Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Christian Persecution’ Category

from MSN:

nationwide coalition of more than 150 conservative Christian leaders signed a statement, released Tuesday, affirming their beliefs on human sexuality, including that marriage is between one man and one woman and approval of “homosexual immorality” is sinful.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s list of 14 beliefs, referred to as the Nashville Statement, is a response to an increasingly post-Christian, Western culture that thinks it can change God’s design for humans, according to the statement.

“Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be,” the statement from the coalition members reads.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood convened a meeting of evangelical leaders, pastors and scholars Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville. The coalition discussed and endorsed the statement.

In a press release, John Piper, co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called the Nashville Statement a “Christian manifesto” on human sexuality.

“It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness,” Piper said. “It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people.”

Among the signers who have been involved in national politics: James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in the District of Columbia.

Dobson and four others — Senior Pastor Ronnie Floyd of Cross Church, which has four campuses in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri; Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; President Richard Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.; televangelist James Robison, founder of Fort Worth-based Life Outreach International — also are members of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board.

In a series of tweets, Pastor Brandan Robertson of MissionGathering Christian Church in San Diego, an LGBT activist who helped organize a protest at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission conference, called the statement an affront to God’s creative design.

Christian author Jen Hatmaker of Austin, Texas, who come out in favor of same-sex marriage and whose books have been removed from the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Stores because of that philosophy, called the timing of the statement callous because of the Aug. 12 Unite the Right white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville, Va., and protester Heather Heyer’s death.

“If the fruit of doctrine regularly & consistently creates shame, self-harm, suicide, & broken hearts, families, & churches, we shld listen,” she tweeted.

Each of the Nashville Statement’s 14 beliefs include one sentiment the signers affirm and one they deny. They cover a range of topics from a prohibition on sex outside of marriage to the connection between biological sex and gender identity.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who as a councilwoman officiated some of the city’s first same-sex marriages when they became legal in Tennessee, took issue with the statement’s moniker. In a tweet, she called it “poorly named.”

Its name is derived from the meeting location. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s founding document — the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood — was signed about 30 years ago during a summit at a resort in Danvers, Mass.

Founded in 1987 and based in Louisville, Ky., the council’s website said it has helped several religious groups, including the 15 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, promote “gospel-driven gender roles.”

Some members of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention that played host to the coalition last week, signed the statement.

In the news release, the commission’s president, Russell Moore, said it is “urgently needed.”

“The sexual revolution cannot keep its promises, and the church must stand ready to receive with compassion the many who are in need of a better hope,” Moore said. “The Nashville Statement is part of that mission, and my prayer is that it will help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come.”

This year, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference focused on parenting, including how to talk to your kids about their biblical view of sex, same-sex attraction and gender identity.

Read Full Post »

from Zero Hedge:

Last week D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM), a Christian-based missionary ministry based in Florida, filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Amazon after being added to the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” and excluded from Amazon’s charitable donation program, Amazon Smile.  Apparently, at least in the SPLC’s estimation, verbally expressing a religously-based opposition to same-sex marriage and transgenerism is enough to get yourself labeled an “Anti-LGBT hate group.”  Per PJ Media:

 “We embarked today on a journey to right a terrible wrong,” Dr. Frank Wright, president and CEO at DJKM, said in a statement Tuesday. “Those who knowingly label Christian ministries as ‘hate’ groups, solely for subscribing to the historic Christian faith, are either woefully uninformed or willfully deceitful. In the case of the Southern Poverty Law Center, our lawsuit alleges the latter.”

 The SPLC has labeled DJKM an “anti-LGBT hate group” for its opposition to same-sex marriage and transgenderism. “These false and illegal characterizations have a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion and on religious free speech for all people of faith,” Wright declared.

 “After having given the SPLC an opportunity to retract, we have undertaken this legal action, seeking a trial by a jury of our peers, to preserve our own rights under the law and to defend the religious free speech rights of all Americans,” the DJKM president concluded.

 The lawsuit laid out charges against the SPLC, GuideStar, and Amazon. “SPLC acted knowingly, intentionally, and with actual malice in publishing the Hate Map that included the Ministry and in publishing the SPLC Transmissions to GuideStar that included the ministry,” the suit alleged. “SPLC’s conduct in making these publications was beyond the reckless disregard for the truth standard required by Alabama law for punitive damages.”

