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Christian Related News, Articles, Opinions and Others

Below is a compilation of christian related news, articles, opinions and others for October 2020 - September 2020

News

Articles

Opinions

Article

Christian Girls Become Target for Sex Traffickers

Christian Girls Become Target for Sex Traffickers

Last month, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that more than $100 million in federal grants will go to fighting human trafficking, according to the Associated Press. Task forces, as well as nonprofits helping survivors, will receive the grants to continue their work.

“This is one of the top enforcement priorities of the department and we’re on the forefront of this fight,” said Barr in Atlanta with presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

The announcement came only a few months after the Trump administration awarded the Justice Department with an additional $35 million to provide safe housing for trafficking survivors.

Georgia’s governor and his wife, Marty Kemp, have made the abolition of sex trafficking a priority in their state.

“The governor and the first lady here have been second to none in the nation in taking this fight on and working closely with the federal government and I really appreciate that,” Barr said.

Already, grants have allowed states to hire agents to investigate trafficking claims. Michael Yeager, U.S. Marshal for northern Georgia, praised the work of his fellow agents who recently rescued 26 children and located 13.

“We’re trained to hunt fugitives, so we’ve changed that and parlayed that into now hunting these children,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, officers rescued 35 missing children, according to CBN News.

Floriano Whitwell of the US Marshals Service said he was not aware of child trafficking’s prevalence. Once he became commander of the sex offender investigations branch, his “eyes were opened.”

“In order for us to deploy these resources, it detracts from other mission sets that are equally as important,” he said. “Our leadership is very passionate and supportive of this initiative, and we’re trying to throw as many resources at it as we can, but the reality is, we’re just scratching the surface.”

Christians around the country have noticed the troubling trend and joined the fight. All Things Possible Ministries led by former Army Ranger Jeff Tiegs said his organization locates potential victims to help over-worked officers.

“They need help on the front end identifying the victim. They need that level of probable cause, reasonable suspicion. That’s what we offer law enforcement,” he said. “So we figure out who those girls are who are being sold and potentially who their trafficker is and we push that information to law enforcement to take action. And then they will conduct an operation, a sting and they will offer her a new life, a path to freedom.”

Christian girls in suburbs have also become a target for traffickers.

"To get the girl that comes from a broken, abusive relationship, that didn't stroke his ego,” he said. “But for him to be able to pluck a pretty young woman from a Christian family in the suburbs and turn her out to sell her body for sex through him, to be trafficked, that was an ego boost for him."

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Article

China bans copying of hymns, punishes Christians who print religious materials

China bans copying of hymns, punishes Christians who print religious materials

China has been tightening restrictions on the distribution of religious materials in recent months by threatening fines, the closure of printing shops, or even imprisonment for selling Christian books or allowing customers to photocopy hymns.

Bitter Winter, a publication that monitors religious liberty violations in China, reports that this month, Chinese Communist Party officials in Luoyang, a prefecture-level city in the central province of Henan, searched a local printing house for banned religious materials.

“Any religious content makes the issue political, not religious. Although banners on the streets say people are allowed religious beliefs, the only faith they can practice freely is that in the Communist Party,” a store manager told Bitter Winter.

Because inspections are “too rigorous,” the manager said he refuses to print religious materials.

“They checked my storehouse, scrutinized all records, and even looked at paper sheets on the floor, to see if they have prohibited content,” the manager told Bitter Winter. “If any such content is found, I’ll be fined, or worse, my business will be closed.”

A worker at a second photocopying business in Luoyang revealed that the ban on illegal religious materials applies to the photocopying of hymns. Those who print religious materials face harsh repercussions, including fines, and in some cases, imprisonment.

“I don’t even dare to make copies of two sheets with religious hymns because of strict investigations,” the worker said. “I was told to report anyone who comes to copy religious materials.”

A worker at another shop told Bitter Winter, “If we are not sure if a text is religious, we must keep its copy and report it to authorities.” Unapproved religious publications imported from other countries are labeled as “contraband.”

“The government exerts strict control over mailed goods this year,” a staff member at a courier company in Luoyang said. “Only the mailing of government-approved books is allowed. All books with ‘bad information,’ including religion, are not allowed to be dispatched. If public security authorities discover violations of these regulations, the company will be fined and closed down.”

Last month, Chen Yu, a Christian who operated his online bookstore in Zhejiang province’s Taizhou city, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 200,000 RMB ($29,450) for selling unapproved religious publications.

Police also reportedly launched a nationwide investigation to track down the bookstore’s customers through sale records and confiscate their purchased books.

A house church preacher from Shandong also told Bitter Winter that the police investigated him after discovering that he had purchased religious materials on Taobao.com, a Chinese online shopping website.

“It seems to me that the government can access anything; I feel like I am running naked,” the preacher said.

In April 2018, the Chinese government banned online retailers from selling the Bible. Legally, the Bible can only be distributed by government-approved agencies that supervise the Christian churches in China.

In recent years, religious persecution by China's communist party has intensified. In efforts to bring Christianity under Chinese influence, government officials force believers to follow specific rules and regulations and have imposed further restrictions on unregistered church gatherings.

The CCP has also amped up measures to destroy religious symbols. In the first half of 2020 alone, over 900 crosses were removed from state-run churches across China.

