From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ALC - Noticias 10 August 2003

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Sun, 10 Aug 2003 11:45:34 -0700


CANADA: Taking Sides, new logo for Christian communication: WACC president
ARGENTINA: Evangelical and Jewish people seek to reactive so-called worship
BRAZIL: Evangelicals and the press: oil and water
CUBA: Dominoes are not a threat to faith, said Pastors

Taking Sides, new logo for Christian communication: WACC president

VANCOUVER, August 5, 2003 (alc). In her first report to the Central 
Committee of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), 
Musimbi R.A. Kanyoro, president of the organization, explained the 
implications of Taking Sides, part of the entitys new logo.

Before the 26 members of the Central Committee meeting July 31 - August 5 
in this Canadian city, Kanyoro said that the new WACC logo rejects the 
false claim of objectivity that pervades so much of the media and is a 
strong reflection of our mission view that we follow a God who has clearly 
demonstrated a preferential option for the poor.

It is also a recommitment to the values and standards that Jesus practiced 
in obedience to Gods spirit enables us to remain faithful to our dreams 
for a better world. For this reason, the added, we cannot simply act as 
embedded journalists who can only communicate what they are allowed to 
see, hear and say.

Taking sides is a radical and provocative declaration, added Kanyoro, who 
took office as president of the WACC in London on May 23. She was elected 
last year to replace Albert Van den Heuvel.

The WACC president said that taking sides implies making radical choices 
and therefore it requires good research and understanding about the nature 
of the choices we take and their implications.

The essence of being a Christian communication organization is to live and 
act in sympathy with Gods Spirit as Jesus did. It often will mean taking 
sides against cultural norms or religious and political leaders, she added.

I believe that  taking sides cautions WACC not to be just a religious 
welfare organization but rather an organization helping people to 
understand the mystery and the reality of living Christ like lives. I 
suggest that in addition to the programme work we have set in place, we 
find away to add a theological and especially biblical reflection element 
that will help us to build a strong case for why we base our values on the 
example of Jesus life, she said.

Hope is not merely an intellectual frame of mind. Hope is to be lived out. 
To hope for justice and peace is to work for elimination of injustice and 
to be a peacemaker. To hope for democracy means to practice being 
democratic in our personal relationships, she added.

However, practising compassion the Jesus way, involves embracing principles 
that lead to justice by breaking barriers of futility, selfishness, fear 
and spitefulness. Principles dont move us like passions do, but principles 
can guide our passions and groom them into compassions.

Taking sides, the Jesus way involves developing way to recognize good and 
bad use of power. People can be conditioned, influenced or taught to 
believe that external resources matter more than internal sources of power 
that they possess.

Some of us finding ourselves in such situations come to believe that in 
order to help poor and oppressed people; we need to manage their affairs 
for them, she continued.

The task of communicating hope is about helping people to live in hope as 
they work out their issues and to learn to live positively with conditions 
they cannot change. Taking Sides will sometimes take us to the desert. 
That is what the challenges and choices of Communication for Reconciliation 
are about, she concluded.

Kanyoro worked with the United Bible Societies, in Africa region, based in 
Nairobi until 1988. She then accepted a job with the Lutheran World 
Federation and moved to Geneva. My husband and our two children have lived 
in Geneva since then. She is currently General Secretary of the World YWCA. 
She is a linguist and a theologian.

Evangelical and Jewish people seek to reactive so-called worship law

BUENOS AIRES, August 5, 2003 (alc). Representatives from Protestant and 
Jewish communities are lobbying authorities and president Nestor Kirchner 
to reactive the so-called worship law that will substitute regulations 
dating back to the military regime.

