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Religion Today Summaries - November 17, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 17, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today’s edition:



Christian T-Shirts More Popular Than NBA or Abercrombie

Religion News Service


Christian t-shirts are a more popular choice among young adults than either NBA-themed or Abercrombie & Fitch logo tees, according to a new nationwide survey by Internet retailer DATOmana. 419 adults aged 18 – 34 from across the country were surveyed about their tastes in tees. When presented with a variety of t-shirts, including an Abercrombie & Fitch logo tee, a NBA-licensed tee and a Christian tee, 40 percent chose the religious tee, versus 16 percent for the NBA tee and 30 percent for the Abercrombie tee. When asked what would motivate them to wear a t-shirt with a religious message on it, most said simply that they would do so if they liked the message on the shirt. Only 6 percent said they would only wear one “as a joke.” “America’s love of religious t-shirts shouldn’t really come as a surprise,” says Tom Biggs, president of DATOmana. “Research has shown that almost three-quarters of Americans consider their faith to be a very important part of their life, and younger Americans are more likely than any previous generation to feel comfortable wearing clothing that not only reflects their personal attitude, but their beliefs, as well.”


Three Christians Jailed for Printing Bibles in China

Compass Direct


Beijing authorities on November 4 ordered a Chinese legal firm to suspend activities for a year, hours after top lawyer Gao Zhisheng filed court documents in defense of Pastor Cai Zhuohua. Four days later, Cai and three family members were convicted of “illegal business practices” in relation to Christian literature seized at a church warehouse. Cai, who led six Beijing house churches, claimed the books were printed for free distribution within his house church networks, but authorities accused Cai and other church members of running the warehouse as a profit-making venture. Defense lawyers argued that the defendants could not be charged with “economic crimes” since the Bibles were not intended for sale. Cai was sentenced to three years, his wife Xiao Yunfei to two years and her brother to 18 months. Cai’s mother, Cai Laiyi – now caring for Cai’s 5-year-old son – told Reuters that the prosecution had not found a single witness to testify that the pastor had earned money from the sale of the books.


Islam’s Power Grab in Niger State, Nigeria

Compass Direct


As in other Nigerian states where Islamic law (sharia) has been imposed, Muslims insist that they will not apply it to Christians – who have found out just how painfully false that claim can be. Sharia helps government officials to jail Christians without cause, limit their job prospects, remove their church buildings, and force their daughters to marry Muslims. So far this year, nine cases of forceful conversions of Christian girls below the age of 14 were reported to the office of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, according to the Rev. Samuel Ayuba Shaba. Many other cases go unreported. The girls are forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. In Niger state, where Christians slightly outnumber Muslims, such a tactic is just one means extremists use in a quest for a dominant Islamic population, according to experts on religious movements. Increasingly, the extremists also target Christian widows as part of this effort. “If not for the maturity that Christians in this state have exhibited,” attorney Bob James said, “all the atrocities would be enough to stir up an uprising.”


Catholic Bishops Urged To Uphold Canon against Abortion

Bill Wilson, Family News in Focus


Catholic politicians who ignore church teaching on abortion are rarely held to account when it comes to taking communion. Fewer than five percent of American Catholic Bishops have enforced the church’s canon that says those who publicly support abortion cannot receive Holy Communion. Judy Brown of the American Life League believes bishops must stand against abortion and politicians who ignore the canons of their faith. “If a Catholic persists in manifest grave evil, such as supporting abortion, that Catholic should be denied Holy Communion. And the Bishop has the responsibility to instruct the politician that he will be denied Holy Communion and why.” Catholic Senators supporting abortion include Kennedy, Durbin, Leahy, and Kerry. Brown says no Bishop should offer communion to a pro-abort, no matter their station in life, because “one cannot be Catholic and pro-abortion.” Regardless of whether the bishops heed the request, Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute says Catholics in the pews have figured it out. “The heavy Catholic vote for George Bush is indicative that people are on to the politicians that say that they’re good Catholics, and then turn around and promote something that the Church itself finds to be an abomination.”