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No honor in his hometown: Jesus not welcome in Nazareth school

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on April 8, 2014

JAnote

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit Monday against a Pennsylvania school district on behalf of a 1st grade student and his parents. In February, Nazareth Area School District unconstitutionally prohibited the student from distributing St. Valentine’s Day cards to his classmates because the cards contained a note that mentioned God and included the Bible verse John 3:16 after a sentence about the history of St. Valentine’s Day.

“Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas, including those communicated through Valentine’s Day cards. A Bible verse and a reference to God does not make such a card unconstitutional,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Religious expression is just as protected by the First Amendment as other messages that students communicate.”

“To single out a faith-based message for censorship is exactly the type of hostility to religion that the First Amendment forbids,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We hope the school district will revise its policies to respect the constitutionally protected free speech of its students and make ongoing litigation unnecessary.”

In February, the parents of the 1st grader helped him assemble the cards for “Friendship Day,” the politically correct name the school district uses for St. Valentine’s Day. The cards included a note that stated, “Happy Valentine’s Day! St. Valentine was imprisoned and martyred for presiding over marriages and for spreading the news of God’s love. In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that God loves you!!! ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3:16.”

When the student arrived with his cards at Floyd R. Shafer Elementary School in Nazareth, his teacher noticed the faith-based notes and brought them to the attention of the school’s principal, William Mudlock. Mudlock ordered them removed because of their religious nature and because they contained a Bible verse, telling the student’s parents that they could be “offensive” to others.

At a meeting with the student’s parents, Mudlock explained that the child’s note sought to “establish the supremacy” of his faith over others as prohibited by school district policy. He pointed to NASD Policy 220 on “Unprotected Student Expression,” which states that the school officials can prohibit student expression that seeks “to establish the supremacy of a particular religious denomination, sect or point of view.”

The complaint filed in J.A. v. Nazareth Area School District with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania explains that the same federal court struck down an identically worded policy at another Pennsylvania school district in 2008, saying that such policies “restrict what effectively amounts to all religious speech, which is clearly not permissible under the First Amendment.”

Ted Hoppe, one of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, is serving as local counsel in the case.

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Officials In Laos Tell Christians To Renounce Faith In Jesus Christ Or Be Deported

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on April 2, 2014

Laos-Map-Christian-PersecutionImagine being told that if you did not give up your faith in Jesus Christ that you would be forced out of your town and lose all of your property. That is precisely what a group of Christian families in three villages in the nation of Laos were told by their government officials after it was discovered that they were meeting regularly for home Bible study and worship.

According to reports:

Local authorities in Laos are threatening Christians in three villages with expulsion unless they renounce their faith, with residents in one village calling the converts “pigs and dogs,” according to an advocacy organization.
In a public meeting of Christians and others in Huay village of Atsaphangthong District, Savannakhet Province, local officials on Saturday (Sept. 21) ruled that Christians will be expelled for converting away from indigenous beliefs and practices, a representative from Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) told Morning Star News.
“The Christians shared with us that they were called ‘pigs and dogs’ by those who attended the village meeting,” said the representative, who requested anonymity. “The Christians met among themselves and made a decision to reject the authorities’ decision.” (source).

 

The conflict with local authorites started in the Nongdaeng village in Borikan District, Borikhamsai Province. A Christian told the HRWLRF representative that on August 30th, local officials threatened 11 families with eviction if they did not renounce Christ. “They charged these Lao Christians with believing the religion of a foreign Western power, which is considered destructive to the Lao nation,” the representative said in a press statement. “Officials expressed their intention that no Christian faith can be adhered to or practiced in Nongdaeng.”

Despite the threats from their local chiefs, the 11 families continued to meet for house worship. On September 14th, the local official called a meeting for all residents and announced: “You Christians should stop believing in the Christian faith. If you want to lose your homes and your properties and be deported [evicted], then you go ahead and continue with your Christian faith.”

In Savannakhet Province, in the village of Nonsung in Phin District a similar meeting was called by the local official. At the meeting the Christians were ordered to participate in pagan rituals such as taking an oath to animist spirits and drinking water that had been “cleansed” by a medium who called on spirits to purify it. They refused and were also threatened with deportation.

