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Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

it’s called removing the Offense of the Cross!

“Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised–as some say I do–why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.” Galatians 5:11

from Jihad Watch:

Bishop Eva Brunne has proposed to remove the Christian symbols of the Seamen’s Church in Freeport to make it more inviting for visiting sailors from other religions.

The bishop wants to temporarily make the Seamen’s Church available to all, for example by marking the direction of Mecca and removing Christian symbols, as is already done in common prayer rooms at airports and in some hospital chapel.

“Making a room available for people of other faiths does not mean that we are not defenders of our own faith. Priests are called to proclaim Christ. We do that every day and in every meeting with people. But that does not mean that we are stingy toward people of other faiths,” writes Bishop Eva Brunne…

Has aroused protests

The proposal has triggered protests. Patrik Pettersson, priest of the Oscars parish in Stockholm, thinks that the proposal is noteworthy and writes on his blog:

“The church chapel can not reasonably be equated with prayer rooms at airports and hospital chapels anyway. The Christian churches and chapels are not public areas at any time.”

And Seamen’s Mission Director Kiki Wetterberg does not agree with the bishop.

“I have no problem with Muslim or Hindu sailors coming here and praying. But I believe that we are a Christian church, so we keep the symbols. If I visit a mosque, I do not ask them to take down their symbols. It’s my choice to go in there,” she says to the newspaper Dagen.

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One World Religion!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Buddhist, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders to join pope at National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

It is called a multireligious service, but for those who have been asked to offer prayers alongside Pope Francis this month, a humble moment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

About a dozen religious leaders, including representatives from Buddhist, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths, will join the pope on Sept. 25 at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Part of Pope Francis’ two-day visit to New York City, the service will include prayers from all of them honoring those who died on 9/11.

According to Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove of Park Avenue Synagogue, it will be “a holy and wholly unique event in the religious life of New York.”

“The pope understands the power of faith or religion as an instrument of peace, as opposed to division or strife,” said Rabbi Cosgrove. “To participate in an interreligious gathering which affirms that, whatever our differences may be, we are children of the same God, is an extraordinary statement.”

Multireligious gatherings between the pope and other faith leaders are essentially a modern practice, experts say, formalized in 1965 with Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council’s declaration for “sincere reverence” of other religions.

That declaration opened the door for meetings between the pope and other religious leaders, said the Rev. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, associate professor of theology and religious studies at St. John’s University in Queens.

Another watershed moment for interfaith meetings came in 1986 when Pope John Paul IIgathered dozens of religious leaders at a World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy. The image of all of them together “sent an important message to the world,” said Rev. Ruiz.

Pope Benedict continued the tradition of interfaith meetings during his 2008 trip to the U.S. He visited Park East Synagogue in New York and participated in several events in Washington, D.C., including an interreligious meeting. In 2011, he marked the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace with another event in Assisi.

But what separates Pope Francis from his predecessors is his deliberate inclusion of other religions, especially members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, Rev. Ruiz said. Some of those leaders are to play an active role in the Sept. 25 event.

It will begin with an invocation by Rabbi Cosgrove and Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at New York University. During the brief program, Pope Francis will offer a prayer and speak. Other religious leaders will then offer prayers, with translators, before an audience of hundreds. Sarah Sayeed, an adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio, will read a translation from Arabic for the event, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor

One of the participants, Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, said she was honored to be included and excited for her faith, and others, to be recognized on the world stage.

“This pope has been so vocal and so broad-minded,” said Dr. Mysorekar. “We’re all able to chant prayers to that same divinity in our own different ways. It ultimately means that all of us collectively stand there and pray in whatever way we want to, but ultimately asking for peace in this world.”

Yasuko Niwano, a leader of the Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Center of New York, said she felt a mixture of honor, nerves and excitement about sharing the stage with Pope Francis. She saw the moment as a way to connect with the pontiff on the subject of openness and inclusiveness, she said.

“He doesn’t have any boundaries,” she said. “In Buddhism, we don’t have any boundary, we welcome anybody.”

The Rev. A.R. Bernard of Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center said he would be reflecting on the Beatitudes, eight blessings at the core of Jesus’ teachings, for his segment of the interreligious service.

Though the city’s religious leaders often get together around common issues of concern, the service with the pope is “a very, very special time, because it’s consistent with the climate in our city with regard to religious tolerance, and interfaith communication and working together,” he said.

“This is not a platform we experience every day,” Rev. Bernard said.

Satpal Singh, a leader of the Sikh community who is based in Buffalo, is hoping to use the moment on Sept. 25 as a way to educate the wider public about the Sikh faith. His prayer would reflect the point that “our actions speak,” he said.

“God expects all of us to love each other irrespective of what our outward beliefs and what our affiliations are,” Dr. Singh said. “That’s the important message that has to come through this forum.”

