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Both "Red" & "Blue" States Support Marriage Amendment

The so-called "Red States"-those that President Bush carried in 2000-and "Blue States"-those carried by Al Gore-are divided over their choice for president, but they're united in their support for a constitutional marriage amendment, according to a new Zogby poll. The poll of 1,075 likely voters found that voters in the Red States supported a marriage amendment by a 52-43 percent margin, while voters in the Blue States favored an amendment by a 50-44 percent margin.

In recent weeks, polling results on a constitutional amendment have varied depending on the phrasing of the question. For example, if the question includes a negative phrase such as "forbidding same-sex marriage,'" voters are less likely to support an amendment.

Only one version of an amendment has been introduced in Congress. Named the "Federal Marriage Amendment," it has 113 supporters in the House and eight in the Senate. It would add language to the U.S. Constitution protecting the traditional definition of marriage. President Bush has endorsed the ammendment.  Democrat John Kerry opposes it.

Baptist Press

Macedonia's Christian President Dies in Plane Crash

Boris Trajkovski, the 47-year-old Macedonian president who was admired in many circles for his skills at peacemaking, died Feb. 26 in a plane crash in southeastern Bosnia. Trajkovski had been en route to a regional economic conference in Mostar when air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane in poor weather conditions. Six of Trajkovski's aides and two pilots were also killed. President Trajkovskia received the 2002 World Methodist Peace Award-actively worked for peace and political stability, both in his own small nation and the entire Balkan region. He also tried to strengthen relations among various ethnic and religious groups, using his own Christian faith to guide him. "It's a tragic loss for the United Methodist Church and the whole Methodist family," Randy Day told the United Methodist News Service. "He was an active partner in the United Methodist global mission network. We will miss his warmth, humor and wise counsel." He leaves behind his wife, Vilma, and two children.

United Methodist News Service
via Mission Net

"Most Dangerous States for Pre-Borns"

A recent report from Americans United for Life (AUL) ranks all 50 states based on their abortion-related level of safety for women, the unborn, and the newly-born. According to the report, the 10 most dangerous states are: Vermont, Oregon, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Alaska, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maryland, California, and Montana.

The 10 safest states are Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and South Carolina. In general, states in the South and Midwest received safer rankings than those in the Northeast and West.

The rankings were based primarily on laws related to abortion.

Life in Oregon

Ganges Bathers Offered Living Water

Millions of Hindus annually seek purification by bathing in the Ganges River. Hindus believe that they carry the burden of their karma through past, present, and future lives. Many think their souls can be temporarily cleansed by bathing in the Ganges.

Hundreds of native Christian missionaries move in and out among them dispensing living water. In addition to Christian literature, they hand out free cassette tapes of the Gospel of Luke in order to reach both literate and illiterate pilgrims. Thousands of Hindus have asked to hear more about Christ and some have accepted Him as Savior. Thus, ironically, a trip to the Ganges may result in true remission of sins and the spiritual cleansing of many Hindus.

Missions Insider

Emergency Network Launched

An unprecedented effort was launched at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in February to prepare the evangelical Christian community to help in times of national emergency. The Christian Emergency Network (CEN) is designed to help the Christian community become "response ready" and well informed in times of national crisis, offering response logistics, communications, and emergency training.

Over 1,000 media groups and large faith-based organizations, as well as whole denominations, joined the voluntary organization as partners either at the convention or before. John Turver, vice president of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), revealed how far-reaching the new effort has already become, saying, "CEN has the participation of every Christian television network, and at this point has a combined audience of 95% of the households, or 103 million homes in the U.S.  So, we've got the ability to reach a lot of people due to pooling our resources with the right message."

Once the media channels are fully in place, CEN hopes to enlist local churches and organizations to be trained and prepared for any disaster. More information can be found at www.christianemergencynetwork.org.

News from Envoy

Dutch Euthanize 1,000 Every Year Without Consent

Professor Henk Jochemsen, director of the Dutch Institute for Ethics in Medicine, reported that doctors in the Netherlands euthanize approximately 1,000 patients each year without prior consent. Jochemsen presented these figures at a recent conference organized by the Christian Democrats for Life and the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. The Netherlands was the first European country to legalize "physician-assisted suicide" in April, 2002. The law requires that  the patient must suffer from an incurable illness, must freely demand the termination of his or her life, a second medical opinion must be heard, and the death must be reported to the authorities. However, Jochemsen says doctors often dodge these requirements. An anonymous survey showed that in approximately 25 percent of the 3,600 annual cases no second medical opinion was sought, and that only 45 percent of all cases were registered. One in three patients asked for their lives to be terminated because they regarded themselves as an "unbearable burden" to their next of kin. Hubert Hueppe, a member of the German Federal Parliament in Berlin, is concerned that the acceptance of "death on demand" is growing. Just four years ago the European Council had rejected death on demand. "Today we have a European committee asking, Why not?'" said Hueppe.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

40,000 Indians Attend Weekly Yesu Darbar

"Yesu Darbar" ("Jesus' Royal Court") is a weekly event at the Allahabad Agricultural University in northern India, attended by 40,000 people every Sunday. They experience healing and deliverance, and hear the gospel," reports Operation Agape. The event was started by B. Lal, vice chancellor of the university. In January, 2003, attendance was 25,000 each week; since then, attendance has grown by 15,000, or 60%.

