Religion Today Summaries, November 1, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 1, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • 2002 Elections Possibly Most Crucial in Recent History
  • Pro-lifers Applaud Bush Declaration on Embryos in Research
  • Persecution Continues in India with Passage of Laws Forbidding Religious Conversions
  • Homosexual Lobby Hijacks Faith-Based Initiative Act

2002 Elections Possibly Most Crucial in Recent History
By Bob Ditmer and Bill Fancher

(Agape Press)  Many observers and commentators are describing the mid-term elections, now less than a week away, as the most crucial balloting in recent memory.  Motivating Christians will be key in the outcome of this election, and the Christian Coalition’s new executive director Roberta Combs knows the importance of Christian voters in the upcoming election.  Combs, who describes herself as "a statistics person," maintains Christians are a voting block of immense power that is not being tapped by either political party.  "Over half of the people sitting in the churches are not registered to vote," she says.  "If all Christians would vote and register to vote, imagine what we could do nationwide."  Combs says her organization will be using a new strategy in this and future elections in an effort to get Christians to vote. The Coalition will be using local pastors to motivate their congregations.  "We're going to feed them the information, and they're going to feed it to their congregations, and then we're going to try to swell those ranks of Christians all over this country," she says. "We need to take back our country."  Polls have shown that participation of Christians registered to vote has been declining in recent elections.

Pro-lifers Applaud Bush Declaration on Embryos in Research
By Tom Strode

(Baptists Press)--Pro-life leaders have praised the Bush administration's directive to an advisory panel that could recommend protection for embryos as "human subjects" in research.  It was revealed Oct. 30 that the administration has changed the charter for a federal committee that deals with the safety of research subjects, saying the welfare of embryos should be considered along with that of more developed unborn babies, children and adults in medical experiments. Although the change has not been announced by the Department of Health and Human Services, it was reported in The Washington Post.   "All pro-lifers should commend the Bush administration for extending the legal protections of human beings to human embryos involved in federally funded scientific research," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "It is one more among a growing number of significant actions taken by the Bush administration to make it clear that at least the executive branch of our federal government understands and believes that a human embryo is a human being."

Persecution Continues in India with Passage of Laws Forbidding Religious Conversions

Sources for The Voice of the Martyrs report that acts of violence against Christians in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have increased in light of recent legislation forbidding religious conversions.  The legislation is similar to that which was earlier passed by the state government in the northern state of Orissa.  "At the moment there is a lot going on between Hindus and Muslims in this area,” said a VOM source in India who remains anonymous for safety reasons.  “There are protest rallies by Hindus.  Churches are being burned, including the church of our pastor.  Other Christian buildings and schools are closed.  The Hindus are very radical and won't tolerate Christians in their area.  They want to convert everyone.  When a Hindu converts to Christianity, he is cast out by the whole community (family, friends, neighbors).  Please remember the situation here in your prayers."  VOM also learned this week how four Christian families were recently beaten in the streets and the young girls raped when they refused to take part in a Hindu festival in the state of Orissa.  When the police were told, they did nothing.  Find more information on Voice of the Martyrs at

Homosexual Lobby Hijacks Faith-Based Initiative Act

(Family Research Council)  In February, Tom Daschle praised the CARE Act, President Bush's faith-based initiative, as "what we can accomplish in Washington when we put partisanship and politics aside and focus on what matters."  Eight Democrats co-sponsored the bill, which passed the House in July with an overwhelming bipartisan vote.  Swift Senate passage appeared certain.  But then, as The Wall Street Journal noted this week, the homosexual lobby hijacked the bill.  They demanded provisions that would have forced churches and other faith-based organizations to hire homosexuals even if that violated deeply held moral principles.  Suddenly the Democrat co-sponsors, some of whom faced tough election campaigns, had to choose between popular bipartisan legislation and the demands of the politically powerful homosexual lobby.  Despite his earlier support, Tom Daschle capitulated to the homosexual lobby and blocked the bill from coming to a vote.  As The Journal quipped, it's plain to see what matters to Tom Daschle.