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from The Gatestone Institute:

An evangelical Christian pastor in Northern Ireland is being prosecuted for making “grossly offensive” remarks about Islam.

James McConnell, 78, is facing up to six months in prison for delivering a sermon in which he described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic.” The message was streamed live on the Internet, and a Muslim group called the police to complain.

According to Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS), McConnell violated the 2003 Communications Act by “sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive.”

Observers say that McConnell’s prosecution is one of a growing number of examples in which British authorities — who routinely ignore incendiary speech by Muslim extremists — are using hate speech laws to silence Christians.

McConnell, who turned down an offer to avoid a trial, says the issue of Christians being singled out for persecution in Britain must be confronted, and that he intends to turn his case into a milestone trial “in defense of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

The controversy began on the evening of Sunday, May 18, 2014, when McConnell, the founding pastor of the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, an evangelical mega-church in northern Belfast, preached a sermon on a foundational verse of the Christian Bible, 1 Timothy 2:5, which states: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Preaching with an oratorical flourish common to traditional Protestantism, McConnell said(sermon begins at 22m, 40s):

“For there is one God. Think about that. For there is one God. But what God is [the Apostle] Paul referring to? What God is he talking about? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The God who we worship and serve this evening is not Allah. The Muslim God, Allah, is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity. A deity that this foolish government of ours … pays homage to, and subscribes financial inducements to curry their favor to keep them happy….

“While in Muslim lands Christians are persecuted for their faith; their homes burned, their churches destroyed, and hundreds of them literally have given their lives for Christ in martyrdom. A lovely young [Sudanese] woman by the name of Miriam, 27 years-of-age, because she has accepted Christ as her Savior, will be flogged publicly and hanged publicly. These fanatical worshippers are worshippers of the god called Allah. Ladies and gentlemen, that is a fact and it cannot be denied and it cannot be refuted.

“I know the time will come in this land … and in this nation to say such things will be an offense to the law. It would be reckoned erroneous, unpatriotic. But I am in good company, the company of [Protestant Reformers] Luther and Knox and Calvin and Tyndale and Latimer and Cranmer and Wesley and Spurgeon and such like him.

“The Muslim religion was created many hundreds of years after Christ. Mohammed, was born in 570. But Muslims believe that Islam is the true religion, dating back to Adam, and that the biblical Patriarchs were all Muslims, including Noah and Abraham and Moses, and even our Lord Jesus Christ.

“To judge by some of what I have heard in the past few months, you would think that Islam was little more than a variation of Christianity and Judaism. Not so. Islam’s ideas about God, about humanity, about salvation are vastly different from the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic. Islam is a doctrine spawned in Hell.”

McConnell’s comments about Islam comprised less than ten minutes of a 35-minute sermon that focused on Christian theology.

The blowback was as swift as it was predictable. The Belfast Islamic Center, which claims to represent all of the 4,000 Muslims thought to be living in Northern Ireland, complained to police, who dutifully launched an investigation into whether there was a “hate crime motive” behind McConnell’s remarks.

McConnell later issued a public apology, but he refused to recant. He also rejected a so-called informed warning. Such warnings are not convictions, but they are recorded on a person’s criminal record for 12 months. Anyone who refuses to accept the warning can be prosecuted, and McConnell now faces six months in prison. The first hearing of his case is set for August 6.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, McConnell said he would rather go to prison than disavow his comments about Islam.

“I am 78 years of age and in ill health but jail knows no fear for me. They can lock me up with sex offenders, hoodlums and paramilitaries and I will do my time.

“I have no regrets about what I said. I do not hate Muslims, but I denounce Islam as a doctrine and I make no apologies for that. I will be pleading ‘not guilty’ when I stand in the dock in August.

McConnell said that the charges against him were symbolic of the persecution Christians are facing in Britain today:

“It is a case of back to the future. In the first century, the apostles were jailed for preaching the gospel. Early Christians were boiled in oil, burnt at the stake and devoured by wild beasts. If they faced that and kept their faith, I can easily do six months in jail.”

McConnell’s attorney, Joe Rice, vowed to fight the case “tooth and nail.” He said:

“I don’t agree with everything Pastor McConnell says but his prosecution represents a threat to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If we’re moving into a genuinely pluralist society, these freedoms must be extended to Christians as much as they are to others.”

After public prosecutors announced that they plan to call eight witnesses in McConnell’s prosecution, Rice said:

“Rest assured we will call many, many more. This will be a landmark case with leading political, religious and academic figures giving evidence.

“The logic of the decision to prosecute Pastor McConnell means that many clerics — including Catholic priests and other evangelical pastors — could now find themselves under investigation for preaching with passion.

“My client’s remarks weren’t addressed at individual Muslims but at Islam in generic terms.”

McConnell stressed that he does not hate Muslims. “My church funds medical care for 1,200 Muslim children in Kenya and Ethiopia,” he said. “I’ve no hatred in my heart for Muslims, but I won’t be stopped from preaching against Islam.” He added:

“I apologized last year if I had unintentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. I would defend the right of any Muslim cleric to preach against me or Christianity. I most certainly don’t want any Muslim clerics prosecuted but I find it very unfair that I’m the only preacher facing prosecution.”

In an interview with the Guardian, McConnell reiterated that he is “not going to be gagged.” He said:

“The police tried to shut me up and tell me what to preach. It’s ridiculous. I believe in freedom of speech. I’m going to keep on preaching the gospel. I have nothing against Muslims, I have never hated Muslims, I have never hated anyone. But I am against what Muslims believe. They have the right to say what they believe in and I have a right to say what I believe.”

The executive director of the Belfast Islamic Center, Raied al-Wazzan, is leading the push to prosecute McConnell. “This is inflammatory language and it definitely is not acceptable,” hesaid in an interview with the BBC.

Al-Wazzan is now trying to leverage the controversy over McConnell’s remarks to shame local politicians into providing him with public land, for free, to build a mega-mosque in Belfast. “We need the land from the government,” he told the BBC. “And there is a huge demand for it. The Muslim population is growing in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, but especially in south Belfast.”

In January 2015, al-Wazzan drew attention to himself when he praised the Islamic State’s rule of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where jihadists have killed or expelled all of the city’s 2,000-year-old, 60,000-strong Christian community. Speaking to the BBC, al-Wazzan said: “Since the Islamic State took over, it [Mosul] has become the most peaceful city in the world.”

After local politicians called for the government to cut public funding for the Belfast Islamic Center, al-Wazzan recanted. But the Belfast Islamic Center’s website continues to prominentlydisplay the writings of a Muslim extremist named Bilal Philips, who has been banned from entering the UK because of his preaching of violence against Jews, Christians and homosexuals, and his glorification of Islamic suicide bombers.

McConnell summed it up this way: “Islam is allowed to come to this country, Islam is allowed to worship in this country, Islam is allowed to preach in this country and they preach hate. And for years we are not allowed to give a tract out, we are not allowed in Islam, we are not allowed to preach the gospel. We are persecuted in Islam if we stand for Jesus Christ.”

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The posting of this article is in no way an endorsement of the Roman Catholic Church as a valid Christian Organization. It is an apostate man created organization, rather the posting is to show what is coming down the road in the United States for those who identify as Christians.

from Beliefnet:

Crosses in every room at Washingon D.C.’s Catholic University of America are a human rights violation that prevent Muslim students from praying.

That’s the complaint to the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights filed by a professor from rival George Washington University across town.

GWU Law School Professor John Banzhaf takes the Catholic institution to task for acting “probably with malice” against Muslim students in a 60-page complaint that cites “offensive” Catholic imagery all over the Catholic school, which he says hinder Muslims from praying.

Baffled Catholic University officials say they have never received a complaint from any of the schools Muslim students.

Banzhaf, who already has a pending lawsuit against the university over ending its policy of allowing mixed-gender dormitories and has a history of filing civil rights suits on such topics as childhood obesity and smoking, filed the complaint alleging that Muslim students are not given their own prayer rooms.

He alleges that the university, “does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion,” according to the Tower, Catholic University’s student newspaper.

The complaint further objects that Muslims must pray at the school’s chapels “and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.”

A spokesperson for the human rights office said they are investigating Banzhaf’s complaint — and the inquiry could take as long as six months.

“This attorney is really turning civil rights on its head,” observed Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Socity. “He’s using the law for his own discrimination against the Catholic institution and essentially saying Catholic University cannot operate according to Catholic principles.”

The complaint is absurd, writes Thomas Peters on the website CatholicVote.

“Can you imagine a law professor helping Catholic students to sue a Jewish or Muslim school to demand that the schools install crosses, remove their religious symbols, and allow the Catholics to construct a chapel on their property?” wrote Peters. “Can you imagine the argument being that Jewish and Muslims schools using their religious symbols and following their faith traditions would be described in the legal brief as “offensive”?!

“Normally I would have confidence that this lawsuit will be deemed without merit, but the way things are going these days, I just can’t be sure anymore. Simply incredible.”

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from Jihad Watch:

“We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime.” The problem is that Islamic supremacists, apparently deliberately, conflate “Islamophobia” meaning attacks on innocent Muslims, which are never justified, with “Islamophobia” meaning honest examination of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, and resistance to Sharia oppression. Miliband’s new law making “Islamophobia” an “aggravated crime” would criminalize and silence all opposition to Islamization, would effectively destroy what remains of the freedom of speech in Britain, and spell the end of Britain as a free society.

And in Shattered Dhimmi Britannia, he is leading the pack to be the next Prime Minister.

“Labour would outlaw Islamophobia, says Miliband in an exclusive interview,” by Hamed Chapman,Muslim News, April 24, 2015 (thanks to Roger Kimball):

A future Labour Government is committed to outlaw the scourge of Islamophobia by changing the law and making it an aggravated crime, according to the Party’s Leader Ed Miliband.

“We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” Miliband told the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi in a wide ranging exclusive interview.

“We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country,” he said.

Labour Party Manifesto pledged to take a “zero-tolerance approach to hate crime” regarding the growth of Islamophobia as well as anti-Semitism. “We will challenge prejudice before it grows, whether in schools, universities or on social media. And we will strengthen the law on disability, homophobic, and transphobic hate crime,” it said.

Despite voting for the new Counter Terrorism Act last month, Labour was also critical of the way the Government has cut funding and narrowed the focus of the controversial Prevent extremism programme, saying that much of the work to “engage Muslim communities has been lost.”

“I want to overhaul Prevent programme,” Miliband told The Muslim News. The Muslim community is as an “incredibly important, incredibly rich, incredible asset to our country” and so it was really important to put on record.

“The reality is that the people I talk to in the Muslim community are absolutely full square with the idea that we’ve got to make sure that we work with our young people to stop them being dragged into this perverted (terrorist) ideology.”

“The way to do it is the Prevent programme working with communities. You got to do the things that once this ideology takes hold you try to disrupt it. For me that is the answer. We want to see how the Prevent programme is community focused.”

Challenged about the way particularly Muslim charities have been targeted by banks and discredited by the media, Miliband said in his wide ranging interview that he was “not in favour of demonising anyone (and) that is the wrong thing to do.”

“What I am in favour is the Charity Commission working without fear or favour. We got to build right across the Muslim community. There is absolutely shared purpose and shared desire to deal with a small minority in our country who get tempted to violent extremism. That is what we got to build on and it is about working with them.”

On the so-called Trojan Horse scandal that failed to find virtually any evidence of extremism or radicalisation, the Labour leader said the reality is that the “root of this problem lies in proper accountability in our schools.”

“We are going to have high standards locally. That will make sure that every school has proper oversight. When there is no proper oversight things can go wrong in schools. The best way to stop that happening is proper oversight in our schools.

“You need proper accountability. The answer to this is not to run thousands of schools from the centre of the Government but to have local accountability in schools.”

With regard to foreign policy, Miliband confirmed that Labour would have supported the recognition of a Palestinian State in last year’s UN vote. His Party’s support was why Parliament backed the principle, he said.

“We would do everything we can to work for a two state solution which is a viable Palestinian state alongside security for Israel,” he added but also pointed out that he personally was “not in favour of sanctions” against Israel.

To find a solution, he argued engagement was needed with both sides but the “reality is that we had a British Government for the last five years who had disengaged from this issue, had washed its hands off this issue.”

“I’m not going to wash my hands off this issue. I will speak out about the settlements. I spoke out about Israel’s incursion into Gaza. Some people didn’t like that I spoke out. I did speak out and I will continue to speak out and engaging with the issue. We have the American Administration who also wants to engage and wants to push forward two-state solution. We are going to partner with them to do that.”

He was dismissive that Labour’s manifesto commitment to arrest and act against those returning from fighting in Syria would be hypocritical by targeting only Muslims as it is happening now. “When I am Prime Minister there will be one law for everybody. Full treatment for everybody,” he insisted.

Likewise Miliband was adamant that Muslims should not face racial and religious discrimination when it comes to employment or suffer the most because of the austerity cuts “It is part of the law that that is prohibited. We are going to have racial equality across the Government. We will enforce it.”

“We will tackle deprivation. We will build homes, get rid of bedroom tax, raise minimum wages, build better jobs for people, have a fairer social security system,” he also insisted….

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Thank goodness that Faith in Jesus Christ is not a religion!

from USA Today:

Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070, ending two millenniums of Christian dominance going back to the birth of Jesus Christ, projections released Thursday by the Pew Research Center show.

Islam is projected to grow more than twice as fast as any other major religion over the next half century because of a higher fertility rate. While Christianity will remain a dominant global religion, it will lose majority religious status in countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

Such a dramatic change raises questions about whether global conflicts between radical Muslim groups and Western nations with Christian majorities will become more inflamed in the decades ahead.

A slight shift by one major world religion to numerical dominance may not, by itself, create problems, but underlying factors of rapid population growth in poor countries can drive economic hardship, migration and political unrest, says David Voas, professor of population studies at England’s Institute for Social and Economic Research. Such conditions can give rise to extremist violence, he says.

“The very rapid growth of population, combined with limited opportunities even for the educated young people, but particularly for less educated ones, has created social and therefore political tensions and that has fueled things like immigration to Western countries, political upheaval,” Voas say.

