Pastor attacked by Hindu mob served deportation notice as he leaves hospital
Joseph W. Cooper, who was attacked and stabbed by a Hindu mob last week after leaving a church convention in southern India, has now been ordered by government officials to leave the country.
"We have served orders to Cooper to leave the country within seven days for preaching while on a tourist visa and thereby violating visa rules," police superintendent T.K. Vinod Kumar said. "The order has been personally served to Cooper at the hospital where he is recuperating after suffering injury in the attack."
Cooper says he didn't speak about any other religions at the gospel convention, which was organized by the Protestant "Friends of Bible" church outside Trivandrum, in Kerala province (map). "I am almost offended by this allegation that we are converting Hindus to Christianity," he earlier told Reuters. But a 1995 central order bans foreigners on tourist or student visas from speaking at any religious gathering, whether evangelistic or not.
"The government is letting Cooper off cheaply," complained Kummanam Rajashekharan, head of the World Hindu Council in Kerala province. "The U.S. missionary should have been arrested and prosecuted according to Indian law."
Cooper, who was attacked (along with five other Christians) with swords, iron bars, and sticks, now has a week to leave the country. Ten Hindu activists have been arrested so far. Police are looking for four more.
Draft Palestinian constitution declares Islam official religion
The Associated Press has received a copy of the draft constitution for a would-be Palestinian state. That it would be a democracy headed by a president (with a limit of two five-year terms) and a prime minister gets most of the press, but its declaration of an official religion is important as well.
"The document says that 'Islam is the official religion of the state,' but that the state will guarantee the sanctity of places of worship and respect other religions," reports Mark Lavie, who notes that about 50,000 of the 3 million Palestinians are Christians.
Both the Vatican and the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem refused to comment.
But Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, says the draft constitution is a ruse. "There is no doubt that all these attempts to put out a constitution and talk of reform are just meant to give legitimacy to Arafat, to give the impression of reform," he told the AP.
So you want to be in religious pictures
Left Behind: The Series is offering an open casting call, and The Washington Post dropped by to see who showed up. "Here is faith: a casting call for a TV series," Libby Copeland writes. "It draws all kinds. The young and the gray, the polished and the homely. A Babel of voices, reading lines like new prayers not yet memorized. To meet the multitudes—among them the shy, the dry, the inflectionless—is to wonder whether the quest for fame is a rite, an American kind of journey to Mecca."
The show will air on a Christian station in Canada but will only be available in the U.S. on DVD and VHS (you have to wonder about a show that can't even make it on U.S. Christian television). Many of those auditioning are Christians who see their possible role as ministry. Many others are out-of-work actors who see it as a paycheck.
If you want in, you have until the end of the month.
- 30 years after Roe v. Wade, new trends but the old debate | The rate of abortions has come almost full circle, declining to its lowest level since 1974 (The New York Times)
- Prolife ralliers say the future is on their side | Activists point to opinion polls (The Tennessean)
- Buses set to roll to 30th anti-abortion march | An odd consequence of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion 30 years ago has been an annual boon to bus rentals (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Abortion issue splits the faithful | Three decades of legalized abortion have polarized religion, and prospects for bridging the gap anytime soon look dim (San Antonio [Tex.] Express-News)
- Also: Roe v. Wade at 30 (San Antonio Express-News)
- Churches weigh in on legal, moral issues | What denominations have said about abortion (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Also: Life was never the same again after abortion (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Also: Public tends to take the middle ground | "American attitudes are remarkably fixed" says Gallup researcher (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Also: Unyielding positions on the front lines | Activists have more black-and-white clarity than most Americans (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Mother of all rights | Thankfully abortion wasn't legal until after I was born (Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal)
- A tough Roe | Will the Democratic Party be abortion's final victim? (Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal)
- Abortion foes attack roe on new research | As science advances, some find arenas in which to seek a special status denied the embryo and fetus in the high court's 1973 ruling (Los Angeles Times)
LCMS drops Valparaiso University syncretism charges:
- Church absolves VU leader, 4 pastors | Valparaiso University President Alan Harre, university Pastor Joseph Cunningham and three other clergymen were cleared Friday of charges filed against them for their participation in a multi-faith Sept. 11 anniversary gathering (The Times, Northwest Indiana)
