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What we learned when Joy Behar called ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner ‘he’ - Micheal Brown picture
What we learned when Joy Behar called ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner ‘he’ - Micheal Brown

Megachurch pastor who confessed to sin of pride resigns picture
Megachurch pastor who confessed to sin of pride resigns

Top Muslim political leader arrested for allegedly aiding 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings picture
Top Muslim political leader arrested for allegedly aiding 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings

Church reveals fired worship director solicited nude photos from teenager picture
Church reveals fired worship director solicited nude photos from teenager

Church Forced to Cancel Event with Conservative Activist Charlie Kirk after Receiving Threats of Violence picture
Church Forced to Cancel Event with Conservative Activist Charlie Kirk after Receiving Threats of Violence

India suffers 'meltdown' as COVID deaths surge; Christian group calls for prayer picture
India suffers 'meltdown' as COVID deaths surge; Christian group calls for prayer

WWE Wrestler 'The Undertaker' Talks About His Spiritual Journey and 'Living Life for God' picture
WWE Wrestler 'The Undertaker' Talks About His Spiritual Journey and 'Living Life for God'

Churches Are Essential and 'Necessary for the Health' of the Public, New Law Says picture
Churches Are Essential and 'Necessary for the Health' of the Public, New Law Says

What you can do to help a stressed out generation - Jason Jimenez picture
What you can do to help a stressed out generation - Jason Jimenez

Christian University Faculty Revolt After Board Affirms Biblical Sexuality picture
Christian University Faculty Revolt After Board Affirms Biblical Sexuality

Strangers Help Homeless Man Get Back On His Feet picture
Strangers Help Homeless Man Get Back On His Feet

Conservatives plan for a new church after United Methodism splits over homosexuality debate picture
Conservatives plan for a new church after United Methodism splits over homosexuality debate

Overcoming an anxious mind - Skip Heitzig picture
Overcoming an anxious mind - Skip Heitzig

Biden admin. appeals ruling protecting religious hospitals from transgender surgery mandate picture
Biden admin. appeals ruling protecting religious hospitals from transgender surgery mandate

Christian university faculty issues vote of no confidence after board upholds biblical hiring policy picture
Christian university faculty issues vote of no confidence after board upholds biblical hiring policy

Georgia Church Elders Under Fire for Expelling Divorced Woman Who Came Out as Lesbian picture
Georgia Church Elders Under Fire for Expelling Divorced Woman Who Came Out as Lesbian

Christian leaders form new site to 'stop corporate tyranny' picture
Christian leaders form new site to 'stop corporate tyranny'

Christian Businessman Is Executed by ISIS in Egypt picture
Christian Businessman Is Executed by ISIS in Egypt

China's closure of Catholic orphanages for disabled children betrays hope of Vatican Agreement: Priest picture
China's closure of Catholic orphanages for disabled children betrays hope of Vatican Agreement: Priest

COVID-19 Vaccine Is Not the Mark of the Beast, Greg Laurie Says: 'There Can't Be a Mark without an Antichrist' picture
COVID-19 Vaccine Is Not the Mark of the Beast, Greg Laurie Says: 'There Can't Be a Mark without an Antichrist'

Pastor 'deeply sorry' for sermon telling women to keep slim, be sexually available in marriage picture
Pastor 'deeply sorry' for sermon telling women to keep slim, be sexually available in marriage

35 Christians Arrested for Their Faith After Soldiers Raid Prayer Meetings in Eritrea picture
35 Christians Arrested for Their Faith After Soldiers Raid Prayer Meetings in Eritrea

Oldest American Supercentenarian Passes Into Eternity - Her Secret to Longevity? 'Living for the Lord' picture
Oldest American Supercentenarian Passes Into Eternity - Her Secret to Longevity? 'Living for the Lord'

Progressive Christian leaders call for abolishing Senate filibuster blocking Biden's agenda picture
Progressive Christian leaders call for abolishing Senate filibuster blocking Biden's agenda

5K attend first indoor services at Rock Church in over 1 year; pastor says it feels like 'Christmas' picture
5K attend first indoor services at Rock Church in over 1 year; pastor says it feels like 'Christmas'

Planned Parenthood condemns founder's tie to white supremacy; pro-lifers call it 'fake reckoning' picture
Planned Parenthood condemns founder's tie to white supremacy; pro-lifers call it 'fake reckoning'

Catholic priests group backs bill requiring Christian adoption agencies to place kids with LGBT adults picture
Catholic priests group backs bill requiring Christian adoption agencies to place kids with LGBT adults

Revival Breaks Out at Nashville-Area Church with 1,000 Baptisms: It's Solely a 'Movement of God' picture
Revival Breaks Out at Nashville-Area Church with 1,000 Baptisms: It's Solely a 'Movement of God'

Sexual abstinence and 'purity culture' are often conflated but aren't the same, Tim Keller explains picture
Sexual abstinence and 'purity culture' are often conflated but aren't the same, Tim Keller explains

Iran releases Christian convert imprisoned for ‘membership in evangelistic group’ picture
Iran releases Christian convert imprisoned for ‘membership in evangelistic group’

Prince Philip’s funeral in hallowed St. George’s Chapel was thoroughly Christian picture
Prince Philip’s funeral in hallowed St. George’s Chapel was thoroughly Christian

Lebanon, a haven for Christianity, on the brink of collapse if world fails to act, experts warn picture
Lebanon, a haven for Christianity, on the brink of collapse if world fails to act, experts warn

78 Percent of Practicing Christians Say They Usually Feel Inspired after Worshipping God: Survey picture
78 Percent of Practicing Christians Say They Usually Feel Inspired after Worshipping God: Survey

Pastor who predicted end to Trump's presidency says God’s going to 'reimburse' black Americans picture
Pastor who predicted end to Trump's presidency says God’s going to 'reimburse' black Americans

Canadian Pastor Could Face 1 Year in Jail for Leading Easter Worship Service picture
Canadian Pastor Could Face 1 Year in Jail for Leading Easter Worship Service

California pastor slams America's 'lukewarm Church': 'Race, sexuality became idols' picture
California pastor slams America's 'lukewarm Church': 'Race, sexuality became idols'

Violence and the kingdom quest - Wallace B. Henley picture
Violence and the kingdom quest - Wallace B. Henley

Canadian Pastor Holds Service in Undisclosed Location after Officials Barricade Church picture
Canadian Pastor Holds Service in Undisclosed Location after Officials Barricade Church

Megachurch leader who allegedly made sex videos with minors to face trial in September picture
Megachurch leader who allegedly made sex videos with minors to face trial in September

Brazil Town Is Building a Massive Statue of Jesus That's Bigger Than Rio's picture
Brazil Town Is Building a Massive Statue of Jesus That's Bigger Than Rio's

Mother of Seven Wounded, Loses Family for Becoming Christian picture
Mother of Seven Wounded, Loses Family for Becoming Christian

Christian Schools Fight Back, Say LGBT Suit Would Strip Students of 'Much-Needed Financial Aid' picture
Christian Schools Fight Back, Say LGBT Suit Would Strip Students of 'Much-Needed Financial Aid'

Bad news in Supreme Court’s ruling on behalf of religious liberty - Michael Brown picture
Bad news in Supreme Court’s ruling on behalf of religious liberty - Michael Brown

Representative Dan Crenshaw Requests Prayers following Emergency Eye Surgery picture
Representative Dan Crenshaw Requests Prayers following Emergency Eye Surgery

'Victory': Supreme Court Blocks California Restrictions on At-Home Bible Studies picture
'Victory': Supreme Court Blocks California Restrictions on At-Home Bible Studies

Remembering Rapper DMX and His Pandemic Bible Study, Asking Followers to Receive Jesus picture
Remembering Rapper DMX and His Pandemic Bible Study, Asking Followers to Receive Jesus

5 ways to make an aging congregation younger - Thom S. Rainer picture
5 ways to make an aging congregation younger - Thom S. Rainer

Why can’t a parent marry their adult child? - Michael Brown picture
Why can’t a parent marry their adult child? - Michael Brown

Don’t define the finish line - Jimmy Page picture
Don’t define the finish line - Jimmy Page

Will you pay the price for a national awakening? - Shane Idleman picture
Will you pay the price for a national awakening? - Shane Idleman

40 Percent of Evangelicals Rarely or Never Go to Church: Study picture
40 Percent of Evangelicals Rarely or Never Go to Church: Study

'I Was an Ambassador for Satan': How God Used Alice Cooper to Deliver This High Priestess of White Witchcraft

8 Christians kidnapped from Nigerian church bus released: 'Glory be to Jesus' picture
8 Christians kidnapped from Nigerian church bus released: 'Glory be to Jesus'

2 Pakistani Christian nurses charged with blasphemy, could face life in prison
2 Pakistani Christian nurses charged with blasphemy, could face life in prison

Pastor jailed in Laos for over 1 year released, convicted of 'disrupting unity' picture
Pastor jailed in Laos for over 1 year released, convicted of 'disrupting unity'

China Forcing Detained Christians to Undergo 'Basement Brainwashing Sessions' picture
China Forcing Detained Christians to Undergo 'Basement Brainwashing Sessions'

Contributors defend devotional book asking God for help to 'hate white people' picture
Contributors defend devotional book asking God for help to 'hate white people'

The Sabbath – A gift from God - Jerry Newcombe picture
The Sabbath – A gift from God - Jerry Newcombe

Women, your silence and submission are not your virtues - Meghan Schanz picture
Women, your silence and submission are not your virtues - Meghan Schanz

Canadian church shut down, fenced off for not complying with COVID-19 lockdown orders picture
Canadian church shut down, fenced off for not complying with COVID-19 lockdown orders

Prince Philip ‘persuaded’ Queen Elizabeth to talk about her Christian faith in public broadcasts picture
Prince Philip ‘persuaded’ Queen Elizabeth to talk about her Christian faith in public broadcasts

Supreme Court orders California to lift restrictions on at-home worship gatherings picture
Supreme Court orders California to lift restrictions on at-home worship gatherings

An open letter to the depressed Christian picture
An open letter to the depressed Christian

Catholic Politicians Who Support Abortion Should Be Excommunicated, Cardinal Says picture
Catholic Politicians Who Support Abortion Should Be Excommunicated, Cardinal Says

Alabama allows voters to opt out of ‘So Help Me God’ oath on voter registration form picture
Alabama allows voters to opt out of ‘So Help Me God’ oath on voter registration form

SBC officer criticizes pastor for praising wife’s preaching picture
SBC officer criticizes pastor for praising wife’s preaching

Former Desiring God writer Paul Maxwell announces he's no longer Christian picture
Former Desiring God writer Paul Maxwell announces he's no longer Christian

Ex porn star turned Christian says pure thought life essential to combating lust picture
Ex porn star turned Christian says pure thought life essential to combating lust

DMX dies from heart attack at 50; rapper remembered as a ‘warrior’ picture
DMX dies from heart attack at 50; rapper remembered as a ‘warrior’

After guiding students through Falwell sex scandal, Liberty U campus pastor resigns picture
After guiding students through Falwell sex scandal, Liberty U campus pastor resigns

How a former street kid who lived a ‘miserable’ life overcame it all — and is delivering true hope to at-risk kids picture
How a former street kid who lived a ‘miserable’ life overcame it all — and is delivering true hope to at-risk kids

ORU coach and seminary grad Paul Mills sees the basketball court as his mission field picture
ORU coach and seminary grad Paul Mills sees the basketball court as his mission field

Justin Bieber Shares Gospel, Condemns Cancel Culture in New Song 'Afraid to Say' picture
Justin Bieber Shares Gospel, Condemns Cancel Culture in New Song 'Afraid to Say'

In ‘Billy Graham: The Man I Knew,’ Greg Laurie paints a human portrait of famed evangelist picture
In ‘Billy Graham: The Man I Knew,’ Greg Laurie paints a human portrait of famed evangelist

Why compromising with the Equality Act falls short - John Stonestreet and Timothy D Padgett picture
Why compromising with the Equality Act falls short - John Stonestreet and Timothy D Padgett

A challenge to keep on praying for non-believing loved ones - Chuck Lawless picture
A challenge to keep on praying for non-believing loved ones - Chuck Lawless

Christians across the Country Are Leaving the SBC for Other Denominations picture
Christians across the Country Are Leaving the SBC for Other Denominations

Pennsylvania 'church' founder sentenced to 12 years in prison for labor trafficking, fraud picture
Pennsylvania 'church' founder sentenced to 12 years in prison for labor trafficking, fraud

Canadian pastor says attacks on church services bring back memories of communism picture
Canadian pastor says attacks on church services bring back memories of communism

Christian wedding photographer sues New York over LGBT anti-discrimination law picture
Christian wedding photographer sues New York over LGBT anti-discrimination law

Psaki dodges question about Equality Act's implications for Catholics: 'Difference of opinion'

40 Percent of White Evangelical Protestants Say They Will Likely Not Get Vaccinated

UK LP leader apologizes for visiting church that adheres to Christian doctrine on sex after LGBT backlash

Trump cheered by evangelical church attendees during Easter service in Florida

Why the Church must fight anti-Semitism in all of its forms picture
Why the Church must fight anti-Semitism in all of its forms

What it takes to come back to God - Kelly Williams picture
What it takes to come back to God - Kelly Williams

God shed His grace on us, now we need His mercy - Allen Jackson picture
God shed His grace on us, now we need His mercy - Allen Jackson

Who will form our children’s worldview? - Wallace B. Henley

Why $15 minimum wage is bad policy, has no biblical support - Nathan Cherry

How she fought back after assault by Hillsong Church administrator picture
How she fought back after assault by Hillsong Church administrator

Hundreds attend prayer vigil after rapper DMX goes on life support; celebrities offer prayers picture
Hundreds attend prayer vigil after rapper DMX goes on life support; celebrities offer prayers

Michigan university can't punish Christian club for requiring leaders be Christian, Judge rules picture
Michigan university can't punish Christian club for requiring leaders be Christian, Judge rules

What does the Bible say about money, death and taxes? - Jim Denison picture
What does the Bible say about money, death and taxes? - Jim Denison

Franklin Graham Wins U.K. Discrimination Suit against Town That Banned Bus Ads picture
Franklin Graham Wins U.K. Discrimination Suit against Town That Banned Bus Ads

Prison Fellowship ranked 6th-best nonprofit to work for in US by business newspaper picture
Prison Fellowship ranked 6th-best nonprofit to work for in US by business newspaper

Pastor tells congregants ‘take them stupid masks off’ during Easter service picture
Pastor tells congregants ‘take them stupid masks off’ during Easter service

Chinese Christians tortured in 'brainwashing' camps: 'Death starts to look better' picture
Chinese Christians tortured in 'brainwashing' camps: 'Death starts to look better'

US Senator, Revd Warnock, deletes tweet claiming people can save themselves, Easter transcends Jesus' resurrection picture
US Senator, Revd Warnock, deletes tweet claiming people can save themselves, Easter transcends Jesus' resurrection

'Get Out! You Nazis!': Pastor Kicks Canadian Mask-Enforcing Officials out of His Church during Passover Service picture
'Get Out! You Nazis!': Pastor Kicks Canadian Mask-Enforcing Officials out of His Church during Passover Service

Ex-Atheist Breaks Down 4 Reasons Why Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are Absolute FACT picture
Ex-Atheist Breaks Down 4 Reasons Why Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are Absolute FACT

Four Theories that Try to Explain Away Christ's Resurrection – and Why They Don't Add Up

Church accuses London police of ‘brutally exceeding their powers’ after shutting down service picture
Church accuses London police of ‘brutally exceeding their powers’ after shutting down service

Christians in Indian village beaten, forced to reconvert to tribal religions picture
Christians in Indian village beaten, forced to reconvert to tribal religions

No matter how you slice it, the resurrection of Jesus is a miracle - Robin Schumacher picture
No matter how you slice it, the resurrection of Jesus is a miracle - Robin Schumacher

Greatest mistake of the devil: Crucifying Jesus - Oscar Amaechina picture
Greatest mistake of the devil: Crucifying Jesus - Oscar Amaechina

How death of 20th century rabbi helps case of resurrection of Jesus - Micheal Brown picture
How death of 20th century rabbi helps case of resurrection of Jesus - Micheal Brown

Remains of kidnapped evangelical missionary recovered in Mali picture
Remains of kidnapped evangelical missionary recovered in Mali

Priest calls cops on maskless pregnant mom holding baby at mass; police threaten arrest

Bishop Who Refused to Permit Same-Sex Marriage Blessings Leaves U.S. Episcopal Church

'I feel bad that I was born Jewish.' – Jesus

Texas college students harassed for hosting Bible verse Easter egg hunt on campus picture
Texas college students harassed for hosting Bible verse Easter egg hunt on campus

Evangelical CEO Dave Ramsey’s company fired employees who had premarital sex picture
Evangelical CEO Dave Ramsey’s company fired employees who had premarital sex

Bible Would Be Tennessee's 'Official State Book' under Resolution Passed by House picture
Bible Would Be Tennessee's 'Official State Book' under Resolution Passed by House

55 Percent of Republican Catholics Say Biden Should Be Denied Communion

Colorado town refuses to take down veterans' memorial after groups complain about its Christian message

Fewer than 50% of Americans have formal church membership for first time in 80 years

LGBT Students Ask Court to Overturn the Government's 'Religious Exemption' for Christian Schools

Catholic Bishop known for LGBT advocacy comes out in support of the Equality Act

Woman Sentenced to Prison for Threatening to Bomb Catholic School over Support for Same-Sex Weddings

University of Rhode Island professor under fire for criticizing trans movement picture
University of Rhode Island professor under fire for criticizing trans movement

Arkansas Governor Signs Law Protecting Religious Rights of Physicians, Healthcare Organizations

8 Nigerian Christians abducted from church bus: 'Best we can do is pray'

Nike files copyright lawsuit over ‘Satan shoes’ collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X

Governor Kristi Neom Blasts Lil Nas X's 'Satan Shoes': 'We Are in a Fight for the Soul of Our Nation'

Supreme Court to hear Kentucky abortion case as Republican attorney general looks to intervene

Court docs show slain pastor’s widow slept with alleged killer while he was on mission trip

Supreme Court rejects appeal from church threatened with closure by Chicago gov't

Court sides with Christian prof. who refused to call trans student by preferred pronoun

Palm Sunday suicide bombing injures worshipers at Indonesian cathedral

Chinese authorities seize church property days after raiding house church

Have we separated finances from faith? - Dan Celia

Palm Sunday and the Gospel? - Kelly Williams

The bigoted call to ban ORU from the NCAA - Dr. Michael Brown

Britney Spears Is Not a Thing (She's a Person)

Are you a fool according to the Bible?

Islamist Terrorists Threaten to Execute Pastor in Nigeria

Temmy's daily devotionals online main picture
By Temmy
Sun, February 28, 2021 10:58pm
Updated
Happy new month of March to you all

 

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By Temmy
Sun, February 28, 2021 11:11pm
Updated
The Equality Act: What to Know and What to Do



Late last week, Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced the Equality Act, a grave threat to religious liberty and conscience rights that would, in effect, erase all legal distinctions between male and female in public life. The Equality Act would make gender identity and sexual orientation protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forcing compliance in areas such as public accommodation and education.

Until the GOP lost majority in the Senate, there wasn’t much of a chance of the Equality Act becoming law. The outcome of the Senate runoff races in Georgia made it much more practical for President Biden to keep his promise of signing the Equality Act into law. Of course, its fate in the Democrat-controlled House was never really in doubt.

To be clear, you should only care about the Equality Act if you are a Christian, or a person of faith, or a woman, or own a business, or run a non-profit, or go to school, or teach at a school, or are a medical or mental-health professional, or (especially) are a female athlete, or under the age of 18, or ever use a public restroom. That’s not an exaggeration. In fact, here is the exact wording from the Equality Act:

“An individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.”

This applies to…

“any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting or legal services,” along with any organization that receives any federal funding.

As Ryan Anderson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center described in an op ed this week:

“Medical doctors, secular and religious, whose ­expert judgment is that sex-reassignment procedures are misguided would now run afoul of our civil-rights laws. If you perform a mastectomy in the case of breast cancer, you will have to perform one on the teenage girl identifying as a boy. All in the name of equality.”

Shelters for battered women would be forced to admit biological males. Prisons would not be able to protect female inmates from predatory males who claim to be females. Biological males will be given the opportunities, scholarships, and championships of female athletes. It’s not clear that women’s sports would survive. More religious adoption and foster-care agencies would be forced to compromise their convictions about marriage and the family or shut down.

School bathrooms and locker rooms would be open to both sexes.

In addition to these effects, the Equality Act would bring with it three broad, sweeping changes. First, specific conscience protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which have long been legal priorities, would be circumvented in cases deemed discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Effectively, conscience rights considered religiously-based would be tossed aside.

Second, anyone who affirms the biological reality of the sexes would be, in law, relegated to the same status as the racists whose oppression of African Americans made the 1964 Civil Rights Act necessary.

Finally, The Equality Act would have a dramatic impact on education, public or private. According to a new coalition called “Promise to America’s Children,” a coalition I’m proud to be a part of, the Equality Act greases the skids for even more graphic curricula “about sex, abortion, and politicized ideas about sexual orientation and gender identity ideology ...” Not only that, but as federal legislation, this would affect every state, not just progressive ones, “overriding efforts by concerned parents and community members at the local level.”

It’s not over, however. The Equality Act still faces significant obstacles in the Senate. Here are three things you can do:



  • Contact your Representative and your Senators and let them know to oppose the Equality Act.

  • Share widely the resources and articles on the Equality Act found at BreakPoint.org.

  • Go to promisetoamericaschildren.org and sign the statement committing to prioritize children’s rights over adult happiness and share the resources found there with your pastor, church, and community.




https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/what-to-know-and-what-to-do-about-the-equality-act.html

 

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By Temmy
Sun, February 28, 2021 11:27pm
Islamist Terrorists Threaten to Execute Pastor in Nigeria



A pastor abducted from northeastern Nigeria by Islamic extremist militants reportedly says in a video that they will kill him on Wednesday (March 3) if their ransom demands are not met.

In the video sent to Nigerian online news outlet Human Angle, pastor Bulus Yikura of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) pleads for government and Christian leaders to secure his release. Human Angle reported today that the video came from the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram, which in 2015 formally aligned with the Islamic State and changed its name to Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

“I’m calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor of Borno to help me, because I have been given a one-week ultimatum today, Feb. 24,” Pastor Yikura reportedly says in the video. “If you want me alive, I beg you in your capacity as president, the governor and our local government chairman to save me from this suffering.”

Human Angle released a screenshot of the video showing his captor wielding a knife as he stands behind the kneeling Pastor Yikura and reported that the deadline to receive ransom money ends on Wednesday (March 3).

The news outlet reported the pastor’s name as Yakuru, but in a prior video obtained in January by Morning Star News, the EYN church leader pronounces his name as Yikura.

Area Christians said Pastor Yikura was captured on Dec. 24 in Pemi village, near Chibok in Borno state, by Islamic extremists they identified as members of Boko Haram. The Islamic State recognizes the ISWAP faction that broke away from Shekau in 2016 as its cell in the region, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and many Nigerians still refer to the Shekau-led faction of ISWAP by its original name, Boko Haram.

In the new video, Pastor Yikura also calls on the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the EYN president to secure his release. “Please pray for me,” he reportedly says. “Today is the last day I will have the opportunity to call on you in your capacity as my parents and relatives in the country. Anyone who has the intention should help and save me. Please release me from this pain.”

The Christmas Eve attacks on several villages near Chibok killed 11 people and destroyed homes.

The prior video obtained by Morning Star News on Jan. 31, which begins with the ISIS logo and identifies itself as from ISWAP, shows Pastor Yikura speaking in Hausa as he appeals to church and other Christian leaders, along with government officials, to secure his release from his captors, referring to the Shekau-led faction of ISWAP by its prior name of Boko Haram. He does not identify his church affiliation in the video, which is believed to have been forwarded to his family and then sent to Morning Star News by a concerned Christian in Borno state.

In the prior video, his captor in military camouflage asks him his name and occupation in the Hausa language. He then asks him, “What is your message to your brethren?”

“I’m calling on my brethren, my relatives, parents, my church, LCC [Local Church Council] Pemi 1, the DCC [District Church Council], and the GCC [General Church Council]; that is our headquarters,” Pastor Yikura says. “I’m calling on the office of the president of my church, officials of Chibok Local Government Council, the Borno state governor, and the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to please help get me released from captivity.

“With your help I believe I will be able to get out of here where I’m being held captive. Please help secure my release from Boko Haram captivity – whatever may be their demands, if it is not beyond your power, and I know their demands wouldn’t be beyond you. I know our God is powerful and His mighty presence is here; with your support I will definitely leave this place I’m being held because I know you can meet their demands.

“Whether it is Nigeria’s president, our governor, including the leadership of our Christian faith, it is not beyond your power to get me out of here.

“However, if this is the end of my life, then praise be to God. It is my prayer that God help us all. That’s all I have to say, and may you all heed to my plea.”

Boko Haram originated as a Salafi jihadist movement in northeast Nigeria in 2002 under the leadership of Mohammed Yusuf, according to USCIRF, evolving into a violent insurgency in 2009. Shekau assumed leadership after Yusuf’s death that year.

“Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram – sometimes referred to as Jama’at Ahl al-Sunna li-l-Da’wa wa al-Jihad, or JAS – gained notoriety as one of the deadliest and most gruesome jihadist insurgencies in the world,” a USCIRF fact sheet released this month notes. “The group’s abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 triggered an international outcry and an escalation of military efforts to neutralize the movement.”

Shekau continues to command a core force of roughly 2,500 fighters that controls territory in northeast Nigeria and parts of Niger state, according to USCIRF.

Boko Haram is commonly translated to mean “Western-education is forbidden,” but several scholars say this interpretation relies on “boko” being interpreted as a local corruption of the English word “book” and instead interpret “boko” as a Hausa word meaning inauthentic or fraudulent, according to USCIRF.

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to the WWL report. In the 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/islamist-terrorists-threaten-to-kill-pastor-in-nigeria.html

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By Temmy
Sun, February 28, 2021 11:37pm
Are you a fool according to the Bible?



As defined by the Scriptures, a fool is not someone who is uneducated or a person with a low IQ. Rather, a fool is someone who is deeply deficient spiritually and morally. As summed up in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Are you a fool according to the Bible? Am I? Let’s look at just a few of the characteristics of the fool as laid out in Proverbs.

1) “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).

The fool is always right in his (or her eyes), never willing to take correction, never willing to listen to sound advice, never willing to acknowledge error or wrong.

Perhaps we are not this extreme in our stubbornness, but is this our general tendency? Can people approach us easily, without fear? Do we receive correction with humility and even appreciation?

That’s why Proverbs 9:8 says, “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” So also Proverbs 17:10: “A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.”

Are you foolish or are you wise?

2) “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (Proverbs 12:16).

Fools lack self-control. They are easily annoyed, easily angered, easily provoked. In contrast, those who are prudent will overlook insult and shaming. Which attitude would your friends and family and co-workers say is more characteristic of you?

According to Proverbs, lack of self-control is one of the most common characteristics of a fool. “The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated” (Proverbs 14:16-17).

And, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (Proverbs 29:11).

Are you known as a hothead? Does everyone around you know immediately when you are annoyed? Do you find it hard to overlook an insult?

On a scale of 1-10, if 1 stood for “wise” and 10 stood for “foolish,” how would you score yourself? And how would those closest to you score you?

To quote one more relevant verse (among many), “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29.)

What are we displaying by our lives and our words?

3)“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly” (Proverbs 15:2).

Because a foolish person lacks humility and self-control, he or she is quick to speak, blurting out whatever comes to mind. As Proverbs 14:3 states, “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.”

In fact, throughout the Bible, few things are so characteristic of fools as this: They have no filter on their lips. They think something and they speak. They do not exercise self-restraint.

Just read these verses for yourself, and see if they are relevant in your own life. I have looked at my life through this grid many times and plan to continue to do so while I have breath. “The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives” (Proverbs 18:6-7). “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3).

According to Proverbs 12:18, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Do our words bring healing or do they tear down and destroy? Is our speech restrained, bringing life, or is our speech reckless, piercing like a sword?

4) “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2).

Proverbs is quite blunt about this: “To answer before listening — that is folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13). And, “Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Proverbs 26:12). And, “Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Proverbs 29:20).

Often on social media, when posting my latest article for discussion, I will add, “Please read the article before sharing your thoughts on the article.”

Yes, I actually have to do this, as ridiculous as it sounds.

Just think of telling a music critic, “Please listen to the song before you share your thoughts on the song.” Or, think of telling a food critic, “Please eat the meal before describing how it tastes.”

Unfortunately, despite my appeal, it is very common for people simply to see a headline and then air their opinion. More times than not, had they actually read the article first, they would not have posted their comment.

That’s why, after seeing all kinds of passionate (but irrelevant and even misguided) discussion in response to one of my recent articles, I posted this, “I have this crazy dream that one day everyone will read the article before they post their comments in response to the article! It would really save a whole lot of wasted words. But I'm probably just dreaming. Many will still air their opinions before reading the content of what I write. I guess I just have to accept it.”

When we do this, when we answer before listening, when we speak before we understand, we display the characteristics of a fool.

The other day, a woman rebuked me on Facebook for criticizing those who still expected Trump to be the president, while, she claimed, I failed ever to say a word against the policies of Joe Biden or other Democrats.

I asked in reply, “Have you not read my articles addressing Democratic policies on abortion and religious freedom and transgender activism and China and Iran?”

She replied, “I haven’t read your stuff for years. I’m unfollowing you now.”

This is all too common in our day, and when we act like this, we are shouting out for the world to see, “I am acting like a fool!”

How about we read a chapter of Proverbs each day, which basically takes you through the book 12 times in a year?

Recognizing my own lack of wisdom over the years, and having a terrible, fierce temper when I came to faith in 1971, I’ve read through Proverbs countless times, also asking God for wisdom again and again. That’s a prayer He loves to answer.

If this article made you angry, or if you posted a comment before you read it, or if you’re about to blast me for virtue signaling by quoting so much of the Bible, perhaps you’d do better to look in the mirror first.

Are you foolish, or are you wise?

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/does-the-biblical-description-of-fool-apply-to-you.html


https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/chatroom.php?alltime=yes#5 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 10:39pm
Britney Spears Is Not a Thing (She's a Person)

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the combined property dispute cases between The Episcopal Church and a breakaway Anglican diocese, the Diocese of Fort Worth and All Saints' Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

According to the lawsuit and its ruling, after a denominational schism in 2008 over the increased acceptance of members of the LGBTQ community in leadership positions, a majority of the Fort Worth diocesan leadership voted to break off from The Episcopal Church. This led to a slew of legal disputes over $100 million in properties owned by the diocese. After years of litigation, in 2020, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Diocese of Fort Worth leading The Episcopal Church to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Details here


@bolded

I never knew the Supreme Court could decline to hear cases...

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/chatroom.php?alltime=yes#6 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 10:54pm
California lawmakers have introduced a new bill that, if passed, would fine retailers $1,000 for having separate sections for boys and girls instead of putting all of their products together, Faithwire reports.

The legislation, which was introduced by Democrat Assembly members Evan Low and Cristina Garcia last week, seeks to push for inclusivity by having all toys, clothing, and other kid-oriented products arranged in a “gender-neutral” manner.

Despite the requirement, retailers will still be able to sell their current products, but they would have to put all of the gender-based products together instead of separate sections because of sex.

Details here


The bolded is just too ridiculous to be true!

 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 11:02pm


Last summer, outside a California courtroom, a group of protestors gathered, marched, chanted, took lots of selfies, and held signs that read, “Free Britney.” Footage from that day now comprises the opening scene of a newly released New York Times documentary about Britney Spears, the pop music star who rose to fame as barely a teenager in the early 2000s.

Spears is now in the middle of a legal battle over control of her financial estate. Her genuinely tragic story begins with her parents’ insistence on making Britney a star at an extremely young age. Having achieved that goal, her innocent “bubble gum pop” persona turned into something far less innocent. After spending much of her career attempting to outdo her previous sexual explicitness, Britney Spears has spiraled into ongoing and severe mental health issues, worsened by broken relationships, and constantly being stalked by paparazzi.

Objectifying others is not only a sin itself, it leads to other sins. Pride, contempt, jealousy, adultery, murder, sexual predation, even self-harming behaviors like drug abuse and sexual promiscuity are all rooted in seeing and using people, even ourselves, as objects instead of Image-bearers.

Most Christians, and even non-Christians, would say that treating anyone in any of these ways is wrong. However, objectifying people has become so normal, we do it in ways we don’t even realize. Some of those protestors who gathered outside the courthouse in California were probably genuinely concerned for her well-being. But what of the others, such as those telling reporters over and over how much they “love” this pop star they don’t even know? Aren’t they really using her, too?

After all, they’ve turned her situation – her tragedy and pain – into something to consume. It’s entertainment, or catharsis. They are using a person they cannot practically love, serve, sacrifice for, or even talk to, and making her fill a need they have. That’s objectification, too.

This behavior is different than admiring or honoring a well-known figure. There is a fundamental difference between, for example, the Americans who lined up along railroad tracks to honor the life of Abraham Lincoln as his body was taken to lie in state, and those who gathered for the “Free Britney” rally outside family court. Admiring virtue and being grateful for a life well-lived is different from looking to fill a need that should be met in real relationships.

In a celebrity-driven culture like ours, it is tempting to think we have a celebrity-shaped hole in our hearts instead of a God-shaped one. For artists, this takes the form of seeking to be popular instead of seeking excellence. For consumers, this takes the form of elevating and worshiping celebrities in their prime and then ridiculing them and gawking at them afterwards.

Celebrity-ism is as much a problem in the Church as out. We can be grateful for YouTube access to the teachings, articles, and sermons of our favorite pastors and for the inspiration from our favorite Christian authors or artists through Instagram. But are we idolizing? Are we angry if they say something we don’t like, commenting as if they’re not real people or as if their job is always to agree with us? Do we assume a level of intimacy that is not appropriate with someone we actually don’t know? Do we use them to replace local churches or to provide spiritual authority in our lives, when that is not their place nor role?

The dangerous mistake is confusing our ability to enjoy the consumable goods we get from Christians “celebrities” or social-media influencers with a right to access or intimacy with the people themselves to meet our needs. It is a mistake we make with people we don’t agree with, too. Just look how Christians treat each other on Twitter, as if we are dealing with cartoon characters instead of real people.

When it comes to the clarity we need on human value and boundaries with others, our culture is both out of ideas and off its foundation. Objectifying, idolizing, and “celebritizing” (I made that one up…) are all ways of treating image bearers as brands, not people, expecting them to fill our need, whether for diversion or community or meaning. In that context, mutual fandom and the hatred of a common enemy are two sides of the same coin.

No matter how interesting, how talented, how fun to love or hate they are, people are not objects.

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/britney-spears-is-a-person-not-a-thing.html

 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 11:04pm
Updated
Spears is now in the middle of a legal battle over control of her financial estate. Her genuinely tragic story begins with her parents’ insistence on making Britney a star at an extremely young age. Having achieved that goal, her innocent “bubble gum pop” persona turned into something far less innocent. After spending much of her career attempting to outdo her previous sexual explicitness, Britney Spears has spiraled into ongoing and severe mental health issues, worsened by broken relationships, and constantly being stalked by paparazzi.

Objectifying others is not only a sin itself, it leads to other sins. Pride, contempt, jealousy, adultery, murder, sexual predation, even self-harming behaviors like drug abuse and sexual promiscuity are all rooted in seeing and using people, even ourselves, as objects instead of Image-bearers.


Most Christians, and even non-Christians, would say that treating anyone in any of these ways is wrong. However, objectifying people has become so normal, we do it in ways we don’t even realize. Some of those protestors who gathered outside the courthouse in California were probably genuinely concerned for her well-being. But what of the others, such as those telling reporters over and over how much they “love” this pop star they don’t even know? Aren’t they really using her, too?



I got this from the previous post above and it is spot on!

 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 11:23pm
Online retailer Amazon has removed scholar Ryan Anderson's book critiquing the transgender movement in its latest move suppressing conservative thought on LGBT issues.

Anderson, formerly a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, is the new president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His 2018 book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, explores the meaning of human embodiment and public policy considerations related to transgender issues.

He only found out about the removal of his book from the world’s largest retailer after he was told that people were trying to purchase it and that it disappeared.

It is not out of stock. Even the pages to purchase used copies have been taken down. It is also not possible to purchase the Kindle or Audible versions of the book on the website. The Christian Post confirmed that the pages are gone.



Details here


Can you imagine this level of intolerance???

 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 11:28pm
As Easter approaches, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition asking Cadbury Crème Eggs to remove an advertisement featuring a same-sex kiss.

The United Kingdom-based chocolatier Cadbury released an advertisement on Jan. 4 celebrating the 50th anniversary of its signature Crème Eggs, referring to the occasion as a “golden goobilee.”

The commercial, which runs for nearly a minute, demonstrates several ways to consume and prepare the chocolate eggs, highlighting “lickers,” “bakers,” “eggsperts,” “dippers” and “discreaters.”

A roughly six-second segment from the latter portion of the commercial, which targets “sharers,” has received significant blowback from social conservatives.

Details here



 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 01, 2021 11:33pm
The pastor of a church in Canada remains in police custody for the fourth day on Saturday after being charged with violating Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and refusing to comply with his bail conditions.

Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmonton, who remained in custody as of early Saturday, held services for three consecutive weeks after the church was ordered to close at the end of January for reportedly violating restrictions on maximum gathering capacity and not following physical distancing, according to CTV News Edmonton.

Police initially arrested Coates after he held services for a second time, on charges of allegedly violating the Public Health Act, but later released him after serving an undertaking with conditions.

See source


What a brave pastor!

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 02, 2021 8:53am
...The mark of a successful person is his or her ability to see problems as opportunities instead of obstacles. And the most important lessons take place not when you celebrate the good times but persevere during the bad ones. Indeed, that’s why the bad times make the good times so good!

If you know anything about the birth of baby giraffes, you’ll know that the first parts to emerge are its front hooves and head. Then the entire calf appears, tumbles three metres to the ground, and lands on its back. Within seconds the baby rolls over and stands, struggling to move those gangly, untried legs. Then sometimes, an amazing thing happens. The mother giraffe positions herself directly over her newborn calf, looks it over, kicks it, and sends it sprawling. If it doesn’t get up—she kicks it again! And when it grows tired of the struggle, she kicks it again to stimulate its effort to stand. In fact, every time the baby manages to get to its feet, the mother kicks it again. Her actions may seem cruel to us, but she’s preparing her child for survival. Unless that little calf learns to get up quickly and run with the herd when danger comes, it won’t survive.

So what’s the lesson here? When life knocks you down—get back up...

Details here



The bolded is really cruel. Only by natural instinct can any animal do this.

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 02, 2021 3:35pm
Managing anger in your marriage



It would be nice if all conflicts were as insignificant as which way the toilet tissue is supposed to hang. But many offenses in marriage are far from trivial. Few couples escape the conflicts that result from differences in family backgrounds, personalities, or perspectives. No matter how our marriages grow in maturity, we always seem to find ways to hurt each other, either intentionally or unintentionally. And with every offense comes pain.

Hurt leaves us wide open and upsets our equilibrium. We feel as if our hearts have been torn out and our spirits brutalized. Sometimes we don’t recognize the inner pain right away; other times, we just try to hide it. We don’t tell our spouses when they have wounded us because we don’t want to appear vulnerable; we suppress the hurt and act as if nothing happened.

Just as it can be difficult for us to recognize hurt, it can also be difficult to spot anger. As long as you deny that you feel angry over your unresolved disappointment and hurts, you won’t deal with the problem. Where there has been an offense, there was hurt. And where there is unexpressed and unresolved hurt, there is anger.

The cause of anger in a situation can also be confusing. While most of the time anger is triggered by current incidents or events, anger can also be displaced — sparked by one person or event but taking it out on someone else. For example, your spouse called to say he or she will be late for dinner again. You hang up the phone, and all through dinner you take your anger out on the kids.

Anger can also be left over — stemming from the past, sometimes so far back that the cause is even forgotten. For example, your spouse fires off a volley of angry words at you for no apparent reason. When you sit down to talk about it, you discover that he or she was hurt by something you did a month ago, something you barely remember. One of our callers had this to say:

“My husband expresses anger and says mean things, and then later on he’s sorry. I don’t feel forgiving of him when he does that. I want him to be sorry, but I also want him to end the behavior and be done with it.”

Wherever the anger comes from, God has provided a biblical way to address it and disarm the offense/hurt/anger pattern that would otherwise rob your relationship of intimacy and connection.

Whenever you experience the downward spiral of unresolved offenses, hurt, and anger, you have three options. First, you can simply ignore the offense and the hurt while allowing the anger to fester. You may continue to stuff your unresolved feelings deep inside, resulting in bitterness, resentment, and depression. The second option is to explode, venting pent-up anger without regard for how it wounds and alienates your spouse. Both of these options fail to break the negative pattern, and you continue to wear each other down. The end result may be a relational earthquake that rattles your relationship to its foundation.

But you have a third option. It’s called forgiving love. When you face hurt and anger, you can decide to resolve the conflict. That’s the biblical way to deal with the offense/hurt/anger pattern. What we want to work toward — as individuals and as couples — is a commitment to address the pain and anger, to resolve the conflict, to forgive the offender, and to renew the relationship. The goal is to bring the relationship to a place of healing, wholeness, and openness that will help you feel accepted and connected again.


Forgiving love restores a wounded relationship. When you practice forgiving love consistently, you protect your marriage from heading down the path to emotional or legal divorce.

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/anger-management-in-marriage.html

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 03, 2021 11:17am
Updated
Two keys to understanding God and evil



It’s the number one intellectual reason people use to stiff-arm God. Scottish skeptic David Hume articulates the issue this way:

“Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”

Hume definitely isn’t alone in his reasoning. Nobody seems to have a problem with having a God who ensures only good things happen, but nearly everyone chokes on the idea that God and bad things can exist together.

The Bible, however, says otherwise in an unapologetic fashion. And it does so for good reason.

While I’ve previously posted a couple of articles on the subject of theodicy, one on the biblical answer for God and evil and another on Jesus’s teaching about it, there are two specific scriptural keys that pertain to the problem that have helped me get why the Bible takes the stance that it does.

Concurrence and purpose
The first key has to do with understanding how God’s sovereignty and providence square with human freedom. This brings us to the word, concurrence.

Concurrence, by definition, refers to actions involving two or more parties that are taking place parallel with one another. Those actions are typically distinct from each other (i.e. the role of one party involved isn’t the same as the other), but they usually dovetail at some point for an end result.

The second key is purpose, and while I’m sure you know what it means, let’s define it anyway. Purpose involves the reason for which something is done; it includes intention and an achieved desired end.

Where God and evil are concerned, concurrence and purpose involve God willing a good end result that most times involves a series of events that are freely and willingly carried out by His creation. The important distinction to understand is that, while God has a good purpose for those series of events, the people carrying them out can have bad purposes in their heart and be hoping for an evil end result.

Let’s look at two biblical examples of this in action, one from the Old Testament and one from the New.

It all started with a coat
What could possibly go wrong with a doting father giving his favorite son a colorful coat that the rest of his kiddos didn’t have? Turns out, a lot.

Genesis 37-50 chronicles the life of Joseph, one of Israel’s sons. After ratting out his brothers, getting a special coat from his dad, and relaying some prophetic dreams he received from God to his family, Joseph’s life takes a nosedive and he ends up going through literally hell on earth.

His own brothers attempt to murder him, but then end up selling him to a slave trader who takes him down to Egypt where he’s sold to an Egyptian officer whose wife ends up wrongly accusing Joseph of attempted rape. From there, he languishes in prison for years.

Talk about when bad things happen to good people. You don’t think Joseph looked heavenward from time to time and thought, “what the heck?”

If you know the story, you know that Joseph’s fortunes did change after that to the point where he became second in command over all Egypt and ended up saving his father and brothers from literal starvation. Once the dust settled, it’s from Joseph’s lips that we get one of the most succinct statements of concurrence and purpose in Scripture: “As for you [his brothers], you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

In other words, while Joseph’s brothers freely carried out their actions intending harm to Joseph, God was sovereignly working to see that His good purpose was achieved.

It all started in eternity past
The Bible tells that God purposed in eternity past to have Jesus come and be the Savior for the world He created: “who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (1 Tim. 1:9).

Yet, it seemed from the moment Jesus took His first step in ministry, He was persecuted and doggedly pursued by evil men who wanted to kill Him. People whose evil actions and purpose ran concurrently with God’s good actions and purpose, with the end result being the murder of Jesus, which the religious leaders wanted, and Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for us and resurrection that God desired.

Clearly, there was disagreement in purpose between God and those who willingly carried out Christ’s murder. Peter captures this thought well in Acts when he says: “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:22–23).

Every so often – as in the case of Joseph – it takes years to see God’s plan unfold and overshadow all the pain and suffering that’s taken place. Other times, it takes just three days to witness God’s victory over evil. Whatever the timeframe – even if it’s in the next life – we can trust God to bring Himself glory by demonstrating how He always overcomes evil.

Working together for good
I’ll bet you’ve quoted Paul’s famous statement in Romans 8 more than once in your life: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). “All things” can certainly include bad things, but whether good or bad, God always achieves His good purpose.

For sure, it may not feel like that sometimes and so we beg God to bring an end to the troubles we’re experiencing. However, we should keep in mind a point made by C. S Lewis: “Suppose what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.”

Understanding the concepts of concurrence and purpose helps bring the issue of God and evil into perspective. It reminds us that, no matter what is happening, God is sovereignly in control and is bringing about a good end result for us, just as Scripture says, “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4).




Robin Schumacher is an accomplished software executive and Christian apologist who has written many articles, authored and contributed to several Christian books, appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs, and presented at apologetic events. He holds a BS in Business, Master's in Christian apologetics and a Ph.D. in New Testament. His latest book is, A Confident Faith: Winning people to Christ with the apologetics of the Apostle Paul.

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/two-keys-to-comprehending-God-and-evil.html

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 03, 2021 11:20am
Why Doesn't Success Satisfy the Soul?



In celebration of Michael Jordan's 50th birthday some years back, ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson spent some time with M.J. Thompson gives the sense that Jordan isn't happy. “I would give up everything now to go back and play the game of basketball,” Jordan laments. When asked how he copes with the devastating fact that he will never be who he was, Jordan states, “You don't. You learn to live with it.”

FAME AND GLORY ARE FLEETING

Thompson continues, “Jordan might have stopped playing basketball, but the rage is still there. The fire remains, which is why he searches for release ... the man has left the court, but the addictions won't leave the man.”

“Most people live anonymous lives, and when they grow old and die, any record of their existence is blown away. They're forgotten, some more slowly than others, but eventually, it happens to virtually everyone. Yet for the few people in each generation who reach the very pinnacle of fame and achievement, a mirage flickers: immortality. They come to believe in it. Even after Jordan is gone, he knows people will remember him. Here lies the greatest basketball player of all time. That's his epitaph.”

“There's a fable about returning Roman generals who rode in victory parades through the streets of the capital; a slave stood behind them, whispering in their ears, All glory is fleeting. Nobody does that for professional athletes. Jordan couldn't have known that the closest he'd get to immortality was during that final walk off the court. ... All that can happen in the days and years that follow is for the shining monument he built to be chipped away, eroded. His self-esteem has always been, as he says, ‘tied directly to the game.’ Without it, he feels adrift. Who am I? What am I doing?”

THE IMPORTANCE OF OBEYING GOD'S WORD

This writer made a correct observation. Society tends to program our looks and actions. Women, as well as young girls, refer to magazines and TV to see how they should dress and act; teenage boys consult TV and the media for role models, and many men measure their self worth by what they have accomplished in business and financially, not realizing that a relationship with God, family, and others is the treasure they should be seeking.

Secular values have eroded qualities such as integrity, discipline, and commitment from our lives, just as water and time have eroded the banks of the Colorado River and left a vast Grand Canyon. Erosion can occur so slowly that we are unaware until its work is done. It has the power to change the course of a mighty river and it can surely change the course of our lives. Don’t allow a declining culture to erode essential qualities in your life. You can make a difference by following and obeying God’s Word. With life we were given power. The power to obey God is one of the greatest attributes that we possess. There is little we can do about life’s glitches except to control the way that we respond to them. The obstacles ahead are not greater than God’s power to take us through.

SUCCESS DOESN’T SATISFY

Most of us understand that money can buy the best mattress, but it can’t guarantee sleep. Why do millionaires, movie stars and top entertainers often turn to spirituality, drugs and alcohol for the answers if success satisfies? Many discover that money, fame and recognition are not the answers. CEOs, presidents and vice presidents frequently admit that they are happy when they reach production goals, but very unhappy when under budget, largely because they measure happiness by what’s happening to them. When things go well, they’re happy, when things go poorly, they’re unhappy. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t be productive, but if happiness is measured by our circumstances, it’s going to be a very rough road.

One of the happiest times in my life, for example, was when I went from running multiple fitness locations to making much less money digging ditches, writing, and managing nothing but my daily life. During this transition, I quickly learned that the more I owned, the more owned me. Goals, dreams and aspirations are God’s desire for our lives, but when these things are based on self-gratification, we encounter problems emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Success doesn’t satisfy us because we were not designed to be idols.

Matt Smethurst is spot on when he wrote: “‘How can I find peace away from the game of basketball’? the aging legend asks. Michael, you never had peace. Triumph and fame, yes, but not peace. James Naismith invented a game that brought you a sense of purpose, of value, of calm. But it was only that—a sense, a counterfeit of the real thing. You will never find life outside the game for the same reason you never found life in it. It's not there. The peace you seek isn't available on a basketball court or a golf course but on a little hill outside Jerusalem. There, Yahweh incarnate hung in the place of sinners—wannabe Yahwehs like you and like me. You've gained the world and found it lacking, Mike. Don't lose your soul.”

Jesus asked this question two-thousand years ago and we are still asking it today: What shall it profit any of us if we gain the whole world yet lose our soul? (cf. Mark 8:36)

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/reason-success-doesnt-satisfy-the-soul.html


 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 04, 2021 12:45am
Student Suspended from New York-Based University for Opposing Transgenderism



A student from a university in New York has reportedly been suspended for asserting that ‘a man is a man, a woman is a woman’..

Owen Stevens of State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo was reportedly suspended from the school’s field teaching program due to his outspoken conservative views on biological sex in multiple videos on his Instagram account.

“A man is a man, a woman is a woman,” Stevens said in one video last November. “A man is not a woman, and a woman is not a man.”

“Let me be VERY clear, Facts don’t care about your feelings,” he wrote in the caption.

In response to the videos, the school claimed that Steven’s posts “call into question” his ability to “maintain a classroom environment protecting the mental and emotional well-being of all of [his] students.”

According to a copy of Stevens’ suspension obtained by The Daily Wire, Stevens will remain suspended from mandatory courses until he completes a “remediation plan.” The plan requires Stevens to delete his Instagram videos, reduce his social media presence and attend school-sanctioned training.

Stevens told The Daily Wire that he will not take part in the “re-education” training.

The Dean of the School of Education wrote in an email to Stevens:

“After [a] review of all available materials, I find that, based on your continued public stance and social media presence, you do not consistently demonstrate behaviors required by the Conceptual Framework of the School of Education.”

“You continue to maintain, ‘I do not recognize the gender that they claim to be if they are not biologically that gender,’” the dean added. “This public position is in conflict with the Dignity of All Students Act requiring teachers to maintain a classroom environment protecting the mental and emotional wellbeing of all students.”

SUNY Geneseo’s president also sent out an email condemning Stevens’ posts.

“Yesterday, I was made aware of a current student’s Instagram posts pertaining to transgender people,” the president wrote. “I want to take this opportunity to publicly restate my deep personal commitment to promoting social justice.”

The president suggested that the school would like to take action against Stevens but acknowledged that they cannot as it would violate his First Amendment Rights.

“There are clear legal limitations to what a public university can do in response to objectionable speech. As a result, there are few tools at our disposal to reduce the pain that such speech may cause.”

Stevens told The Daily Wire that he has since received threats from his peers in light of his Instagram videos.

“I’ve received threats and horrible incidents of students who all feel like they are making the world a better place by becoming the woke thought police,” he explained. “Overall, I want justice and the right thing to be done.”

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/student-suspended-from-university-for-voicing-opposition-to-transgenderism.html


 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 04, 2021 12:46am
And what is wrong with the bolded part of the post above?

What is this world turning into?

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 04, 2021 12:50am
Updated
Venezuelan Christians forced to eat pages of the Bible, have 'crosses' etched into their bodies



At least four Christian men recently suffered serious injuries after they were stabbed, forced to eat pages of the Bible, and had “crosses” etched into their skin by eight hooded men, according to a persecution watchdog organization. The attack by men suspected to be criminals from a drug gang took place at Restoration House in the city of Libertador on Feb. 16, Open Doors reported Friday. Restoration House is a church-led drug rehabilitation center in Venezuela’s Mérida State. The charity, which works with persecuted churches in over 60 nations, explained that Christians, who deter people from criminal lifestyles, are often seen as a threat to the illegal activities of drug gangs in Latin America. “The criminals covered our faces and started to beat and stab us,” a victim was quoted as saying. “They drew ‘X’ on our bodies and forced us to eat the Bible.” While the four Christians have been discharged from the hospital, one of them remains in poor health due to two broken ribs and injuries to his lungs and head. Two others had casts put on their legs and arms.

“Weeks before the attack, in the middle of a meeting discussing neighborhood issues, two men said they were going to end the Restoration House because they did not agree with this type of program,” Pastor Dugarte, who founded the center with his wife, told Open Doors.

Pastor Dugarte remains strong in his faith, and he will carry on with the ministry in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Calling for an investigation, the Evangelical Council of Venezuela attributed the attack to “hatred towards religion,” according to Premier Christian News.

“The cutting of crosses into the bodies of these young Christians, and the forced eating of pages of the Bible is...Details here


This is cruel to say the least.

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 04, 2021 1:32pm
During last Thursday's House Debate over the Equality Act, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York asserted that “God's will is no concern of this Congress,” after a fellow Congressman opposed the measure by pointing to God and the Bible.

Rep. Greg Stuebe (R-FL), asserted during his remarks on the House floor that the Equality Act, which the House later passed, is contradictory to the Bible.

Stuebe noted that “the gender confusion that exists in our culture today is a clear rejection of God’s good design.”

“Whenever a nation’s laws no longer reflect the standards of God, that nation is in rebellion against Him and will inevitably bear the consequences,” he asserted. “And I think we are seeing the consequences of rejecting God in our country today. And this bill speaks directly against what is laid out in Scripture.”

Stuebe added that “it’s not clothing or personal style that offends God, but rather, the use of one’s appearance to act out or take on a sexual identity different from the one biologically assigned by God at birth.”


In response to Stueb’s comments, Nadler, who is Jewish, told the Florida Congressman: “Mr. Steube, what any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.” Nadler’s comments were later criticized by leaders of the Coalition for Jewish Values, a group of approximately 1,500 traditional Orthodox rabbis, saying that the New York Congressman has “forgotten the Constitution.”

Details here


God bless this Congressman for saying the truth as it is.

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 04, 2021 1:37pm
Updated
According to legend, British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham once saw a distinguished-looking woman in a hotel foyer. Believing he knew her but unable to remember her name, he paused to talk with her. As the two chatted, he vaguely recollected that she had a brother. Hoping for a clue, he asked how her brother was doing and whether he was still working at the same job. “Oh, he’s very well,” she said, “And still king.”

A case of mistaken identity can be embarrassing, as it was for Sir Beecham.

See details


So true. It really must have been embarrassing.



 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 04, 2021 1:58pm
A Missouri pastor who told women in his congregation to keep slim, wear makeup and be sexually available for their husbands to keep their marriages healthy is now under investigation by his denomination and is “seeking professional counseling” after backlash over his advice.

First General Baptist Church in Malden announced Tuesday that their embattled Pastor, Stewart-Allen Clark, has also “taken a leave of absence” in the wake of the controversial statements he made in a Feb. 21 sermon.

“As of March 2, 2021, Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark has taken a leave of absence and is seeking professional counseling,” a statement on the church’s website said.

First General Baptist Church is a member of the General Baptist denomination, which announced in a statement on Monday that Clarke’s message was not consistent with their values.


Source


This is a dicey one


 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 05, 2021 1:48pm
Good afternoon everybody

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 05, 2021 1:57pm
Updated
In today's Our Daily Bread devotional for today, March 5, the text is Ecclesiastes 6:12;7:13–14

So, I read Ecclesiastes 6 - 7.

I found Ecclesiastes 7 so weighty and thought-provoking. Below are some shocking verses:

Ec:7:2: It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

Ec:7:3: Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Ec:7:4: The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Ec:7:5: It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Ec:7:6: For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.


For real???

I don't even know to make of them.

And then the following below:

Ec:7:15: All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

Ec:7:16: Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

Ec:7:17: Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?



I am still in shock since morning, honestly.


 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 05, 2021 2:02pm
According to Chinese legend, when Sai Weng lost one of his prized horses, his neighbor expressed sorrow for his loss. But Sai Weng was unconcerned. He said, “Who knows if it may be a good thing for me?” Surprisingly, the lost horse returned home with another horse. As the neighbor congratulated him, Sai Weng said, “Who knows if it may be a bad thing for me?” As it turned out, his son broke his leg when he rode on the new horse. This seemed like a misfortune, until the army arrived at the village to recruit all able-bodied men to fight in the war. Because of the son’s injury, he wasn’t recruited, which ultimately could have spared him from death.


What a story!

Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The scripture above holds true anytime anyday.

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 05, 2021 2:13pm
Can Obamacare Force Christian Doctors to Perform Transgender Surgery? Court Decides!