The world’s two largest religions will be near parity by 2050. Christians are predicted to be 31.4% of the planet’s population vs. 29.7% who follow Islam, researchers say. Christians made up the same 31.4% in 2010; Muslims 23.2%.

“We can be quite confident that Muslims are going to grow rapidly in the decades ahead,” said Conrad Hackett, demographer and lead author of the report.

The engine of growth for both Christianity and Islam will be sub-Saharan Africa where high fertility and large Muslim and Christian populations will increase global numbers for both religions, Pew demographers say.

Christianity will remain the dominant religion for the United States but lose some of its share to the unaffiliated — those who claim no particular religion or who are atheists or agnostic. By 2050, one in four Americans will fall into this non-religious category, up from 16.4% in 2010, the analysis shows.

While the populations of nearly all the world’s religions will grow, youth and high fertility among Muslims will fuel a dramatic 73% jump in numbers in just over a generation. The number of Christians during that same period will increase by 35%, the study shows.

By midcentury, global population will swell by a third from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 9.3 billion.

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“While acknowledging his doctrinal disagreements with the pope and the others in attendance, Moore stated that he is “willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled.”

What is troubling about the above statement is Moore is couching his language to make it appear that he is not teaming up with false faiths, and religions to defend marriage. What he seems to miss is that Satan is the author of confusion or chaos, and would readily pull in Christians to stand with false faiths, and religions in order to attempt to undermine Christianity and dilute it’s fundamental message of Salvation in Christ alone!

From Christian News Network:

Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Saddleback megachurch leader Rick Warren will team up with Roman Catholic Pontiff Francis later this month for an interfaith Vatican conference on marriage and family.

“Complementarity of Man and Woman,” will be held Nov. 17-19 at the Vatican, and is expected to feature more than 30 speakers from over 20 countries. According to the Catholic News Service, those of the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jaina Shasana, Taoist and Sikh religions will be present, as well as Roman Catholics and professing Christians.

The event is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“I hope that this gathering of religious leaders can stand in solidarity on the common grace, creational mandate of marriage and family as necessary for human flourishing and social good,” Moore wrote in a blog post this week entitled “Why I’m Going to the Vatican.” “I also hope that we can learn from one another about where these matters stand around the world.”

While acknowledging his doctrinal disagreements with the pope and the others in attendance, Moore stated that he is “willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled.”

Rick Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” has spoken glowingly of Pope Francis during several public interviews about the pontiff and the Roman Catholic religion.

“[Pope Francis] is doing everything right. You see, people will listen to what we say if they like what they see,” Warren stated on Catholic television network EWTN earlier this year. “His kissing of this deformed man, his loving the children, this authenticity, this humility, the caring for the poor; this is what the whole world expects Christians to do. And when they go, ‘Oh, that’s what a Christian does.’—In fact, there was a headline here in Orange County—and I loved the headline—I saved it. It said, ‘If you love Pope Francis, you’ll love Jesus.’”

Last year, Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries called Warren’s ecumenism with the Roman Catholic Church a “real tragedy.”

“Right now, the Body of Christ doesn’t know whether to evangelize Roman Catholics or to join hands with them to go out and evangelize the world, [and] it’s because of people like Rick Warrren who either don’t know how exclusive the gospel of grace is, or he’s not aware of the false and fatal gospel of the Roman Catholic religion,” Gendron stated.

In addition to Warren and Moore, the upcoming Vatican conference will feature Wael Farouq, a Muslim and president of the Tawasul Cultural Center, top-ranking Mormon Henry B. Eyring and Manmohan Singh of the World Sikh Council. Conferences will include “The Cradle of Life and Love: A Mother and Father for the World’s Children” and “The Sacramentality of Human Love According to St. John Paul II.”

The meeting follows a recent synod featuring over 200 Roman Catholic bishops who gathered in Rome for two weeks to discuss marriage and family issues, such as homosexuality, cohabitation and divorce. The initial relatio released by the synod generated controversy and concern over its inclusive tone, as it stated that “[h]omosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” It was later left out of the submitted draft as a consensus could not be reached on the matter.

 

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from The Daily Telegraph:

A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies, it is claimed.

The small independent school in the Home Counties was told it is in breach of new rules intended to promote “British values” such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, involving infiltration by hard-line Muslim groups in Birmingham.

Details of the case are disclosed in a letter to the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, from the Christian Institute, which is providing legal support to the school.

The group warned that the new rules intended to combat extremism are already having “disturbing consequences” for religious schools and forcing Ofsted inspectors to act in a way which undermines their ethos.

It follows complaints from orthodox Jewish schools about recent inspections in which girls from strict traditional backgrounds were allegedly asked whether they were being taught enough about lesbianism, whether they had boyfriends and if they knew where babies came from.

In the latest case inspectors are understood to have warned the head that the school, which was previously rated as “good” that it would be downgraded to “adequate” for failing to meet standards requiring it to “actively promote” harmony between different faiths because it had failed to bring in representatives from other religions.

