Religion Today Summaries - November 15, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 15, 2004

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

  • Falwell to Resurrect 'Moral Majority' in 21st Century Form 

  • Muslim Guardian Appears in Jordan Custody Case 

  • Church-Founded School's Hiring Policy Raises Concerns 

  • Harsh Sentences for Vietnamese Mennonites

Falwell to Resurrect 'Moral Majority' in 21st Century Form
Fred Jackson and Jody Brown, AgapePress

Rev. Jerry Falwell has announced the formation of a new group that will try to take advantage of the success of the "values voter' in last week's election. The high-profile Virginia pastor was the driving force behind the formation of the "Moral Majority" in the late 1970s.  It was largely credited with helping get Ronald Reagan into the White House, and for increasing the profile of conservative Christianity in the nation's capital. Now, in the wake of last week's decisive victory for George W. Bush, Falwell has announced he is starting a new group called "The Faith and Values Coalition" (TFVC).  According to Associated Press, he sees it as the spearhead of an "evangelical revolution."  It has several missions: to see that court vacancies are filled with pro-life conservatives' to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex "marriages"; and to elect another "George Bush-type" conservative in 2008. "One of our primary commitments is to help make President Bush's second term the most successful in American history," Falwell stated The 71-year-old Virginia pastor calls the effort "an investment in America, in our children, and in our children's children," and is calling on concerned Americans to partner with him in the task of "bringing this nation back to the moral values of faith and family on which it was founded."

Muslim Guardian Appears in Jordan Custody Case
Compass Direct

Abdullah al-Muhtadi, the Muslim guardian fighting for custody of Christian widow Siham Qandah's two minor children, finally appeared before Jordan's Islamic courts on November 9. He presented a file of receipts to the Al-Abdali Sharia Court in Amman and told the judge that the documents proved that he had paid out $16,500 in lawyers' fees during his long legal battle to take custody of the children. In dispute were four large withdrawals he made from the children's orphan funds. The receipts will be examined over the next two weeks by Qandah's lawyer and Judge Zghul, who set the next hearing on the case for November 23. After the hearing, Qandah tried to approach her brother al-Muhtadi, "But he began shouting loudly, saying, 'She is a Christian, she is trying to kill me, like she killed her husband!'" Qandah said. She could not keep from crying during the whole episode, which her brother seemed to have staged deliberately to embarrass her in the crowded halls of the courthouse, she said.

Church-Founded School's Hiring Policy Raises Concerns
Mary Rettig, AgapePress

Ashland University in North Central Ohio is returning to its religious roots by changing its hiring policies. Founded by members of the Brethren Church in 1878, Ashland University has since maintained a tradition strongly influenced by its religious origins. That tradition has to a degree been reflected even in the university's administrative government, and its constitution has always contained references to Judeo-Christian values. Last month, the Ohio school's Board of Trustees decided to only hire Christians or Jews as full-time faculty members. The policy also specifically mandates that the president of the university and his cabinet must be Christians. Ashland University's Steven Hannan says some current faculty members have some concerns about the new hiring policy. Although Ashland's decision to spell out and enforce a policy of only hiring people who profess Judaism or Christianity has generated controversy, the university spokesman contends that it is really just a reemphasis -- a return to the school's roots. Hannan points out that Ashland's administrative guidelines have "always spelled out the references to the Judeo-Christian values," and in this recent move, he says, the school's officials simply "decided to enforce that through the hiring policy." Hannan believes the Board of Trustees will most likely revisit the issue in January for further discussion.

Harsh Sentences for Vietnamese Mennonites
Compass Direct

The People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City handed out harsh sentences to six Vietnamese Mennonite church workers in a four-hour trial which ended at noon today. Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang and five colleagues were charged with "resisting officers of the law while doing their duty" in connection with a March 2 incident involving two undercover government operatives. The court sentenced Quang, general secretary of the Vietnam Mennonite Church , to three years in prison. Evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach received a two-year sentence. Nguyen Thanh Phuong, Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Miss Le Thi Hong Lien and church elder Nguyen Hieu Nghia received sentences ranging from nine to 12 months. A Vietnamese lawyer who asked to remain anonymous said, "On the basis of the legal issues and the realties of the case, we affirm that Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang and his fellow workers are not criminals guilty of the charges brought against them."