Vivien 'Award', ACLJ, Belarus & Jesus Day

Vivien 'Award', ACLJ, Belarus & Jesus Day

In Today's Edition:
  • Institute Condemns Presentation of Human Rights Award to Alain Vivien
  • ACLJ Files Suit Against St. Louis School over Homosexuality Assembly 
  • Belarus: Vandals were Behind Church Arson 
  • Thousands to Join in National Jesus Day and March for Jesus Celebrations
  • Other Headlines at a Glance

Institute Condemns Presentation of Human Rights Award to Alain Vivien ... According to a press release from the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, the group considers the awarding of the Leipzig Human Rights Award by the Bavarian government to Alain Vivien a "joke." Vivien is president of the French Inter-ministerial Commission to Battle Sects and Cults in France (MILS).

Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski remarked, "The idea that Alain Vivien be given a human rights award is absolutely outrageous and ridiculous. While they are at it, I would encourage the Bavarian government to present such 'honors' to similar great leaders of religious tolerance and human rights: Ahmed Al-Bashir, President of Sudan; Mullah Mohammad Omar, Taliban Head of State; and posthumously to Josef Stalin."

The Institute claims Vivien has used his position as President of MILS - a ministerial position reporting directly to the Prime Minister of France - to export religious intolerance throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Vivien has traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese leaders on ways to deal with "dangerous cults," including mainstream Protestant, Catholic and Jewish groups, providing Hong Kong a copy of the About/Picard Law to use as a model.

ACLJ Files Suit Against St. Louis School over Homosexuality Assembly ... The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has announced it has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against public school officials in St. Louis after a parent - who wanted to observe a school-sponsored assembly conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network - was ejected from the school event by an armed security guard.

The ACLJ filed the suit today on behalf of Debra Loveless, parent of a student at Metro High School. The suit contends that in early October 2001, school officials announced that the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) would participate in two school-wide events at Metro High School during the month of October. According to the complaint, Loveless told school officials that she believed it was improper for the school to sponsor the organization and host the event.

She also requested that her daughter be exempted from the assembly because of her religious beliefs. School officials granted the exemption. At the invitation of a school board member, Loveless attempted to attend one of the assemblies so she could see for herself what was being taught at the GLSEN event. When she arrived, an armed security guard told Loveless that school officials wanted her to leave the premises.

The complaint contends the actions of the school officials deprived Mrs. Loveless of her parental right to be fully informed of the content of the educational information to which her children are being exposed to at school. Further, the suit contends the actions of the school officials violated her constitutional rights of free speech and equal protection.

Belarus: Vandals were Behind Church Arson ...  A Catholic priest in the Belarusian capital of Minsk has told Keston News Service an arson attack that destroyed a Catholic chapel in a village on the edge of Minsk was most likely caused by vandals. "I don't believe the authorities were involved," Father Vladislav Zavalnyuk told Keston by telephone on May 7, "and evidence points to drug addicts or Satanists. It is unlikely they will ever be found." He pointed out that an Orthodox church was burnt down at the beginning of the year in Korolev Stan near Minsk and police have still not been able to identify any suspects.

Meanwhile, a series of arson attacks on three Adventist churches in Belarus in 2000 and 2001 remain unexplained. The Belarus' Adventist leader told Keston that in the case of an attack on the church in Tolochin, the Adventists strongly suspect the local authorities of involvement, although the deputy mayor Mikhail Zavadsky has vigorously rejected any such allegation. Zavadsky added that a man is in custody suspected of burning down the church. Arson attacks on places of worship in Belarus have resumed of late, with Orthodox churches being destroyed this year and synagogues desecrated with graffiti.

Thousands to Join in National Jesus Day and March for Jesus Celebration ...  March for Jesus USA announces plans for the 11th Annual Jesus Day celebrations on Saturday, May 18. Thousands of Christians from cities across the United States and in many nations around the world will once again take part. Over the past decade, millions of Christians, from various denominations and diverse church backgrounds have joined together in over 170 countries for a day of celebration and compassionate service.

Jesus Day is a day when Christians are asked to put aside their preferences and work side by side to say, "We are here to lift up the name of Jesus, proclaim that God loves our cities and the people in it, and to be an extension of His love where we live." This is a day when Christians can come together to demonstrate their unconditional love for God and for man.

Over 140 cities in the United States have registered with official plans to participate. The goal for the day is that "no one goes hungry, no child is fatherless, no one suffer alone and the streets to be filled with singing." It's a big goal . . . but it's a start. Find more information about Jesus Day activities and the complete list of participating cities at

Other Headlines at a Glance: