are getting worse, although Democrats and Republicans differ greatly on what specifically is morally acceptable and what is morally wrong, a new Gallup poll shows. Baptist Press reports that the 81 percent of adults who say the nation's "state of moral values" is getting worse is a record high for the question, which was first asked in 2002. It registered at 67 percent in each of the first two years and 77 percent in 2004 and 2005. Only 11 percent of Americans say the nation's moral values are getting better. The increase in pessimism about morality since 2002-03 is seen most among Republicans (a 16-point increase) and independents (an 18-point jump) and less among Democrats (a 6-point jump). Republicans and Democrats differ widely on what is and is not morally permissible: Democrats are much more likely to say homosexual relations are OK - 53 percent say they're morally permissible, while only 36 percent of Republicans say the same. Fifty-three percent of Democrats say abortion is OK, although only 30 percent of Republicans say so.