“The tactic is however being used against Christians elsewhere. In Allowmai, which is just eight kilometers away from Vongseekaew, six Christian families, along with their pastor, Bounlert, were ordered on 18 October to take an oath with sacred water in order to be allowed to remain in the village.”

Christians in Laos told to renounce faith | Watchlist persecution no media coverage

The group went on to say that Pastor Bounlert was detained in September along with four other Christian leaders; two of them were released after two days. The provincial authorities subsequently ordered the release of Bounlert, Adang and Onkaew, saying that their arrest by the district police was unjustified. But the police have kept the pastors in custody and threatened to imprison them for two to three more years if Christians in Allowmai do not perform the rituals.
Christian leaders in Savannakhet province believe that the police are trying to force Christians to recant their faith through taking part in the spirit rituals because they were unsuccessful in pursuing legal action against the pastors. (source).

Pray For The Church in Laos

Christians in Laos told to renounce faith | Watchlist persecution no media coverage

 

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. – Matthew 5:10-12.

It may seem hard to believe that this level of persecution is taking place, but it is just one example in an alarming trend of Christian persecution worldwide. Laos, with a population of approximately 6 million, is 1.5% Christian (the majority of the country is Buddhist or follows a mix of Buddhism and animist religions). As a very small minority, the door is open wide for Christians to be oppressed, beaten, jailed and even killed for their faith. Open Doors USA, an international Christian aid group lists Laos as the 18th worst country in the world for Christian persecution.

Pray for the Christians in Laos – for their safety, that they can remain in their homes and most importantly for their faith. They are living a Christian life that puts their livelihood and life on the line every day. Pray that God will sustain them and strengthen them in the face of persecution, and that they will continue to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ and share His Gospel. And pray for your own faith and other Christians to show the same resolve and boldness in the face of far less opposition. Lord willing, those who were once enemies of God, will come to know and receive free forgiveness and eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ.

Courtesy of http://beginningandend.com/officials-in-laos-tell-christians-to-renounce-faith-in-jesus-christ-or-be-deported/

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Ross Raises The White Flag On Gay Marriage

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on March 3, 2014

FAVS_0627_GayMarriage2-240x240

 

By Rod Dreher

All that’s left to decide is the terms of surrender that will be dictated to conservatives, says Ross Douthat. He says there were two scenarios that might have played out. In the first, after same-sex marriage was achieved, the culture would have settled down, and gays would have gone about their business getting married and divorced like everybody else, and things would have returned to normal. In the second, gay partisans and their supporters would have put constant pressure on any holdouts or pockets of resistance, attempting to crush any opposition. Excerpt:

In the past, this constant-pressure scenario has seemed the less-likely one, since Americans are better at agreeing to disagree than the culture war would suggest. But it feels a little bit more likely after last week’s “debate” in Arizona, over a bill that was designed to clarify whether existing religious freedom protections can be invoked by defendants like the florist or the photographer.

If you don’t recognize my description of the bill, then you probably followed the press coverage, which was mendacious and hysterical — evincing no familiarity with the legal issues, and endlessly parroting the line that the bill would institute “Jim Crow” for gays. (Never mind that in Arizona it’s currently legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation — and mass discrimination isn’t exactly breaking out.) Allegedly sensible centrists compared the bill’s supporters to segregationist politicians, liberals invoked the Bob Jones precedent to dismiss religious-liberty concerns, and Republican politicians behaved as though the law had been written by David Duke.

What makes this response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.

Of course. We will hear how all of this would have been different if only SSM opponents had done this, that, or the other thing in the past. Don’t believe it. Had the country embraced civil unions in 2004, for example, gay activists would have done exactly what they did in California, which did embrace civil unions: sue for full marriage recognition. This was always how it was going to end. I’ve been saying for at least five years that we conservatives had better focus on trying to carve out some religious liberty protections for ourselves, but that was a futile task too, amid the hysteria of this cultural climate. Now that the goal of legal same-sex marriage from coast to coast is clearly in sight, the fight will turn to demonizing any remaining resistance from religious dissenters, who must not be allowed any quarter. You can bet on it. Douthat concludes:

Christians had plenty of opportunities — thousands of years’ worth — to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status — this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.

