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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 8, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 8, 2006

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

  • Churches Urged to Advocate for HIV/AIDS Victims
  • American and Arab Pastors Join Forces in Bid to Stop Religious Hatred
  • Catholics Want Apology for Anti-Christian Cartoons
  • Religious Freedom Advocate Wants Apology from Iran

Churches Urged to Advocate for HIV/AIDS Victims

The World Council of Churches stated Wednesday that churches must advocate for people living with HIV and AIDS to have access to the treatments made available by medical science, The Christian Post reports. "Faith-based communities have a responsibility to advocate that antiretroviral treatments as well as treatment for other opportunistic infections be made available and accessible to all" who need them, the WCC central committee statement affirmed. The statement also challenged churches to a greater commitment in fighting the pandemic and welcoming positive people into their communities. The statement further called on the G8 governments to adhere to their promises of funding and response to reach universal access to treatment, care and support by 2010.

American and Arab Pastors Join Forces in Bid to Stop Religious Hatred

An American and an Arab pastor have joined forces in a bid to stop religious hatred in a troubled world. Garry Ansdell, senior pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California, and Ameal Haddad, of the Bellflower Church of God, are the co-founders of Ambassadors for Peace. ASSIST News Service reports Ansdell, whose church is a Calvary Chapel affiliate, said that he and Haddad set up the organization after 9/11 to help stop the unbridled religious hatred that is causing some much destruction around the world. “We have drafted a religious rights resolution because we believe that Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus – in fact, everybody - has the right to share their faith without fear of reprisal and that anybody... should be able to openly... convert if they so choose,” he said during an interview. “Muslims believe that we, as Christians, are infidels and we believe, according to the Bible, that 'Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father but by Him.' But this document, which is like the Bill of Rights, talks about freedom of religion so that people from all faiths can talk openly without fear of reprisal.”

Catholics Want Apology for Anti-Christian Cartoons

A Catholic organization is asking the University of Virginia's student newspaper to apologize for several cartoons it recently printed, CNSNews.com reports. The Catholic League contacted editors of The Cavalier Daily about two cartoons published in August. One of the cartoons depicts Jesus crucified on a graph with the caption "Christ on a Cartesian Coordinate Plane." The other shows Joseph asking Mary, "How did you get that bumpy rash?" Mary replies, "I swear, it was Immaculately Transmitted." Other cartoons contained additional offensive material to Christians. In November 2005, the Cavalier Daily was criticized by homosexual activists for printing a cartoon in which a character says the crane is "the gayest-looking of all birds." The paper printed an apology the next day. In a news release Tuesday, Catholic League President Bill Donahue criticized the paper's unwillingness to apologize to Christians. Catholic League spokeswoman Kiera McCaffrey said the CL's main complaint was the "hypocrisy with the apology toward gays and not one towards... Christians in general and that is not something that the individual cartoonists bear any responsibility for."

Religious Freedom Advocate Wants Apology from Iran

AgapePress reports the head of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is upset that the welcome mat has been put out in Washington for a former Iranian leader who persecuted Christians. Commission leader Felice Gaer says former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami should use his speech at the Washington National Cathedral tomorrow night to apologize for his government's persecution of Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims. Gaer says during Khatami's eight-year presidency, which ended last year, religious minorities were harassed, imprisoned, tortured and killed. The Commission official feels the Washington National Cathedral should ensure that Khatami's remarks can be questioned and challenged -- "real dialogue," she says. Gaer adds that Khatami's speech is ill-timed, coming just days before the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.