May News

Vietnamese Church Under Severe Persecution

In Dac Lac Province of Vietnam, only 2 of 417 house churches remain open, according to a report from International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington-based human right’s organization. Previous reports indicated that 56 pastors were missing and their families did not know where they were being held or imprisoned.

Christians living in the Central Highlands in the provinces of Lam Dong, Dac Lac, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and from areas north of Hanoi report that persecution is worse than it was at the end of 2002. Nevertheless, the ICC team reported, the church in Vietnam continues to grow.

One pastor said, “We do not pray that God changes the situation but that the church be strong to endure and stand.  God is always faithful.”

International Christian Concern news release

Internet Multiplies Exposure of Jesus Film

With the help of the Internet, the goal of the Jesus Film Project to make the gospel accessible to every person on earth is quickly becoming a reality. “The Internet is definitely a global community,” said  project spokesman Mike Waid. “Most of the content on the Internet is in languages other than English. The Internet doesn’t have any geographic boundaries.” Waid says the Internet is a powerful evangelistic tool. “Of the 808 languages we have available, 59 languages are available online,” he says. Since the Internet has no geographic boundaries, a French version of the Jesus film, for example, could be viewed online “by somebody who speaks French who lives in Canada, or they could live in France,” Waid said. “It really does not matter. The thing that is common is they both speak the same language.”

Mission Network News

via HCJB World Radio

State Hires Anti-American Muslim Prison Chaplains

A New York senator has 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 UN 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. Two other Muslim clerics, or imams, in the New York state prison system have been accused of anti-American activity since Sept. 11.

Religion New Service

via HCJB World Radio

Appeals Court Sticks by “Under God” Ruling

The federal appeals court that last June struck down the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the words “under God” refused Feb. 28 to reconsider its ruling. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals defended last year’s decision and said it will not be swayed by public opinion in favor of the pledge. The court did, however, step back from its original ruling that invalidated the 1954 law that inserted the words “under God” into the pledge.

In the new ruling, the court focused only on the requirement to force school children to recite the pledge; the pledge’s constitutionality remains intact. Attorney General John Ashcroft promised to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which legal scholars said is likely to hear the case. Members of Congress, most religious groups, and the vast majority of American citizens quickly condemned the ruling last year.

Religion News Service via

 Religion Today Summaries

Premature Death of Dolly a Warning on Human Cloning

The premature death Feb. 14 of Dolly, the world’s first cloned mammal, should be a warning to those who seek to clone human beings, according to Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Dolly was cloned in 1996. She was put to death after being diagnosed with a progressive lung disease. Confirmation of the diagnosis may be another piece of evidence that Dolly, 6 years old, was showing signs of advanced aging. Sheep can live to be 11 or 12 years of age.

In 1999, researchers found Dolly’s cells had begun to resemble those more typical of an older mammal, AP reported. Dolly had been cloned from a cell of a 6-year-old sheep. “Apparently, while Dolly was chronologically 6, her genes were manifesting the abnormal age of the mammal from which she was cloned,” said Land.

“If indeed the Raelians’ claim of having cloned a baby girl is true, then when the 29-year-old mother from whom the baby was cloned is 45, will her 16-year-old daughter be experiencing puberty, or menopause along with her mother?” Dolly’s fate “is yet one more compelling reason why we should not be allowing this kind of experimentation on human beings,” he said. “It will lead to pain, agony, disfigurement and death.”

Baptist Press

Court Rules Pro-Lifers Not Racketeers

The U.S. Supreme Court declared Feb. 26 that the use of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute—a law designed to combat drug dealers and organized crime—was wrongly used against the pro-life movement.

“This decision is a tremendous victory for those who engage in social protests,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, who served as counsel of record for Operation Rescue in the case.

“The Supreme Court forcefully rejected the argument that pro-life demonstrators were racketeers engaged in extortion. The decision removes a cloud that has been hanging over the pro-life movement for 15 years. The ruling clearly shuts the door on using RICO against the pro-life movement.”

Baptist Press

Hate Campaign Waged Against Christians in Pakistan

An intensive hate campaign is being conducted against the Christian minority of Pakistan by various militant Islamic groups. Christians in Pakistan represent about 2.5% of the population. Large demonstrations have been held in Karachi, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, protesting the expected war in Iraq and urging citizens to boycott Christians and to wage a jihad against them. Muslim clerics are also openly asking for jihad against “infidels.” Pakistani Christians are expecting the worst as the demonstrations have been called by a coalition of Islamic radical parties linked with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

International Christian Concern

via HCJB World Radio

“Uganda Is Fighting
Its Own Children”

Church and government leaders are desperately searching for a solution to northern Uganda’s troubling civil war. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a cult-like rebel group that mixes Christianity with traditional beliefs, has abducted 26,000 children in the last 17 years and uses terror to prevent them from escaping. Escapees from the LRA describe its leader, Joseph Kony, as a religious paranoid seduced by occultism, who kills because he enjoys it. He uses impressionable children—nine of 10 LRA fighters are minors—because they can be “brainwashed to kill.”

“Uganda is fighting its own children,” said Ochola Baker, former Anglican bishop of Kitgum, who introduced an amnesty initiative meant to return young LRA soldiers to “civilization” without penalty, or relocate them to neighboring countries. But the proposal failed. “Officers are getting fat military allowances from the war zone, so it’s become a business,” said Ochola.

Compass via HCJB World Radio

Episcopal Church Files Pro-Sodomy Brief

The Episcopal Church, USA, has joined with a number of homosexual advocacy groups to seek repeal of the State of Texas’s anti-sodomy statute in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Frank T. Griswold III, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of a Texas man accused of violating the state’s statute prohibiting homosexual conduct, the Episcopal News Service reported March 7. The court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas is expected this summer.

Religion Today Summaries

The World We Live in:
“PETA Ad Campaign Obscene”

Canadian Jewish leaders in Canada and the U.S. have bitterly condemned an ad campaign that likens the slaughter of farm animals to the execution of 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal-rights group known for its publicity stunts, is touring North America with gigantic posters depicting the supposed similarities between Nazi death camps and present-day factory farms. Jewish groups say the PETA campaign, titled Holocaust on Your Plate, belittles millions of murders in an attempt to shame meat eaters into vegetarianism. “The analogy is obscene,” Manuel Prutschi of the Canadian Jewish Congress told the National Post. PETA’s tour was scheduled to make its way to the northeastern United States in April, followed by a possible visit to Canada.

Religion News Service via

Religion Today Summaries

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