They warned that unless the school could demonstrate how it was going to meet the new requirements there would be a further full inspection which could ultimately lead to it being closed.

A Government consultation paper published in June, explaining the new rules, makes clear that even taking children on trips to different places of worship would not be enough to be judged compliant.

The Institute, which is already planning a legal challenge to the consultation, arguing that it was rushed through during the school holidays, fears that the new guidelines could be used to clamp down on the teaching of anything deemed politically incorrect on issues such as marriage.

“Worryingly, evidence is already emerging of how the new regulations are requiring Ofsted inspection teams to behave in ways which do not respect the religious ethos of faith schools,” Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, told Mrs Morgan.

“The new requirements are infringing the rights of children, parents, teachers and schools to hold and practise their religious beliefs.”

Listing recent cases involving criticism of Anglican, Roman Catholic and Jewish schools by Ofsted, he added: “The Christian Institute is currently working with an independent Christian School which has been marked down by Ofsted for not promoting other faiths.

“Astonishingly it was told it should invite representatives of other faith groups to lead assemblies and lessons, such as an Imam.

“The wording of the regulations inevitably results in these kind of outcomes.

“While we obviously support attempts to address the problem of radicalisation, the current regulations fail to do this.”

A spokeswoman for Ofsted said: “Under Ofsted’s revised guidance for the inspection of schools, inspectors now pay greater attention to ensuring that schools provide a broad and balanced education for their pupils, so that young people are well prepared for the next stage in their education, or for employment and for life in modern Britain.

“Inspectors will consider the effectiveness of the school’s provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and how the school’s leadership and management ensure that the curriculum actively promotes British values.

“This includes, among other factors, pupils’ acceptance and engagement of different faiths and beliefs, and their understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield.”

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from Essays in Idleness:

It would seem that, this morning, for the first time in more than eighteen centuries, there are no Christians in Mosul, Iraq.

The city was founded on the west bank of the River Tigris, as the continuation of the more ancient Ninevah, which it is still sometimes called by the biblically inclined, including its Christian former residents. Gentle reader will recall that Ninevah (on the other bank) was sacked by the Babylonians, et alia, in 612 BC. The first rebuilding was done a few miles north; the most recent only a few centuries later, back at the natural bridgehead.

“Recent” is a relative term; all history is modern history, as I like to repeat. Old Mosul (“Mepsila”) is mentioned in Xenophon’s Anabasis, from when his Greeks were passing through, towards the end of the fifth century BC — a time when the ruins of Ninevah had already been forgotten. It was later a Christian city, before it became, by conquest, a Muslim city: yet it remained until the dawn of the present century an important Christian centre, seat of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, and of classical Syriac learning. The ruins of Christian monasteries may be found scattered through the surrounding desert; many survived long into the Islamic era. A story could be told about St Elijah’s monastery, for instance, just to the south of Mosul, which American soldiers helped to restore only a few years ago. Before Tamerlane, it had dispatched missionaries across India, China, and Central Asia, as well as delegates to distant Rome. By much older tradition, the tombs of several Old Testament patriarchs and prophets are to be found within the large area now under Mosul’s modern urban sprawl. (It is the largest city in Iraq, except Baghdad.) This includes the shrine associated with the tomb of Jonah, itself of extraordinary antiquity — torched and demolished last week.

All physical evidence that Christians ever lived in Mosul will soon be erased, if it has not been erased already. Shia Islamic shrines have also been demolished by the Sunni jihadis; and I gather that Mosul’s famous museum, one of several sites around the city under nominal protection of UNESCO as “world heritage,” has also been trashed by these iconoclasts.

Christians were still a substantial minority in Mosul, at the time of the U.S. and allied invasion in 2003. Their numbers had since been reduced considerably by Sunni Arab torments; last month it was estimated that only 35,000 remained. “ISIS” — the army of fanatics that has seized much of northern Iraq — marked their houses with the Arabic letter for N, which stands for “Nasrani,” or Nazarenes. (This is what Christians are called in the Koran.) Educated readers may note that the Nazis had the homes of Jews marked in a similar manner — back when that wasn’t really news, either.

The “final solution” for Mosul’s Christians was blared from loudspeakers in the minarets of the city’s Sunni mosques after Friday prayers. They would have twenty-four hours to flee, taking nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Those found still in the city, after noon yesterday, would be put to the sword. A third option, conversion to Islam, was mentioned only for the record. Any intending to do that would surely have done it by now. The possessions of all Christians had been “nationalized,” according to the announcement — everything they owned now belonged to the Islamic Caliphate of Iraq and the Levant.