A federal appeals court on Wednesday heard arguments in a major religious liberty case that could determine whether Christian doctors and religious hospitals can be forced to perform sex-reassignment surgery and treat gender dysphoria under Obamacare.

At issue is a 2016 Obama-era interpretation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that prohibits doctors and healthcare facilities from discriminating on the basis of gender identity, which is defined as an individual’s “internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” Under the rule, doctors and healthcare facilities are required to treat gender dysphoria and perform gender-transition procedures in children and adults or be liable for discrimination.

The rule applies to any doctor or healthcare facility that is “receiving federal financial assistance.”

The Obama-era rule – which was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services – did not include religious exceptions.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sued the government on behalf of the Franciscan Alliance, the Christian Medical and Dental Society, and Specialty Physicians of Illinois. Becket says the rule violates a federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Although a federal judge in 2019 issued a decision favorable to Becket and the coalition, he did not issue an injunction against the Department of Health and Human Services preventing it from enforcing the rule – or one like it – in the future. Thus, Becket appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

Becket calls the rule the “Transgender Mandate.” The Trump administration opposed the rule and sided with Becket. An attorney representing the Biden administration on Wednesday opposed Becket in court.

“Medical decisions related to gender transition have serious implications, and it is clearly in patients’ best interests to ensure that doctors are able to serve in keeping with their consciences and their medical judgment,” said Luke Goodrich, a senior counsel at Becket. “Government bureaucrats in Washington who want to force doctors to perform controversial, experimental procedures are putting children in harm’s way.

“The harmful Transgender Mandate undermines the federal government’s own medical experts’ advice on treating children with gender dysphoria,” Goodrich added. “Yet, politicians and activists are trying to force private doctors, on pain of severe punishment, to perform controversial procedures that can be deeply harmful to patients.”

The transgender mandate, Becket says, “threatens to drive religious doctors” from the profession.

“Notably, the court [Wednesday] asked the government's attorney point blank: Does the new administration have plans to go after these religious doctors and hospitals? And the government wouldn’t answer,” Goodrich tweeted. “This underscores why plaintiffs need full protection.”

A website set up by opponents of the Obama-era rule says that most children “referred for gender dysphoria” grow up not to be transgender. The Obama administration’s “own panel of medical experts concluded that these gender transition procedures can be harmful,” the website says.

Source


Isn't this supposed to be a no-brainer? How can you force anybody to perform such a delicate operation against their wish? Even the proposed transgender's life is at risk.

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 05, 2021 2:49pm
America's Largest Christian Adoption Agency Will Now Work with LGBTQ Parents: The Peril of Separating Values from Actions



Bethany Christian Services is the largest Christian adoption agency in the United States. This week, the organization announced that it would begin providing its services to LGBTQ parents nationwide. Their decision is in response to requirements from various states that agencies serve such couples to maintain their governmental contracts.

In 2007, the organization specified that “God’s design for the family is a covenant and lifelong marriage of one man and one woman.” However, two years ago, the Michigan chapter changed its policy to begin placing foster children with same-sex couples.

At the time, the CEO wrote: “At Bethany, we believe the Bible is the living Word of God, and we still believe in God’s plan for marriage and family as it is outlined in the Scriptures. At the same time, it is clear to us that Bethany cannot cede the foster care space completely to the secular world and leave children without the opportunity to experience Jesus through our loving care.” (As we will note below, numerous Christian ministries do not believe this to be a binary choice and are continuing to be faithful to their biblical mission in the face of governmental pressure.)

The organization added: “The mission and beliefs of Bethany Christian Services have not changed. We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”

On Monday, Bethany announced that it would make this change nationwide. Bethany’s vice president stated, “Faith in Jesus is at the core of our mission. But we are not claiming a position on the various doctrinal issues about which Christians of mutual good faith may disagree. We acknowledge that discussions about doctrine are important, but our sole job is to determine if a family can provide a safe, stable environment for children.”

BEWARE OF "REDEFINING CIVILIZATION"

This tragic announcement proves at least three points.

One: Government intrusion on religious liberty is escalating.

Jim Daly, head of Focus on the Family, is right: “Bethany Christian Services should not have to choose between holding to their deeply held religious convictions and serving children and families. No government should tell any ministry how to run their ministry, let alone violate deeply held biblical principles.”

Two: Our culture and civilization are at stake.

Al Mohler responded to the announcement: “The moral revolutionaries are now demanding that every single individual in this society, every single institution, every single school, every single religious denomination, every single adoption and foster care agency must pivot.” He added that “Christians have to understand: If you’re redefining marriage, if you’re redefining parent and family, you are redefining civilization.”

Three: We need to support ministries who stay faithful to their mission.

Ethicist Russell Moore responded: “The need is great for distinctively Christian adoption and foster care services” who believe that “children need both mothers and fathers.” He added that “many evangelical orphan care ministries are working, and will continue to work, for vulnerable children in need of families, while still holding to the faith.” I am grateful for Buckner International and other Christian agencies who refuse to mortgage their mission in the face of social and governmental pressure.

"THE MOST POTENT WAY CHRISTIANITY IS MARGINALIZED"

This story also highlights a critical principle for all Christians seeking to navigate our anti-Christian culture.

Bethany claims to “believe in God’s plan for marriage and family as it is outlined in the Scriptures,” but it will now adopt children to families who reject that plan. The organization claims that their “mission and beliefs ... have not changed,” but they have adopted policies that clearly violate them. How are we to understand these contradictions?

One of the most tempting ways for Christians to deal with the opposition we face today is to separate our private beliefs from our public actions.

In Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, apologist Nancy Pearcey states: “The most potent way Christianity is marginalized in modern society is through the division of life into two separate spheres: a sacred realm of prayer, worship, and personal morality against a secular realm of politics, business, academia, and so on.” According to this division, our personal values regarding same-sex marriage or any other biblical moral issue should be kept separate from our public actions in secular society.

This juxtaposition allows us to tell churches, donors, and other supporters that our biblical values remain intact while bowing to cultural pressure to conform to unbiblical requirements. Bethany is not the first ministry to strike such a Faustian bargain; I fear that they will not be the last.

"MAY WE BE SO BOLD AS TO SET OUR EYES ON HEAVEN"

Let’s close by making today’s article personal: Are you being tempted to separate your personal beliefs from your public life?

For example, are your thoughts about others different from your actions toward them? Jesus correlated anger with murder (Matthew 5:22) and defined lust as adultery (v. 28). Paul exhorted us: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Are you willing to pay any price to share your faith with others? Craig Denison asks, “Are the opinions of others really so important to me that I would withhold from them eternal, abundant life with a God who loves them relentlessly and perfectly?”

He adds: “May we be those who set aside our pride, seek humility, and love others whatever the cost. May we be so bold as to set our eyes on heaven and sacrifice this life for the sake of eternity.”

Will you be so bold today?

Source



Pathetic!

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 12:42am
Nigerian pastor freed by Boko Haram hours before execution: ‘I thank God’



Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria freed a Christian pastor on Wednesday evening who had been held captive since Christmas Eve, just hours before the ransom deadline expired and he was to be executed.

Security sources told the Nigerian online newspaper Premium Times that Pastor Bulus Yikura, who was abducted during an attack in the Chibok local government area of the Borno state on Dec. 24, has been released. A Premium Times reporter claimed to have seen the pastor being transported to a state security office around 6:15 p.m. local time.

Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest extremist groups, released a video on Feb. 24 where Yikura pleaded with the Nigerian government and the Christian Association of Nigeria to rescue him before he was killed.

“If you want me alive, I beg you in your capacity as president, the governor and our local government chairman to save me from this suffering,” the pastor said in the Hausa language, according to HumAngle.

“Today is the last day I will have the opportunity to call on you in your capacity as my parents and relatives in the country,” Yikura said. “Anyone who has the intention should help and save me. Please release me from this pain.”

In one of the videos obtained by HumAngle, the pastor knelt as a knife-wielding man in a mask stood behind him. Yikrua, affiliated with the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, had appeared in three videos throughout his detainment. One was released in December, days after his abduction, and the others were released in January and February.

Security forces told Premium Times that Yikura’s family and the EYN church had been negotiating his release since last week.

When asked to speak about his release, the pastor was quoted as saying, “I thank God, I thank God.”

Dede Laugesen, executive director of the United States-based advocacy group Save the Persecuted Christians, believes EYN church might have paid his ransom.

“We celebrate his release and also the children from Zamfara being released, but the plague of kidnapping for ransom that has been rampant in Nigeria since 2019 has been unaddressed and [we are] now very concerned that we have seen the increase in the kidnapping of schoolchildren,” Laugesen told the Christian Post in an interview Thursday.

Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative industry to fund Nigerian extremists and criminals. The West African country has experienced a wave of mass abductions in the past months.

Nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped in a raid last week by armed militants in northwest Nigeria and were safely released on Tuesday.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that is becoming more and more ingrained in Nigeria and a problem that is very difficult to resolve, especially when the government is likely also involved,” Laugesen said.

Not long after the girls were freed on Wednesday, extremists reportedly burned much of a Zamfara state village in northwest Nigeria and abducted about 60 people, according to HumAngle. Many residents have fled to nearby areas for safety.

In January 2020, the Rev. Lawan Adnimi was beheaded in the Sambisa forest by Boko Haram militants because he refused to renounce his faith and money was not raised for his ransom.

Similar to Yikura, Boko Haram had previously released videos of Adnimi, who said, “By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife and my children and all my colleagues. If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God.”

Laugesen said the federal government’s lack of accountability in the prevalence of persecution must be called out before it escalates further.

“It’s a very complex situation with lots of factors involved, but thus far, the international community has failed to address this growing calamity in Nigeria,” Laugesen said. “We are all very concerned that you will see the eruption of violence on the scale of what we saw in Rwanda should the international community not be able to bring the Nigerian federal government to account.”

Laugesen told CP that some Christians are concerned the government enables militant organizations in order to receive funding for the military complex to fight terrorism.

“Nigeria is essentially the new headquarters for the Islamic jihad seeking to establish a caliphate …,” Laugesen said. “The Christians in Nigeria and others are very concerned that the government continues to give impunity to Islamic extremists in Nigeria. … So there’s no real accountability coming from the Nigerian government.”

The Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria as the third country most affected by terrorism in the world. From 2001 to 2019, it says there were over 22,000 terror-related deaths. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, also leads the world in the number of Christians killed, according to Open Doors USA.

“Christians in Nigeria are really without representation or a voice,” Laugesen said. “Many believe that Nigeria is headed toward a complete unraveling, which would be a disaster on par with what happened in the Middle East with ISIS. Our organization, along with others, believes that an act of genocide of Christians is happening in Nigeria, that it is supported top-down, bottom-up from the government, and from the extremist groups.”

Open Doors 2021 World Watch List ranks Nigeria as the ninth-worst country for Christian persecution. The organization also reports an “extreme” level of Islamic oppression toward believers in Nigeria. Just under 50% of the country is Christian. According to Open Doors, there are over 95 million Christians in the country.

Nigeria was the first democratic nation to be added to the U.S. State Department’s list of countries of particular concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/nigerian-pastor-released-by-boko-haram-abductors-hours-before-planned-execution.html

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 1:14am
Largest Muslim population nation names evangelical Christian as head of police



Indonesia has named an evangelical Christian as the new national police chief, marking the first time in nearly 50 years that a member of the religious minority has held the post in the Muslim-majority nation.

According to UCA News, Commissioner General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, 52, was sworn in on Jan. 27 as police chief, succeeding Gen. Idham Azis who retired on Feb.1. A Protestant, Listyo is the first Christian to hold the post in nearly 50 years and only the third since Indonesia declared independence in August 1945.

Despite opposition from Islamic groups, Listyo was the only candidate unanimously approved by the People's Representative Council, Indonesia’s lower house of parliament. Described as a “close ally” of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Listyo said that in his new role, he would try to “promote diversity” and would step up efforts to address issues like intolerance and radicalism.

He also vowed to support religious freedom and work “to create a trustworthy and transparent police, to be the protector of all citizens of the nation."

“The various experiences of the nation and the state so far will certainly be valuable lessons for all of us in the effort to continue police reform,” he said, according to Evangelical Focus.

The national police chief also emphasized that under his leadership, the police “will continue to carry out law enforcement efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure public safety.”

In February, Listyo called for greater discretion when enforcing the country's controversial internet law, which regulates online activity including defamation and hate speech, Reuters reports.

Listyo’s appointment comes after a Muhyiddin Junaidi, a leading figure in the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s top Islamic clerical body, stated that the new police chief must be Muslim.

“Even though Indonesia is a secular country, it would not be appropriate if the leader of the police had a non-Muslim background. It was natural for leaders of any country to have the same religion as that of the majority of the population,” he said.

His appointment was applauded by Communion of Churches in Indonesia (CCI/PGI), which said “Prabowo's religion did not play a role, what matters is his past achievements and successes, as well as his vision for the future of Indonesia as a democratic, free, but orderly country.”

“His appointment shows that every citizen has the same rights to reach a position of leadership," they added.

Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, executive secretary of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for the Laity, said that by appointing a new chief from a religious minority, Widodo demonstrated that any Indonesian citizen has an equal right to become a leader.

"This is an affirmation that this nation chooses leaders not based on religion, not based on a minority or majority, but based on achievement, track record and vision," he told UCA News.

He also expressed hope Listyo would enforce the law fairly for all people without discrimination, adding: "The impression that the law is blunt upward and sharp downward must change.”

Home to the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia ranks as the 47th worst country for Christian persecution on Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List.

The human rights group reports that the situation for Christians in the Southeast Asian country has deteriorated in recent years because the Indonesian society has taken on “a more conservative Islamic character.”

In 2017, Indonesian Muslims succeeded in pressuring the country’s judiciary into convicting former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — a Chinese Indonesian Christian also known as Ahok — for blasphemy against Islam.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has advised the U.S. State Department to list Indonesia on its “special watch list” of countries that engage in or tolerate severe religious freedom violations.

In its 2020 annual report, USCIRF notes that Indonesia's religious freedom conditions are trending negatively since many religious minorities are prosecuted under blasphemy laws, and intolerant hardline groups continue to threaten religious minority houses of worship.

“Reports from local nongovernmental organizations indicated that the provinces of West Java, Jakarta, and East Java had the highest number of incidents of religious intolerance — including discrimination, hate speech, acts of violence, and rejections of permits to build houses of worship for minority religious communities,” the annual report states.

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/indonesia-worlds-largest-muslim-nation-names-christian-police-chief.html

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 10:37pm
Good evening all.

Hope you had a wonderful day.

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 10:58pm
Updated
18-year old Justin Duggar gets married: ‘Thankful for love of Christ that has brought our lives together’



Justin Duggar of the famous Duggar family married his longtime friend, Claire Spivey, after a three-month engagement.

Duggar took to Instagram on Tuesday to share a video of his first kiss with his new bride in a preview of the couple's recent wedding.

"Wedding sneak peek!!" “The Counting On star” commented on the video, which was created by videographer Gabriel Johnson.

According to People, Duggar, 18, and Spivey, 19, tied the knot on Friday, following their engagement announcement in November.

"Today we have started a journey together that God crafted long before we ever knew it was meant to be. We are so thankful for the love of Christ that has brought our lives together and teaches us what real love looks like," Duggar and Spivey said in a statement.

They added, "There is no greater joy than marrying your best friend. We are thankful for the prayers and support so many have shown us through our engagement and look forward to this new chapter of our lives together as husband and wife."

The young couple both shared a photo from their wedding on Instagram with the caption "2.26.21."

Dressed in a short-sleeved white wedding dress, Spivey wore her hair in a side braid decorated with flowers. Duggar sported a navy suit with a grey tie.


The Duggars have been friends with the Spivey family for more than 20 years, but the young man and his bride did not cross paths until spring 2019.

The pair first announced their courtship in September and revealed that they hit it off after dining out with a group of friends in Texas. The 18-year-old reality star admitted that he knew Spivey was going to be his wife the same week they met.

“God brought Claire into my life and I wasn’t really expecting it, but He brought her along right when I needed her," he said in a video shared by TLC. "And ever since then, I knew she was the one."

Duggar, the 14th child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who have 19 children, isn't the only one who comes from a large family. Spivey is the eldest child of six. The happy duo have many things in common and say they love being in one another’s company.

Source


18 is too young to marry in this our time and age in my humble opinion

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 11:03pm
Updated
Tennessee, Mississippi Ban Transgender Athletes from Competing in Girls' Sports



During the first week of March, two Republican-led states passed bills banning biological male, transgender athletes from competing in female sports.

On Monday, The Tennessee Senate passed SB 228, sponsored by Republican Sen. Joey Hensley, in a vote of 27-6. An accompanying bill in the State’s House, introduced by Republican Rep. Scott Cepicky, is still yet to be voted on.

"This bill requires, for the purposes of participation in a middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event, that a student's gender be determined by the student's sex at the time of the student's birth, as indicated on the student's original birth certificate," a summary of the bill says.

"If a birth certificate does not appear to be the student's original birth certificate or does not indicate the student's sex at birth, the student must provide other evidence to indicate the student's sex.”

Over in Mississippi, the state House passed a bill on Wednesday prohibiting transgender athletes from playing in girls’ or women’s sports.

The bill was passed 81-28, while six representatives did not vote, and seven voted “present”, meaning they were neither for nor against the measure.

Last month, as Christian Headlines reported, the Mississippi Senate also passed the bill 34-9 on Feb. 11, with five senators not voting and four voting “present.”

At the time, Gov. Tate Reeves, a father of three daughters, expressed disappointment over President Joe Biden’s executive order permitting transgender athletes in female sports.

"I am so disappointed over President Biden’s actions to force young girls like them to compete with biological males for access to athletics,” he tweeted on Feb. 4. "It will limit opportunity for so many competitors like my daughters. It is bad policy and it is wrong for America."


Reeves is expected to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

According to Fox News, Mississippi is now one of over 20 states where lawmakers have proposed bans on transgender athletes from playing on sports teams that don’t align with the biological sex they were assigned at birth.

The passing of both bills has sparked opposition by organizations in favor of transgender athletes.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, noted that Mississippi has become the first U.S state “to pass an explicitly anti-trans bill in 2021.”

“We are witnessing a coordinated effort to limit and erase trans existence across the country,” the HRC wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and state Democratic lawmakers said that the proposed measure is discriminatory, The Christian Post reports.

"Protecting women’s sports is important, but transgender girls do not threaten them," Weinberg, the executive director of the Tennessee ACLU, wrote in a statement on Monday.

She contended that “the vast majority of transgender students are not elite athletes”, rather, ‘they just want to play sports for fun, with friends and classmates, to feel a sense of community and camaraderie, and to learn to respect and work together with coaches and teammates.”

Weinberg also indicated that the Tennessee ACLU is willing to take the matter to court.

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Great move by the states in question.

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 11:24pm
Immigrants have more stable families than native-born Americans: study

Immigrants protest in favor of comprehensive immigration reform while on the West side of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on April 10, 2013. | Reuters/Larry Downing

Immigrant families tend to be more stable than families of native-born Americans, a new analysis of census data by the Institute of Family Studies shows, and it’s not because of money or education.

While higher incomes and education are known to drive family stability, the analysis presented Wednesday by Wendy Wang, the institute’s director of research, found that immigrants tend to have a more stable family life than native-born Americans because they are more likely than native-born Americans to embrace a culture of family first.

“The familism that immigrants embrace not only provides them a safe harbor when facing the challenges as newcomers, it also helps to provide a better environment for their children to advance in life,” Wang wrote.

The analysis shows that of the 45 million immigrants in the U.S. today, some 72% of them who have children are still in their first marriage compared with just 60% of native-born Americans with children.

Not all immigrant families, however, were found equal on the stability scale.

A review of the 30 largest groups of working-age immigrants in the U.S. shows that first-generation immigrants from Asia ranked the highest among stable families, with Indian immigrant families leading the pack. Some 94% of this group were found to be stably married while just 4% were remarried and only 2% were unmarried.

More than 80% of immigrant families from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Taiwan, Korea, China, and Japan were also stably married. Immigrants from the Middle East, South America, and Nigeria also ranked highly on the family stability scale.

Immigrant families from Mexico, with 68% stability, and Caribbean countries, such as Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic with an average stability score of about 50%, tended to be less stable.

When asked if the proximity of the Caribbean and Mexico to U.S. culture could explain the disparity in family stability between immigrants from Asia and those from the Caribbean and Mexico, Wang said it could be a factor.

“I do think that might have something to do with the specific culture, but it’s a little hard to measure because I’m a demographer,” she told The Christian Post on Thursday.

In terms of her analysis Wednesday, however, she said the distinction between the families of native-born Americans and immigrant families is clear.

“The individualism in American culture has its virtues but is at odds with stable marriage and families. As we know, marriage is not only about personal happiness and fulfillment but also family solidarity,” she wrote.

She cited an IFS survey conducted in California, showing nearly 70% of immigrants stating that it is very important for them to be married before having children, compared with 62% of native-born Californians. They were also found to be more likely than native-born Californians to believe that couples with children should make every effort to stay married.


That same survey also found that couples who believe that “marriage is mostly about an intense emotional/romantic connection between two adults” were at a higher risk of divorce than those who believe that marriage is about romance but also about “the kids, money, and raising a family together.”

“I believe if we do a national survey, we’ll find similar results, which is that the immigrants are more likely to have this family first mindset and they believe in traditional values and are more likely to view family as really important,” Wang told CP.

“Most people who study immigrants don’t pay attention to the strength of the family part,” she added. “I think immigrants make a big contribution to the overall American society. … The family values that immigrants bring really help the overall family stability in the U.S.”

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This is shocking to say the least...

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 11:32pm
Should You Avoid the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine?



This story brings “getting a dose of your own medicine” to a new level: months after donating $1 million to help develop the Moderna vaccine, Dolly Parton received her shot of the vaccine this week. She also recorded a version of her classic song “Jolene” before receiving her shot, singing, “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate.”

In other vaccine news, the newly approved Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single-dose vaccine is “absolutely” a game-changer, according to a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We should all be encouraged that we now have three excellent vaccines available to administer to Americans all across this country,” he said. “I expect we’ll be moving a lot faster with J&J on board.”

However, the archdiocese of New Orleans is urging Catholics to avoid the J&J vaccine, calling it “morally compromised.” Their statement claims that it “uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.”

ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE J&J VACCINE
When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were developed several months ago, I reported that they used cells from the HEK293T fetal cell line in the testing process, though neither included such cells in the vaccines themselves. This tissue was acquired in the Netherlands in the 1970s, but records pertaining to its origins were lost. As a result, it is not known whether the tissue came from an elective abortion or a spontaneous miscarriage.

By contrast, the archdiocese is now claiming that the J&J vaccine makes “extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines” and urges Catholics to opt for the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines if given the choice. Several Christian leaders wrote to the US Food and Drug Administration in April 2020 warning that Janssen Pharmaceuticals (which produced the J&J vaccine) was developing a vaccine “using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies.”

J&J responded, asserting that “there is no fetal tissue in our Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.” Other ethicists state that the cells in question are clones and are not the original fetal tissue. They also note that, at this point, most people in the US and elsewhere do not have a choice as to which vaccine they receive. One ethicist warns, “This kind of moral scare-mongering can cost lives, especially among people who might not have access to the vaccine otherwise.”


Numerous moral theologians add that Catholics should feel confident taking the J&J vaccine since it could help protect vulnerable members of society. The president of Notre Dame University, for example, stated, “The Notre Dame community remains committed to doing our part to help fight the pandemic on campus and beyond. The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be provided to those who meet the state’s age and other eligibility guidelines at the time.”

Since the J&J vaccine is vital to vaccinating all adults in the US, this issue is significant to our nation’s health and future.

WHAT DO WE DO WHEN EXPERTS DISAGREE?
My purpose today is not to offer medical advice or to claim scientific knowledge I do not possess. Rather, it is to ask the question: What do we do when experts disagree?

The New Orleans archdiocese asserts that we should not take the J&J vaccine if given a choice, claiming that it is tied too closely to abortion. But what if we do not have a choice? Are we risking the lives of Americans to protest the taking of lives through abortion? If so, which lives should take precedence: those who have died or those who are still alive?

In addition, scholars seem divided on the degree to which the J&J vaccine is related in any way to abortion. If we assume that the vaccine is tied directly to abortion, we might ask whether, by saving lives, the vaccine is redeeming lives lost to abortion. When a patient receives a heart transplanted from a murder victim, this does not make the patient complicit in the donor’s death.

If you are offered the J&J vaccine, my advice is for you to consult your physician and to seek wisdom from God’s word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people. This is an approach that applies to far more than the vaccine.

IMITATING MY FAVORITE CHURCH
Over the years, people have occasionally asked me to name my favorite church in the New Testament. My answer is always the same: the Bereans. I have led several study tours to this ancient Greek city; each time, we read that when Paul came to them, “They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

As a result, “Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men” (v. 12).

In a culture that is growing more and more secularized and opposed to Christian morality, it is vital that we imitate the Bereans. News media are distrusted as partisan; the cancel culture of our day is being described as a dangerous “cultural revolution”; the recent public failures of several Christian leaders are causing many to wonder who, if anyone, they can trust.

Here’s the answer: Jesus told his followers, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). “Abide” in (live in, remain in) the word of God, viewing everything you experience through the lens of Scripture. Then you will know the truth, and that truth will set you free.


Jesus’ promise is not that we will never suffer for such biblical obedience—it is that we will experience the freedom and joy of the Lord even when we suffer for him. And our faithfulness, like that of the Bereans, will plant trees we’ll never sit under and make a difference in this world for the world to come.

THREE HEROES OF THE FAITH
One of the daily readings to which I subscribe is titled “Saint of the Day.” Yesterday’s entry focused on three martyrs named Eutropius, Cleonicus, and Basiliscus.

In AD 308, their pagan governor tried to turn them from Jesus. He invited Eutropius to dine with him, but the Christian refused, quoting the biblical statement, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1:1). The ruler offered the three a large amount of silver, but they refused, telling the governor that Judas lost his soul for silver.

The governor then subjected them to torture, but they refused to abandon their Lord. Finally, he crucified Eutropius and Cleonicus, for which they gave thanks that they had been found worthy to die in the same way as Jesus did. Basiliscus was held in prison in hopes that the deaths of his companions would weaken his resolve. When he remained steadfast, he was beheaded.

When we know and live by biblical truth, “the truth will set us free”—in this life or the next.

How free will you be today?

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 11:39pm
Twitch gets blasted for celebrating 'womxn' instead of Women's History Month



Streaming platform Twitch is coming under fire for tweeting that March is “Womxn’s History Month” and spelling the word women with the letter x instead of an e to be more inclusive.

The tweet, which has since been taken down, read: "March is Womxn’s History Month, Join us in celebrating and supporting all the Womxn creating their own worlds, building their communities, and leading the way on Twitch,” according to the Daily Caller.

In an accompanying blog post, Twitch added that the streaming platform “is a place where creators can build their world and have their voice heard. And womxn are doing that live, every day.”

The spelling of the word women with an x instead of an e is said by some to be an alternative to the word women because it supposedly has patriarchal roots, the BBC reported.

Others say that the word is intended to communicate inclusiveness toward people who identify as either transgender or nonbinary, though that is disputed as some transgender-identified people want to be seen as actual women and those who claim a nonbinary identity say they are not women at all.

Following outcry from across the ideological spectrum, Twitch apologized for the tweet on Tuesday, writing that they “want to assure you that we have, and will continue to, work with the LGBTQIA+ community. We're still learning."

"Our good intentions don't always equate to positive impact, but we're committed to growing from these experiences, doing better, and ensuring we're inclusive to all," the company said.

The use of “womxn” has appeared in influential fora in recent months, with its proponents insisting that the word fosters greater inclusion.

In September 2020, TedxLondon announced that “TedxLondonWomxn” was returning in a virtual format and invited followers to participate in a short quiz to share their thoughts and ideas to help them steer future programming.

In response to a Twitter-follower who asked, "What is a womxn?" TEDxLondon replied: "No, that's not a typo: 'womxn' is a spelling of 'women' that's more inclusive and progressive. The term sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, and explicitly includes non-cisgender women."

The term "non-cisgender women" refers to individuals who self-identify as either transgender, nonbinary or something else but are biologically male.

Maya Forstater, who was fired from her tax researcher job at a think-tank over comments she made online that were critical of transgender ideology regarding the U.K. Gender Recognition Act, tweeted a response to TEDxLondon: "Women is fine. Womxn sheds no light. It is neither inclusive nor progressive to use unpronounceable buzzwords and suggest that female people don't have a name already."

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By Temmy
Sat, March 06, 2021 11:41pm
Following outcry from across the ideological spectrum, Twitch apologized for the tweet on Tuesday, writing that they “want to assure you that we have, and will continue to, work with the LGBTQIA+ community. We're still learning."

"Our good intentions don't always equate to positive impact, but we're committed to growing from these experiences, doing better, and ensuring we're inclusive to all," the company said.

The use of “womxn” has appeared in influential fora in recent months, with its proponents insisting that the word fosters greater inclusion.

In September 2020, TedxLondon announced that “TedxLondonWomxn” was returning in a virtual format and invited followers to participate in a short quiz to share their thoughts and ideas to help them steer future programming.

In response to a Twitter-follower who asked, "What is a womxn?" TEDxLondon replied: "No, that's not a typo: 'womxn' is a spelling of 'women' that's more inclusive and progressive. The term sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, and explicitly includes non-cisgender women."


@bolded What nonsense???



 

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By Temmy
Sun, March 07, 2021 10:17pm
Court orders pastor to remain in jail until May trial for violating COVID-19 restrictions



A church pastor arrested last month and charged with violating COVID-19 rules on maximum gathering capacity will remain behind bars until the trial begins in early May, a Canadian judge has ruled.

The Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter Michalyshyn ruled Friday that Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church must remain in jail until his trial, scheduled to take place from May 3 to May 5, in Alberta Provincial Court in Stony Plain.

Pastor Coates was detained at the Edmonton Remand Centre on Feb. 16. He has refused to agree to bail conditions that he does not attend or conduct services at GraceLife Church unless they comply with government guidelines requiring capacity limits and social distancing.

Lawyers at the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents Coates and GraceLife Church, argue that the bail conditions and health orders “violate his Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

However, the judge ruled there were no legal errors in last month’s decision to release Coates on the condition he complies with public health rules.

“Beliefs and convictions, without more, do not overcome those valid and enforceable laws,” Michalyshyn was quoted as saying by The Edmonton Journal. He added that the pastor and his congregation hold to a “strong and literal interpretation of holy scriptures” that demands that they meet in person and keep faces uncovered.

JCCF plans to file an appeal to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to seek Coates’ release before his trial date.

“A trial set eight weeks down the road was too long for an innocent Pastor to be in jail,” JCCF President John Carpay said in a statement. “Pastor Coates is a peaceful Christian minister. He should never have been required to violate his conscience and effectively stop pastoring his church as a condition to be released.”

Carpay contends that the arrest is “a violation of Pastor Coates’ Charter rights and freedoms.”

“Charter freedoms do not disappear because the government declares regular church services to be outlawed while allowing hundreds of people to fill their local Walmarts,” Carpay said.

According to The Edmonton Journal, GraceLife Church has been holding in-person services in his absence.

The pastor’s lawyer, James Kitchen, told the newspaper that his client is a law-abiding man. But the latter prevails when the law and his client’s interpretation of Scripture conflict.

Coates stated in an affidavit that the health orders “directly contravene the authority of the local church, and the supreme authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The pastor held services for three consecutive weeks after the church was ordered to close at the end of January for reportedly violating restrictions on maximum gathering capacity and not following physical distancing, CTV News Edmonton reported at the time.

Police initially arrested Coates after he held services for a second time but later released him after serving an undertaking with conditions.

Police and health officials attended a service and found that the pastor continued to defy his release conditions, and he was charged a second time.

“Observations were made that the pastor was not complying with his undertaking release conditions, and the church was not in compliance with the public health order,” reads a statement released by Parkland County Police.

The pastor turned himself in to the police on Feb. 16. He faces two counts of violating the Public Health Act and charged for failing to comply with his undertaking condition.

"We've been consistent in our approach of escalated levels of enforcement with this pastor, and we were hopeful to resolve this issue in a different manner," Inspector Mike Lokken said in a statement. "The Pastor's actions, and the subsequent effects those actions could have on the health and safety of citizens, dictated our response in this situation."

GraceLife Church explained in a statement on its website that when the pandemic first started, the church “shifted to livestream and abided by most of the new government guidelines for our gatherings.”

But after the first public health emergency ended, the church returned to normal gatherings last June.

“We did so recognizing COVID-19 was much less severe than the government had initially projected,” the church statement reads. “This sentiment was reflected in the assessment of the premier of Alberta, who deliberately referred to COVID-19 as ‘influenza’ multiple times in a speech announcing the end of the first declared public health emergency.”

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By Temmy
Sun, March 07, 2021 10:24pm
Pope Francis visits Iraqi Christian town overrun by ISIS: Death never has the 'last word'



Pope Francis visited the ruins of Mosul and a Christian community damaged by the Islamic State during the third day of his historic visit to Iraq Sunday. The day earlier, the pontiff visited the birthplace of Abraham, met with a prominent Shia cleric and gave a sermon in Baghdad.

“How cruel it is that this country, the cradle of civilization, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow, with ancient places of worship destroyed,” the 84-year-old pope said Sunday, according to Reuters, as he met with Muslim and Christian residents in a destroyed portion of Mosul Sunday.

Pope Francis flew into Mosul by helicopter and saw the ruins of homes and churches in a part of a town that used to thrive before the Islamic State’s takeover in 2014. Thousands were killed and millions were displaced by the brutal terror group. The Islamic State was accused of genocide against religious minorities and occupied Mosul from 2014 to 2017.

In addition to visiting Mosul, Pope Francis also met with Christians in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, which was destroyed by the Islamic State but efforts have been made to help restore the town. The church itself was also damaged by the extremist group.

“How much has been torn down! How much needs to be rebuilt! Our gathering here today shows that terrorism and death never have the last word,” Pope Francis said. “The last word belongs to God and to his Son, the conqueror of sin and death. Even amid the ravages of terrorism and war, we can see, with the eyes of faith, the triumph of life over death.”

The night before, Francis spoke on the Beatitudes, part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, in a packed Chaldean cathedral in Baghdad. He said the blessed are not the wealthy, powerful or famous, but “the poor, those who mourn, the persecuted.”

“Love is our strength, the source of strength for those of our brothers and sisters who here too have suffered prejudice, indignities, mistreatment and persecutions for the name of Jesus,”the pope said, according to a transcript posted by the Vatican.

“Such inequality, which has increased in our time, is unacceptable,” he said, adding that “the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested.”

The more powerful are “subjected to rigorous scrutiny, while “the least are God’s privileged ones.”

He also explained that adversity confronts us with two temptations: “to run away” or “to fight.”

He then referred to Jesus’ disciples in Gethsemane, who fled while Peter drew his sword.

“Yet neither flight nor the sword achieved anything,” the pope contended.

On Saturday afternoon, Pope Francis met with a prominent Iraqi Shia leader on the second day of his historic trip, the first by a Pope to Iraq. He also visited the ancient city of Ur, where Abraham was believed to have been born.

The leader of the Catholic Church met with Iraq’s top Shiite cleric in the holy city of Najaf, after which the Shia-majority country declared March 6 as National Day of Tolerance and Coexistence.

The pontiff met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a spiritual authority for Shiite Muslims in Iraq and other countries who is renowned for his promotion of peace.

Vatican News reports that the pontiff and the grand ayatollah “were able to share perspectives and draw attention to the importance of friendship, mutual respect and dialogue, so that all people, no matter their ethnic, cultural or religious tradition, may live together in brotherhood and peace.”

Earlier during the day, Francis attended an interfaith meeting in the ancient city of Ur, urging Iraq’s Muslims, Christians and people from other faith communities to end their historic animosities and work together for peace and unity.

According to the Bible, Abraham, to whom Jews, Christians and Muslims trace their origin, was born in Ur.

“This blessed place brings us back to our origins, to the sources of God’s work, to the birth of our religions,” he said, according to the text of his remarks obtained by the Catholic News Agency.

“Here, where Abraham our father lived, we seem to have returned home. It was here that Abraham heard God’s call; it was from here that he set out on a journey that would change history. We are the fruits of that call and that journey.”

He added that “the greatest blasphemy” was “hating our brothers and sisters.”

“Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion,” he stressed. “We believers cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion; indeed, we are called unambiguously to dispel all misunderstandings.”

While Pope Francis has described his first travel to Iraq as a “pilgrimage of peace,” some radical militant groups have reportedly opposed his visit, which they say amounts to Western interference, according to BBC.

On the first day of his visit on Friday, the pope brought focus on the country’s dwindling Christian population that suffered mass killings by the Islamic State terror group and a mass exodus.

“The age-old presence of Christians in this land, and their contributions to the life of the nation, constitute a rich heritage that they wish to continue to place at the service of all,” said Francis after arriving in Baghdad, addressing Iraqi President Barham Salih and other officials and diplomats at the Presidential Palace on Friday.

“May there be an end to acts of violence and extremism, factions and intolerance! May room be made for all those citizens who seek to cooperate in building up this country through dialogue and through frank, sincere and constructive discussion.”

Pope Francis declared that it is “essential” to “ensure the participation of all political, social and religious groups and to guarantee the fundamental rights of all citizens.”

“May no one be considered a second-class citizen,” he told the authorities.

There were about 1.5 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, and the number has reduced to roughly 250,000, according to estimates.

Even after the defeat of the Islamic State in December 2017, many of Iraq’s Christians haven’t found their homeland livable. They have either not returned home or continued to leave the country.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 08, 2021 9:33am
Updated
Fake definitions



Deep in the false and fevered swamps of fake news and fake history resides a third mendacious denizen — fake definitions. Appearing first with a hiss in the Garden of old (“Did God really say?”), fake definitions have become the mother’s milk of Leftist progressives.

Their aim is to recast generally understood words and cultural concepts — treating the common understanding as pejoratively as possible. The Left’s targets are those things not conforming to their political agenda. Therefore, efforts at fiscal responsibility are labeled “draconian” and “mean-spirited.” Those seeking to preserve historic moral imperatives and a Biblical understanding of marriage and human sexuality are “homophobic.“ Those adhering to a Biblical ethic of human life (especially toward the unborn) are “sexist” or “anti-woman.” Those recognizing America’s spiritual heritage are “religiously intolerant” or “xenophobic.”

At the same time, hard Left voices like Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are exalted as mainstream. Sure, mainstream. Like Lois Capps who proposed “mainstream” legislation to remove the words husband and wife from federal law.

Among other terms lost to fake definitions are: 1) Pro-choice (with no choice offered to the baby); 2) Reproductive health (certainly not the health of the baby); 3) Discrimination (as measured by outcomes not actions); 4) Diversity (including varied ethnicities and viewpoints— just not yours); 5) Tolerance (you get to tolerate them; they persecute you); 6) Equality (meaning economic redistribution and gender privilege); 7) Undocumented (once deemed illegal, now apparently meaning future unregistered Democrat voters); and 8) Racist/hater (anyone not agreeing with the Leftist agenda).

Using the fraudulent manipulation of language, Leftist progressives aim to advance their political, environmental, quasi-scientific, and socialistic agenda. English novelist and social critic George Orwell anticipated all of this when he wrote:

Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.

The Wind of Fake Definitions

Speaking of pure wind, let’s turn our attention to the fake definition of “hate group” proffered by the folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the interest of full disclosure, our nearly three-year-old defamation suit against the SPLC (for placing us on their so-called hate map) is currently before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In its defense, the SPLC argues that the First Amendment allows them to have their own definition of hate group. In this assertion, what constitutes a hate group is a matter of opinion. You can have your opinion; I can have mine. But this is sophistry on the level of wanting to have your cake and eating it too. The SPLC publicly states that D. James Kennedy Ministries is a hate group. This statement implies an assertion of objective fact, and in published statements the SPLC makes clear it intends for individuals, government agencies, and businesses to rely on it as fact. However, when pushed in a court of law, the SPLC claims that its implied assertion of fact is merely opinion.

At the heart of the matter is the SPLC’s responsibility to recognize the “reasonable man” (or woman) standard in the law, with the central questions being: How does an average reasonable person understand the “hate group” accusation applied so wantonly and recklessly by the SPLC? Is it intended as fact or mere opinion?

This is critically important as only a tiny fraction of Americans will ever see or hear the SPLC’s proprietary definition of a hate group. Yet the false and defamatory label it applies to organizations with which it disagrees travels far and wide — especially so in the era of fake news. So then, what is the commonly understood definition of hate group? It’s not all that complicated.

Hate groups are aboutactions— not thoughts. We call it criminal behavior because it’s an action not merely an idea.

Thomas Jefferson deftly articulated this distinction in his oft-cited letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, where he wrote: “The legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions.”

Protected Speech

Opinions are protected speech. My strong opinions, emotions, and frustration may overflow in the face of single-digit IQ drivers who endanger everyone around them by their selfish aggressive driving. I might even use words to describe them that demand of me a subsequent repentance — but that is not necessarily an expression of hate. We can see this more clearly in considering hatred’s polar opposite.

Love is not primarily a state of mind or an emotion, but a set of actions flowing from heart inclinations. If I proclaim my love and concern for the widow, orphan, or poor without any benevolent action to make it tangible, where is the love in that? Opinions and inclinations are not enough. In fact, in most cases inclinations alone are meaningless. The Apostle James writes in the same manner about tangible faith:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:14-16)

It’s the tangible action that gives genuine love its veracity. In February, Ryan Sively braved a Texas ice storm to rescue 150 stranded motorists. John Powell, a Houston-area pastor stopped to help a motorist whose car was ablaze as the result of an accident. He was struck and killed by a semi-truck. The actions of both men gave eloquent and indelible meaning to the inclinations of their hearts.

Words without actions are like wind without rain, fire without warmth. Such expressions are what the poets call a velleity — a wish or an inclination not strong enough to lead to any observable action to make it so. Put in a more homespun fashion: Saying isn’t doing. Genuine love is always expressed in actions. Just so with genuine hate.

Fake Hate Groups

When hate is limited to an emotion, attitude or thought based upon a particular bias, it’s essentially an opinion. Such opinions, no matter how disagreeable, are protected speech. They are not crimes. And this is where the wheels come off the SPLC’s definition of hate group.

From its own website, the SPLC defines hate group as:

An organization or collection of individuals that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics (emphasis added).

This is a definition of hate group based purely on the opinions or core beliefs of a group. What are practices but expressions of belief. The SPLC makes this clear by insisting that “an organization does not need to have engaged in criminal conduct or have followed their speech with actual unlawful action to be labeled a hate group” (emphasis added).

With this rhetorical sleight of hand, the mask comes off. The SPLC makes a fortune by “attacking and maligning” the speech of others — suggesting, incidentally, that the SPLC is ripe for hoisting on its own petard, since it nicely meets its own “hate group” definition. At any rate, how the SPLC is singularly qualified to evaluate the speech of others, across a wide range of religious, social, and cultural issues, escapes the notice of most neutral observers. But herein lies the genius of Progressive thinkers: If the viewpoint in question is different than theirs it must be hate speech.

All of this reveals the SPLC to be little more than the Thought Police depicted in George Orwell’s 1984 — where the thought itself is the crime. And remember, the SPLC’s “hate group” designations are steadfastly advanced as “fact” in their voluminous direct mail letters, digital distribution, and public statements. Yet, when they must look a judge or jury in the eye— “Well, your honor, these are just our opinions.”

In Search of the Reasonable Man

Which leads us back to the “reasonable man” standard of the law and D. James Kennedy Ministries’ quest to be heard before a jury of our peers. The reasonable man understanding of hate group is: malice or bias bent on bodily harm. The defining characteristic of a genuine hate group is violence. Anger is not necessarily hateful. Frustration is not necessarily hateful. Neither are strong opinions different than your own. The difference is violence. How do you know some group hates you? They try to hurt you. Think KKK, skinheads, Nazi Brownshirts, and radical Islamists flying jet fuel-laden planes into buildings.

To have the SPLC characterize as “hate” the work of Christian ministries— those defined by their love for God and their fellow man — is an admixture of Orwellian newspeak cross-bred with Freudian projection. It’s both false and defamatory. And here is the grand irony. While it’s inarguable that violence is the watermark of authentic hate groups, where are the violent Leftist groups on the SPLC’s so-called hate map? Antifa? Black Lives Matter? The Occupy Movement? They are nowhere to be found. They must all be busy with “fiery but otherwise peaceful protests.”

In his work, Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll may have perfectly captured our cultural moment:

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

The SPLC sees itself as “master” and has publicly pledged to “destroy” those with whom it disagrees. That sounds a lot like promising violence — and suggests that the SPLC itself traffics in hate. A reasonable question here is: Why do our businesses, government agencies, and news media so thoroughly embrace and endorse the questionable judgment of an organization that wants to destroy others simply because they disagree?

My own opinion is that the SPLC doesn’t really believe we are haters. They know better. Yet they are happy to use the epithet as a form of reputational terrorism. The goal is to silence the opposition. The goal is viewpoint discrimination — all through fake definitions.




Frank Wright, Ph.D., is President and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries, DJKM.org.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 08, 2021 9:40am
Updated
RZIM plans to change name, remove Ravi Zacharias' content from website

Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias speaks to tens of thousands of young adults in Atlanta's Philips Arena on Sunday, January 3, 2016. | Courtesy of Passion Conference/Phil Sanders

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries intends to change the name of the organization following the release of an investigative report last month indicating that the Christian apologist was accused of “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape."

In a statement Saturday, RZIM CEO and Zacharias' daughter, Sarah Davis, provided what she described as the first of periodic updates highlighting the “steps we are taking as we seek to walk a path of repentance, restitution, learning, and serving.”

“We are in the process of taking down Ravi’s content from our website and social media platforms, including publications, videos, and other forms of content, and we intend to change the name of the organization,” Davis stated. “Effective immediately, we are also discontinuing the use of ‘The Zacharias Institute’ brand.”

Davis said the organization will offer anyone who resigned from RZIM for “reasons of conscience” during the monthslong investigation by the Atlanta law firm Miller & Martin the “same severance that we are currently offering to those who take voluntary redundancy.”

Davis reiterated that the organization’s “top priority” is to provide “care, justice and restitution” for all of Zacharias’ victims. The organization had previously announced that Rachael Denhollander is serving as a confidential liaison for Zacharias’ victims.

“We continue to grieve deeply for the victims who have been treated in ways that are completely antithetical to the gospel,” Davis stressed. “We also painfully and increasingly recognize organizational failures that have occurred and the repentance that needs to take place in both heart and action.”

According to Davis, RZIM will undergo a “thorough and fully independent assessment” from consulting firm Guidepost Solutions.

“We want to understand all areas of unhealth in our organization so that we can take that learning and do everything we can to prevent any kind of abuse in the future,” Davis wrote.

“Guidepost will be evaluating our structures, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices, including the handling of any former abuse allegations. This process with Guidepost has now begun and we expect it to last for several months. In order to respect the process, we do not plan to comment on any recommendations being made until the process has been completed.”

RZIM expects to be in a position to provide an additional update in the “near future,” Davis assured.

“For now, we anticipate that significant lessons will be learned in all areas of the ministry and are grateful for all who have helped us to begin this process,” she added. “We are praying for the courage to pursue repentance and to have learners’ hearts, and we are trusting in God’s guidance in the days ahead.”

The in-depth report conducted by Miller & Martin details shocking allegations against the late Christian apologist, who died last May at 74, after losing his battle with cancer.

The report includes interviews with over a dozen massage therapists who treated Zacharias over the years. Zacharias is said to have asked therapists to touch his genitals. He was also accused of touching them inappropriately.

One massage therapist “reported details of many encounters over a period of years that she described as rape,” the report relayed.

"Only one of the witnesses we interviewed said that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual intercourse," the report states. "This witness reported details of many encounters over a period of years that she described as rape. To protect her identity, this report does not disclose many of the details she shared with us."

The investigation also uncovered a collection of explicit photos — many of them of much younger women — found in Zacharias’ possession.

The report sent shockwaves throughout the evangelical community, drawing responses from prominent Christian leaders, including Southern Baptist ethicist Russel Moore.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 08, 2021 10:07pm
Oklahoma House passes bill banning gov’t closure of churches

The Oklahoma State Capitol is seen in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Sept. 30, 2015. | REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation last Wednesday that would prohibit state and local government entities from forcing churches or any other houses of worship to close even during a pandemic.

Having passed by a vote of 80-18, the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act will now head to the state Senate.

House Bill 2648 states that “no governmental entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

“No governmental entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is … essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and ... the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

The legislation states that any order or rule issued by a government entity “pursuant to an emergency that requires closure of any place of worship entitled to the religious exemption found in Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code shall be considered a substantial burden even if the order or rule is one of general applicability.”

State Rep. Brian Hill, a Republican who sponsored the bill, told KOCO 5 News that people came to North America “seeking religious freedom and to escape a tyrannical government.”

He argued that “our country’s founders had the wisdom to specifically outline the freedom to worship in one of our founding documents.”

“My faith, like many Oklahomans, is at the core of who I am, and this bill further protects our God-given right to worship,” Hill contends.

Fellow Republican Rep. Jon Echols, the House majority floor leader, issued similar comments to the local news outlet, saying the U.S. was “founded by individuals seeking freedom to worship in the manner they so choose without persecution.”

“I can think of nothing more patriotic than protecting those rights for future generations,” Echols said.

Democrats, however, have opposed the bill and argued that temporarily closing church buildings for safety during the pandemic is not a “substantial burden” because there are other means of worship available, The Tulsa World reports.

“[Do] you understand our concerns have much less to do with attending church and more to do with where the attendees go afterward and [the virus] they spread?” Democratic Rep. Forrest Bennett of Oklahoma City was quoted as saying.

Oklahoma, with a population of more than 3.9 million people, has had about 429,000 COVID-19 infections and 4,534 deaths coronavirus-related deaths as of Sunday afternoon, according to the state’s COVID-19 data.

Last month, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he plans to make the state a “sanctuary state for people of faith” by introducing similar legislation that would limit future governors’ power to shut down churches should the nation face another pandemic like COVID-19.

In an interview with CBN News, Kemp discussed the “Faith Protection Act,” which would bar Georgia governors from using emergency powers to “specifically limit the practice of any religion” after seeing the impact of such actions in other states.

“... My goal is for us to be a sanctuary state, if you will, for people of faith,” Kemp was quoted as saying. “I think this pandemic has shown us that ... people will overreach, especially people in positions of power, and that's not good. ... Looking around other states, it was concerning to me that we shouldn't have any governor or a future governor be able to stop religious services.”

Kemp, whose state was among the first to ease restrictions for the general population as other states extended lockdown orders last year, stressed that religious freedom is “embedded in our Constitution as a fundamental right of this country.” He explained that Georgians were never forced to shut down religious services during the pandemic but worked to implement safety guidelines by either worshiping virtually or holding services outdoors.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 08, 2021 10:22pm
Updated
Supreme Court sides with Christian student barred from preaching on Georgia college campus

Chike Uzuegbunam is a former student at Georgia Gwinnett College who in 2016 was stopped from sharing his faith on campus. | YouTube/Alliance Defending Freedom

A former student at a Georgia college prohibited from preaching on campus can seek compensation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In an 8-1 decision in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, the high court concluded that Chike Uzuegbunam can seek nominal damages from Georgia Gwinnett College.

The opinion reversed a decision from the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals and remanded the case for additional proceedings following the Supreme Court opinion's reasoning.

Justice Clarence Thomas authored the majority opinion and. Justices Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Sonia Sotomayor also sided with the majority.

“For purposes of this appeal, it is undisputed that Uzuegbunam experienced a completed violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced their speech policies against him,” concluded Thomas.

“Because ‘every violation [of a right] imports damage’ … nominal damages can redress Uzuegbunam’s injury even if he cannot or chooses not to quantify that harm in economic terms.”

Chief Justice John Roberts authored a dissent opinion, arguing that Uzuegbunam and fellow plaintiff Joseph Bradford have many problems with their litigation. Roberts said those problems include the fact that they have graduated, the policies of the college were changed and “the petitioners have not alleged actual damages.”

“In the Court’s view, nominal damages can save a case from mootness because any amount of money — no matter how trivial — ‘can redress a past injury,’” wrote Roberts.

“But an award of nominal damages does not alleviate the harms suffered by a plaintiff, and is not intended to. If nominal damages can preserve a live controversy, then federal courts will be required to give advisory opinions whenever a plaintiff tacks on a request for a dollar.”

An evangelical Christian, Uzuegbunam was restricted in 2016 by school officials from preaching and handing out literature at an outdoor plaza on the public college's campus. He was told that student free speech exercises were restricted to two areas of the college's campus.

He later reserved a designated free speech zone so he could distribute religious literature and speak about his beliefs. But he was approached by campus police and asked to stop because the police had received "some calls" about his preaching. The student was informed that the free speech zone was not reserved for "open-air speaking" and he was in violation of the "Student Code of Conduct."

Uzuegbunam pursued legal action against Gwinnett, with fellow student Bradford joining the litigation because the restrictions hindered him from preaching on campus.

Although the school changed its policy on free speech and expression since stopping Uzuegbunam from preaching, they refused to accept a penalty for their past actions.

In July 2019, a three-judge 11th Circuit panel issued a per curiam decision against the students, affirming an earlier lower court decision labeling the case moot.

Represented by Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the students appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in January.

During the arguments, Waggoner argued that the students “lost forever the chance to get those days back and speak their message to their peers.”

“The Supreme Court has rightly affirmed that government officials should be held accountable for the injuries they cause. When public officials violate constitutional rights, it causes serious harm to the victims," Waggoner said in a statement Monday. "Groups representing diverse ideological viewpoints supported our clients because the threat to our constitutionally protected freedoms doesn’t stop with free speech rights or a college campus."

Waggoner contended during the oral arguments English and U.S. courts have for centuries "awarded nominal damages when no future threat exists, even after a plaintiff waives compensatory damages.”

"Officials within our public institutions shouldn’t get a free pass for violating constitutional rights on campus or anywhere else," she added. "When such officials engage in misconduct but face no consequences, it leaves victims without recourse, undermines the nation’s commitment to protecting constitutional rights, and emboldens the government to engage in future violations. We are pleased that the Supreme Court weighed in on the side of justice for those victims.”

Andrew Pinson, representing the college, said at oral arguments that “nominal damages can't serve as independent redress for purely past injuries,” like those experienced by the students.

“Petitioners haven't cited a single common law case that decided the merits of a legal claim where a plaintiff had sought only nominal damages and awarding them couldn't affect the plaintiff's ongoing legal rights or interests,” Pinson said at the time.

“Without a working theory for how nominal damages can actually redress past injuries or historical evidence for that claim, the conclusion has to be that they aren't retrospective relief that saves the case from mootness when there's no longer a threat of continuing injury.”

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By Temmy
Mon, March 08, 2021 10:35pm
Updated
After release of 279 schoolgirls, Leah Sharibu’s parents renew pressure on Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari

A photo of Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu's family is held in Nigeria in a September 2018 video. | (Screenshot: YouTube/International Christian Concern)

On International Women’s Day, Leah Sharibu’s parents are renewing pressure on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to secure their daughter’s release from Islamic extremists after nearly 300 recently kidnapped schoolgirls were released last week.

Rebecca and Nathan Sharibu released an open letter to Buhari published by Nigerian media Monday morning. Their daughter has been held captive for three years after being abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from her school in northeast Nigeria in 2018.

“Mr. President, you have promised me on the phone that my daughter will soon be [released] because negotiations are going on and not long Leah will be returned home but it has been over two years since you made that promise and Leah is now three years in captivity,” the Sharibus wrote.

The Christian Post obtained a copy of the open letter from Dede Laugesen of Save the Persecuted Christians. The letter was released by Gloria Puldu, executive director of the Leah Foundation.

The letter commended the president for the prompt rescue of the 344 Katsina state schoolboys abducted in December 2020 and the release of 279 kidnapped schoolgirls in Zamfara state last week.

A Nigerian pastor kidnapped by Boko Haram in December 2020 was also released last Wednesday after negotiations, just hours before he was to be executed.

The letter questioned why other captives were rescued in less than a week, while Leah has remained in captivity for over three years.

“Sir we plead with you to put yourself in our position and assume that Leah is your daughter how would you [feel] knowing that she is in captivity just because she was courageous to refuse to renounce her faith?” the letter asks. “Leah is denied her freedom for three years just for that reason. Now that you are able to find [solutions] to rescue those in captivity, we believe that you should be able to bring Leah and others in captivity home if you choose to do so.”

Feb. 19 marked three years since insurgents affiliated with Boko Haram splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province abducted Leah Sharibu and over 100 other classmates from a government boarding school in Dapchi. While five of the girls were killed, the rest of Sharibu’s classmates were released to their families after negotiations with the government.

Because the then-14-year-old Sharibu refused to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ and convert to Islam, insurgents pledged to enslave her for life.

Leah’s parents, Christians in Nigeria and rights advocates worldwide have not stopped advocating for her release. Her mother came to Washington, D.C. in June 2019 to call on President Donald Trump to assist in the release of her daughter in captivity.


Rebecca Sharibu (L) and Gloria Puldu (R) speak at the Heritage Foundation's office in Washington, D.C. on June 11, 2019. They called for the U.S. government to pressure the Nigerian government to more urgently secure the release of Sharibu's daughter, Leah, from Boko Haram. | The Christian Post
The Sharibus argued the whole world is waiting on Buhari to fulfill his promise to rescue Leah.

In a translated voice recording of Rebecca Sharibu obtained by CP, Sharibu said she is still “appealing to the government on my daughter's plight now that [279] Zamfara girls that were abducted have been released.”

