News

Support for Roe Dips to New Low

The American public's support for Roe v. Wade has reached its lowest point since the Supreme Court issued that 1973 decision legalizing abortion, according to a new survey. The Harris Poll reported 49% of more than 1,000 adults surveyed expressed support for Roe, marking the first time less than half of the population endorsed the ruling. Forty-seven percent opposed Roe, while 4% were not certain or refused to answer.

The result was achieved despite the question being phrased in such a way that respondents could easily interpret Roe to have legalized abortion only in the first three months of pregnancy. Instead, Roe-with a companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, issued the same day in 1973-had the practical effect of not only striking down all state bans on abortion but of legalizing abortion essentially for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

The Harris Poll results, which were announced May 4, followed by barely a week a survey that showed only 29% of Americans understand the status of legalized abortion under the Roe opinion. That survey, which was conducted in mid-April by the polling company inc./Woman Trend, found the following breakdown of inaccurate descriptions of Roe:

18% said it made abortion legal only in the first three months.

17% said it legalized abortion in limited circumstances.

15% said it made abortion legal in the first and second trimesters.

The lowest previous support for Roe in the Harris poll came in 1985 with 50%. The highest backing for Roe in the Harris survey came in 1991, when 65% of Americans said they endorsed the decision. In 1973, 52 percent supported Roe.

Harris also reported 52% of Americans opposed passage in their state of a law similar to the one recently enacted in South Dakota. That state banned all abortions except those to save the life of the mother. Forty-four percent said they supported such a law.

Baptist Press

Israel to Receive Christian TV Station

Daystar Television Network announced a new contract allowing them to become the first TV channel to broadcast 100% Christian programming into every home in Israel. Daystar, which owns and operates 50 U.S. television stations, is excited about the opportunity. President Marcus D. Lamb commented on the pioneering project saying, "Up until now, it has either been illegal, impossible, or impractical. The message of the gospel will now be going into every home in Israel 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This is a moment in time that we will always remember." The contract came after a year of negotiations and a six-month trial period featuring popular shows "Celebration" and "The Joni Show." Daystar's global purpose is to reach as many people as possible with the good news of the gospel, through an extensive blend of interdenominational and multi-cultural programming.

ASSIST News Service via MissionNet

Darfurian Refugees In Desperate Plight

A fact-finding team following up the Save Darfur Rally (April 30) found the Sudan region facing mass starvation and running out of time, while help from the U.S. and other nations  has been slow to respond.

"These people are living in hell," said Simon Deng, a former Sudanese slave.  "Many are Darfurians who are flooding into South Sudan and live in the severest conditions.  They are forgotten refugees who call the trees their home and the leaves their food. They have no shelter, no food, little water, and no medicine. I saw starvation, disease, and destitution everywhere. With no hope in sight, the death rate will be catastrophic in a few months."

The team reported that despite agreements signed by the government of Sudan, the genocide process continues in both Northern and Southern Sudan. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of displaced black Sudanese are in danger of dying this rainy season (May-September) because of continuing violence, and the lack of food, shelter, seed, clean water, and medicine. Tens of thousands of black Sudanese also remain enslaved in Darfur and neighboring Kordofan, the report said.

Bureaucratic red tape was blamed for a slow fulfillment of promised "peace dividends" from the United States and other nations to Southern Sudan, following the signing on May 5 of a peace agreement between Khartoum and one rebel faction in Darfur.

The investigative team also delivered 2,000 survival kits and 20 tons of sorghum seed.

Based on a report from SliwaNews@aol.com

Bibles Mailed to Restricted Nations

Only three months into the Voice of the Martyrs' (VOM) program called "Bibles Unbound," more than 8000 New Testaments per month are being sent to nations that restrict Christian outreach. Christians operating within nations where the program is active collect non-Christian names and addresses from their local communities, businesses, factories, universities and even government offices and submit them to VOM.

Each month members of the Bibles Unbound program receive these addresses along with a New Testament in the appropriate language and send the package directly to the restricted country. VOM's Website allows members to track where they have sent Bibles along with maps and testimonies resulting from the mailings. For more information visit www.biblesunbound.com.

VOM News via MissionNet

Christians Maximize Outreach Via Web

As cities and suburbs go wireless, more people are increasingly finding themselves in close range with "Wi-Fi hotspots," wireless fidelity networks that are typically available in highly-populated areas. The Christian Post reports that as the Internet takes new heights, Christians are getting on board to make the gospel just as accessible as wireless is becoming. Christians around the world tagged their Web pages for the second annual Internet Evangelism Day. An Internet evangelistic ministry reported seeing up to 1,400 indicated decisions for Christ every day on the Web. According to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly two-thirds of online Americans use the Internet to perform spiritual and religious activities. Tony Whittaker, who initiated Internet Evangelism Day, hopes more Christians and churches will be inspired to join the worldwide online outreach.

Religion Today via MissionNet

What's Behind the "Christian Exodus"?

Evangelical Christian Cory Burnell is the founder and leader of a group called Christian Exodus (CE). CBS 13 in Sacramento reports that CE's mission is to move thousands of evangelicals to the state of South Carolina over the next 10 years to establish a new Christian nation. In Burnell's words, CE desires "to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles [that] are standard Christian articles of faith." Burnell calls CE a simple voter mobilization project-putting Christians with biblical politics into public office to create change.

