Religion Today Summaries, November 11, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 11, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Protests of Christian Persecution Gaining Traction in U.S. says Richard Land
  • 'Convicted' Man Admits Guilt to Crime
  • Belarus Presidents Signs Repressive Religion Bill Into Law
  • For O’Reilly Factor, Not All Spin Stops Here

Protests of Christian Persecution Gaining Traction in U.S. says Richard Land
Dwayne Hastings

(Baptist Press) Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said revulsion against widespread acts of persecution against Christians is slowly gaining traction across the United States, prompted in part by the national news media's newfound willingness to report on attacks against Christians coupled with a growing awareness of the issue among evangelicals.  "Just over five years ago, the maltreatment of Christians around the world gained a much greater hearing when an international day of prayer was declared to call Christians to remember their brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith in Christ," explained Land, who was appointed to serve on the USCIRF by President Bush last year.  The 2002 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church ( was yesterday, Nov. 10.  "The deadly attacks and harassment aimed at Christians is condoned, and even sanctioned, by some governments and carried out by fanatical bands of marauders," Land said.  "While some improvement in this arena has occurred, Christians continue to be the target of assaults, imprisonment and even death."

'Convicted' Man Admits Guilt to Crime

(Charisma News Service) A 44-year-old Cleveland man confessed to a 1988 rape for which another man spent 13 years in prison, after God convicted him.  Rodney Rhimes went to police after reading a five-part series in "The Plain Dealer" that detailed the experiences of Michael Green, freed a year ago after DNA testing proved his innocence.  Rhimes "said he found God and it was weighing on his conscience," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor William Mason told the newspaper.  "After he read the series, he said this was something he had to confess in order for his life to have any solidity," said Brent Richards, director of jail and prison ministry at Cleveland City Mission.  "He couldn't stop thinking, 'This is what God wants me to do.'"  Rhimes, who was living at the City Mission when he read the newspaper series, became a Christian during a previous prison term.  "From the very beginning, when I first started reading [the articles], I guess I knew I would just have to do this," he said of his decision to admit his past.

Belarus Presidents Signs Repressive Religion Bill Into Law

(Voice of the Martyrs) After a lengthy delay, the most restrictive religion bill in Europe was signed into law by President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus.  The law requires prior censorship for all religious literature, allows only occasional religious meetings in private homes, and puts strong restrictions on church registration.  According to the new law, all church groups must be registered and foreign citizens are banned from leading religious organizations.  To be registered, an organization must have a minimum of ten registered communities and at least one must have been previously registered in 1982.  All religious organizations must reapply for registration under the new restrictions within two years.  Response from religious organizations to the bill’s passing has ranged from resignation to defiance.  Bishop Sergei Khomich, leader of the Pentecostal Union, told Keston, "The law has been adopted and signed....  There is nothing we can do about it although we believe it is undemocratic and violates the constitution."  The Full Gospel Union of Pentecostal churches, representing 64 registered Pentecostal Churches in Belarus has issued a public statement that they will defy the new law.

For O’Reilly Factor, Not All Spin Stops Here

(AgapePress) Popular talk show host Bill O'Reilly says labeling someone as a "sinner" is contrary to American values. O'Reilly has developed a large audience in recent years; including many Christians who endorse his conservative views on several key issues. But in recent days, he has gone on the attack against those who say homosexuality is a sin -- as the Bible does -- and who would oppose such things as giving homosexuals the right to adopt children. On a recent program, O'Reilly stated that using the word "sinful" in a debate on public policy is "a loser every time." He says the religious right has lost influence in this country because they often "base their opinion on what they believe God wants."  He then paralleled people who do that to the Taliban -- the former terrorist regime in Afghanistan.