The project was nearly complete on December 13, 2001 but Argentinas 
problems postponed the conclusion of the dialogue that the Secretary of 
Worship had opened (with representatives from Protestant Churches and other 
creeds) prior to being turned over to Congress, Emilio Monti, president of 
the Argentine Federation of Evangelical Churches (FAIE) told the daily

On December 20, violent disturbances forced President Fernando de La Rua to 
resign and the worship law was filed. Currently, encouraged by President 
Kirchners willingness to address the demands of social institutions, such 
as the recent opening of files against Nazi war crimes and the extradition 
of military officers accused of human rights violations, Evangelicals and 
Jewish people have sought to reopen the issue.

The worship law recognizes that all religious confessions have a series of 
rights, aimed at establishing equal treatment in the face of the 
prerogatives that the Catholic Church has. Moreover, it also guarantee 
peoples right to receive religious assistance from ministers from their 
own religion when they are in hospitals, jails and military cartels.

It also allows people to elect a religious education for their children 
that corresponds to their own convictions and allows people to elect a work 
break according to their religious customs: Sunday for Christians, Saturday 
for Jewish people and Adventists, Friday for some Islamic people.

It would also allow religious communities to have schools, hospitals, 
cemeteries and communication media. It establishes a special legal status 
and tax exemptions, as long as they are registered in the Worship Registry, 
which would no longer be obligatory.

The project introduces modifications in the Penal Code. For example, the 
Churches and objects used in worship are not subject to embargos and crimes 
committed against ministers or during religious activities will be subject 
to stiffer penalties, for example, physical aggression or profaning temples.

The National Evangelical Christian Council, that groups together the three 
major federations in this confession, presented their arguments to Worship 
Secretary Guillermo Olivieri. The Jewish community met with President 
Kirchner during a visit from authorities from the Delegation of Argentine 
Israelite Associations (DAIA)

DAIA vice president Mario Feferbaum said it was very positive that the 
project contemplates increasing the punishment when the crimes are sparked 
by religious hatred, such as profanation of cemeteries. However, he also 
said it is necessary to incorporate individuals and facts from Argentine 
Jewish history into educational contents.

The relationship that the State has with the Catholic Church is established 
in the Constitution, which stipulates that the government must provide it 
with approximately US$4 million a year.

Evangelicals and the press: oil and water

By Edelberto Behs
SAO PAULO, August 6, 2003 (alc). Does the press discriminate against 
believers? In answering this question, in its edition 91 the magazine 
Eclesia, affirmed that relations between the communication media and 
Evangelical Churches in Brazil are nearly always problematic.

The principal cause for this discrimination against believers is the still 
very visible dominion of the Catholic Church over Brazilian communication 
media, sustained journalist Cleber Nadalutti, a member of Our Life Church 
and editor of the Evangelical magazine Graga.

This influence, Nadalutti told Eclesia journalists Allan Novaes and Carlos 
Fernandes, encourages a rejection of Protestantism in all cultural

For example, said Nadalutti, the media use erroneous terminology, whether 
it is deliberate or not, in articles about Evangelicals. The secular 
press, for example insists on using typically Catholic expressions, such as 
Mass, when referring to Evangelicals.

In the mainstream press, Evangelical Churches are commonly treated as 
sects and the word bishop tends to be put in quotations when the article 
refers to an Evangelical bishop, Nadalutti added.

Reporter Odailson Spada, of Curitiba believes that there is discrimination 
on the news. The activities of Evangelicals are, for the most part, 
considered to be of lesser news value.

For example, he mentioned the little press coverage given the March for 
Jeszs, a movement that takes more than 1 million people to the streets of 
Sao Paulo.

Evangelical journalist Elizeu Lira, author of the book A new order - new 
world order - the government of the New Era, sustained that mysticism and 
spiritualism dominate Brazilian television.

People linked to these religious currents are shown on television as 
cultured, capital and illuminated while Evangelicals, in general are 
treated like lunatics or ignorant people, said Lira.

The adjunct-editor of the daily O Globo and member of the Baptist Church, 
Jorge Antonio Barros, said that Brazilian media, in general, do not do a 
good job of covering religious themes.