“Negotiations were made, and all of [them] were released, my daughter is only one person, and now it is three years that she is still in captivity,” the mother said.

“Why won't the government use the same means they used to secure the release of [the other captives] to secure the release of my daughter and the others like the remaining Chibok girls,” she continued, referencing schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram in 2014 from a school in Chibok.

“Please help us the same way you helped to secure the release of these girls so that our girls who are in captivity will regain their freedom.”

On the second anniversary of Sharibu’s abduction in Feb. 2020, the Muslim Nigerian president said in a statement that the government is going to “redouble our efforts for Leah’s return” but stressed, “we can never allow the terrorists to divide us — Christian against Muslim, Muslim against Christian.”

“We are all sons of Abraham,” Buhari said. “And all Nigerians have the same worth and rights before the law, and before God.”

Despite this claim, many international human rights advocates criticize the Nigerian government for neglecting to thwart violence against civilian communities committed by Islamic extremists in the northeast and radical herdsmen in the Middle Belt of Nigeria.

Extremists reportedly demanded $275 million for Sharibu’s release in October 2018. Reports in January 2020 claimed Sharibu had given birth to the son of a Boko Haram commander.

Nigeria has experienced a wave of mass kidnappings for ransom in the past months, which has become a lucrative industry for militants.

Open Door’s World Watch List ranks Nigeria as the ninth-worst country for Christian persecution, stating that Islamic oppression toward believers is rampant and often runs unchecked.

Despite the overwhelming threat to Nigerian Christians, just under half of the country is Christian. According to Open Doors, over 95 million believers are in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

Nigeria was the first democratic nation to be added to the U.S. State Department’s list of "countries of particular concern" for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

The Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria as the country third most affected by terrorism in the world. More Christians were killed for their faith in Nigeria than any other country in 2020, Open Doors reports.

The Leah Foundation continues to advocate for Leah's freedom, as well as empower Nigerian women.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 08, 2021 10:44pm
Senate Democrats Defeat Measure That Would Prevent Boys from Playing in Girls' Sports



Senate Democrats on Saturday defeated a measure that supporters said would have safeguarded women’s sports by prohibiting biological boys who identify as female from competing in girls’ sports.

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) offered the amendment to the Covid-19 stimulus bill and said it would have prevented schools from receiving federal funds if they allow biological males to play in girls’ or women’s sports.

In Connecticut in recent years, two biological males who identify as female won a total of 15 state championships.

The Senate defeated the amendment along a party-line vote, with all 50 Democrats opposing it and 49 Republicans supporting it. (GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska was out of town for a family funeral.)

Tuberville, who coached football at Auburn, Cincinnati, Texas Tech and Ole Miss, argued the amendment was needed to protect female athletes. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Roger Marshall (Kan.) co-sponsored the amendment.

“I started my career coaching high school football, girls and boys basketball 45 years ago, just a few years after Title IX was enacted,” Tuberville said. “It ensured young women had the same opportunities as young men, and the same access to funding, facilities and athletic scholarships. Title IX has given young women the long-denied platform that had always been afforded to men. And today, America’s female athletes are routinely the best performing on the world stage.”

The amendment, he said, “recognizes Title IX’s role in protecting women in education and in sports” and “safeguards fairness and equality for women.”

Title IX is a 1972 law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities.

During his first week in office, President Biden signed an executive order declaring that his administration interprets Title IX as applying to sexual orientation and gender identity. Such an interpretation presumably would require schools to allow biological boys who identify as girls to compete on girls’ teams. It is one of the most controversial elements in the political and legal battle over transgender rights.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 10:26am
Updated
Good morning all

Wishing you a blessed day ahead.

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 10:33am
Porn filters now required on mobile devices sold in US state of Utah

A man views his cell phone.

The Utah legislature passed legislation last week that would require filter mechanisms on smart devices sold in the state to prevent users from accessing pornography and other information harmful to minors, a move sexual exploitation advocates applaud.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a leading national activist group exposing sexual exploitation in the United States, praised the passage of Utah’s House Bill 72. The measure seeks to protect children from viewing inappropriate sexual content online.

“Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets,” NCOSE Senior Vice President and Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said in a statement.

Benjamin Bull, NCOSE’s senior vice president, general counsel and law center director, told The Christian Post in a Monday interview that this measure is the first of its kind and is just the first step in protecting children and families from unsolicited sexual content.

“This is an incremental step,” Bull said. “It won’t cure the problem. The only thing that will stop the total problem is aggressive federal enforcement of existing laws to stop companies like Porn Hub … from polluting the internet with hardcore pornography. This is an incremental step that will protect some children. It’s a first step that we can build off going forward.”

All devices have filters to restrict content, but the default position for filtering content is turned “off” when the device is initially sold. The bill requires content filters to block explicit material on smart devices sold in Utah to be turned “on.”

The bill requires the default filter on all devices such as smartphones and tablets sold in the Beehive State to automatically enable a filter to block material considered “harmful to minors.”

“We’re demanding that providers of electronic communications, anything accessing the internet, should have greater ability to protect children and families from unwanted pornographic material,” Bull said.

Adults will be given a PIN to deactivate the filter if they choose, but children will not receive a PIN to remove the filter.

Hawkins said the current guardrails on devices against sexually explicit material make it very difficult for parents to shield their children from viewing inappropriate material online.

“This ensures that the devices are effective for protecting minors while being unrestrictive on adults,” Hawkins shared. “While these filters are already available on most devices now, on an Apple device, for example, it takes 20+ complicated steps to turn them on, leaving most parents helpless to protect their kids online.”

Hawkins explained how Utah’s measure could protect children from unwanted harm and trauma in the future by restricting internet access now.

“There are countless heartbreaking stories of the harm caused by children’s unhindered access to Internet devices — including the individual and familial trauma of pornography exposure and addiction and adult predators targeting and grooming kids online,” Hawkins said. “We commend the Utah legislature for passing this bill that will aid parents in protecting their children from unwanted exposure to pornography.”

The bill also allows a civil penalty of up to $10 for each violation of the legislation. A portion of the fine would be provided to the Crime Victims Reparations Fund.

Proponents of the bill admit the bill is imperfect but point out that it will not take effect until five other states pass a similar law.

“It gives us years, most likely, to iron out all of the problems, if there are problems,” Republican Sen. Todd Weiler said Thursday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “But it does send a strong message.”

Rep. Susan Pulsipher was the chief sponsor of the bill passed last week. The bill awaits a signature from Republican Gov. Spencer Cox.

The bill will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, if five other states implement similar measures. Utah’s Senate passed the legislation 19-6 after the bill passed the House with a 41-30 vote.

“There is no doubt in my mind that five states will enact this or similar legislation,” Bull argued. “Once again, Utah is a leader in this area.”

Bull explained five other states must also implement the bill since Utah alone is such a small market. With other states’ support, the legislation would be harder for leading technology manufacturers like Verizon and Apple to ignore.

“In order to gain sufficient legislative support to pass it, we agreed that it would become effective when five other states pass similar legislation and that would create a sufficient market force …,” Bull said. “They would have to adapt their business practices to a basically six-state market.”

Bull said Idaho, Montana and Missouri, among other statehouses, are considering similar legislation.

“We feel like we have started a good legislative movement, and we think it’s going to encourage other states. And I think it’s going to happen rapidly,” Bull shared.

Utah and other states have taken steps to address the public health repercussions of pornography.

In April 2016, former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution deeming pornography a “public health crisis.”

Around 70% of children between seven and 18 years old have accidentally encountered pornography online, and 90% of children between eight and 16 years old have seen online pornography, Guard Child reports, citing a compilation of child internet crime and abuse statistics from a variety of online resources.

The average age a child receives his first phone is just over 10 years old, and screen time for children has more than doubled throughout the pandemic, according to Internet Safety 101.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 11:51am
Reddit will continue to allow porn on its platform despite making the 'Dirty Dozen List' says CEO

This photo illustration shows the logo of Reddit on a mobile phone in Arlington, Virginia on January 29, 2021 | AFP via Getty Images/ Oliver Douliery

Although anti-pornography advocates have accused Reddit of normalizing and sharing incest and non-consensually recorded images, the online platform’s CEO Steve Huffman says he will take the “difficult decision” of allowing pornography because “sex is universal.”

“There are difficult decisions to make in this sphere, but we think they’re worth making, as opposed to saying, you know, ‘No sex at all,’ for example,” Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said in a recent interview with Axios.

Asked if hosting pornographic content on Reddit would ever change, Huffman responded, “Sex is universal, and like many topics on Reddit, sex is one of those topics that’s often not well-served online or offline.”

Reddit was included on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2021 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation for being a “hub of exploitation.”

NCOSE argued in a statement that its researchers and other investigative reports have found “countless” forums dedicated to specific topics on Reddit that normalize and depict incest, “non-consensually recorded and/or shared images, pornography … and prostitution promotion.”

The group adds that many subreddits also “normalize and even host child sexual abuse material.”

“If Reddit insists on allowing pornography, it must verify the identity of the persons who upload these images or videos, along with the consent of anyone in pornographic images or videos,” NCOSE Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives, Lina Nealon contends.

“This should be standard operating procedure for any technology company, let alone one that allows pornography.”

Huffman claims Reddit doesn’t want to promote or feature exploitative pornography.

“You can look at [porn] as exploitative. And, indeed, much of it is. And that’s not the content that we want on Reddit,” Huffman said in the interview. “But there’s another aspect that’s empowering. And these are people sharing stories of themselves, pictures of themselves. And we are perfectly supportive of that.”

Nealon says Reddit, which doubled in value from $3 billion in 2019 to $6 billion in 2020, must find a way to better protect its underage users “from stumbling onto this explicit or even illegal content.”

“Ironically, despite the CEO’s acknowledgment that much of pornography is exploitative, he hasn’t made any public effort to stem the harmful and abusive content on its site,” Nealon adds.

Huffman said in the interview that Reddit wants “people to be safe.”

“[W]e have rules on Reddit — no involuntary sexualization,” he assured. “And if anybody makes those sorts of reports to us, we take those very seriously.” He added that the website has a policy of banning the sexualization of minors.

According to NCOSE, Reddit uses volunteer content moderators instead of investing in technology widely used by other tech companies to identify and block sexually exploitative material.

Nealon asserts that Reddit should use a portion of its vast profits to make the platform safer for all users.

Major social media companies, including Facebook and Instagram, officially ban pornographic content but have been accused of not enforcing their rules consistently.

Recently, executives of MindGeek, the parent company of the pornography website Pornhub, testified before a Canadian ethics committee over allegations that it profited off of child sexual abuse, rape, sex-trafficking and non-consensually distributed content.

In a 12-page letter to the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, a collective of 104 survivors of sexual exploitation and 525 non-governmental organizations from 65 nations called for a criminal investigation into MindGeek.

Multiple reports have emerged revealing how Pornhub, one of the largest pornography websites in the world, has allowed illegal content on its site, has been slow to verify consent and remove videos.

Earlier this year, the social media platform Twitter was sued after it took days to remove child exploitation material that was shared thousands of times on its platform.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 1:12pm
Updated
Pastor who wished to either be raptured or die in church suffers heart attack near the altar

Robert Lee Hamilton, Sr., pastor of Golden Gate Cathedral Church of God In Christ in New Albany, Miss. | Facebook/Golden Gate Cathedral Church of God in Christ

For at least the last five years, Pastor Robert Lee Hamilton Sr. of Golden Gate Cathedral Church of God In Christ in New Albany, Mississippi, has been telling his family and parishioners that he wanted to be raptured or die preaching the word in church.

On Sunday, the beloved father of six got his wish. He suffered a “massive heart attack” after preaching an “eerie” sermon on holiness and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital at 1:17 p.m., according to his son Norman Hamilton, who was present at the time.

Pastor Hamilton was 84.

“He’s been speaking this, and it’s been his testimony for at least five, six years or more. He said, ‘If I don’t get raptured in church … I want to die in the pulpit while I’m preaching the word.’ That would be his way to die, and that’s what God did,” Hamilton told The Christian Post Monday.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to be at home, I don’t want to be at the hospital. If I die, I want the Lord to rapture me, but if not, I want to die in the church preaching the word.’”

A week earlier, the church that Pastor Hamilton had led for more than 45 years had done a presentation about heart disease awareness.

“Dr. Smith told us ways we can be more active and how to prevent Heart Disease,” the church noted in a Facebook post on March 1.

Around the same time, Hamilton said his father had appeared “kind of weak.” Since he had never known his father to be a sickly man, his death on Sunday was shocking.

“He was great strength all my life that I’ve known him. Never been to the hospital or anything, never been sick. He got into the church yesterday, feeling good, speaking, and he sat down at the pulpit in his chair around about 1 o’clock. [Then], he looked up to Heaven like he looked up to the sky, and he died; like he had a massive heart attack right then and there,” Hamilton said of his father.

The whole congregation in attendance of just over 200 people was alerted to the pastor’s emergency because he was still holding his microphone when he sat down but dropped it as his heart failed him.

“He left his mic on. That’s how we knew. The mic had hit the floor. Everybody looked up, and we saw him and he was slumped over,” Hamilton said.

The grieving son said it felt like his father had somehow sensed what was coming because his final sermon talking about holiness was earnest.

“Holiness — that was his message. He was telling the members that you have to be saved and filled with the Holy Ghost to make it to Heaven: ‘Hold on, hold on to what you have.’ That was his final message to the church before he sat down,” he said. “He was like, ‘Get ready!’ It was an eerie feeling like he kinda knew what was going on.”

Hamilton said when his father collapsed, many people tried to revive him, and there was a lot of crying.

“It was chaos. It was hollering. Everybody ran up to him to take care of him. CPR, everything, the whole nine [yards],” he said.

Sky Wilson, a young deacon at the Golden Gate Cathedral who also works at Serenity Funeral Homes, Inc, the company handling the funeral arrangements, hailed his late pastor as “a great man of God.”

“I don’t know what to say or start. I’m just thankful to have a great man of God in my life no other than my superintendent, doctor, pastor, spiritual father, father figure; Superintendent Robert L. Hamilton, Sr., I’m glad I had you in my life for 11 years,” Wilson began in a post on Facebook.

“You have been my Guidance all these years. You took me in your arms and lead me the right way. Taught me everything I need to know about being saved, sanctified and Holy Ghost Filled, mowing grass, planting a garden, being a good deacon, how to treat a woman and preparing me for when I get married. Job well done!! I’m at peace knowing you are in a much better place!! I love you so much!! I gave you your flowers as you lived and going to take care of you all the way!! I gotcha covered Pastor,” he wrote.

When asked to describe his father, Norman Hamilton said that he was an “awesome man” who “took care of his family.”

“He loved his wife. He was married to one wife for 63 years this year,” the son said. “No kids out of wedlock. He was a holy man, an awesome man. He got saved and sanctified at 16 years of age. He’s been running with the Lord ever since. We was in shock. He was doing well, and all of a sudden, he was out, slumped over.”

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RIP Pastor

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 1:27pm
Updated
White evangelicals in US least likely to get COVID vaccine

Supporters pray as President Donald Trump speaks during an 'Evangelicals for Trump' campaign event held at the King Jesus International Ministry on Jan. 3, 2020 in Miami, Florida. | AFP via Getty Images/Jim Watson

White evangelicals are the least likely faith group in the United States to get vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

Additional data from a Pew survey conducted in February of 10,121 U.S. adults found that 54% of white evangelicals “definitely or probably” plan on getting vaccinated or already have received at least one vaccination shot, the lowest of any religious demographic surveyed.

Overall, 64% of black Americans surveyed said they would “definitely or probably” get vaccinated or already have been, along with 77% of Catholics and 71% of the religiously unaffiliated.

Of all the religious groups, atheists are the most likely to say they will get vaccinated, with 90% saying they plan ton or already have gotten vaccinated. Eighty percent of agnostics said the same. Among the religious “nones,” 64% said they would “definitely or probably” get a vaccine or already received at least one vaccine shot.

The survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus 1.6 percentage points, also found that white evangelicals are also the least likely faith demographic to consider their overall community's health effect when it comes to deciding whether to get vaccinated.

Just 48% of white evangelicals said they would consider community health effects “a lot” compared to 70% of black Protestants, 65% of Catholics and 68% of unaffiliated Americans.

According to the survey, 83% of Democrats either plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or already have been, compared to 56% of Republicans.

COVID vaccines have been a controversial subject among some Christian groups.

Some religious leaders and critics have warned that vaccines contain fetal tissue or microchips, while others have connected the vaccines with the mark of the beast.

But others, including Pope Francis and Southern Baptist Convention ethicist Russell Moore, have urged people to get the shots.

In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Moore and National Association of Evangelicals President Walter Kim argued that vaccines are a “cause for Christians to rejoice and to give glory to God,” identifying medicine as a “common grace, discovered by human beings but given by God.”

“We have all lost much during this pandemic. For Christians, one of the most awful aspects, apart from the deaths of those we love, is the isolation we have had from one another, along with our feelings of powerlessness to change the situation," the two evangelical leaders wrote. "The vaccines change that equation. By getting vaccinated as soon as our time is called, we can actively work for what we have been praying for — churches filled with people, hugs in the church foyer, and singing loudly together the hymns we love.”

Kim and Moore contend that the vaccines help “express our love for neighbor — especially the sick and elderly — by reducing the chance that we might inadvertently pass along a virus that could kill them.”

“All we are asked to do is to get a shot,” they contend. “As evangelical Christians, we should all hear that challenge and say ‘Amen.’”

Dr. Francis Collins, a Christian physician-geneticist and the director of the National Institutes of Health, has repeatedly discussed the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. He has encouraged Christians to seek out the truth about vaccines instead of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

“I know people are tired of hearing these messages and having to be acting upon them, but the virus does not care that we are tired,” he said during an online conversation about COVID-19 vaccines with Moore.

“The virus is having a wonderful time right now spreading through this country, taking advantage of circumstances where people have let their guard go down. We need to be just absolutely rigorously adherent to things that we know work. But they don’t work unless everybody actually sticks to them faithfully without exception.”

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 1:49pm
Alabama Senate Passes Bill Banning Minors from Receiving Transgender Treatments



The Alabama Senate has passed a new bill that would ban transgender treatments from being given to minors.

According to CBN News, the state Senate voted 23-4 to approve Senate Bill 10, also known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, last Tuesday.

The measure prohibits minors under the age of 19 from receiving puberty blockers as well as hormone therapy or transgender surgery. If passed, violators of the bill could face up to 10 years in prison.

Advocates of the bill contended that minors are unequipped to make such a life-altering decision at a young age.

Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville), who sponsored the bill, told WFSA-TV that the main concern over the measure “is the health and well-being of Alabama’s children”.

“We must protect vulnerable minors who do not have the mental capacity to make life-altering decisions of this caliber,” he continued. “The efficacy and effects of these particular surgeries and methods of treatment are not well-sustained by medical evidence, and actions of this severity cannot be undone.”

Opponents of the bill such as Sen. Bobby Singleton, a Democratic senator from Greensboro, argued that the decision is unfair to families of transgender children.

"We are infringing on the ability of families to make that decision," Singleton said.

He added that lawmakers are inserting themselves into medical decisions.

Protestors, including parents, rallied outside the statehouse on Tuesday in opposing the bill.

A father of a 12-year-old transgender child told WFSTA-TV that his daughter is currently taking puberty blockers under a physician’s care.

“It is proven that gender-affirming therapy reduces the suicide rate of transgender children significantly,” White said. “And that’s why I’m here. So I want to make sure my daughter is confident in who she is and allowed to be who she is.”


Alabama is one of at least eight states where measures prohibiting transgender treatments for minor are being pushed by conservative lawmakers. They contend that minors should wait until adulthood to make the decision.

The bill has moved to the Alabama House of Representatives where a committee has approved a similar bill.

Source


Kudos to the Alabama senate!

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 2:09pm
Some inconvenient truths about abortion in America

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

A recent article by Ben Zeistloft in the Daily Wire began with these deeply troubling words: “Abortion is the leading cause of death in America.” The article was titled, “5 Disturbing Findings from Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report,” but there could have been one more item added: everything listed took place under the Trump administration. That is also deeply troubling (and in saying that, I am not blaming Trump).

Like many of you, one of the main reasons I voted for Donald Trump was because of his pro-life stance, especially in stark contrast with the positions of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and the Democrats. And in many ways, on that score, Trump delivered.

Even Politifact claimed that Trump kept his promise to defund Planned Parenthood (at least, in part), noting, “After a string of setbacks, opponents of abortion chalked up a significant victory in 2019 with the enactment of a federal regulation to prevent a major type of federal funding from reaching entities that provide abortion services.”

Or, as Reuters reported in 2018, “U.S. health officials said on Friday they were revoking legal guidance issued by the Obama administration that had sought to discourage states from trying to defund organizations that provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood.”

On the flip side, as the Daily Wire noted, during Trump’s tenure, Planned Parenthood reported record high abortions and record high federal funding. Specifically, “Accompanying its record-setting abortion count is Planned Parenthood’s record-setting paystub from Uncle Sam.

“Taxpayer dollars accounted for $618.1 million of Planned Parenthood’s $1.641 billion in revenues, meaning federal funds accounted for nearly 38% of the organization’s income.

“In last year’s annual report, Planned Parenthood disclosed $617 million in taxpayer funds for abortion. Therefore, as the United States federal government ran a $3.13 trillion budget deficit, the group received more federal funds than ever before.”

Would things have been even worse under the Democrats? When it comes to court appointees, absolutely and unquestionably. I cannot imagine what the Supreme Court or federal courts would look like today had Hillary Clinton been president. Again, that is one of the biggest reasons I voted as I did.

But when it comes to the number of abortions and the amount of federal funding, it is unlikely that the results would have been dramatically different under Clinton rather than Trump.

That’s because, once Roe v. Wade changed everything, opening up the floodgates, most advances in the pro-life movement have taken place on the grassroots level (meaning, on the streets and in the communities) and on the state level. And while we continue to work for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we must also be realistic.

As I pointed out in a previous article, “Babies were slaughtered at a horrific rate through the Republican presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. That’s a total of 24 years and more than 22 million babies, which is far more babies than were aborted during the 16 years of the Democratic presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.”

Yet somehow, because we conservatives voted for these presidents, that eased our conscience regarding the slaughter of the unborn. Now that Biden is president, I continually hear sincere Christians shouting out, “Biden is killing the babies! The man is a baby killer! He must be stopped!”

Where was our cry, then, during the Trump administration, when Planned Parenthood set new records? And where was our cry for the babies in the womb during the administrations of Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush?

My point is simply this. To the baby whose life has been terminated before birth, it matters little whether the person in the White House is Republican or Democrat. Death by abortion is death by abortion.

In that respect, the millions who died when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were president were not different than the millions who died under Republican presidents. And today, the babies dying under the Biden presidency are no different than the babies dying while Trump was president.

Do I have grave concerns as to where the Democrat policies could lead? Absolutely. Do I think that Roe v. Wade could be enshrined even more deeply under the Biden-Harris administration? Definitely.

But let’s not forget that states like Virginia and New York passed the most radical abortion laws in our nation’s history while Trump was in the White House. (And I commend each of you who spoke out against this wickedness and prayed against this wickedness and worked against this wickedness, even if the bills still passed.)

Again, this is not to blame Trump. Not in the least. But it is to say that our outrage is selective, as if abortion rates dropped dramatically in the Trump years only to skyrocket again during the Biden tenure. Or as if Planned Parenthood lost all of its funding under Trump only to get it back under Biden.

Perhaps, if we felt the same outrage and grief over abortion while a Republican was president as we do while a Democrat is president, we might actually see the tide turn even more.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 9:47pm
Rescuing the Victims of the Sexual Revolution



Imagine a young man with every advantage. He’s well-educated, goes to church, lives in a nice neighborhood, able to secure strong employment ... but he grew up without ever having known his father. Even as he moves into adulthood, his desire to know his father, his sense of loss for what he missed, is somewhere between insistent and consuming.

There used to be a time when fatherlessness was considered a tragedy. Now, raising a child without a father or, in some cases, without a mother is a perfectly acceptable intentional choice. The only thing that matters are the adults making the decision who have desires to meet. The adults are put first; the children, all too often, come in a distant second.

This sweeping social change didn’t happen overnight, or by accident. It’s the logical outcome of the three fundamental lies of the sexual revolution. These lies are now so widely embedded in modern society that we don’t give them a second thought. But it wasn’t always this way.

The first lie of the sexual revolution is that sex, marriage, and babies are separable. That these created realities were part of a biological, social and religious package deal, went unquestioned until quite recently.

Technological innovations, such as the pill, IVF, and surrogacy, legal innovations such as no-fault divorce, and cultural innovations such as ubiquitous pornography and “hook-up” apps, have all made it increasingly easy to imagine that sex is not inherently connected to childbearing, and that childbearing is not necessarily best placed in the context of marriage.

The second lie of the sexual revolution is that men and women are interchangeable. What we mean by this has evolved to a much more fundamental level. Interchangeability in rights was a good thing. Interchangeability in roles was, at times, good and, at other times, blurred biological distinctions. Today, of course, we talk as if men and women are interchangeable in reality, as if men can bear children and “not all women menstruate,” and as if love can make a second mom into a dad. None of this is true.

The third lie of the sexual revolution is that human dignity derives from autonomy, that our ability to sexually self-determine, not only in our behavior but our identity, is the essence of human dignity. In that equation, those unable to sexually self-determine, or who stand in the way of someone’s “true self” (typically defined by happiness) are excluded from the category of dignity.


These three lies of the sexual revolution were largely justified by a myth, one repeated over and over in different ways, to assuage our collective consciences as we fundamentally violate the created and social order. That myth was “the kids will be fine.”

But, of course, they aren’t fine. Not even close. In her new book, Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement, Katy Faust documents all the ways the kids aren’t fine, and all the ways their well-being is sacrificed on the altar of adult happiness.

This is essential reading, not only so we can take our place in Christian history among those who stood for and defending children from hyper-sexualization, abandonment, abuse, and social experimentation, but also because too many Christians embrace cultural norms about reproductive technologies, sexuality, and marriage. In doing so, the Church is complicit in putting children at risk.

In Them Before Us, Faust begins in a crucially different place than the sexual revolution: the rights of the child, not the happiness of adult. That’s what “them before us” means. Simply put, adults must do those hard things that honor the fundamental right of children to be known and loved by both mother and father.

The results of the sexual revolution are in: Children are the victims of our bad ideas. In response, Christians are called to be agents of restoration in whatever time and place they find themselves. For us, now, that means advocating for children’s rights. As Faust writes, “Our culture and our laws must incentivize and encourage adults to conform their behavior to the needs of their children if we are to have any hope of a healthy and thriving society.”

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By Temmy
Tue, March 09, 2021 10:21pm
Updated
Biden's pro-life evangelical supporters say they feel ‘used and betrayed' by president on abortion

President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade of the White House Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, en route to the Oval Office. | White House/Adam Schultz

Over a dozen leaders and scholars affiliated with the Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden initiative have expressed disappointment with the Biden administration’s support of a measure to remove a legal statute limiting taxpayer funding of abortion.

The Biden administration recently declared support for a COVID-19 relief bill that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion in most instances.

In a statement posted on the Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden website, the evangelical leaders and scholars argued that they “feel used and betrayed.” But, they “have no intention of simply watching these kinds of efforts happen from the sidelines.”

“Many evangelicals and Catholics took risks to support Biden publicly. President Biden and Democrats need to honor their courage,” the statement reads.

“We call on President Biden to honor his commitment to us and immediately demand that the House of Representatives apply the Hyde language to the American Relief Package.”


Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden went on to declare that this “is no time for radical change to longstanding abortion policy” and called on certain Democrats in Congress by name to “demand the Hyde Amendment be included.” They warned that if “this is not done, it will raise the question of whether or not we are still welcome in the Democratic Party.”

“As pro-life leaders in the evangelical community, we publicly supported President Biden's candidacy with the understanding that there would be engagement [with] us on the issue of abortion and particularly the Hyde Amendment,” the statement explains. “The Biden team wanted to talk to us during the campaign to gain our support, and we gave it on the condition there would be active dialogue and common ground solutions on the issue of abortion. There has been no dialogue since the campaign.”

Signatories to the letter include Fuller Seminary President Emeritus Richard Mouw, Evangelicals for Social Action President Emeritus Ronald Sider, and Billy Graham’s granddaughter Jerushah Duford.

Others include John Perkins, the founder of the Christian Community Development Association; Eastern University President Emeritus David Black; Florida megachurch pastor and community organizer Joel C. Hunter; Bishop Claude Alexander of The Park Church in North Carolina; and Dennis P. Hollinger, president emeritus of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

In October of last year, the group released a statement urging pro-life evangelicals to vote for Biden despite the Democratic Party’s views on abortion.

Sider, a longtime evangelical figure and an advocate for biblical solutions to social and economic injustices, also edited a book released last year called The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump in which 30 evangelical Christians talked about why they opposed the former president.

Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative advocacy organization Family Research Council and Trump supporter, responded to the Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden statement by contending that the group “can't say they weren't warned.”

“Everyone in America knew where Joe Biden stood on abortion — because he told them. In 13 debates, multiple campaign ads, and a Planned Parenthood townhall,” Perkins wrote in a statement on Monday.

“If Evangelicals for Biden want to say they never saw this COVID bill and its abortion funding coming, then they were the only ones.”

Perkins quoted Biden, who had said on the campaign trail that while he had supported the Hyde Amendment for years while in Congress, he could no longer do so.

“Once they ate of the fruit the Biden campaign was offering the damage was done. The Biden team got what they wanted in 2020: cover for their unbiblical, anti-faith position on abortion,” continued Perkins.

“… the people who argued that evangelicals needed to either back away from Donald Trump, sit out the election, or vote for Joe Biden own this — and all of the other ungodly, evil policies flowing from Capitol Hill.”

Weeks before the presidential election, Sider and Mouw wrote an opinion column published by The Christian Post touting the pro-life evangelical coalition’s statement of support for Biden.

A key point of their argument was that while Biden was pro-choice, his positions on other issues such as racial reconciliation, healthcare reform and immigration made his platform more consistent with biblical values.

“… we believe that on balance, Joe Biden’s policies are more consistent with the biblically shaped ethic of life than those of Donald Trump,” declared the statement in part.

“Therefore, even as we continue to urge different policies on abortion, we urge evangelicals to elect Joe Biden as president.”

Source

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 12:33pm
Biden Administration to Consider Adding 3rd Gender Identification Marker on Federal IDs



The White House Gender Policy Council Executive Director Jennifer Klein says the Biden administration is planning “to look into” the possibility of adding a third gender option to federal identification documents.

According to Faithwire, Klein told a reporter this week that she wasn’t sure if President Joe Biden could approve an executive order to add the third choice.

“I haven’t looked yet to see whether that requires an executive order,” she said. “I mean, I would note that we are very inclusive in our definition of ‘gender’ and we intend to address all sorts of discrimination and fight for equal rights for people, whether that’s LGBTQ+ people, women, girls, uh, men. So that’s certainly something we will look at. But I honestly don’t know whether that requires an executive order.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also added that the administration would “have to look into it a little more.”

In February, a spokesman for Biden said Biden was “committed to advancing state and federal efforts that allow transgender and non-binary Americans to update their identification documents to accurately reflect their gender identity.”

Some states and places, such as Washington, D.C., already have laws that allow people to choose “X” as their sex designation on certain identifying documents.

Federal regulations allow only the choice of male or female, but people can apply to change their gender identification.

“We want to make sure that there’s a consistent, streamlined and practical modernization in gender markers,” ACLU campaign strategist Arli Christian said.

The White House Gender Policy Council was launched Monday on International Women’s Day. The council will work on increasing transgender rights and offering support and encouragement from women of color.

“There will be a focus on women and girls, but the choice of the name of the council is really intentional,” a White House official said earlier this week.

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 1:01pm
Updated
US State of Texas Sued by Satanists Over Pro-Life Laws that Hinder the 'Religious Ceremony' of Abortion



A Texas woman who identifies as a member of a Satanic religion has filed suit seeking to overturn several pro-life laws she says interfere with the Satanic “religious ceremony” of abortion.

The woman, known as “Ann Doe” in the lawsuit, is a member of the Satanic Temple (TST), which has a nationwide membership of more than 270,000 and views abortion as the culmination of a religious ceremony known as the “Satanic Abortion Ritual.” The ritual is performed prior to an abortion in order to “help its membership cast off guilt, shame, and mental discomfort that the member may be experiencing in connection with their election to abort the pregnancy,” the lawsuit says.

She lives 100 miles from the nearest abortion clinic.

The lawsuit was filed in February in federal court. The Dallas Observer broke the story.

The lawsuit challenges four elements of Texas abortion law: 1) a requirement to have a sonogram prior to the abortion, 2) a requirement that the pregnant woman is offered a chance to see the sonogram, 3) a requirement that the doctor or nurse describe the sonogram results to the woman, and, 4) a mandatory waiting period between the sonogram and the abortion.

The lawsuit says Texas’ abortion restrictions violate the Third Tenet of the Satanic Temple: “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”

Plaintiffs in the case are the Satanic Temple and Ann Doe.

“Ms. Doe objects as violative of the Third Tenet to these requirements’ as efforts to control the decisions she makes for herself and her body,” the suit says.

The suit describes the “Satanic Abortion Ritual” as one of the Satanic Temple’s “religious ceremonies.”

The lawsuit describes the ritual in detail: Immediately before the abortion, the woman is to look at her reflection to be “reminded” of her “personhood”and her “responsibility” to herself. The ritual instructions tell the woman: “Focus on your intent, take deep breaths, and make yourself comfortable. When you are ready, say the Third Tenet aloud.” After the woman says the Third Tenet, the abortion can begin.

“During the operation, take another deep breath and recite the Fifth Tenet,” the description of the abortion ritual in the lawsuit says. “Immediately after the surgery, return to your reflection and recite the personal affirmation. Feel the doubts dissipating and your confidence growing as you have just undertaken a decision that affirms your autonomy and free will. The religious abortion is now complete.”

The lawsuit says Texas law interferes with the ceremony, this “raising constitutional suspicions.”

The lawsuit describes the Satanic Temple as an “atheistic religious corporation.” TST “venerates (but does not worship) the biblical” Satan “as a promethean icon against tyranny,” the suit says.

“For TST and its membership, the Satan described in Paradise Lost and like works is a revolutionary antihero who stood up against impossible odds to seek justice and egalitarianism for himself and others,” the suit says.

The Satanic Temple propagates seven “tenets.” Among them: “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.”

In several ways, the beliefs of the Satanic Temple are the opposite of Christianity, the suit says. For example, in Satanism, the “self should be assigned a greater importance than the outside world.” Further, the Satanic Temple “does not subscribe to humility as a virtue and self-deprecation as a lifestyle.”

Source


What effrontery!

There is religious ceremony associated with abortion?

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 1:48pm
Updated
New York bill underway that could force schools to teach sex education to kindergartners and gender identity to 2nd graders



A new bill introduced in the New York Senate, sponsored by a freshman Democrat, could make comprehensive sex education compulsory to children as young as five in public and charter schools and force schools to teach kids about gender identity by the end of second grade.

Sen. Samra G. Brouk introduced Senate Bill S2584A, which seeks to require comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12. The bill would require the instruction of model curricula for comprehensive sex education that conforms to the “content and scope of national sexuality education standards.”

"Comprehensive sexuality education covers issues like healthy relationships, body image, and self-esteem," Brouk wrote in a justification of the bill.

"In kindergarten, that looks like basic lessons about friendship and communication, providing students with the building blocks they need to tackle issues like consent and sexual health years later in middle and high school. At older ages those lessons include health matters like preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)."

The bill seeks to link the state’s schools to recommendations on sex education by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, described as a liberal-leaning interest group that advocates for “Sex Ed for Social Change.”

The group’s current standards propose that public and charter schools teach “gender identity” to kids as young as second grade.

According to the organization’s standards chart, children by the end of the second grade should be able to “define gender identity and gender-role stereotypes.” Students at that age should also be able to “discuss the range of ways people express their gender and how gender-role stereotypes may limit behavior.”

By the end of fifth grade, the council’s standards call for students to be able to “explain differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive and gender identity.” They should also be able to explain that “gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum.”

Also, by the end of fifth grade, the standards expect that students can describe “the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”

By the end of eighth grade, students should be able to “define sexual identity and explain a range of identities related to sexual orientation (e.g., heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, twospirit, asexual, pansexual).”

“Through policy, advocacy, education, and strategic communications efforts, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change — working toward a world where all people can access and enjoy their own sexual and reproductive freedom,” the council contends. “Quality sex education goes beyond delivering information. It provides young people with opportunities to explore their own identities and values along with the values and beliefs of their families and communities.”

Assemblyman Michael Reilly, a Republican member of the education committee, was quoted by The New York Post as saying that “outsourcing our curriculum to this outside organization” is a concern.

Additionally, Manhattan family law attorney Ken Jewell, who has two kids who attend New York City public schools, called the bill “inappropriate.”

“These are things kids that age are not capable of comprehending yet,” he told the newspaper.

The bill is opposed by the students' rights advocacy organization New York City Parents Union. New York City Parents Union’s Sam Pirozzolo said that the state constitution does not guarantee “we have to prepare our kids to change their sex if they want to.”

“We have schools where 95% of kids can’t read or do math at grade level, and now they want to bring in these complicated social justice issues?” He told The New York Post.

Like 22 other states, New York currently doesn’t have a statewide sex-education requirement, allowing local school districts to decide.

Last December, many raised concerns after the United Nations Population Fund released new guidance on comprehensive sexuality education, providing a sex education framework for school-aged children outside of the classroom setting.

After listing a variety of scenarios where parents and guardians learn comprehensive sexuality education alongside their children and train other parents in such curriculum, the guidance expressed concern that parents “wish their children to conform to prevailing gender norms (which are usually unequal),” The guidance stressed that “programmes must therefore help parents/guardians to model more equal gender attitudes and norms.”

Dr. Rebecca Oas, director of research for the socially conservative Center for Family and Human Rights, called it an effort to ensure that students around the world “receive the U.N.’s controversial sex education, wherever they are.”

“One of the major problems with this is that comprehensive sexuality education is trying to teach a comprehensive education through the realms of sexuality as opposed to teaching a comprehensive education of which that is a part,” Oas told The Christian Post in December. “Not everything comes back to that.”

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What kind of rubbish bill is that?

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 2:02pm
Updated
Prophecies are not simply newspaper headlines in advance
By Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

Now that the New York Times, Politico, and other, major secular outlets have covered the failed presidential prophecies, why don’t we make this a teachable moment and ask a basic question about prophecy? Specifically, when prophecy is predictive (and therefore foretelling rather than forthtelling), is it equivalent to headline news in advance?

The reason I ask this question is because the recent presidential prophecies were presented like news headlines in advance, informing us of specific dates and details, none of which came to pass. Yet millions of Christians were urged to believe these specific words and were rebuked when they saw fit to question them.

But is prophecy normally that specific, especially in terms of dates? Is this the biblical pattern?

To be sure, many events are predicted in the Bible with specificity, and on rare occasion, there are specific times and dates put on the prophecies.

But that is certainly not the norm. Instead, future prophecies are frequently spoken in such a way that there is some level of ambiguity in terms of how, exactly, they will come to pass. And often, it is only once they have come to pass that we realize they were true. Otherwise, people would try to manipulate them into happening prematurely or try to stop them from coming to pass.

Think about for it a minute.

The most important prophecies in history had to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And when you read passages like Isaiah 53 – see our animated video on this amazing chapter here – it seems totally clear. God predicted it hundreds of years in advance!

Yet, to our knowledge, no one in Jesus’ generation fully understood those prophecies until after His death and resurrection. And even then, He had to open His disciples’ eyes. Then they saw it all clearly. It was all written in advance. (Read all of Luke 24 for two relevant accounts.)

Why, then, do we think that prophecies today will be so much clearer?

Some years ago, I had the privilege of writing a commentary on the book of Jeremiah, and now, after completing a commentary on Job, I’m working on a commentary on Isaiah.

Here’s one of the prophecies from Isaiah: “A prophecy against Dumah: Someone calls to me from Seir, ‘Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?’ The watchman replies, ‘Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.’” (Isaiah 21:11-12)

Is that clear? Would you like to tell me exactly what it means?

Or how about one of the famous prophecies from the Book of Revelation, speaking of the so-called “mark of the beast,” which some interpret with reference to Caesar and others with reference to a future antichrist? “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” (Revelation 13:18)

What does 666 stand for? You would be amazed to see how many interpretations have been proposed.

This doesn’t mean that there is no significance to these words. It simply means that they are not simply presented like news headlines in advance. Or, when they do appear to be as plain as news headlines, there is often ambiguity in terms of exactly when they will come to pass.

Again, there are many prophecies that are very specific, such as Jonah warning Nineveh that the city would be destroyed in 40 days unless they repented. Or Isaiah telling Hezekiah that, because of his prayer, his life would be extended 15 years.

And when prophecy is more a matter of forthtelling than foretelling, it is often quite direct and explicit, calling out sin and calling for repentance in clear and specific ways (read Revelation 2-3 for examples).

When it comes to some of the most famous Trump prophecies, such as Mark Taylor’s, he initially thought Trump would run and be elected in 2012, which was wrong. Then, he realized he got his timing wrong (which is not uncommon with prophecies), and rightly prophesied Trump’s victory in 2016, along with him appointing three Supreme Court justices, which also happened. But he also predicted Trump serving a second term. That, obviously, has not yet happened.

It’s similar with the oft-referenced prophecies about Trump by the late Kim Clement. When you listen to them, some of them make sense and some do not. In fact, one of his most quoted prophecies seems to describe Trump as man of few words, yet he was anything but that.

You might say, “Then why make such a big fuss about the failed Trump prophecies now? Maybe they didn’t really fail? Maybe they’ll still come to pass?”

Actually, some were quite specific and did fail, such as those guaranteeing that Biden would not serve a day in the White House. Or those guaranteeing Trump would serve 8 consecutive years. Or those assuring us that he would be inaugurated on January 20.

Not only so, but many of the prophets who predicted these things castigated those who did not believe them. They claimed their words were specific and definite and therefore, they urged, it behooved us to trust what they said.

This is not just abusive and out of order. It is also missing the way prophecy often works – and that is mysteriously.

The Lord does tell us what we need to know, first and foremost in His Word. And He does guide us by His Spirit. But He does not give us random information in advance or satisfy our curiosity. Nor, for the most part, does He give us news headlines in advance.

Had we recognized this last year, we would not have put such credence in specific words about a specific candidate getting elected at a specific time. And we would have avoided a lot of confusion and disappointment.

Next time, around, God helping we will know better.




Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 40 books.

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 2:27pm
Updated
Catholic Archbishop says Johnson & Johnson vaccine with abortion ties can be taken if others unavailable

A medical assistant injects a vaccine in a file photo. | Reuters/Michael Buholzer

An archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church has said that the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be taken, despite its ties to abortion, if other vaccines are unavailable.

Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, released a statement last Thursday regarding the ethical concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also called the Janssen vaccine.

Jackels explained that if Catholics are given the option, they should take either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, as the Janssen vaccine has stronger ties to the use of cells from an aborted baby.

“Johnson and Johnson used cell lines from the fetal tissue of an aborted baby in the production of its vaccine, whereas Pfizer and Moderna used them only for lab testing,” explained the archbishop.

“It’s a subtle distinction. All three companies used those ethically compromised cell lines; it’s just that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, because they made only limited use, are further removed from the evil of abortion than is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.”

Jackels noted, however, that if there is no choice in vaccines, “it is morally acceptable for them to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the serious health risk of the coronavirus.”

“The common good of protecting the public health against a contagious and potentially deadly virus takes precedence over any reservations Catholics might have about being treated with any of the available vaccines,” he continued.

Last month, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans released a statement labeling the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “morally compromised” due to its ties to aborted cells.

“… the two vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna do not rely on cell lines from abortions in the manufacturing process and therefore can be morally acceptable for Catholics as the connection to abortion is extremely remote,” stated the Archdiocese.

“We advise that if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available, Catholics should choose to receive either of those vaccines rather than to receive the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of its extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.”

Some, including those involved in the pro-life movement, have expressed concerns over the ethics of taking a vaccine for the coronavirus developed from the use of cells from aborted babies.

For example, the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed in part through growing a modified virus in cells taken from embryonic kidney tissue that derived from an abortion performed decades ago.

Further, the Moderna vaccine was developed by using the HEK-293T cell line, which traced its origins to a baby aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s.

Last December, in response to these issues, the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement saying that it was “morally acceptable” for Catholics to take these vaccines, even if their development involved using aborted fetal cells.

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Vaccines were developed using abortion cells?

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 9:19pm
United Methodist Conservatives to form new global church that will not recognize same-sex marriage



Conservative leaders within the United Methodist Church (UMC) have unveiled their plans to form a new denomination.

The Global Methodist Church will follow a biblical New Testament doctrine that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The move could hasten the long-expected breakup of the UMC over differing approaches to LGBTQ inclusion. Church watchers were not surprised by the news of the proposed division of the nation's largest denomination. Church members have been at odds for years over the issue, with some members in the United States leading the call for full inclusion for LGBTQ people.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UMC's General Conference — at which the schism would be debated — is now scheduled to take place in Minneapolis starting in late August of 2022.

The Rev. Keith Boyette, a Methodist elder from Virginia who chairs the Global Methodist initiative, says he and his allies do not want to wait that long to formally leave the UMC. They have asked that the topic of schism be added to the tightly limited agenda of a special one-day General Conference to be conducted online on May 8.

"The church is basically stalemated right now," Boyette said. "We don't believe an additional year is going to be helpful for anybody."

However, Louisiana-based Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, who heads the UMC's Council of Bishops, said the debate over a schism would involve "delicate deliberations" and attempting to conduct them online in May "does not seem wise or ethical."

If the issue is not addressed on May 8, Boyette said he and his allies would be willing to delay until the 2022 General Conference, but only if UMC centrists and progressives remain committed to previous agreements about a breakup. Any lessening of those commitments might prompt the conservatives to bring the new church into existence, Boyette said.

Global Methodist organizers have launched a new website which states the new denomination would allow women to serve at all levels and seek a membership that is "ethnically and racially diverse."

Regarding LGBTQ issues, organizers said the denomination would adhere to "the traditional understanding of Christian marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman and as God's intended setting for human sexual expression."

As CBN News reported, at a specially called meeting in February 2019 in St. Louis, Mo. delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan, which affirmed bans on LGBTQ-inclusive practices. A majority of U.S.-based delegates opposed the plan, but they were outvoted by U.S. conservatives teamed with most of the delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.

In January of 2020, Boyette, who was one of 16 people on a mediation team that developed and signed a separation proposal, said, "This is not a leaving, but a restructuring of the United Methodist Church through separation."

The proposal, called A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, envisions an amicable separation in which conservative churches forming a new denomination would keep their assets, including church properties. The new denomination also would receive $25 million.

The separation proposal has some high-level support, including from the Council of Bishops.

Formed by a merger in 1968, the United Methodist Church membership totals around 13 million worldwide, including 7 million in the U.S.

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By Temmy
Wed, March 10, 2021 9:56pm
Updated
Arkansas Governor Signs Near-Total Abortion Ban into Law

In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo, File)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday signed into law legislation banning nearly all abortions in the state, a sweeping measure that supporters hope will force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its landmark Roe v. Wade decision but opponents vow to block before it takes effect later this year.

The Republican governor had expressed reservations about the bill, which only allows the procedure to save the life of the mother and does not provide exceptions for those impregnated in an act of rape or incest. Arkansas is one of at least 14 states where legislators have proposed outright abortion bans this year.

Hutchinson said he was signing the bill because of its "overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions."

The bans were pushed by Republicans who want to force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. Conservatives believe the court is more open to striking down the decision following former President Donald Trump's three appointments to the court.

Hutchinson has signed several major abortion restrictions into law since taking office in 2015, but he had voiced concerns that this bill directly challenges Roe and about the lack of rape and incest exceptions. He repeated those concerns as he announced his decision.

"(The ban) is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law," he said in a statement released by his office. "I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court."

As the Legislature considered the measure, Hutchinson shared with lawmakers a letter written by the attorney for abortion opponents National Right to Life that said the chances of the bill leading to Roe being overturned were "very small and remote." National Right to Life didn't take a position on the bill, though its Arkansas affiliate supported the ban.

The legislation won't take effect until 90 days after the majority-Republican Legislature adjourns this year's session. That means it can't be enforced until this summer at the earliest. Abortion rights supporters said they plan to challenge the ban in court before then.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas called the ban "cruel and unconstitutional."

"Governor Hutchinson: we'll see you in court," ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson said.

"This is politics at its very worst," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. "At a time when people need economic relief and basic safety precautions, dismantling abortion access is cruel, dangerous, and blatantly unjust."

Hutchinson had until Wednesday afternoon to take action on the bill before it would have become law without his signature, a move past governors have taken to express displeasure with a bill without risking an override fight with the Legislature. It takes a simple majority for the Legislature to override a governor's veto in Arkansas.

Arkansas has some of the strictest abortion measures in the country and two years ago Hutchinson signed into law a measure that would ban the procedure if the Roe decision was overturned. Another measure Hutchinson signed in 2019 banning abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy is on hold due to a legal challenge.

Several other restrictions are still being considered in the Legislature, including one approved by the Senate a day earlier that would require a woman having an abortion to first be shown an ultrasound.

Another sweeping abortion ban was signed into law by South Carolina's governor last month but was quickly blocked by a federal judge due to a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood. Alabama enacted a near-total ban on abortions in 2019 that has been blocked because of court challenges.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 10:11am
Good morning all

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 10:15am
Trafficking and forced marriages of Christian women are on the rise worldwide according to reports

People pray as they gather for a ceremony on Christmas eve at Central Brooks Memorial Church in Karachi, Pakistan, December 24, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)

Persecution of Christian women worldwide has risen dramatically in the last year as a new study by Open Doors International released ahead of International Women's Day finds forced marriages have increased by 16%, and physical violence against women has increased 31%.

Global persecution watchdog group Open Doors International released the 2021 “Same Faith, Different Persecution” report on gender-specific religious persecution(GSRP) to detail the plight of the global persecuted Church and how this especially affects women.

GSRP has risen to the highest level recorded in the three years since the report was first issued in 2018, as women face a higher potential risk of religious persecution than men. The report's data comes from the top 50 countries on the group's annual World Watch List between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sep. 30, 2020.

Helene Fisher, a global gender persecution specialist for Open Doors International and one of the authors of the report, told The Christian Post that the increased threat to women is often because women have fewer rights in most of the top 50 countries for religious persecution.

“Because [women] have fewer rights and fewer protections, they’re just an easier target,” Fisher said.

“They can also be targeted with impunity, which means that if there is a population that doesn’t want the Christians to thrive, they can go after the women and girls. And there aren’t consequences for those aggressors. So, it is a question of the women and girls having fewer rights for legal protections. [Women] are more vulnerable in the society, and they are just the easiest way to disable the Christian population.”

Fisher and the other authors of the report — Eva Brown, Elizabeth Lane Miller and Rachel Morley — highlight that faith, combined with their gender, puts women more at risk.

The five most common “pressure points” among women in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List for religious persecution are forced marriage, sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence and forced divorce. Each category increased since last year’s study.

Ninety percent of the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted report forced marriage as a pressure point, and 86% of countries report sexual violence.

Reports of psychological violence among women in these countries rose from 40% to 74% from the 2020 report to the 2021 report. Forced marriages increased by 16%, and physical violence increased by 31%.

Women are often used as pawns to target the Christian community. Persecutors often target the daughters of pastors to weaken the core of the church community.

“It is a well-documented fact that rape can be used as a weapon of war,” the report reads. “Women’s bodies essentially become the second battlefield. The ‘capture’ of women in a community demonstrates to the men that they were unable to ‘protect’ them. Persecutors are seen as ‘dominant.’ In the midst of using these women as pawns, of course, real women are violently abused.”

Targeting women, the child bearers, and forcing them to convert is a tactic used to destabilize the future generation of the Church, the development of families and the raising of Christian children.

Trafficking women as a form of religious persecution is on the rise, particularly in Asia and Africa, the report finds. Christian refugees or internally displaced peoples are especially vulnerable to this.

“Trafficking as a form of religious persecution continues to pose a threat in all regions on the World Watch List and it is rising, particularly in Africa and Asia. Globally, 17 countries (up from 10 the previous year) reported incidents of trafficked women and girls,” the report adds. “Countries engaged in conflict were most likely to report instances of sexual violence and trafficking.”

Extremist groups in the Middle East and North Africa often weaponize trafficking by forcing or seducing Christians into marriage or sexual slavery and forced conversions to Islam.

Women who are able to escape their captors often struggle to reintegrate into their home society due to shame, stigma and damaged self-worth.

A young Nigerian girl named Ester was abducted by Boko Haram and was impregnated by one of her captors, the report chronicles.

When she returned home, she was shunned, and the community called her baby “Boko” after the militants who abducted her. This tactic of shame is sometimes part of the extremists’ goal.

Fisher said the narrative in Christian communities in response to this should use biblical truth to fight the false narrative Islam seeks to spread through the shame of rape and sexual exploitation of women. Doing so will foil the persecutors’ strategies, she said.

“Our value is not determined by what has been done to us, but is determined by what has been done for us by Jesus Christ. Just holding on to that truth can radically change the future of a community,” Fisher shared.

In China, the shortage of women due to gender-biased sex selection of males and the one-child birth policy has led to human trafficking webs that force women into marriages to produce male children. The U.S. State Department reported that traffickers increasingly sent girls to China for arranged marriages from impoverished Christian communities.

In its 2020 Trafficking Persons profile on Pakistan, the U.S. State Department noted that “traffickers increasingly targeted impoverished Christian communities to send females to China for arranged marriages.”

The persecution of men and women presents itself very differently due to structural vulnerabilities. Since women are more confined to the home, their persecution is less visible in nature.

“The religious persecution against men is focused, severe, and visible, whereas the religious persecution of women tends to be complex, hidden and violent,” Fisher explained.

Men are more likely to face imprisonment and are pressured by the government in the workplace or public sphere. But women are often held hostage in their own homes, Fisher stated.

Men are also likely to be killed or forced to join the military, while women are likely to be trafficked, forced to flee the country and have an increased chance of being abducted.

“When they are going after the women, they can accomplish the same ends in a much less visible manner. Now, if it’s less visible, it’s less of a risk to the persecutor …,” Fisher said. “We find that a lot of the ways women and girls are targeted tends to be hidden because it’s in the domestic sphere.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation as levels of persecution, especially domestically, have risen to produce a “shadow pandemic.” The pandemic has also led to a rise in abductions due to decreased security.

“We have noticed of course that COVID has made the vulnerable even more vulnerable,” Fisher shared.

In Latin American and sub-Saharan Africa, criminal groups especially intensified criminal activity against Christians during the vulnerabilities of the pandemic and lockdowns.

Oftentimes, Christians in heavily persecuted countries are met with backlash from the government when they report persecution inflicted on them. When governments turn a blind eye to violence, it takes “tremendous tenacity” from the Christians to even be acknowledged.

“[Governments] doing nothing is failing to provide justice and protection. That is doing something that is effectively aggressive against Christians by not providing those basic citizenry services or human rights services,” Fisher said. “And we do find that around the globe, we have so many cases where it is difficult for Christians to bring a case of individual attacks against someone.”

The attacks against Christian women especially target the family unit, marriage and the individual by targeting the woman’s worth. The GSRP report concludes that a multi-faceted solution is required to address such a complex problem.

The GSRP analytical team suggested that local faith actors develop a faith-based approach to respond to the toll on the church, family and community.

“Although someone’s choice to convert to Christianity may expose them to persecution, that faith can also be a resource for strength, comfort and forging a path forward as a response to the persecution and discrimination they might encounter as part of a minority religion,” the report stated.

Research from the World Watch List shows more than 340 million Christians globally endure high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, which amounts to one in eight Christians around the world.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 10:28am
Updated
91 Percent of Churchgoers will return to church after the pandemic according to poll



More than 90 percent of Protestant churchgoers say they plan on attending their house of worship after the pandemic is over at least as frequently as they did pre-pandemic, according to a new Lifeway Research survey that also found that a majority of churchgoers say they grew closer to God during the past year.

The poll of 1,000 American Protestant churchgoers, released Tuesday, found that 68 percent say they’ll attend in-person with the same frequency as they did before Covid-19, while 23 percent say they’ll attend more often.

All total, 91 percent of churchgoers plan on either attending at the same rate or more often. Only 6 percent say they’ll go to church less often.

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said the survey’s results are good news for pastors and churches who experienced lower-than-normal attendance in January.

“Two-thirds of pastors whose churches were open for in-person worship in January saw attendance of less than 70 percent of their January 2020 attendance,” McConnell said in a Lifeway analysis of the data. “Many of these pastors are wondering if those who haven’t returned ever will. Nine in 10 churchgoers plan to when it is safe to do so.”

Among young adults ages 18 to 29, 43 percent say they'll attend church more often than they did prior to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of all churchgoers say they’ve grown “closer to God” during the pandemic. Twenty-seven percent say they’ve become “much” closer to God.

Among other findings:



  • 87 percent of churchgoers attend the same church as they did in January 2021.

  • 5 percent have switched to a new church in their area.

  • 83 percent watched at least one streamed service in place of an in-person service during the past year.

  • 32 percent watched at least 18 streamed services in the past year – an eight-fold increase from similar data in 2019.




“The faith of most churchgoers remains resilient despite a year filled with much uncertainty and fewer options for meeting in person with others from church,” McConnell said.