This last point, though a technicality, is important to understand the sequence of events. Because the Christians now owned nothing, it would be impossible for them to pay thejizyah — the Islamic tax for non-Muslims. (Over the centuries, throughout the many lands conquered in the name of the Prophet, from Morocco through Indonesia, Christians who valued an easy life above that of Christ gradually converted to Islam, the principal reason being to avoid paying this onerous protection money, to say nothing of the occasional pogrom.) The amount of the tax — payable wherever and whenever it is demanded — is currently fixed in neighbouring Syria, wherever the jihadis of ISIS have taken over from the regime of Bashir Assad, at one half-ounce of pure gold per head for every man, woman, or child. I gather cash equivalents are not acceptable. Gold is hard for the Christians to obtain under prevailing conditions; it is one of many factors exerting an upward influence on the international gold price.

Details, details: I wish that our Western media were capable of spotting and recording them, on almost any topic. Not being in Mosul myself, currently, I cannot attest to the details in any of the reports I have read. (One may find the main event mentioned even by the BBC and CNN, if one examines their websites forensically.) But from previous familiarity with radical Islam, several small things struck me. One was that the announcement of Christian dispossession was phrased with bureaucratic precision, specifying that “the clothes they are wearing” must under no circumstances be used to conceal coins, jewellery, or a long list of other portable valuables, all of which were to be left in the homes which the jihadis would now secure.

It would be a mistake to assume that because they value human life so lightly, the jihadis are indifferent to the values of the bazaar. Note that their conception of heaven is also presented in market terms: as so many virgins in payment to a “martyr,” plus luxuries and treasures also carefully denominated. One might call it a transcendental materialism — religion in the form of compelled material transactions, and in that sense not fundamentally different from the democratic liberalism of our own Nanny States.

The Christians have fled, by necessity many on foot under the killing sun of the Mesopotamian summer, mostly towards Kurdistan: the one part of northern Iraq the jihadis have not yet attempted to subjugate. That is also where Western refugee aid is most likely to be available. At this point, we cannot guess how many will make it alive. Certainly the number of dead will vastly exceed those tallied in the airliner that was shot down in eastern Ukraine — the story now at the top of Western media headlines, for the plane was full of Europeans.

We pray, with least compulsion, for our own. Granting that is how things must be, by nature, those who remain Christian in the West should recall that Christians everywhere are our own.

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There is so much wrong with what this “Pastor” is saying. He lumps perceptions about political party allegiance (As if Christians are supposed to declare a public political allegiance to either of the fallen humanistic led American political parties)  in with a multitude of other errors.

What he displays is the classic Assembly of  God second generation “priestly class” humanist mentality. One that says “I was born into the AOG priesthood to an AOG Pastor and therefore it is my right and destiny to be in that class so I can lead people wherever I choose”.  This type of thinking is a cancer in the Assembly of God Ministry!

Everyone who reads this needs to look at your own church. Even if you have a pastor that preaches and teaches what is right and good NOW. If it is a situation where “the pastor is master” then 99% of those pastors will go down the road to error in order to maintain their “high place” instead of being scorned, shunned, and pushed aside for standing up for Biblical truth. Our churches heap praise on pastors and feed their humanistic egos which overtakes their love for the truth!

“God never intended for a Pastor to be a “King”. Sadly, this is what most congregations want just as Israel wanted a king. They want someone to tell them what to do instead of taking responsibility to do it themselves. They are satisfied to live their spirituality vicariously through the Pastor, their king. This Pastor has obviously taken on that role and is now leading an entire congregation into the depths of deception. It is absolutely heartbreaking!”

 

from The Sacramento Bee:

A Pentecostal pastor, a rabbi and an imam walk into a restaurant. Then they go to a synagogue. For Ramadan, Pastor Rick J. Cole of Capital Christian Center – one of the region’s oldest and largest fundamentalist churches – gave a sermon to about 500 Muslims and their friends at the Sunrise Event Center in Rancho Cordovaon Friday.

Cole, 56, was a featured guest on Imam M.A. Azeez’s weekly talk show, “Heart of the Matter.” The show has explored women’s rights, justice, self-expression and democracy in the Muslim world.

Cole, whose 98-year-old Assemblies of God church was long considered the most conservative in the region, has been reaching out to gays, Jews and now Muslims to break down barriers and biases. Cole joined Azeez and Rabbi Mona Alfi at Congregation B’nai Israel on June 18 to mark the 15th anniversary of the one of the most heinous – and ultimately unifying – events in Sacramento history, the pre-dawn firebombing of three Sacramento synagogues. Those blazes were followed by the firebombing of a building housing an abortion clinic and the murder of a gay couple – Gary Matson and and Winfield Mowder – while they slept in their Happy Valley home in rural Shasta County.

Cole, who replaced his father, the late Pastor Glen D. Cole, at the helm of Capital Christian Center in 1995, told the audience at B’nai Israel he’d been to Israel seven times and asked forgiveness of those he may have had been intolerant toward. “I’m now intolerant of people who are intolerant. I’ve got to figure out how to tolerate intolerant people,” Cole said. “We make things about issues instead of people,” he said, adding that he now has a growing number of gay congregants. As for those who don’t accept believers of different faiths or sexual orientation, “if they’ve got a problem, I’m not going to let it become my problem. They really need to talk to more people!”

