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Religion Today Summaries, October 2, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 2, 2003

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

  • Caravan Rallying Ten Commandments Supporters En Route to Washington

  • Television Watchdog Group: Prime-Time Foul Language on Increase

  • Vietnamese Christian Persecution Continues

  • Brick Stating 'Thank You Jesus' Excluded From State Park

Caravan Rallying Ten Commandments Supporters En Route to Washington
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A grassroots movement in support of U.S. citizens' right to acknowledge God publicly has gone on the road, and the organizer of the "Save the Commandments Caravan" says the campaign is gaining momentum. This past Saturday, a group of people taking part in the "Spirit of Montgomery Save the Commandments Caravan" departed from the State Capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama, for a one-week journey that will end up in Washington, DC. The group hopes to arrive on October 6 for the opening of the Supreme Court's fall session. Caravan organizer Rob Schenck, a founder of Faith and Action and the National Clergy Council, hopes the Save the Commandments Caravan will rally concerned Christians and encourage them to take action. "We will be calling on individuals, churches, and organizations to begin contacting their elected and appointed officials, both on the state and on the federal level -- their members of Congress and senators -- and urging them to pass legislation that will protect the display of the Ten Commandments and the right of the people to acknowledge God," he says. According to Schenck, the Caravan was inspired by citizens who traveled to Montgomery last month in support of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his Ten Commandments monument.

Television Watchdog Group: Prime-Time Foul Language on Increase
Adelle Banks, Religion News Service

Prime-time network television features increasing amounts of foul language, according to a study by the Parents Television Council. The use of various kinds of foul language -- from curses to offensive epithets to sexually suggestive language -- were examined by analysts viewing prime-time series on major broadcast networks from the first two weeks of the 1998, 2000 and 2002 November sweeps periods. "It's easy to be dismissive of foul language on TV, but it does have an impact," said the executive summary of "The Blue Tube: Foul Language on Prime Time Network TV." "Ultimately, the entertainment industry needs to get serious about reducing the flood of vulgarity coming into the family home over the broadcast airwaves." Across the board, analysts found that foul language during the "family hour" of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. increased by 94.8 percent between 1998 and 2002. It increased by 109.1 percent during the 9 o'clock hour and 38.7 percent during the last hour of prime time.  The Los Angeles-based council was founded in 1995 and is dedicated to improving the quality of entertainment programming, especially on television.

Vietnamese Christian Persecution Continues
Charisma News Service

Soldiers recently confiscated Bibles, raped, arrested and used electric-shock torture on Vietnamese Christians. In August, 100 soldiers forced their way into H'Duen Buondap's house in the village of Buon Yang Reh, located in the Daklak Province, confiscating Bibles and hymn books, according to the Montagnard Foundation. The group's leader also reportedly raped Buondap. Meanwhile on Aug. 21, a group of soldiers and police officers beat Y-Pho Eban and his family with rifles and used stun guns against them because they suspected him of feeding refugees who were hiding in the village of Buon Cuoi. Last month, a joint patrol of Vietnamese and Cambodian police arrested and beat four Cambodian Montagnards who were trying to provide food to a group of 50 Montagnards who had fled Vietnam. The Montagnards were fined and their supplies and money were confiscated, the Montagnard Foundation said. Montagnard is a Vietnamese word meaning "mountain people" and includes several tribal groups dwelling in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Most of them are Christians.

Brick Stating 'Thank you Jesus' Excluded From State Park
Adelle Banks, Religion News Service

A Washington state couple who wanted to inscribe the message "Thank you Jesus" on a commemorative brick in a state park have filed a discrimination suit against state officials after their request was denied.  Dan and Olga Buchanan of Lynnwood, Wash., wanted to participate in a fund-raising effort to build a playground in St. Edward State Park.  They had requested that their brick read "Thank you Jesus, Daria & Evan Buchanan."  When they viewed their brick in the playground walkway, it simply read, "Daria & Evan Buchanan."  "This is a case where the state has violated the free speech rights of our clients by targeting a message for exclusion because of its religious content," said Stuart J. Roth, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, in a statement. "The law is very clear: if a state permits a wide variety of messages to be posted in a public area, the state cannot reject a message because it contains a religious reference."  The Virginia-based law firm, filed suit Sept. 24 in U.S. District Court in Seattle on the couple's behalf.  Virginia Painter, a spokeswoman for the state Parks and Recreation Commission, said volunteers who were involved in the project were attempting to respect the constitutional separation of church and state.