I disagree. It is certainly true that Christian conservatives should not rush to embrace the “persecution” label, which rightly applies to what is happening to Christians in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere. However, I think Douthat is being too quick to buy into the narrative of our opponents here — a narrative one often hears from pro-SSM readers of this blog: that unless you Christians are being rounded up, beaten, or killed, it’s not persecution, so quit complaining. The same rhetorical strategy could be used against gays, of course, and it would also be unfair, because many gay people have certainly been persecuted. If only pogroms count as persecution, then very few non-black Americans in our time have ever been “persecuted.”

Anyway, if it comes to pass in the next few years that religious institutions and churches begin to lose their tax-exempt status because they do not accept the status quo on homosexuality, many of these churches and institutions will have to close, or radically scale back their operations. They operate on such a close margin as it stands now. Do you think for one minute that activists will allow any breathing room to institutions that refuse to bend to their will? Of course not. In short order, Christians in America will be forced to decide how much their institutions mean to them, and how deep in their pockets they are willing to dig to keep them going.

When Christians cannot enter into certain professions because they cannot in good conscience sign statements required by licensing guilds, that will feel like persecution. When Christians are publicly vilified, and their children are taught that holding firm to their faith makes them social pariahs, that will feel like persecution. And Christians who hold to the traditions of our faith, and refuse to sell out to the Zeitgeist, will be instructed that we deserve everything coming our way — this, even though we were all told, and told, and told, that all the other side was seeking was fairness.

The Law Of Merited Impossibility: It won’t happen, and when it does, you people will deserve it.

I think it is impossible to overestimate the power of the media in bringing about what is and what is to come. I think it is also impossible to overstate the hostility within media circles to Christianity on this issue. Over the years, I’ve often found myself telling fellow conservatives that their idea of media bias and what the media are like is exaggerated. On this one, though, it’s as bad or worse than they imagine. Mollie Hemingway writes about media coverage of the Arizona law. Excerpt:

There are countless more examples (from the Washington Post to local papers) of how poorly reporters have handled this topic and how quickly they’ve joined the mob of activism against civil or rational discourse.

Religious liberty is a deeply radical concept. It was at this country’s founding and it hasn’t become less so. Preserving it has always been a full-time battle. But it’s important, because religion is at the core of people’s identity. A government that tramples religious liberty is not a government that protects economic freedom. It’s certainly not a government that protects conscience rights. A government that tramples religious liberty does not have expansive press freedoms. Can you think of one country with a narrow view of religious liberty but an expansive view of economic freedom, freedom of association, press freedoms or free speech rights? One?

A media less hostile to religious liberty would think less about scoring cheap political points, creating uncivil political climates and disparaging institutions that help humans flourish. A media with a higher regard for truth would, it turns out, have a higher regard for religious liberty.

Sadly, we seem to have left the world of reason and tolerance. Could our media climate demonstrate that any better? And what lies ahead, if left uncorrected, is illogical and tyrannical. Freedom of religion was the central principle in the moral case of our country. Once that’s gone, how long can the Republic stand? Does anyone even care?

When you have a prominent ESPN personality likening the Arizona bill to Nazi Germany’s making Jews wear yellow stars, and this is considered reasonable mainstream discourse, I think the answer, Mrs. Hemingway, is no, not in our media class. Watch Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon discuss this. Hysterics, both of them:

American Christians are about to learn what it means to live in a country where being a faithful Christian is going to exact significant costs. It may not be persecution, but it’s still going to hurt, and in ways most Christians scarcely understand. Maybe this will be good for us. Maybe. We’ll see.

Courtesy of http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/ross-raises-the-white-flag-on-gay-marriage/

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Atheist group demands school stop allowing students to help starving children

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on February 10, 2014

feedGOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Friday to Robbinsdale Area Schools after an atheist group complained about students participating in a community service project at a church to pack meals for needy families in Haiti.

“Public schools should encourage students to participate in as many community service opportunities as possible. The Constitution does not prohibit students from cooperating with a religious organization to help starving families, which is not any sort of government endorsement of religion,” said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Neutrality toward religion does not permit schools to discriminate against beneficial programs simply because they are run by Christians. That is not neutrality but the very hostility toward religion that the First Amendment forbids.”

Students at the School of Engineering and Arts recently visited Calvary Lutheran Church to participate in a volunteer program sponsored by Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit organization run by Christians that seeks to eliminate world hunger for children. As part of the program, students prepared pre-packed meals that would be sent to malnourished children across the globe and did not engage in any religious activities.

The Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains that “public schools may constitutionally work with religious charities to provide food or other secular goods and services to impoverished children.” Moreover, the letter states, “Courts have consistently upheld instances where schools cooperated with religious organizations…where they had a valid educational purpose for doing so.”

“The School has not promoted any religious aspect of the church or the non-profit organization,” the letter adds. “Nor can AHA point to any such evidence. The School simply chose to cooperate with a local charity to do nothing more than prepare meals for impoverished children. The School is not advancing religion at all.”

“It’s shameful for groups like the American Humanist Association to attack charity groups that provide impoverished children with help they wouldn’t otherwise receive,” said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We hope that our letter will help Robbinsdale Area Schools understand that they can continue to allow students to participate with Feed My Starving Children and other worthy humanitarian service programs for the benefit of the needy.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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ADF: Atheists’ lawsuit against national motto should be thrown out

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on January 28, 2014

In God we trustNEW YORK — Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Thursday in support of the use of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on U.S. coins and currency. Last February, a group of atheists filed a lawsuit against the federal government that claims the use of the national motto on money is unconstitutional even though it is a practice that has deep roots in American history and federal courts have repeatedly upheld it as constitutional.

The Alliance Defending Freedom brief explains that merely being offended is not a sufficient legal cause (known as “standing”) on which to file a lawsuit attacking the national motto.

“Americans shouldn’t be forced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s political agenda,” said Litigation Counsel Rory Gray. “Courts have repeatedly ruled that the national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ is constitutional and can be used on U.S. currency, and that is the correct conclusion. In addition to the fact that numerous courts have already rejected the lawsuit’s claims, those bringing this suit can’t do so simply because they are offended by a historical phrase.”

As the Alliance Defending Freedom brief filed in Newdow v. United States of America explains, the government’s expenditure of tax dollars to create coins and currency is “a secular government function” that does not further any religious ends. The brief also notes that “ideological frustration” or “subjective feelings of offense and alienation” are not legitimate reasons to file a lawsuit. “Federal courts are not forums for the ventilation of public grievances,” the brief says.

“The emotional response of offended atheists does not amount to a violation of the Establishment Clause,” added Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “This lawsuit is based on a deep misunderstanding of the First Amendment. It should be dismissed.”
Joseph Ruta, one of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, is local counsel for ADF.

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37 Muslim Nations Persecuting Christians

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on January 12, 2014

persecutionThe number of Christian martyrs was twice as high in 2013 as the year before, and radical Islamist governments and groups are responsible for the vast majority of deaths and persecution around the world, according to the 2014 World Watch List.

As WND reported, Open Doors USA, which assists the persecuted church around the world, compiled the World Watch list and reports 2,123 Christians were killed for their faith last year, compared to 1,201 in 2012. In fact, the killings in Syria alone (1,213) trumped the total from a year earlier.

“The target of violence is mainly taking place mainly from rebel groups who are Islamic extremists, so these are jihadists practicing extreme Islam and are targeting Christian areas,” said Emily Fuentes, communications director at Open Doors USA. “Many of these Christians have had to flee, and these towns have essentially become ghost towns because they’ve cleared Christians out. In October of last year, there was a massacre in one of these towns where more than 45 people died and hundreds were injured just because it was a Christian-dominated town.

“Syria is experiencing a whole new level of persecution and violence of Christians,” said Fuentes, noting that Syria is now the third worst persecutor of Christians, skyrocketing from the 36th spot it held just two years ago.

While Syria is the most deadly spot on earth for Christians, Fuentes said it fits a pattern in the Islamic world. She noted, of the 50 worst nations for persecution, 37 of them are Muslim. Fuentes said another disturbing twist is the melding of radical Islam with communist and other totalitarian ideologies.

“Some of (Christians in persecuted nations) experience different forms of persecution or combined forms of persecution. An example would be some of the central Asian countries, like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and all those. You might still see persecution that comes from the the former days of the USSR, a little bit of lingering communism, where the government is sending officials to monitor churches and monitor any Christian activities and secretly spying on Christians and using governmental tactics,” Fuentes said.