The poll was conducted Feb. 5-18.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 10:46am
'Church People' addresses shortcomings of entertainment-driven church

Starring Stephen Baldwin and Christian comedian Thor Ramsey, with special appearances by Donald Faison, Joey Fatone, Billy Baldwin, Chynna Phillips, “Church People” will be released via a Fathom Events on March 13-15. | Church People

Christian comedian Thor Ramsey loves the Church. In fact, he's spent much of his career poking fun at the stereotypes people have about Christians and the Church while still pointing people to the truth found in the Gospel.

“You can only satirize something you love, and we love the Church,” he said in an interview with The Christian Post. “We love the Church because we love Jesus.”

But over the years, he began noticing a disturbing trend among the Body of Christ: Churches, many of them large, were increasingly relying on gimmicks — and not the Gospel — to bring people to Christ.

“A friend of mine came to me one day and said, ‘Have you heard what's happening at this big, gigantic mega-church? They're actually having a crucifixion on Good Friday,’” Ramsey recalled.

“And I'm like, ‘No way.’ And it turned out to be false. They were actually doing a Passion play, but the advertising looked like the way he interpreted it. And here's the thing, he believed it. The state of the Church is to the point that we’d actually buy this, that someone would actually do this, because so many crazy things have been done in the name of reaching people for the Gospel.”

So Ramsey decided to do what he does best: Tackle a serious topic and put it in a lighthearted setting to both entertain — and perhaps educate — viewers.

Ramsey’s new family-friendly comedy “Church People” follows “America's youth pastor,” Guy Sides (Ramsey), who realizes he’s stuck in the megachurch marketing machine and wants to find his passion again.

However, when Guy attempts to get back to the heart of ministry, he is thrust into the throes of dissuading Skip, the church’s tie-dye-wearing hip pastor, from performing a strange and potentially blasphemous stunt — “an actual crucifixion” — for the upcoming Easter service.

Determined to boost his audience, the pastor is convinced he needs “something bigger” than the resurrection to draw a crowd.

Meanwhile, Guy is grappling with his own personal problems and is challenged to show both himself — and others — grace in the face of difficult circumstances.

"'Church People’ exposes the wacky heights some people will go in the evangelical subculture while revealing God’s out-of-this-world grace through a poignantly redemptive climax,” reads the film's description.

Starring Stephen Baldwin and Ramsey, with special appearances by Donald Faison, Joey Fatone, Billy Baldwin and Chynna Phillips, “Church People” will be released via Fathom Events on March 13, 14 and 15.

Ramsey stressed that “Church People” “is not mean by any stretch of the imagination” — in fact, he didn’t even want to make the film unless he was positive it would “glorify God.”

But the film, he said, addresses the pitfalls of the entertainment-driven church. It gently reminds audiences that though “we want to reach people with the Gospel, and we want to be inviting, and we want to do things to grab their attention, we sometimes do that to the point where we actually overshadow the Gospel itself," he said.


Though statistics show that just four out of 100 teens hold a true biblical worldview, marking the “least biblically minded” generation in history, the problem of how to reach the next generation with the Gospel, Ramsey pointed out, is not a new one.

“People have not changed. People need the Gospel,” he said. “Now, I'm not against strategies. I think strategies might change from generation to generation. But our strategies can't overtake the reality that people haven't changed. What they need is the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel. So we give them Jesus.”

“Christians should be people of the truth,” he said, later adding: “When it comes to the preaching itself of the Word, you don’t have to break down barriers, you're preaching the truth. The Holy Spirit will break down barriers. So just use the truth.”

“Church People” is directed by Christopher Shaw, who began collaborating with Ramsey on the project beginning in 2010. He told CP the duo created a proof of concept trailer that caught the attention of Baldwin, a veteran in both the faith-based and secular movie industries.

Though funding took some time, “My Pillow” creator Mike Lindell — who makes an appearance in the film — offered his assistance. From there, filmmakers were able to compile a star-studded cast, including Faison, best known for his role in the comedy-drama "Scrubs," Fatone of 'N Sync fame, Baldwin, and others.

Over a decade after Ramsey first conceived of “Church People,” the film finally became a reality.

“God created comedy,” Shaw said. “Comedy breaks down walls, and when there is a poignant message or some kind of truth that you're trying to get across, comedy helps break the ice to get that message in there.”

When it comes to “faith-based films,” Ramsey encouraged other filmmakers to focus first and foremost on “telling a good story” with “interesting characters” rather than beating audiences over the head with a moral message. The Holy Spirit, he reiterated, is the One who will break down barriers.

“Set out to tell a good story,” he said. “Just set out to be entertaining, but don't try to use the movie as a ministry vehicle — and I have my own personal convictions on this — because I think God can use things to point people places, but the ministry vehicle God uses is always the same. God uses people to give the message of Jesus, and that's how people's lives are changed.”

Shaw agreed: “I hope that people laugh. I hope that people also see the poignancy that is demonstrated in the film and the grace that is demonstrated in the film.”

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 11:09am
My Response to the Harry and Meghan Interview: Three Biblical Principles and a Remarkable Legacy in the Making
by Jim Denison



I was not one of the twenty-eight million people who watched Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Here’s been my problem in the days after the interview aired Sunday night: there were actually multiple interviews, or so it would seem.

One version sees Meghan as a brave woman willing to fight for her marriage, her mental health, and her children against the prejudice and opposition of some in the royal family. Another version sees her as a vindictive outsider who did not get what she wanted and is trying to “take down” the royal family.

Some view Harry as the oppressed son of a distant father, but others view him as a troublemaking rebel seeking attention in all the wrong ways. Some viewers saw the couple as courageous trailblazers making a new way forward for royalty in the twenty-first century. But others saw them as capitalizing on Harry’s inherited platform and fortune.

It all depends on which reports you believe.

We can do this with nearly any story in the news.



  • Is the growing immigration problem on our southern border the fault of the former administration, the present administration, neither, or both?

  • Will President Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan make things better or worse for Americans?

  • Should Governors Cuomo and/or Newsom be impeached?

  • Did Dak Prescott win his contract battle with the Dallas Cowboys, or did the team?




Depending on the network you watch or the social media you consume, all are options.

My purpose is not to berate the media for its bias. Rather, it is to explain why we are where we are and to offer three biblical ways to find the truth we need in the chaos we face.

WHO WAS "THE MOST TRUSTED MAN IN AMERICA"?
Columnist Jonah Goldberg notes that well into the nineteenth century, “people—particularly non-affluent, non-city-dwelling folk—got their news monthly or even seasonally. And the interval has been shrinking ever since. Even taking into account radio, TV, and cable news, most people in the pre-internet age got their fill of journalism in the morning and then got a brief update at the end of the day with the nightly news, or maybe the evening edition of a newspaper.”

I am old enough to remember those days well. The morning paper brought the morning’s news. The evening paper (if there was one) brought the evening news. More likely, people watched the network news for thirty minutes (usually at 5:30 p.m. CT; I grew up in Texas) and then the local news for thirty minutes (usually at 6:00 p.m.). If they really cared about what was going on, they might stay up for the 10:00 p.m. local news as well.

We had three networks and thus three news options. Walter Cronkite at CBS was our favorite, known as the “most trusted man in America” because of his objectivity. “And that’s the way it is” was his nightly sign-off. We believed him.

Then came the internet.

Now most of us get our breaking news via Twitter, Facebook, other social media, or notifications from news outlets. By the time we get around to reading, watching, or listening to the news, we mostly know what has happened. But news stations have to fill column inches, screens, and air time in order to sell ads and otherwise make a profit. Many are now doing so 24/7/365.

As a result, “news” is more opinion on the news than reporting of it. Many news programs are more entertainment than information. Analytics drive ads which drive profits, and digital media are more sophisticated than ever in tracking them. They know the time we spend on an article on our computers, our viewing habits on television, our listening habits on radio, and all the other ways we consume their content. They tailor what we see/hear/read to our preferences so they can get us to consume more content, see/hear/respond to more ads, and thus make them more profits.

We can like this, hate it, or ignore it, but it’s the way it is and the way it will be for the foreseeable future.

THREE BIBLICAL RESPONSES
What does any of this have to do with my mission as a cultural apologist to equip evangelical Christians to respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues we face? How does today’s article relate in practical ways to you? Let’s consider three biblical imperatives for our day.

One: Practice biblical discernment.

God’s word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” as much today as when it was first inspired (Psalm 119:105). This is because neither human nor divine nature change. What was true is still true. Thus, we need to view everything we experience through the prism of biblical revelation. Look for what God says about the issues you face, for that’s the truth you need.

Two: Seek the constant guidance of the Spirit.

Jesus promised that the Spirit “will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). He has a word for us for every moment and circumstance of our lives. Not just the “spiritual,” but the “secular.” Not just for Sunday, but for Monday. Ask him to show you the truth you need and know that he will always lead those who will follow.

Three: Aspire to be redemptive rather than reactive.

The God who “sent redemption to his people” (Psalm 111:9) is constantly at work redeeming the bad for good and the present for eternity. Look for ways to respond rather than react to the events of our world, seeking ways to lead people to Jesus and his transforming grace (John 3:30).

"NO REGRETS. PURE JOY."
Luis Palau is one of the most joyful, winsome Christians I have ever met. I have been privileged to work with him in a variety of contexts and have always found him a model of Spirit-led discernment and redemptive grace.

These days, the world-renowned evangelist is battling lung cancer. Shortly after the announcement that he had been placed in hospice care, his son Andrew left his side to lead a major evangelistic event in Florida.

This might seem uncaring, except that the son was doing precisely what his eighty-six-year-old father asked him to do: “Go, Andrew. We’ve said all we need to say. No regrets. Pure joy. Now don’t let me get in the way of you preaching the Good News!”

If Luis had gone to heaven while Andrew was showing others how they can go to heaven, nothing would have made him happier. That’s because, as he told his son, he has “no regrets.”

Can you say the same? If not, why not?

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 11:33am
Updated
Mark 12:18-25

18: Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
19: Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
20: Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
21: And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22: And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23: In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24: And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
25: For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.


From verse 25, our LORD Jesus confirms that there shall indeed be a resurrection.

But we know from the scriptures that there will be resurrection to life and resurrection to damnation.

The passage above has not taken anything away from that fact. Our LORD was only answering the Sadducees according to their question - there will be no marriage or marital life in the world beyond irrespective of whether it is heaven of hell.

Let's be guided.





 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 9:03pm
What drew me out of Islam to follow Christ
by Hedieh Mirahmadi



As a relatively new believer in Christ, who spent over two decades as a devout Muslim, I am often asked for the best way to introduce the Gospel to Muslims. There are many opinions on this topic, ranging from using apologetics to just being a "good Christian." Though most Christian's natural inclination in approaching Muslims is apologetics, it often turns into arguments about doctrine and hurling insults about Islam that alienate the listener. I believe the real power lies in the reality of the Trinity-- God the Loving Father, His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

God is Love. In over 20 years of being a devout Muslim, I never heard God referred to as being love or commanding us to love others. Islam teaches that God is merciful and kind, but the word love is never mentioned. A Muslim must worship and sacrifice for a God that does not ever tell you he loves you. You cannot rely on him to console you in times of trouble, and he was mainly there to judge you. Quite frankly, it was incredibly depressing since I could never maintain the countless set of rules and laws that demanded strict obedience.

Compare that to the Bible, God's infallible, living Word where God describes Himself as love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

In a life filled with disappointment from people who claim to love you and a God that doesn't consider love significant enough to mention, the simplicity of this Truth was very appealing. Our Heavenly Father is the originator and fulfiller of everything we know and experience of love. He so loved humanity that He sacrificed His only Son to rescue us. Not only does God extend His love to His children, but love for Him and those around us is the foundation of our faith.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

Being loved unconditionally and learning to love others the same way has brought me extraordinary joy. Never underestimate the power of explaining to a Muslim how significant love is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is God incarnate. In Islam, you never really know if your good deeds are enough to enter God's Heaven. On the Day of Judgement, God will decide if you were "good enough" and that terrified me. What if there was one big sin He could not forgive despite my hundred acts of obedience? It was very unsettling to live every day, wondering whether I would spend eternity in hellfire. Then I learned that God would guarantee a place in His eternal Heaven if I put my trust in Christ as God incarnate. I needed to accept that Jesus was God wrapped in flesh, who came to Earth and died on the cross, then rose again from the grave to pay for my sins.

The Divinity of Jesus is the most significant point of contention between Islam and Christianity. However, if you know all the miraculous qualities Christ has in Islam, unpacking what they think happened on the cross may be the key to their salvation. All Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin birth resulting from God's Divine Spirit impregnating Mary. They know Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and performed countless miracles during his life. They also believe Jesus ascended to Heaven and will descend from Heaven in the End Times to defeat the Anti-Christ. However, Islam claims Jesus did not die on the cross. Instead, they claim Judas Iscariot's soul was placed inside Jesus' body so people would think it was Jesus, but God took him to Heaven. So, Muslims attribute many Divine abilities and manifestations to Christ but only deny the crucifixion because His death and resurrection would prove the integrity of the Bible. When you state these facts to most Muslims, it immediately leads them to question their understanding of Jesus. How can they believe that he had so many God-like abilities, but He is not God incarnate based on some illogical explanation for who died on the cross? Therefore, planting the seeds of doubt about how Islam portrays the crucifixion is essential.

Receiving the Holy Spirit. In Islam, it says God is closer to you than the veins on your neck, but he will not speak directly to you. In fact, it claims it is not befitting of God to do so. There is no intermediary between the Muslim and God, but prayer is a one-way communication. As a Muslim, I had no way of knowing whether he ever heard me or even accepted my prayers and pleas of repentance. There was no conversation between us. Conversely, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, God dwells within the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit who speaks directly to us, continually.

...He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18

Once I was saved and baptized, I was excited for what would happen next. I kept asking my mentor, "so now what?" She would lovingly but persistently keep saying, "wait to hear from the Lord." I had no idea what she meant by this. I did not know how to talk with God, and I surely did not expect Him to talk back! It was not until I studied what it meant to receive the Holy Spirit that it made sense. Learning and experiencing the Holy Spirit's guidance within me is how I know that I am in a relationship with the one TRUE God. Many Muslims have no idea that accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior leads to God's indwelling through the Holy Spirit. It definitely piques their curiosity to think they would be able to hear from God directly.

Be sure it is clear the Trinity is three manifestations of the one true God and not three separate gods. We have God the Father who loves us; He came down in His Son to save us and leaves us His Holy Spirit to guide us. Muslims accuse Christians of being polytheists because they do not understand this, and unfortunately, many Christians cannot properly articulate it.

Having left Islam, it saddens me to hear even Christians make the false claim that we all worship the same God and each religious path can lead to the "truth." Do not be content to give false or comfortable versions of a "truth" that leaves the individual without salvation and the love of God that comes through faith in Christ. The listener may not readily accept it, but that is not our concern. There is only one God, and no one will reach His presence except through faith in Christ. I understand and believe that now but I did not think that as a Muslim. I wish someone would have had the courage to say it to me earlier in my life.

Finally, I always end the discussion, challenging a Muslim to pray for God to reveal Himself and the reality of Jesus Christ. Their mind may fight the Truth of what you have told them but if it is His will, trust in the power of our God to lead them.




Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel. She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 10:04pm
Pastor Claims Trump Is Still President, Says Prophets Will 'Call Him Back for 3 Terms'



One pastor recently claimed that prophets who prophesied a victory for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election have the power to call him back to the White House “for three terms.”

Pastor Robin Bullock, founder of Alabama's Youth Force Ministries Church International and host of the weekly "prophetic" YouTube program The Eleventh Hour, made the claim during his sermon at a Tuesday church service, Newsweek reports.

Leading up to the election, a number of self-professing prophets, including Bullock, prophesied a consecutive second term win for Trump. When the prophecies fell short, however, prophets, such as Jeremiah Johnson, have issued public apologies for their inaccuracy.

Yet Bullock still holds to his claim asserting that Trump is still “the rightful president”, despite not presently holding public office.

In a clip posted by Right Wing Watch, Bullock asserts that prophets need to start using “prophetical authority”, adding that “we’ve got to come up now to another level and start speaking with authority. Not just declaring, speaking with authority.”

“And the Lord is going to give you words to warn people and speak to people in high-ranking positions. Whether you think they’re listening or not, they’re listening,” he continued.

“The stage is set," Bullock said. "But you're going to have to pray for the rightful president, whether he wants to walk back into this or not. You must pray that he wants to do it, because God won't make him do anything. Is it his will? Yes. Is he the president? Yes. That's why he could just walk right back in, and God will supernaturally move things out of the way."

Bullock added that it was evident Trump was still president just by listening to him speak.

“Even now the rightful president, Donald J. Trump, will hold a rally, and you can tell he’s still the president,” Bullock said. “All you have to do is listen to him. He’s the president.”

“We're gonna have to start publicly talking about that he's the president. I know they will say, 'Really? Why would you say that in public?' Because he is!" Bullock declared.

"Don't mess with us, Satan. Don't mess with us, corrupt political regimes. Don't mess with God's people like that, because I'm going to tell you something: If you mess with us, we'll call him back for three terms. Don't mess with us,” he concluded.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 11, 2021 10:22pm
Pastor's Relatives Raped after Imam's Wife Turns to Christ



A mosque leader sent men to rape three female relatives of a church pastor in western Uganda because the imam’s wife put her faith in Christ, sources said.

The imam also sent a Muslim to the church’s worship services in the Kasese area to gather information for a future attack and yesterday (March 10) sent a threatening message to the pastor, sources said.

The Feb. 16 rapes in Musasa village, Kasese District, of the pastor’s relatives, ages 19, 17 and 16, came two days after imam Caled Bwambale Hussein of Kasese municipality learned of the conversion of his wife, Mariam Mbambu, according to church members who said they learned of the imam’s orders from a Muslim sent to their worship services to help plan an attack on the church.

Mbambu put her faith in Christ on Jan. 30 and was baptized on Feb. 6. Her husband learned of her faith on Feb. 14, she said.

“When my husband interrogated me about being a Christian, I refused to answer him,” Mbambu told Morning Star News. “Soon a Christian neighbor told me that my husband was out to kill me, hence I should escape with my children. That particular day in the evening hours, I escaped with my five children. I am thankful that the church received us.”

The following two Sundays, a stranger visited the services of All Saints Cathedral, Church of Uganda in Kasese, raising the suspicions of a church member who questioned him about his Christian affiliations.

“The visitor failed to respond, which led me to draw the attention of the pastor and church elders to him,” said the church member, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “The church leaders surrounded the stranger, known as Ali Masereka, who feared the possibility of mob justice by the members of the church. He pleaded for mercy and revealed that he had been sent on a mission by an imam of Kasese masjid [mosque] to inflict suffering on the Christians for the conversion of his wife to Christianity together with his five children.”

Masereka confessed that the imam had sent the men to rape the pastor’s relatives, according to the pastor, the Rev. Nelson Walina.

“He also said that he had been sent on a fact-finding mission to find out the whereabouts of his [imam's] wife and children,” Pastor Walina told Morning Star News.

Masereka said his fact-finding mission was to help the imam prepare an attack on the church, church members said. Imam Hussein paid a total of 3 million Ugandan shillings (US$815,000) to 13 teenaged Muslims to attack the church, according to church leaders citing Masereka.

Church members reported Masereka to police, who arrested him on Feb. 29, the church source said.

The rape of Pastor Walina’s relatives was intended to cause shame and fear in the church and its leader, the church member said.

“One of the girls said that when they were surrounded before being raped, she heard one of the rapists saying, ‘Please do not harm them – we were sent only to bring embarrassment and a warning signal to the church,” the source said.

THREATENED ATTACK
On Wednesday (March 10) Pastor Walina received a threatening text message from Imam Hussein, he said, which read: “I am giving you two weeks to send back my wife and children to me. If not, we are going to teach you a lesson that will make you regret for the rest of your life. Your church also stands at a high risk.”

“I do not know what they are planning to do,” Pastor Walina told Morning Star News. “We need prayers. I have reported the threats to the police who recently arrested Masereka. One thing that is clear to us as a church is that we are not going to reveal the whereabouts of our hiding sister, because we know that they are out to kill her and the children.”

He has received other threatening messages from people unknown to him, he said.

“I have been receiving messages alleging that my Christian activities of converting Muslims to Christ will be met with severe punishment,” Pastor Walina said. “We need prayers and to know how best to assist the new convert and her children.”

The assaults and threats were the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda has been documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 11:54am
Kelly Rowland says God carried her when entertainment industry nearly chewed her up

Singer Kelly Rowland arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles August 28, 2011. | REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Rowland, best known as a member of Destiny’s Child, credits her faith in God with carrying her through the highs and lows in life.

Rowland was featured on the latest episode of “Good Words with Kirk Franklin,” where she shared her journey of growing up in Houston, Texas, as a young girl filled with dreams to her success with Destiny’s Child and now as a solo artist and mother.

“I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I believe in faith more than I do religion,” she declared.

“It's such a personal walk ... and it's carried me,” Rowland said of her strong faith in God.

“It's made me the woman that I am. It's making me the mother that I am. It's continuing to make me the woman that I am. It's teaching me how to be a wife. It's continuously stretching me,” she added.

Rowland also emphasized that her Christian faith has sustained her throughout her career, especially at times when she's been placed in “uncomfortable positions” in the entertainment industry.

“I'm so grateful for it because this industry should have chewed me up and spit me out and ripped me apart. And people should have chewed me up and spit me out and ripped me apart. And so many times, I do think that I was close. But faith,” she declared.

During the interview, Rowland also talked about the women who've helped shape her life.

In 2014, the singer gave birth to her son but soon after celebrating his birth, she suffered the loss of her mother who died.

“I lost her six years ago now. But the reason why I say it's a beautiful story is … the time that I had my son, literally three weeks later, I lost my mom. And I felt like in that time period, I felt like there was this spiritual moment where God was showing me how short life is,” she said.

Rowland referenced the Bible verse James 4:14 that talks about life being “just a vapor.”

“I cried about it, like not over the loss, but just the fact of how precious people, life, and time is,” she added. “At some point in your life, you do take it for granted, but I don't take it for granted at all.”

During the conversation, Franklin asked Rowland whether Destiny’s Child received backlash for making mainstream music. She said it was her mother’s church that criticized her the most.

Rowland said the “saints didn’t take to the fact” that she was going to sing “secular music.”

However, she found another church that prayed for their success instead.

Franklin and the singer also discussed their stories of reconnecting with their estranged fathers, stepping out despite fear, and how Rowland overcame comparison in her career.

As a founding member of Destiny’s Child, Rowland has had No. 1 hits and multiple Grammy Awards. But in a separate interview on The Hillsong Channel, she emphasized that all success is fleeting.

“I think that, for me, if it wasn't number one, I would probably be really hard on myself,” Rowland said. “It was probably a time where I just was really tired of the crappy part of the industry, the moments where you feel like you're there by yourself when the number ones aren't there, and you’re just left with your own person.”

After transitioning from the world-renowned group and becoming a solo artist, she said, “I was constantly wondering why am I here. I would always ask God: ‘Why do I have to go through this part and why is it so painful? Why is it so stressful? And why can’t I sleep at night and why is there a lack of peace? And why is there one thing coming after another?’”

“I was in a really dark spot. I didn't like the place where I was ... it just felt like for a second I was going to drown.”

She revealed then that faith played a “huge role” in that difficult season.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 12:01pm
The COVID Baby Bust Reflects a Disturbing Cultural Reality



At the start of the pandemic, many expected the lockdowns and quarantines to lead to a “baby boom.” Well, the data is in. Instead of a “boom” it’s been a “bust.” As CBS recently reported, records from more than two dozen states show a “7% drop in births in December — nine months after the first lockdowns began.”

While 7 percent may sound like a small dip, it’s not. As the New York Times puts it: “The pandemic’s serious disruption of people’s lives is likely to cause ‘missing births’ — potentially a lot of them. Add these missing births to the country’s decade-long downward trend in annual births and we can expect consequential changes to our economy and society in the years to come.”

As the Times pointed out, this “baby bust” is, in reality, a pre-existing condition of COVID, not created by the virus but made worse. While some of us have talked about the ongoing birth dearth for years now, a major news outlet reporting on it is itself newsworthy.

Until recently, most media outlets have insisted the problem is overpopulation, that too many humans were literally destroying the planet. However, as USC demographer Dowell Myers told CBS, America’s shrinking fertility rate and its economic impact is nothing less than a “crisis.”

Fewer babies means a smaller work force in the future, which means lower economic productivity and a smaller tax base. This, in turn, means additional stress to Social Security, and fewer people to take care of a rapidly aging population.

If COVID isn’t the cause, how did we get here? Ideas … bad ones with consequences and victims.

At the top of the list is the “Population Bomb” myth. In 1970, Paul Ehrlich, the author of the book of that name, predicted that “Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come ... an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.” That didn’t happen, but here’s what did. Within 15 years of Ehrlich’s prediction, nearly every developed nation, along with many developing ones, had embraced some version of his stark theory and declared war on human fertility. As a result, birth rates dropped below replacement rates.

In addition to that ecological myth, there’s an anthropological one, too. For decades, women were told that their bodies were in the way of their progress. If women wanted equality, they would need to be liberated from their own procreative potential. The tragic irony is that once women were, in fact, disconnected from their bodies, transgender men stepped in and appropriated all of the equality and all of the rights promised to women. And now, climate change has been added as the latest reason to forego child-rearing.

The postponing and foregoing of childbirth has corresponded to the postponing and foregoing of marriage. Since 1980, the median age of first marriage has gone from 24.7 for men and 22 for women to 30 and 28 respectively. The additional six years for women correspond almost exactly with their peak fertility.

It’s impossible to over-emphasize the role of culture in all this. When was the last time marriage and childbearing, at least in their traditional forms, were celebrated on TV or in film? When was the last time they were celebrated in church?

Israel is a notable exception to the global COVID-19 “baby bust” trend, with a birthrate twice that of the United States. Even non-religious Israelis are having children above replacement level. The cultural attitude toward marriage and family there is just as distinct as the results. As anyone who’s been to Israel knows, Saturday dinner is a sacrosanct family event, for religious and non-religious Israelis alike, and children figure prominently in Israelis’ definition of “life, liberty, and happiness.”

Christians, of course, should hold at least as high of a view of marriage and fertility. After all, God never revoked the command to be fruitful and multiply, and Jesus’ command to let the little children come to Him implies there are children around in the first place. Scripture is clear that “children are a heritage from the Lord.” Next to the Gospel itself, children are the greatest gift we can give future generations.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 12:04pm
Malaysia court strikes down ban on Christians using the word 'Allah' in publications

Malaysian flag | Unsplash/mkrj

After a decades-long legal battle, a Malaysian court has overturned a policy banning Christians from using the word "Allah” in publications in the Muslim-majority country.

On Wednesday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court deemed unconstitutional a 35-year-old government ban on the use of “Allah” and three other Arabic words by Christian publications.

An earlier court ruling had stated that Allah should be reserved exclusively for Muslims, as the word “is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity” and could cause confusion among religious groups.

Three other words — “kaabah” (Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca), “baitullah” (house of God) and “solat” (prayer) — were also banned in a 1986 government directive.

This week, government counsel Shamsul Bolhassan was quoted as saying by CNA that the four words can now be used in Christian materials following the court’s ruling, as long as it clearly states that materials are intended for Christians only and a symbol of a cross is displayed.

The case began 13 years ago when officials seized religious materials in the local Malay language from a Christian at Kuala Lumpur International Airport that contained the word “Allah.”

The Christian woman — Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a member of an indigenous group — then launched a legal challenge against the policy.

On Wednesday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court sided with her, ruling she had the right not to face discrimination on the grounds of her faith. The judge also ruled the ban on Christians using “Allah” was “unlawful and unconstitutional,” her lawyer Annou Xavier said.

“The court has now said the word Allah can be used by all Malaysians,” Xavier said, according to The Associated Press. “Today’s decision entrenches the fundamental freedom of religious rights for non-Muslims in Malaysia” enshrined in the constitution.

Christians in Malaysia, who make up only 9% of the population, have historically used the word "Allah" to refer to God, in their Bibles, prayers and songs. Though most Christians in the country worship in English, Tamil or other Chinese dialects, some Malay-speaking people have no other word for God but “Allah.”

Controversy over the use of the word "Allah" has been ongoing for several years in Malaysia, sparking tension between religious groups.

In 2014, Malaysia’s top court denied a Catholic Church the right to use the word “Allah” in the Malay-language edition of a church newspaper. That same year, a church was hit with petrol bombs.

In recent years, Islamic authorities have seized more than 20,000 Bibles that used the word “Allah,” according to International Christian Concern.

Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List ranks Malaysia as the 46th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution. In Malaysia, Christians have suffered from many forms of Islamic repression.

According to Open Doors USA, which monitors persecution in over 60 countries, Catholics and Methodists are monitored by authorities in Malaysia, but nontraditional Protestant groups are more often targeted because they are usually more active in evangelizing. Open Doors reports that it is illegal to share the Gospel with Malaysian Muslims.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 12:10pm
Judge Rules Texas Can Defund Abortion Giant Planned Parenthood



A judge on Wednesday sided with pro-lifers and Texas officials when she ruled the state followed the law in withdrawing Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood.

The ruling by State District Judge Lora Livingston – the second such ruling by a court in the last five months – gave the green light for Texas to defund Planned Parenthood, although the abortion giant could appeal.

Planned Parenthood had argued that Texas did not give it the necessary notice as required by law. Livingston, though, disagreed.

“This decision is not made lightly,” Livingston wrote, according to The Hill. “In the light of the ongoing public health crisis, the risks of the individual losing health care and medical attention requires increased attention and scrutiny. The facts underlying the termination in this case give me great pause.”

“Relators selected the federal courts as the forum to contest the merits of their claims, and they are now not able to revive their administrative remedies as the deadline to seek that relief has long since passed,” Livingston added. “The merits of their claims must be determined by the federal courts.”

Last November, Planned Parenthood lost in federal court when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas and Louisiana could pull Medicaid funding from the organization.

The controversy in Texas over funding began in 2015, when the pro-life Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a video showing representatives of a Texas Planned Parenthood discussing organ harvesting of fetal tissue. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the video “repulsive and unconscionable.” The state then told Planned Parenthood it was terminating the Medicaid agreement, and Planned Parenthood sued.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last year said Planned Parenthood should be defunded.

“Undercover video plainly showed Planned Parenthood admitting to morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct, including violations of federal law by manipulating the timing and methods of abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research,” Paxton said. “Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program.”

Jennifer Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, said in January that Texas women have better options than Planned Parenthood.

“There are hundreds of providers throughout the state of Texas willing to serve poor women with authentic healthcare services that are not also peddling abortion,” she told Catholic News Agency. “The Texas Pregnancy Care Network has a list of such providers throughout the state and if these providers do not accept Medicaid, they can make referrals to life-affirming Medicaid providers who can offer genuine healthcare to women in need.”

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 12:49pm
Updated
French schoolgirl whose accusation led to teacher's beheading admits she lied: lawyer

A man takes a copy of the latest edition of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo with the title 'One year on, The assassin still on the run' displayed at a kiosk in Nice, France, January 6, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard)

The French schoolgirl who accused her teacher of showing cartoon caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad to a class in October, which led to his murder and decapitation by an Islamic radical, has admitted she lied about the incident.

The 13-year-old girl, whose complaints about her teacher’s actions led to an online campaign against him, recently admitted she was not even in the class that day. She said she did not see the controversial cartoons of Muhammad personally, but a girl in her class showed them to her, BBC reports.

The girl, who is not named, initially told her father that her teacher, Samuel Paty, asked Muslim students to leave the classroom while he showed students cartoons from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a lesson on blasphemy and free speech.

This led her father to file a legal complaint, post videos in response to the allegations and begin a social media campaign. The father has been charged in connection with Paty’s October 2020 murder.

A different account regarding the teacher’s actions emerged that said the original story was distorted.

Paty, who had taught a similar lesson on free speech for years, told students he was about to show a picture of Muhammad and to close their eyes if they would feel offended. The girl originally claimed he asked Muslim students to leave the room.

In a leaked testimony, the schoolgirl said she made up the story so she wouldn't disappoint her father.

The girl’s attorney, Mbeko Tabula, told AFP that the girl “lied because she felt trapped in a spiral because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson.”

While going home from school, Paty, a 47-year-old history and geography teacher, was killed and decapitated by Addoulakh Anzorov shortly after the student’s accusations resulted in a social media campaign.

Anzorov, 18, was shot dead by the police on Oct. 16 in Conflans Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, after he killed and beheaded Paty.

Multiple students and family members have been detained since Paty’s assassination, and police carried out raids in suspected radicals' homes, the BBC reported last year.

Since the attack, reports say two university professors have received police protection after being accused of Islamophobia by student protesters last week.

In response to Paty’s murder, thousands participated in rallies and memorials across France to honor the late teacher and carried signs with the slogan “Je suis enseignant,” which means “I am a teacher.”

France launched a terror investigation into the murder, and French President Emmanuel Macron visited the site, calling the killing an attack on “the republic and its values.” He said that the battle against Islamic terror is “existential.”

“One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught. He taught his students about freedom of expression, freedom to believe or not believe. It was a cowardly attack. He was the victim of a terrorist Islamist attack,” Macron said in October. “This evening, I want to say to teachers all over France, we are with them, the whole nation is with them today and tomorrow. We must protect them, defend them, allow them to do their job and educate the citizens of tomorrow.”

Macron posthumously awarded Paty the French Légion d’honneur, which is the highest French decoration. The president called Paty a “quiet hero” in a ceremony the week after the assassination.

“We will continue this fight for liberty and for reason of which you have now become the face, because we owe it to you,” Macron shared, according to The Guardian. “Because in France, sir, the lights will not go out.”

Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that published the caricature of the prophet Muhammad, is known for anti-religious cartoons that stir controversy.

In January 2015, a terror attack on the magazine’s office killed 12 staff members in response to the magazine’s cover that seemingly depicted God as a jihadist. Images of the prophet Muhammad are considered highly offensive and taboo by Muslims.

France has experienced a rise in Islamic-extremist terror attacks in the past decade.

In October 2017, a jihadist shouting “Allahu Akbar” stabbed two women to death at a Marseille train station.

In July 2016, a truck ran into a crowd at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, killing 84 people.

Later in July 2016, Islamic jihadists stormed a morning mass in Normandy, murdering a French priest and taking worshippers and nuns hostage.

In 2015, a series of attacks by gunmen and bombers killed about 130 people across Paris.

Anti-Christians incidents in France rose 285% from 2008 to 2020 due to a rise in attacks and acts of vandalism against houses of worship, according to the Vienna-Based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. France’s Interior Ministry reported 1,052 anti-Christian incidents in 2019, which mainly consisted of attacks on religious property.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 1:08pm
You Should Check on Your Pastor



We are tired. 2020 exhausted us, and many don’t see an end to the chaos in 2021.

It is well known that America is experiencing a mental health crisis. And for pastors, the mental, emotional, and spiritual challenge of shepherding a congregation during the COVID-19 pandemic can be incredibly taxing.

Pastors often overlook their own exhaustion because they’re so connected to the hurts and stressors of their community. On top of the normal preaching, counseling, and supporting roles of clergy, many have had to juggle financial worries as giving has fallen for some churches, especially smaller congregations.

Even without a pandemic or political polarization, pastors often function in leadership roles in isolation, and this wears them down. According to a Barna survey conducted last year, three in ten pastors (31%) said they are struggling with their emotional well-being. Even before the pandemic, research showed that 90% of pastors worked 55 to 70 hours a week, and 50% of them felt unable to meet the demands of the job.

As a pastor for five years and someone who has been involved in ministry for 15 years, I have never before experienced the level of heightened worry and uncertainty I’m experiencing now. And I’m not alone. Every pastor that I know, especially the ones who “seem fine,” could use some comfort, care, and an extra dose of hope. Over the past year, I have regularly received private text messages and phone calls from leaders wondering how to best care for their congregations and their family. And some are also juggling a full-time job and other passion projects.

Often, the last thing on your pastor’s mind is how to care well for themselves even though they know the importance. Having support and encouragement from congregations is vital to avoid burnout and for running effective ministries. Here are three ways you can encourage and support your church leaders’ well-being today:

1. PRAY.
Not only does God hear our prayers, but pastors feel your prayers! On those days when the tension of navigating this difficult season seem too agonizing to manage, people praying on our behalf can feel like Aaron and Hur lifting up the hands of Moses when he was too exhausted to continue doing it alone. (Exodus 17:12-14). When pastors know that they have prayer support, the impossibility of having to lead in the midst of crisis becomes possible.

2. CREATE A SAFE SPACE.
Consider how you might provide a safe space (perhaps over a meal) for your pastor or church leaders to share their own laments, struggles, and questions, without offering judgement or solutions. The goal is not to fix or correct, but to listen and care. Simply sharing our feelings, and having someone listen, can help people heal. There are three simple questions you can use when listening to someone: What happened? How are you feeling? What was the hardest part for you?

3. SERVE ALONGSIDE LEADERS.
Acknowledge that in your congregation, there may be a wide range of perspectives and opinions regarding what is happening socially and politically. From my perspective, Jesus planned it this way! He brought zealots and tax collectors together for a meal and to do ministry together. Remember that your pastor has to hear and honor all perspectives. Consider leaning into loving conversations with those that do not have the same perspective as you. As you become the model, you will be surprised how others follow.

Pastors are not superheroes. When we check up on and support church leaders, caring for them as fellow members of the body of Christ, we ensure resilience and strength in our collective ministry. As we minister to one another during this season, I urge us to support and encourage our pastors too.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 1:18pm
Republicans introduce bill to protect religious beliefs of faith-based foster care providers

U.S. Capitol | Unsplash/Joshua Sukoff

Congressional Republicans introduced legislation designed to protect faith-based foster care providers who seek to carry out their business practices in accordance with their religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality.

The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, sponsored by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., was introduced in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The legislation comes at a time when faith-based foster care providers have faced lawsuits for refusing to place children with same-sex couples in light of their religious beliefs defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

As explained in a statement published by Kennedy's office on Wednesday, "The bill prohibits federal, state and local government agencies that receive federal adoption assistance funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers based on the providers' unwillingness to take action contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs."

"This would include all agencies that receive funding under Part B (Child and Family Services) or Part E (Federal Payments for Foster Care, Prevention and Permanency) of Title IV of the Social Security Act."

Kennedy said that faith-based child welfare providers "are an essential part of caring for some of the most vulnerable children in our communities."

"I'm deeply saddened to see some government officials punish foster services for their sincere religious beliefs," the Louisiana lawmaker stated.

"That discrimination comes directly at the expense of boys and girls who are waiting for loving, healthy homes. No government agency that discriminates against people based on their faith — which goes against the interests of foster children — deserves taxpayer dollars," he added.

In a statement, Scott said that faith-based foster care providers support over 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system.

"At a time when religious freedoms are under assault, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is a necessary protection for those who are living according to their convictions," Scott said. "I am grateful my colleagues are standing with me to protect this most fundamental right."

Kelly voiced disgust with the fact that some state and local governments are "requiring faith-based adoption agencies to choose between helping kids and violating their religious faith."

"This blatant attack on the First Amendment makes it even harder for children to find loving homes," he argued. "By passing this legislation, Congress can stand up for kids and defend religious liberty."

The introduction of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act comes as a case involving faith-based adoption agencies is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2018, the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania stopped placing children with foster parents affiliated with Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Bethany Christian Services of Greater Delaware Valley because their policies would not allow children to be placed with same-sex couples.

Catholic Social Services argued that the city's action violated the Constitution. A federal appeals court sided with the city of Philadelphia, claiming that the First Amendment "does not prohibit government regulation of religiously motivated conduct so long as that regulation is not a veiled attempt to suppress disfavored religious beliefs." The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the case later this year.

The Senate bill has attracted 21 cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans. Meanwhile, eight Republicans have signed on as cosponsors in the House.

The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act was previously introduced in the 116th Congress but failed to gain traction in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

While the Democrats have a reduced number of seats in the 117th Congress, the legislation will likely fail to pass again because of the Democrats' expected near-unanimous opposition to the bill, not to mention their control of the Senate and the White House.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 1:30pm
The Myth of the Underdog



The overall cost – room and board – to attend Smith College, an elite women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts, is in the neighborhood of 78-thousand dollars per year. An allegation of racism, made by an African-American student against a school janitor in 2018, has prompted a complex cultural discussion there that is full of worldview implications. It also exposes the significant limitations of critical theory and intersectionality, the dominant lenses by which our culture discerns issues of race, privilege, poverty, and discrimination.

The New York Times called the situation a collision of “race, class and power.” A black female student was eating lunch in a dorm that was supposed to be closed for the summer. When a janitor called security, the student claimed that she was questioned for “eating while black.” The janitor, whose entire annual salary would barely cover half a year’s room and board at Smith, was placed on leave. Another janitor quit after the student posted his picture online, calling him a racist coward.

Smith College responded by issuing a public apology… to the student. Months later, an independent law firm released its report on the entire incident. They concluded that there was no evidence that anyone acted with racial bias.

One of the embedded myths of American culture is the good-hearted, perhaps unlucky, but ultimately victorious “little guy.” Almost every sports movie or war movie features an unlikely hero with a big heart but little chance of success, yet who nevertheless comes out on top: the Cinderella team in March Madness, “Rudy,” the nerd who gets the girl, the hockey team of misfits, the basketball team with the actual dog on it. Most of us cheer for the underdog.

The problem lies in assigning virtue to underdogs simply because they’re an underdog. The modern world, said G.K. Chesterton, has far too many virtues, that are “wandering wildly” and doing “terrible damage.” In other words, our virtuous instincts can go awry when they’re not anchored to the Truth.

This at least partially explains why this situation at Smith College has thrown off so many people, including The New York Times. Who’s the “Good Guy” in a story in which everyone is the underdog? Who should win when an ethnic minority student and a blue-collar worker fall at odds? Who should win if we’re not allowed, or don’t know how, to issue moral judgments on behavior because we’re issuing them simply on social class, ethnicity, or race?

Jesus chose the uneducated and unpopular as His disciples: fishermen, tax collectors, Zealots… Viewing this through the myth of the “perfect-hearted” Little Guy, it’s tempting to conclude that though the disciples didn’t seem important or wise, Jesus must have known the real story. Perhaps the Twelve were the first century equivalent of the lead character in a high school romantic comedy. Maybe the nerd who’s ignored and bullied until he takes off his glasses and everyone realizes how good-looking and big hearted he really is.

But that’s not true. The disciples, at least according to the Gospels, were kind of pathetic. When they weren’t angry, jealous, or power-hungry, they were confused and scared. Jesus had to say “I came from the Father” about 400 times before they even kind of grasped what He meant.

When Paul says that God chose the “foolish things of this world to shame the wise,” he wasn’t saying that fools are secretly wise and just haven’t enjoyed their deserved moment in the sun. He uses the foolish and the weak to display His glory. By choosing these 12 disciples, outcasts and underdogs, He gets to say, “See what I can do?” After all, how great is a God that can save the world and build a kingdom using any of us?

The fatal flaw in our current cultural discussions on oppression and justice is a misunderstanding of our common humanity: our common dignity as created in God’s image, our common frailty as fallen from His grace, our common foolishness after the fall, and our common reliance on His grace for wisdom and help.

Without a doubt, the young woman at Smith College shouldn’t be profiled because of her skin color. Neither should a janitor be falsely accused of racism.

Virtue is action, not category. And no one is virtuous or guilty simply because they are an underdog.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 1:31pm
Good afternoon all.

Thank God it's Friday.

Wishing you a most splendid weekend ahead.

In Jesus' Name. Amen.

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 9:34pm
78-year old Michigan grandmother deadlifts nearly 400 pounds with help of Holy Spirit



At 78, Michigan grandmother Nora Langdon is a powerlifting champion who can deadlift almost 400 pounds and bench presses more than 200 pounds, thanks, she says, to the power of the Holy Spirit, eating right, and training consistently.

"When I squat this is what I say, I say, 'Holy Spirit fall on me,' and I just do it and I come right on up," said Langdon, who attends the Word of Faith church in Southfield in a recent interview with Fox 2.

The spirit-filled grandmother who started powerlifting just 13 years ago holds 19 world records across two weight classes, according to Open Powerlifting and she doesn’t appear ready to stop setting records any time soon.

The retired realtor explained in an interview with The Christian Post Thursday that she started working out at the Royal Oak Gym after she noticed she became winded going up and down stairs and she was also a little overweight.

“I was 65 years old and I used to be a realtor. I got tired going up and down the stairs and so I said, let me get some training,” she recalled.

She said the husband of a friend offered to train her along with another friend at a birthday party for a “good price,” so they began training together. The friend ended up quitting the training, but Langdon said she pressed on with prompting from the Holy Spirit.

“When I first started now, I [trained] … came home, took my shower and everything. The next morning I got up and I said, I’m not going back. I was hurting all over. And I heard this voice say, ‘go back,’ and I decided to go back. And that was the Holy Spirit telling me this is for you. That’s the way I felt,” she said.

“After about a month or two, he [trainer] asked me did I want to go to a tournament and I said yes. So I went and I got a certificate that first time I went. And I fell in love with it,” she said.

Langdon said getting the certificate boosted her confidence and as she continued training, she also noticed added benefits.

“My health was not really good before I started. I was a little overweight,” she said. “I didn’t have any physical ailments [but] I had real high blood pressure. [Now] my blood pressure is down to normal now,” she said, and it’s been that way for at least the last 10 years.

Art Little, who trains Langdon, told Fox 2 that he was apprehensive about training her at first because of her age, but she was determined.

"She's really been an asset to the gym, and to me, and to the whole powerlifting field," Little said. "To see somebody at that age doing what she's doing, it's a blessing."

Langdon told CP she works out three days each week and said she has inspired at least three other congregants from her church to join the gym with her.

“One guy, he told me the other day that his blood pressure is going down. I appreciated that. They just keep encouraging me,” she said.

Along with her faith in God, Langdon gives a lot of credit to her faith community for her healthy habit, particularly her pastor.

“My minister encourages all of us to read the Bible and take it literally and apply it to your own life and that’s what I’ve been doing all my life, ever since I started with the church in 1986. I was a heathen before then,” she laughed. “1986 is when I started with the church and I’ve been consistent with the church and he [minister] always teaches you to be consistent and change your way of life, and that’s what I did.”

For older adults who might be scared of doing something new to improve their life, Langdon said she wants to inspire them to be brave.

“Don’t be afraid. God did not bring us here just to sit down and do nothing. He brought us here to encourage one another and to live a Christian life. A lot of older people, when they retire from their job they want to sit down and watch TV. That’s the wrong thing to do,” she said.

“God has never said retire. There is nowhere in the Bible that says retire. So you have to keep going, and that’s one of the main things to keep your body going and to keep your health going. It’s to keep moving,” she said.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 9:40pm
Updated
N.Y. School: Don't Say 'Mom and Dad' or 'Boys and Girls': Use 'Inclusive Language'



The head of a New York City private school is defending an “Inclusive Language Guide” that discourages the use of phrases such as “mom and dad,” saying it's needed to “affirm and unite” different members of the school’s community.

At issue is a guide by Grace Church School that has received attention within New York media and faith-based media.

The guide was given to families at the beginning of the school year in order to “provide the community” with “more inclusive language that is aligned with the mission” of the school, according to the opening section of the guide.

“While we recognize hateful language that promotes racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination are already addressed in our school handbooks, we also recognize that we can do more than ban hateful language; we can use language to create welcoming and inclusive spaces,” the guide says.

Among the guide’s suggestions:

- Don’t say “boys and girls,” “guys,” or “ladies and gentlemen.” Instead, say “people, folks, friends, readers, mathematicians …”

- When reading a book, avoid saying “the boy/girl on this page” but instead say “child, person, character.”

- Instead of saying “Mom and Dad,” say “grown-ups, folks, or family.”

- Instead of saying “husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend,” say “spouse/partner/significant other.”

The guide also encourages the school community to “state affirming pronouns when introducing oneself.”

“For folks all along the gender spectrum, using the right pronouns can be affirming to their gender identity, or on the flip side can be detrimental if they are misgendered,” the guide says.

Further, the guide calls the phrase “traditional family” an “outdated” term.

Grace Church School is an Episcopal coeducational college preparatory school. It is private.

George P. Davison, head of school at Grace Church School, addressed the controversy in a message to the school community. No words, he said, are being banned. Instead, the guide is a suggestion.

“It is designed to help the adults in the community find words to affirm and unite,” he wrote. “One lesson I learned a few years ago is that I should never assume the familial relationship between any student and the adult that is with them. I was embarrassed, to say the least, when I once presumed that two adults with an applicant were his grandparents. (They were not.) Offense was caused that could have easily been avoided. I now carefully use ‘your adults’ or ‘grown-ups’ with individuals whenever I am not 100% positive about their family make-up and always with groups and classes. That is the spirit of the guide, to give us all words to use that will bring people together.”

Source


Madness!

Isn't the school supposed to be a Christian school?

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 9:51pm
Church Treasurer Arrested for Spending $150,000 of Church Funds on Porn Site



A church treasurer in Pennsylvania has been arrested for spending $150,606 of church funds on pornography, The Christian Post reports.

Glenn Youthers, the treasurer for Saint Paul Lutheran Church of Latrobe for 12 years, allegedly stole the money over a period of four years, from February 2015-December 2019. His bank records allegedly show he was spending large portions of it on a website titled "Flirt for Free."

According to court documents that TribLive obtained, State Trooper Robert Politowski found that "At one point, the utilities of the church were shut off and the church almost shut down due to Yothers not paying bills."

Politowski also said that “Yothers was asked if this was a pornographic website, and Yothers confirmed it was. Yothers stated he got to know some of these people well enough where he was trying to help those people. Yothers stated he started this with the best intentions because he wanted to help people, but it snowballed out of control.”

However, State Trooper Steve Limani reportedly said that none of it was for charity or helping others but was purely selfish. As the trooper reportedly stated to WPXI, "None of this was going to charity at all. It’s going to his own personal enjoyment and his own personal use."

One of the reasons Yothers gave for spending the money was that he felt lonely while his wife was away at work, according to TribLive. He was released on signature bond and his hearing is scheduled for March 24th.

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church is one of the oldest congregations in Westmoreland County, according to their website. They are "Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, Traditionally-Grounded, and Congregationally-Focused." According to their website, their mission is "WorSHIP, DiscipleSHIP, FellowSHIP; Come on Board!"

The church also has an emergency food pantry that is stocked with nonperishables, such as canned food and dry goods, and fruit.

Source


Quite unfortunate!

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 12, 2021 10:07pm
California ‘ethnic studies’ proposal teaches kids white Christians are evil, chant to Aztec gods

Students seen in a high school classroom. | Reuters/Stephane Mahe

The California Department of Education is set to vote on a new ethnic studies curriculum aimed at the “decolonization” of American society and includes lessons teaching students to chant to Aztec gods.

If approved, what is being called the "Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum" will be implemented statewide in the Golden state’s primary and secondary public schools, which serve approximately 6 million students in some 10,000 schools, according to investigative journalist Christopher Rufo who wrote about the issue in City-Journal.

The co-chair of the curriculum, R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, developed much of the material cited throughout the proposed lessons in which Christians, specifically those of European ancestry, are viewed as the source of evil to be resisted and overthrown.

White Christians are guilty of “theocide” against indigenous tribes, the killing of their deities and replacing them with the Christian faith, Cuauhtin argues in a chart.

“White settlers thus established a regime of ‘coloniality, dehumanization, and genocide,’” Rufo wrote of the curriculum materials in a corresponding Twitter thread Wednesday, adding that what is billed as the “solution” to this is to “‘name, speak to, resist, and transform the hegemonic Eurocentric neocolonial condition’ in a posture of ‘transformational resistance.’"

The ultimate goal, according to Cuauhtin, is to engineer a "‘countergenocide" against whites.

The lessons also include an official “ethnics studies community chant,” and it's recommended that teachers lead students in indigenous songs, chants, and affirmations, including the “In Lak Ech Affirmation,” which is a direct appeal to Aztec gods.

In that affirmation students are led to chant to an Aztec god named Tezkatlipoka, asking it for power to be “warriors” for “social justice.”

Aztecs traditionally worshiped this god through such practices as human sacrifice and cannibalism. The students are also taught to chant to other Aztec deities in pursuit of “healing epistemologies” and a “revolutionary spirit,” including Huitzilopochtli, the patron god of the Aztec empire’s capital city, a god of war and human sacrifice.

“The chants have a clear implication: the displacement of the Christian [G]od, which is said to be an extension of white supremacist oppression, and the restoration of the indigenous gods to their rightful place in the social justice cosmology. It is, in a philosophical sense, a revenge of the gods,” Rufo explained.

“The religious element of the ethnic studies curriculum, with direct appeals to Aztec gods, is almost certainly a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Public schools are prohibited from leading state-sanctioned Christian prayers; they would presumably be similarly prohibited from leading state-sanctioned chants to the Aztec god of human sacrifice.”

Dr. Richard Land, the executive editor for The Christian Post, noted in his weekly column: "This is all so comprehensively evil and destructive it is hard to know where to begin criticism of this dangerous, divisive, retrograde cultural vandalism. The idea that a tax-supported public school system would, or could, be used to unleash this vicious cultural and spiritual poison into our young people’s consciousness is both extremely offensive and quite possibly illegal."

Writing in the New York Times Tuesday, columnist Bret Stephens said the state was advancing ideological groupthink and noted that ethnic studies is not so much an academic discipline but a recruiting arm for radical ideologues.

Yet because of how it is labeled and framed, its sinister nature stays hidden. “That would be fine if it appeared in the pages of, say, [left-wing magazine] The Nation. It would be fine, too, if students were exposed to critical race theory the way they might be exposed to Marxist philosophy or some other ideology — as a subject to be examined, not a lens through which to do the examining,” Stephens opined.

“The former is education. The latter is indoctrination. The ethnic studies curriculum conceals the difference,” Stephens added.

Source


What?

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 1:46pm
Good afternoon and happy weekend to you all

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 2:27pm
'Woke Culture' in the Church Is 'Deadly' for the Gospel, Pastor Michael Youseff Warns



One Egyptian-American pastor is speaking out against “woke culture” arguing that the ideology has permeated many evangelical churches in America today.

Dr. Michael Youssef, 72, is the pastor of the 3,000-member Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia and is also the founder of Leading the Way television ministry. In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Youssef noted how pastors are rapidly embracing “woke culture” in their churches because it’s “popular and appeals to the flesh.”

“Bowing to woke culture allows you to avoid rejection by culture and society,” he explained. “It’s a very, very popular message that is now being preached from many evangelical pulpits; traditionally Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching churches. We have gone so far that it just grieves me to the point that I literally sometimes just weep tears.”

Critical Race Theory (CRT), Youseff says, is one evidence of “woke culture” permeating the church at large as the theory pushes for a worldview that categorizes people into oppressed and oppressor groups on the basis of skin color.

“It’s a very Marxist ideology that people are taking very seriously,” he said. “The idea of the oppressed and the oppressors is not that simple.”

Yousseff, a grandfather of 11, pointed out that private Christian schools in Atlanta are having white children apologizing to black kids, in accordance with CRT.

“Apologizing for what? They are innocent; they haven’t done anything,” the pastor asserted. “It's crazy; it's just going insane.”

Ultimately, Youseff believes that pastors are “the culprits” for leading their congregations away from biblical truth for the sake of popularity.

“I’ve always believed, as goes the pulpit, so goes the pew. As goes the pew, so goes the culture," he said. "As a pastor, I put the full blame on us, right in our laps, because we want to be liked, loved, and followed on social media by millions of people. Pastors are the culprits. We need to be about Jesus, not about being liked, because that is deadly as far as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned.”

“Young pastors must realize that this is a deception,” he contended. “It's very subtle and very clever, but it's a deception nonetheless.”

Youseff, who grew up in Egypt, knows firsthand the pressure to embrace the surrounding culture. Christians in the Middle Eastern country face “severe persecution from Islamic extremists,” Youseff explained. In response, the pastor shared that he was “continually trained at home for how to stand up for the faith and not be deceived.”

“I knew that, though they might offer me jobs, money, prestigious scholarships to convert to Islam, I had to stand strong. So I grew up with it,” he said.

The pastor encourages the next generation of Christians to “expect to be aliens and sojourners.”

“This is not our home,” he stressed. “Jesus places us here to be a light to this dark world, not to be part of the darkness.”

Last week, Youseff published his latest book, Hope for This Present Crisis: The Seven-Step Path to Restoring a World Gone Mad, in which he provides “a diagnosis of the insanity of the current culture and a seven-step prescription for restoring sanity to a world gone mad.”

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 2:32pm
Catholic priest James Martin stands by retweet of post calling God 'Her'



A Catholic priest has responded to criticisms from Christians who rebuked him for retweeting a post referring to God as “Her” and suggesting that using female imagery as a representation of God is “theologically correct.”

Fr. James Martin, who has developed a reputation as a progressive Catholic and serves as an editor at large for the Jesuit publication America magazine, wrote an article for International Women’s Day titled, “God is not a man (or a woman).”

Martin began the piece by noting that he inadvertently caused controversy after he shared a reflection from the director of a campus ministry at a Catholic high school in Cleveland, Ohio, on social media on Feb. 28. In the reflection, Vickey McBride referred to God as “Her.”

Following accusations of “heresy, apostasy, and blasphemy,” Martin said that he considered leaving a comment asserting that “I was simply reposting the summary from Catholic Women Preach.” He ultimately decided not to because “that would imply that I had a problem calling God ‘Her.’ And I don’t.”

“God is not a man,” he declared. “And while Jesus Christ was (and is) a man and invites us to call God the Father, that does not mean that God is male or that God is only masculine.”

Describing it as “just as theologically correct to use feminine imagery about God as it is to use masculine imagery,” Martin pushed back on the belief among most Christians that referring to God using female pronouns is “contrary to our faith.”