Of course, given that “same-sex marriage and transgenderism” generally do not comport with the views of most religious entities, it’s unclear exactly how/why all churches, mosques and synagogues in the U.S. managed to avoid being added the SPLC’s list…maybe DJKM just got lucky?

In all, the SPLC says there are 917 “hate groups” in the United States which they divvy up into the following categories:

  • Anti-Immigrant
  • Anti-LGBT
  • Anti-Muslim
  • Black Separatist
  • Christian Indentity
  • General Hate
  • Hate Music
  • Holocaust Denial
  • KKK
  • Neo-Confederate
  • Neo-Nazi
  • Racist Skinhead
  • Radical Traditional Catholocism
  • White Nationalist
 Only in the U.S. can a peaceful Christian group end up on a “hate” list with “Neo-Nazis” and the “KKK”.  Be that as it may, here is where the SPLC says the “hate groups” of America are located

Read Full Post »

from Breitbart:

More than 90 per cent of Christians in the UK believe their faith is being marginalized in British society, a survey has revealed.

It also found a majority of Christians thought their faith was not given the same respect as other religions in the UK, with most feeling it was considered unacceptable for them to share their beliefs in public.

The survey, conducted by Premier Christian Communications, questioned more than 12,000 “ordinary Christians” as part of a ‘State of the Faith’ study.

93 per cent of respondents said they “believe that Christianity is being marginalized” in Britain, and half said they had experienced prejudice because of their faith.

80 per cent of respondents said “Christianity is not given equal respect” compared with other religions and worldviews, and 67 per cent said they did not think it was considered acceptable in society for Christians to share their faith with others.

Younger Christians were more likely to say that they experienced prejudice for their faith, with 70 per cent of respondents aged 15 to 19 reporting negative experiences.

“Partly because of illiteracy [and] partly because of those who have a very different agenda, we may be moving into a period when debate is shut down — where you can’t have an honest debate and agree to differ,” said Nola Leach, head of a Christian lobbying group Care.

Premier CEO Peter Kerridge said in a statement that “It’s clear we are not the liberal accepting society we think we are if we don’t tolerate and accept everyone, including Christians.”

He added that the survey “clearly indicates how it feels to be an ordinary Christian today … This is not the clergy talking, or academics theorising, or politicians making a case.

“These are ordinary Christians who feel overwhelmingly that their Christian beliefs are being marginalised and that as a result, it is becoming far more difficult to live as a person of faith in the UK.”

Read Full Post »

from PJ Media:

penly gay LGBT activist Tim Gill, who has poured $422 million into the homosexual movement since the 1990s, recently told Rolling Stone why he won’t allow Christians to opt out of participating in same-sex weddings.

“We’re going to punish the wicked,” Gill told Rolling Stone. After the 2015 Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage across the country, Gill turned his activism apparatus against religious freedom restoration acts (RFRAs) and toward a legal mentality that would penalize Christians, and anyone else in business, who refuse to participate in a same-sex wedding.

“In the wake of Obergefell, … some donors and activists declared victory and moved on,” Rolling Stone‘s Andy Kroll explained. “But Gill insists the LGBTQ civil-rights movement is far from finished: In 28 states, it’s still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations like restaurants, hotels and restrooms.”

It may not be surprising to see Rolling Stone so misrepresent the situation like this (see “UVA rape scandal”). But the record needs to be set straight: The “public accommodations” push is exactly the line LGBT activists use to undercut Christians’ freedom to opt out of serving same-sex weddings.

Concrete court cases reveal the falseness of this “discrimination” narrative. A Washington state florist and Oregon bakers were fined for refusing to serve same-sex weddings, but they each gladly served the lesbian and gay people who requested wedding services. In both cases, they refused to serve a wedding, fearing that such service would be a public endorsement of something they believed a perversion of marriage.

Under Obergefell, same-sex couples can get married. But a wedding ceremony is still a private event, and people should not be forced to celebrate it, if such a ceremony is opposed to their convictions. This isn’t just an issue of religious freedom — it also involves free speech and free association.

But public accommodation laws have become a cudgel by which LGBT activists attempt to force people to violate their consciences. Indeed, an LGBT group in Ohio actually announced plans to try to force churches to host same-sex weddings on their property. A Christian farmer and his wife in Michigan were excluded from a farmer’s market because they posted on Facebook that they would not host a same-sex wedding on their own property.

In March, the ACLU sued a Sacramento Catholic hospital, even after the hospital helped a transgender patient find another hospital at which to have “his” hysterectomy. The ACLU’s lawsuit makes it clear that this debate isn’t about access — it’s about forcing people to violate their religious convictions.

Last month, the Supreme Court announced that it will consider the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who also refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Like the Washington florist, the Oregon baker, and the Michigan farmer, Phillips gladly served LGBT people, he just would not endorse a public event which violated his beliefs.

 

Read Full Post »

from The Review Journal:

A man yelled “Freedom!” as he crashed his vehicle into Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument early Wednesday, nearly three years after he was arrested in the destruction of Oklahoma’s monument at its state Capitol, authorities said.

The privately funded Arkansas monument had been in place outside the state Capitol in Little Rock for less than 24 hours before it was knocked from its plinth and smashed to pieces.

Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, Arkansas, was booked in the Pulaski County jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief. An arrest report lists his occupation as “unemployed/disabled.”

Authorities did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf, and a video arraignment was set for Thursday morning, a Pulaski County sheriff’s spokesman said.

Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Chris Powell said officials believe a Facebook Live video posted on a Michael Reed’s Facebook account that depicted the destruction is authentic.

In the video, the sky is dark and the Arkansas Capitol’s dome is visible. Music is heard followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?” The driver is then heard growling, “Oh my goodness. Freedom!” before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle’s speedometer is last shown at 21 mph (33 kph) and then a collision can be heard.

Arkansas’ monument fell from its plinth and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground. The debris had been cleaned up by midmorning Wednesday.

Oklahoma County Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Reed was arrested in October 2014 in the destruction of Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol. Opgrande confirmed that the suspect arrested Wednesday in Arkansas was the same person arrested in the Oklahoma case.

In a 2015 email to the Tulsa World , Reed apologized for wrecking Oklahoma’s monument and said he suffered from mental health issues.

“I am so sorry that this all happening (sic) and wished I could take it all back,” Reed said.

Read Full Post »

from The Express:

Violence broke out in Shanggiu in Henan province after 300 police officers and officials demolished the Shuangmiao Christian Church—which was under construction.

Officers dragged out around 40 Christians with one worshipper comparing the brutal scenes to the Japanese invasion of during the Second World War, according to charity China Aid.

Eight Christians remain in custody following the incident amid a crackdown on churches by the communist regime.

hina Aid said: “During the demolition, officials beat dozens of church members, pushing them to the ground and twisting their hands.

“The church was completely razed, and a church member likened the scene to the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.

“Of the 40 seized, eight are still in custody, and the cases of Shuangmiao Christian Church pastor Zhang Di and the church’s vice director, Lü Yuexia, were recently transferred to the Procuratorate, which will decide whether or not to formalise their arrest.”

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate is the highest agency in China responsible for prosecutions.

According to churchgoers Xi Jinping’s Communist Party ordered the church to be destroyed after branding the building an “illegal structure”.

Party officials were sent to the church to search the building and belongings of people on site.

China Aid said the party confiscated phones and other personal property, damaged closets, smashed offering boxes, and stole laptops, money, and jewellery.

The demolition came as row between the church and government escalated over allegations the church refused to pay a £450 arbitrary road usage fee.

Pastor Zhang Di was summoned for questioning last month and accused of assaulting police officers and attacking a village official.

Church leaders are urging the government to release the pastor and churchgoers. They are also calling for police linked to the investigation to be punished.

The Chinese Communist Party has launched a major crackdown on in recent months in an attempt to oppress religious freedom and exercise control.

Churches not sanctioned by the government have been put under surveillance with hundreds of Christians arrested for disturbing public order for offences such as holding bible study groups and displaying crucifixes outside their homes.

There have been reports of Christians being banned from praying, singing hymns, crosses removed from buildings and people arrested for attending church services.

Read Full Post »

From MSN:

TANTA, Egypt—Like the Jews before them, Christians are fleeing the Middle East, emptying what was once one of the world’s most-diverse regions of its ancient religions.