“But you’re also seeing extreme Islam blended into that. So not only are they worried about the government, but they’re worried about sections of the government that are Islamic extremists or groups that are Islamic extremists coming in to attack them,” she said.

Nine of the worst 10 nations for Christians are Islamic. In addition to Syria in third slot, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen are among the worst of the worst.

But for 12 years running now, the communist North Korean regime is at the top of the list, and Fuentes said things there are only getting worse there.

“It is the most hostile place to be a Christian. It is an act punishable by death in North Korea to be a Christian, either by execution sometimes on the spot or execution very soon after finding out about your faith,” said Fuentes, who explained that those who are not killed are sent to Nazi-like concentration camps. She also said the pain inflicted by the regime goes far beyond the Christians themselves.

“The moral dilemma that North Korean Christians have that’s unlike any other place in the world is that if their faith is discovered, not only them but up to three generations of their family could be forced to go to these labor camps. So that’s their parents, their children, their grandchildren, all because of their faith in Christ,” she said.

The biggest movers on this year’s list were the Central African Republic, leaping to 16th after not even being on the list last year, and Mali, which dropped from seventh in 2012 to 33rd this year. Fuentes said although it is a majority Christian nation, Islamic groups have infiltrated the cities and have been targeting Christians for death. She said 13 pastors have been slain there in just the past couple of months.

Mali is the opposite story. International military action rooted many radical Islamists from that nation and greater religious freedom has emerged, although Fuentes hastens to add that any nation on the list is a nightmare for believers.

Fuentes said the annual World Watch List is designed for multiple purposes, including the desire to attract more media attention to the surge of persecution around the world, alert public officials to address these problems and inform pastors and believers around the nation. However, she said all of those take a backseat to the No. 1 goal.

“The No. 1 thing that persecuted Christians ask for in every country is our prayers. It’s not Bibles. It’s not money. It’s prayers, and they know that prayer is the most powerful thing. It can change the hearts of leaders who may not be as drawn to sharing the message of persecuted Christians. It can even change the heart of dictators like Kim Jong-Un,” Fuentes said.

The following is the full list:

1) North Korea
2) Somalia
3) Syria
4) Iraq
5) Afghanistan
6) Saudi Arabia
7) Maldives
8) Pakistan
9) Iran
10) Yemen
11) Sudan
12) Eritrea
13) Libya
14) Nigeria
15) Uzbekistan
16) Central African Republic
17) Ethiopia
18) Vietnam
19) Qatar
20) Turkmenistan
21) Laos
22) Egypt
23) Myanmar (Burma)
24) Brunei
25) Colombia
26) Jordan
27) Oman
28) India
29) Sri Lanka
30) Tunisia
31) Bhutan
32) Algeria
33) Mali
34) Palestinian Territories
35) United Arab Emirates
36) Mauritania
37) China
38) Kuwait
39) Kazakhstan
40) Malaysia
41) Bahrain
42) Comoros
43) Kenya
44) Morocco
45) Tajikistan
46) Djibouti
47) Indonesia
48) Bangladesh
49) Tanzania
50) Niger
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/37-muslim-nations-persecuting-christians/#UoW1f248ls5re7r4.99

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Faith Issues in Our Times, Religious Freedom | Leave a Comment »

Police Arrest US Street Preacher in Scotland for Calling Homosexuality a Sin

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on January 11, 2014

tony-mianoAmerican street preacher Tony Miano was arrested earlier this year in July. Christian Concern, a British legal group, helped Miano avoid paying a fine and receiving a ‘Caution’ after he was detained.

Scottish police arrested Tony Milano, a U.S. preacher and former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, for breach of the peace and for using “homophobic” language in the condemnation of sin.

“It is indicative of the suppression of the freedom to speak and live out the words of Jesus Christ in public and present the teachings of the Bible,” Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the British organization Christian Concern’s Christian Legal Centre, said about the arrest Wednesday night.

Milano’s colleague, Pastor Josh Williamson of the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, pointed out, “Tony wasn’t focusing just on homosexual practice – it was about all sin.”

Milano, the second street preacher to address lunchtime shoppers on Wednesday, was preaching about sin in general. He then turned to mention sexual sin, including adultery, promiscuity, and homosexuality.

As Milano started preaching about sin, a woman reportedly yelled at him, shouting that her son was gay. Williamson said she tried to smash the camera he was using to film Milano’s preaching. The woman threatened she would get the preachers arrested, and proceeded to call the police.

The police arrived as the street preachers were packing up, and the woman kept shouting at Milano. “The female officer saw we had a camera and lunged for it,” Williamson recalled. “Then the male policeman grabbed it and threw it in the police van.”

According to Williamson, the male officer interviewed the woman and her friend, and then immediately arrested Milano, without questioning him or explaining the reason for his arrest. “I asked why he was being arrested and was told it was for a breach of the peace and for using homophobic language,” Williamson reported.

Williams noted that the incident “adds to the number of arrests of Christian street evangelists for preaching from the Bible,” and warned that it was a sign of the suppression of religious freedom.

Milano was arrested for a similar “crime” in London last July. “The officers that detained me specifically said the concern was the use of ‘homophobic hate speech,’” the retired deputy sheriff told Christian radio talk show host Frank Sontag during a segment on KKLA. Christian Concern helped him avoid paying a fine and receive a “caution” after he was detained.

“I was expositing 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, where the apostle Paul admonishes the Thessalonians to abstain from all forms of sexual immorality,” the street preacher explained. “I began to preach from that text by describing different kinds of sexual immorality, from addiction to romance novels to pornography, fornication, sex outside of marriage, lust of the heart, lust of the mind, lust of the eyes and homosexuality.”

While spending seven hours in jail, he said police interrogated him about his faith in Jesus Christ. “I was asked if I believe homosexuality is a sin,” Milano recounted. “I was asked what portion of the Bible I was reading. I was asked that if a homosexual was hungry and walked up to me, would I give them something to eat.”

Milano explained he began street evangelism eight years ago when he realized “that I love myself more than I love lost people.” He admitted that “I was more concerned about me than where they would spend eternity – I was more concerned about what they thought of me instead of what they think of Christ.”

“There’s nothing more loving we will do for another human being than explain to them that God’s wrath abides upon them and that same God that will send them to hell is also the only that can save them from self through faith in Jesus Christ,” Milano declared.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/news/police-arrest-us-street-preacher-in-scotland-for-calling-homosexuality-a-sin-112366/

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Faith Issues in Our Times, Hot Legal News, Religious Freedom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christian Woman Sentenced to Hang for Blasphemy Writes Pope: ‘Only God Will be Able to Free Me’

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on January 6, 2014

aaa1_456(CNSNews.com) – Asia Bibi, a Catholic Pakistani mother of five who was sentenced to death by hanging in 2010 for blasphemy, wrote a letter to Pope Francis sending Christmas greetings and adding that, even though in a Pakistan prison, she also “celebrated the birth of the Lord.” Bibi has been in prison in Multan, Pakistan for four-and-a-half years and currently is waiting for the conclusion of her appeals to the court.

“To His Holiness Pope Francis: in the name of our almighty and glorious Lord, I, Asia Bibi, would like to express my deepest gratitude to God and to you, Holy Father,” the imprisoned mother wrote in her letter, which was published in the Italian newspaper Tempi on Dec. 31.

“I hope that every Christian has been able to celebrate the Christmas just past with joy,” Bibi wrote. “Like many other prisoners, I also celebrated the birth of the Lord in prison in Multan, here in Pakistan.”

She continued, “I am very grateful to all the churches that are praying for me and fighting for my freedom. I do not know how long I can go on and on. If I am still alive, it is thanks to the strength that your prayers give me. I have met many people who speak and fight for me. Unfortunately, still to no avail. At this time I just want to trust the mercy of God, who can do everything, that all is possible. Only God will be able to free me.”

The mother of five thanked the “Renaissance Education Foundation” for bringing her husband and children to her prison in Multan so that she could see them at Christmas, calling it a “dream come true.”

“I would have liked to be in St. Peter’s for Christmas to pray with you,” she wrote to the Pope, “but I trust in God’s plan for me and hopefully it will be achieved next year.”

Regarding her prison conditions, Bibi wrote, “I am facing many problems this winter: my cell has no heating and no door for shelter from the bitter cold, the security measures are not adequate, and I do not have enough money for daily needs and am very far from Lahore so my family cannot help me.”

“Holy Father, I want finally for you to accept my best wishes for the New Year. I know you pray for me with all your heart. And this gives me confidence that one day my freedom will be possible,” she wrote.

