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Religion Today Summaries, November 8, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 8, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • University Faces Lawsuit for Religious Discrimination
  • Sheltering Kids from Negative Societal Influences Key Parental Concern in Poll
  • Criminal Charges Brought Against Unregistered Church in Mongolia
  • India's Churches Show Phenomenal Growth

University Faces Lawsuit for Religious Discrimination
Jason Collum

(AgapePress) Janis Price worked for years to build a reputation as a strong, highly respected educator and a Christian.  Now, she's fighting to restore her career and defend her religious views.  In her lawsuit, Price contends the university, and specifically Neal B. Abraham, vice-president for academic affairs, violated her First Amendment rights and created a hostile work environment.  The lawsuit stems from Price's cut in pay and responsibilities in 2001 after Abraham and the university placed her on probation and reduced her position from full-time to 75% time status.  The move came after officials said Price distributed copies of Teachers in Focus magazine in her classroom that promoted intolerance and created a hostile environment for students.  Abraham was particularly interested in, and asked pointed questions about Price being a Christian.  According to Price's lawsuit, she asked Abraham how she was to tolerate others' beliefs if her own beliefs weren't to be tolerated. "We cannot tolerate the intolerable," Abraham said.  Now, Price is having to play a waiting game.  They're digging their heels in; they do not want this to go to court. And if it does, then they want to stretch it out such that I run out of money before they do."

Sheltering Kids from Negative Societal Influences Key Parental Concern in Poll
Erin Curry

(Baptists Press) Many parents today are more concerned with protecting their children from negative societal influences than about paying the bills or having enough family time together.  "We found that a large majority of parents say American society is an inhospitable climate for raising children, where parents can never let down their guard in the face of popular culture, drugs and crime," reported Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization that conducted a recent survey of American parents.  Forty-seven percent said they were most concerned about shielding their children from negative societal influences, which included drugs and alcohol, someone seeking to harm their children, anti-social peer groups and media messages.  The national Public Agenda survey of 1,607 parents of children ages 5 to 17 was supplemented with opinions from 12 focus groups around the country. State Farm Insurance Companies funded the survey along with the Family Friendly Programming Forum, a group of 40 national advertisers committed to pro-family programming.

Criminal Charges Brought Against Unregistered Church in Mongolia

(Voice of the Martyrs) Elders of the Church of All Nations in the Bayangol district of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia are facing criminal charges and possible confiscation of all tithes and offerings.  On November 1, The Voice of the Martyrs received a report that a criminal investigation has been launched against the church and two of the elders for non-payment of taxes.  If convicted, they could face eight years in prison.  The Church of all Nations has applied for registration with the government in 1999 and 2000.  In 2001 they faced an investigation for not paying taxes but, since they were not registered, there was no way for them to submit the taxes.  Mongolia is a predominantly Buddhist country and the communist government is heavily influenced by Buddhism.  As a result, Christian churches have often faced opposition from officials.

India's Churches Show Phenomenal Growth

(Mission Insider) P.G. Vargis, founder and leader of Indian Evangelical Team, told Christian Aid Monday that India has 10 churches with 10,000 or more members and 30 churches with 3,000 or more members.  As an example of the readiness of India's people to accept Christ, he mentioned that Ezra Sargunam, Bishop of the Evangelical Church of India (OMS), baptized 2231 people on a single day in 1999.  Citing growth in his own organization, he said that IET missionaries baptized 11,700 people in 2001, and that this did not include the 10,000 who made a profession of faith in crusades conducted by Vargis personally.  This meant that through the outreach of his workers, someone comes to Christ every 10 minutes, and someone else is baptized every 42 minutes.  An average of one church is planted every day through IET missionaries.  When Christian Aid started assisting his work back in 1977, he had only about 60 workers.  IET, which Vargis began shortly after he came to the Lord in 1971, today has 2088 missionaries and a total of 3250 churches.