Religion Today Summaries - October 7, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 7, 2004

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

  • Evangelical Support High for Bush, Christian Leader Says

  • Expert Says Faith Can Help Florida's Storm Victims Face Aftermath

  • Concern Mounts for Jailed Iranian Christian

  • Laotian Leaders Arrested After Reopening of Church Building

Evangelical Support High for Bush, Christian Leader Says
Julie Stahl, CNS News

Evangelical Christian support remains high for President Bush despite the fact that Bush has supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson said in Jerusalem on Monday. But if President Bush ever tries to divide Jerusalem, giving part to the Palestinians, millions of evangelical Christians, who helped swing the vote in Bush's favor during the 2000 election, would not only withdraw their support but would form their own party, Robertson said. Robertson and millions of U.S. evangelical Christians believe that God gave all the Biblical Land of Israel, including the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip to the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance. Two years ago, President Bush became the first U.S. president to formally support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "If he touches Jerusalem and really gets serious about taking east Jerusalem and making it the capital of a Palestinian state, he'll lose virtually all evangelical support," Robertson said.

Robertson also added that he didn't think Christians would withdraw support from Bush over his backing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, which calls for the removal of some 7,800 Israelis from settlements in the Gaza Strip by the end of next year.

Expert Says Faith Can Help Florida's Storm Victims Face Aftermath
Mary Rettig, AgapePress

In Florida, many storm victims are seeing the past six weeks as one big disaster, and experts say it is no surprise that suicides and domestic violence are on the rise after four hurricanes have pummeled the state. Mental health hotlines in Florida are being jammed by people who are distraught over the damage the storms and flooding have done to their property and their lives. According to Dr. Robert Rogan, a psychiatrist and a spokesman for the Christian Medical Association (CMA), these reactions are the natural result of human nature in the face of disaster. Still, he points out that people do not have to meet desperate circumstances with despair. "We have two choices when a bad thing happens: we can either run to God, or we can run away from God," Rogan says. The psychiatrist says Christians facing the aftermath of a disaster can lean on their faith at such times, remembering James 1, which tells believers to "consider it all joy" when they encounter trials and to use them to build character. Also, he adds, even though affected by the hurricane themselves, Christians can use their faith to comfort distraught Floridians. The CMA spokesman notes that a Christian's biblical perspective is sorely needed in times of distress and despair. The CMA provides resources, networking opportunities, education, and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students. The organization also works to advance biblical principles in bioethics and health to the Church and society, even as it equips Christian physicians to influence their families, colleagues, and communities for Christ.

Concern Mounts for Jailed Iranian Christian
Compass Direct

Concern is growing among Iran's evangelical community for the safety of Hamid Pourmand, a lay pastor in the Assemblies of God Church who was arrested four weeks ago by the Iranian security police. No one has been allowed contact with Pourmand since September 9, when he was arrested along with 85 other evangelical church leaders. However, Pourmand was allowed one very short telephone call to his wife last week and he simply told her that he was all right. Of the other Christians detained with Pourmand, 76 were released by nightfall the day of their arrest. Ten pastors were kept for interrogations for three more days, then all but Pourmand were released conditionally. Over the past year, prominent government leaders have publicly denounced Christianity, Sufism and Zoroastrianism as threats to Iran's national security. According to one Iranian Christian, "We are hearing estimates that 60 percent of the Iranian people have now heard the message of Christ."

Laotian Leaders Arrested After Reopening of Church Building
Christian Aid

Christian Aid has recently learned that on September 12th, in spite of arrest threats by Lao authorities for anyone entering Khamsaan Church building, Lao believers boldly re-opened the building in Sayphothong district, Savannakhet province, for Sunday service. Khamsaan Church was closed by Lao authorities on Christmas 2003. A Christian couple, Khambay and Sompid, were arrested around 9:00 A.M. and were detained by authorities for the act of leading believers into the church building. Thankfully, they were released at 7:00 P.M. on the same day when officials began fearing that word of the arrests might get out. A key Lao ministry leader is talking with Savannakhet provincial authorities to petition for a permit to re-open the church so that believers in Khamsaan village might be free to meet together there again. Please pray for him and for continued boldness for Lao believers, as well as for the tendering of the hearts of the authorities involved.