- Also: Church drops charges over Valpo University 9/11 event (Associated Press)
- Valparaiso University students question Sept. 11 complaints | Church leaders cleared the university president and pastor of charges related to a Sept. 11 anniversary gathering (The Times, Northwest Indiana)
Missions and ministry:
- Shorter terms, bigger dangers mark missionaries' careers | Ill-prepared short-timers are at risk; others work in unstable Muslim areas (The Baltimore Sun)
- Student-missionaries issue letter urging restraint in anti-Islam tone | Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Seminary, says missionaries miss point of criticism (Baptist Press)
- Missionaries are resolute amid string of attacks | Despite recent fatal attacks on missionaries abroad, local evangelicals plan to intensify their efforts to spread Christianity throughout the world (St. Petersburg Times)
- Some groups criticized for disrespecting Muslim laws | Evangelical Christians working in Muslim countries have come under increasing criticism by those who say the missionaries are taking advantage of the poor (The Sacramento [Calif.] Bee)
- Couple's compassion flows to former slaves | A Boston couple saw Sudanese women and children being freed from slavery, and now plan to help them improve their lives (The Providence [R.I.] Journal)
- Basic help for digging out of debt | Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace: Revisited says that our inability to say "no" to stuff we don't need is a spiritual failing (USA Today)
- A Gen-Xer's bumpy spiritual path | Though Lauren F. Winner's Girl Meets God has several poignant chapters that deal honestly with her spiritual growth, it also has glaring weaknesses, many of which stem from the fact that the author, though obviously ambitious and sophisticated, is still finding herself (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
- Huntington House not paying its authors? | That's what Andrew Careaga, author of E-Vangelism, says (Bloggedy Blog)
- Armageddon fiction grips the U.S. | Fifty million Americans at the last count, are reading a series of novels which dramatise the 'end times' as fundamentalist Christians call them (Justin Webb, BBC)
- Home rooms | Whether conservative or liberal about education, more parents than ever think they can teach their children better than conventional schools can (Chicago Tribune Magazine)
- Also: Mom was the teacher, Dad was the principal | Even so, home schooling offered more freedom and opportunities than regular school (Matthew Walberg, Chicago Tribune Magazine)
- Decision on returning Christian schools soon: Musharraf | Pakistani president attends 125th anniversary of the Lahore Diocese (Hi Pakistan)
- Religious group sues university | InterVarsity's stance is its group should be able to determine leadership eligibility, not a university policy (The Daily Targum, Rutgers U.)
- Spiritual film a big hit near Sundance festival | Documentary on the German theologian and Hitler foe Dietrich Bonhoeffer crashed the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this week and made a splash with packed showings at three churches (The Washington Times)
- Also: The ultimate cost of discipleship | New documentary traces theologian's decision to join plot against Hitler (The Washington Post)
- The power and the silence in the Vatican | Now, with Amen, the latest in a long line of powerful political movies by the Greek-born director Constantin Costa-Gavras, the case against Pius XII has been brought to the screen (The New York Times)
- Powerball winner draws attention to tithing | What is a tithe, anyway? (The Providence [R.I.] Journal)
- Also: Lottery gifts a dilemma for religions | Whether to accept gifts from lottery winners is a tougher question for congregations divided over what to say to instant millionaires eager to write a check (PokerMag.com)
- Grace Place is there for busy believers | Church offers Saturday night services for families on the go (The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.)
- Super Bowl blends fellowship with scripture | There is a place for worship and a place for football, and on Super Bowl Sunday, the sanctuary of the Broadfording Brethren Bible Church is both (Associated Press)
- Lutheran church asked to be more evangelical | Top bishop makes stop in Parkville as part of his two-year, 65-synod tour (The Baltimore Sun)
- Bidding a church farewell | Central Congregational closes on a high note (The Boston Globe)
- Batavia churches celebrate common links | Marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Calvary Episcopal Church and six other Batavia congregations hosted special guests called "apostolic visitors" to participate in a ceremony pledging unity and cooperation among denominations (The Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)
- Family feud lifts veil on private world of Hutterite colony | The Waldners have been shunned by members of this southern Alberta Hutterite colony, a refuge from the modern world the couple have called home since 1974, but now refuse to leave despite their life of exile (The Globe & Mail, Toronto)
- Younger generation seeks religious reassurance | Kids born after 1982 more likely to join a faith community (Gannett News Service)
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