News Briefs From Planet Earth


(AgapePress)...The institution of marriage continues to be attacked on a number of fronts. Charisma News reports the Ohio Civil Rights Commission has ruled against a landlord who refused to rent a house to a man and woman because they were not married. The report says property owner, Dave Grey, witnessed to the couple and told them that one of God's commandments was that people should not live in impurity. The commission ruled Grey does not have the right to deny rental of his property on that basis. Meanwhile, a government-funded agency in Canada has issued a report that says the definition of marriage needs to be updated. Christianweek Online says that according to the Law Commission of Canada, marriage is no longer a sufficient model to represent the variety of relationships that exist, including common law and homosexual partners. The report suggests the government make a number of changes, including legalization of same-sex "marriages."


(AgapePress)...While acknowledging that terrorism is a huge threat to America right now, a former presidential candidate feels there is an even greater and more ominous threat to the U.S. that must be addressed. Pat Buchanan says this threat languished for years but has now exploded to the forefront. Buchanan says that threat comes from the "systematic de-Christianization" of American society undertaken by what he describes as a "usurpatious" [sic] U.S. Supreme Court. He says the high court's decisions have driven from public schools and places all "manifestations, expressions, symbols, songs, prayers, and books" that celebrate the Christian heritage of America. According to Buchanan, this "de-Christianization" of American is absurd and appalling. Worst of all, he says, believers have let it happen through their indifference.


(AgapePress)...Rock for Life director Bryan Kemper is not a happy man following his return from Salt Lake City, Utah, and this year's Olympic Games. He says the distribution of condoms to those participating in the Games is outrageous. He says one of the worst things he witnessed was condoms being distributed by the American Red Cross, which he describes as an organization "you would normally think is there to save people's lives and to stand up for life." He says uniformed Red Cross workers were passing out condoms on the streets wherever he looked. Kemper says while in a fast-food establishment in Salt Lake City, a twelve-year-old with him was handed a handful of condoms by a Red Cross worker. Planned Parenthood is also involved in the condom give-away.


(AgapePress)...The Arab-American Institute is demanding President Bush remove Attorney General John Ashcroft from office unless he apologizes for remarks he allegedly made about Islam. USA Today reports the Arab group is upset with remarks Ashcroft made to conservative commentator Cal Thomas. In the interview last November, Ashcroft apparently stated that Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him, while Christianity is a faith in which God sends His Son to die for you. Thomas says Ashcroft made the statement at the end of a 40-minute interview after Thomas had turned off the recorder. The institute calls Ashcroft's assessment "a horrible distortion of Islam." USA Today quotes Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden, who says Ashcroft was making reference to "extremist suicide terrorists who have hijacked their religion" and that the remarks do not reflect his views of Islam in general.


(AgapePress)...A new book says born-again Christians are just as likely to get divorced as anybody else in American society. In his book The Divorce Reality, author Donald Hughes says the vast majority of those identifying themselves as divorced and "born-again" actually got their divorces after converting to Christianity. Hughes says the disturbing statistics mentioned in his book come from the 2001 Barna Research poll, which found that 33% of "born-again" Christians end their marriages in divorce, roughly the same as the general population. Hughes tells CNSNews that born-again Christians try to foster a public perception that they do not get divorces because of their born-again status. The Southern Baptist Convention rejects the Barna poll's conclusion, noting that many people call themselves "born-again" without having made a full commitment to God.


(AgapePress)...A street evangelist is encouraging Christians to step out of their comfort zones when it comes to witnessing for Christ. Although Jesus commands Christians in the Great Commission to take the Gospel to all nations, surveys show most Christians today will die and go to heaven without personally leading one person to Christ. Ray Comfort, a California-based street evangelist, says Christians are too concerned with pleasing people. He says Christians fear witnessing because they afraid of looking foolish before men. But he reminds believers that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, and experienced "unspeakable humiliation" to bring salvation. Comfort trains and equips Christians to witness through his ministry, known as Living Waters Ministries.


