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Religion Today Summaries - November 18, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 18, 2004

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

  • Evangelicals Not Only People To Vote Values on Election Day

  • Billy's Back In Los Angeles With A Message Of Hope And Reconciliation

  • San Diego Student Censorship Case Given Go-Ahead 

  • 'Gospel on Paper' Makes Impact Even in Today's High-Tech Age

Evangelicals Not Only People To Vote Values on Election Day

The head of the Family Research Counsel says the 2004 election proved to many liberals that the so-called "Christian right," those Evangelicals identified with the Republican Party, are not the only Americans concerned about the nation's values and moral direction. According to Barna Research, born-again evangelical Christians make up roughly 38 percent of the voting population, but represented 53 percent of voters in the November 2 election when "values voters" carried the day. However, as FRC president Tony Perkins points out, those Evangelicals were not the only people who voted their values on election day. He notes that, according to the Pew Research Center, 27 percent of voters cast their ballots based upon moral values, and 44 percent of those voters did so based upon social policy issues such as same-sex "marriage" and abortion. "To the dismay of the media and Hollywood that have derisively ascribed moral values to the 'religious right' of the GOP," Perkins says, "they have found that those values of honesty, integrity, along with policy issues like same-sex 'marriage' and abortion are shared by a much larger segment of the American family." In a politically polarized nation, he says, the result was that "an overwhelming block of voters voted traditional American values."

Billy's Back In Los Angeles With A Message Of Hope And Reconciliation
Dan Wooding, Assist News Service

Evangelist Billy Graham never dreamed that 55 years after the close of his historic Los Angeles crusade in the "canvas cathedral" in downtown LA, he would be back preaching again in the City of Angels. But just days after his 86th birthday, the veteran preacher told the media gathered in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Tuesday, November 16, that despite the recent election, his message would not be political. "I am not going to involve politics and the issues that divide us," he said as he stood with the aid of a walker following two falls that injured him earlier this year. "I intend to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as simply as I know how and trust the Holy Spirit to apply it to every individual life." Mr. Graham then spoke about a recent meeting he held with Nancy Reagan. "I told her that during whole period of mourning for President Reagan there was a spiritual tone in the whole country," he said. "I told her that I felt that people were looking for something and searching for purpose and meaning in their lives and that they could find it in Christ." He thanked the committee that had helped to arrange the Greater Los Angeles Crusade which takes place from November 18-21.

San Diego Student Censorship Case Given Go-Ahead
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A lawsuit challenging a San Diego school district's censorship of a Christian student will go to trial. At issue is a decision by Poway High School to suspend student Chase Harper for wearing a T-shirt displaying the messages "Homosexuality is shameful" and "Our school embraced what God has condemned."  Harper wore the shirt during the school's pro-homosexual "Day of Silence" observance in April. On behalf of Harper, the Alliance Defense Fund filed a federal lawsuit against the district, claiming their client was suspended for expressing his religious beliefs.  In response, the district sought to dismiss the trial.  But a federal district court judge did not grant the district's motion for dismissal, nor did he grant Harper's motion for preliminary injunction. ADF attorney Bob Tyler says the school violated his client's First Amendment rights.  "The Constitution does not allow government to prohibit speech just because it comes from a religious perspective -- especially on a day that they are allowing speech on the same topic coming from a secular perspective," he says. "In this age of supposed tolerance, you would think the solution to differing points of view would be to encourage free speech, not restrict it," he says. Tyler anticipates Harper v. Poway Unified School District will not end until he receives at least a decision from the infamous Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

'Gospel on Paper' Makes Impact Even in Today's High-Tech Age
Charisma News Service

Even in today's high-tech age, the lowly gospel tract still delivers a powerful message. Since their "invention" in the late 1700s, tracts have been distributed by the gazillions in dozens, perhaps hundreds, of languages and have reached even the remotest and most unlikely locations. Not surprisingly, tract writers have different ideas when it comes to presenting-or "marketing"--the gospel. But nearly all agree that even in today's world of sophisticated softies, the bottom line is: Everyone needs to be confronted with their sinful condition and shown the way of salvation through the cross of Christ. However, one of the most common criticisms of tract evangelism is that it's too in-your-face. "Jesus was the most in-your-face evangelist ever," tract evangelist Ray Comfort, founder of Southern California-based Living Waters Publications, told Charisma magazine. Christians hand out millions of tracts every year. In July, Jews for Jesus (JFJ) expected to hand out 1 million tracts in New York City alone. Globally, its workers have passed out more than 40 million tracts one-on-one. JFJ director David Brickner believes few other methods of evangelism are as powerful as passing out tracts. Veteran tract writer Jack Chick's cartoon-style booklets have become icons and are in the Smithsonian Institution as symbols of American religious pop culture. It is estimated that a mere 2 percent of American Christians (about one in 50) regularly share their faith. (http://www.charismanow.com)