Cole – whose church’s motto is “Truth, Growth, Love” – has 7,000 congregants, about 4,000 of whom attend one of his three Sunday sermons. Some of them speak in tongues. He oversees the 1,000 students at his church’s Christian school; serves on the board of Sacramento Steps Forward, a partnership addressing the needs of the region’s homeless; and provides help to inner-city schoolchildren through Equal Start. He also works with Champions, which assists special-needs families, and he supports the Center for AIDS Research.

What’s inspired you to step outside the box and reach across the aisle?

Rabbi Alfi, Imam Azeez and I started meeting for lunch at Plates (a restaurant that trains homeless moms) three years ago. Rather than assuming things about each other, we’ve developed a good friendship through direct communication. Too often we stereotype groups and determine this is the way everyone is within that group. There are many people of the Muslim faith who are not interested in violence. Often, they become characterized that way by 9/11 and other incidents that have occurred. There are far fewer Muslim people of faith who embrace extremism than those who are pushing it away. Imam Azeez has become a friend, I see him as a man of hopes and dreams for building a better world and not for tearing it down. The more common ground we can all find, and the more we learn about each other’s belief systems, the more we grow. Friday, I said, “I know the Quran is a great source of wisdom in understanding who God is. We share four of the five pillars of Islam: there is only one God; daily prayers; give to the poor and help the hurting; and fasting, self-control and self discipline.”

Your church has long been considered a bastion of conservatism. What’s changed?

We still lean toward a Republican ideology, but today we have strong representation across the aisle. We have a real passion for ethnic diversity, and people of other ethnicities often tend to adopt a more Democratic ideology. When we blend together different points of view, that’s quite important in challenging how we come together. … There are so many things that divide us ethnically, socioeconomically, spiritually. Part of my role and goal is to unify and honor people, bless people and affirm people.

In the 1980s, Capital Christian Center threatened to quit the Interfaith Service Bureau for admitting a gay-oriented church, and in the 1990s gay and bisexual protesters accused you of “a long history of anti-gay political activity and bigotry.” What’s happened since?

It’s something I’ve grown into the last five or six years. Life is a journey, and we should always be learning and growing along the way. It’s OK to have strong beliefs and convictions, but when we make that the only message, it becomes a dividing line that doesn’t help us build community with others who don’t see things quite the way we do. I had a revelation that God wants us to find ways to love people and not separate them. God’s heart of love for each of us is equal. Homosexuality’s still a complex subject and can cause some to be judgmental. I can maintain convictions but don’t have to impose those convictions on people who don’t share them.

If we take homosexuality as an issue, we dehumanize the person, and I don’t believe God ever does that. God loves each of us right where we are. In the past we have chosen to communicate a certain belief from scripture that homosexuality is not acceptable to God and push that way, instead of leading with, “God loves you and we do too.” I’ve adopted a love for gay people from my own heart, and we have a really great dialogue about faith and how we can encourage one another along the way. Our church has gone from where we wouldn’t know if we had any gay congregants to where we know we have at least several dozen, and instead of being afraid to come here, God wants us to make this a safe place for people to grow.

In 2009, you apologized to Christina Silvas, a former stripper who’d been asked to remove her children from your school in 2001, and to Ben Sharpe, an African American star student who was banned from eighth-grade graduation because his buzz cut violated school policy in 1995. Who are the intolerant you’ve got to learn to tolerate?

There’s a lot of intolerance when it comes to ideas – the political atmosphere in our country is so polarized. It would do us all good if we could have more conversations instead of accusations. Immigration is obviously a great concern – we have to have a heart of compassion for these children coming every day. The more grace we have for others, the more grace we receive. I’m concerned about those who want to make this issue non-human – these are precious people and we need to try and put ourselves in their shoes and practice empathy and see the world through their lens – ‘What if it were me?’ There are those who want to build a utopian world for ourselves. That’s not what we’re here for; we’re here to help each other.

It’s an evolving understanding of our role and how we pursue our place in the community. We aim to heal people who have walked through broken dreams, broken relationships, broken health, and give them a place to find hope and purpose. If we reach out to the hurting, the disadvantaged, the underserved, the overlooked, that’s more in the sweet spot on God’s heart. We have a really passionate outreach to the homeless, and we’re partnering with four inner-city schools, providing mentoring, tutoring, after-school care and encouragement. In the summer, we take kids … to places they’ve never been, ending up at various universities for a sit-down with administrators. My goal is to honor God, his truth and his creation. I’m not trying to push any buttons and create controversy. I really want to bring harmony.

 

 

 

 

 

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