Religion Today Summaries - May 6, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 6, 2005

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

  • Bush, On National Day Of Prayer, Ties Prayer To Wise Use Of Freedom 

  • Churches, Ministries Reach Out to Gangbangers With Unique Programs

  • Church Attacked And Burned To The Ground

  • Study: Christian Teens Theologically Shallow

Bush, On National Day Of Prayer, Ties Prayer To Wise Use Of Freedom
Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The National Day of Prayer is an occasion for Americans to "ask that our nation, our leaders and our people use the freedom we have been given wisely," President Bush said May 5 at the White House. Speaking on the 54th National Day of Prayer, the president told a gathering, "Freedom is a divine gift that carries with it a tremendous human responsibility.... [W]e pray as Americans have always prayed -- with confidence in God's purpose, with hope for the future and with the humility to ask God's help to do what is right." The morning event in the East Room marked the fifth consecutive year the president has spoken at such an observance in the White House. In addition to events in Washington, observances were expected to be held at about 40,000 sites across the country, according to the NDP Task Force. In his six-minute speech, Bush said Americans pray for three reasons: (1) "to give thanks for our freedom;" (2) "for help in defending the gift of freedom from those who seek to destroy it;" and (3) "to acknowledge our dependence on the Almighty." Bush issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation May 3. A transcript of the president's remarks and a text of the proclamation are both available at

Churches, Ministries Reach Out to Gangbangers With Unique Programs
Charisma News Service

Finding solutions to the gang epidemic has proved a daunting task for lawmakers and civic leaders in communities across the country. Some Christian leaders, however, are reaching out to gangbangers right where they live and seeing the power of God change at-risk and impressionable young people. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, some 750,000 youth are members of gangs in America. One-third of them are under the age of 18. Gang activity is so widespread that President Bush unveiled plans for an anti-gang task force during his annual State of the Union address in January. The president committed to a three-year, $150 million initiative that will target America's youth. The president's anti-gang initiative recognizes existing organizations such as Think Detroit, a nonprofit coaching and mentorship program designed to instill character in Detroit's youth. Holy Christian Missionary Baptist Church for All People in Washington, D.C., has responded to gang violence with Life After Homicide, a support group for people whose loved ones had been killed as a result of the violence. Bishop George D. McKinney, pastor of St. Stephens Church of God in Christ in San Diego, has spent years ministering to both gangbangers and families scarred by the violence. He said young people are drawn to gangs because they want to belong, noting the lack of family structure evident when children become disconnected. (

Church Attacked And Burned To The Ground
Jeremy Reynalds, ASSIST News Service

A church affiliated with Gospel for Asia has been burned to the ground by insurgents. This is the third attack on the building this year and the sixth time it has been targeted by arsonists. GFA officials said that police are investigating the April 19 attack on the Believers Church located in the Thoubal district in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. Four Christians associated with the church were injured in the violence, including one man who had to be hospitalized for his injuries. “Such opposition is a daily fact of life for our missionaries on the front lines in many parts of Asia,” said Gospel for Asia Founder and President K.P. Yohannan in a news release. In an emergency meeting, Christian leaders in Manipur agreed to form an Inter-Church Peace Council and contact the state’s Minorities Commission. According to ministry officials, the Believers Church had been previously attacked twice this year, and a local court had ordered police to provide security while reconstruction took place. A local newspaper reported that opponents have warned church members to abandon the premises or “face the consequences.” Church officials vowed to rebuild. “We will not be deterred from sharing the love of Christ and obeying what Jesus has called us to do, no matter what the cost.” Yohannan said in the news release.

Study: Christian Teens Theologically Shallow
Agape Press

Results from a recent survey conducted by a North Carolina researcher reveal that the majority of America's youth believe in God, yet there is a shallowness in their religious knowledge, and they have difficulty expressing their faith. Christian Smith, a sociologist at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led 133 researchers and consultants in conducting a project that involved telephone surveys of 3,370 English- and Spanish-speaking Americans and face-to-face interviews with 267 of the participants -- all ages 13 to 17. Protracted funding will allow the researchers to track these young people through 2007. Thus far, telephone surveys reveal that young people have a broad fondness for religion, although their religious knowledge is labeled as "meager, nebulous and often fallacious" as found through the personal interview portion of the study. In other words, teens were unable to coherently express their beliefs and the impact of faith on their lives. In addition, many participants appeared so separated from the traditions of their faith that they viewed God as a feel-good problem solver who merely existed for that purpose. There were no indications of an absolute, truth-based theology among the teens. Smith credits parental tendencies of Baby Boomers, poor educational and youth programs, and responsibilities and activities that vie for teenagers' time as reasons for their skewed view of the Almighty.