(AgapePress)...The "right to die" has turned into a "duty to die" in the State of Oregon. In 1997, Oregon became the first state in the union to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Now, a state survey has revealed that a shocking 68% of those who died by physician-assisted suicide feared being a burden on their family. Burke Balch, director of medical ethics for the National Right to Life Committee, says he is alarmed by the number. Balch tells Family News in Focus that this "right" of assisted suicide, which was sold as a matter of personal choice, has instead become a matter of the vulnerable thinking that they have a "duty to die" and get out of the way. He says this "culture of death" gives way to the idea that death can be a solution for human problems. Rita Marker, who heads the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, says advocates of assisted-suicide laws may claim to be offering a "choice," but they are really leaving the aged and infirm with an obligation.


(AgapePress)...As some liberals in America worry about the treatment of terrorist captives in Guantanamo Bay, three Ethiopian Christians detained by the Saudi government because they worshiped privately were tortured as they awaited deportation. Assist News reports the information came in a letter received by International Christian concern. The detainees write in their letter that being suspended with chains, each of them were flogged 80 times with a flexible metal cable, and also severely kicked and beaten with anything that came into their hands. The torture allegedly occurred January 28 at the Bremen Deportation Prison in Jeddah. In the letter, the men said when they reported to the prison hospital for treatment, they were slapped and told to come back after they were dead. The beating was witnessed by many other deportees. In addition to their torturous beating, they report being housed in substandard conditions. The population of Saudi Arabia includes about six million expatriate workers, with as many as 500,000 Christians. There is no religious freedom for citizens or non-citizens in Saudi Arabia.


(AgapePress)...A team of former presidential associates is working with former President Bill Clinton in an attempt to establish the legacy of his presidency - but one pro-family leader says it's too late, that the former president's legacy is "America's declining culture." According to Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute, Clinton had a tremendous impact in "lowering" and "coarsening" the culture in America. He says Clinton's casual attitude toward sex and the truth has been used by kids and adults to justify their similar behavior. And as more and more people make this connection, Knight says, Clinton is trying to change that perception of himself. He says if he were Clinton, he would be desperate to change his image, too - but he does not think Clinton is going to be able to do that.


(AgapePress)...One of America's top military leaders says he learned about prayer from his father, who was a pastor in Nebraska. Admiral Vernon Clark, the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, told President Bush and others at the National Prayer Breakfast, that as a little boy, he would sometimes stand outside the door of his father's office and overhear him praying. According to an Associated Press report, Clark says he has learned that prayer opens the lines of communication with God that make a relationship possible. He then quoted Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. "And here's the promise part of it," Clark said. "And the peace of God, which passes all of our understanding, will keep our hearts and minds through our Lord Jesus."


(AgapePress)...While Home Security Secretary Tom Ridge looks for ways to ensure the safety of Americans, one man says there is only one way to achieve that. Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus Foundation feels that "way" should be obvious to anyone honest enough to see the truth. He says he continues to believe that whatever precautions are taken, safety is found only in the Lord - and he adds that if the U.S. really wants God's protection, one of the first steps that should be taken is to close down every abortion mill in the country. Phillips suggests once Americans turn their attention toward pleasing God with their behavior and attitudes, then the country can know it will be as secure as possible.


FRANKLINTON, La. (EP) - The American Civil Liberties Union filed a civil lawsuit demanding that a southeastern Louisiana town remove signs which proclaim: "Jesus is Lord over Franklinton." The ACLU says public money was used to erect the signs. An official with surrounding Washington Parish said churches paid for the signs but public road crews erected them.


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (EP) - Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, awarded custody of three teens to their father rather than their mother, ruling that homosexuality is "an inherent evil." Writing a unanimous decision for the court, Moore said the mother's lesbianism makes her an unfit parent and called homosexuality, "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature." Moore is best-known for his successful battle to keep a plaque bearing the 10 Commandments in his courtroom when he was a district judge.

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