He claimed that it's “damaging” to “envision God as solely one gender” and argued that “in predominantly patriarchal cultures, Christians have been conditioned to think of God as not only male, but exclusively male.”

“This has wide-ranging consequences for our theology, the way that we worship in common, how we pray on our own and the manner in which we lead our lives as Christians. It also has profound consequences for how we see women. ‘If God is male,’ as the saying goes, ‘then the male is God.’”

Martin attributed his views about the gender of God to a book titled, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, written by Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a Catholic nun who now works as a Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theology at Fordham University.

The book concludes that “conceptions of God as an earthly monarch, to take just one image, gave rise to an ‘oppressive and idolatrous’ image of God as a literal patriarch.”

As Martin explained, Johnson pointed to several passages from the Bible when making the case that “God is our ‘Mother-Creator’ as much as ‘Our Father.’”

“She considers the maternal image of ‘the God who gave you birth’ in Deuteronomy (32:18) which recurs in Isaiah, with God saying, ‘Now I will cry out like a woman in labor/I will gasp and pant’ (42:14).”

Martin’s contention that God is female is not the first time the Jesuit priest has attracted controversy. Earlier this year, Martin tweeted a picture of the Black Madonna painting with rainbow-colored halos surrounding Mary and Jesus as opposed to the golden halos in the original Black Madonna painting.

The website Life Petitions began circulating a petition urging the Jesuit Order to censure Martin for the tweet in light of the fact that the Black Madonna painting, also known as Our Lady of Czestochowa, is “venerated and revered in Poland as representing the Virgin Mary, who is the patroness and protectress of the country.” The petition gathered more than 22,200 signatures.

Martin, who is one of the most ardent supporters of LGBT advocacy within the Catholic Church, tweeted the altered picture of the Black Madonna when claiming that “homophobia is rampant” in Poland. Martin is not the only progressive who has referred to God using female pronouns.

After congressional Democrats unsuccessfully tried to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., one of the impeachment managers who worked to make the case against Trump, remarked that “We could have called God herself and the Republicans weren’t going to be willing to convict.”

Similarly, as the 117th U.S. Congress began its first session in January, Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., concluded a prayer by saying, “Amen and awoman” in an attempt to come across as gender-inclusive, as opposed to “Amen.” The word “Amen” has nothing to do with gender, it simply means “so be it.” Cleaver also prayed to the Hindu god Brahma instead of the Christian God.

Source


This priest is wrong!

Yes, God is not a man. But He is definitely masculine and should never be referred to using the pronoun 'Her'.

 

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 2:38pm
In God we trust – meaningless in today's culture?
by Dr. Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library, a spokesman and cohost of Kennedy Classics.

Is recognition of God in the public arena today just a meaningless construct? It reminds me of politicians swearing in on a Holy Bible, but having not the slightest clue what the Good Book actually says.

If you asked the average American today, “What is the national motto of America?” I doubt that many of them would answer correctly.

Of course, the answer is, “In God We Trust.” And it has been as such since the 1950s. This harkens back to America’s founding. Americans have been “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” says the Declaration of Independence, our national birth certificate. Remove the Creator and those rights are in jeopardy.

The Constitution was signed in the year of our Lord 1787 and in the 12th year of Independence. The Constitution is predicated upon the Declaration. The Declaration explains the why of our government (God-given rights). The Constitution explains the nuts and bolts of how it works.

Virtually all the early charters of the colonies and all the early constitutions of the original 13 states mention God in one way or another. As President Eisenhower once put it, "Recognition of the Supreme Being is the most basic expression of Americanism."

“In God We Trust”? It sure doesn’t seem to be the case right now.

We see examples of this all over the place:



  • An honored veteran has been removed from his post in an athletic league. Why? He defended the National Anthem. Horrors.

  • Congressman Jerome Nadler representing New York said recently: “What any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.”

  • Various pastors are battling over the notion that America is – or ever was – a Christian nation.





The fight over the National Anthem is an interesting conflict, because a little-sung verse at the end of “Oh Say, Can You See” is the source of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

The verse says, “Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land / Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. / Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”

The Lincoln administration was the first to add the words “In God We Trust” onto our coins –during the Civil War.

But today the National Anthem is under siege. It is more popular for the woke crowd to disrespect the National Anthem to celebrate it. It is being treated as if has something to do with racism in America’s past.

The National Anthem was born during the War of 1812, a conflict between the United States, a relatively new nation, and Great Britain. Black slavery had nothing to do with the conflict per se.

Human Events notes (3/4/21) that Seth Jahn, a Native-American who has served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been removed from the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Athlete Council because he defends the National Anthem. Despite his 11 years’ service in the military, he has become persona non grata for wanting to honor America and its traditions.

He told the committee, “…in all of history, only one country has fought to abolish slavery, the United States of America, where nearly 400,000 men died to fight for the abolishment of slavery underneath the same stars and bars that our athletes take a knee for. Their sacrifice is tainted with every knee that touches the ground.” (Some estimate that number to be closer to 700,000.)

The founders of America spoke on numerous occasions about the importance of recognizing God’s help – even in our becoming a nation in the first place.

The very first inaugural address (April 30, 1789) delivered by the first president, George Washington, stressed the importance of our national obligation to thank God for His help that we even exist as a nation.

Said Washington, “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

Our second president, John Adams, noted in a letter to our third president, Thomas Jefferson: “The general Principles, on which the Fathers Achieved Independence, were the only Principles in which, that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite…And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity.”

But today a new crop of American leaders is trying to exclude God and Christian influence from having anything to do with the public arena. But since God is the source of our rights, that’s like the proverbial man sitting on a branch while he is busily trying to saw that limb off the tree.




Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the executive director of the Providence Forum, an outreach of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air host. He has written/co-written 33 books, including George Washington’s Sacred Fire (with Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback, Ph.D.) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.). www.djkm.org? @newcombejerry www.jerrynewcombe.com

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 8:35pm
Toronto Cardinal demands churches be treated fairly after film crew gets more access to church than funeral

Father Peter Turrone leads a Palm Sunday mass to an empty church at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on April 5, 2020, in Toronto, Canada. | Cole Burston/Getty Images

The head of the Archdiocese of Toronto has demanded that Ontario province stop imposing stricter guidelines on houses of worship than secular entities.

Cardinal Thomas Collins sent out a call to action last week denouncing how the government has imposed stricter limits on houses of worship for in-person gatherings than secular businesses.

Collins gave an example of a movie production crew that was allowed to have around 50 people filming in a church basement hall while a funeral at the same facility was limited to 10 attendees.

“I do not believe that our elected officials and medical officers of health consciously intend to suppress religious freedom; I realize that they are in an extremely difficult position. We do, however, ask to be treated equitably,” wrote Collins.

“The province has relaxed restrictions in Grey (Lockdown) regions, with retailers permitted to operate at 25 percent capacity. Yet places of worship, regardless of whether they seat 100 or 1,000 people, must remain at a hard cap of 10 people.”

Collins said it “makes no sense” that “funeral at St. Michael’s Cathedral (capacity 1,500) will be capped at 10 people, while around the corner dozens can enter the local liquor store and thousands will visit the Eaton Centre.”

“I encourage all of you … to respectfully request that any restrictions for places of worship use a percentage of capacity as opposed to an arbitrary number,” he continued.

“We are still in the midst of fighting a pandemic and we must be prudent in our actions. Our strict WorshipSafe protocols in our churches have proven to be effective. It’s time to address the growing inequities facing our faith communities.”

The letter provided a link to a webpage where people can contact their Member of Provincial Parliament, which will also be shared with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

As with the United States, many churches in Canada have taken issue with province-level restrictions on in-person gatherings, arguing that they violate their religious freedom.

Last November, Toronto International Celebration Church filed a lawsuit against the government challenging the provisions of the Reopening Ontario Act that restricted religious services.

According to the Notice of Application that the church filed last year, TICC has been following various public health guidelines, like spacing out attendees, wearing facemasks, and “enhancing” sanitizing practices.

“The church does not dispute the wisdom of such measures and, with the sole exception of the impugned provision, supports their imposition notwithstanding their impact on the free exercise of religion,” explained the notice.

“The impugned provision represents a 99% reduction on the number of worshippers who may attend an in-person service at the church. For the church, the impugned provision represents a near total ban on in-person religious worship.”

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 8:59pm
Amazon Tells U.S. Senators It Won’t Sell Books That Treat Transgenderism, Other LBGTQ Identities as Mental Illnesses



Amazon, Inc. said it recently removed a book about transgender issues from its platforms because the retail giant has decided it will not sell books that show transgenderism and other sexual identities as mental illnesses.

The Wall Street Journal reports the company explained its decision in a letter Thursday to Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. The four senators had written a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos inquiring why When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was no longer available on Amazon nor on its Kindle and Audible platforms.

"As to your specific question about When Harry Became Sally, we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness," Amazon said in the letter, which was signed by Brian Huseman, Amazon's vice president of public policy, referring to sexual identities that include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, among others.

The book in question was written by Dr. Ryan Anderson, the Heritage Foundation's William E. Simon senior research fellow in American Principles and Public Policy. In a statement to the Journal in response to Amazon's letter, Anderson and Roger Kimball, the book's publisher said, "Everyone agrees that gender dysphoria is a serious condition that causes great suffering. There is a debate, however, which Amazon is seeking to shut down, about how best to treat patients who experience gender dysphoria," they continued, calling their book "an important contribution" to that conversation.

"Amazon is using its massive power to distort the marketplace of ideas and is deceiving its own customers in the process," Anderson and Kimble said.

Radio host Eric Erickson tweeted, "Amazon will no longer sell books that accurately depict transgenderism as a mental health issue. So you can lie about it and get your book sold, but tell the truth and get banned."

Esteemed Journal Admits Mistake on Transgender Study

As CBN News reported last August, the American Journal of Psychiatry said it got it wrong when it came to analyzing the numbers in a large study of transgender patients undergoing sex-reassignment surgery. The journal retracted its findings, saying a second look at the subject found no improvement for those who chose the painful procedure.

Anderson told CBN News at the time, the original study had been celebrated by the media and was then used in social media against anyone with a dissenting viewpoint to accuse them of being against science.

This "does show that the cultural moment in which we're living suggests that there's only one allowed conclusion to this question," he said. "And the only allowed conclusion is that transition is the best solution. The biggest data set now shows and that's what this study uses, the biggest data set shows that there's no benefits, psychological benefits to patients of hormonal and surgical transition."

When asked if those struggling with gender dysphoria should think twice about surgery, Anderson told CBN News people who are struggling with their own gender identity deserve to know the truth.

"And what the science is showing is that hormonal-surgical transition doesn't provide the promised wholeness and happiness patients are seeking," he noted. "So what we need to do is find ways to help patients feel comfortable in their own bodies. We need to be respectful. We need to be compassionate. We also need to be truthful. And so, we need to be helping patients who feel uncomfortable in their bodies to once again feel comfortable in their bodies. But not to radically transform their bodies, because that does not bring the lasting wholeness and happiness that they seek."

Anderson said he thinks the most important thing to focus on right now is children.

"Right now, parents are being told that they need to put their children on the prescribed puberty-blocking drugs, Cross X hormones, etc, etc," he said. "That is entirely an unstudied experimental treatment protocol. And so I think in particular we need more research on what we can do for young people, children who feel uncomfortable in their own bodies and how we can help them feel comfortable once again. But we shouldn't be running to prescribe puberty-blocking drugs and Cross X hormones. Parents should know the facts about this as well."

Book on Transgender Teens Causes Stir

Anderson's book is not the first book on the transgender movement to be banned. Last December, the backlash against author Abigail Shrier's book Irreversible Damage reached a crescendo because it doesn't check all the right boxes on the trans agenda.

Shrier believes it's the prerogative of adults who identify as transgender to have medical procedures to change their appearance to fit their desired gender. But she's concerned about offering that decision to children, especially those whose parents oppose it.

Her book chronicles the transgender craze among adolescent girls and the professionals who pave the way for them to get puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries.

She told CBN News, "All I'm asking for is more medical oversight, caution, and awareness that this is being a social-driven fad, so nothing so outrageous at all."

But transgender activists disagree and have called for an end to sales of her book. Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, calls the book "dangerous" and calls on activists to "fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life."

The Push to Embrace Transgender Agenda

Shrier and Anderson haven't backed down in their critique of the progressive push to fully embrace the transgender agenda.

In January, just one day after he took office, Shrier condemned President Joe Biden for signing an executive order mandating all educational institutions receiving federal funding to permit transgender females — biological males who identify as females — to compete on women's and girls' sports teams, to use ladies locker rooms and restrooms, and have the opportunity to apply for female-only scholarships.

Shrier rebuked the policy for its sexist nature, pointing out how dangerous it will be for biological women and girls.

Anderson, for his part, pointed out just how short-lived Biden's promise to pursue "unity" was, writing that, the very same day the president promised "healing," he issued an executive order "mandating that males be allowed inside female-only spaces and take places on female sports teams."

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 9:06pm
Marking a COVID-19 'Turning Point' in History



You may not remember the name of Sandra Lindsay, but future generations will. The intensive care nurse received America’s first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine last December 14 in Queens, New York. As Smithsonian Magazine reports, this event “marked a turning point in fighting the pandemic that has killed more than 535,000 Americans. And it made history.”

Now that history will be preserved for generations to come. The first (now empty) tiny Pfizer-BioNTech vial has been acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It will be displayed along with Lindsay’s vaccination card, her scrubs, and her hospital ID.

This announcement comes as we mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic today.

NEARLY A FOURTH OF AMERICANS HAVE LOST A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a “pandemic.” On that day, confirmed worldwide coronavirus cases stood at 125,000, with reported deaths at fewer than five thousand. A poll conducted at the time found that 44 percent of Americans considered the threat of the virus to be “exaggerated.” Nearly everyone (88 percent) predicted that fewer than ten thousand Americans would ultimately die from the disease.

This morning, Johns Hopkins confirms that more than 118 million people have been infected, more than 29 million of them in the US. More than 2.6 million people have died, including more than 529,000 Americans.

And nearly a quarter of all Americans (23 percent) say a close friend or family member has died of the disease.

Of America’s 19,502 towns and cities, only thirty-seven have a population exceeding the number of Americans who have died of COVID-19. On a tragic anniversary unlike any other in our nation’s history, where can we turn for hope in heartache and strength in suffering?

HOPE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DIED
God’s word offers hope beyond human comprehension for those who have died in Christ.

At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus assured his dead friend’s grieving sister, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).

When a Christian dies, they don’t. When they take their last breath here, they take their first breath there. They close their eyes in this fallen world and open them in God’s perfect paradise. They are well and they are home.

This is because, “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). Now and forever.

HOPE FOR THOSE WHO ARE HURTING
While millions have died of this horrible disease, many millions more are grieving their deaths. In addition, a third of COVID-19 survivors have “long-haul” symptoms. Fever, cognitive confusion, debilitating exhaustion and fatigue, difficulty sleeping, heart rhythm abnormalities, breathing issues, and other symptoms can arise, sometimes weeks or months after the initial diagnosis. Some “long-haul” patients are still struggling with such symptoms months later.

In addition, economic trauma persists for millions who have lost their jobs or otherwise experienced financial setbacks because of the pandemic. The negative effects of school closures are expected to be “profound and generational.” “Pandemic trauma” is afflicting millions of Americans. Survivor’s guilt is a growing issue for many. And more than thirty million frontline workers continue to risk their lives to serve us with sacrificial courage.

To all who suffer, God promises his presence and empathy (cf. John 11:35). Jesus feels all we feel and suffers as we suffer. Theologian Jürgen Moltmann famously described our Savior as the “crucified God.”

In addition, to “those who love God” he promises that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). We can know that “the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18) and that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

"THE LORD DELIVERED ME OUT OF DEEP WATERS"
Tomorrow we’ll focus on some ways God is redeeming this tragic pandemic. For today, let’s claim the promise that he is.

If you have suffered loss due to COVID-19, I invite you to claim the promises we’ve discussed. If you have not, I encourage you to share them with those who have. It may be that claiming these promises will lead to a different kind of anniversary—one that marks not our crisis but our transforming encounter with God’s grace.

Yesterday was one such day for the author of “Amazing Grace.”

I will never forget visiting John Newton’s grave in England and reading the epitaph he wrote: “John Newton, clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.”

Newton was converted to Christianity during a huge storm at sea and later testified: “That 10th of March is a day much to be remembered by me; and I have never allowed it to pass unnoticed since the year 1748. For on that day the Lord came from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.”

Are you in “deep waters” today?

If not, how will you help someone who is?

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By Temmy
Sat, March 13, 2021 9:53pm
Good night all.

You are free to post too.

I don't have to be the only one doing the posting.

Thank you.

 

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 2:58pm
Happy Sunday to you all.

I had a wonderful time in church.

I hope you all did

 

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 3:03pm
It does not take a village to raise a child

Michael Youssef | Courtesy: Michael Youssef

An old African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child. The modern-day “village” in this proverb is all of society, including schools, houses of worship, doctors, and businesses, but most of all, government programs. Some have used this idea to advocate for various laws, regulations, welfare state programs, and taxpayer support of “family planning” organizations (i.e., Planned Parenthood).

I submit that it does not take a village to raise a child. God already designed the perfect nurturing environment for a child. It’s called a family. It is pointless to talk about caring for the needs of children while we do nothing to strengthen the family. Children don’t need all this meddling by the “village.” Children need the family. We need to encourage parents how to be parents and how to build healthy families. That means we need to teach moms and dads how to put God at the center of their families.

The “village” that surrounds our families today is a godless village, so the “village” is essentially useless. A godless village can produce only godless children.

Where do godly children come from? Only one place: godly families. The psalmist tells us that unless God is at the center of the family, the family is adrift – our children will be unsafe, insecure, and in danger. But when we place God at the center of our family, we will see four wonderful results.

Result Number 1: When God is at the center of the family, He will grow the family.

When God is at the center of the home, the family will grow in faith, character, and maturity. When God’s Word fills a home with His wisdom, the insignia of spiritual maturity is imprinted on the souls of each family member. When God’s presence permeates the family, there is harmony and peace throughout the household. When the family seeks the mind of God in every important decision, that home becomes a testament to God’s grace.

It is impossible to raise a family for Christ in this corrosive and anti-Christian culture without hours and hours of prayer. It is impossible to raise a family for Christ in our own flawed and sinful flesh. Only complete reliance on God can enable us to raise our children in the fear and nurture of the Lord.

Result Number 2: When God is at the center of the family, He will bless the family.

Across our culture, families are disintegrating. Children are neglected. Parents are raising their children out of guilt, not love. They give them everything in the world except the most important thing of all — time spent together in prayer and the Word of God.

Children who are blessed — and children who are a blessing — are brought up to know the Lord. Only when we raise children to love God, to honor their father and mother, and to obey God’s Word, are they blessed to be a blessing to others.

Result Number 3: When God is at the center of the family, He will guide the family.

Children who observe their parents regularly studying the Word of God for the direction in their lives will grow up seeking guidance from the Word. The habit of seeking direction from the Word is usually caught, not taught. As parents, we impart this habit more by setting an example than by preaching to our children.

How do we find guidance from God’s Word? To find guidance for our daily lives, we need to be daily, regularly, habitually feeding on the Word of God. We need to systematically build God’s wisdom into our lives so that, when a crisis comes, when it is time to make a difficult decision, we will already have God’s answer waiting for us in our hearts.

Result Number 4: When God is at the center of the family, He will protect the family.

We live in a dangerous world with bullying and violence in schools, mind-altering drugs in the streets, and predators on the Internet and in our neighborhoods. Real dangers are facing our kids and surrounding our families. That’s why the psalmist said, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Let’s put those words in today’s terms: “Unless God is the protector and defender of our families and communities, the police and first responders can do little to save us.”

I thank God for police officers and firefighters and emergency medical workers and the military — all the brave protectors of our families and communities. But we have an even greater Guardian than the police or the fire department. That Guardian’s name is Jesus. He sends his angels to minister to our families. Unless He is watching over us, all other guardians are in vain.

The Lord will protect those who place God at the center of their families. Those who place God at the center of their families will find shelter under His wings. Those who place God at the center of their families are engraved on the palms of His hand. You have His word on it.

When God is at the center, God grows the family, God blesses the family, God guides the family, and God protects the family. To revitalize your family, place God at the center of your life, your marriage, and your family.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 3:09pm
Pro-life activist who survived abortion that killed her twin shares her God redeemed story

Claire Culwell | YouTube

A pro-life activist who survived an abortion that killed her twin sister shared how God has redeemed the broken parts of her story — and used for good what Satan intended for evil.

On a recent episode of the “Politely Rude With Abby Johnson” podcast, Claire Culwell shared her story with her friend, Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director-turned-pro-life-activist.

Just 13 years old and in eighth grade when she got pregnant, Culwell’s mother had a D&C surgical late-term abortion during her fifth month of pregnancy. Culwell’s mother was told her abortion was successful, but one of the twins had survived. She then sought out a second late-term abortion in Kansas, but she was unable to have the procedure because of the risk of infection.

Culwell, who was adopted into a Christian family, shared that she didn't know she had survived an abortion until she met her biological mother and heard the entire story — a day she described as eye-opening.

“That day, as I looked into my birth mother's eyes as I saw her tears as I saw what abortion had done to her, I chose to forgive my first mother," she said. "And I asked her if I could share this story with people because I knew that God's fingerprints were all over it. I knew that there was something powerful about an abortion survivor.”

Culwell said that growing up, she never met anyone affected by abortion — and her head was “spinning” when she fully understood its far-reaching effects.

“Not only did I need to forgive my birth mother so that she could heal, but I learned that I wasn't alone, that the person who had been affected by abortion was someone just like me and someone just like you,” she said.

After asking her birth mother — who saw the abortion as her most shameful secret — for permission, Culwell began sharing her story with others. She recalled the moment she told her story to a crowd that included her birth mother.

“I brought her up on stage and we cried,” she said. “I introduced her to people for the first time and she grabbed my hand and she raised our handset together. I love that moment because it felt like victory. Victory over what happened to us, victory over what abortion tried to do to us, tried to take from us.”

“We have victory because of what Christ offers and because of His forgiveness for us and because we know that one day, He'll come back and He'll make all things right, and so we have that hope,” she continued. “God has really turned something that was made for evil — for my evil, to take my life, to dismember my twin, to hurt my birth mother — He's taken that evil and He's turned it into something good.”


“I choose to forgive, and I choose to focus on the good and the hope in the story because I think that our journey of healing, even though it's been difficult, has paved the way for people to recognize the humanity of the unborn child and recognize the need for people, and especially Christians pastors, to stand up and say, ‘We've had enough. We have got to do better than what we're doing.’”

Johnson noted that according to studies, an estimated 70% of women who have had an abortion stated that they felt coerced to do so.

“That's exactly how [it was for] your birth mother,” she told Culwell. “She felt she had no other choice because she was being forced to have an abortion.”

Johnson encouraged Christians to refrain from passing judgment on those who've had abortions and instead “show grace” and support ministries that provide alternative options.

Both Johnson and Culwell urged pastors to address the subject of abortion from the pulpit: “The apathy of the Church, the silence of the Church, is sending women to run toward the abortion clinic as their safe place because the abortion clinic is saying, ‘We're here for you, we support you,’” Culwell said.

“For 21 years, I sat in the pews of the same church ... and not once did I ever hear my pastor, my youth leader, anybody, talk about abortion. Talk about the reality of what it was doing, how it's tearing families apart, taking life. Telling women that they have to kill their child in order to live their life, be successful, be happy,” she said.

“Never once heard about how God created life in His image and so we should protect it. And so here I was, 21 years old, finding out that I had been affected by abortion, and I didn't know where to turn. I didn't know if that would be accepted.”

Culwell shares her story of survival and forgiveness in her new book, Survivor: An Abortion Survivor's Surprising Story of Choosing Forgiveness and Finding Redemption.

“The book is really about my survival story from the moment I was conceived and survived my birth mother's abortion 32 years ago now until,” she shared.

“I hope that it starts conversations for people, that people will know the truth and care about the truth and do something with the information that they're given in this story and through the redemptive message that it shares,” Culwell added.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 3:17pm
For pastors struggling with a mental health issue

Getty Images/AngiePhotos

In ministry, our jobs are typically designed to help others. We walk with families through grief, help the single mother, and pray for couples struggling through an affair. We are outwardly focused, pouring into others for the benefit of Christ.

But what happens when the person in need of help is in our own family? What if the person struggling is actually our own self?

Over the past couple of decades, we have seen a significant increase (approximately 35%) in death by suicide. In fact, it’s the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Add the COVID-19 pandemic, and our culture has experienced significant increases in mental health issues.

Maybe you find yourself among those individuals struggling. Hopelessness and helplessness have become common feelings for you. You keep telling yourself that you shouldn’t be struggling. You wonder, “Will people think I have a sin problem? What if I lose credibility? Should I even be in ministry? How can I help others if I am struggling?”

The biggest barrier to receiving mental health treatment is one’s own self. The perceived stigma of mental health can keep people, especially men, from seeking help. Many pastors also believe they can independently handle their own mental health issues, sometimes even denying the need for help. Don’t let that be you.

Your identity

People use their mental health condition as a way to describe themselves (i.e. “I’m an anxious person.” “I’m a depressed person.”), instead of letting their identity define their condition. (i.e. “I am a person that happens to struggle with anxiety.”)

Sometimes mental health issues can seem all consuming, possibly leaving you to believe the lie that those issues define you. It may not seem like much, but simply re-examining and redefining your identity can be a positive first step.

You may even need a daily reminder that your Creator, not your struggle, defines you. What does your Creator call you? He defines you as: Wonderfully created in His image (Ps. 139: 14; Gen. 1:26), a saint (Romans 8:27), forgiven (Psalm 103:11-12), His child (1 John 3:1, Gal. 3:26), loved (1 John 4:10), an heir (Romans 8:17), an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and saved (Eph. 2:8).

Jesus is not surprised by your mental health diagnoses, your weaknesses, or your struggles. He was never once caught off-guard by them. Nor has God turned His back on you. In fact, maybe He is drawing you closer. May you find rest in Him and how He defines you.

Education

Mental health issues are often complex in nature. Biology, psychology/emotion, society/culture, spirituality, and familial relationships all impact us, and attribute to the multifaceted layers of mental health conditions.

While all mental health disorders and physical diseases are the result of Original Sin, that doesn’t mean your mental health issue is the result of personal sin. While some diagnosable conditions are marked by more biological causes (i.e. learning disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome), other conditions are often a combination of factors.

There are times when someone may suffer due to the consequences of personal sin, while other times someone is the suffering servant. It’s best to consult with a professional to help determine the roots of your mental health issue.

Additionally, most mental health issues are not a lifetime diagnosis. You can suffer from depression at age 20, but not meet the criteria for depression at age 25. There is hope for recovery.

Support

One risk factor for developing or maintaining a mental health condition is lack of social support. Another way to state that is, having social support is a resiliency factor for good prognosis.

Community with others is vital, something many pastors lack. If you are struggling to find community and connection with those in close proximity, try scheduling regular Zoom meetings or phone calls with a friend in another state. Online support groups (yep, they have ones geared to ministers) can also be a way to garner support and build friendship within the body of Christ.

Resources

One of the best places to start when seeking counseling or treatment is talking with your primary care doctor. Neurological and medical issues can sometimes mimic mental health issues. Rule out medical issues first. To find counselors, evaluators, or therapists, you may want to check with your insurance plan. Other resources for finding a counselor or therapist include:



  • Christian Care Connect

  • Psychology Today: Find a Therapist

  • Association of Certified Biblical Counselors: Find a Counselor




I encourage you, from a professional and personal standpoint, not to lose hope or suffer alone. Almost two decades ago I was in a dark place with anorexia nervosa. I could have never imagined all that Christ had in store for my life. Even in our darkest places, Christ sees us.

When we can’t see past our struggles, He can. Because of God’s past faithfulness, we can trust His current faithfulness, even when tracing His goodness in the circumstances seems hard. May your hopelessness be filled abundantly through Christ and His goodness, resting in the promise that He can redeem even your deepest valleys.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 3:32pm
Fitness isn't 'vanity’: Wellness instructor urges Church not to remain silent about health

Kim Dolan Leto the instructor behind F.I.T. | Courtesy of PurePublicity

Kim Dolan Leto, the Faith Inspired Transformation workout creator, who also has a bestselling book and a show on PureFlix, lauds the Church for being vocal about many issues affecting believers' lives but laments that it's largely “silent” when it comes to health and wellness.

Leto, who devoted her life to Jesus at 27, after an abusive relationship, says the church should encourage families to focus on health along with “parenting, marriage and finances,” which are popular topics of discussion in Christian settings.

As part of her wellness programs, Leto focuses on all health levels and provides exercise modifications, scriptures to edify, and realistic advancement goals.

“The Church is quiet about food, taking care of our bodies, and how we should create a healthy and whole relationship with ourselves. In this silence, Christians turn to the world for answers,” Leto said in an interview with The Christian Post.

Leto decided to change her own lifestyle after her father suffered a debilitating stroke in his 40s. She went to the church for answers but said she was advised to fast and told that focusing on health and beauty was "vanity."

She pushed back on that notion, however, and strongly believes God also cares about how people take care of their temple.

“Being stewards of our bodies isn’t something we do until we cross our weight loss goal finish line; it’s a God-honoring project to take care of your bodies, His temple for life,” she stressed. “The Word of God is our manual for life. We’re taught parenting, marriage and finances through the Church, but the Church is silent when it comes to health and wholeness," she reiterated.

Taking matters into her own hands, Leto created a curriculum designed for Christians who are looking to get fit and live healthier lives.

Some readers might recognize Leto from seeing her on fitness magazine covers — she's been featured on 13 covers — or from when she won the ESPN Fitness America Competition.

The following is an edited transcript of CP interview with Leto where the podcast host of “Strong. Confident. His.” shares her own testimony and offers advice for church leaders on how they can help their congregations embrace fitness and health from a stewardship perspective and not vanity.

CP: Will you share your Christian testimony with us?

Leto: As a child, I knew my dad loved me, but when he drank he was abusive. His words created an inner dialogue that led me to dark places of not-enoughness.

As I grew up, I began to choose men just like him. The way they treated me felt normal, but deep down, I knew it was wrong. I found myself stuck in a cycle of dating the same person. One night I hit rock bottom, and in my brokenness, I picked up the Bible. The Words in red leaped off the page and I met Jesus right there in the pain. He gave me strength, confidence and clarity to break this generational curse and live free. I’m happy to share that I've been with my husband for 22 years.

CP: You mentioned your concerns about churches only teaching about fasting and not about body shaming that happens in the church. Can you unpack that and share some examples?

Leto: The Church is quiet about food, taking care of our bodies, and how we should create a healthy and whole relationship with ourselves. In this silence, Christians turn to the world for answers.

Our culture trains us from a very young age that diets are how we lose weight and what we look like is how we find worth. But the deception here creates a divide between the world and the Church that is deeply confusing and dangerous. In Church, we're shamed if we care what we look like; we’re considered vain. In the world, the more skin you show the more attention you get.

I worked with a lady who admitted she gained weight so the women at her church would stop talking about her behind her back and accept her. I’ve worked with women who share they are judged for bringing healthy snacks to their Bible Study versus eating the cookies and doughnuts regularly offered.

To exacerbate this issue, a few new diet programs in the church share fasting for weight loss. But the Bible tells us that fasting is for spiritual growth. This is very confusing. Being stewards of our bodies isn’t something we do until we cross our weight loss goal finish line; it’s a God-honoring project to take care of your bodies, His temple for life.

CP: Your father had a debilitating stroke when he was in his 40s that led to a “wake-up call” for you to get healthy. You turned to the church but said you received very few answers. Why is it so critical for churches to be a source for physical wellness and healing?

Leto: The Word of God is our manual for life. We’re taught parenting, marriage and finances through the Church, but the Church is silent when it comes to health and wholeness. There are millions of women sitting in churches every week who don’t hear a word about how to take care of themselves or how to teach their children to eat and how to form a proper view of their bodies, so they turn to the world for answers.

I believe the enemy has a foothold on countless people here. He uses dieting and body image to destroy people’s confidence and derail the plans and purposes God has for them by making them live in a constant thought cycle of food failure and less than.

CP: Why is it important for women of faith to strive to be their healthiest selves?

Leto: God has a plan and purpose for each of us, but if we are sick, tired, unhealthy and unhappy, we are much less likely to fulfill them.

Also, the way we take care of ourselves affects every aspect of our lives, including our children. We are raising little versions of ourselves and therefore, should aim to be the very best role models for our children, teaching them how to take care of their bodies and to find confidence through the Word, not the world.

CP: What do you say to those who think fitness is vanity?

Leto: If we were speaking to Christians, I would say that taking care of yourself is not vanity; it’s sanity. Health, fitness and wholeness through the Word enable you to live feeling your best, with more energy, less stress, sharper mental acuity, better sleep, less joint pain, and decreased probability of contracting generational diseases.

However, if you’re approaching fitness from a worldly view of dieting and working out just to look a certain way, then that is typically an exhausting vanity project that rarely produces lasting results or wholeness.

CP: Certain fitness regimes such as yoga are discouraged in many Christian circles because of their spiritual origin. What can you share about that?

Leto: We’re living in a time when workouts are considered church. Countless posts allude to their cycle or yoga class being their new religion. The deception of the enemy here cannot be understated. These classes teach worship of creation versus the Creator.

CP: How do you make time for your spiritual disciplines as well as your fitness disciplines? Many people have trouble balancing their lives in this way.

Leto: I follow our role model for healthy living: Jesus. He rose early, He spent time with His Father, and He walked everywhere. Jesus wasn’t lazy and He didn’t feed His emotions; He went to His father. Seeking God in our fitness, surrendering it to Him daily, and living to fulfill His call on our lives is our lasting answer.

CP: You believe the lasting change from fad diets and resolutions includes F.I.T. hour. Will you explain what that is?

Leto: Our culture teaches us that fitness is something that we can buy versus earn. The diet industry is a $72 billion a year industry. But the answer to those of us who love Jesus is free. I call it the Faith Inspired Transformation, F.I.T. Power Hour.

This doesn't need to be a perfect hour, but rather a daily practice of spending time with God and in His Word, moving our bodies, and journaling in prayer and gratitude.

CP: What are a few tips people can do starting today to change their habits?

Leto: Acknowledge that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. And that you are worth the effort to create a healthy lifestyle you can maintain with God as the centerpiece.

Eliminate the all-or-nothing mentality.

Practice grace when you fall off track. Pray for God to help you get back on track faster and refrain from self-berating talk.

Work on small wins, one at a time.

For example: Start with your drinks. Trade your highly sugary beverages for healthier ones, then start choosing more God-made foods than man-made processed items. Finally, learn to cook or find restaurants that prepare your favorite foods with ingredients that are as close to the way God made them.

CP: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Leto: God cares about what concerns you — even your fitness goals. If you’re struggling with losing weight, the motivation to move your body or find confidence in the way He made you, talk to Him. Through the Word, you have the wisdom, strength and grace to live free of the diet cycle of weight loss and weight gain and see yourself as a fearfully and wonderfully made child of God.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 5:43pm
Updated
Waiting on God? 5 reasons to hate it less
by Audrey Davidheiser

Courtesy of Audrey Davidheiser

Maybe you’re waiting for COVID to take a hint and vanish. (Who isn’t?) Perhaps you’ve clutched a verse, waiting for God to manifest His personal promise. But your bare arms still long for a spouse. Your barren womb is aching for a baby.

I feel you. My heart has been cradling a book idea that has cost hundreds of hours of writing, rewriting, conference going, and networking.

And yet —

The publishing industry, polite but persistent, insists my platform needs supersizing first.

My mind understands what they mean — you need to build a larger following who will buy your book — but my heart hears it as just wait.

Sarah suffered a similar plight. Abraham’s faithful wife followed him as he uprooted their family to obey God. By the time we hit Genesis 16:3, she’d resided in a foreign land for a full decade, sans the heir God had promised.

Ten years isn’t just a long time — it also symbolizes completion. I get how this momentous mark prompted Sarah to switch from tarrying to plotting. “If you’ll sleep with Hagar the maid, we’ll finally have our baby, babe,” she coaxed Abraham, according to my very loose translation of the verse above.

Unfortunately, short-circuiting waiting spawns unnecessary heartaches. Sarah’s scheme eventually transformed Hagar into the world’s first single mother (Genesis 21:1-21). Moreover, when Sarah aborted her waiting, she also catalyzed the birth of two people groups— Jews and Arabs — whose rigid rift reaches even to our day.

Perhaps learning to wait is in order. But since nobody enjoys the process, here are five nuggets to lessen the pain.

1. Waiting’s unique function

There are crucial lessons we can’t embody any other way except by living through — instead of bypassing — waiting. Among other things, having to wait on God exposes how much faith we place in Him. How? By measuring the length of time we’re willing to earmark as our waiting period. Is there a tipping point that can lure us to squash it prematurely? Like we discovered, Sarah maxed out at 10 years.

I can’t judge her. My insides shudder at having to wait until 2031 before my book greets the world.

What about you? Will the passage of time convince you to quit believing that God is ushering a bright future your way?

2. Wisely waiting

Rather than stare at the clock, pray. Instead of fretting about what ifs, pray. When tempted to ruminate, guess what? Pray. In the Classic Amplified translation, James 5:16 promises how prayer unleashes tremendous power. The same promise applies to 21st century prayers because this verse never expires.

Pray for what?

That the outcome that pleases God will materialize in every circumstance we care about. According to 1 John 5:14-15, God guarantees a yes for this type of prayers. So, rather than grumble, let’s saturate our waiting with life-defining petitions.

Pray for God’s grace to assist as we wait.

The longer we wait, the more prayers we can utter — which means the better off we’ll be.

3. Winning against time

When it comes to time, God isn’t just perfect — He’s a perfectionist. He executes His decisions with flawless precision at the exact time. For instance, He planned Jesus’ birth to transpire in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4-5, NKJV). As a minister, Jesus delayed his arrival at the Feast of Tabernacles by a few days to mark the right time (John 7: 1-10).

Unlike God, we operate under time’s constraints. But don’t let it bully you. Just because time marches on doesn’t mean we need to shift our position. Let’s imitate our Father (Ephesians 5:1) and resolve to be unmoved by time — believing God’s precious promises will come through, regardless of how long it takes.

4. Who else cares?

Waiting rankles partly because of fear that our forlorn state might slip God’s mind. That’s why I treasure Hebrews 6:10 (NKJV). Savor how it starts: “God is not unjust to forget.” Our God remembers. He knows how long we’ve puttered around in the predicament we’re in. Better yet, He sits with us in the off-putting here-and-now.

The new we’ve been dreaming of may be days or even hours away, but don’t dismiss the current season because it reeks of delays. Rest in the promise of Isaiah 60:22 (NIV) instead, “I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly." Complete this waiting period — and watch God move rapidly.

5. Why delays happen

I pondered this question and when the insight arrived, its simplicity surprised me.

God often takes a long time because He often uses people.

So what?

Well, people, um, have issues. We procrastinate. We waffle on whether it was truly God’s voice we heard. Even when we establish that yes, the Lord wants us to buy a week’s worth of groceries for the widow down the street, we rationalize our obedience away.

We may not be waiting because God frowns at our requests, but because those He taps to deliver the goods aren’t budging.

I can’t prophesy when a publishing house will release my book. But I vow to continue writing, teaching, and trusting God until my hands can caress its dust jacket.

Even if it means tolerating more waiting.

Whatever you’re waiting for, may I suggest sticking with it until the end?

“Those who wait for Me shall not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 49:23, ESV).




Audrey Davidheiser is a licensed psychologist, certified Internal Family Systems therapist, and author of Surviving Difficult People: When Your Faith and Feelings Clash. She devotes her California practice to treat trauma in adults.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 14, 2021 6:08pm
The difference between the political spirit and the Christian spirit

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

Writing for The Atlantic on March 10, Shadi Hamid opined that in America today, “As Christianity’s hold, in particular, has weakened, ideological intensity and fragmentation have risen. American faith, it turns out, is as fervent as ever; it’s just that what was once religious belief has now been channeled into political belief” (his emphasis). While this is certainly true, it is also true that religious belief has been merged with political belief. Yet, in many ways, the Christian spirit is very different than the political spirit. The two often make a very bad mix.

But before I explain what I mean, allow me to add the standard caveats.

I do believe that followers of Jesus should vote and be politically informed.

I do believe we should have a positive impact, as salt and light, on every aspect of American life, including politics.

I do believe there are godly and ethical politicians.

I do believe that some Christians are called to be heavily involved in politics or even run for office.

I do believe that the gospel intersects with politics.

I do not believe that everything political is inherently evil or bad.

At the same time, our general political system operates on very different principles than those laid out for us as New Testament believers. That’s why I said that the Christian spirit is very different than the political spirit, obviously meaning “political” in the negative sense of the word.

Thus, some of the negative definitions for “politician” include: “a person who acts in a manipulative and devious way, typically to gain advancement within an organization”; or, “a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons.”

Or, in the words of Ivern Ball, “A politician is a person who can make waves and then make you think he’s the only one who can save the ship.”

As for the world of politics, Machiavelli once stated that, “Politics have no relation to morals.”

For good reason we often associate the word “dirty” with “politics.” That’s the way you play the game.

After all, as a general rule, if you don’t bash and smash and demean and denigrate your opponent, you will not be elected. If you don’t alarm your constituents to the terrible danger of your opponent’s agenda, you will have a much harder time getting votes.

As expressed by H. L. Mencken, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Obviously, many of our concerns are hardly imaginary. But when it comes to the almost hysterical rhetoric from each party, Mencken was hardly exaggerating.

Thus, in 2020, both Republicans and Democrats warned that the last election was about the future of the democracy and that if the other party was elected, our democracy would be forever doomed. Only Trump (no, Biden, no, Trump, no Biden) can save us!

The political spirit – again, in the negative sense of the word – stirs up anger. And hatred. And division. And ill will. And division. How much more opposite could it be to the Christian spirit?

Yet is all too common to find this merging of a political spirit with the Christian spirit, and virtually always, to the degrading of the Christian spirit.

In other words, rather than us raising the standards of the political realm, we become polluted and politicized. Rather than us lifting politics up, politics drags us down.

If you don’t believe me, just visit Christian social media pages where political matters are discussed. We are far more political – nasty and abusive and divided – than Christian.

Think of famous Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (vv. 4-7).

Then, contrast that spirit with the spirit of a typical political rally, where kind words about your opponent will likely draw boos (or, elicit no response at all) while hateful words will draw cheers of affirmation. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but a common refrain at 2016 Republican rallies was, “Lock her up!” rather than, “Pray for her!”)

The world of politics is often driven by fleshly ambition and a desire for power, mixed together with compromise and corruption. Jacob (James) labels these attitudes (among others) to be “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (3:15). It is, he said, “the wisdom from below.”

In contrast, he wrote that “wisdom from above” was “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (3:17). Do you associate these kinds of attitudes with the spirit of politics? Hardly.

In the same way, if you write an article or preach a message on a political theme but in a political spirit – once again, in the negative sense of the word – you will demonize those you oppose, resulting in anger and hatred towards the candidates of the other party.

In contrast, if you write an article or preach a message on a political theme but in a Christian spirit, you will create a strong moral rejection of the other party’s wrong positions, coupled with prayer and love for the candidates you oppose.

And that’s where I believe many of us have gotten off track in the last few years. We have become way too politicized, as if all of us should be engaged in political issues virtually 24/7.

As a result, we have taken our focus off the greatest commandments of loving God and loving our neighbor, erecting partisan political fences and cultivating partisan political hostilities. That’s why I wrote (with irony and sadness) that we have become better known for our hate than for our love. (This is not just the opinion of the hostile media. I encounter it on the grassroots level all the time. We have become better known as backers of a particular candidate than as followers of Jesus.)

But the solution is not to hide in a monastery or abdicate our role in society. The solution is to get our priorities right.

First the Gospel, then politics (and no, the two are not synonymous or interchangeable), always exercising a Christian spirit in all that we do. And where politics takes us away from that Christian spirit, we take a step back from politics.

If we want to see a real harvest of righteousness, both personally and corporately, we do well to heed these words of Jacob (James): “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).




Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 40 books.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 2:34pm
Updated
‘They’re going to kill us’: Abducted Nigerian students beg for help

Nigerian soldiers and police officers stand at the entrance of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Mando, Kaduna state, on March 12, 2021, after a kidnap gang stormed the school shooting indiscriminately on March 11, 2021. | AFP via Getty Images/BOSAN YAKUSAK

Some of the 39 students, including 23 females, who gunmen abducted from a school in Nigeria’s Kaduna state last week were seen begging for help and beaten with sticks in a video that emerged on social media over the weekend.

“They are going to kill us” if a ransom is not paid, one of the students said in the video that emerged Saturday.

According to Reuters, the 39 students went missing after gunmen stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in the Afaka region of the Igabi local government area of Kaduna last Thursday. The kidnapping marked the fourth school-related abduction in Nigeria since December.

The video footage shows roughly two dozen students speaking in English and Hausa. A male student reportedly said that the captors want a 500 million naira (the equivalent of about $1.31 million) ransom for their release.

“If anybody comes to rescue them without the money, they are going to kill us,” the student was quoted as saying.

The National Defence College, which houses over 3,500 trainee officers, is a few hundred meters from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the perpetrators initially rounded up more than 200 students, but soldiers from the Nigerian army managed to rescue 180 students after engaging the kidnappers in combat. The 39 others remained missing.

While Nigerian officials deny they pay to free hostages, security analysts say kidnapping for ransom is becoming a lucrative industry in the West African nation.

Weapons are easily available in Nigeria thanks to war-torn Libya.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a kidnapper who recently turned himself into the government in exchange for amnesty said that buying guns in the country’s north is now like “buying bread,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

On Sunday, Kaduna state Commissioner of Internal Security Samuel Aruwan announced that police and military forces repelled attacks against another school and a local government office near an airport in Kaduna. He said that all 307 students at the Government Science Secondary School in Ikara were accounted for, Reuters reports.

Last month, gunmen kidnapped about 279 girls between the ages of 11 and 17 from Government Girls Science School in the Jangebe area of Zamfara state.

They were released days later. One of the girls who was released reported that a ransom had been paid for their release.

“I am elated. We thank God. We thank God,” Habib Abdullahi, whose three daughters were kidnapped, was quoted as saying at the time.

Umma Abubakar, another one of the kidnapped girls, shared with reporters details of the abduction, according to CNN.

“Most of us got injured on our feet, and we could not continue trekking, so they [the captors] said they will shoot anybody who did not continue to walk,” Abubakar recalled. “We walked across a river and they hid us and let us sleep under shrubs in a forest.”

On Dec. 11, gunmen captured an unknown number of boarding school students — possibly as many as 500 — from Kankara Government Science Secondary School in Katsina state. Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest Islamic terror groups, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The terrorists released a six-minute ransom video featuring Boko Haram's black-and-white flag. The footage showed a large crowd of boys in the forest surrounded by masked gunmen. As one of the boys speaks to the camera, music is played in the background. Later that month, security forces rescued 344 of the kidnapped students.

The recent wave of school kidnappings follows the abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from a school in Chibok in 2014. The abduction gained international attention, and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was launched. About 112 of the Chibok schoolgirls remain missing.

The Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria as the country third most affected by terrorism globally as over 22,000 people were killed by acts of terror from 2001 to 2019.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 2:39pm
Boris Johnson vows to end 'conversion therapy'; MPs attack prayer as harmful, like 'torture'

The Union flag flies in front of the Clock face on the Queen Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben on April 2, 2019, in London, England. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction as "repulsive" and vowed to end so-called conversion therapy days after Parliament members likened prayer and fasting to such past practices as electroshock therapy and "corrective rape."

Johnson apologized last Friday amid complaints from activists that his government has delayed taking action on the issue of gay conversion therapy after he declared in July 2020 that the practice was “absolutely abhorrent” and vowed to ban such therapies.

According to The Telegraph, three of his advisers who identify as LGBT "quit over a lack of progress."

Proponents of such a ban say the practice is cruel, ineffective and contributes to suicide among LGBT-identifying people.

During a trip to Belfast last week, the prime minister described the practice of trying to change someone's sexuality as "repulsive," according to Sky News. Johnson reportedly noted that the issue was "technically complex" but assured that he was committed to outlawing conversion therapy.

"I think this practice is repulsive and I think it's abhorrent and I'm sorry these advisers have gone but be in no doubt that we will deal with this issue," he told reporters. "It is technically complex to deal with but we're determined to take further steps to stamp it out."

At a Westminster Hall debate titled "LGBT Conversion Therapy" last Monday, members of the Petitions Committee discussed a petition demanding that the government criminalize the practice of so-called conversion therapy and criminalize the act of sending people abroad to attend conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is defined as any effort to change one's sexual orientation or gender identity.

During the debate, pastoral support was also branded as a form of conversion therapy and described as “torture.”

Eliot Colburn, a Conservative member of Parliament and a member of the Petitions Committee, led the debate and said the practice shows up in several ways, “from pseudo-psychological treatments and aversion therapies to practices that are religiously based, such as purification or fasting,” according to the Christian Institute.

"With every day that passes, there is another person at risk of being subject to this degrading treatment and we risk losing even more lives of people who feel there is no other way out,” he said.

Angela Eagle, a Parliament member who served as a government minister during the tenure of former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, derided the use of prayer for people with unwanted same-sex attraction as harmful. Eagle said it was akin to “being told by faith leaders or your family that you are sinful.”

“Being told to pray harder to change and to question your innermost feelings and thoughts, none of that should be legal,” she asserted.

In February, Conservative MP Alicia Kearns wrote in The House magazine that the existing laws do not enable prosecution where no physical harm has been caused.

She further argued that any attempt to stop someone from expressing their adopted gender identity or sexual orientation is conversion therapy and ought to be banned. In her description of what constitutes conversion therapy, she listed "prayer sessions" alongside things like electroshock therapy and "'corrective' rape."

By contrast, opponents of a therapy ban argue that the term conversion therapy belies what is actually occurring, particularly in Christian churches and ministries, as electroshock and other forms of aversion treatments have been against the law for many years.

What is practiced in some therapeutic environments — often though not always religious — is talk therapy, where individuals who present with conflicting feelings or distress regarding their sexual attractions or gender confusion speak with a counselor.

Christian Institute Deputy Director for Communications Ciarán Kelly said in a statement that it is “deeply worrying to see the level of ignorance of the beliefs and practices of mainstream Christianity on display from some of these MPs.”

“Of course we believe people should be protected from quack therapists and charlatan preachers. Most of these practices are already illegal and we would urge the government to ensure the law is applied properly,” he said, adding that “there must also be room for the preaching of God’s Word and for believers to receive prayer and pastoral support, whatever temptations they are facing.”

“A pastor or church should not face prosecution if a gay man or woman attends church, comes to faith and seeks help in following Christ’s teaching on sexual ethics.”

The Christian Institute is a U.K. charity that exists for “the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom” and “the advancement of education,” according to its website.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 2:49pm
What must you believe to be a Christian?
by Robin Schumacher

Courtesy of Robin Schumacher

A man was on a bridge, intending to jump and end his life. Another man saw him and cried out, "Don't do it! God loves you. Do you believe in God?" The conversation then went on like this:

First man: "Yes."

Second man: "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"

First man: "A Christian."

Second man: "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?"

First man: "Protestant."

Second man: "Me, too! What franchise?"

First man: "Baptist."

Second man: “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

First man: "Northern Baptist."

Second man: “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

First man: "Northern Conservative Baptist."

Second man: "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?"

First man: "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region."

Second man: "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"

First man: "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."

There was then a slight pause, after which the second man shouted "Die heretic!" and pushed the first man off the bridge.

Maybe it’s Premillennialism vs. Amillennialism. Or Arminianism vs. Calvinism. Or young earth vs. old earth. Or ransom theory of Christ’s atonement vs. penal-substitution.

Take your pick, debates and divisions occur all the time in Christianity over matters of doctrinal belief. But when it comes to true saving faith, is there a must-have set of things a person must believe to be saved?

Moreover, once you settle on what a person must accept to be a Christian, then you’re staring the next question right in the face: why do you believe that? And then comes the final question: what difference does that make in your life?

The Bedrock of Belief
When it comes to what teachings a person must hold to be saved, the answer isn’t as hard as you might imagine. While there are a number of doctrines that form the foundation of Christianity, they all contribute to one high-level belief.

What does a person have to believe in order to be a Christian? They must believe the Gospel.

Young earth vs. old earth? That doesn’t matter for salvation.

Pre-mill vs. post-mill vs. a-mill? That also doesn’t matter for salvation.

When I was saved at age 19, I had no deep understanding of the divinity of Jesus, the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth, creation out of nothing, etc. But what I did get was John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

In a very real sense, my experience was like the tax collector Jesus describes in Luke: “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified” (18:13-14).

Of course, understanding all the doctrines that contribute to and support the Gospel message (e.g. divinity of Christ, inspiration of Scripture, etc.) are vitally important, but a deep understanding of them typically comes later for most people as the Holy Spirit teaches them through God’s Word and via great Bible teachers. But as for the Ground Zero of saving faith, the Gospel message is it.

Why do you believe that?
So, the Gospel is what we believe to be saved, but why do we believe that? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions that make believing the gospel message credible?

Just like the answer to what a person must believe to be a Christian is simple to understand, the response to the question of why a person is justified for believing in the Gospel is equally straightforward. When anyone asks me why I am a Christian, I tell them it’s because:

1. God exists.

2. Jesus exists and He rose from the dead.

That’s it.

If those two truth claims are correct, then Christianity is true and all other teachings opposed to it are false. Like with the Gospel message, of course there are a lot of supportive teachings, questions, facts, and more behind the existence and identity of God, His Son, and the Resurrection. But from a high-level perspective, when everything is boiled down to the absolute essentials as to why Christianity is true, these are it.

So what?
This leads to our final questions of, so what? If the gospel message is true, and the core reasons for believing it are correct, what difference does that make in our lives?

It means, as C. S. Lewis wrote, “You have never met a mere mortal.”

Surprisingly, the ones who have best articulated the answer to the “so what” question of Christianity are the atheistic existentialist philosophers. For example, Nietzsche had the courage to admit that the rejection of God ends in nihilism. Another, Jean-Paul Sartre, well describes existence without God with the chosen title of his book Nausea and the portrayal of life as “an empty bubble floating on a sea of nothingness”.

Sartre’s study partner, Albert Camus, tells us in “An Absurd Reasoning” (contained in The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays) that a God-less life leads to there being “only one really serious philosophical question, and this is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.”

It’s what Daryl on The Walking Dead calls “opting out”.

But life with God? Then we have actual purpose and meaning in life, real moral values, a path worth living, and the promise of eternity where “God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new”” (Rev. 21:3-5).

So, in the end, the answers to some seemingly weighty questions about Christianity and belief are relatively simple.

What do you have to believe to be a Christian? The Gospel.

Why is the Gospel worthy of belief? Because God exists, Jesus exists, and Christ rose from the dead.

Why does all this matter? It gives us true purpose, an objective moral path to follow, and meaning in this life as well as glorifying God both now and in eternity.




Robin Schumacher is an accomplished software executive and Christian apologist who has written many articles, authored and contributed to several Christian books, appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs, and presented at apologetic events. He holds a BS in Business, Master's in Christian apologetics and a Ph.D. in New Testament. His latest book is, A Confident Faith: Winning people to Christ with the apologetics of the Apostle Paul.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 3:04pm
Updated
Ripping apart the US military ethos and families
by Bill Connor



In a recent Rachel Maddow monologue on MSNBC, Maddow specifically questioned and criticized allegations that top Pentagon officers recommended reconsidering the use of National Guard troops due to the “optics”. When asked about those involved with that phone call at the Pentagon, the Washington DC Adjutant General mentioned the name of the Army’s Chief of Operations, Lt. General Charlie Flynn. Maddow went on a rant of highly charged criticism of Lt General Flynn. She connected Charlie Flynn to his brother, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first National Security Advisor and a passionate defender of Trump. Maddow demanded to know why General Charlie Flynn was involved with the phone call after highlighting him as the brother of Mike Flynn. Rachel Maddow’s criticisms are problematic on a number of levels, but are becoming ubiquitous from the left. These kinds of attacks threaten to rip the guts out of our nation’s military ethos. Let me explain.

First, it’s important to understand the dynamics of our military. Throughout the nation’s history a disproportional number of recruits and officers have come from a relatively small number of American families. In my own family, going back over a century, Army officer family members have served in every war from the Philippine Insurrection to me coming back from Afghanistan (note: My son is an Army ROTC cadet at The Citadel planning to serve). Our family is not unusual, as many “military families” are disproportionately prone to military service through multiple generations. According to Slate: “In the United States, perhaps the strongest predictor of military service is having a family member who served —allowing for extended family members, it averages to about 80 percent of new recruits across the services. Going a step further, between 22 and 35 percent (depending on the service) are the child of a service member.” Additionally, 44.3% of new recruits come from the South, which is 20% beyond the southern population in the US. This comes from the traditional warrior and military culture of the South, as with my family’s southern background.

The Flynn family is a great example of the nation’s “military family” family business. Beyond two Lt. General brothers in the same family, the family service includes many other family members going back generations from the World Wars to Iraq and Afghanistan. Two brothers rising to the rank of Lt. General (note: Charlie Flynn has been selected for a fourth star) is an unbelievable achievement. There are only a couple dozen Lt. Generals in the US Army of half a million soldiers. I had the privilege of serving with (then) Major Charlie Flynn when I was an Infantry Captain in Hawaii in the 1990s. He was one of the all-time finest officers I have known. A man dedicated to his profession and the nation. Both Flynn brothers have deployed to multiple combat zones numerous times.

