News

"Gay Militia" Disrupt Prayer Meeting

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A meeting being held in Calgary, Alberta, on April 17 as part of the Concerned Christian Coalition's annual convention was disrupted by a group calling itself the Gay Militia. Beating sticks, yelling, swearing, and chanting, the group attempted to stop a dinner in support of the former executive director of CCC, Stephen Boissoin. Boissoin is to appear before the Alberta Human Rights Commission as a result of a "letter to the editor" published in the Red Deer Advocate on June 17, 2002, which was critical of homosexual activism in schools. Those in attendance prayed while the Gay Militia shouted blasphemies and accusations of bigotry. Hotel security eventually cleared the group from the hotel. The Calgary Police Service has assured CCC that charges will be laid against the members when they are found.

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Situations like these could become more common if Bill C-250 is passed into law in Canada, according to many Christian organizations like the CCC and the Catholic Civil Rights League.

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Voice of the Martyrs via MissionNet

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Georgia Places Marriage Amendment on Nov. Ballot

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Georgia's House of Representatives passed a state constitutional marriage amendment March 31, sending the issue to voters this fall.

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Georgia is the second state this year to send a constitutional marriage amendment to voters. Utah is the other, and several other states may follow.

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"We cannot let judges in Boston, or officials in San Francisco, define marriage for the people of Georgia," Rep. Bill Hembree, a Republican, said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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The vote was a loss for homosexual activists as well as for members of the House Legislative Black Caucus who had strategized to defeat the bill-much to the consternation of many black religious leaders. In the end, four black House members broke ranks, guaranteeing passage.

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Some 30 black religious leaders had signed a letter to Georgia legislators, stating in part, "If you will not vote to defend the sanctity of marriage, you have forfeited your right to serve in our state because you certainly do not represent the people who elected you."

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Baptist Press

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Cyber Attacks Hit Missions

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Computers are becoming an increasingly important part of mission agencies, but with computers come viruses, hackers, and other types of cyber attacks which can jeopardize their work. Neil Glotfelty, director of information systems with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), says stopping viruses and hackers must be a top priority for mission agencies. "Viruses not only can come in and shut down operations," he says, "but the email viruses have a tendency of robbing your identity and stealing your address books. Security is a huge concern for an international mission agency like ours. Oftentimes in areas where our missionaries serve, we have to be careful."

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Trans World Radio Chief Technical Officer John Baines agrees, adding that smaller mission groups are particularly susceptible, and failing to do anything could be devastating. "A Muslim hacker in the Philippines can access their computers," Baines said. "If they haven't kept the patches up to date and put the protections on there, [the hacker] can take over the whole thing and either destroy the contents of the computer or, worse still, find out all the names and addresses of missionaries within their area, and target those people."

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Mission Network News

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Passion' Popular in Arab World

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News reports from all over the Middle East indicate a high level of popular interest-and surprising openness among governmental and religious leaders toward Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, which graphically depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.

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Muslims respect Jesus as a prophet in the same way they regard Moses and Muhammad. Though they have been taught that He did not die on the cross or rise from the dead, they believe He was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life. In Arabic, He is called "Isa al-Masih"-Jesus the Messiah.

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"The film is so popular here that they have been canceling the other films to show The Passion in all the theatres at the cinema complex," said a Christian living in Kuwait. "I would estimate that well over 50 percent of the people in the theatre were local Muslims, including women completely veiled. You could see how this film had impacted everyone. On the second day, several of the local newspapers had the advertisement for the film on the front page."

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Audiences in Qatar, like those in the United States, were deeply moved by the sight of Jesus' suffering. "All of us watched the film in absolute amazement at what God had done," said a Christian living in that country. "The Muslims sitting around us were being moved-gasping, crying and reacting with disgust to the brutality that Jesus faced. The message to love your enemies, and Jesus praying for them to be forgiven while on the cross, would hit the Muslim theatergoer in a powerful way."

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Arab Muslims in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon were flocking to see the movie at the time of the report, and Arabs in neighboring countries were eagerly waiting for its release there. Passion reportedly even was viewed in Saudi Arabia-a country that has no movie theaters-through pirated DVDs.

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Baptist Press

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Uprising in Nepal Is Mixed Blessing

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Fighting between Maoist and government troops in Nepal is becoming a mixed blessing for Christians in the world's only Hindu kingdom. Gospel For Asia (GFA) President K.P. Yohannan says the fighting has had an impact on the ministry. "We have at least 38 missionaries who had to be relocated simply because they were caught in the cross-fire." The government has prevented GFA missionaries from freely sharing the gospel. However, Yohannan says that is changing, especially in rural rebel-held areas.

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"The Maoists are telling our missionaries, You are starting schools and helping our people. No problem. You continue to do your work.'" Before the fighting started, the government police constantly harassed Christian workers in the country. "But since the Maoist problems began, they're no more going after the Christian workers because they're concentrating now on the Maoists," Yohannan says. "It's amazing how God uses all this to get the gospel out." Meanwhile, the gospel continues to spread in Nepal. "Thousands of people have come to know the Lord," he says. "And by the grace of God we have around 200 churches planted there."

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Mission Network News

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Vietnamese Worship Dead Whale

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Hundreds of Vietnamese came from far and near to worship a dead whale which washed ashore April 2 about 100 miles south of Ho Chi Minh City, according to an Associated Press report. The body of the 82-foot whale started decomposing within a few days, but this made no difference to the worshipers. Those who live in nearby villages plan to erect a temple, using the bones, to honor the whale.

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The AP report noted that many villagers in the region worship whales-and consider a dead whale washed ashore as a sign of good luck for those who make their living from fishing.

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Based an Associated Press news report

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Abstinence Programs Cut Teen Pregnancy

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Programs like True Love Waits, which challenge young people to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, dramatically reduce the rate of out-of-wedlock births, according to a new study released by the Heritage Foundation. Young women who take a virginity pledge are at least 40 percent less likely to have a child out of wedlock and 12 times more likely to be virgins when they marry, compared to young women who do not make such a pledge, the study revealed.

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The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health tracked young people from junior high to young adulthood, beginning in 1994, a year after LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention launched its True Love Waits emphasis. The study tracked the effects of virginity pledges on teens' actual sexual behavior.

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The study concluded that public abstinence pledges made by teenagers still had an effect six years later. Pledgers are less likely to initiate sex and more likely to marry.

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Baptist Press

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Former Rwanda Foes  Seek Reconciliation

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Thousands of families in Rwanda are pursuing justice a decade after the massacre of 800,000 people. Bitter enemies are coming together from the Hutu and Tutsi Tribes in search of reconciliation, a move once thought impossible in light of the massacre in April, 1994. World Vision, which has played an important role in Rwanda's restoration, sees its main challenge as the need to help children orphaned by the massacre with shelter, health services, education, and community structures. The HIV/AIDS pandemic following the massacre was another challenge for aid organizations.

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Mission Network News

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