Operation Agape via MissionNet

Islamic Militants Slaughter 49 Christians in Nigeria

Islamic militants massacred 49 believers in a raid on the Christian town of Yelwa in Nigeria's Plateau State on Feb. 24. Plateau Police Commissioner Innocent Ilozuoke told reporters that most of the victims had been shot as they ran to a church, desperately seeking refuge. The attackers are thought to have been mostly ethnic Fulani Muslims. Local security sources indicate that the merciless guerrilla tactics used in the assault suggest Islamist fighters from Chad and Niger may also have been involved.

Police and army units were sent to the town to restore order. Local Christians in Plateau State have suffered repeated attacks from ethnic Hausa/Fulani Muslim settlers since September, 2001. Hundreds have been killed in the violence. Local Christians believe militant elements within the Muslim community are working a strategy to drive out Christians and Islamize the entire state.

Barnabas Fund via MissionNet

Christian Accused of "Unlawfully Converting" Prostitutes in India

Brothel owners have accused a Christian activist of "unlawfully converting" Hindu sex workers in India. Anson Thomas has rescued scores of girls (18 years and younger) from prostitution in Mumbai, Maharashtra State. When a report of the allegations recently appeared in The Times of India, activists from the Hindu political party Shiv Sena protested Thomas' activities by gathering outside a local police station. Police warned Thomas to refrain from giving Hindu child prostitutes Bibles and delivering sermons. "Mr. Thomas is indulging in unlawful acts which could lead to religious and social trouble," said Nawal Najaj, a deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai. Thomas denied that he has forced anyone to convert to Christianity.

Religion Today/Charisma News Service/Compass via MissionNet

Divinity School Launches Biblical Creation Apologetics Program

Evansville-based Master's Divinity School (MDS) in Evansville, IN, has launched what is believed to be the first biblical creation apologetics program in the world. MDS is hailing the program as the first of its kind worldwide. "This particular program is designed to prepare the pastor, the school administrator, the Christian school teacher, or just the layman who wants to become a thoroughly trained apologist for biblical creation," said MDS President Dennis Frey. He believes the need for such a program is great because most Christians are uninformed about the truth concerning origin-of-life theories. Frey says Darwin's evolutionary theory is more than just a matter of popular bad science. "I know the negative consequences of the teaching of evolution in our society are not insignificant," he says. "They're tied back to the holocaust of abortion, and so many of our social ills in today's world have some link back to the teaching of evolution." Frey says the school's apologetics program prepares students to confront evolutionists with practical, Bible-based, scientifically defensible evidence supporting the Genesis account of creation and other related issues.

Religion Today/Agape Press
via MissionNet

Tribe Gets New Testament In Its Own Language

The International Bible Society (IBS) launched its contemporary-language Kiyombe New Testament at a dedication in Boma, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Jan. 25. More than 350 church and lay leaders along with IBS staff welcomed the first-ever New Testament in Kiyombe, spoken by about 1.5 million Yombe people in the country. "They are proud to have the Holy Scriptures in their language," said Charles Diawaku, national director for IBS in the country. "Until now, in their church services they have had to use their trade language, Kikongo Fioti, to sing songs of praise and worship, hear the sermon and read the Bible." Even though about 70 percent of the Yombe people in the D.R.C. are Christians, they have never had more than the Gospels and Acts in their native language, and even those portions were in an antiquated language. "This translation will fulfill a spiritual need," Diawaku said. "People of the older generation were using a second language [Kikongo Fioti] that was no longer understood by the younger generation. Educated youth and intellectuals could use French, but that excludes the vast majority of the Yombe people. It was as if their heavenly Father didn't speak their language."

International Bible Society via MissionNet

Literature Ministry Distributes Thousands of Books in Cuba

Despite Fidel Castro's regime, a ministry called Book of Hope has been distributing Christian materials in Cuba for nearly four years. Spokesman Bob Hoskins says he thinks the permission to bring in the materials stems from concern for Cuban youth. Staff members have met with education and health officials who think the materials are beneficial for young people. Each year Book of Hope is required to make a new request to bring in the materials. "It's one of those miracles," Hoskins says. "God is able to turn the minds of leaders today to allow children and young people to have His Word." Book of Hope workers are in the process of distributing 600,000 books in Cuba, taking advantage of the opportunity for ministry while the doors are still open.

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