They’re being driven away not only by Islamic State, but by governments the U.S. counts as allies in the fight against extremism.

When suicide bomb attacks ripped through two separate Palm Sunday services in Egypt last month, parishioners responded with rage at Islamic State, which claimed the blasts, and at Egyptian state security.

Government forces assigned to the Mar Girgis church in Tanta, north of Cairo, neglected to fix a faulty metal detector at the entrance after church guards found a bomb on the grounds just a week before. The double bombing killed at least 45 people, and came despite promises from the Egyptian government to protect its Christian minority.

As congregants of the Tanta church swept the grounds of debris and scrubbed blood from the walls, a parishioner waved his national identity card: “This ID says whether we are Muslim or Christian. So how did that suicide bomber get into my church? If this identification isn’t for my protection, it’s used for my discrimination.”

By 2025, Christians are expected to represent just over 3% of the Mideast’s population, down from 4.2% in 2010, according to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Mass. A century before, in 1910, the figure was 13.6%. The accelerating decline stems mostly from emigration, Mr. Johnson says, though higher Muslim birthrates also contribute.

The exodus leaves the Middle East overwhelmingly dominated by Islam, whose rival sects often clash, raising the prospect that radicalism in the region will deepen. Conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims have erupted across the Middle East, squeezing out Christians in places such as Iraq and Syria and forcing them to carve out new lives abroad, in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

“The disappearance of such minorities sets the stage for more radical groups to dominate in society,” said Mr. Johnson of the loss of Christians and Jews in the Middle East. “Religious minorities, at the very least, have a moderating effect.”

Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, denied the government discriminates against Christians. “The presidency has been keen since day one to treat the Egyptian society as one nation, and one fabric,” he said, adding that the government is doing all it could to protect the minority and fight terror.

President Donald Trump expressed his confidence in President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s commitment to protecting his Egyptian population in a call between the leaders last month.

Christian activists in Egypt say Washington’s ally in the war on terror has long discriminated against the minority, with recurring bouts of mob violence directed against Christians by their Muslim neighbors often leading to no arrests or charges in the courts. Christians have been barred from some government jobs, such as the state intelligence services, and laws make it virtually impossible to build or restore churches.

The exodus of Christians from the Mideast started about a century ago, with many heading to the U.S. for jobs as America opened its doors to migrants. Later waves stemmed from conflict, such as Lebanon’s civil war, and from fresh economic hardship, such as the U.S.-led sanctions in the 1990s that hobbled Iraq.

At the start of the 21st century, as wars waned, the oil business flourished in the Gulf region and a financial crisis hit the West, the Christian outflow ebbed.

Then in 2011, the outlook darkened dramatically. What started as hopeful revolutions across the Mideast largely degenerated into strife, civil war and the rise of extremist groups.

The outbreak of Syria’s multisided civil war in 2011 prompted about half of the country’s Christian population of 2.5 million to flee the country, according to Christian charities monitoring the flow. Many escaped to neighboring Lebanon, an anomaly in the region with Christians wielding political power and worshiping freely.

In Iraq, the instability that started in 2003, when a U.S. invasion toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, deepened more than a decade later when Islamic State took over about one-quarter of the country. Iraqi church officials and the religion’s political representatives say only one-fifth of the country’s Christians remain of the approximately 1.5 million before 2003, according to estimates based on church attendance and voter rolls that identify religion.

Even though Iraqi forces have gained the upper hand over Islamic State, the country’s Christians show no sign of returning to homes they fled.

In northern Iraq, blue and white charter buses crisscross neighborhoods of recently liberated Mosul, returning Muslim families displaced by Islamic State. They drive through Christian areas without stopping. For the first time in nearly two millennia, Iraq’s second-largest city, once a melting pot of ancient religions, lacks a Christian population to speak of.

The Al-Aswad family, a clan of masons who built the city’s houses, churches and mosques and trace their lineage back to the 19th century, vow never to return. They’ve opted to live in the rat-infested refugee camps of Erbil in northern Iraq, where they await updates on their asylum application to Australia.

A Christian charity has given them a small apartment until June, at which point they will have to return to the refugee camps to live in a converted cargo shipping container.

