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Religion Today Summaries - November 21, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 21, 2005

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


In today's edition:


Bono & the Christian Right

CBS News


U2 front-man Bono is enlisting the help of America’s Christian Right to get drugs to African AIDS victims. The activist rocker tells 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley that getting conservative Christians on his side was the best way to push the Bush administration to send more aid to Africa. Bono decided the mission wasn’t going to get done by “taking the usual bleeding heart liberal line,” so he approached “particularly conservative Christians. I was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency. I was saying, ‘This is the leprosy that we read about in the New Testament…Christ hung out with the lepers. But you’re ignoring the AIDS emergency.’” His strategy worked. “And you know, they said, ‘Well, you’re right, actually…and we’re sorry. We’ll get involved.’ And they did,” Bono recalls. “People openly laughed in my face when I said this administration would distribute antiretroviral drugs to Africa…. There’s 200,000 Africans now who owe their lives to America.”


Narnia Christian Link Played Down

BBC News


The cast and crew of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are downplaying the significance of Christian symbolism in the movie version of C.S. Lewis's novel. "Faith is in the eye of the beholder," said actress Tilda Swinton, who plays the White Witch, Jadis. "You can make a religious allegory out of anything if that's what you're interested in.” She described the themes of the story as more "classical" than overtly Christian, saying, "It feels like an ancient myth.” Director Andrew Adamson said it is "open to the audience to interpret," citing resurrection simply as theme common to the fantasy genre, as in The Matrix and Star Wars. "The religious aspect is something the press is more interested in than the world at large," he said. Author Philip Pullman goes even further, calling Lewis's fiction "racist" and "misogynistic," and saying, “If the Disney corporation wants to market this film as a great Christian story, they'll just have to tell lies about it." The Narnia books are often viewed as a religious allegory, with Aslan the lion – who sacrifices himself in order to save the life of a "Son of Adam" – representing Christ. Lon Allison, director of Illinois' Billy Graham Centre, said, "We [still] believe that God will speak the gospel of Jesus Christ through this film.”


Roadshows Alert the U.K.to Global Persecution of Christians

Christian Solidarity Worldwide


The “Don't Stand in Silence 2005” roadshows across the United Kingdom challenged Christians to respond to the persecution of the Church around the world. The events, which were attended by more than 1,000 people, were headlined by the Reverend Rinaldy Damanik, an Indonesian church leader and peace activist, who spent more than two years wrongfully imprisoned. Rev. Damanik is head of the Crisis Centre of Central Sulawesi and was responsible for informing the international community of attacks and human rights violations in the area. While expressing much gratitude, Damanik also had a challenging message for English Christians: "I want people to continue to pray for those who are persecuted, not just for me and central Sulawesi, but for those all over Indonesia and the world. Secondly, those letters I received helped me find strength while I was in prison and I would like people to send letters to people who are in prison because of their faith. Finally I would like all people to unite together because I believe that if as Christians we speak up powerfully with one voice, we can help a lot of people who are under pressure or living in poverty.”


New Archaeological Finds Stir Baptist Scholars’ Interest

Baptist Press


Headlines announcing recent archaeological discoveries not only reaffirm the historical trustworthiness of the Bible’s narratives, they also highlight the important role archaeology plays in Old and New Testament studies, according to Southern Baptist scholars Eric Mitchell and Steven Ortiz. On Nov. 7, the New York Times reported on the uncovered ruins of what might be the earliest Christian church discovered in the Holy Land, where the Israel Antiquities Authority has preliminarily rendered the translation of one inscription as reading, “The God-loving Aketous has offered this table to the God Jesus Christ, as a memorial.” On Nov. 9, The Jerusalem Post reported that a very small ceramic shard unearthed at the location of the biblical city Gath contains the earliest known Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, [and] mentions two names that are remarkably similar to the name Goliath.” Ortiz does not doubt the authenticity of these recent finds. However, he tempers his excitement with the reminder that, in archaeology, first impressions do not always turn out to be correct after further investigation. “There are many finds that substantiate the biblical text, but there are several sensational finds recently that are forgeries.” The recent archaeological finds (the Pool of Siloam was also recently uncovered), “are only small pieces of evidence,” Mitchell said. “But when we start adding up all the small pieces like these that support the Bible’s narratives, it becomes more and more difficult to argue against the accuracy of Scripture.”