Rachel Maddow’s attack against Lt. General Charlie Flynn was beyond disturbing. It was a blood libel predicated upon being the brother of her political nemesis, Lt. General Michael Flynn. Maddow’s implication was that this military family “blood taint” with Trump supporter Michael Flynn caused Charlie Flynn to hinder the protection of Congress. On practical grounds, this charge was a ridiculous assertion. The Capitol police force numbers around two thousand officers, while the number of DC Guardsmen (available for immediate deployment to the Capitol) was a couple dozen guardsmen. It is unlikely those few Guardsmen could have helped within the roughly three hours of the event. We don’t know what General Charlie Flynn said, but after over three decades of honorable service in peace and war we should never question his loyalty to the nation. The blood libel defamation was despicable.

At a recent CNN Town Hall, President Joe Biden claimed former military members were disproportionately driving white supremacy: “(We need to study the) impact of former military, former police officers on the growth of white supremacy in some of these groups.” Biden’s new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, decried the alleged white supremacy within the military, and called for a “stand-down” to root out the alleged threat. Mainstream media continually highlight the alleged threat of “extremism” and “white supremacy” within the military. A letter from Senator Blumenthal and other Democratic Senators to the DOD IG alleged serious problems within the military culture. Unbelievably, they wrote: “The issue of white supremacy and extremist ideology within the ranks of our military is not new”. These allegations impliedly demand overhauling the culture of the military. It strikes at the traditions, including family traditions of service.

These attacks are beyond misguided and dangerous. In my experience as a “military brad” and career Army officer, the military was the most colorblind of all fields in American life. The ethos is of selfless service: Duty, Honor, Country. These attacks against military families and traditions threaten to rip apart a culture that has protected American freedom from the beginning. It’s time to stop the onslaught against the military ethos, an ethos fostered by military families. Let’s honor the ethos that has kept us free, including families like the Flynns.




Bill Connor, an Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 4:15pm
Updated
The devil’s latest tactic to keep us from the Bible
by Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

In a recent article, I mentioned that in 1647, the colony of Massachusetts passed the Old Deluder Act, with “the Old Deluder” referring to the devil himself. In the past, this act declared, Satan kept people from reading the Scriptures by confining the Bible to a tongue unknown by the common people (namely, Latin). Now, the colonists said, he is keeping people from reading the Scriptures by way of ignorance of the English language.

It was ordered, therefore, “that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read.” This way, as the children learned to read English, they would be able to read the Bible.

In the 1500s, when William Tyndale translated the Bible into English, he paid for it with his life, being imprisoned, then strangled by hanging, then burned after death. And this was by the authority of the English Church, which had become corrupt in so many ways. Can you imagine “Christian” leaders wanting to keep the Bible out of the hands of Christians?

Thanks to the pioneering work of Tyndale, Church policies changed, and so, these early American settlers had the English Bible in their possession. (It was called the Geneva Bible, which preceded the King James Version and which they preferred to the King James, which they perceived to be the Bible of the Church of England.)

But the fact that they were free to practice their religion, with the Bible fully accessible in their native tongue, did not guarantee that they would actually read the Bible.

In their judgment, the greatest obstacle was now illiteracy, hence the passing of the Old Deluder Act, guaranteeing that every child would learn to read English.

Similar sentiments were expressed in the New Haven Code of 1655, which stated that the purpose of education was to equip children to be “able duly to read the Scriptures … and in some competent measure to understand the main grounds and principles of Christian Religion necessary to salvation.” It was also assumed that this was the key to the colony functioning well: citizens who knew their Bibles would make the best citizens.

Of course, there are many aspects of colonial life that we would differ with today, most notably the enforcing of Christianity on the colonies. (Needless to say, where slavery was practiced, we would deplore that as well.)

But that is not my point here. Instead, my point is to say that these God-fearing, Bible-revering settlers realized that Satan was always working overtime to keep Christians from the Scriptures. That’s why they were determined to see their children educated. This way, they could read the Bible for themselves.

Today, Satan has a fresh new tactic, and it is working marvelously.

I’m not talking about suppressing English translations of the Bible.

To the contrary, there are more than 450 English translations of the Bible, many of them available free online. (Check out BibleGateway.com or download the YouVersion Bible app.)

Many of us have numerous copies of the Bible in our home, and literally, at the tip of our fingers, we have instant access to dozens of translations of the Word. A simple click, and there it is: the Bible on your phone or tablet or PC.

We can even set up a program to remind us to read the Bible every day, with the passages in question appearing right on our screens.

As for literacy, while there are some Americans who never learn to read, that number is extremely low. And even for those who cannot read, they can listen to the Bible in audio form.

The Word of God, in one form or another, is available everywhere. In fact, Tyndale would be shocked beyond words to see just how available the Bible is in our day here in America. He would also be shocked beyond words to see just how much we ignore it.

The Bible is more accessible than ever, yet, relatively speaking, we hardly access it. There really is a “scandal of biblical illiteracy.”

The Old Deluder is at work again, and he is proving quite successful.

What is his key tactic today?

I believe it is distraction.

Never before have we had so many things vying for our attention.

It’s just not emails. And texts. And direct messages on Facebook and Twitter and What’s App (and a host of other platforms, all demanding our attention.)

It’s also endless cable TV channels, which are now being overshadowed by endless internet options, including the ability to watch almost any past movie or TV show or current sports event by the hour.

It’s constant social media posts. And a 24/7 stream of news. And limitless ads pulling us in a million different (and oh-so-interesting) directions at once.

One night, while doing some research on YouTube, I noticed a fascinating nature video listed in the column to the right, which then led me to another fascinating video, this one about violent, predatory animals.

Soon enough, I was searching for videos on subjects like, “Lions vs. Hyenas” or, “How Strong Is a Gorilla?” – and on and on it went.

I’m not sure if I wasted 60 minutes or 90 minutes that night, but for sure, the time was wasted. I simply got distracted.

And how many have been distracted by things far more harmful than nature videos?

Of course, we can’t blame the devil for keeping us from the Word. That is our choice and our choice alone.

But we can recognize the temptations of our age, temptations which have even robbed us of the ability to concentrate. And we can make a fresh determination to put the Word of God first in our lives.

May I encourage you to avail yourself of the embarrassment of Scriptural riches we have today, making focused, devotional reading of the Bible a priority in your life?

If enough of us do that, putting into practice what we read, it will have a revolutionary impact on the nation. Literally.




Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 40 books.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 9:53pm
Vatican says Catholic Church can't bless same-sex marriage: God 'cannot bless sin’

Saints Peter and Paul Church is a Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, directly across from Washington Square. | Getty Images

The Vatican released a statement Monday announcing that churches have no power to bless same-sex marriage since God “cannot bless sin,” which clarifies Pope Francis’ stance on same-sex unions.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic churches have the power to bless same-sex unions. The question comes when “plans and proposals for blessings of unions of persons of the same sex are being advanced” in some “ecclesial contexts.”

“… It is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage …,” the Vatican statement reads.

“As is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”

In a Monday interview with The Christian Post, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, which claims to be the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, said the statement was “very much” welcomed because it removed doubt about the Vatican’s position on this topic.

“This [decision] finishes it,” Donohue said. “There’s nothing left to discuss. It’s non-negotiable. The Vatican left nothing on the table with these people pushing this agenda. It made it very clear that the Church can bless homosexuals as individuals, but it will never ever bless homosexual unions, never mind gay marriage.”

Same-sex marriage can’t be considered lawful in the Church because there are no grounds to consider it “even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” the statement written by Cardinal Luis Ladaria, a Spanish Jesuit, shared.

The Vatican’s statement comes after Pope Francis said during a documentary interview last October that he believes civil union laws should be created to legally cover same-sex couples in the civil sphere.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,” the pope said.

Donohue said this was an awkwardly-phrased statement by the pope. But while some Catholics have urged Pope Francis to bless gay marriage in the past, the statement released today settles his position on same-sex unions.

Donohue said the statement came from the top doctrinal office of the Catholic Church and would not be released without receiving the Pope’s blessing.

“I was actually struck by the fact that it was so definitive,” Donohue said. “They really slammed the door shut on this issue. And I think it’s welcome because some Catholics and non-Catholics say, ‘Well, where is the Church on this issue? It seems to be bending toward their way.’ And now, I think this will put an end to it. And if people who are Catholic don’t like it, well, they are going to have to change their status then.”

In its statement, the Vatican said that the unlawful blessing of same-sex unions is not “a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them.”

The Vatican’s response said the Christian community and pastors should “welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclination” and find appropriate ways to “proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness.”

“But [God] does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him. He in fact ‘takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are,’” the statement added.

The Catholic Church’s stance goes beyond gay marriage since it will not bless any union against God’s design of marriage, Donohue concluded.

“We can take it a step further,” he shared. “The Church will never bless cohabitation. This is not just with homosexuals. There are guys and gals who live together outside of marriage, and the Church does not recognize that. This is not strictly about homosexuals, although they are the ones who are pushing for it, obviously. But it would apply to any union that is outside of [licit marriage].”

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No sane and real church will bless same-sex marriage!

Infact, no real church will accept homosexuals as they are. It's either they repent or they leave.

Nice one Catholic church!

 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 15, 2021 9:57pm
Good night all.

You can also add your own thoughts.

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 12:36pm
Good afternoon all

Hope you are having a nice day?

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 12:39pm
The court of public opinion on race
by Garland Hunt

Courtesy of Garland Hunt

In the latest USA Today poll, America’s support of the Black Lives Matter Movement has fallen while their faith in law enforcement has risen.

Last June, 60% of the nation described the death of George Floyd as murder – due to the knee of Milwaukee Police Officer Dereck Chauvin firmly being planted on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes until he died on the street pavement. Now, according to the recent poll, only 36% believe it was murder.

What happened to change public opinion?

Based on the USA Today poll, the disparity of Black and White thoughts about Black Lives Matter and George Floyd is clearly widening. Blacks are still passionate about the incident of George Floyd’s death and absolutely believe it was murder by law enforcement. Whites are less incensed about the police action with many even believing it was justifiable.

The jury selection related to the trial of Milwaukee police officer Chauvin has begun and the world is watching. And if the USA Today poll is any indication of public opinion, most Americans have increased their trust and preference for law enforcement versus how they felt at the height of the George Floyd/BLM protests during the summer of 2020.

Sadly, this latest poll shows the stark reality of the ever-present gulf between Black and White Americans regarding race relations.

The only way to resolve or heal the racial divide between Blacks and Whites in America is a transformative heart change. The laws may change, the situations and factors may change, but racial separation will remain the same until people see God’s image in every person, no matter their skin color or ethnicity.

Impaired race relations run very deep in our country since slavery until present. The only way to heal the broken relationship between Black and White Americans is for Christians to lead the way in heart repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing. Christians, Black and White, must demonstrate the love of Christ toward each other. And until the body of Christ steps to the plate and chooses to lead by example, rather than following the world’s narrative of racism, division, and blame, we will not see the healing that both people and our nation need so desperately.

As many have said, “Hurt people hurt people.” Until we allow the love of Christ to heal our wounds – the wounds are re-opened with every racial incident that is exposed on national media.

Even when the wound begins to scab over, there is always scar tissue that keeps the heart callous and hard toward each other.

If we are holding the other race captive to our hurt, pain and anger, we ourselves are in bondage to our emotions and unforgiveness. We, as Christians, must release each other of the past debt owed because of past actions and injustice toward each other.

Each race must be willing to take the first step toward reconciliation and healing. And as believers, we must heed the instructions of Matthew 5:23-24, “Leave your gift at the altar and be reconciled to your brother.”




Garland Hunt is the senior pastor of The Father's House in the Metro Atlanta area and co-founder of the OneRace Movement. A member of the Georgia Bar Association, Hunt is a long-time advocate of religious liberties and racial reconciliation.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 12:49pm
Updated
Is free speech important?
by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

By Erwin W. Lutzer, Op-ed Contributor| Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Free speech laws in Western nations have supported Christians in spreading the Gospel throughout the world. Free speech is a special gift that is underappreciated by all of us. But historically, for most of 2,000 years, the church has had to survive without freedom of speech. Opposition to free speech began early in the history of the church. Shortly after the church was birthed, to preach in the name of Jesus was considered forbidden speech; it was hate speech that carried the penalty of imprisonment and sometimes even death.

Take time to reread Acts 4. Peter and John performed a miracle in the name of Jesus. But the authorities were not pleased. For this the two were arrested. When asked to defend themselves, Peter boldly proclaimed that the miracle was performed in the name of “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified…for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10, 12).

No political correctness here. “By your agreement, you let Jesus be crucified, and if you don’t believe in Him, you have no salvation!”

When Peter and John were threatened and warned to no longer speak in the name of Jesus, they answered, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (verses 19-20). Take it or leave it — your threats will not keep us from preaching the gospel!

The martyrs before us have shown that it is not necessary to have free speech in order to be faithful. Richard Wurmbrand, in Tortured for Christ, wrote about parents who taught their children the Christian faith. “If it was discovered that they taught their children about Christ, their children were taken away from them for life — with no visitation rights.”[1]

Of course, our speech must be with grace seasoned with salt. Free speech does not mean that we speak judgmentally to our nation as if we are free from our own weaknesses and sins. We give reason for the hope within us with respect, meekness, and fear (see 1 Peter 3:15).

One of my heroes is the sixteenth-century Reformer Hugh Latimer. When asked to preach in front of King Henry VIII, he struggled with exactly what to say. You’ll recall that Henry had the reputation of chopping off the heads of his enemies, including two of his wives.

As it turned out, Latimer boldly declared God’s Word, and although Henry spared his life, Henry’s daughter, Queen Mary (Bloody Mary), had him burned at the stake in Oxford. As he was dying amid the flames, he called out to Bishop Ridley, who was also consigned to the flames with him, and is quoted as saying, “Master Ridley, play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”[2]

The secret of boldness? Fear God more than the flames. Fear Him more than your reputation. Let us be done with fainthearted, tepid leadership. Ours is the day to “play the man” with bold, uncompromising truth and love, risking it all for God.

We can expect views that differ from those of the thought police will be boycotted, shamed, and outed. But we will not be silenced. We will endure the shame, the ridicule, and the penalties.

We will be heard, and we pray that the church will speak with one voice.




Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer is pastor emeritus of The Moody Church, where he served as the senior pastor for 36 years. He is an award-winning author well as the featured speaker on three radio programs heard on more than 750 national and international outlets.

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 1:00pm
Cancel Culture: The Most Dangerous Virus Infecting the Church Today
by Shane Idleman



By now, most know what the cancel culture is: something you did in your past will be used to silence, stop, and “cancel” you. Whether it’s Mike Lindell, whose pillow company lost many retailers after he publicly questioned the election, or Goya Foods, who upset people when its CEO thanked President Trump, the cancel culturedoesn’t tolerate opposing views. So much for being “tolerant.”

Do you see the irony? The cancel culture protects Cuties on Netflix and loves Cardi B lyrics, but they can’t stand Bible verses, worship songs, or views that oppose them. Dr. Seuss is offensive, the film Dumbo is racist, and Speedy Gonzales offends. Granted, things from the past may need to be changed from time to time, but if you focus on children’s books and cartoon characters and say nothing against child porn, human trafficking, little kids being intentionally confused about their gender, or the killing of innocent children in the womb, you’ve lost all credibility.

THE CHURCH—FRIEND OR FOE?
I am not especially surprised by the actions of the world; it is simply being true to its fallen nature. Rather, it’s the actions of the so-called church that are disturbing.

In 2020, the cancel culture in the church became a reality for me. I was scheduled to speak at a church in Palos Verdes, California, but when the assistant pastor found out that my political views differed from his, he complained to the elders, and just like that, I was canceled—never mind the fact that my message didn’t even touch on politics. Listen to it here, and let me know if a church should cancel this type of message or if it’s exactly what we need to hear.

I received another surprise in May of 2020. I had been corresponding with Pastor Jack Hibbs about opening our church on May 31. Once we decided to open, I was shocked by how many pastors came against us. I even shared with one prominent pastor in my area how happy I was when Pastor John MacArthur and the elders at Grace Community Church also opened. To my utter dismay, he wasn’t happy at all.


By this time, the shenanigans and the agendas of many political leaders were becoming apparent. We not only had a legitimate virus to deal with but we had agendas and ulterior motives working against us as well. Would churches capitulate and use Romans 13 out of context, or would they meet to fast, pray, and contend for the truth? Would they be cowards or watchmen?

Around this time, our local newspaper also canceled my articles, which had been featured for over a decade. Many liberal Christians no doubt complained and swayed the editor. Facebook also seemingly shadow banned me, causing our audience to drop from a quarter-million people per month to around ten thousand. Apparently, my views didn’t fit their narratives. They, along with YouTube, also banned my video on vaccines and immunity and removed some of my sermons.

"MY VIEW IS THE RIGHT VIEW," SO THEY SAY
One local pastor who still hadn’t opened his church a year into COVID told me that I was actually hurting the gospel because of my views. Apparently, you’re not allowed to share solid biblical teaching if you hold beliefs that oppose liberal “Christians.” “You’re hurting the gospel with your views unless your views align with my views,” so they say.

Then in July 2020 I was hit again. We held church services at JetHawk Stadium in Lancaster, California, and it wasn’t primarily unbelievers who were complaining. Other Christians and pastors were gossiping and backbiting. It is telling that none of them seemed to be excited that over 10,000 people attended the 4-month event and we had over 150 baptisms, the majority of which were spontaneous.

Sadly, within the church, the cancel culture is often fueled by jealousy and arrogance. “They don’t think like Ithink, so God cannot be using them,” goes the reasoning. There have been other groups throughout the ages who behaved in similar ways—the Pharisees come to mind, as well as the pastors and denominations who have stood against many of the past revivals simply because God had the audacity to use someone else and in a way that differed from them.

So while the cancel culture is not a new thing, it is new in America, and it’s on the rise. Our nation is increasingly polarized, with people unable to have civil conversations with those who have dissimilar views, and who actually take pleasure in destroying the lives and livelihoods of those who dare to have a different opinion.

PLEASING MAN RATHER THAN GOD
As I wrote last week in my article on why churches should open, all pastors relate to COVID differently depending on their perspective and circumstances. They are under tremendous pressure and need more grace, not less. I’m sure that many do much good in their communities, and for that, I applaud them. However, I don’t think cowardliness should go unchecked, for “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).

Let me state up front that without the Spirit of God, I’m a coward. Without deep seasons of prayer and fasting, I’m weak. Without extended times of heartfelt worship where I weep, repent, and realign my heart with Christ, I would drift from God. My heart breaks for the church, but the truth is that many Christians are being influenced by social media rather than by God’s Spirit and spend more time criticizing others rather than looking in the mirror and more time reading left-leaning liberals instead of reading and applying God’s Word. Like Samson, they do not know that the Spirit has departed (Judges 16:20).

Sadly, many pastors are joining the cancel culture, keeping their church doors locked and aligning with ungodly organizations because they have either lost the compass of truth or the boldness of the Spirit—or possibly both. They are distant from Christ, and therefore seek to be pleasers of men rather than lovers of God: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

They may cancel people, ideas, concepts, videos, articles, and sermons, but they can never cancel God!




Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 2:05pm
Department of Defense sides with the Left and loses trust

Courtesy of Bill Connor

On March 8, President Joe Biden made his first visit to the Pentagon since his inauguration. Biden announced that he was nominating two women to become four-star Generals. He spoke of his priority of the Pentagon recruiting more women, and of “designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits [and] updating requirements for their hairstyles”. In response, conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson criticized the priorities and asserted “pregnant women don’t win wars” among other comments. The backlash from Department of Defense officials (and some top military leaders) was overwhelming and particularly alarming compared with DOD silence over more egregious recent comments from the political left. The Department of Defense has increasingly sided with the left, and appears to be losing trust and confidence of the American people as a result. Let me explain.

First, the issue of servicewomen and pregnancy is personal to my wife and me. We both served on active duty together during her eight years as an Army doctor (I was a 30-year Infantry Officer). During that time, my wife went through the challenge of pregnancy with our three children. she did her duty as well as any of the male doctors. We, of all people, would never denigrate the service of women. Regardless, the truth matters and falsehoods must be called out.

Despite the DOD hyperbole, Tucker’s monologue on March 9 was relatively benign. He opined that “pregnant women don’t win wars” in criticizing the priority of things like maternity flight suits. Carlson added “China’s military becomes more masculine … our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine”. Carlson later explained that he believed the sole purpose of the military was defeating our enemies. Biden’s statements, according to Tucker, ran counter and alleged “(Biden’s) phrase ‘feel valued and included’ stuck out, not because we have some hateful bias against pregnant women flying military jets".

Regardless of what Carlson actually said, or his later explanation, the criticism was palpable, and included patently untrue assertions. Like most media sources, Politico claimed “Military leaders thrash Tucker Carlson after comments about female troops.” Unbelievably, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston tweeted: "Women lead our most lethal units.....they will dominate any future battlefield.” With that comment, and other similar exaggerations, truth took a back seat to progressive ideology and went beyond a defense of servicewomen. Women do not “lead our most lethal units” nor will they “dominate any future battlefield” (impliedly superior to men). These kinds of exaggerated falsehoods damage public trust, and end up hurting servicewomen.

The singularly overwhelming DOD backlash against Carlson stands in stark contrast to DOD silence after recent horrendous defamation from the political Left. Claiming National Guard troops guarding Washington DC could not be trusted, Democratic Rep Steve Cohen (Tenn) said on January 18: “The [National] Guard is 90 some-odd percent male; and only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden … there are probably not more than 25% of the people there protecting us that voted for Biden”. This followed other similar statements about those troops from media and political figures on the left. Not one of the senior military leaders criticizing Carlson said a word about those defamatory remarks. The political bias of some senior military leaders piling on Carlson while giving Cohen a pass is impossible to ignore and hurting trust.

According to Defense One “A growing number of Americans are increasingly losing trust and confidence in the U.S. military, according to a new Ronald Reagan Institute poll…that trust and confidence has fallen from 70 percent in 2018 to just 56 percent today.” This is a precipitous drop, as the numbers have been steady for decades. The high level of public trust and confidence in the military comes with the military’s apolitical perception, and focus on the mission of defense. The military is trusted with a budget exponentially surpassing any other nation’s defense budget. The politically charged DOD attacks against Carlson (in comparison with the silence about Steve Cohen’s statements about white, male troops) come at a critical time. A growing number of Americans perceive DOD as drifting to the political left as an institution, and this is untenable.

I will end with remarks delivered by General Douglas MacArthur to West Point cadets in 1962, giving the Department of Defense the way back to full trust: “Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution.”

Bill Connor, an Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 9:47pm
Updated
'That Is Not What God Is About': CNN Host Don Lemon Refutes Vatican's Ban on Blessing Same-Sex Unions



On Monday, CNN host Don Lemon spoke out against the Vatican’s announcement in which they noted that they do not have the power to bless same-sex marriages.

According to The Daily Wire, Lemon was a guest on ABC’s “The View” where co-host Megan McCain asked him to share his thoughts on the matter, pointing to the fact that Lemon himself is gay and engaged to another man.

“You got engaged to your fiancé, Tim, in 2019, and this morning, we learned that the Vatican has said that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since ‘God cannot bless sin,’” McCain said.

“They go on to say that this does not imply a judgment on persons, but I want to know, do you think this sends a damaging message and how do you feel about that given that obviously you are engaged and going to get married?”, she asked.

In response, Lemon explained that while he’s not against people believing in God, his issue is when their belief “hurts another person or does not give someone the same rights or freedoms,” because “God is not about hindering people or even judging people.”

“I think that that’s wrong and I think that the Catholic Church and many other churches really need to reexamine themselves and their teachings because that is not what God is about,” he argued.

Likening the issue to race, Lemon cited Dr. Martin Luther King as saying, “the most segregated place on earth, time on earth, was 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning” as he believed that religion and the pew are “barriers from people actually getting to know each other.”

“So I would say to the Pope and the Vatican and all Christians or Catholics or whomever, whatever religion you believe out, you happen to belong to out there, ‘Go out and meet people and try to understand people and do what the Bible and Jesus actually said if you believe in Jesus, and that is to love your fellow man and judge not lest ye be not judged,” the CNN host continued.

Rather than be hindered by the pew, church, or “among yourselves”, Lemon called people of faith to “go out and have a barbecue and meet people and start breaking bread with people and getting to know them...”


What nonsense @bolded

Also, his view of God is totally warped and distorted. God hates sin and the unrepentant sinner!

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 9:57pm
Pastor shot dead weeks after thanking God he survived ‘what I didn’t see coming’

Kevin D. Nick was the Chief Apostle at Higher Dimensions Church International in Decatur, Ga. | Facebook/Kevin D. Nick

Less than three weeks after celebrating his 43rd birthday and publicly thanking God for helping him survive “what I didn’t see coming,” Kevin D. Nick, a beloved Georgia pastor and founder of Higher Dimensions Fellowship Assemblies, was shot dead last Friday.

A police report cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said officers responded to a shooting near a home on Sherwood Avenue in a Decatur neighborhood just after 7:30 p.m.

Authorities found a black Dodge Durango crashed between two trees. Nick was found unconscious inside the vehicle after having been shot multiple times.

According to the report, witnesses said they saw four people in two dark-colored sedans before Nick’s shooting. A person inside one of the sedans reportedly got out, walked up to Nick’s SUV and asked the driver if he was “Terrance.” It is unclear what caused the shooting.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the shooting on Saturday, the newspaper reported.

An investigator at the DeKalb County Police Department told The Christian Post Monday that the case was still an active investigation and could not immediately provide further details.

Social media personality William G. McCray III, who said Nick was a friend, wrote on Facebook that he was told the spiritual leader was shot four times.

Church officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. But Tremaine Dupree, the church's adjutant general and overseer of protocol, announced Nick’s passing on Facebook Saturday.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart, the Nick Family, Higher Dimensions Church International, and the Higher Dimension Fellowship Assemblies announce the sudden Episcopal Transition of His Grace, Chief Apostle Kevin D. Nick D.D. Although heavy hearted, we rejoice knowing he is at peace with his God,” the statement reads.

“Apostle Nick demonstrated a level of care and concern throughout his ministry. He was certainly a general in the Kingdom and will be greatly missed by all whose life he so fervently touched.”

On Feb. 22, Nick celebrated his 43rd birthday and thanked God for helping him reach the milestone.

As news of his passing spread over the weekend, many publicly mourned Nick’s untimely passing, including Nick’s assistant pastor, Artavia Caldwell.

“I have so many questions God....smh I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one," Caldwell wrote on Facebook. "He was a gentle giant who preach Love and Forgiveness. He used to always tell us, ‘if you going to see Jesus, you gotta get that out your heart.’ He believed in giving folks a second chance no matter how wrong they were."

He added that Nick's death "hurt so bad," and he doesn't understand why someone killed him.

“[T]hese past couple of days I feel like I’m walking in the twilight zone and any second imma wake up and I’ll see your face and hear your voice," he added. "With the help of the Lord we the Higher Dimensions Church International will continue in the things you taught us ‘Love and Forgiveness’ and pull together to be what God has called for in the season.”

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Awwww So sad!

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 10:08pm
WNBA champion who says she was bullied in league for being straight shares how faith kept her


Candice Wiggins, 34, is a WNBA champion. | Facebook/Candice Wiggins

Former WNBA star Candice Wiggins sees herself as a non-traditional Christian who has walked a rocky road.

Three years ago, Wiggins says she was forced to retire early in part because she was bullied for being straight in a league she estimates is 98% gay. After telling her truth, though, Wiggins now reveals how she leaned on her faith after being attacked with “unimaginable anger.”

“It was an anger directed toward me that I have never imagined was possible. It was unimaginable anger that I had sparked,” she explained to The Christian Post in an interview a day after the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.

Wiggins is the daughter of famed baseball player Alan Wiggins who died at age 32 in 1991 from AIDS. She played for four WNBA teams and won a championship with the Minnesota Lynx in 2011. She was named the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year in 2008 when she was the No. 3 overall draft pick out of Stanford University. She even played overseas in places like Greece and Spain.

In 2016, however, at age 29, Wiggins voluntarily ended her WNBA career. A year later, she disclosed in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune that, along with other tensions, that she had been bullied in the WNBA for being straight and that the culture in the WNBA encouraged women to look and act like men in the NBA.

“Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins told the publication. “I would say 98% of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they (the other players) could apply.”

In a wide-ranging interview with CP about her faith, race, family, and basketball, Wiggins insisted that she had meant no harm with her comments but only wanted to speak her truth.

“I didn’t really have a chance to explain where I was coming from with those comments,” Wiggins told CP.

“I said 98% when I was asked that, and I know that for a fact that was a very triggering point of it too — the fact that I put a number … on sexuality that is considered fluid and didn’t have a lot of context around it. They’re holes that they felt were in my argument,” she said of her critics.

Wiggins said some people thought she was taking a stance against homosexuality but she was only talking about her personal experience and wanted to be honest about her journey.

At the time she did the interview, Wiggins was being inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame as the first female basketball player.

“I was the first female basketball player to be inducted, and that shook me because I realized, ‘Oh my goodness.’ This is the first time I was ever the first something. … something that had significant meaning. And then I started realizing kind of who I was and that was the first day I was certain that there were a number of girls and women who were following me, who were looking to me, specifically, not anyone else, as a leader, as someone that was guiding them to wherever they wanted to go,” she explained.

When she was asked about the culture in the WNBA, Wiggins said she made a choice to be honest about her journey.

“If there were girls and women who were looking to kind of be like me, I wanted them to understand all those aspects of it because I just felt I had to do that. I felt like I was lying if I didn’t because they needed to understand, and I also was hoping secretly that it [the culture] would change,” she said.

When asked if she would rephrase her estimate of the number of gay players in the WNBA, she said "no" because it was just an opinion, not a scientific fact. She also said when she shared that estimate with San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Tod Leonard, it wasn’t meant to be a headline.

“The short answer to that question is no. I probably wouldn’t phrase it differently, especially because of the way the 98 [%] came out. It was more of a follow-up. It wasn’t really something that I expected to be blasted all over the headlines. It was something that was definitely a private note, like a little asterisk that was really private. It was personal, it was my own opinion, it wasn’t a statistical fact. It was just an element that I had to just quickly do a … scan of what I was explaining,” she said.

“That 98% was more of me being honest with myself about what I observed. It was so personally my opinion. It was completely up for debate, completely. If people wanted to discount it that was perfectly fine with me. It was just my own, what I saw with my two eyes, I experienced with my body in four locker rooms.”

Even three years later, said Wiggins, the attacks she has faced as a result of telling her truth are still difficult to deal with.

“To be honest, the reactions that I got to that statement were so hard to deal with. They are still really hard to deal with because I still am not and I wasn’t really sure where they were coming … it was a lot of anger. People were just outraged. It was so fast and swift that I didn’t have time to process the anger,” she explained.

Asked if she had a daughter who was as talented as her in basketball and wanted to play in the WNBA if she would encourage that passion, Wiggins said she wouldn’t discourage her.

“I would definitely not discourage [her], but I would definitely encourage her in being multidimensional and be a full representation of all her passions,” she said.

Since the uproar over her comments, Wiggins has been leaning on her faith and finding solace in coaching youth basketball. She recently relocated from California to Atlanta, Georgia, and is developing a virtual coaching series for young players in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I really have gotten this calling to do coaching. For the last few years, I’ve been coaching and getting into this idea of virtual coaching. That is something that is definitely a highpoint because it’s kind of the answer to all the things that I’ve been really searching for. I’ve been doing like a huge deep dive into what my passions are, my true passions are, and I really found that just to have the opportunity … to influence and push the game forward in ways, being a part of a new solution to a pandemic,” she said.

At 34, Wiggins has also become much more aware of the value of time amid the pandemic.

“The biggest thing that I probably discovered [during the pandemic] is just the sense of time — how much time is in charge. Not our own wills, time. And that’s God’s will, in my opinion. Being patient. Of all the things in life that you could want, that you could wish for and hope for, I think that time is probably the most precious and the most important, and also it’s priceless,” Wiggins added.

“What do you do with your time? I think that’s one of the things that, you know, when you think about even the idea of a Judgment Day or the Judgment Seat, I think that the pressing question is what did you do with your time?

"This pandemic has taught me really that there’s nothing idle about your schedule anymore. Anyone’s schedule, especially mine. I have to look and see how I have been using my time and really judge that.”

On faith

Wiggins talks fondly of WNBA chaplain of the Minnesota Lynx, Michelle Backes, who she said served as a role model for her in developing her faith. She said Backes gifted her a study Bible after she tore her Achilles tendon in July 2010 and she was sidelined by the injury.

She said she struggled during that period but used the time to finish her communications degree at Stanford and search the Scriptures for direction.

“When I tore my Achilles, everything stopped for me physically, so it became all about who am I outside of basketball. First thing I did was enroll in Stanford. I went back to Stanford and took classes to finish my degree,” she said.

“I went to God because I wanted so badly to digest the entire Bible, but I felt the guilt … I felt very lost,” she continued, noting that up until that point in her life, she had been reading many different books but not the Bible.

“Immediately, God heard my sorrow and sadness, and the message I got, the inner voice I got, was just treat the Bible like you treat all the other texts in your life,” she said.

When she started doing that, her life began to change.

“It was like this anointing. I felt so much power in the Word. Studying the notes, the history, the context. I had a full comprehension because I felt like [I had] a lot of catching up to do,” she said.

She said the more Scripture she read, the more she continued to evolve, and she had to depend on her chaplain a lot. She ended up finishing the entire New Testament and went on to win a WNBA championship shortly after.

“That kind of brought me to a place where I thought I was living in my purpose. From that point on, I stayed reading the Word,” she said.

She confesses to facing continued struggles in her walk and now describes herself as a non-traditional person of faith.

“When you say non-traditional, that’s the perfect description. It’s something I would share with my father. My mother grew up going to church with my grandmother. My mother was probably the one who she changed that tradition for our family. …

"But then, also sports crept in and I heard stories also about how my father, he would have baseball games on the Sabbath Day and his mother would allow him to skip the Sabbath and go play baseball and do those things because she saw a talent in him,” she said. “Similar thing with my mother. She really saw something in me and it just kind of transformed the nature of the traditional way, and I don’t know how rare that is or not.”

On race

Last May, just days after George Floyd's death, Wiggins shared an image of Floyd on Instagram with a Bible in his hand with the words “speak for the dead” in protest.

“What happened with that that impacted me the most was just how the way it was so, the way that you could see. Your eyes wouldn’t be able to deceive you. Your mind wouldn’t be able to tell you another story. The story pretty much explained itself, and of course, there are all these factors that human rationale can factor in and say … but it’s just what you saw,” she recalled.

“When I said speak for the dead, I just wanted to put people into the basic humanity of a man. Yes, he was a black man, but he was a man who had a soul. A living, breathing soul that wanted to live, that wanted life on Earth.

“I just think that when you’re dying and you’re [in] that helpless situation that George Floyd was, life becomes a life switch. Like the flick of a switch on and off. And I think that all the things that when your life switch is on, all these things that make up your life that are important, that are factors, when that life switch is off, none of those things matter anymore. …

"I really wanted people to get back into his position, what he was thinking. What he was feeling, those emotions, and it just really triggered in me an idea of how to think about the fight and think about protesting,” she said. “I really thought about what my thoughts are on an idea as difficult to discuss as racism. It was my way of thinking, let’s go back to this man. As horrifying as it was to see, let’s go back to his existence and what he would be wanting you to talk about. What does his life mean to him?”

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after begging for his life and crying for his mother before he visibly stopped breathing with the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer still pinned to his neck last May.

A week ago, the U.S. House approved legislation aimed at preventing police misconduct that Democrats named in honor of Floyd.

In 2015, Wiggins revealed how her own father’s untimely death from AIDS, which was connected to drug use, stemmed from struggles he faced handling the pressures of racism with a high-profile career in Major League Baseball.

“He died protecting his inner peace and his privacy. That was kind of his big thing. That’s what he kind of gifted me and my brother and sister. His plight was all about his family and protecting them from any type of harm that he might have felt,” Wiggins said.

“When I grew up, I grew up very much rebelling from that because the way that I was brought up, I was very curious and very wanting to, you know, I just felt like I didn’t want to be hidden. I didn’t want my pain and suffering to be hidden. But at the same time, I have that same drive that he had where his athletic talent could lead him. So I was being led by my athletic talent and not necessarily knowing where it was going to end,” she said.

“The irony is, I became exactly like him. But when you’re talking about that pressurized environment, that is a perfect description of it. Because you get to a point where you have to make a choice, and you have to understand that there are different environments that you’re a part of. And in my case, it was the WNBA. In my father’s case, it was Major League Baseball,” she said.

“At a certain point, I had to choose: where am I going to go with this? Will I have the same idea, mentality, that my father had? … I kinda said no, I’m not. I have something different.

"In my case, I felt God had a different purpose for me. Maybe it was my father’s story that helped me get there, that gave me a little boost so that I could understand and see his pitfalls. I definitely stood in a place where I said, no, I’m going to communicate," she stressed. "I was a communications major at Stanford. I’m going to communicate as best I can, my environment, my experiences, my life experiences. But also show more of a promise, more of an optimism.”

And she credits her optimism to her faith.

“For me, faith has been all-consuming. It’s been all-consuming since the day [of my father’s funeral]. I remember that so vividly, and it’s been 30 years. So God has given me this remembrance, but I had a spirit of adoption almost envelope me at my dad’s service. I still remember the service. I remember looking up in the church and just feeling the power of God. Feeling like everything was going to be OK for me, and I realize now it was the spirit of adoption,” Wiggins noted.

Source


Wow, so from asking to accorded be 'rights', homosexuals have gone ahead to bullying normal people to be like them???

Pathetic!

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 10:13pm
2,000-Year-Old Biblical Scroll Fragments Unearthed in Dead Sea Cave



Two dozen biblical scroll fragments from the book of Zechariah were recently unearthed in a Dead Sea Cave in Israel.

The fragments are believed to be 2,000 years old and were recovered as a part of a rescue mission to recover all the artifacts in the cave.

One of the fragments reads from Zechariah 8:16-18 stating, "These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates. And do not contrive evil against one another, and do not love perjury, because all those are things that I hate – declares the Lord."

According to a press release obtained by the Jerusalem Post, the purpose of the dig was to collect these artifacts and any others found before robbers come in and excavate on their own to sell the artifacts on the black market. The director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, explained that "The aim of this national initiative is to rescue these rare and important heritage assets from the robbers’ clutches. The newly discovered scroll fragments are a wake-up call to the state. Resources must be allocated for the completion of this historically important operation. We must ensure that we recover all the data that has not yet been discovered in the caves, before the robbers do. Some things are beyond value."

In addition to the scroll fragments, the archaeologists also unearthed a well-preserved basket and a child skeleton dating back 6,000 years. The basket is dated to be around 10,500 years old.

The Israel Antiquities Authority partnered with the Archaeology Department of the Civil Administration to conduct the dig. The funding came from the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage.

Apparently, these areas have a problem with looters who steal artifacts. The Israel Antiquities Authority's head of the Theft Prevention Unit told The Times Of Israel, "For years we chased after antiquities looters. We finally decided to pre-empt the thieves and try reaching the artifacts before they were removed from the ground and the cave."

Source


Great!

 

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By Temmy
Tue, March 16, 2021 10:19pm
Goodnight all.

Feel free to login and post.

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 9:08am
Good morning all.

Wishing you a blessed day ahead.

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 2:09pm
Pro-life groups ask Supreme Court to stop federal gov't from funding abortions

Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building during the Right To Life March, on January 18, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The Right to Life Campaign held its annual March For Life rally and march to the U.S. Supreme Court protesting the high court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A group of pro-life organizations have filed a brief asking the United States Supreme Court to stop the government from expanding the federal funding of abortions.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association filed a supplemental brief in support of intervention on Monday in the consolidated cases of American Medical Association v. Cochran, Oregon v. Cochran, and Cochran v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore.

At issue in the cases is a 2019 rule enacted during the Trump administration that prohibits federal Title X family planning funding to go to entities that provide or promote abortions.

In the supplemental brief, the pro-life groups expressed opposition to a proposed dismissal of the challenge by the Biden administration, which will likely reverse the 2019 rule.

“When the federal government issues valid administrative rules, the public interest supports enforcing those rules until they are changed through proper regulatory procedures. Abandonment of valid statutes and regulations signals the demise of the rule of law itself,” stated the brief, in part.

“The only apparent purpose of proceeding via joint stipulation is to deprive interested parties of their ability to defend the 2019 Rules.”

The pro-life groups are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases and has argued before the Supreme Court.

The brief also expressed support for a joint motion by 19 states to ask the Supreme Court to stop the Biden administration from scrapping the 2019 rule on Title X family planning funding.

“To be sure, some States provide such funding. And many advocates would like to see more public funding. But the broader national consensus against funding elective abortion remains,” stated the joint motion.

“Title X reflects this consensus. Since its 1970 enactment, the law has funded non-abortion family planning. All the while, it has banned the use of Title X funds ‘in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.’”

In January, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum asking the Department of Health and Human Services to review restrictions on funding for entities that provide or promote abortion.

Biden claimed that the Title X rule put "undue restrictions" on federal funding and put "women’s health at risk by making it harder for women to receive complete medical information."

"The [law] specifies that Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning, but places no further abortion-related restrictions on recipients of Title X funds," read the Biden memo.

Based on that reasoning, Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar submitted a short brief to the Supreme Court last week asking for them to dismiss the litigation over the 2019 rule.

Source

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 2:31pm
Equality Act Would Mean the 'Effective Death of Religious Liberty' In America, Mohler Warns



A well-known theologian and seminary president is urging Congress to defeat the Equality Act and warning its passage could mean “the effective death of religious liberty” in America.

The bill, H.R. 5, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – a law that was passed to confront racial discrimination – by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes for public places, education, housing and employment. It previously passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate. President Biden supports it.

Its impact on religious freedom has led many Christian leaders to oppose it. One of those is Albert Mohler, who writes in a new analysis in The Public Discourse that the Equality Act “represents the greatest present threat to religious liberty in the United States.” Mohler is an author and the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

“No aspect of American public life would be unchanged, and the bill would invade the private sphere as well,” Mohler wrote. “... A moral message will be telegraphed throughout society, normalizing virtually everything comprehended within the ever-expanding categories of LGBTQ.”

For example, Mohler said, the text of the Equality Act “includes no acknowledgement of the right of Christian colleges and schools” to “hire teachers in accord with the school’s stated religious convictions.” Further, religious colleges and universities, Mohler said, could be forced “to allow same-sex couples to live in student housing.” Yet that is “but one in an apparently endless list of other accommodations that the LGBTQ community now demands.”

The bill explicitly forbids individuals from using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to sue based on classes covered by the Equality Act. That 1993 law, signed by President Clinton, prevents the government from “substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion.”

Mohler quoted bill supporter Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) as saying of individuals making claims of a religious liberty violation: “The determination would have to be made as to whether or not the decisions they are making are connected to their religious teachings and to their core functions as a religious organization,” Cicilline said, “or is it a pretext to discriminate?”

“With those words,” Mohler wrote, “every religious congregation, denomination, and institution is put on notice: The government will determine if your hiring and housing and student conduct and employee policies are truly ‘connected’ to your religious teachings, or if you are merely using a claim of religious conviction as a ‘pretext to discriminate.’

“These words mean the effective death of religious liberty, for the burden of proof will now fall to each religious institution to prove to the government’s satisfaction that its convictions are authentic,” Mohler wrote.

The religious texts of evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Mormons “are incompatible with the normalization of LGBTQ identities, behaviors, relationships, and gender confusions,” Mohler asserted.

“The Equality Act, therefore, represents the threat of government coercion against a certain structure of theology, doctrine, and morality,” Mohler wrote. “This means the threat of the state directed against any claim of divine revelation that contradicts the new morality, the newly minted definition of marriage, and the newly constructed ‘rights’ of the LGBTQ revolution.”

Source

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 2:35pm
Advocates for sexual abuse survivors blast Grammys’ promotion of prostitution, porn culture

In this image released on March 14, Cardi B performs onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California, and broadcast on March 14, 2021. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

A major television watchdog group and an anti-porn organization that advocates for sexual abuse survivors are pushing back against the Grammys for featuring sexually explicit content during prime-time viewing hours and normalizing prostitution and porn culture.

During Sunday's awards show that aired on CBS, the program featured a performance of the hit song “WAP,” which stands for wet a-- p---- by artist Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.

“In a performance that could have been cut from a hardcore pornography film, CBS allowed a glamorization of stripping and prostitution to be broadcast in front of a national audience — a portion of which were children — for no other reason than for TV ratings,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, in a statement shared with The Christian Post.

Even though the song is popular, that kind of performance should never have been allowed at the Grammys, Hawkins asserted.

“Prostitution and stripping are never empowering for women, as they set up systems that exploit and oppress women. CBS has contributed to furthering the sexual exploitation of women and contributed to the ‘normalization’ of porn culture,” Hawkins added.

Parents Television Council President Tim Winter described the performance as "entirely unfit for a primetime network television broadcast."

"Artists have every right to confound empowerment with debasement, and sexiness with debauchery, but a broadcast television network carries a higher standard — especially during the times when children are likely to be in the audience. Shame on CBS,” said Winter in a statement released Monday.

Jim Denison of the Denison Forum noted that he remembers the “wardrobe malfunction” from the 2004 Super Bowl where artist Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson’s blouse and exposed her breast during the final moments of the halftime show.

The Federal Communications Commission fined CBS and several of its affiliates $550,000 as a result of the incident, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately tossed those fines.

“Now it seems that we are subjected to such ‘malfunctions’ on prime time television regularly,” Denison mused.

Twitter users had mixed reactions, with some taking to the platform to celebrate the performance, while others voiced disgust given that children could be watching.

NCOSE added in a Monday blog post that the performance “highlights long-standing issues of systemic racial and sexual injustice that still pervade in our society and which are grossly profited on by corporations,” like major media companies which deceptively frame the exploitation as empowering.

“[A]s feminism championed the rights of women and the civil rights movement did the same for people of color, many of those who 'benefited' the most from those oppressive systems — a cohort that is predominantly affluent, powerful, and white — only had to slightly tweak their ‘PR’ so they could continue to traffic in and profit from racist and sexist themes through the commercial sex industry. All under the banner of 'empowerment,' NCOSE said.

Normalizing the commercial sex industry and other oppressive systems like strip clubs is not about understanding and celebrating unique cultural representations and expressions of sexuality, the organization added.

“Instead of empowerment, CBS allowed the propagation of regressive themes that reinforce and normalize racial and sexual injustice,” NCOSE said.

Source

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 4:09pm
Updated
Satanist TikTokker thanks progressive Christians

Courtesy of Lucas Miles

In a shocking new TikTok video, a man wearing sinister looking red-colored contact lenses, illuminated by an eerie red glow, who refers to himself as a member of the “Lucifer Gang”, takes a moment to thank “progressive Christians,” saying, “There is a wave of Christian people that I have met on this app, and I have found favor among them. Progressive Christians are what the world needs right now.” The TikTokker, whose page is filled with anti-Christian arguments, as well as content promoting witchcraft, ‘dark energy’, and satanic imagery, goes on to say regarding progressive Christians, “We both agree that religion needs massive amounts of change.”

For those new to the term, ‘progressive Christian’ isn’t simply a reference to a democrat who is a Christian, but rather a specific viewpoint of both Jesus and the Bible. Progressive Christianity, also referred to as ‘Liberal Christianity’ or the ‘Christian Left’, emerged from Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophers like Voltaire, Kant, and Hegel, as well as French Roman Catholic Richard Simon, often referred to as the ‘Father of Biblical Criticism.”

Progressive Christianity introduced to the world a belief in the ‘historic Jesus’, as an intentional distancing from the Biblically orthodox Christ presented in the scriptures. For the Christian Left, while the Bible may contain certain truths and historical accuracies, it cannot be trusted as a whole and requires human reason to evaluate each and every passage to determine whether or not that specific passage can be used to create a reliable portrait of Jesus. As such, a progressive view of scripture tends to reject and reason away all supernatural aspects of the Bible, including the miracles of Jesus and the resurrection. In the progressive historic view, Jesus is a good teacher, a social reformer, a rabbi, and a Cynic philosopher, but rarely the Son of God or Christ, the Savior of the world.

In our day, while beliefs among the Christian Left vary, most hold to a critical view of scripture (as opposed to a traditional view that holds the Bible to be the inerrant ‘Word of God’), an acceptance of Darwinism, a normalization of progressive views of gender and sexuality, and an emphasis of Jesus’ role in social justice and societal reform. Among those often regarded as being modern adherents to a form of Progressive Christianity are author and scholar Bart D. Ehrman, Democratic politician Pete Buttigieg, and journalist Jonathan Merritt. For Ehrman, his historic view of Jesus led him to a form of agnosticism, whereas Buttigieg still claims denominational affiliation with the Episcopal Church.

Describing his own ‘de-conversion’ from traditional Christian faith, Merritt, a contributing editor at Religion News Service, confessed in a tweet, “Like many, evangelicalism provided me with some wonderful gifts for a season, but I feel like I have grown beyond it in many ways. Its tools and frameworks are no longer sufficient to sustain me in this phase of life. While I honor my heritage, I’m mostly seeking God elsewhere.” For Merritt, his elsewhere, appears to be a form of progressively ‘woke’ Christianity – the kind affirmed in the aforementioned TikTok video.

The reason this video is noteworthy is because it demonstrates the growing chasm between a Biblical view of Christianity and progressive view of Jesus. In the same video, the TikTokker goes on to attack traditional Christians, warning, “Between your flawed bibles, asinine ideals, and just outright misinformation - we’ve had enough.”

Surprisingly, due to the departure of certain Biblical ideas, such as the Lordship of Jesus and original sin, progressive Christianity apparently is able to stand unified alongside satanism, since the cause of division, namely viewing Jesus as Savior, has been removed. Biblical Christianity, on the other hand, while still offering love to someone caught in the deception of satanism, cannot find agreement or unity in belief, as the apostle Paul wrote, “What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?”

Source


Something must wrong somewhere!

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 8:25pm
Christian mass shooter Robert Long was tired of ‘temptation’ posed by massage parlors: police

A man walks past a massage parlor where three women were shot and killed on March 17, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. Suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested after a series of shootings at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead on Tuesday night, including six Asian women. | Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Christian mass shooter Robert Aaron Long, 21, told police he was addicted to pornography and was trying to eliminate “temptation” when he shot up three massage parlors in the Atlanta area, killing eight people who were mostly Asian women Tuesday evening, and was planning to shoot up more parlors in Florida.

“We did interview him last night. He is currently in our facility at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said at a press conference Wednesday. “He made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past.”

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department said Long, who attended Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, a Southern Baptist congregation, “did take responsibility for the shootings” and dismissed reports that his actions were racially motivated.

“He does claim that it was not racially motivated. He apparently has an issue with what he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places. It’s a temptation for him he wanted to eliminate,” Baker said. “Those are comments that he made.”

Baker explained that investigators handling the case said Long understood the gravity of his actions on Tuesday.

“He was pretty much fed up and kinda at the end of his rope, and I guess it was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Baker said. "These locations, he sees them as an outlet for him, something he shouldn’t be doing. … He had an issue with porn and he was attempting to take out that temptation.”

He added: “It may be targets of opportunity. We believe that he frequented these places in the past and may have been lashing out.”

Authorities say four people died in Long’s shooting spree during his first attack at Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, a northwest suburb of Atlanta, which was reported around 5 p.m. A Hispanic man was also injured there.

Atlanta police officers then responded to what was reported as a robbery at Gold Spa in the northeast part of the city at 5:47 p.m., where they found the bodies of three women with gunshot wounds. While officers were at that scene, they received a call about shots fired at the Aromatherapy Spa across the street, where they found another woman's body.

Police confirmed Wednesday that two of the eight people killed are white.

As police shared the new details on Long’s motives, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, “we certainly will not begin to blame victims.”

“We don’t know additional information on what his motives were, but we certainly will not begin to blame victims. And as far as we know in Atlanta, these are legally operating businesses that have not been on our radar, not on the radar of APD,” Lance Bottoms said.

Baker said Long, who appeared to have used a 9mm firearm in his attack on the massage parlors, told police he was on his way to Florida to shoot up more massage parlors.

Thanks to the help of his family, they were able to track him through his cellphone and stop him before he was able to take more lives.

“We are really appreciative of the family. Without them, this would not have happened as quickly as it happened. They are very supportive and certainly, this was difficult for them,” Baker said.

Long, who was twice baptized at Crabapple First Baptist Church, most recently in 2018, previously attended services with his mother, father and younger sister. Police said that at the time of the shootings, Long was not living with his parents.

Minutes from a meeting of the elders at the church showed that, in 2018, Long was one of 11 people who served as members of Crabapple First Baptist Church’s Student Ministry Team, which “exists to see students receive Jesus Christ as Lord, and walk in Him, being rooted in the faith.”

Jerry Dockery, the lead teaching elder at the church, prayed last Sunday that God would use his church to have leaders in various areas of the public and private sector “drawn toward you.”

“We pray that Lord, our leaders, our first responders, our teachers, our business leaders to have their eyes and hearts drawn toward you. You’d make Yourself known in this community in a very powerful, personal way. We ask that you use Crabapple Church to bring this to pass,” he said.

Asked by The Christian Post on Wednesday to share his thoughts on Long’s faith and any possible explanation for what could have driven Long to carry out the shootings, Dockery said: “We are grieved to hear the tragic news about the multiple deaths in the Atlanta area. We are heartbroken for all involved. We grieve for the victims and their families and will continue to pray for them. Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and pray for them as well.”

Source

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 8:57pm
Jesuits to raise $100 million for descendants of slaves owned by members in 1800s

Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. | Reuters/Joshua Roberts

The Society of Jesus, an influential Catholic Church order commonly known as the Jesuits, are planning to raise $100 million to give to descendants of slaves once owned by their members.

The money will go to a foundation created by descendants of slaves sold in 1838 by the Jesuits to help fund Georgetown University when it was in financial trouble, The New York Times reported.

“This is an opportunity for Jesuits to begin a very serious process of truth and reconciliation,” said the Rev. Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, as quoted by the NY Times.

“Our shameful history of Jesuit slaveholding in the United States has been taken off the dusty shelf, and it can never be put back.”

Father Kesicki said the Jesuits had already deposited $15 million into a trust established to support the foundation, with a plan to raise the remainder over the next three to five years.

The organization receiving the funds is the Descendants of Truth and Reconciliation Foundation, which was created by the Jesuits and the GU272 Descendants Association to advance racial reconciliation.

Cheryllyn Branch, president of the GU272 Descendants Association, said in a statement reported by America magazine that her organization wanted “to create a sustainable mechanism for investing forward in uplifting descendants for many generations to come.”

“Through the Descendants of Truth and Reconciliation Foundation, we will restore honor and dignity to our ancestors by institutionalizing these goals for our children, our children’s children, and descendants for centuries to come,” stated Branch.

The GU272 Descendants Association was created to document the lives and family histories of the 272 slaves sold by the Jesuits to rescue Georgetown University from financial ruin in 1838.

Their objectives include uniting “current and future descendants” of the 272 slaves as well as “descendants of all people enslaved by the Jesuits,” promoting and supporting “the aspirations of descendants through programming and fundraising activities,” and promoting “the educational and economic aspirations of all descendants.”

In April 2017, Georgetown held a “Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope” ceremony to apologize for the Jesuit academic institution's historic ties to slavery.

"It's been a pretty interesting process in the last year or so of the descendants and Georgetown getting to know each other," said James Benton, researcher and the slavery, memory and reconciliation fellow for Georgetown, to The Washington Post at the time.

“I would expect this to be another step in that process. We're all coming to terms with the significance of the events of 1838. As we're trying to find a way to move forward, we're all learning a little more about each other.”

Source

 

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 9:12pm
Gospel artists support Kirk Franklin after audio of him cursing adult son is leaked

Kirk Franklin issues an apology on instagram on March 14, 2021. | Instagram/Kirk Franklin

Sixteen-time Grammy Award-winning gospel pioneer Kirk Franklin was at the center of controversy over the weekend after audio of him cursing at his adult son was leaked.

Many in the gospel music world have since rallied around him, sending messages of support following his public apology.

Franklin issued an apology on Saturday after his 32-year-old estranged son, Kerrion Franklin, leaked a portion of their recent argument over the phone where Franklin can be heard using profane language and physically threatening his son, who also cussed at his father.

“I will break your neck, (N-word). Don’t you ever disrespect me," the 51-year-old can be heard saying before hanging up. Kerrion posted the clip on his Instagram page. The conversation is laced with profane language coming from the gospel legend. The son revealed that the exchange was "recent."

Franklin issued a video apology on social media Sunday and revealed that he and his son have a "toxic relationship" and have "tried for many years through counseling, through therapy, to try to rectify this private family matter."

He continued: “Recently, my son and I had an argument that he chose to record. I felt extremely disrespected in that conversation and I lost my temper. And I said words that are not appropriate. And I’m sincerely sorry to all of you.”

Following his apology, Franklin, who is a household name in gospel music, received several messages of support from his peers under his video apology.

Gospel giant Marvin Sapp assured Franklin that he, too, has lost his temper due to complicated family situations.

"All of us have blown a gasket when it comes to our children if you’re a parent,” Sapp wrote. “None of us are exempt. Those of us that know you, know your true character and understand. Those that don’t and have opinions as believers I want to refer all of you to Galatians 6:1. Spiritual people don’t slander they restore considering themselves. Much love Bro.”

Younger artists such as Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Jonathan McReynolds, Kierra Sheard all sent Franklin messages assuring him that he is "loved" by them.

CeCe Winans echoed the sentiment, writing, “I Love you Kirk! And Praying for you Kirk and your precious family!!”

Fred Hammond told Franklin, “You got it bro.”

