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Religion Today Summaries - November 10, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 10, 2004

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

  • Christians In 'Unprecedented Numbers' Help Re-Elect President Bush

  • Delegates Challenged To Speak Up For The Persecuted Church At International Christian Human Rights Conference

  • Laos: Miracles Draw Many to Christ in Face of Persecution

  • Kazakhstan

Christians In 'Unprecedented Numbers' Help Re-Elect President Bush
Charisma News Service

A huge turnout of Christians concerned over moral values helped George W. Bush get re-elected during last week's presidential election. According to MSNBC, one voter in five said moral values were the most important issues driving the Nov. 2 vote, and almost eight out of 10 backed Bush. Additionally, voters who said they regularly attend worship services favored Bush by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio. "Regardless what you saw on TV, the presidential election ... was all about God, values, gay marriage and turning out white Christians in unprecedented numbers," Cox News Service observed. Exit poll results indicate 23 percent of the 120 million voters who cast ballots on Tuesday identified themselves as white, conservative evangelicals. The percentage of the Christian electorate increased substantially from 2000. About 14 percent of voters that year described themselves born-again Christians, The Los Angeles Times reported. Bush received a boost as voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments limiting marriage to one man and one woman. A Methodist, Bush shares many of the values of his evangelical supporters. He opposes abortion and supports a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between a man and a woman. He also instituted a White House office to help faith-based social service programs get federal funding. (http://www.charismanow.com)

Delegates Challenged To Speak Up For The Persecuted Church At International Christian Human Rights Conference
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service

About 1,000 delegates to the International Christian Human Rights Conference in London heard several speakers from around the world tell about their experiences with persecution and were challenged not to stand in silence after hearing powerful accounts of the persecuted church. Delegates listened to speakers from China, Colombia, Eritrea and Sri Lanka tell them about the work they do and the persecution they endure. Godfrey Yogarajah is General Secretary of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka and said that in the last year, 140 churches had been closed down. He also highlighted the danger posed to religious freedom by proposed anti-conversion legislation and constitutional reforms to make Buddhism the state religion. The delegates were challenged to respond to the needs of the persecuted church by saying together the pledge: "I pray that, as a follower of Christ, I will seek to comfort the persecuted and those who mourn. I will remember those in prison as if I were in prison and those who suffer for their faith as if I suffer. I will work for justice and truth. I will not stand in silence. I will tell someone else."

Laos: Miracles Draw Many to Christ in Face of Persecution

Despite communist authorities' strongest efforts, hundreds are coming to Christ in Laos, many after witnessing the Lord's miraculous healing power. Authorities in Laos have done their utmost to intimidate Christians and stop the spread of the gospel. They have closed church buildings and forbidden believers from reentering them. Some brave Christians continue to meet together in closed buildings, knowing they could be arrested at any time. Officials threaten believers with imprisonment and heavy fines if they tell others about or attempt to convert them to Christ. Having learned from experience that the government cannot wipe out Christians altogether, authorities hope by these threats to at least keep believers from adding to their number. Pressure from authorities does make evangelism difficult at times. Yet despite these hindrances, the Lord is lifting up His name in Laos, often through miraculous means. Many of the people reached by native missionaries are members of mountain-dwelling tribes, caught in animism and spirit worship. The Lord has shown His power among them through native missionaries as they take authority over demonic spirits. As God uses miracles to open people's hearts, churches in Laos are growing in a way Christians have not seen for many years. Even the fiercest government threats cannot stop it.

Charisma News Service

A ballet teacher from the city of Pavlodar has protested criminal charges against him by telling parents of his students that he is a Protestant. Vladislav Polskikh said he shared his religious affiliation in an attempt to protect himself from charges of proselytism, Forum 18 News Service reported. In August, the secret police accused Polskikh of "a corruption of [children's] objective interpretation of events and adoption of certain life values," which is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years. The secret police is reportedly hostile to Polskikh's church, and only began investigating him after he sued a newspaper that accused him of being a pedophile. "My only crime is that of not hiding my religious beliefs from the children," Polskikh told Forum 18. "It is true that I began lessons with the words, 'With God's help,' and said goodbye to the children by saying, 'God be with you.' When I found out that some of the parents were unhappy with my professions of belief, I asked them to sign a form by way of insurance, but I achieved precisely the opposite result." Located in central Asia, northwest of China, Kazakhstan was part of the former Soviet Republic. (http://www.charismanow.com)