Religion Today Summaries, September 17, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, September 17, 2003

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

  • Canadian Bishops Condemn Moves to Allow Gay Marriage
  • Grenade Attack Targets Bishop
  • Pastor Walks for Orphans
  • European Politicians Demand Christian EU Constitution

Canadian Bishops Condemn Moves to Allow Gay Marriage
Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

Canada's Catholic bishops warned on Wednesday that their country faces an "unknown and troubling road" if it moves to allow gay marriage. In a six-page statement -- issued on the same day a similar statement was released by leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- the 16 members of the bishops' Permanent Council said marriage must remain between one man and one woman.  "For the common good of society, it must be protected," the bishops said. The bishops vigorously oppose the government's July 17 decision to draft legislation allowing gay marriage after several courts ruled that denying marriage rights to gay couples was discriminatory.  The bishops said marriage, while not solely meant for procreation, forms the foundation for society and has an "irreplaceable role in building societies and civilizations."  On July 31, the Vatican issued a statement that found "absolutely no grounds" to support gay marriage and warned Catholic politicians that a vote in favor would be "gravely immoral."  An exemption that would protect churches from having to give religious blessing to gay marriages is not good enough, the bishops said.

Grenade Attack Targets Bishop
Compass Direct

On August 22, two men on motorcycles tossed a grenade at the home of Medellín's archbishop, a mediator in peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Monsignor Alberto Giraldo was not at home at the time of the attack, which seriously injured two police officers providing security at the bishop's residence. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Giraldo, a former president of the Colombian Episcopal Conference who mediated peace talks between former president Andrés Pastrana and FARC leaders, was attending a meeting of Colombian bishops in the northeast city of Valledupar at the time of the attack. The same night, gunmen shot two journalists from Manantial Stereo, a radio station affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Putumayo, when they failed to stop at a FARC roadblock while traveling from Mocoa to Puerto Asís. Juan Carlos Benavides was killed and Jaime Conrado was wounded in the attack.

Pastor Walks for Orphans
Agape Press

An Alabama pastor is hitting the road to raise money for orphans in Mexico and India.  Rick Hagans is a pastor with Harvest Evangelism Ministries, based in Auburn, Alabama.  Every summer Hagans walks across one state, raising money to purchase shoes for orphans in the two countries.  Hagans, who is currently walking across Mississippi, says it is important to follow God's leading, no matter how tough the task.  "Walking seems like a crazy, silly idea -- and it is.  But God chooses the foolish things of this world to put a preacher like me on Paul Harvey News, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS," he says.  "People all over the world have had a chance to hear my story of walking, which is just one man doing something foolish in the eyes of the world.  But when God is the One who plants it, He can make something out of it."  Hagans says he has many opportunities during his travels to witness to others about Christ.

European Politicians Demand Christian EU Constitution
Stefan Bos, ASSIST News Service

The vice president of the European Parliament and Christian parties and organizations from nearly a dozen countries have appealed to the European Union to include Christian values in its soon to be adopted constitution, an official said Saturday September 13. "It would be a historic lie not to give for Europe Christian values," said the Foreign Secretary of the Dutch Christian Union party. "The European community [is not] based exclusively on economics," added European Parliament Vice President, at a time when the EU is playing a growing role in the daily lives of Europeans. "The economy is up in thin air if it has no moral and ethical fundament." Geijtenbeek said several delegates, who are part of the recently established European Christian Political Movement, will likely set up a fraction in the European Parliament next year to counter the European Peoples Party. While he recognized that an increasing number of Muslims live in Europe and many churches are empty, Geijtenbeek said it was important not to forget the continent's heritage. "The historical background of Europe is based on the Christian way. Europe is changing, but if you look to the still Christian families, protection of life, responsibility of citizens, the protection of the weak...these are all Christian values," Geijtenbeek stressed.