Religion Today Summaries, March 7, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, March 7, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:

  • Bill Bright Names John Maxwell To Succeed Him at GPN
  • New York Lawmaker: Prison Chaplain Hiring Flawed
  • Study Shows Students at Catholic Colleges Become More Liberal
  • Moody Bible Institute Folds Magazine, Restructures Amid Tough Economy

Bill Bright Names John Maxwell To Succeed Him at GPN
Janet Chismar - Senior Editor for Crosswalk Faith

As his battle with pulmonary fibrosis takes its toll, Bill Bright, founder and chairman emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ and co-founder of Global Pastors Network (GPN) has selected John C. Maxwell to succeed him as chairman of GPN following his death.  Bright, 81, has been fighting pulmonary fibrosis for more than a year. "It appears that what God has prepared for Bill in heaven is about ready," Vonette Bright wrote in a letter that was posted on the ministry's Web site Feb. 20. "Bill entered the hospital for the second time on Saturday, February 16th. Yesterday, the doctor told Bill, (when Bill asked), that he might live 6 months or less. He shared with both of us that it was time for us to seek help from Hospice care. We have known from the beginning of diagnosis, that without a miracle that Bill's time on earth is limited. We have prayed and are still praying for that miracle. We know too, when the miracle comes, it will be to honor Christ only, no person or group." Maxwell is the founder and chairman of the INJOY Group, based in Atlanta. Also a noted author and speaker, Maxwell trains leaders around the world through his non-profit organization, EQUIP. Recently, he launched a plan to train one million Christian leaders worldwide by 2008 through leadership conferences, certified national trainers, partnerships with other ministries, and technology.

New York Lawmaker: Prison Chaplain Hiring Flawed
Greg Munno

(RNS) A New York senator last week called for an immediate investigation of all 42 Muslim clerics working for the state Department of Correctional Services. State Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio, R-Seneca Falls, chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, said the arrest on federal charges of Osameh Al Wahaidy of Fayetteville, N.Y., a Muslim chaplain at the Auburn Correctional Facility, is an embarrassment. Al Wahaidy, a Jordanian working in the United States, has been charged with helping to send aid to Iraq through a charity in violation of U.N. sanctions. Until recently, the state prison system relied almost exclusively on one person to recruit its clerics, Warith Deen Umar, who has been linked to anti-American propaganda. The corrections department barred him from New York's prisons after The Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying the Sept. 11 hijackers should be honored as martyrs. State Corrections Commissioner Glenn Goord told the Journal that the prison system relied on Umar and a group he was closely associated with, the National Association of Muslim Chaplains, to recruit clerics. Two other Muslim clerics, or imams, in the New York state prison system have been accused of anti-American activity since Sept. 11.

Study Shows Students at Catholic Colleges Become More Liberal
Kevin Eckstrom

(RNS) Catholics who enter Catholic colleges opposing abortion and premarital sex usually graduate with more liberal views and a lower sense of Catholic identity, according to a new study of Catholic college students.  The study found that the liberalizing trend was similar for students at both Catholic colleges and nonsectarian schools. The number of students who support legal abortion at Catholic schools rose from 37.9 percent of freshmen to 51.7 percent of seniors. At other colleges, the figure grew from 49.5 percent to 65.5 percent, according to The New York Times. In Catholic colleges, 27.5 percent of Catholic freshman said premarital sex was permissible, and that number grew to 48 percent of seniors, as long as the couple "really like each other." Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic monthly, said support for same-sex marriages grew from 57.3 percent of freshmen to 73.5 percent of seniors at Catholic colleges. At other schools, the figures were 51 percent of freshmen and 62 percent of seniors. Deal Hudson, editor of the magazine, expressed concern. "Parents used to worry that Catholic colleges would be no better for their children than regular four-year colleges. Now it seems that some Catholic schools might actually be worse," he said in a newsletter last month.

Moody Bible Institute Folds Magazine, Restructures Amid Tough Economy
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Moody Bible Institute, a Chicago-based evangelical organization, has announced it will stop publishing Moody magazine and make other business changes in light of the difficult economy. The magazine will halt print publication within six months and Moody's daily devotional guide, "Today in the Word," will become the institute's primary periodical. In addition, the institute will leave the retail business and begin a search for a buyer for its Moody Bookstores in Indianapolis and Chatham Ridge, Ill. Ministry officials say the changes will provide significant savings as the organization continues to streamline other areas of ministry. "I fully believe that God is not surprised or confused by what he is requiring us to do in these challenging days," said Joseph Stowell, president of the institute. "I am convinced that he is using the present situation to enable us to focus on our core ministries in light of the greater things that he has in store for us in the days to come." The institute, founded in 1886 by evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody, includes an undergraduate school, graduate school, Moody Publishers and the Moody Broadcasting Network.