Worship leader and pastor, Travis Greene sent the musician encouragement. “You’re the Greatest. Always forever,” he shared.

Priscilla Shirer simply wrote, “My brother.”

Hip-hop artist Lecrae maintained, “It ain’t our business. God be with your family bro.”

Gospel newcomer Koryn Hawthorne added, “No apologies needed at all , prayers for your family.”

While many came to his defense, not everyone accepted Franklin’s apology. Popular social media preacher Marcus Rogers said Christians who curse should be held accountable.

“Let me warn you ... stay away from that lukewarm ‘Christianity,’” Rogers wrote on Facebook. “The enemy is using different individuals to water down BIBLICAL Christianity and holiness. We should be set apart from this world. If the world knows cussing is bad and they don't do it in front of kids or in certain places, how is it that a believer can't see it?”

He added: “Furthermore, Jesus wouldn't be walking around cussing. I have seen many folks get saved and the Holy Spirit delivered them from doing drugs. I have also seen the same thing happen with cussing, and there is a reason for that. God wants to transform your life. Remember a mistake isn't the same as a lifestyle of sin and rebellion.”

Kerrion criticized his dad’s apology as well and noted that Franklin has yet to apologize to him. He said in a post on Sunday that he was the "only (one) that ever called and tried to go to counseling," with his father. He accused Franklin of playing "mind games" with his supporters.

Franklin’s apology concluded with him saying, "I'm human and I'm going to make mistakes, and I'm trying to get it right. Please keep me and my family in your prayers."

Franklin has been very successful as a solo gospel artist along with his choir group Kirk Franklin & The Family. His work has also infiltrated the mainstream markets featuring collaborations with Whitney Houston, Salt N Pepa, Chance the Rapper and Tori Kelly, to name a few.

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By Temmy
Wed, March 17, 2021 9:28pm
Black pastors slam Equality Act as 'a danger' to religious institutions, back 'Fairness for All'

Participants carry a large rainbow flag toward the U.S. Capitol during an LGBT demonstration in Washington, Oct. 11, 2009. | Reuters/Molly Riley

A group of black pastors and prominent Christian figures, including megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard and former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson, have signed onto a letter sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to the Equality Act.

Tuesday’s letter, sent the day before the committee held a hearing on a House-passed bill that would codify discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity into federal law, was spearheaded by the AND Campaign, a progressive civic engagement organization that highlights the voices of urban Christians.

"It's a danger not just to Christian institutions, but those belonging to our Jewish, Sikh, Buddist, and Muslim neighbors as well,” the letter reads. “We can defend the rights of the LGBT community without threatening religious communities.”

The letter was backed by 57 signatories who include former U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson-Cook, Pastor Bernard of Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center, Bishop Claude Alexander of The Park Church in North Carolina, John Jenkins of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Maryland and respected public policy strategist Barbara Williams-Skinner.

In addition to the longtime NFL veteran and pro-life advocate Watson, the letter was also backed by former WNBA player Chantelle Anderson.

The signatories began the letter by stating their "support for federal protections for LGBT persons in employment, housing and the like." However, they maintained that the Equality Act, billed as a necessary measure to achieve that goal, falls "well beneath the standard necessary to cultivate a healthy pluralistic society."

Referring to the Equality Act as "a reflection of our broken system," the signatories warned about its implications, specifically that "it would remove many of the basic rights that allow religious organizations to operate according to the tenets of their faith."

Additionally, they predicted that the Equality Act would "allow LGBT rights to be used as a sword against faith institutions rather than a shield to protect the vulnerable."

"The Equality Act would likely revoke federal security, disaster relief, and school lunch money from thousands of religious schools, end federal partnerships with thousands of faith-based programs that serve the most vulnerable, revoke the Pell Grant and federal loan eligibility for tens of thousands of students that attend hundreds of religious colleges, [and] convert houses of worship and other religious properties into public accommodations, enmeshing them in constant litigation," the letter asserts.

"Black and Brown Christians worked too hard for the Civil Rights Act to have it revised in ways that would take away basic rights and funding from our communities. The Equality Act needlessly pits the concerns of diverse communities against each other.”

Justin Giboney of the AND Campaign, an advocacy group that works "to educate and organize Christians for civic and cultural engagement that results in better representation, more just and compassionate policies and a healthier political culture,” was among those who signed the letter.

In addition to outlining the shortcomings of the Equality Act, the signatories highlighted the Fairness for All Act as "a much more thoughtful and just way to protect our LGBT neighbors."

Describing the legislation as a "product of the faith community and LGBT community coming together and challenging themselves to find ways to co-exist and to promote tolerance" and "proof that religious liberty and LGBT rights are not mutually exclusive," they urged Congress to hold a debate and vote on the Fairness for All Act.

Introduced in the 116th Congress by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and cosponsored by eight additional Republicans, the Fairness for All Act aims to "prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity; and to protect the free exercise of religion."

The bill never came up for a vote in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, which had already passed the Equality Act. Fairness for All was backed by groups such as the National Association of Evangelicals and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Stewart reintroduced the Fairness for All Act on Feb. 26, two days after the House passed the Equality Act. The bill has 20 cosponsors in the 117th Congress, all Republicans.

While the aforementioned group of black pastors and religious leaders support the Fairness for All Act, it has received criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Conservative groups have argued that despite its protections for religious organizations, the Fairness for All Act will still "codify a radical gender ideology" into law. Liberal groups such as the Human Rights Campaign contend that the Fairness for All Act only includes "substandard protections for LGBT people" and features "massive loopholes."

Although the Equality Act passed the House for a second time last month with relative ease, the legislation faces an uncertain future now that it sits in the Senate.

Unlike when the House passed the Equality Act in 2019, Democrats have a majority in the U.S. Senate, albeit a narrow one. Their 50-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote, leaves them far short of the 60 votes required to pass the legislation.

Democrats have threatened to invoke the so-called "nuclear option" that would allow legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority to advance the Equality Act and other progressive legislation.

However, two Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, have expressed their opposition to such a move, likely depriving the party of the votes necessary to abolish the 60-vote rule.

The Equality Act is expected to secure minimal, if any, support from Senate Republicans as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was the only member of her party to co-sponsor the legislation when it was unsuccessfully introduced in the upper chamber in 2019. However, Collins indicated that she would not co-sponsor the bill this time because she thought it "needed revision."

Manchin was the only Democrat who did not co-sponsor the Equality Act in the 116th Congress, alleging that it provides insufficient "guidance to the local officials who will be implementing it, particularly with respect to students transitioning between genders in public schools." Should both Manchin and Collins oppose the Equality Act, it would lack the necessary votes for passage even if the "nuclear option" was implemented.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 1:24pm
Canada plan to expand physician-assisted suicide to people with disabilities



Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. has denounced legislation in Canada to expand assisted suicide to include those with disabilities.

Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide — what has been termed "medical aid in dying" — in 2016. The Parliament recently advanced a measure known as Bill C-7 to expand the parameters to include individuals who have a disability but are not facing a terminal illness.

In an episode of Mohler’s podcast “The Briefing” posted online Tuesday, the Southern Baptist leader said the legislation showed the slippery slope nature of legalized physician-assisted suicide.

“The Canadian Parliament have now extended the logic that they had insisted would be limited to those who had a reasonable expectation of death in a short time. You've seen that that promise never is kept,” said Mohler.

“Once you buy into the logic of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, you find yourself in almost every case just extending the logic further and further.”

Mohler went on to stress that when “you open the door of physician-assisted suicide or any form of euthanasia, you're responsible for everything that passes through that door.” He cited Belgium and the Netherlands as examples.

“The logic that began with physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia for those who were terminally ill was extended to adults, terminally ill. Then it was extended to adults who weren't terminally ill but had some diagnosis that they did not want to deal with,” Mohler added.

“Then it was extended to those who had a form of depression or some kind of psychiatric diagnosis. And then it was extended to children, and then it was extended beyond adolescents to younger children. What we're looking at here is that in Canada, it has now been extended to the disabled.”

Mohler then warned that if such ideas were prevailing in Canada, it would not be long until they gain traction in its neighbor to the south, the United States.

“Don't believe for one minute that the logic that is here chillingly revealed in this action in Canada will stay in Canada. Furthermore, honesty requires that we admit that this logic is already right here, and horrifyingly enough, it's gaining ground,” he concluded.

According to the Canadian Department of Justice, Bill C-7 would amend the country’s criminal code to allow for medical assistance in dying for those “whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable,” but would not allow it for those solely suffering from mental illness.

At present, Canada permits physician-assisted suicide for a person suffering from “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” who is at least 18 years old, mentally capable of making their own health decisions, eligible for government-funded health services, and makes a voluntary request based on “informed consent.”

Last week, Bill C-7 passed the House of Commons with the support of most Liberal and Bloc Quebecois members while being opposed by Conservatives, New Democrats, and others.

Bloc House leader Alain Therrien said in comments reported by The Canadian Press that he supported the legislation out of “compassion.”

“There are people suffering. There are people waiting for us to do our work and it is time for us, after all of this debate, to act and be compassionate towards them,” argued Therrien to the House of Commons.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 1:41pm
Throuples? Ho hum, no big deal
by Dr. Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

Haven’t we seen this before? We sound the alarm about a dangerous cultural trend, warning about what is coming around the corner. In response, our critics tell us that we’re crazy, that no such thing will ever happen, that we’re just fearmongers and fanatics. Then, little by little, the very thing we warned about becomes reality. In response, our critics say, “So what’s the big deal? Stop being such babies. This is the real world. Get over it.” Then the cycle repeats itself again.

More than 15 years ago, when I first started warning that those who came out of the closet wanted to put us in the closet, I was greeted with derision and scorn.

“You’re crazy! No one wants to put you in the closet.”

A few years later, the response changed to, “Bigots like you belong in the closet.”

Today, conservative Christians books have been banned by Amazon and our platforms have been removed by social media. What we warned about us has come to pass.

And what is the response?

“You are no better than the KKK or the Nazis or ISIS. You got what you deserved.”

Well, we told you this was coming.

As for redefining marriage, what was one of our biggest objections?

We stated that marriage was the unique union of one man and one woman, and once you changed that definition to the union of any two people, the number two became meaningless.

As I stated in my 2011 debate with Prof. Eric Smaw, “if marriage is simply the union of two people – rather than the union of a man and a woman – why should we limit it to just ‘two’? (Please don’t say, ‘Well, anything more than two is icky,’ since many people feel that same-sex relationships are ‘icky.’ Surely there needs to be more substance to your response than, ‘That’s icky!’) Please tell me why marriage should be the union of just two people? What’s so magical about the number two if it is not the union of a male and female?”

Why not three men or three women? If marriage doesn’t require a man and a woman, what’s so important about the number two? Why not three (or more)?

Prof. Smaw didn’t even attempt to answer that question, nor did any proponent of same-sex “marriage” with whom I interacted ever provide a viable response.

Instead, the very idea of more than two marital partners was dismissed as absurd. “No one is talking about that,” I was assured. “We just want the same rights that you have. We just want our relationships to be recognized.”

That was long before Stephen Colbert joked about wedding cakes for throuples in 2015.

Long before I wrote an article titled, “Why Not Three? The Question Gay Activists Cannot Answer,” also in 2015. (That article focused on a Canadian gay couple that was seeking to legally add a third member and become a throuple.)

And that was long before People Magazine ran this headline on February 13, 2020: “HGTV Features Its First-Ever Throuple on House Hunters: ‘Representation Matters.’”

In this case, the throuple consisted of one man and two women, but hey, why not? Love is love, right? And doesn’t everyone have the right to be with the one (or ones) they love?

There was even a memorable line in the show in which one of the two women, when looking at a potential house, commented, “This is a couple’s kitchen, not a throuple’s kitchen.”

Yes, “throuples” were now a thing and polyamorous relationships as American as apple pie.

But that was so 2020. The new year has taken us one step further, as a brand new book was released last week with the title Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting.

As the New York Post reported on March 1, 2021, “Three isn’t a crowd for these dads.

“A gay, polyamorous California throuple made history in 2017 when they became the first family in the state to list three dads on a birth certificate.”

So, this actually happened back in 2017, but it’s become major news only today.

As for the child involved (sadly a 6-year-old girl who is being raised without her mother), the Post tells us that her three dads are a source of pride. After all, the other kids in school only have two parents. She boasts that she has three. Maybe four would be even better?

Did we not tell you this was coming? And weren’t we mocked and ridiculed for predicting the obvious?

And now that is this becoming more and more acceptable, what is the response?

“What’s the big deal? Stop being such babies. This is the real world. Get over it.”

Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. We have no intention of “getting over it.” We will continue to shout that there is a better way.

The fact is that some of us have been warning about the direction of radical LGBTQ activism for many years now.

In fact, in the Preface to A Queer Thing Happened to America, which came out in 2011, I could already point out that: 1) the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy threw out the opening pitch for a Boston Red Sox game in 2005; 2) San Francisco public schools allowed transgender-identified children to use the bathroom of their choice in 2006; 3) Time Magazine asked in 2007, “Should Incest Be Legal?”; and 4) Newsweek asked in 2010, “Are We Facing a Genderless Future?”, referring to polyamory at the Next Sexual Revolution.

And others were sounding the alarm long before I had said a word.

The offshoot of all this is simple. We who warned this was coming will not simply accept the new realities as they arrive. Neither should anyone else accept the “new normal.”

Instead, while showing love for every individual involved, we will insist that God has a better way, that His prescription for marriage and family is best, and that we will never get used to the latest, destructive trend.

That’s the only way to prevent far more extreme and damaging developments in the days ahead. We hold our ground or we get swept away.




Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 40 books.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 1:49pm
Equality, equity, and the coming persecution
by F. LaGard Smith

F. LaGard Smith

It’s complicated, but there are three interrelated agendas being pushed. Think of them as a stack of Russian Matryoshka dolls, the smaller ones nesting within the larger ones. The largest, most visible, and naturally winsome is the Social Justice doll, of late wearing a Black Lives Matter tee-shirt and protesting against racism while insisting that all whites are at least unconsciously racist. Apart from the extremism, manipulation, and hypocrisy, racial equality is a just cause.

The Social Justice doll provides cover for the next-smaller Gender doll, which has been cleverly designed in the exact same shape, as if gender-bender issues are as legitimate as race issues. Under the Equality Act, one mustn’t discriminate against LGBTQ or “trans” persons. Hence, boys identifying as girls cannot be excluded from playing on girls’ sports teams; and women identifying as men cannot be refused employment by churches having conscientious religious scruples (even if that violates the constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religion!).

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new byword in the World of Woke: “Equity.” Nested within the Gender doll, the Equity doll looks to be an identical twin of “equality,” but don’t be fooled. Far from being the equality of opportunity on which this nation was founded, the goal of Leftist “equity” is equality of outcome, both economic and social. Never mind that every system ever devised to produce equality of outcome has only succeeded in lowering the level for everyone — except, of course, for the elitist planners themselves. Not one of today’s equity activists would want true equality of outcome if it meant having to give up their positions of power, or their expensive homes and swanky SUV’s in safe suburbs. Equity stops abruptly at their door!

If it’s genuine equality you’re after, try going to the source. Equality was God’s idea, as in “created equal.” Yet, it was never about guaranteed outcomes, only equality of opportunity, as in the “golden text”: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” All are invited, but not everyone will accept, including, apparently, Rep. Jerry Nadler, who insisted on the House floor that “what any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress!” Obviously not.

In time, a conservative Court may yet be a crucial backstop for religious freedom. In the meantime, unequal discrimination against faith will prevail. How, then, will we respond? For Christian universities, K-12’s, businesses, and adoption agencies, the insidious equality legislation will be a test like no other. Do we have the courage to close our doors, if necessary, in order to obey God rather than man? So far, the trajectory isn’t hopeful. And when they come for the churches (or individual Christians like those who teach in public schools, bless them), the text will be, “Choose you this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15).

In this precarious faith moment, the words of Joel the prophet (3:14) loom large: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” Today’s “day of the LORD” is swiftly approaching, and, for believers, hard decisions lie ahead. Making the right choice is an equal opportunity for all. But what shall be the outcome?




F. LaGard Smith is a retired law school professor (Pepperdine, Liberty, and Faulkner law schools), and is the author of some 35 books, touching on law, faith, and social issues. He is the compiler and narrator of The Daily Bible (the NIV and NLT arranged in chronological order), and posts weekly devotionals on Facebook, drawing spiritual applications from current events.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 2:01pm
Updated
When cancer hits your congregation, don’t make these 3 mistakes
by Rev. Percy McCray Jr

Percy McCray Jr, Op-ed Contributor| Thursday, March 18, 2021

A cancer diagnosis is devastating news that no one wants to receive. But at some point in our lifetimes, chances are that we — or someone we love — will(God forbid!). And when that difficult time comes, we'd like to believe our church family will rally and be just what we need, but oftentimes and unfortunately, it's not the case.

Though there are a number of mistakes we make as individuals and congregations when we hear that someone has cancer, here are three we can avoid:

1. Don’t assume the person battling cancer and their family are being comforted/supported by others.

Many times, because people aren’t sure what to say or do, they do nothing … and justify it by believing “someone else is taking care of it.” But if everyone is thinking this way, no one is taking care of the family, supporting them, or encouraging them. Patients and their loved ones can end up feeling isolated and ignored by the very people that claim to be there when they need them most, resulting in confusion or anger. Instead, respectfully engage the patient and their family and make yourself clearly — and joyfully — available. Many people are too proud to reach out to others, even if they have significant needs. The result of this type of attentive community engagement creates a communal sense of love, care and kindness, which fulfills the mandate of Christ as outlined in Matthew 25 to “clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit them that are imprisoned and take care of the sick!”

2. Don’t allow a climate of guilt or sin to be the “associated explanation” for a cancer crisis.

There can be a tendency among the faith community to default to a spiritual ‘cause and effect’ rationale to make sense of a cancer diagnosis. But this approach only causes someone who is already sick to feel guilty, defeated and discouraged, depriving them of the energy they need for recovery. Secondly, it forces caregivers and loved ones into the roles of jurors, as opposed to supporters. It also discourages others from sharing, should they ever find themselves in a similar situation. We should be reminded of the biblical examples that deter us from this school of thought, such as the story of Job (Job 1:1) and the man who was born blind (John 9:1-12). Be mindful that cancer is indiscriminate and touches many people in every walk of life for various reasons that may have nothing to do with one’s behavior or practices. As members of the faith community, it is simply not in our job description to judge, but rather to love, support and encourage those in need.

3. Don’t assume your pastor will know just what to say or how to respond.

When a member of your congregation shares that he or she has been diagnosed with cancer, even your pastor may be taken aback initially and need some time to calibrate themselves. Remember, your pastor is human, too. Not to mention, most of the formal training pastors receive is theological in nature. "We can help our spiritual leaders by sharing information designed especially for them regarding this type of specialized ministry support. Our Journey of Hope, for instance, provides training that can equip and enable them in this arena,” says Percy McCray, a pastor and cancer survivor, who is also National Director of Faith-Based Programs for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). “Twenty-five years of service in healthcare ministry has allowed me to understand that a lack of training — not desire — means that many of our spiritual leaders are simply not equipped to have that conversation.”




A cancer survivor himself, Rev. Percy McCray Jr. has spent more than 20 years ministering to cancer patients and their caregivers at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), where he serves as the Director of Faith-Based Programs and provides leadership to the pastoral care staff at CTCA hospitals across the U.S. Additionally, Rev. McCray oversees Our Journey of Hope®, a nationwide cancer care ministry training, and support program and co-hosts the 'Health, Hope and Inspiration' podcast, helping people learn how to live purposefully with cancer.

NB: Words in italics are mine

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 2:17pm
Netflix's 'Paradise PD' Airs Obscene Cartoon of Jesus Carrying Out Mass Shooting



In the most recent season of “Paradise P.D.,” an animated series on Netflix, there is an episode with a deeply disturbing scene depicting a cartoon Jesus pulling Himself off the cross after supernaturally replacing the nails driven into his wrists with two loaded guns.

The details of the obscene clip, which comes in the fourth episode of the latest season, were first highlighted by Newsbusters.

WHAT HAPPENED?
According to the outlet, the episode, titled “Trigger Warning,” centers on mocking the National Rifle Association. One of the characters, Officer Kevin Crawford, watches a video by leftist documentarian Michael Moore and asks his father, Police Chief Randall Crawford, to watch the film.

The police chief refuses his son’s request. One of the show’s other characters, Officer Gina Jabowski, then chimes in, saying, “Give it a rest. I’m sick of you liberals acting like guns are the only dangerous thing in society. Mayonnaise kills people.”

***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Mayor Karen Crawford, the wife of Randall and mother of Kevin, agrees the city of Paradise has a problem with guns. Frustrated by his wife’s efforts to turn Paradise into “communist Canada,” Randall Crawford tells his wife and son he is going to take them on a tour of the NRA.

During the tour of the headquarters, they are shown a “gun pit,” in which there is a dead child, as well as the corpse of the late actor and former NRA President Charlton Heston, who is hoisting a rifle. The statue features the quote: “Pry this gun from my cold, dead hands and win a Republican Senate seat.”

The most offensive portion of the episode — which is not embedded here, due to its obscene nature — came when the caricatured NRA president, whose faux name includes the F-word, played a disturbing video imagining what Jesus’ crucifixion, when He paid the price for human beings’ sins, would have been like if guns existed then.

In the clip, the cartoon Jesus conjures up two loaded guns before ripping himself from the cross and murdering all those who were there to watch his death. He then engages in an obscene sex act with two women.

The scene is, as Newsbusters described it, “horrifically offensive.”

ANYTHING ELSE?
Later in the tour, the NRA head tells the Crawfords that the pro-Second Amendment organization has “developed smart guns,” at which point an anthropomorphized firearm, named “Mr. Bang-Bang,” appears.

“Smart guns decide when to shoot on their own,” the NRA leader explained to the family. “So now blind people, babies, [expletive], even animals can own guns, as long as they’re all white.”

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Pathetic!

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 4:29pm
Pastors Are Leaving Their Churches over Congregants’ Belief in QAnon Conspiracies

Amanda Casanova | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Wednesday, March 17, 2021 a man holding a Bible

Some pastors are choosing to leave their churches because congregants are increasingly believing conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic and other world events.

According to Business Insider, in December, pastor Vern Swieringa left his church, the Christian Reformed Church in Michigan, after serving eight years.

He said in 2018 some members of the church began sending him what he called “disturbing” QAnon videos.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, members of the church dismissed it as a hoax, which worried the 61-year-old pastor. His wife had battled pneumonia in 2019 and still had permanent scarring in her lungs.

He said the church asked him to preach without a mask and instead offered to let him use a plexiglass barrier.

"It was at that point when I put my foot down and said, 'I'm not going to preach in front of a congregation that wants to sing and not wear masks,'" Swieringa said.

Swieringa said he had to leave the church. He now works at the Kibbie Christian Reformed Church, where masks are mandatory.

"We agreed to separate at that point, and so it felt pretty cordial at the time," Swieringa said. "But I found out later that there were really hard feelings amongst the congregation, and many of them felt like I abandoned them. It was heartbreaking."

Then on Inauguration Day, Swieringa told his wife that he worried many who believed the conspiracy theories would do “something” possibly dangerous.

"I think some of the signs had been there all along, and it just all came to a perfect storm," Swieringa told Insider.

In Virginia, Southern Baptist youth pastor Jared Stacey decided to leave the church when he found his congregation was divided by QAnon beliefs. Stacey moved to Scotland and is studying theology at the University of Aberdeen.

"I do think that a lot of pastors are burdened right now and need a friend," Stacey said. "It's not easy watching people that you've invested time in becoming radicalized so quickly right in front of you."

In a Lifeway Research poll, more than 45 percent of protestant pastors reported that they heard congregants repeating conspiracy theories about national and world events.

Another survey from the American Enterprise Institute showed that more than a quarter of white evangelical respondents believe in QAnon and three in five said they thought President Joe Biden’s victory was “not legitimate.”

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 4:38pm
AME pastor who admitted to having ‘some bourbon’ charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Pastor Lavan Strickland, 57, leads the New Webb Grove AME Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. | Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Lavan Strickland, a longtime counselor and leader of the New Webb Grove AME Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with a DUI on Sunday after he attempted to flee the scene of a crash and admitted to having “some bourbon.”

Strickland, 57, allegedly rear-ended another vehicle at a red light, according to Scoop Nashville, then attempted to flee the scene but crashed into a utility pole, disabling his own vehicle.

When police respond to the scene of the crash at the intersection of Jefferson Street & Dr. DB Todd, Jr. Blvd in Nashville, Strickland was reportedly “extremely unsteady on his feet, reeked of alcohol, and was unable to form comprehensible sentences. He could not recall his phone number and refused all field sobriety tests. He only admitted to officers that he had “some Bourbon” but wouldn’t state specifically how much.

His blood was eventually tested after midnight on Monday, leading to the DUI charge. He was later set free on pre-trial release. The publication reported that Strickland had one prior DUI in 1992, which was reduced to a Reckless Driving charge. He was also charged with indecent exposure in 1999.

New Webb Grove AME did not respond to calls from The Christian Post Wednesday, but information on the church’s website says Strickland is a pastor “dedicated to living by example and encouraging men, women and youth how to live up to their full potential in Christ.

“His talents were seen early, with his desire to be a music director. However, the Lord had others [sic] plans for Reverend Strickland and expanded his territory. Pastor Strickland has more than two decades of teaching and counseling, which enables him to reach others with humor, warmth and strength,” the church states.

He has served the AME church in Tennessee for more than 25 years and is known as “a humble servant of God.”

“The Lord has blessed Pastor Strickland throughout his ministry. [He] delivers powerful messages and praise through his music that revive [sic] the soul and administers the church according to the Word of God,” the church's website adds.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 5:19pm
Opponents of the Equality Act Are like the KKK, Senator Says: They Used 'Religion as Their Weapon'



Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on Wednesday compared opponents of the Equality Act to members of the Ku Klux Klan, saying “we have to have limits” on what people can do in defense of religious liberty.

Durbin (Ill.) made the comments at the conclusion of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes for public places and accommodations, education, housing and employment. President Biden supports it, as does Durbin.

Two panelists on Wednesday told senators that the Equality Act would lead to the government closing or punishing thousands of faith-based organizations. Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said in a recent column the Equality Act “represents the greatest present threat to religious liberty in the United States.

At first, Durbin compared the situation to the fight in the 1970s for the Equal Rights Amendment.

“Fifty years ago, fresh out of law school I went to work for the Illinois state Senate, and met a woman named Phyllis Schlafly, who was leading the charge against the Equal Rights Amendment,” he said. “And I guess the war cry of the day was, ‘Don't get in our bathrooms. Those men are coming in our bathrooms.’ And that really drove the debate for a long period of time. The Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified in time by the states.”

Durbin said, “privacy is a very important element to everybody, as it should be,” but he said he hopes “we can learn a lesson” from the opposition to the ERA. He then turned to the issue of same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide.


“Some of the great fears we have, such as equality of marriage, destroying the institution of marriage – Obergefell was decided six years ago and my wife and I are still married, [and] it didn't stop us in terms of continuing commitment – that we take a look at this in realistic terms,” he said.

Durbin then referenced the KKK.

“On the religious aspect of this, I'm going to tread very carefully and lightly, just to say I do not believe some of the things that have been suggested as the products of the Equality Act,” he said. “I do believe that people who want to blatantly discriminate and use religion as their weapon have gone too far. We have to have limits on what they can do. I might remind us in history that the Ku Klux Klan was not burning question marks – they were burning a cross; they were making some distorted connection with religion. And God forbid that anybody would buy that. We don't need that in America, regardless of the time, regardless of the organization wherever they come down on the political spectrum. I hope that we can come together with conversations that will lead us to a positive conclusion on this matter.”

John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pa., criticized Durbin for the KKK comparison, saying he was “fanning” the flames. Fea, though, said some opponents of the Equality Act were fanning the flames, too.

“As I recently told CBS News, there are no simple solutions to this debate,” Fea wrote at CurrentPub.com. “It pits the 14th Amendment (civil rights for all Americans) against the 1st Amendment (religious freedom). It seems like both sides are too often talking past each other. I want the supporters of the Equality Act to say more about how it will influence Christian organizations that uphold traditional views on sexuality. I want the opponents of the Equality Act to talk more about LGBTQ rights.”

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 5:28pm
Updated
4 surprisingly simple keys to effectively sharing the Gospel
by Greg Stier

Sharing the Gospel is like flying an airplane. You want to take off smoothly, have a solid flight plan, know how to deal with emergency situations and then, of course, land safely.

Key No. 1: The takeoff

One of the biggest challenges in sharing the Gospel effectively is starting the conversation to begin with. How do you begin? Do you say, “Boy, it’s hot in here. It’s hot in Hell too! Let me tell you about it!“

Please don’t!

To effectively take off you must learn how to ask good questions. Simple questions like, “How can I be praying for you?” or “Do you go to church anywhere?” can lead to great Gospel conversations.

Key No. 2: The flight plan

Every pilot knows that to safely navigate the skies they must build and turn in their flight plan. This is their plan to get from point A to point B.

What’s your flight plan for the Gospel? An old Hillbilly pastor once told me, “Many people preach the Gospel like a Texas Steer … a point here (one horn of the steer) and a point there (the other horn of the steer) and a lot of bull in between.”

He’s right. We must have a plan to get from point A to point B when sharing the Gospel. We use a GOSPEL acrostic that we developed 30 years ago:

God created us to be with him.

Our sins separate us from God.

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life.

Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.

Key No. 3: Be ready for emergencies

“What do you do if... ” is a question that every pilot faces.

“What do you do if your engine goes out? What do you do if there’s a sudden loss of pressure? What do you do if you encounter a massive wind sheer?”

Every good pilot has to be ready for 1,000+ scenarios like this. And so does every Christian when it comes to sharing the Gospel.

“What do I do if I encounter an atheist? What do I do if someone is a Mormon who knows they Bible better than I do? What do I do if I want to share Jesus with a Muslim?“

Key No. 4: Safe landing

A great flight is a waste if we crash land. It is vitally important to know how to bring the conversation to a close and give the person you are sharing the Gospel with an opportunity to say “yes” to Jesus.

But we need to know how to do this in a way that doesn’t coerce or manipulate. The goal is not to just get them to say “Yes” with their mouths but to truly say “Yes” to Jesus in their hearts.

Too often, when sharing the Gospel we don’t go the whole way. We are right there, descending toward the landing strip and then, last minute, we pull up out of fear.

It’s time to put down that landing gear and bring them safely home, right into the arms of their loving Savior, Jesus Christ!




Greg Stier is the Founder and President of Dare 2 Share Ministries International. He has impacted the lives of tens of thousands of Christian teenagers through Dare 2 Share events, motivating and mobilizing them to reach their generation for Christ.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 9:10pm
Islamist Militants Reportedly Beheaded Children in Mozambique



Recently, they reportedly beheaded children in their quest to turn Mozambique into an Islamic State similar to the one seen in Iran. According to Save The Children, some of the beheaded children were as young as 11 years old. The Islamist Militants have caused 670,000 people to be displaced and more than 1300 civilians have died. Mozambique Security Forces are struggling to kick the insurgents out.

One of the mothers recounted the bloodshed to Save The Children, stating "That night our village was attacked and houses were burned. When it all started, I was at home with my four children. We tried to escape to the woods, but they took my eldest son and beheaded him. We couldn't do anything because we would be killed too."

Another mother who was able to be transported out recounted the horror the Islamist militants unleashed on her and her family, stating, "After my 11-year-old son was killed, we understood that it was no longer safe to stay in my village. We fled to my father's house in another village, but a few days later the attacks started there too. Me, my father and the children spent five days eating green bananas and drinking banana tree water until we got transport that brought us here."

The conflict has been raging on since 2017, with the war to stop the Islamist takeover of the region significantly ramping up since 2020. The beheadings of children by the Islamist militants are the most recent atrocity committed, though Islamist militants also beheaded at least 2 people in another town in Mozambique less than one month ago.

The militants have been beheading civilians in the region since the conflict began in 2017, but the number of beheadings significantly increased in November of 2020, when they beheaded at least 50 civilians in one attack.

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 9:30pm
Canadian father jailed after publicly objecting to minor daughter taking testosterone

The transgender pride (L), pride (C) and Canada 150 pride flags fly following a flag-raising ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 14, 2017. | REUTERS/Chris Wattie

A father who has long objected to his minor daughter taking testosterone as part of an experimental gender transition has been jailed in British Columbia for contempt of court.

Robert Hoogland was arrested Tuesday after a warrant was issued by a judge earlier this month for telling the public his name and showing his face, according to sources close to the situation. He will reportedly remain in police custody pending a decision on his release to be made at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Vancouver Supreme Court.

Sources told The Christian Post this week that at the Friday hearing, Hoogland’s attorney will ask that the arrest warrant be voided and that he be released on the basis that the detention is unlawful.

Hoogland has been outspoken in his opposition to what is now known as “gender-affirming” medical care in hopes of preventing his daughter from undergoing irreversible harm. Hoogland’s ex-wife, who is supported by the Canadian medical and legal system, is proceeding with their child's transitioning against his wishes.

The father discovered that his daughter’s school had been showing gender identity education materials called SOGI 123, The Post Millennial reported Tuesday.

His daughter had several complex problems, but they were all attributed to gender dysphoria. When his daughter was in seventh grade, her yearbook showed her being referred to by a different name as the school counselor changed her name without informing her parents.

The school decided to do so on its own after having received input from psychologist Wallace Wong, a known gender ideologue, according to The Post Millenial.

Wong reportedly advised Hoogland’s daughter to take testosterone and referred her to an endocrinology unit at a nearby hospital. When Hoogland contested the matter in court, the judge at the time held that his consent was not relevant and that if he did not affirm her as a male, he would be implicated in the criminal offense of “family violence.”

“I had a perfectly healthy child a year ago, and that perfectly healthy child has been altered and destroyed for absolutely no good reason,” Hoogland told The Federalist in a gag order-breaking interview from February 2020, referring to it as “state-sponsored child abuse.”

“She can never go back to being a girl in the healthy body that she should have had. She’s going to forever have a lower voice. She’ll forever have to shave because of facial hair. She won’t be able to have children…”

Hoogland stated that sometimes he wants to “scream so that other parents and people will… jump in, understand what’s going on.”

“There’s a child — and not only mine — but in my case, my child out there having her life ruined,” he said.

Hoogland’s attorney is now petitioning the court to adjourn the trial on the criminal contempt of court charge until after judgment on a similar issue in a proceeding Notice of Application previously scheduled for a hearing on April 12.

The attorney working on behalf of the attorney general of British Columbia responded, both in open court and on the record, advising Hoogland’s attorney approximately 10 days earlier that there was never any intention to proceed with a trial in respect to the arrest and criminal contempt charges of and against Hoogland.

Hoogland is referred to as “CD” in court documents and is arguing that the provincial government’s move to arrest him and hold him in custody with the foreknowledge that a trial will not be held is an abuse of his liberties under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically the legal rights listed in the Constitution Act of 1982.

The law states that when a person is arrested or detained by police, they have the right to be “promptly informed of the reasons therefore” and “can retain and instruct counsel without delay.” They also have the right to “have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.”

Regarding proceedings in criminal and penal matters, the law also provides that anyone charged with a criminal offense has the right to be informed “without unreasonable delay of the specific offence” and “be tried within a reasonable time.”

Sources told CP that Hoogland’s attorney maintains that the conscious decision to violate his charter freedoms “is the very definition of arbitrary” and for law enforcement “to obtain a warrant from a Supreme Court justice without advising there was no intention to have a trial, is to mislead the court.”

Thus, “the warrant issued in this case in such a manner is therefore a nullity, and the arrest following upon the nullity warrant is therefore a false arrest,” a source said.

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For real?

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 9:58pm
Updated
Appeals Court Overturns Law Requiring Parents Be Notified about Teens' Abortion



A U.S appeals court last week overturned an Indiana parental notification law in a much-watched abortion case that could land in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The law in question requires the parents of a teen girl to be notified if she is seeking a judicial bypass for an abortion. The law includes an exemption for parental notification if the judge finds that such a notification is not in the girl’s best interests.

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on March 12 upheld a district court ruling that declared the law unconstitutional, agreeing with the lower court’s decision that the notification “requirement was likely to impose an undue burden on the right to obtain an abortion for a significant fraction of minors for whom the requirement would be relevant.” Further, the new law has no “appreciable benefit,” the appeals court said.

The decision was 2-1.

The case has a complicated history and could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was passed in 2017 but overturned by the Seventh Circuit in 2019. In 2020, the Supreme Court vacated the Seventh Circuit’s decision and ordered it to reconsider the ruling in light of another abortion rights Supreme Court case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. Although pro-lifers lost the June Medical case, Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion in the majority was seen as weakening pro-choice legal arguments and potentially laying the groundwork for future pro-life victories.

The Seventh Circuit, in its newest opinion, was split on whether Roberts’ decision should impact their decision.

“Constitutional standards for state regulations affecting a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy are not stable, but they have not been changed, at least not yet, in a way that would change the outcome here,” Judge David Hamilton wrote for the majority. He was joined by Judge Ilana Rovner. They were nominated by Presidents Obama and George H.W. Bush, respectively.

Judge Michael Kanne, who was nominated by President Reagan, dissented.

“The Supreme Court has confirmed that parental-notification requirements are constitutional time and again. And Planned Parenthood has failed to show that requiring mature minors to notify their parents that they intend to have an abortion (where a judge has found that avoiding notification is not in their best interests) constitutes an undue burden under Casey,” Kanne wrote, referencing a 1992 Supreme Court ruling. “This court should reverse the district court’s injunction and let Indiana exercise its legislative judgment that a parental notification law best serves the interests of its citizens.”

National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis surmised that the “split between the judges on the Seventh Circuit” makes it “more likely that the issue will head back to the Supreme Court,” especially “because the dissenting judge’s opinion revealed that lower-court judges disagree on how the rationale of June Medical should influence rulings on other abortion regulations.”

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I hope the Supreme Court overturns this judgment

 

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By Temmy
Thu, March 18, 2021 10:08pm
Updated
European priests plan to bless same-sex unions in defiance of Vatican decree

Pope Francis leaves after delivering a speech at the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park on November 24, 2019, in Nagasaki, Japan. | Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Some European Catholic priests have announced their intentions to continue blessing same-sex unions despite a Vatican statement this week saying that Catholic churches can’t bless sinful relationships.

The Austrian Priests' Initiative, which has supported the practice of blessing same-sex unions, released a statement this week expressing their intention to disobey Monday’s decree from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The group of priests stated that they were “deeply appalled by the new Roman decree that wants to prohibit the blessing of same-sex loving couples."

“This is a relapse into times that we had hoped to be overcome with Pope Francis,” the group’s statements reads, as reported by CBS News.

“In solidarity with so many, we will not reject any loving couple in the future who wants to celebrate God's blessing, which they experience every day, in a church-service.”

The initiative, founded in 2006, has about 350 members who mostly reside in Austria. The group argued that same-sex couples can be as loving as heterosexual couples.

“Reality has long since shown that same-sex couples connected in love can very well celebrate God's blessing in church. A state-of-the-art theology establishes this responsible practice,” the group added.

In a statement authored by Spanish Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that it is “not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage.”

“As is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan,” the Vatican’s statement reads.

Supporters of the decree, among them Kevin Miller, professor of moral theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, have argued that it fits longstanding Church teaching.

In an emailed statement, Miller stated that "[t]his teaching is so grounded in Scripture and Tradition that it cannot be otherwise.”

“'Intrinsically' means that, as the response says, no matter what positive elements (like friendship and the care for another that goes with it) there might also happen to be in a particular same-sex relationship, the relationship as a whole, insofar as it includes same-sex acts, is 'not ordered to the Creator’s plan,’” said Miller.

“To bless something that is intrinsically at odds with God’s plan would be a kind of contradiction in terms, an abuse of what a blessing, by its nature, is. It is not so much forbidden as impossible.”

Critics of the Vatican statement, including Jamie Manson, president of the progressive group Catholics for Choice, argued that the Vatican’s stance was “an act of profound cruelty to invalidate LGBTQ families in any form.”

“The Vatican’s needless attack on same-sex marriages seems to reflect an intention to put up walls that separate people and divide families instead of building bridges between all people,” stated Manson. “By insisting that genital complementarity is an absolute requirement for marriage, the hierarchy places limits on God’s power to work within all of the relationships of all God’s beloved children.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, which claims to be the United States’ largest Catholic civil rights organization, told The Christian Post that the Vatican’s statement clarifies Pope Francis’ position on the matter.

Last year, Pope Francis reportedly called for the legalization of same-sex civil unions in the civil sphere. But a Vatican official later clarified that the pontiff’s remarks did not change Catholic Church teaching.

“The Church will never bless cohabitation,” Donohue said. “This is not just with homosexuals. There are guys and gals who live together outside of marriage, and the Church does not recognize that. This is not strictly about homosexuals, although they are the ones who are pushing for it, obviously. But it would apply to any union that is outside of [licit marriage].”

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Are they satanic priests?

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 1:24pm
African Religious Leaders Question if 'God Punished Us' with COVID-19 following Deaths of African Political Leaders



According to Christianity Today, in a statement, officials said Magufuli died of heart complications, but many suspected that the 62-year-old man had COVID-19.

“It is sad news. Our beloved president passed on at 6 p.m. this evening,” said Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who per the East African nation’s constitution will now become its first female president. “We have lost our courageous leader. All flags will be flown at half-mast for 14 days.”

His death comes less than a year after neighboring president Pierre Nkurunziza, of Burundi, died of COVID-19. Both men had been criticized for how they handled the pandemic.

Their deaths have led some religious leaders in the area to tell congregants that God may be punishing humans for their sins.

In a prayer service near Burundi’s capital recently, pastor Joseph Ndayizeye said people need to repent of their sins.

“It is not normal for the virus to invade the country and even kill the president,” prayed Ndayizeye, referring to Nkurunziza. “God punished us with the coronavirus pandemic because of our sins. Let us repent our sins and ask God for forgiveness and our prayers will be heard.

“You cannot kill innocent people and promote evil like same-sex marriage and go unpunished,” he added. “But our God is merciful. When we pray to him, there’s nothing impossible. He will defeat the coronavirus and we will be free.”

Burundi has reported about 2,500 coronavirus cases and three deaths. The country has closed its borders but will not be giving vaccines to the public.

“Since more than 95 percent of patients are recovering, we estimate that the vaccines are not yet necessary,” said health minister Thaddee Ndikumana, adding the country will focus on prevention measures.

The Jerusalem Post reports that President Magufuli was a vocal skeptic of COVID-19 and told Tanzanians they did not need to wear masks or get the vaccine. Magufuli had not been seen in public since late February. Less than a week ago, officials denied he was sick.

Hassan said Wednesday burial arrangements were being made. She is expected to be sworn in soon.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 1:29pm
Updated
When ‘Christian’ spiritual warfare looks and sounds like witchcraft
by Oscar Amaechina

Courtesy of Oscar Amaechina

In most African churches today, warfare prayers have assumed a dimension that does not indicate that worshipers have come in contact with Jesus Christ and His teachings. Most often, it is difficult to distinguish between the prayers of Christians and incantation of herbalists or witch doctors.

It is disheartening to hear Christians praying for their human enemies to die, for people who have offended them to run mad, and for poverty to visit the household of their perceived enemies. The most worrisome aspect of this trend is that worshipers come out before the congregation to testify how they prayed and somebody died and the entire congregation celebrates.

Many of the proponents of this dangerous prayer argue that if Christians do not pray their enemies to death, definitely the enemies will eliminate them through their witchcraft powers. Pastors usually cite Exodus 22:18: "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live". They also make reference to some portions of the book of Psalms where David prayed against his enemies.

The Old Testament scriptures that support Christians dealing with their physical enemies without mercy are incongruous with the teaching of Christ and the New Testament’s teaching on spiritual warfare. Jesus is of the opinion that we should love our enemies and show them kindness (Mathew 5:44). Apostle Paul told us that our weapons of warfare are not carnal. He also identifies who our real enemies are: “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens" (Ephesians 6:12).

The early Christians had many enemies who persecuted them. Did they pray against them? After Peter and John were released by the council with a warning never to speak in the name of Jesus again, they came back and gave the report to the church and they all lifted their voice to God with one accord and prayed. We are going to look at the prayer points and see whether it is in harmony with the prayers in our African churches today.

"When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. Sovereign Lord, they said, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:24:30 NIV).

A critical analysis of the prayer reveals the hearts of the disciples who have denied themselves and carried their crosses to follow Jesus. They first extolled God and reminded Him of His wonderful creation. They equally referred to God's word as written in the book of Psalms. Then they presented their adversaries before God and all their threats and persecutions, asking God to give them the boldness to continue preaching the Gospel. They pleaded with God to stretch out His hand to heal and perform signs and wonders, as His presence in their ministry will inevitably strengthen them and give them boldness to continue speaking in the name of Christ. They did not pray against their persecutors.

Had the disciples killed Apostle Paul with prayers, who would have evangelized the gentile nations? Who would have written the epistles of the New Testament? They had good reasons to pray against Paul and others who conspired and killed Stephen, but they did not. Even Stephen in his dying state did not pray against them. Rather, he prayed that God should forgive them because they did not know what they were doing. Jesus prayed the same kind of prayer for those who crucified Him. Where are we basing these wicked prayer points against enemies that are prevalent in our churches today?




Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 1:32pm
Marvel to Introduce New Gay Teen Captain America in Limited Comic Book Series



Marvel Comics has revealed a new LGBTQ character will take up the Captain America role in a limited comic book series.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Aaron Fischer, “the Captain America of the Railways,” will appear in the series called The United States of Captain America. The books feature Steve Rogers teaming with teen Aaron Fischer to find his stolen shield. Rogers will meet people from “all walks of life” who have become their own Captain America in their local communities.

Fischer is described as “the fearless teen who steps up to protect fellow runaways and the unhoused.”

“Throughout the group’s journey, they’ll discover everyday people from all walks of life who’ve taken up the mantle of Captain America to defend their communities,” the release from Marvel Comics says.

The Guardian reports that the limited series will debut in stores on June 2.

“Aaron is inspired by heroes of the queer community: activists, leaders and everyday folks pushing for a better life,” said writer Joshua Trujillo, who wrote the debut issue introducing Fischer. “He stands for the oppressed and the forgotten. I hope his debut story resonates with readers and helps inspire the next generation of heroes.”

In her work drawing the first issue, Jan Bazaldua said she was excited to be part of the project.

“I really enjoyed designing him and as a transgender person, I am happy to be able to present an openly gay person who admires Captain America and fights against evil to help those who are almost invisible to society,” she said. “While I was drawing him, I thought, well, Cap fights against super-powerful beings and saves the world almost always, but Aaron helps those who walk alone in the street with problems that they face every day. I hope people like the end result!”

Marvel Comics is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Captain America with the new series.

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Nonsense!

 

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 1:47pm
Robert Aaron Long struggled with sins he committed at massage parlors, former roommate says

Former Southern Baptist youth leader Robert Aaron Long, 21, shortly after his arrest for killing eight people at three massage parlors in Georgia. | Crisp County Sheriff's Office

Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old who's now facing multiple murder charges for killing eight people at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on Tuesday, struggled with sexual sins he committed in these establishments, a former roommate says.

“I lived with Robert Aaron Long for a few months. I can tell you right now that this is not racially motivated killing, but the product of an emotionally disturbed young man who was religious to the point of mania and who felt deep shame about why he frequented these places,” Tyler Bayless revealed in a Facebook post Wednesday. “I wonder how this would have gone if he had been in an environment where he wasn’t repeatedly told how sinful he was for the things that drove him. What a tragic loss of life, and a kid that was all around one of the sweeter people you’d meet.”

Bayless, 35, further explained to Reuters that he lived with Long in an Atlanta halfway house for recovering addicts named Maverick Recovery in late 2019 and early 2020.

The former roommate who last saw Long in February 2020 said he was being treated for drug addiction while Long was being treated for sex addiction. He revealed that Long admitted to frequenting massage parlors “for explicitly sexual activity” but would become “very emotionally distraught that he frequented these places.”

“In the halfway house he would describe several of his sexual addiction ‘relapses’ as he called them. He would have a deep feeling of remorse and shame and say he needed to return to prayer and to return to God,” Bayless told Reuters of Long, who was once a member of the student ministry at Crabapple First Baptist Church.

Long shot up three massage parlors in the Atlanta area Tuesday, killing six Asian women and two white men. He was planning to shoot up more massage parlors in Florida, police said.

Four people died in Long’s shooting spree during his first attack at Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, a northwest suburb of Atlanta, which was reported around 5 p.m. A Hispanic man was also injured there.

Atlanta police officers then responded to what was reported as a robbery at Gold Spa (open 24 hours a day) in the northeast part of the city at 5:47 p.m., where they found the bodies of three women with gunshot wounds. While officers were at that scene, they received a call about shots fired at the Aromatherapy Spa across the street, where they found another woman's body.

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department said at a press conference Wednesday that Long “did take responsibility for the shootings” and dismissed reports that his actions were racially motivated.

“He does claim that it was not racially motivated. He apparently has an issue with what he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places. It’s a temptation for him he wanted to eliminate,” Baker said.

“He was pretty much fed up and kinda at the end of his rope, and I guess it was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Baker continued. "These locations, he sees them as an outlet for him, something he shouldn’t be doing. … He had an issue with porn and he was attempting to take out that temptation.”

Brett Cottrell, who led the youth ministry at Crabapple from 2008 to 2017, told The Washington Post that Long’s father was considered an important lay leader in the church. Long would attend morning and evening activities on Sundays, along with meetings on Wednesday evenings and mission trips.

Cottrell described Long as a “typical teenager” growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta.

“It’s not unusual for young men to be into video games,” he said. “Was he around guns and hunting? Yeah. Would I consider him to be obsessed? No. Was it part of the life? Yeah. At that time, I wouldn’t classify it as one of the main things he was involved in. Had he been deer hunting? Yeah. I don’t know that I would’ve considered it to be a massive chunk of his life.”

Like Bayless, several prominent critics of the evangelical community suggested that the influence of Long’s Southern Baptist upbringing likely contributed to his response to his sexual struggles.

Lawyer, a former gymnast and outspoken abuse survivor, Rachael Denhollander, suggested in a series of tweets that the ease with which the women at the massage parlors were killed is a reflection of how they are treated in Southern Baptist culture.

“The man who murdered women in a massage parlor yesterday says he was ‘eliminating temptation’ because he had a sex addiction. He was a baptized member of an SBC church. Brothers. Pastors. Seminary heads. How you teach sexuality matters. It can be life and death,” she wrote.

“How you teach gender roles, and how you talk about women, how you sexualize them as temptations or dangers, matters. It can be life and death. The way you indirectly blame women for abuse, lust, assault, ‘temptation,’ can be life and death. This is happening in your pulpits, in your seminaries, in your counseling programs. It is in your marriage books, your books on womanhood and manhood, it is in your counseling sessions. It is in your purity books and discussions. It is in your social media. ...

“Your words, your teachings, your actions matter. The messages you send and imply and the culture it creates, matters. Real people pay the price. I am devastated,” she said.

Jemar Tisby, president of The Witness, also argued that the Church must accept some responsibility for Long’s actions.

“Again, churches are not responsible for every individual action of their members, but when you steep your flock in ideas that exclude and demonize, the community bears responsibility. Your ideas, words, and actions failed to challenge or worse actively promoted racism and sexism,” he wrote on Twitter.

When asked by The Christian Post to comment on the criticism Thursday, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called the killings “shocking and repulsive” and said Christians should lead the way in standing against bigotry and injustice.

“These murders are shocking and repulsive. The killer should be brought to justice, and the roots of this violence should be made known as soon as it is revealed to investigators. While I do not yet know the reports from law enforcement as to the motives in this particular case, I am hearing increasingly from Asian Americans, including Asian American Christians, who face escalating bigotry against them in this sick time. Such is immoral and unjust,” he said in a statement.

“Every murderer should be held accountable for justice. Christians must also lead the way in refusing to listen to and refusing to amplify the voices of those who would incite hatred against minority populations. Jesus has taught us this: hatred in the heart leads, in the fullness of time, to bloodshed. We should stand against that,” he ended.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 2:01pm
Mother of Three Beaten and Driven from Home in Eastern India for disrespecting rituals



Homeless since relatives attacked her for failing to respect their tribal rituals last month, a Christian mother of three young children in eastern India sought help from police.

The next morning, Feb. 10, an officer from Lesliganj police station in Jharkhand state’s Palamu District came to her village and accused her of disobeying the family elders and disrespecting their religious sentiments, said 26-year-old Mantu Devi, mother of children ages 7, 3 and 2 in Chapi village.

“He told me that my father-in-law should have beaten me to death,” Devi told Morning Star News. “He told me that I am putting up a drama for Jesus Christ, warning me, ‘Why will you not bow before tribal deities? We will book you under stringent laws and send you to jail, only then will your mind start functioning properly. You will know your limits then.’”

Devi told the officer that her relatives had threatened to behead her, and that she would not give up her faith at any cost, she said.

Later her husband, Sunil Oraon, returning from his work in Kerala state, spoke by phone to officers at Lesliganj police station, he said.

“The officers at Lesliganj police station told me over the phone that I would be [expletive deleted] to death, and that I am inviting destruction upon myself,” Oraon told Morning Star News. “I told him, ‘Sir, yes, if I had committed a crime then definitely, but I have not done any crime.”

Devi said police summoned the couple to the police station on Feb. 10 and threatened to file criminal charges against them, and that she and her husband told them they would follow Christ until the last breath of their lives.


Police at the Lesliganj station switched off their phone when Morning Star News called to try to obtain comment.

Devi and her children have been living in a doorless shed in the woods, and villagers have barred them from getting water from the community well, she said.

“The children and I walk two miles every day to fetch water,” Devi told Morning Star News. “Since it is summer [which begins in March in India], we need more water, and the utensils and cans we have are not sufficient to store water. We have to go out to fetch water twice or even thrice a day.”

The Jharkhand coordinator for legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom India visited the family on March 6 and assured them of legal assistance, she said.

TRIBAL DEITIES
Homelessness came after Devi’s father-in-law, Jageshwar Oraon, became enraged at her objection to him sprinkling the blood of cattle throughout her house as part of a tribal religious ritual, she said.

“The stink causes nausea,” Devi said. “Worried that my boys might fall sick, I requested him not to sprinkle the blood in the house. He was enraged, saying I had hurt his religious sentiments, and started abusing me in extremely filthy language. He blasted that I had driven his son and grandchildren to accept the Christian faith and had defiled his entire household.”

Previously, in the absence of her husband while he worked as a daily wage earner in southern India, her father-in-law and other relatives had forced her children to participate in their witchcraft and worship of nature, she said.

“Recently he brought some idols home and has been spending time in the company of Aghoris, devotees of Hindu deity Shiva,” she said.

As her father-in-law grew angrier, Devi phoned her husband and informed him that his father was threatening to behead her. He told her to try to keep the children safe from him until he could return.

“But my father-in-law had been adamant that we must also partake in the rituals he performs,” she said. “When I refused to concede to his demands, he charged at me with bamboo sticks and beat me up very badly. I was crying, screaming in pain and pleaded with my mother-in-law to stop him, but she too was supporting her husband.”

Other relatives declined to come to her rescue, she said.

“They were all on one side inciting him to strike me with the bamboo, and I was alone with nobody to speak up for me,” Devi said. “I was praying in my heart, ‘Lord please give me the strength to endure, even if I die, may my death be for your glory.’ I told my mother-in-law that she can’t stop her husband from striking me, that’s fine – but he can’t lay hands on my children.”

Before becoming a Christian, Devi had lost three children – a miscarriage and two who died as infants – and she and her husband had spent much of their income on treatment in hospitals or for travel to religious sites to seek the help of various deities, her husband said.

“Despite all the efforts, we lost three children; my wife’s health also deteriorated,” Oraon told Morning Star News. “Then our older one and I fell sick. There was no one to take care of us. The villagers would direct us to the rituals in the village and force us to believe that they can make us well, which further disturbed our family with evil spirits taking us captive.”

Immediately after hearing the gospel from a co-worker in Kerala, Oraon put his faith in Christ, he said.

“I called Mantu and told her that only Jesus Christ can heal us,” he said. “I shared the gospel with her, and she too had put her faith in Christ. For three years, we secretly prayed in our home and did not share with our family or community members that we had put faith in Christ.”

He took his wife and first-born son to a church in Kerala, and Devi told him she had peace in her heart after the pastor laid hands on them and prayed for them, Oraon said. Returning to their home in Jharkhand, they could not keep their faith secret any longer.

“As we refused to partake in rituals and customs followed by my parents and relatives, they were able to figure out that we must have renounced our former faith,” Oraon said. “They called the village elders and humiliated us publicly. Out of the 70 houses in Chapi village, at least 10 of the houses have one or more members of the family who secretly join us for worship at our home.”

Oraon said he plans to return to Jharkhand in April, when they hope to construct a shack for temporary shelter.

On March 13, Oraon’s mother and other villagers came to Devi’s shed in the woods and struck her with bamboo sticks, accusing her of stealing grain from the home where she had lived with her in-laws, Devi said.

“When they had beaten me up and expelled us from home [on Feb. 9], we packed some food grains so that we could survive until my husband returned,” she said. “We are staying in a shed along with cattle, buying vegetables and essentials. I do not have enough money to provide a proper meal for my children.”

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, as it was in 2020. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position worsened after Modi came to power.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 10:41pm
Virtual learning poses ‘more risks’ to kids’ mental, emotional health: CDC

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. | Reuters/Tami Chappell

Children who are learning through virtual instruction face “more risks” to their emotional and mental health than children receiving in-person instruction, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC study, released Friday, analyzed children aged 5-12, breaking them up into categories of virtual learning only, in-person only, and combined virtual and in-person learning.