“We call it the cemetery,” said Raghd Al-Aswad, describing how the cargo containers are covered with dark blue tarps to protect against the rain. “It looks like dead bodies stacked side by side with a giant hospital sheet on top of them.”

Mrs. Aswad fled Mosul with her husband, three children and in-laws in June 2014 when Islamic State took control of the city by routing Iraqi security forces, many of whom fled instead of fighting. The family was also run out of Mosul by al Qaeda in 2007, returning two years later.

Before the Aswads fled Mosul the last time, they left a bag of family photo albums with their Muslim neighbor, Ahmed Abou Hassan, for safekeeping. It was a risk for Mr. Hassan under Islamic State rules, one he says he gladly took.

Mr. Hassan couldn’t protect the Aswad home itself from the extremist group, which used it to house their fighters. The neighborhood was liberated in January. A recent visit by a reporter showed that the windows were broken, furniture destroyed. Weeds covered a cherished garden and tangerine tree.

Mr. Abou Hassan yearns to see his old friends again. “When the Christians come back to Mosul, hope will come back,” he said.

The Aswads say that won’t happen. “We don’t have any more trust,” said Raghida’s husband, Adwer. “This wasn’t the first time. The next time we might die.”

The Iraqi government says it is working to secure Mosul and other Christian areas so the minority can return.

“Terrorism has affected everyone and for sure the Christians as well,” said Sa’ad Al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office. “The Iraqi government is working to alleviate all concerns by encouraging Christians to stay in Iraq since they are an indigenous group.”

Today, more Arab Christians live outside the Middle East than in the region. Some 20 million live abroad, compared with 15 million Arab Christians who remain in the Mideast, according to a report last year by a trio of Christian charities and the University of East London.

In 1971, Egyptian Coptic Christians had two churches in the U.S. Today there are 252 Coptic churches, according to Samuel Tadros, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

Mr. Tadros estimates that some one million Copts have fled Egypt since the 1950s, many to the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

Mr. Trump has indicated he would welcome more Christian refugees from the Middle East. His initial efforts to overhaul immigration policies have been blocked by the courts amid criticism his executive orders would discriminate on the basis of religion.

The Arab Christian diaspora in the U.S. has already emerged as powerful in politics and business. Dina Powell, Mr. Trump’s influential deputy national security adviser, is of Egyptian Coptic origin.

With the near-depletion of the Christian population in the Middle East and the recent flight of the Kurdish minority Yazidis from Islamic State, followed just a few decades after the flight of its Jews, many fear for the region’s future—not only because of the rise of radicalism but the loss of talent needed for sputtering economies.

Killed in the Palm Sunday attack at the church in Tanta was Mina Abdo, an engineer who left Egypt over a decade ago with his family, in part to allow his wife Yvonne to pursue her profession of gynecology.

Christian Egyptians have had a hard time getting work in her field since the 1970s when a fraudulent police report emerged accusing the sect of plotting to outnumber Muslims by performing abortions on unsuspecting Muslim women, or secretly slipping them birth control. The document has been likened to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fabrication used to discriminate against Europe’s Jews a century ago.

The family returned to Tanta after celebrating Holy Week for years in their adopted home of Kuwait City. In Egypt, they could sit under a steeple, which their church in Kuwait lacks because official churches are banned there. Mr. Abdo and his son, Kerollos, 11, took the front pews in Mar Girgis, which had a good view of the altar, where many of the family had been baptized and married.

When the suicide bomber detonated his vest that morning, the explosion mangled the same front pews, killing Mr. Abdo instantly. His body shielded his son, Kerollos, who survived but suffered shrapnel wounds to his face and right leg.

Two days after the attack, at a nearby hospital, Mrs. Abdo and her 14-year-old daughter, Miriam, tended to Kerollos. Mother and daughter wore the sweaters Mr. Abdo packed for their trip back home. Miriam wore her father’s crucifix, his wedding ring and hospital identity tag hanging off the thick gold chain—possessions the hospital put in a plastic zip-lock bag when Mr. Abdo was pronounced dead on arrival. His remains would stay in Egypt.

When asked whether she’d return, Mrs. Abdo hesitated. “I love Egypt. I love my memories here. But I’m scared now,” she said. “We will come back for visits, we must. My husband is buried here.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: