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Religion Today Summaries, November 4, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, November 4, 2003

4Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.  In today's edition:

  • Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Ten Commandment Case
  • African Anglicans Express Dismay at Robinson Consecration
  • Restoration Act Defer Power to States 
  • Pastor, Evangelists Tortured in Vietnam

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Ten Commandment Case
Agape Press

The Alabama Decalogue case won't get to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The justices are refusing to hear an appeal from suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.  He fought to keep a monument depicting the Ten Commandments on public display in Alabama's judicial building.  Moore lost the fight in lower courts, and the monument was removed.  The high court is not ruling one way or another on whether the Ten Commandments may be displayed in government buildings.  Instead, it is showing an unwillingness to get involved in the case.  Reaction to the Supreme Court's decision was swift.  Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America, says she is disappointed the high court chose not to hear the case.  "It's always a defeat when you can't show your expressions of faith -- especially the Ten Commandments, which this country was founded on from a biblical perspective," she says.  Moore was suspended as Alabama's chief justice for defying a federal court order to remove the monument.  He goes on trial on November 12 in Montgomery on judicial ethics charges for refusing to comply with the order.

African Anglicans Express Dismay at Robinson Consecration
Robert Nowell, Religion News Service

The consecration of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire was deplored Monday by a group of some 20 Anglican primates, mainly from Africa but also including the West Indies, South America, India and Pakistan, and southeast Asia.  "It is with profound sadness and pain that we have arrived at this moment in the history of the Anglican Communion," said Archbishop Peter J. Akinola of Nigeria in a statement issued on behalf of the Primates of the Global South. "We are appalled that the authorities of the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. have ignored the heartfelt plea of the Communion not to proceed with the consecration of Canon Gene Robinson."  Robinson, an openly gay priest, was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire on Sunday. The consecration, said the dissenting primates, clearly demonstrates that authorities within the Episcopal Church considered their culture-based agenda of "far greater importance" than obedience to the word of God and Anglican unity. "The overwhelming majority of the Primates of the Global South cannot and will not recognize the office or ministry of Canon Gene Robinson as bishop," the statement added, noting that a "state of impaired communion" now existed both within a the Episcopal Church and between the denomination and most other Anglican provinces.  The southern primates pledged their support to those bishops, clergy and laity within the Episcopal Church who opposed Robinson's consecration.

Restoration Act Defer Power to States
Agape Press

Colorado Senator Wayne Allard has introduced a bill that, if passed, will have an impact on people of faith. Allard says the Religious Liberties Restoration Act is intended to protect America's Judeo-Christian heritage. According to Allard, the way the courts are going now, "they want to remove the Ten Commandments and ... take things like the national motto as well as the Pledge of Allegiance away from us because of a reference to God." The senator feels the courts are acting inappropriately and has introduced the legislation to reign them in and say to them: "Let's defer this to the states -- that's where it belongs." The bill would authorize Congress to limit the courts' ability to rule on such religious matters, an action many religious leaders have been asking Congress to take for years.

Pastor, Evangelists Tortured in Vietnam
Charisma News Service

A pastor in the Kontum province of Vietnam was reportedly hung on a cross by authorities. During the August incident, A En, who leads the Chu Pa Evangelical Church, was forced by local police to stand with arms outstretched on the cross for three hours. En was beaten and kicked when he moved. When the police finally released En, an elder from his church had to carry him from the police station. His congregation of 70 members was subsequently disbanded. Other ministers have also been targeted in the remote province of Kontum, which borders Cambodia and Laos. Earlier this year, A Yen, an evangelist in Dak Rim, was beaten severely by police because he would not give up his faith and pastoral activities. Meanwhile, two evangelists were beaten in separate incidents. After he was beaten, Ksor Lui was ordered not to leave his home in Kontum's Sa Thay district and propagate his faith after he returned from a Bible study seminar. Evangelist Ksor Lor was beaten unconscious by authorities that forbade him to gather Christians for public worship. Although Lui and Lor no longer hold church services, they continue to meet with a family or two.