Religion Today Summaries, October 27, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 27, 2003

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

  • Opponents to Gay Bishop Unveil Plans for Conservatives' 'Save Haven'
  • Texas Woman Stands With School System Resisting Homosexual Student Club
  • Christian Pastors, Lay Leaders Jailed for Subversion in Colombia
  • Settlement Forces Non-Discrimination in Georgia Social Services

Opponents to Gay Bishop Unveil Plans for Conservatives' `Safe Haven'
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

A week before the scheduled consecration of an openly gay Episcopal bishop, opponents unveiled plans for a "safe haven" to isolate conservatives from the church's policies on homosexuality. The Rev. V. Gene Robinson is scheduled to be consecrated the next bishop of New Hampshire on Sunday, Nov. 2. Leaders of the global Anglican Communion  have warned that his installation threatens to "tear the fabric of our  communion at its deepest level."  The American Anglican Council, which is leading the opposition to Robinson, released guidelines Thursday that would allow conservative parishes to seek supervision from like-minded bishops beyond their dioceses. During an emergency summit last week, the Anglican primates called on their member churches to provide "adequate episcopal oversight" for dissenting minorities. Under the AAC plan, a parish that wants to sever ties with the national church but not leave it altogether would submit an application to a panel of three bishops appointed by the AAC. The parish would not need to notify the local bishop of their plans. At least seven dioceses would associate themselves with the new network. Robinson, meanwhile, says he plans to go forward with the consecration unless God tells him otherwise.

Texas Woman Stands With School System Resisting Homosexual Student Club
Jim Brown, Agape Press

A pro-family activist is urging a Texas school district to fight the formation of a homosexual club at one high school. The Lubbock Public School System is being sued by Rene Caudillo, as part of his effort to start a homosexual club on his high school campus. However, many residents in the conservative west Texas community strongly object to the idea of such a group. Judy Strickland is a former member of the Texas State Board of Education. She supports the Lubbock school district's resistance to homosexual activism, and has been vocal about making sure the school officials -- and the public -- know she is on their side. "I called and just lent my support to them because very few school districts seem willing to take on a battle like this," Strickland says. She says it is imperative that Christians leave the sidelines and join the battle against the homosexual agenda. "This is a fight for the well-being of our children," she says. Strickland believes it is clear that the agenda behind forming homosexual student clubs is to promote the wider acceptance of homosexuality. "It's deplorable that we as Christians are sitting back and letting this small minority just move like gangbusters," she says. Strickland has sounded a call across Lubbock and beyond, saying to Christians, parents, and citizens everywhere to confront homosexual activism.

Christian Pastors, Lay Leaders Jailed for Subversion in Colombia
David Miller, Compass Direct

The Association of Christian Lawyers in Colombia is defending a pastor and several lay church leaders that were arrested by security forces near the city of Sincelejo and jailed on terrorism charges. Deivis Manuel Carrascal, 23, pastor of the AIEC evangelical church in Colosó, was arrested at his home at 5 a.m. on August 20. Manuel Monterroza, a Christian schoolteacher from nearby Chalán, and at least seven other active members of an evangelical church in that village were among the 156 persons arrested in the pre-dawn military sweep. An ex-guerrilla, who wore a hood over his head to conceal his identity, reportedly identified the suspects as former comrades in arms. "This man says he trained Deivis to use explosives," the attorney told Compass. "But this was supposedly in 1983. At that time, my client was only eight years old." The defendants stand charged with rebellion against the state and acts of terrorism, crimes punishable by 20 to 30 years in prison.

Settlement Forces Non-Discrimination in Georgia Social Services
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

Social service agencies in Georgia that accept state funds may no longer discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion or sexual orientation under a settlement reached Oct. 9. The agreement came after a lesbian counselor was fired and a Jewish psychologist was refused a job in 2001 by the United Methodist Children's Home. The facility receives about 40 percent of its income from the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Gay groups who filed suit in July 2002 claimed victory. "A private social service agency subject to the Department of Human Resources can't take government funds and use them to engage in religious programming or to fund positions where there is a religious hiring criteria," Susan Sommer, an attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said.  Sommer said the agreement does not mean "a Baptist church can't still require that a Baptist minister be Baptist" but instead that "there can't be a sign on the door that says, `No Jews Allowed'" at state-funded agencies. On Oct. 7, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed amending the state constitution to make it easier for faith-based groups to receive state money. The constitution currently bans any "direct or indirect" taxpayer funds from going to any "church, sect, cult or religious denomination."