Religion Today Summaries - May 7, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 7, 2008

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

  • NEA's Cizik among Time’s 100 Most Influential People
  • "Evangelical Manifesto" Calls for Reform
  • Bible College Housing Cyclone Survivors in Myanmar
  • Religious Freedom Panel Urges State Dept. to Take Action

NEA's Cizik among Time’s 100 Most Influential People

The Rev. Richard Cizik, the face of the green evangelical movement, was named among Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world for 2008, ASSIST News Service reports. Cizik, an ordained Evangelical Presbyterian minister and head of the Office of Government Affairs for the US National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), was honored alongside environmental partner Dr. Eric Chivian, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “The bringing together of the scientists and the Evangelical Christians is a rather unusual event, since these two groups have really been at odds for a very long time,” Chivian said. Cizik commented: “Science without religion loses its ethical guide, and religion without science lacks the means and resources to understand the world. Science enables us to better understand what creation is telling us about itself and its Maker. You can’t separate either these principles... taking care of the earth and the sanctity of life – they overlap."

"Evangelical Manifesto" Calls for Reform

According to a report on the World on the Web website, 80 evangelical leaders are signing an “Evangelical Manifesto” that rebukes both liberal and conservative evangelicals for diminishing the Gospel to fight the culture wars. The Manifesto, due out Wednesday May 7, encourages political engagement, but says evangelicals have sometimes spoken “truth without love” and calls on evangelicals to “reform our own behavior.” It's not without its critics. Warner Todd Huston calls the manifesto “another attempt by the political left to undermine the devotion of Christians to the political right,” and asks why the project “studiously excluded so many prominent conservative Christians.” Names known to be attached to the Manifesto include: Os Guinness, academic and author; Richard Mouw, the president of Fuller Theological Seminary; Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School; and Rick Warren.

Bible College Housing Cyclone Survivors in Myanmar

According to Christian Newswire, a Gospel for Asia Bible college in Yangon, Myanmar is now a makeshift shelter for those devastated by Cyclone Nargis. "One of our correspondents was at the Bible college in Rangoon when the storm hit. He was able to obtain information and get on one of the only flights out of the country to deliver a report and photos of the devastation," said GFA President K.P. Yohannan. "The people in Burma live in clusters of small communities in simple bamboo structures. These villages are not made of concrete. I imagine that literally hundreds of these simple structures were just blown away." More than 80 people — along with 70 children from a nearby orphanage — made their way to the Bible college campus. Buddhist monks are also at the college, seeking assistance.

Religious Freedom Panel Urges State Dept. to Take Action

Baptist Press reports that a bipartisan United States commission has called for designation of the same 11 countries that it recommended last year as the world's worst violators of religious liberty as it awaits a long overdue response from the State Department. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report May 2, again urging Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to keep Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan as "countries of particular concern" (CPCs). The independent panel also repeated its recommendation that Rice add Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam to the CPC list. CPC designation is reserved for governments that have "engaged in or tolerated systemic and egregious violations of religious freedom." Rice, however, has not designated any CPCs in 18 months.