The study drew from a nationwide sample of 1,290 parents of children aged 5-12 conducted Oct. 8 to Nov. 13, 2020, with 92.9% of the students enrolled in public school.

Of the sample, 45.7% of the children had virtual instruction, 30.9% of the children had in-person instruction, and 23.4% had combined virtual and in-person instruction.

Researchers found that most of the indicators for “stress and well-being” regarding child mental health were “worse for parents of children receiving virtual or combined instruction than were those for parents of children receiving in-person instruction.”

“Children not receiving in-person instruction and their parents might experience increased risk for negative mental, emotional, or physical health outcomes and might need additional support to mitigate pandemic effects,” stated the report.

“Community-wide actions to reduce COVID-19 incidence and support mitigation strategies in schools are critically important to support students’ return to in-person learning.”

The study noted that parents of children receiving virtual instruction were more likely than parents of children receiving in-person instruction to report that their kids having decreased physical activity (62.9% versus 30.3%), outdoor time (58.0% versus 27.4%), in-person time with friends (86.2% versus 69.5%), and worsened mental or emotional health (24.9% versus 15.9%).


A girl wears a face mask as students sit in a classroom of the Petri primary school in Dortmund, western Germany, on June 15, 2020 amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. | AFP via Getty Images/Ina Fassbender
Parents of children receiving combined instruction also fared worse compared to children receiving in-person instruction when it came to decreased physical activity (52.1% versus 30.3%), time spent outdoors (42.4% versus 27.4%), in-person time with friends (84.1% versus 69.5%), and worsened mental or emotional health (24.7% versus 15.9%).

Parents of children receiving only virtual instruction were also more likely than parents of children receiving combined instruction to say their children were experiencing decreased physical activity (62.9% versus 52.1%) and time spent outside (58.0% versus 42.4%).

In the discussion section, the researchers noted multiple limitations in the study, among them “the limited sample size,” possible “social desirability” and recall biases by the self-reporting of parents, and lack of differentiation for specific household characteristics, such as urban environment versus rural environment, or number of children in a household.

Last year, the U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund released a report warning that the lockdowns enacted in response to the pandemic posed great risks to children.

“Children face a trifecta of threats: direct consequences of the disease itself, interruption in essential services and increasing poverty and inequality,” stated UNICEF last November.

“Disruptions to essential services such as education, health care, nutrition and child protection interventions are harming children. A severe global economic recession is impoverishing children and compounding deep pre-existing inequalities and exclusion.”

President Joe Biden promised to reopen a majority of schools within the first 100 of his term in office, “if we follow the science” and CDC guidelines.

In February, however, the Biden administration reduced its goal, saying only 50% of schools would reopen for as little as one day a week by April 30.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that the recently-passed COVID-19 relief bill allocated $10 billion to schools nationwide for testing teachers, students and staff so that schools can reopen.

The Health and Human Services released a statement saying: "Recognizing that establishing a testing program is new for many schools, CDC and state and local health departments will support technical assistance to assist states and schools in standing up and implementing these programs. ... CDC is releasing the state-by-state allocation table with final awards to be made to health departments in early April.

HHS added: " ... in partnership with the Department of Defense, [HHS] is investing $650 million to expand testing opportunities for K-8 schools and underserved congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, directly through new regional coordinating centers."

The CDC this week also changed its guidance on social distancing for classrooms, reversing its previous recommendation for students to be 6 feet apart to now 3 feet apart.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 10:54pm
'We're Not Leaving, No': Demons Tormented This Former Teenage Witch Until Jesus Set Her Free

HOL127_Jenny_Weaver_ClubA_HDV

Demons were stalking her every move, cursing and spitting on her, threatening to kill her. So how did a desperate scream save her?

Jenny Weaver thought dabbling in the occult as a teenage witch would be "fun" like she saw in the movies. Instead, the torment that followed throughout her life became so unbearable that Jenny wanted to die.

For Jenny, it all started as a supernatural game.

“Things were happening. I was moving things,” says Jenny. “I would go up to a drawer to open a drawer and before my hand would even touch it, the drawer would go ‘shhew’ and open."

“Lights would bust and break when we would start talking about the demonic realm, glass fall all over us,” says Jenny.

But eventually, it turned into something much more sinister.

Jenny grew up on Florida’s Gulf Coast with seven siblings. Her home was dominated by abusive parents, who handed out punishment for the slightest offense. It wasn’t much better at their church that didn’t teach about a loving father, but a vengeful, angry God ready to condemn sinners to hell.

“I was always thinking God’s disappointed in me. God’s upset,” says Jenny. “So, I was really filled with shame and condemnation.”

Then her father walked out, leaving 13-year-old Jenny, her siblings, and their mom destitute.

“So, I must not even be worthy enough to be loved, to be thought of, to be cared for,” says Jenny. “You shouldn’t even be alive. Why are you even here?” she thought. “It would be better off if you just killed yourself.”

Feeling powerless and unloved, Jenny started cutting and smoking pot. Then she saw a movie about teen witches that showed her a way to take charge of her life. Soon, she was pouring over books about witchcraft, Wicca, and the occult, and trying spells with her friends.

“Wiccan religion is, ‘Do what you want, but do no one any harm.’” says Jenny. “It’s kind of like, ‘Oh, it’s the good witch.’ I felt like I had power,” says Jenny. “And, so, I’m looking at this like, ‘Oh, this is the most amazing thing ever.’”

But that power and control were only an illusion because the turmoil in Jenny’s home, and within herself, remained. At 17, after a fight with her mom, Jenny ran away and dropped out of school. Bouncing between friends’ homes and drug houses over the coming years, she got into harder drugs, sometimes blacking out for days.

“And I was so broken and so hurting all the time, that I engaged in just the craziest things you could imagine, and just gave my—gave myself away to whoever, whenever, whatever,” says Jenny. “It didn’t matter.”

Then she moved in with a girl who came from a family of witches. Her new friend showed her the things she thought were harmless and fun opened the door to a dark, sinister, and very frightening world Jenny only thought existed in books and movies.

“You would feel demon spirits literally walking by you like a human being was walking by you,” says Jenny. “Touching you. Scraping the wall. It went from, ‘Oh, this is gonna be really fun,’” says Jenny, “into, ‘I’m gonna choke you out until you die. I’m gonna take your life.’ All the time. Constantly tormented.”

Terrified, she stopped practicing witchcraft, but the demon of addiction would continue to haunt and torment her for years to come.

“I would just say, ‘If I just die now, I just die now.’” says Jenny. “And-and I would just lay there and go, ‘I-I just hope I just die. I hope these drugs—they—these are the ones that just take me out this time.’”

At 26, she was living with her boyfriend, Stephen, and hopelessly addicted to meth. Then she got pregnant. One day, seeing no hope for her or her baby’s future...

“I just fell on my knees and I screamed out as loud as I possibly could, ‘God, help me!!!’” says Jenny. “And it was like the loudest, longest scream. I remember just like groaning, ‘Ohhhh, please.’ And I didn’t see lightning, I didn’t see any of that, but I felt a peace,” says Jenny. “And that was the first time I felt the Lord saying to me in my heart, my heart, ‘I’m gonna help you. I’m gonna help you.’”

Jenny says that help came in an unexpected way: two days later she was arrested, sent to jail, and ordered to complete a drug treatment program. There, she began to hear about a different God, a heavenly father who was loving, merciful, and ready to forgive through his son, Jesus Christ. One night, Jenny whispered a prayer.

“I just cried, and I said, ‘God, I-I just want You to help me.’” cries Jenny. “I really want to love people, but there was such a hardness. And I just asked the Lord to take it. And I said, ‘God, I’m just gonna give You my life today,’” says Jenny. “And I surrendered to the Lord.”

“And I knew that everything that I had gone through, everything that I had done, had been forgiven,” says Jenny. “And when-when Jesus did that for me, it changed everything. Everybody that threw me away, He-he came, and He healed that.”

On the day of her release, Jenny gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Cameron. Later, Stephen also got clean and accepted Christ, and the couple married in 2013. But, a part of Jenny’s past wasn’t letting go, and for a few years, she still sensed a dark presence in her life. Then at a deliverance service at church, a woman led her in prayer to renounce witchcraft.

“I would say, ‘I renounce,’ and if I would try to say it at first, it was like ‘Wwww,’ and they wouldn’t let me,” says Jenny. “It was like my mouth was—I couldn’t even get the words, and they would say, ‘Rrrr, we’re not—we're not leaving, no.’ And they would curse and spit,” says Jenny. “It was very, very, very crazy.”

Finally...

“I knew there was a release,” says Jenny. “I could tell, I could feel it. I knew. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m free. They’re gone. They’re gone.’ And I was just, ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus,’” says Jenny.

With the past far behind her, Jenny went on to develop a close relationship with her mom. She was also able to reconcile with her dad a few months before he passed away. Today, Jenny is a homeschool mom, entrepreneur, and worship leader, sharing her music and her passion for the Lord.

“Jesus came running after me,” says Jenny. “When I cursed at Him, when I literally said the worst kind of words you can imagine at God, and the whole time Him calling my name saying, ‘No, she’s my daughter. I’m coming after her.’”

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 11:10pm
'The Bible Warns the Anti-Christ Will Control the World Through the Economy': These Global Trends Threaten Our Future

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people talked about it possibly marking the biblical end times. Get ready, because if that's true, then more hardship would lie ahead.

The COVID-19 crisis is regarded as a black swan, a once-in-a-century event affecting the entire world.

So, what might be next? A Christian financial expert says get ready for something known as gray swan events – trends we are already experiencing and they're likely to transcend the pandemic.

'High Tech Prison Walls'? As Tesla Turns to Bitcoin, Privacy Experts Warn Digital Money Paves Way for Total Gov't Control
"A gray swan is an event that is obvious, it's out in the open, people see it, they know that it is there, they know it is a significant threat, but they tend to ignore it and do nothing about it," Crown Financial CEO and radio host Chuck Bentley insisted.

Bentley explains this further in his new book, Seven Gray Swans: Trends That Threaten Our Financial Future.

Digital Currency and a Cashless Society

Among the seven: The global move toward digital currency and a cashless society. Bentley said the transition actually began years ago and has proceeded rapidly since COVID-19 hit.

"Especially with the threat of our actual physical currency may be tainted with the virus. And over time, the Bible warns that ultimately the anti-Christ will control the world through the economy and so, I think we need to be aware that it is moving in that direction rapidly and to do our part to be prepared for that."

Stimulus Payments and Universal Basic Income

Also, when the US Congress considered another multi-billion dollar stimulus package, most Americans wanted to know how much to expect in their bank accounts or mailboxes. Bentley warns temporary relief payments could easily turn into a permanent, universal basic income program.

"Those types of programs are very hard to stop. But my hope is that we will not endorse this policy, to see that continue because ultimately we cannot afford it. It would be like eating sugar for your diet. It feels good for a little while, but it doesn't do good in the long term."

Skyrocketing Debt Crisis

Bentley believes this is a result of the U.S. embracing modern monetary theory, that debt doesn't matter so, the Fed goes on printing dollars indefinitely.

A similar trend in Venezuela led to hyperinflation with an overall five-year rate that rose a whopping 53-million percent.

America's stunning $28 trillion national debt now exceeds the size of the entire U.S. economy and is expected to total 102% of the US gross domestic product by the end of this fiscal year. Bentley doubts the debt will ever be repaid and that would lead America's creditors to inflict some painful options on the public.

"Some sort of austerity program, some sort of massive tax increase, a hyperinflation that would make it easier for the government to repay their debt," he explained.

Biometrics and Social Scoring

The use of biometrics and social scoring also make up these gray swan trends. Airlines are pushing for COVID-19 contact tracing and the use of smartphone apps to prove travelers have been vaccinated for the virus. And Bentley said a number of companies are already using social scoring.

"Right now if I take an Uber, not only l do I evaluate the driver, but the driver evaluates me and a private company could vote me out of their system. We're seeing that in social media right now."

We see some of this ranging from Twitter blue checks to Facebook likes and others.

In China, the Communist Party uses social scoring to rate its citizens' obedience to government authority and loyalty to communist ideology. Positive scores garner favor while those with low scores are denied jobs, travel benefits, and education.

***As certain voices are censored and free speech platforms shut down, be sure to sign up for CBN News emails and the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving news from a Christian Perspective.***

Speech Police and Cancel Culture

Eventually, such a system could prove dangerous for Americans unwilling to comply with acceptable speech and cancel-culture norms.

"Even getting things like a tax refund, being able to travel, being able to have access to certain properties – buildings or museums. I think it's coming, " Bentley insisted. "I think it's one we all need to have a heightened awareness of and to be very careful about supporting the things that allow ultimate control over our free speech."

So, if the birth pangs of the seven gray swan events are already upon us, how can we prepare and protect our families and investments? Bentley said we must prudently chart a wise path without becoming paralyzed, or reacting emotionally.

"We obviously need to diversify our investments, we need to get out of debt, we need to increase our savings, we need to increase our ability to persevere through what I think are going to be turbulent times."

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 11:20pm
Massachusetts city becomes 2nd to legally recognize polyamorous relationships

A student stands in the entranceway of a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 16, 2012. | (Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is home to Harvard University, has officially recognized polyamory, making it the second city in the state to do so.

Last week, the Cambridge City Council approved an ordinance amending the city’s existing statute so that domestic partnerships are not limited to only two people.

The city of Sommerville, Massachusetts, the community just north of Cambridge, implemented a similar change last summer.

A domestic partnership in the city that is home to Harvard University is now defined as “the entity formed by two or more persons” who are not related and "consider themselves to be a family.” They must file a registration stating that they are “in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment and intend to remain in such a relationship."

The revised policy removes the requirement that everyone in the partnership must live together and also scraps a section that makes domestic partners submit proof of their familial relationship to the city.

"Polygamy was foreseeable because the arguments in support of same-sex marriage always had broader implications,” said Joseph Backholm, a senior fellow at the Christian conservative activist organization Family Research Council, wrote in an email to The Christian Post Thursday.

“Those fighting to redefine marriage refused to discuss those implications because they were more concerned with getting what they wanted. Those who were concerned about the long-term implications of same-sex ‘marriage’ were called bigots and fear-mongers. Now, it turns out, they were simply correct.”

Tweeting on the Cambridge policy change last week, Andrew Walker, a professor of ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, mused sarcastically that the polyamory ordinance was “no biggie though, because the revolution is happening with great amounts of winsomeness and $1,400 checks,” referring to the recently-dispersed stimulus funds from the federal government.

The recently formed Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition (PLAC), which gave input concerning the change in Cambridge, said in a statement that they hoped that it “will be a wave of legal recognition for polyamorous families and relationships in 2021.”

Among those in the new coalition who praised the move were members of the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy.

As CP reported in July 2019, no date was given as to when this particular APA division was formed. But a Facebook page for the task force is dated April 2018. The work of this APA task force expressly aims to reduce "stigma" on practitioners of polyamory.

Other advocates backing the change likened the embrace of polyamory to other kinds of families.

“Non-nuclear families — such as single parents supported by relatives, step-families, open adoption families, multi-generational families, multi-parent families, and polyamorous families — have changed the landscape of American society, and yet, many of these diverse family structures are not protected or recognized by the law," Alexander Chen of the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic said in a statement.

The policy change comes on the heels of other recent developments on family law.

Last month, a California judge permitted all three members of a gay male “throuple” to be listed as the parents on two children's birth certificates.

“It was really important to be recognized as the family that we are, and thankfully we live in California, which is a state that, after some teeth pulling and fighting, actually did then allow us to do that, so that was amazing," one of the men said in an interview with an Australian talk show.

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By Temmy
Fri, March 19, 2021 11:32pm
The Pathway to Ending the Pandemic 'Goes Through Evangelicals,' Theologian Says



A well-known theologian says the key to ending the pandemic is to change the minds of evangelicals about the Covid-19 vaccine, and he hopes to do just that.

Curtis Chang, a senior fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary and the founder of Redeeming Babel, this month launched a website, ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com, that includes short, easy-to-understand videos that answer common questions evangelicals often have about the vaccine. Among them: Should Christians take the vaccine? Is the Covid vaccine the mark of the beast? Should pro-lifers be pro-vaccine? Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe?

“The pathway to ending the pandemic does go through evangelicals. And let's to be even more precise: It goes through white evangelicals,” Chang told Christian Headlines. “That's what all the numbers say about where the vaccine hesitancy is the strongest. But the secular world – both the media and secular public health agencies – they do not understand that [evangelical] world, and they don't really empathize.”

Barely half (54 percent) of white evangelicals say they will “definitely or probably” get the vaccine, according to Pew. It’s a percentage that’s lower than Catholics (77 percent), black Protestants (64 percent) and atheists (90 percent).

Chang is an evangelical who backs the vaccines.

He is a faculty member at Duke Divinity School and a former senior pastor of an Evangelical Covenant Church in California that he still attends. He also served as campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has done mission work in Soweto, South Africa.

The videos, he said, are designed to be shared on social media. They’re also intended to assist local pastors who may be hesitant to discuss the vaccine from the pulpit, he said. Each video also includes a transcript.

He believes the videos fill a void.

“In our current polarized environment, pastors are incredibly cautious to avoid speaking on any public issue in which there could be division or disagreement in their congregations,” Change said. “The reason I created those videos is I want to save pastors from the work of having to engage in all those conversations. They can just say, ‘Hey, watch this video.’”

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By Temmy
Sat, March 20, 2021 2:03pm
9th Circuit again denies high school football coach right to pray on football field after games

Coach Joe Kennedy filing his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December 2015 against Bremerton School District. | Courtesy Liberty Institute

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled against a high school football coach who was fired from his job for praying on the field after games.

For years, high school football coach Joseph Kennedy has pursued legal action against Bremerton School District in Washington state for suspending him due to his prayer practices.

Namely, this involved him praying at the 50-yard line after games, often being joined by players and sometimes giving a motivational speech.

In a unanimous opinion released Thursday, the panel said Kennedy’s practice of praying on the 50-yard line after games was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“BSD’s efforts to prevent the conduct did not violate Kennedy’s constitutional rights, nor his rights under Title VII,” wrote Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. in the panel's opinion.

“In sum, there is no doubt that an objective observer, familiar with the history of Kennedy’s practice, would view his demonstrations as BSD’s endorsement of a particular faith. For that reason, BSD had adequate justification for its treatment of Kennedy …”

The First Liberty Institute, a law firm based in Plano, Texas, which is helping to represent Kennedy, denounced the panel's opinion and vowed to appeal the decision.

“Banning coaches from praying just because they can be seen is wrong and contradicts the Constitution,” stated Mike Berry, First Liberty’s general counsel.

“Today’s opinion threatens the rights of millions of Americans who simply want to be able to freely exercise their faith without fear of losing their job. We plan to appeal, and we hope the Supreme Court will right this wrong. This fight is far from over.”

Americans United for Separation of Church & State, a Washington, D.C.-based group that participated in oral arguments on behalf of the school district, supported the panel's opinion.

“Public schools must provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of their religious beliefs. That includes ensuring that student athletes don’t feel compelled to pray or participate in religious activities to secure their place on a team,” stated Americans United Legal Director Richard B. Katskee.

“Bremerton School District did the right thing: It protected the religious freedom of all the students and their families. Americans United was proud to support the district’s efforts.”

In 2016, Kennedy sued the school district after being suspended in 2015 for his practice of praying on the football field after games, accusing officials of violating his religious freedom.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit had previously ruled against Kennedy in 2017, with Smith also authoring that unanimous opinion.

“We conclude that Kennedy spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen, and therefore decline to reach whether BSD justifiably restricted Kennedy's speech to avoid violating the Establishment Clause,” wrote Smith in 2017.

“Kennedy accordingly cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits of his First Amendment retaliation claim, and is not entitled to the preliminary injunction he seeks.”

In his 2017 opinion, Smith called Kennedy's prayer practice "constitutionally unprotected" and warned that it "can promote disunity along religious lines, and risks alienating valued community members from an environment that must be open and welcoming to all."

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the case, sending the case back to the lower court level, with U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruling against Kennedy in 2020.

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By Temmy
Sat, March 20, 2021 2:18pm
Columbia University Segregating Graduations Based on Ethnicity, Income, Sexual Orientation



Columbia University in New York City is slated to hold six segregated graduation ceremonies based on ethnicity, income, and sexual orientation.

All in the name of “multiculturalism,” the college decided to host separate graduations to “complement” existing school-wide ceremonies, which will take place online, according to the university’s website.

The ceremonies listed include “Latinx Graduation,” “Black Graduation,” “Asian Graduation,” “FLI Graduation” for “first-generation and/or low-income community” students, “Native Graduation” for Native-American students, and “Lavender Graduation” for those who identify with the LGBT community.

Mercy Muroki, a researcher for The Centre for Social Justice, condemned the decision by Columbia, rebuking the university for “going backwards.”

The Washington Examiner reported in 2019 that, of the 173 schools the National Association of Scholars examined, 76 around the U.S. were offering segregating graduation ceremonies based on skin color.

Some of the most notable universities included Harvard, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Arizona State, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Yale. Many of the segregated ceremonies were co-hosted by black student groups, campus resource centers, or specific academic departments.

The NAS described the separate commencement ceremonies as an example of “neo-segregation” on college campuses, condemning it as “a breeding ground of racial conflict in American society.”

“Neo-segregation inculcates in young people the readiness to cling to a victim identity at the expense of becoming a positive member of the larger community,” the NAS report stated. “No doubt a large portion of the racial grievance politics we see in society at large these days is the careful nurtured product of campus neo-segregation.”

And in 2017, NAS research associate Dion Pierre more specifically rebuked segregated graduations, arguing they would only serve to inflame already present tensions.

“Ultimately, university officials go wrong when they treat students as black, Latino, or Asian, i.e., as different. By doing so, they reinforce the idea of interminable inequality and conflict between the races,” he wrote. “If our universities hope to ease racial tensions, they should encourage students and parents to meet one another as citizens united by a common sense of purpose, not as mutually opposed ethnic groups.”

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By Temmy
Sun, March 21, 2021 12:50pm
Good afternoon and happy Sunday to you all

 

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By Temmy
Sun, March 21, 2021 8:43pm
Christian groups lament passage of bill requiring lessons on atheism, humanism in all Welsh schools

Students seen in a high school classroom. | Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Christian law firms have expressed concerns over the passing of a bill that would make it mandatory for all schools, including faith schools, in Wales to teach humanism on an equal footing with religions as well as broaden sex education themes and content.

The provisions of the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, which is set to become law after passing all debate stages, amount to “transferring the right of parents to decide their child’s best interests about sex and religious education to the State,” writes Elizabeth Francis, a legal officer for human rights group Alliance Defending Freedom, U.K., in an op-ed for The Conservative Woman.

The Bill would change the term “religious education” to “religion, values, and ethics” so that non-religious worldviews can be taught alongside Christianity and other religious beliefs. It would also allow humanists to be part of the bodies that oversee and develop the syllabus, according to The Christian Institute.

An initial proposal included giving atheists a veto over any religious teaching in schools, but the clause was later dropped. However, it still “allows for disproportionate time to be spent studying Humanism or atheism. It also repealed key safeguards on the teaching of sex education,” the Institute says.

“The Welsh Government ignored two public consultations which clearly opposed these changes,” the Institute’s Wales Officer, Gareth Edwards, said. “In the last census only 815 people said they were humanists in the whole of Wales. Why have they been handed such influence over the content of religious teaching in schools?” he asked.

Kathy Riddick of Wales Humanists, a group that lobbied for the law’s passage, celebrated the lawmakers’ decision.

“We are absolutely delighted that the Senedd has passed this bill and that, after many years of campaigning by Wales Humanists, humanism will be put on an equal footing with religions throughout the curriculum,” Riddick said in a statement. “This is a huge success for inclusive education and Wales is very much leading the way. We congratulate the Government for its achievement.”

Edwards added, “While this is a setback, Christians will still be able to have a positive influence in schools by responding to the public consultation on the RSE code in due course, and parents should also expect to be consulted by their schools before changes are brought in.”

Francis warned, however, that it’s likely "the Welsh law will act as the final pretext the Scottish parliament needs to move forward with plans to remove the current discretion given to faith schools when teaching sex education.”

“Particularly when it comes to sensitive topics, the primary role of parents has always been respected as they are best placed to determine what is age-appropriate for the background, culture, and developmental maturity of their children,” she added.

Francis said the governments in England and Wales appear to be “legislating deliberately to neglect parental rights — principles long upheld both domestic and internationally.”

“The reforms also show the speed at which education policy is shifting,” she warned.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 21, 2021 8:49pm
Why Do Unbelievers Bother Distorting the Bible?
by Dan Andros

CNN anchor Don Lemon (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

“God is not about hindering people or even judging people.”

This was CNN host Don Lemon’s response on The View when asked about the Vatican declaring same-sex marriages couldn’t be blessed because it’s a sin. Clearly, there are huge theological problems with that sentiment – I’ll address those briefly since they’re rather clear.

What I’m more interested in is the desire for people to mischaracterize who God is and what the Bible really says. If Lemon is not a believer, then why does it matter to him what the Bible says? If he is a believer, why cling to a version of God clearly not present in the Bible?

Here are Lemon’s comments, made on The View while promoting his book:

First and foremost, of course, Lemon’s ideas on Christianity are substantially off-base. I suspect most of you already are aware that yes, God is indeed a judge. And as for the “hindering” comment, I’d just have Mr. Lemon refer to the book of Genesis when God floods the entire earth because everyone acted wickedly 24/7. If a devastating flood that kills every living thing on earth sans what hopped on Noah’s ark isn’t “hindering” in the affairs of man, I don’t know what is.

The entire reason Christ went to the cross was precisely because sinners were destined for eternal judgment, for all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. This is why we celebrate, worship, and praise Jesus – because he took our rightful place on the cross and endured the punishment we deserved. God’s wrath, or judgment, was poured out.

You don’t have to look long to find evidence in the Bible that God is indeed a judge.



  • “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” – Genesis 18:25

  • “The Lord will judge the ends of the earth” – 1 Samuel 2:10

  • “Can anyone teach God knowledge, In that He judges those on high?” – Job 21:22

  • “The Lord judges the peoples” – Psalm 7:8

  • “God is a righteous Judge” – Psalm 7:11

  • “God is the Judge” – Psalm 75:7

  • “For the Lord will judge His people” – Psalm 135:14

  • “For the Lord is our Judge” – Isaiah 33:22

  • “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:18

  • “He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:31

  • “Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead” – 2 Timothy 4:1




These are just a smattering of the plentiful verses throughout both the Old and New Testament testifying to the fact that God is indeed a judge. So, yes, as many others have pointed out – Lemon is quite incorrect when talking about the nature of God and his purposes through His creation.

What’s interesting to me, however, more so than just a severely flawed basic understanding of Christian beliefs, is the fact that he is firmly tethered to this newly invented version of God – and quite comfortable describing Him publicly in this way.

We’ve seen more of this type of man-centered, modern theology purporting to be Christian confidently presenting itself with increased frequency. For example, an openly gay “pastor” recently went viral for claiming Jesus was a racist who later “repented” of his alleged “sin.” This person with the title ‘pastor’ took the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect and sinless life and sacrificed Himself on the cross for His people, and reduced him to just another sinner in need of saving. It’s quite difficult to imagine anyone preaching a message like that truly believes what they are saying. The gap between reality and this woke-goggled version of events could span entire galaxies. Why would anyone worship someone like that? What would be the point of Christianity if Jesus is unable to save?

There are major issues with Lemon’s position whether he claims to be a believer or not. If he is a believer, for the reasons stated above, it is problematic. Lemon has said in the past it’s “naive” and “dangerous” to believe the Bible is the literal, inerrant, Word of God. Those whose political views and lifestyles find themselves at odds with Scripture often land in a similar place. Arriving at a fork in the road, they must choose – my sin, my life, my way, my politics – or the God of the Bible. Sadly, it is becoming all too common to see ‘pastors’ and others choose their sin and their way over God’s way.

Perhaps even more perplexing is the unbeliever who continues to be committed to distorting and twisting Scripture. Once someone leaves the faith, there is no logical reason to distort what’s in the Bible. Yet, despite the abandonment of adherence to anything remotely resembling a Christian worldview, many like Lemon still feel the need to convince others of something the Bible definitely does not say.

This could be explained by Romans 1:18-19, that men know the truth of God and are without excuse and suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They cling to their sin and desperately try to bend and mold and twist and shape the Bible to fit their current lifestyle so they don’t have to change.

Whatever the specific reason, this phenomenon can only be either a) ignorance or b) a willful and sinful desire to lead others astray.

If Lemon’s distortion is due to ignorance, I pray he has seen one of the many posts – such as this – that have tried to point him in the right direction about who God is and who he isn’t.

If his distortion is intentional and knowing, I pray for those who may be tempted and swayed by his false teaching. That they may know the Bible is the Holy, inspired, infallible Word of God, and not be drawn into a life of sin and rebellion.

I also pray for those who find themselves at that fork in the road, at that very moment the Bible confronts us in our sin – and trust me, it will do that. I pray they cry out to God at that moment with all that is in them, and choose the path that leads to life.

The Bible is not some book of handy life-hacks to take or leave whenever you feel like it. It is God’s special revelation for His people in written form. It’s the way God chose to communicate with us – and “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Those, like Lemon, who proclaim to pride themselves on being intellectual, should go to greater lengths to understand the position of others before going on national television and misrepresenting them. Especially someone in news. If they can botch something as basic as the core beliefs of Christianity, what are we to make of all the other news of the day they cover?

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By Temmy
Sun, March 21, 2021 8:55pm
Church of England may impose black, minority ethnic quota for clergy

Members of the clergy enter York Minster before a service to consecrate Reverend Libby Lane as the first female bishop in the Church of England, in York, northern England, January 26, 2015. | Reuters/Phil Noble

The Church of England may institute a quota on black and minority ethnic clergy within its ranks as well as institute anti-racism training, according to a report leaked Saturday.

The Spectator obtained a copy of a report set to be turned into the Archbishops’ Council next week by the Church of England’s anti-racism task force, which was established after Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologized for the denomination’s racist past last year.

The British magazine reports that the title of the document, slated to be released to the public on April 22, is “From Lament to Action: Report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce.”

The report recommends a quota for black and minority ethnic clergy, revamping education in schools run by the denomination and dealing with controversial statues and monuments.

The task force was formed last year after Welby called for statues and memorials in churches and cathedrals linked to the slave trade to be brought down. The call came in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests in the United States following George Floyd's death.

Of the 42 diocesan bishops across the country, only one is from a black or minority ethnic background. That person is Guli Francis-Dehqani, the bishop of Chelmsford.

In 2012, 96% of the Church of England senior staff — bishops, archdeacons and cathedral clergy — were white British. That figure dropped down to nearly 94% in 2019, according to The Telegraph.

The task force has suggested that at least “one UK minority ethnic clergy (is) elected from each region.” Additionally, all shortlists for clergy recruitment should include "at least one appointable UK minority ethnic candidate."

The task force reportedly calls for “programme cohorts” to have a minimum of 30% “UKME participation” to “build up pipeline supply.” The report also states that the denomination will develop an “online module for anti-racist learning programme.”

The task force recommends that church-affiliated primary and secondary schools “develop a broad RE curriculum with specific reference to the promotion of racial justice.” The report encourages schools to celebrate Black History Month.

The reforms will be funded and overseen by a proposed Racial Justice Unit, which will have a five-year fixed-term.

The draft document recommends that church officials “acknowledge, repent and take decisive action to address the (CoE’s) shameful history and legacy,” referring to the Church’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

Church Officials should also “deal with any part of the church building that may cause pain or offence” to ensure spaces are “welcoming spaces for all.”

“The BLM movement and in particular the dumping of the Colston statue in Bristol docks shed new light and brought needed urgency to the C of E’s consideration of its own contested heritage,” the report is quoted as saying.

Last June, Welby told BBC Radio 4 that the controversial statues “need to be put in context.”

“Some will have to come down. Some names will have to change,” he added. “The church, goodness me, you just go round Canterbury Cathedral, and there are monuments everywhere or Westminster Abbey. We are looking at all that, and some will have to come down.”

The Times (of London) reported at the time that many Church of England dioceses were conducting audits to document who is memorialized in the denomination’s 16,000 churches and 42 cathedrals after leaders showed their willingness to alter or remove some monuments.

But “if only the sinless can be remembered, we’re only going to have memorials to Christ,” a London priest, who was not named, told The Times in response to Welby’s comments.

“We have bucket-loads of saints, martyrs, heroes and heroines, buildings acquired and built with dubious money, but no one is unblemished, all have sinned,” the Rev. Andy Bawtree, a vicar at River Parish Church near Dover, was quoted as saying. So “where do you stop?”

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By Temmy
Sun, March 21, 2021 9:06pm
Updated
This is child abuse, this is madness, this must stop
by Michael Brown



There are so many pressing issues in America today, from bills under discussion in Congress to the fears of Asian Americans in light of increasing hatred and violence. There are international issues demanding our attention, including the upcoming Israeli elections and the current conflict between Biden and Putin. And personally, I would rather comment on any of these subjects then the subject of this article. Yet those other issues will have to wait one more day. This week’s outrages are just too outrageous. We must speak out again.

This week, a Canadian father, Robert Hoogland, was jailed for the crime of referring to his 14-year-old daughter as his daughter. That’s right. Because this concerned father referred to his daughter as female, thereby violating a court order, he has been arrested and put behind bars.

You say, “Obviously, there’s something missing from this story. Did he abduct her? Is she not really his daughter? What else happened?”

In reality, the story is worse than you can imagine.

A few years ago, Robert (whom I met and with whom I discussed the situation) learned that his daughter’s school had been pushing her in the direction of male identity, claiming she suffered from gender dysphoria.

They even changed her name in the school yearbook without informing the parents, encouraging her to get on hormones and to work towards sex-change surgery.

The girl’s mother sided with the daughter, but Robert opposed the decision. After all, she was a young teen and hardly capable of making such life-altering decisions.

The court sided with the daughter, forbidding her father from trying to impede her gender transition.

But that was only the beginning of the story. The court then forbade him from referring to his own daughter as “she.” Or using her real (female) name. Or speaking of her as his “daughter.” If he dared to do so even in the privacy of their home – I am not making this up – he would be put in jail.

This is madness. This is something out of 1984. And it is something that many of us have stated plainly was coming to a city near you.

To Robert’s credit, and out of genuine love for his daughter, he continued to speak out publicly. And now, he has been put in jail.

Several years ago, when Canada passed Bill C16, the so-called “anti-discrimination,” gender identity bill, Prof. Jordan Peterson raised his voice in protest (this was before he shot to international fame), warning that the enforced speech of the bill would lead to situations just like this. His concerns were dismissed as extreme.

In response to Robert Hoogland’s arrest, Peterson tweeted, “This could never happen, said those who called my stance against Bill C16 alarmist. I read the law and saw that it was, to the contrary, inevitable.”

I urge every parent to read Robert’s words, which follow here, and to feel his pain for his daughter.

Speaking of the court ruling, he said, “They've created a delusion, and they're forcing parents to live in this delusion.”

And he asked, “What happens when the bubble explodes and the delusion ends… She can never go back to being a girl in the healthy body she should have had… These kids don't understand. What kind of 13 year old is thinking about having a family and kids?"

And then this: “What kind of father would I be if, in ten years time she's detransitioning, and she asks me ‘why didn't you do anything to stop this? None of your stuck your neck out for me back then.’”

He will be able to say that he tried his very hardest, to the point of sacrificing his freedom. (Robert shared his heart in this video before turning himself in for arrest.)

You say, “But that was Canada. That could never happen here in America.”

Well, isn’t it bad enough that this happened to a family in Canada? Shouldn’t this concern us as well?

That being said, there is no good reason why things like this could not happen in America, given the direction the country is going.

In fact, in 2018, an Ohio judge “gave custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents rather than his parents, allowing them to make medical decisions regarding his transition.

“The parents didn’t want the teen, a 17-year-old who identifies as male, to undergo hormone treatment and refused to call him by his chosen name, triggering suicidal feelings, according to court testimony. The parents wanted custody in order to make medical decisions for the teen and prohibit the treatment that his medical team had recommended.”

As for freedom of speech, on Thursday, a street preacher who was speaking outside of a Drag Queen Story Hour, where these men read to toddlers, was threatened with arrest by a local officer. And what was his alleged crime? His speech might offend others. He was even told that saying that certain people were going to hell could be deemed offensive, since “hell” could be considered a swear word. (Watch the clip for yourself.)

As for these infamous, truly detestable drag queen events, it is now reported that, “The former leader of a prominent gay charity that sponsors Drag Queen Story Time for kids has been arrested on child pornography charges, local media reports.

“Brett Blomme, a Children’s Court Judge in Milwaukee, was arrested and charged with seven counts of possessing child pornography Tuesday, the state Department of Justice announced.

“Blomme, 38, is accused of uploading 27 terrible images and videos of children being sexually abused on the messaging app, Kik, using the name ‘dommasterbb’ between October and November 2020, according to the 44-page search warrant.”

No surprise that he was a champion of drag queens reading to toddlers.

This is why we must speak out against this madness and work together to stop the child abuse. And that’s why people like Robert Newgent, a biological female who now lives as a male and is anything but a fundamentalist Christian, have called for a broad coalition of people of conscience to work against children “transitioning.” (Having interacted directly with Newgent, I can testify that she is absolutely passionate about raising her voice on behalf of the children.)

Just this week, I was sent a link to an article from 2019 detailing the story of a lesbian couple in England. One of women identifies and lives as male, meaning that these two women live as husband and wife. Their son, then 5, began to identify as a girl, and so they have announced that their son is a girl and are encouraging his gender transition.

But this should hardly surprise us. After all, no matter how loving they may be as parents, a lesbian woman cannot possibly function as the boy’s father, nor does this child have a fair shot at discovering his true identity.

Do we, then, sit idly by while children’s lives are being destroyed? Do we remain silent while a father sits in jail for fighting for the wellbeing of his daughter?

Certainly not. The least we can do is raise awareness and raise our voices.

I will always grieve over the pain that has been experienced by those who identify as transgender. But I will not collaborate with child abuse.

This is madness. This must stop.

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By Temmy
Sun, March 21, 2021 9:30pm
The right choice: Choosing a college and why it matters
By John Jackson



(Note to readers: I’m writing to an 18-25 year old, but I invite parents, family and friends to “listen in.” I’m also writing to people of faith, but if you are not a person of faith, you’ll still find help here.)

I’d like to help you make a good decision about where to go to college. And, I think I can also help you with a process you can then use for other important life decisions.

Let’s start at the beginning: I see you down the road. Years from now, after you have had a wonderful college experience where you made three to five great friends that stick with you for the rest of your life and where you had one or two professors who shaped your worldview and sharpened your skillset.

I see you down the road when you may have married someone you met in college, got your first job because of an internship or changed your entire career trajectory based on your experience in college.

I see you down the road, and you are full of peace and joy because you are living out who you were made to be. Choosing a college can be a life-changing choice, and I want to help you make that decision (and many others) so that you are a person of peace down the road.

Here are three overlapping circles that should make up the narrative conversation and data analysis for your decision journey:

Dreams are all about your personal hopes for the future. Career, calling, sense of mission. This is where you start thinking about your life at age 30 (yikes) and maybe even at 50 (double yikes). If you have not yet taken any career assessments or inventories, you can obtain one at a career site like Monster.com and gain insight from that information.

Desires are what you have dreamed about when you have thought about college. Perhaps you have always wanted the urban alternative to your rural upbringing, the remote college setting to contrast with your suburban or city life. Did you attend a huge public high school and long for the intimacy of a tight-knit college community? Do you long for more variety, diversity, breadth of experience and travel opportunities? Each of these desires will shape your choice of college.

Details include realities like tuition costs, financial aid and scholarship offers, housing costs and options, chosen major availability and club or intramural opportunities. These details can seem mind-numbing to wade through, but they affect your total cost and your experience more than you might imagine.

The convergence of your college dreams, desires and details will provide a helpful decision matrix. Remember, this is about the uniqueness of you and your life. Develop your lists with input from those around you who know you, but do not chase the dreams or desires of others.

Based on my experience and study, there are three things people should focus on during the college years: deepening their spiritual life, cultivating their learning skills and equipping themselves for vocation. People should also consider whether they might want to attend a public university, a private or faith-based university. Those reasons are all very personal and they are all different, based on whether you are looking for a school with a particular educational and/or faith perspective.

Covid-19 has taught us many things. At minimum, Covid-19 has been a revealer of truths about us, families, businesses, governments, economies and health care. Covid-19 has also been an accelerator. One of the trends Covid-19 has accelerated is what I wrote about as early as 2011, that the future of higher education is “FDA” (no, not Food & Drug Administration): flexible, distributed and affordable. I believe that as the consumer, you should shop smart, shop hard and remain focused as you determine which college is right for you.

Here is part of a process I think “works” for college selection and other major life decisions:



  • Pray.

  • Clarify your dreams, desires and details metrics.

  • Visit at least your top three schools (more than five can become confusing).

  • Give yourself some time.

  • Apply to your top three to five schools.

  • Receive acceptances and aid offers for your chosen schools.

  • Receive counsel from people who know you well.

  • Make your decision.

  • Celebrate!




After you celebrate and enter college, you’ll have a lot of work. But before you know it, you’ll be able to celebrate again. In fact, a lot of life is about working and celebrating in rhythms.

So go for it!

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By Temmy
Mon, March 22, 2021 9:26am
Good morning all.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

 

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By Temmy
Mon, March 22, 2021 10:50am
Live your courageous calling from God

Kelly Williams is co-founder and senior pastor of Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. | Courtesy of Kelly Williams

We live in very challenging times right now and the last thing any of us want to do is add more challenge to our lives, but that is just what God asked Jeremiah to do. In challenging and uncertain times, it is easy to shrink back. It is easy to give up and give in and give out. It is easy to compromise who God has created you to be, but when the going gets tough, that’s when the called have to become courageous for God and live out His calling on their lives.

That is what Jeremiah did!

We know from Jeremiah 1:2 that the words of God came to Jeremiah in the 13th year of King Josiah’s reign over Judah, which dates back to 627 B.C. This is when Jeremiah’s ministry began, 2645 years ago. That’s a long time. I think it is pretty cool that these words still have relevant impact on our lives here in the 21st century today.

We know from Jeremiah 1:3 that the book of Jeremiah spans to the eleventh year of Zedekiah, which was 586 B.C. If you do the math, this book spans 41 years of Jeremiah’s ministry to Israel to encourage them to turn back and repent. But they wouldn’t do it. That’s a long time to encourage people to do the right thing.

Jeremiah lived roughly 150 years before Nehemiah and Ezra, and about 100 years before Daniel.

So, there is your history lesson to introduce you to the timeframe of Jeremiah’s ministry. Jeremiah came along at a very important time in the life of Israel, just like you and I are living in an extremely important time in the life of our nation.

Many have said, “this is the season of the prophet in America’s history.” We need courageous but kind voices that call us to come back to God before it is too late. Jeremiah was that kind of guy in his day. He tells us in Jeremiah 1:5 that God told him that before he was formed in the womb, God consecrated him and appointed him to be a prophet to the nations.

We learn from this verse that your physical existence does not determine your existence. God said to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I already knew you.” You may not realize this, but God knew you before you were born. The debate over when life begins to God is a moot debate, because as far as God is concerned, He declares life to exist before it comes into existence.

God tells Jeremiah two other things in Jeremiah 1:5. He tells Jeremiah that before he was born, He had already anointed him. Do you realize your anointing from God does not come after you are born but before? God tells Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, “I appointed you a prophet.” Are you aware that your physical existence simply initiates your ability to live out your eternal purpose? Jeremiah was born to be a prophet. Like Jeremiah, you and I were born already with eternal purpose. We don’t have to come up with a purpose, God created us with purpose. We don’t have to come up with a reason for living, we have to learn how to live into the reason God created us in the first place. So, many of us right now feel aimless, hopeless, confused, and lost by this season of our lives. God wants us to know that He has already hardwired us with purpose.

Just as Steve Jobs pre-designed the Apple Computer, so God pre-designed you before you were born. He made you with a purpose in mind – His purpose. You have intrinsic value because you are made by God for God with purpose hardwired into your natural DNA.

If you and I are going to live courageously in this season of our lives, we are going to have to realize our calling has already been pre-wired into our anatomical hard drive. Before you were born, God already knew you. Before you were born, God already anointed you. Before you were born, God already appointed you. The script is written. You don’t have to be afraid. God has already determined you have purpose, and it is no accident you are on planet earth right now. This was God’s plan all along for you and me.

In light of this, how should you and I respond to this, so that we can live our calling from God with courage? Well, Jeremiah responded in fear. He didn’t think he had what it took to be who God had created him to be. Maybe you feel the same. Jeremiah told God in Jeremiah 1:6 he couldn’t be a prophet because he didn’t know how to speak. He told him he couldn’t be a prophet because he was just a young teenager. What excuses do you offer up to God to avoid being who He has created you to be?

The Lord told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:7, “Don’t say you are only a youth.” God is affirming Jeremiah and telling him he believes in Him. God believes in you more than you believe in yourself. He tells Jeremiah to go and speak.

What is God telling you to go and do?

Are you willing to go where God tells you to go and speak what God tells you to speak? Yes, it will take courage. Yes, you will have to trust God with the inadequacies of your life. Yes, your insecurities will bleed through. But is your God big enough to give you the strength to courageously overcome these fears and do what God has asked you to be and do?

God tells Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:8 not to be afraid for He will be with him to deliver him.

Have you forgotten that if God sends you, He goes with you?

Do you know what the difference is between faith and courage?

Faith is when we say, “I am going to listen to what God wants to say to me and believe it is from Him.”

Courage is when you say, “I am going to do it.”

Courageous faith in action demands you believe that God made you and knows you. It requires you to believe God created you with purpose. It gives you the confidence to know He called you to fulfill His purpose with your life. And last, courageous faith in action challenges you to be and do it for God regardless of what it costs you.

If you need help in growing in your understanding of your purpose, I encourage you to read Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It is a great book on living out your God given purpose.

At some point in your life, you can expect that God is going to ask you to do some impossible things with your life and it is going to require courageous faith. God doesn’t give us supernatural faith and then let us just live ordinary I-don’t-need-faith kind of lives. He wants us to put that faith into action, that is what courage is – faith in action.

After God calls Jeremiah, God puts out his hand in Jeremiah 1:9 and touches Jeremiah’s mouth metaphorically, and puts His words into Jeremiah’s mouth. He tells Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:10 that he has set him over the nations and over the kingdoms.

God didn’t want Jeremiah just to be courageous. He wanted him to know in his courage that he was being sent out in the power of God and with the authority of Almighty God. I realize we all have to be careful with how we wield the power of God in our lives, but I find that we have too many timid Christians today. You and I need to see ourselves like God sees us. He wants us to know we have been given the power and authority of Almighty God. Even Jesus told us in Matthew 28:18 that he gives to us his authority. Matthew records that Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This is our commission to our calling. Jesus is saying to you and me, “Go and speak on my behalf.”

Yes, that is a lot to steward, but if God trusts us with His authority, we better be sure to accept the commission and live out our calling.

It is my prayer God give you the grace to rise up and live the courageous calling He has placed on your life in the everyday relationships of your life. Don’t be afraid to be who God has created you to be and do what He has called you to do, that is why you are here right now on planet earth.

Now go and be the person God has created you to be for His glory and others good, the world needs you.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 22, 2021 11:19am
Updated
Why the church should be on the frontlines of the mental health crisis
by Jack Graham

Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church and the host of PowerPoint Ministries | (Photo: Prestonwood Baptist Church)

We live in an incredibly anxious and depressed culture here in America, and the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest and divisive politics have further exacerbated this issue. According to a 2020 report from Mental Health America, more than 47 million adults in our nation are experiencing some form of mental illness. My home state of Texas is one of the lowest ranking in the nation for quality of mental health and treatment for mental illness in adults.

Moreover, across America, approximately 4.4 million children have been diagnosed with anxiety and another 1.9 million have been diagnosed with depression. Most concerning, suicide has become the second leading cause of death among people 10 to 34 years of age.

We have an established mental health crisis on our hands. Sadly, the Christian church has often neglected to respond in a loving and supportive way to those who are struggling with mental health issues. I’m heartbroken to say many people who have sought help and hope within the church have been turned away, shamed or told — sometimes by well-meaning pastors or lay counselors — they just need to “pray harder” or “have more faith.”
2021 is a new year, and it’s time for the Christian church to respond to this crisis in a new way.

In 2019, Lifeway Research surveyed pastors, congregants and their families about mental illness and the church. The survey revealed nearly half of pastors (49%) “rarely or never speak to their church in sermons or large group settings about acute mental illness.” Additionally, close to one in four individuals surveyed indicated they had either “stopped attending church, had not found a church to attend or had changed churches based on the church’s response to mental health issues.”

I believe the church’s failure lies not in ill intention but largely in misinformation and lack of proper training. While there is a spiritual aspect to mental health that churches and pastors can and should address, we often have missed the clinical reality of mental health.

Complicating the matter is the fact that in my generation (Baby Boomers) mental health has often been viewed as a taboo subject to be discussed only at home, if at all. We were raised to believe that if you are a follower of Jesus, you’re not supposed to struggle with mental health, depression or anxiety. I remember thinking this way when I was a young Christian, and it took several painful experiences over the course of my life for me to grasp what it’s like to struggle with mental health.

My father was brutally murdered by a shoplifter at his store when I was 20 years old. Losing him in such a violent way launched me into one of the darkest valleys I’ve ever had to walk through. At one of my lowest points I seriously doubted God’s existence.

Then, 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The treatment and recovery periods were grueling and left me exhausted both physically and emotionally. Anxiety and depression took hold. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t enjoy the things I once loved. I felt like a dead man walking, and I wondered if I was ever going to make it. Some Sundays I had to drag myself to the pulpit.

It took me more than a year to come out of that darkness. I sought the help of professional counselors who recommended different forms of treatment that were effective in my battle with depression. The church also played an indispensable role, caring, loving and encouraging me during my hardest days. This is what the apostle Paul exhorted us to do in Galatians 6:20, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the love of Christ” (ESV).
If we are followers of Jesus, we are tasked with not only caring deeply about the spiritual health of others, but their mental, emotional and physical health as well, for they are all tied together.

The good news is the church is uniquely equipped to care for people struggling with mental illness. As a local community of faith called to love one another, it acts as a crucial support system for all who are in need. Many of the Bible’s teachings — such as forgiving those who have wronged us, recognizing the inherent value of every human life and giving thanks for the blessings we have — are used by professional counselors to help people cope with and overcome depression and anxiety.

The church has the potential to change the tide of the mental illness epidemic rising in our nation, but for this to happen we need to start talking about the issues. We need to equip ourselves so we can offer effective, practical care for people who need healing. This is why Prestonwood has started Life Recovery Ministry, a program to help people cope and heal from emotional, physical, relational and spiritual wounds caused by illness, addiction and abuse. Life Recovery Ministry hosted The River Conference Mar. 19 and 20, to address mental health stigma, domestic abuse, sexual healing and more. This event featured experts in psychology and religion and is open for in-person and online attendance.

We the church can no longer stand on the sidelines while people are suffering and hurting. We must step up and step in to end this critical cycle, before it’s too late.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 22, 2021 2:36pm
Pakistani Christian man sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam

A woman holds a placard during a rally protesting the killing of the Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer in Lahore, Pakistan, on January 8, 2011. Taseer was shot dead by one of his guards, who was apparently incensed by the politician's opposition to the blasphemy law in Islamabad on January 4, 2011. | Reuters/Mohsin Raza

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Christian man to death for sending “blasphemous” text messages to Muslim clerics, according to a report.

The Lahore High Court in Punjab province has revised the 2013 sentencing of the Christian man, Sajjad Masih, from life in prison to death, according to UCA News.

Masih, a Seventh-day Adventist, was accused of sending blasphemous text messages from a mobile phone to Muslim clerics and others in Gojra. The 2013 verdict included life imprisonment and a fine of 314,500 rupees, the equivalent of about $2,000.

Masih, a resident of Punjab's Pakpattan district, was arrested in December 2011.

Police said Masih was engaged to a woman, Ruma Masih of Gojra town. But she contracted marriage with another Christian man in the United Kingdom. Masih is accused of using her SIM to send blasphemous messages to clerics as an act of revenge.

Gojra has been a religiously sensitive area since massive attacks on Christians were triggered by reports of Quran desecration. In 2009, there were a series of riots targeting Christians in Gojra that resulted in eight deaths, including four women and a child. Muslim radicals reportedly set fire to Christian homes in the area.

Police initially refrained from charging Masih under the blasphemy law but added the blasphemy charge to the complaint after pressure from Muslim clerics.

Section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code permits the death penalty for those convicted of insulting Islam or its Prophet Muhammad. International advocates have long called on Pakistan to reform its penal code as it is often used to persecute religious minorities.

In 2015, Masih’s brother and nephew were reportedly attacked and threatened by a group of people who had not been identified.

A Muslim advocate, Zeeshan Ahmed Awan, celebrated the decision to give Masih the death sentence.

“Honorable Lahore High Court has accepted our prosecution argument that ‘capital sentence is the only possible sentence in blasphemy, and imprisonment for life, though provided in [the law], awarded by a trial court, is illegal,” the lawyer wrote on Facebook.

Masih’s appeal, in the meanwhile, has been sent to the court’s division bench.

The blasphemy law, embedded in Sections 295 and 298 of Pakistan's penal code, is frequently misused for personal revenge. It carries no provision to punish a false accuser or a false witness of blasphemy.

Islamic extremists also use the law to target religious minorities — Christians, Shias, Ahmadiyyas and Hindus.

A Lahore-based group, Centre for Social Justice, recently reported that 200 people were accused of blasphemy in 2020 — the highest number of cases in a year. In total, the group reports that at least 1,855 people have been charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws since 1987.

A Pakistani Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, who served as minister of minority affairs, was assassinated in March 2011 after calling for the blasphemy laws' repeal. Former Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was also assassinated for his opposition to the country’s blasphemy law. Both men advocated for Christian woman Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. She was acquitted years later by the Pakistan Supreme Court.

Lisa Curtis, the former senior director for South and Central Asia at the U.S. National Security Council during the Trump administration, warned at the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in 2019 that there are more people imprisoned for blasphemy in Pakistan than all the other countries in the world combined.

Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country, ranks as the fifth-worst in the world when it comes to Christian persecution on Open Doors USA's 2021 World Watch List. The State Department lists Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” for tolerating or engaging in egregious violations of religious freedom.

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By Temmy
Mon, March 22, 2021 2:50pm
Can the Catholic Church save America from the Christian Left?
by Lucas Miles



As President Biden evolves into the new mouthpiece for trans-affirming abortion-loving progressive Christianity, some Americans are looking to the Catholic Church to weigh-in on his position to help churchgoers discern which version of Christianity should be deemed the correct one. While evangelicalism has a long history of refuting pro-choice policies and shedding light on the incompatibility between same-sex unions and a Biblical worldview, recent happenings such as the January 6th attack on the Capitol and highly publicized scandals among prominent Christian pastors, such as Hillsong’s Carl Lentz and apologist Ravi Zacharias, have arguably somewhat diminished (temporarily) evangelical’s credibility in the eyes of the masses.

Wherein non-Catholic Christians have often been critical of the Vatican over doctrinal issues, now all eyes are on Rome to see if the papacy will uphold Biblical orthodoxy or cower in fear to cancel culture by giving into the demands of the Christian Left. (For more on Progressive Christianity, see Lucas Miles’ new book, The Christian Left: How Liberal Thought Has Hijacked the Church) Surprisingly, despite past evidence to the contrary from Pope Francis, this past week the Vatican took a firm stance on Biblical orthodoxy after announcing it’s “impossible” for God to bless same-sex unions, because God cannot “bless sin.”

Their decision was immediately met with criticism from far left activists, like CNN’s Don Lemon, who accused the church of needing to “reexamine themselves and their teachings”, as well as pop icon Elton John who declared the Catholic Church’s position “hypocrisy”, after revealing that the Vatican allegedly invested millions into John’s biopic “Rocketman”.

With the Vatican at least offering lipservice to traditional Christian values, other prominent Catholic authorities are actually doing something to maintain the church’s historical stance on sexuality and simultaneously criticize the Biden administrations’ support of abortion rights. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas is one such church official who rebuked President Biden by clarifying that while he may be president, “he cannot define what it is to be a Catholic and what Catholic moral teaching is”.

The question though remains if leaders like Archbishop Naumann, as well as other conservative Catholics clergy, (Remember Fr. Robert Morey who made headlines in 2019 for refusing then former Vice President Biden the Eucharist) carry enough influence to steer the 2,000 year old Catholic Church, which has become infiltrated by progressive Bishops, back to its first century roots.

Ultimately though, they might not have to.

In recent years, outspoken Catholic voices have risen up calling for a return to orthodox teachings and conservative politics. Former Planned Parenthood director turned conversative Catholic pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, as well as author and Catholic Youtube commentator Dr. Taylor Marshall, have each spoken out against progressive ideology within both the church and state. Individuals such as these are joined by everyday conservative Catholic laypeople urging Christians to remain true to Biblical values and a traditional understanding of gender and sexuality. A perfect example of this is TikTokker Aaron Lange, who regularly posts videos promoting pro-life teachings and warning of the dangers of pornography.

As radical democrats work to dismantle the framework of the American way, it’s likely going to take more than tweets and Tiktoks though to transform America’s religious psyche back to anything that resembles our nation’s Judeo-Christian foundings. Yet to be seen is if the Vatican can keep their own internal radicals from negatively swaying the church long enough for the remaining traditional clergy to effectively denounce the Catholic facade veiling the Biden administration’s anti-God underpinnings.

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