Asia Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after an incident where she drank from a cup at a well. Bibi’s Muslim co-workers claimed that her use of the well made it “unclean” because she was a Christian. An argument ensued, and witnesses testified at her trial that she insulted the Prophet Mohammed.

A few days later a mob came to her house and beat her and her family, and she was then arrested by the police under Section 295 C of Pakistan’s Penal Code (the “anti-blasphemy” law), as reported by CNN.

In November 2010, Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy. She has remained in prison since then, enduring a lengthy appeals process.

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, during a May 20, 2013 press conference said: “In terms of Pakistan, there’s a new government, there’s a new leadership, and I think it remains to be seen how people handle it. As to the question previously, blasphemy is very important to us, and there are many who are being held in prisons still – Asia Bibi and others – about 20 others who are in prison because of their belief. So we have to see what this new government will do. We certainly encourage him and will urge him to again hold accountable the perpetrators of violence and to make sure that there’s protection of religious minorities. And so that’s going to be very important. Human rights is a very high priority for this Administration.”

See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/christian-woman-sentenced-hang-blasphemy-writes-pope-only-god-will-be#sthash.A7YdQ0oa.dpuf

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Religious Freedom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

VA hospitals nix Christmas to ‘protect’ veterans

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on January 4, 2014

istock_000021585363smallThe ongoing attack on religious expression at Christmas spilled into three Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in Georgia, Texas, and Iowa last month. The hospitals claimed the VA’s handbook required them to censor Christianity out of Christmas in order to protect veterans.

Students from Alleluia Community School in Augusta, Ga., headed to Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in late December to sing Christmas carols for hospitalized veterans, just as they had done the previous two years. But when they arrived, a hospital representative handed them a list of 12 secular Christmas songs it had “deemed appropriate for celebration within the hearing range of all Veterans,” the Athens-Banner Herald reported. Hospital spokesman Brian Rothwell said the choir was offered the option sing its religious Christmas songs in a private chapel, so veterans of other faiths wouldn’t be offended. The disappointed group left without singing.

“Our nation’s veterans have time and again faced and defeated dangerous threats to the liberties we cherish as American citizens—children singing Christmas carols is not among them,” Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said in a statement. “By banning these Christmas carols, the VA is trampling the very religious freedoms our veterans have sacrificed so much to defend.” ADF sent the hospital a letter explaining it is unconstitutional to exclude religious carols from a public facility.

In Iowa City, Iowa, the VA hospital told American Legion representatives they could not pass out Christmas presents if the wrapping paper said “Merry Christmas” or had other religious references. In the end, the group “filtered” presents with religious wrapping through the VA chaplain.

An official at the VA hospital in Dallas refused to accept handmade Christmas cards from 52 school children hoping to encourage injured vets and thank them for their service. The reason for the ban: The cards had religious references like “Merry Christmas” and “God bless you,” and some had scriptural references.

Susan Chapman, the teacher in charge of the card giveaway, hired the Liberty Institute to look into “unlawful viewpoint discrimination.” Jeff Milligan, director of the VA North Texas Health Care System, responded by releasing a statement apologizing for the misinformation and affirming VA hospitals do indeed accept religious Christmas cards. “Our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis if they will accept a holiday card with religious references,” Milligan said.

The Christmas conflict raised the ire of several veterans’ groups.

“First of all, VA’s decision to prohibit the delivery of Christmas cards that mention Christmas is ludicrous,” said American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger on the group’s website. “Second of all, VA has been down this road before, and recently. VA has been warned through a federal court decree to stop denying freedom of religious expression at its facilities.”

In 2011, a federal court banned the VA from religious discrimination, ordering it “not to ban religious speech or words, such as ‘God’ and ‘Jesus,’ in condolence cards or similar documents” given by non-VA volunteers. It also ordered the VA “not to ban, regulate, or otherwise interfere with the giving of gifts, including gifts that contain a religious message or viewpoint.”

Courtesy of http://www.worldmag.com/2014/01/va_hospitals_nix_christmas_to_protect_veterans

Posted in Attack on Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Teacher Tells Ten Year Old She Cannot Write About God

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on November 10, 2013

erin-shead-assignment-about-god-e1380448417413
Yet another American public school has tried to silence the voice of Christian students.

