Religion Today Summaries, October 21, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 21, 2003

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

  • Demonstrator Jailed For Christian Message Prevails in Lawsuit

  • Complaint Dismissed Against Judge Who Appeared in Ad

  • Conservative College Paper Faces Brunt of Administration's Ire

  • Radio Evangelist Adele Carmichael Dies

Demonstrator Jailed For Christian Message Prevails in Lawsuit
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Florida man who claimed his constitutional rights were violated after he was arrested for peacefully holding a sign on a public sidewalk. On two separate occasions, Orlando Bethel was arrested for holding a sign proclaiming the gospel on the streets of Pensacola. Bethel sued the city with the help of Liberty Counsel, a law firm that assists Christians whose civil rights have been violated. Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver says even though Bethel was not prosecuted for violating the vaguely worded ordinance, "you don't need the harassment of the arrest and being booked in jail and treated like a criminal when you have a constitutional right to engage in free speech." According to Staver, the city's ordinance is too vague. The legal expert adds that, even though the Florida city's ordinance applies to any kind of public demonstration, the statute has only been applied to keeping Orlando Bethel and his wife Glynis, and was selectively used to keep either of them, from appearing on a public sidewalk holding a Christian message. Staver says the court rightfully found the city's action to be a violation of Bethel's constitutional rights. The Liberty Counsel spokesman says claims for damages are still pending.

Complaint Dismissed Against Judge Who Appeared in Ad
Baptist Press News

A complaint filed with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct has been dismissed involving a judge who appeared in advertisements for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, according to a seminary spokesman. Tarrant County Judge R. Brent Keis, a master of arts in lay ministries student at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary, appeared in his judicial robe in an April 2002 advertisement in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. That advertisement, which contained only a photo of Keis, promoted the seminary's study programs for laypeople. Keis was informed by the judicial conduct commission in February 2003 that he had made a mistake by appearing robed in the advertisement. After the ads appeared in Houston and San Antonio papers, Keis was summoned to appear before the commission. That complaint was dismissed. "I was asked by the judge that we not use the ad again," seminary spokesman Greg Tomlin said. "We are pleased that Judge Keis suffered no repercussions from his appearance in the seminary's advertisement, but we are more thankful that the judge is a man of strong Christian character," Tomlin continued. "I admire his courage and his willingness to be identified with the work that God is doing in his life."

Conservative College Paper Faces Brunt of Administration's Ire
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A conservative student newspaper at one Rhode Island university has been accused of hate speech and defunded by the school for opposing the pro-homosexual views of two recent guest speakers on campus. In late August, students at Roger Williams University heard Judy Shepard, the mother of slain homosexual Matthew Shepard, blast organized religion and voice support for hate-crime legislation.  They also heard a speech earlier this month in support of same-sex marriage given by a homosexual man excluded from the Boy Scouts. But when a paper published by the College Republicans criticized the university's sponsorship of the Shepard and Dale events, RWU president Roy Nirschel fired back.  He unilaterally froze funding to the paper, commenting that the school is "too busy for hate." Editor-in-chief Jason Mattera says Nirschel's actions are both ludicrous and intolerant.  "This is unacceptable at a university that is supposedly committed to diversity and the learning of exploration of ideas," Mattera says, "yet they don't want to explore a conservative view on particular issues." In addition, Mattera says he was recently impeached from the finance committee of the Student Senate because a homosexual group on campus was uncomfortable with him serving in that position.  Mattera says the university really does not want diversity, but rather uniformity of thought and one-sided tolerance.

Radio Evangelist Adele Carmichael Dies
Agape Press

Radio ministry pioneer and evangelist Adele Boatwright Carmichael has died at the age of 101. Carmichael, who served as an ordained minister for 85 years and taught Bible studies past the age of 100, became one of the first Christian ministers to use radio to spread the gospel when she started broadcasting from cities in the Midwestern U.S. in 1922. Carmichael lived independently until her death -- walking twice a day, baking, sewing and decorating her home in California. When she was eight years old, Carmichael converted to the Assemblies of God Church, along with the rest of her family, and, after her father became a preacher the following year, she accompanied him around their native state of Iowa. After her ordination at age 16, Carmichael led tent revival meetings in Missouri. The energetic woman of God held many posts of ministry throughout her life, including evangelist, pastor's wife, pastor, teacher, dean of women at Evangel College, and local church ministry, including Bible classes, camps, seminars and retreats. Three years ago, Carmichael received a special recognition award from the General Council of the Assemblies of God for her 82 years of continuous ministry.