Burnell acknowledges that even if he's able to take control of the state, the federal government might not make the changes he wants. In that case, the backup plan would be secession-the creation of a separate country. "Secession is such a bad word these days," Burnell says. "Of course, in 1776 the colonies seceded from Britain and we call that independence." CE's business card reads: "United we murder babies. Celebrate sodomy. Evolve from monkeys. It's time we separate!" CE claims to already have about 150 members in South Carolina. Critics have called CE's vision "clouded" and "cult-like," and stated that Burnell's plan of "starting a religious-based government would be easier than maintaining it."

Religion Today Summaries

Muslim Extremists Kill 4 Bible Students

A team of students from a Bible school operated by Teen Missions International (TMI) in Indonesia recently paid the ultimate price for their Christian faith. "[The students] were traveling to another place to share the gospel, and on the way there they passed by a village that was militant Muslims," said TMI's Bob Bland. "They took off after them with a speedboat and chased them and then opened up with automatic weapons." The attackers shot five students, killing four of them. Bland asks for prayer for TMI's Bible school students. "They can go from country to country with just a passport," he said. "They don't even need a visa. These people can go into [Myanmar], they can go to Laos and Vietnam, and that's just a terrific opportunity to spread the gospel." The attack came despite recent comments by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that Muslim nations should oppose terrorism.

Mission Network News/Teen Missions International via MissionNet

Catholic Astronomer Dismisses Creationism

One of the Catholic church's leading astronomers, Guy Consolmagno, is taking aim at the belief that God created the universe in six literal days. In a report on Science & Theology news, Ian Johnston of The Scotsman newspaper reports: Brother Consolmagno said a "destructive myth" had developed that religion and science were competing ideologies. He described creationism as a "kind of paganism" because it harked back to the days of "nature gods" who were responsible for natural events. Brother Consolmagno argued that the Christian God was a supernatural one, a belief that had led the clergy in the past to become involved in science to seek natural reasons for phenomena such as thunder and lightning, which had been previously attributed to vengeful gods.

Religion Today Summaries

Pro-Life Unit Starts "Death Roe Survivors"

The Texas-based pro-life group called Life Dynamics has launched a project called "Death Roe Survivors," along with a Website called DeathRoe.com. It targets the new generation of pro-life supporters born after the controversial Roe v. Wade decision of Jan 22, 1973, that legalized abortion. The site provides pro-life supporters "with a forum to express their views," says Life Dynamics President Mark Crutcher. "One of the things that we're seeing is that these people are telling us they see themselves as survivors of abortion." Website visitors have begun referring to themselves as the "unchosen." People in this generation understand that "even though their mom might not have considered abortion, she could have," Crutcher says.

Agape Press/Life Dynamics

Christians Step Up Efforts in Nepal

Christian Freedom International (CFI), a Christian human rights organization, is launching operations aimed at helping Nepal's persecuted Christians. In the midst of hardships and persecution stemming from civil and religious unrest, "Nepalese Christians need a helping hand, especially now," says CFI President Jim Jacobson. The organization's various programs include distribution of food, medicine, and Bibles as well as micro-enterprise initiatives and legal assistance. The pastor of an unregistered Katmandu house church, known only as D.K. for security reasons, said, "People who convert to Christianity face persecution from local leaders and sometimes the government. There are pastors in custody right now because they tell others about Jesus. The persecution is getting worse. Many Hindu leaders don't want Christianity to spread, but it is spreading fast." Proselytizing is a crime in Nepal where just 0.45% of the population in the predominantly Hindu country is Christian.

Christian Newswire via MissionNet

Evangelist Launches Outreach for "Techies"

U.S. evangelist Sammy Tippit has launched a new ministry aimed at the technologically savvy. He now offers a live Webcast and podcast on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Broadcasts on Tuesday highlight a discussion on spiritual renewal with thoughts from Christian leaders in countries such as South Africa, Russia, Uganda and Iran. There are also interviews with people such as Henry Blackaby, Dave Butts, and Crawford Loritts. Wednesday's topics cover family life issues. Tippit says the outreach is aimed at busy people globally who might not be otherwise join the community of believers.

Mission Network News

"Western Church Waking Up to Global Missions"

Western churches are "gearing for action" and poised to play their part in the next great move of fulfilling the Great Commission, said Julie Bell, a New Zealand missionary to China, in a story from Assist News Service. While the churches are often criticized for inaction and selfishness, Bell believes if that was ever the case then the tide has turned. "As missionaries, we feel like the church is gearing for action," said Bell, who with her husband, Doug McGowan, lead the Autumn Rain ministry that supplies China's underground churches with Bibles and teaching materials. "There is a mobilization taking place," she said. "Christians are restless and sick of playing church.' People are willing to eject themselves from out of the comfort zone and more and more people are saying, Yes, I want in.' They are increasingly aware that we are called to be global Christians-to accept our destiny for our day and generation. It's not something we want to miss or shortchange ourselves with."

Religion Today

Dutch Gays, Lesbians Opt Not to Marry

Given the right to marry, many homosexual couples opt not to, according to a Family News in Focus story. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage but only between 2-6 percent of Dutch homosexuals have taken "marriage" vows. In Massachusetts-the only American state to recognize same-sex marriage-the ratio is about one-in-six. Survey author Maggie Gallagher stated, "In most places that have gay marriage it looks like the demand for it is pretty small." Gallagher says there's an ulterior motive in homosexual activists making such an effort to legalize same-sex marriage. "If you affirm gay marriage as a civil right through the courts, you'll have a powerful new legal tool to use against people who disagree with you." Survey data indicated that homosexual marriages surge when first allowed, but then dwindle dramatically.

Religion Today Summaries<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

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