A ten year old elementary school student was told that her essay about God would not be accepted for her writing assignment and that the paper could not remain on school property.

Erica Shead, the mother of 10-year old Erin Shead said her daughter, a student at Lucy Elementary School in Millington, Tennessee was a victim of the hostility and persecution of Christianity taking place in public schools all over the country.

According to reports:

Erin Shead, a student at Lucy Elementary in Millington, Tenn., was told by her teacher to write about an idol she looked up to as part of a class assignment. The young student decided to write about God. She drew a diagram explaining why she “looked up to God,” one of the reasons being, “He is the reason I am on this earth.” “I love [God] and Jesus, and Jesus is His earthly son. I also love Jesus,” the 10-year-old continued. “God is my idol, I will never hate him. He will always be the number one person I look up to,” the young girl added.

When Erin’s teacher received her written assignment, she told the young girl that she was prohibited from picking God as her idol, and demanded that she start the class assignment all over again and choose a new idol. She was also told that her assignment with God as her idol must be taken home and was not allowed to remain on school property.

After having the first essay rejected, Erin then opted to make her essay about Michael Jackson, which the teacher approved. Her mother, upon finding out about this incident, took issue with the school. She went to her local TV news station to expose the anti-Christian discrimination. The station aired her story (the video is below).

“How can you tell this baby, that’s a Christian, what she can say and what she can’t say?” Erica Shead asked of the teacher’s actions. She met with the school principal Dr. Detris Cane about the incident but received no formal response on the school’s policy. Since then, the school district issued a statement to WREG –TV explaining that the actions of the teacher were not in line with school policy and that students are permitted to mention God in their school work.

Beginning and End has chronicled numerous incidents of anti-Christian discrimination in the American school system. A first grade student was forced to remove a reference to God she was reading to honor her deceased grandfather on Veteran’s Day. At a public college, a professor made students do a project requiring them to write the name of Jesus Christ on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and then stomp on it. And these are just two examples of the anti-Christian bias taking place in schools and colleges today.

Christian persecution in the United States | Double standard against Christians.
5-Pillars-of-Islam-Elementary-School-e1380448936422

The teachers at an elementary school in Kansas put up an image of the 5 pillars of Islam.

And as we have also chronicled, the bias is decidedly against Christians as public schools have accommodated Muslim students with all sorts of exceptions for their religion including foot baths, prayer rooms, a special prom just for Muslim girls and even changing sports practice times to midnight for the feast of Ramadan. Most recently an elementary school in Kansas made headlines for a huge display of the five pillars of Islam. In all these instances, it was the school itself promoting and accommodating a religion, not an individual student exercising their free speech rights. Yet in Erin Shead’s case, the mere mention of God in an essay was enough to be deemed inappropriate for school because of “separation of church and state.”

Prophesied Persecution

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3:12.

Jesus Christ prophesied that the Christians would suffer discrimination, bias and many forms of persecution all throughout the Church Age. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the name of Jesus are “ a stumbling block of offense” to those who have rejected The Lord. Pray for believers like Erica Shead and her daughter Erin to continue to contend for the faith and take schools to task who would violate basic rights of free speech and freedom in order to stop the name of God from even being mentioned.

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. – Luke 6:21-23.

UPDATE: The Liberty Institute, a legal advocacy group that fights to protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of Christians, contacted the school on Erin’s behalf to explain to the school the legal error they were in barring Erin from writing about God.

“Of course students can talk and write about God in school,” said Liberty Attorney Jeremy Dys. “Young teachers, like Erin’s, have been barraged with so much false information for so long that they are afraid that a 10-year-old student’s coloring assignment might violate the First Amendment. That kind of intimidation by the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation is wrong and is precisely what Liberty Institute was founded to combat.”

After discussions with Liberty Institute attorneys, Shelby County Schools reversed the decision of their teacher and allowed Erin to turn in her original assignment about God. And, she earned an “A!”

Erin’s mother told reporters that she simply “wanted Erin’s right to be able to express herself not to ever be taken away again.”

“I just wanted every Christian to know that we have a right to be able to express ourselves,” she told the news reporter. “We understand that they’ve taken prayer out of schools, but they cannot take God out of our children.”

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Faith Issues in Our Times, Religious Freedom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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