While there is no persecution, there is a great deal of skepticism on the 
part of journalists regarding spiritual questions, he added.

According Christian ethics professor from the Theological Faculty in the 
Sao Paulo Adventist University Center, Jose Rocha, the media harshly judges 
whether believers live what they preach. In the collective imagination, he 
explained, Evangelicals are known for their defense of moral values, for 
their honesty, dignity and abstinence regarding vices.

It is not a coincidence that the media shows no pity for Evangelicals who 
violate their own behavior code used so much to convert or condemn 
others, he said.

Francisco Jose Assis, editorial secretary from the daily O Estado de 
Parana, told Ecelsia that the Church frequency gives the media ammunition.

The stereotypes are created based on the figure of pastors who use tithing 
to enrich themselves or condemn others without having the moral authority 
to do so, he added.

Walter Altmann, pastor president of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran 
Confession in Brazil participated in a panel discussion on Religion and 
politics during the Third World Social Forum in Porto Alegre last January 
23-28 and pointed out three specific tasks.

First of all there is a need to do with the homogenized image of the 
Evangelical. Secondly, there is a need to overcome the usage that the press 
gives to the word Church, when it refers to Catholic Church and churches 
when it refers to other denominations in a scornful manner.

The third task is to increase the visibility of the positive testimony of 
Evangelicals. The World Council of Churches, said Altmann, had a 
significant role in the Brazil Never Again project, coordinated by a 
Presbyterian pastor. However, the press gave little coverage to this 

Experts believe that this lack of opening toward secular media and 
Evangelical Churches is one of the reason that lead many of them, in 
particular Pentecostals and neoPentecostals to seek to obtain radio and 
television stations.

Dominoes are not a threat to faith, said Pastors

By Josi Aurelio Paz
HAVANA, August 8, 2003 (alc). In a recent survey, the majority of 100 
pastors and lay people surveyed from 10 denominations said that popular 
game of dominoes is not harmful for peoples faith as long as it is not 
accompanied by betting.

Of those surveyed, 91 percent said that dominos is an instructive, fun game 
that can be used in social and youth activities organized by the Church and 
in summer camps. Leaders noted that in the case of children it helps 
strengthen their math skills.

Five people did not answer and only 4 percent said that the game, like all 
games, exacerbates human ambition and uses time that Christians should 
spend reading and studying the Bible.

Domino fever began on the Island when a lack of oil imports led to frequent 
blackouts. Friends, in order to stave off boredom, set up a table and four 
chairs under street lamps and played dominos well into the night.

According to historians, the first archeological remains related to dominos 
date back more than 4,000 years, although the current game seems to have 
originated in China, around 1120 AD.

The game involves 28 rectangular pieces and each has two squares with a 
determined number of black points that go from zero to six. When a piece 
has the same number in each square it is called a double.

In the Chinese version there are two types of pieces, those that have the 
same number in each square are called Civilian Pieces and those that are 
unique are called Army Pieces.

The game appeared in Europe in the XVIII Century, principally in Italy, 
perhaps in the Courts of Venice or Naples. The original pieces were made by 
gluing ebony onto both sides of a piece of bone. This stopped people from 
cheating and being able to see the value of the points through the back 
under certain light.

According to one Baptist pastor who was surveyed, his nearly 103-year-old 
grandfather is always surrounded by friends thanks to dominoes. An 
Episcopal clergyman said it was a socializing element for Christian 

In the face of the stigma that women are very bad at the game, one female 
doctor said it was good for stress and brought the family around the same, 
adding I am a terrific player. Another Baptist pastor said he was not 
good at playing the game but his father was known as Manuel Domino where 
he grew up.

One Pentecostal said that it should be more strongly cultivated in Church 
activities because it is not a solitary game

Cuban theologian Sergio Arce Martinez said what is sinful is to play games 
where luck and not creative work is what produces money. Christians should 
play it more because it cultivates friendship among players. I feel bad on 
the days that I cant play, he said.

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