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Religion Today Summaries - September 14, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 14, 2004

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

  • High-Ranking Vatican Official gives Roman Catholics Options in Voting 

  • India: Tribal People Reached Despite Hindu Opposition 

  •  Adrian Rogers Announces Retirement From Bellevue 

  •  Praying Principal Says God Rules at His School

High-Ranking Vatican Official gives Roman Catholics Options in Voting

A high-ranking Vatican official is giving Roman Catholics some leeway in voting for politicians who support abortion rights.  The Washington Post reports that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's arbiter of doctrinal orthodoxy, has written to U.S. Catholic leaders to clarify when a Catholic can vote for a candidate -- even when that candidate supports abortion.  Basically the clarification states that if a Catholic voter has other compelling reasons to vote for a pro-abortion candidate -- such as agreeing with his economic policies -- then such a choice is acceptable.  For example, a Catholic voter may oppose John Kerry's pro-abortion stand, but still vote for Kerry because that person supports the Democrat's economic policy or his criticism of President Bush's stand on Iraq.  Earlier this summer, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis went as far as to say a Catholic voter who votes for someone like Kerry was committing a "grave sin."  The Post says Burke has now clarified that remark to reflect Ratzinger's directive.

India: Tribal People Reached Despite Hindu Opposition
Christian Aid Mission

Native missionaries in a rural area of India where the population is 95% tribal report that despite active opposition by radical Hindu groups in recent months, hundreds of tribal people have come to the Lord this summer. After months of hard work, missionaries began to see the fruits of their labor as more and more tribal people turned from ancestral gods to Christ. The growing number of Christians did not escape the notice of Hindu extremists. In January of this year, they launched an active opposition to Christianity. Aided by police, they made life difficult for tribal people and missionaries. Believers were beaten and publicly humiliated. Homes and church buildings were burned. Some Christians were chased from their villages with threats on their lives. Persecution did not stop believers from meeting together. However, they had to do so in secret underground meetings. Bibles and gospel literature were hidden. From January until early this summer, missionaries were not able to conduct their usual evangelistic meetings or public baptisms. In July, they experienced some relief from their persecutors. The threat posed by Hindu radicals continues, yet Christians persist in spreading the gospel to isolated tribal groups, showing them light in the darkness of idol worship.

Adrian Rogers Announces Retirement From Bellevue
Michael Foust, Baptist Press

Adrian Rogers, who helped lead the Southern Baptist Convention back to its biblical, historical roots, announced his retirement as pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church Sept. 12. Rogers' retirement is effective next spring, although a specific date has not yet been given. The goal is to have a new pastor in place when Rogers leaves. Making the announcement on his 73rd birthday, Rogers read a letter to the church, which has some 27,000 members. Health, Rogers said, "is not a factor" in the decision. Upon retirement, Rogers said he plans on continuing the Love Worth Finding radio and television ministry. He also plans on ministering through the recently established Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute and teaching at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He will continue attending Bellevue Baptist. In the short-term, Rogers' Love Worth Finding radio and television ministry will continue. Long-term, though, a replacement -- particularly on television -- will have to be found. Rogers hopes to have his successor in place next spring. In his retirement announcement Sept. 12, he said that he would be "thrilled" to have the new pastor "ready to move onto the field before or at my last days as pastor."

Praying Principal Says God Rules at His School
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A public high school principal in Boca Raton, Florida, says he will not be deterred by criticism he has received for expressing his evangelical Christian beliefs. An atheist teacher at Boca Raton High School condemned principal Geoff McKee for telling staff at a recent faculty meeting that all of his significant decisions are made prayerfully. Yet another faculty member accused McKee of hiring only people from his church or those with a strong belief in God. And a Roman Catholic parent complained about McKee's proposed "Introduction to the Bible" course. Still, the Florida principal insists the attacks will not stop him from acknowledging his faith in God. The principal says he prays for every student and teacher in each classroom he visits and throughout the day, asking "that God's spirit would descend on Boca Raton High to protect students from the evil one." And McKee notes that he is not the only one praying -- a campus student group and a group called Mom's In Touch meet weekly to intercede for the school as well. McKee says God's influence is powerful at his school, and the evidence of divine grace has been and continues to be amazing. Since the Christian principal took over there, Boca Raton High has gone from being a school with seriously high crime statistics to one with the lowest incidence of violence in all of Palm Beach County.