In several provinces across the country, authorities have ordered residents to replace pictures of Jesus with those of Chairman Mao and those of General Secretary Xi Jinping.

This month, it was reported that CCP officials ordered dozens of churches to replace crosses with the five-pointed star, the symbol featured on the country’s flag to represent the CCP and its role in the nation.

China is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.

The communist regime's crackdown on religious freedom has also led the U.S. State Department to label it as a “country of particular concern” for “continuing to engage in particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

In a recent interview with The Christian Post, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said it is “certainly the case that the Chinese Communist Party [engages in] efforts to stamp out religious freedom every place that they find.”

“[The] Chinese Communist Party has a very low threshold for permitting people to practice their own faiths,” he said. “We think that is greatly to the harm of the country, but we know that it is to the detriment of the Chinese people themselves.”

“I would advocate not only for every Christian but every human being to come and understand that nations are better and more successful when they observe the fundamental human rights that are accrued to every human being just by the nature of their humanness.”

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Article

'I Pray for Everyone Grappling with COVID-19': Melania Trump Details Her Experience with COVID-19

'I Pray for Everyone Grappling with COVID-19': Melania Trump Details Her Experience with COVID-19

First Lady Melania Trump is speaking out on her personal experience and recovery from COVID-19 after she and her husband, President Donald Trump, tested positive in early October.

In an official statement, Melania explained that following the diagnosis, she immediately thought of their 14-year-old son, Barron Trump, who initially tested negative. A later test, however, came back positive but he showed no symptoms. Fortunately, the teenage Trump would test negative again.

“In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together” she wrote in the statement. “He has since tested negative.”

Regarding her experience with COVID, the First Lady explained that she had “minimal symptoms” of the disease, including body aches, a cough and headaches, and extreme fatigue.

“They hit me all at once and it seemed to be a roller coaster of symptoms in the days after,” she added.

Trump attributed her recovery to “a more natural route” as she took “vitamins and healthy food.” She also expressed gratitude to the “wonderful caretakers around us” including White House Physician, Dr. Sean Conley and his team.

“As the patient, and the person benefiting from so much medical support, I found myself even more grateful and in awe of caretakers and first responders everywhere. To the medical staff and the residence staff who have been taking care of our family—thank you doesn’t say enough.”

Over the course of her recovery, the first lady explained how she had “a lot of time to reflect” on her family as well as the “hundreds of thousands of people across our country who have been impacted by this illness that infects people with no discrimination.”

“We are in unprecedented times—and with the election fast approaching, it has been easy to get caught up in so much negative energy,” Trump noted.

On the positive side, she thought of the people she met across the nation and the world “and the goodness and compassion that exists if you seek it out.”

“Our country has overcome many hardships and much adversity, and it is my hope COVID-19 will be another obstacle we will be able to tell future generations we overcame—and learned from in the process,” Trump asserted.

She encouraged everyone to “continue to live the healthiest life” possible, such as having a balanced diet and complete well-being.

Like the President, the First Lady announced that she has now tested negative and seeks to return to her duties in the near future.

“Along with this good news, I want people to know that I understand just how fortunate my family is to have received the kind of care that we did. If you are sick, or if you have a loved one who is sick—I am thinking of you and will be thinking of you every day,” Trump said. “I pray for our country and I pray for everyone who is grappling with COVID-19 and any other illnesses or challenges.”

“Thank you to everyone who reached out and offered well wishes and prayers for our family. You remain in ours as well,” she concluded.

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News

Wikipedia bans editors from expressing support for traditional marriage

Wikipedia bans editors from expressing support for traditional marriage

Wikipedia has decided to restrict its editors from expressing opposition to same-sex marriage on its platform ­— a decision that comes months after co-founder Larry Sanger said the site’s neutrality policy was “dead.”

Volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia’s articles can no longer include on their profile page any “userbox” — a badge expressing their beliefs — that is against gay marriage. For example, one such userbox states, “This user believes marriage is between one man and one woman.”

The decision was made after a recent discussion where “predominantly left-wing editors” argued such a stance was “discriminatory” and against site policy, according to Breitbart.

The discussion began after an editor, Adam Cuerden, suggested that just one userbox be deleted, calling it “pretty explicitly homophobic” and citing a site guideline prohibiting “inflammatory or divisive” content in userboxes. Soon, he suggested that other userboxes in favor of traditional marriage should also be deleted.

The move led site administrator “Ad Orientem” to resign, according to The Christian Institute, which noted that the administrator pointed out that the decision was “clearly inconsistent” with the project’s commitment to neutrality and condemned hostile comments about traditional marriage supporters.

They “represent an ugly tendency to condemn the views of others as outside the bounds of acceptable thought, never minding those views are held by the vast majority of people globally and the followers of most of the world’s major religious faiths,” the administrator was quoted as saying.

In May, Wikipedia co-founder Sanger had declared that the site’s “NPOV,” or neutral point of view, “is dead.”

“The original policy long since forgotten, Wikipedia no longer has an effective neutrality policy,” he wrote. “There is a rewritten policy, but it endorses the utterly bankrupt canard that journalists should avoid what they call ‘false balance.’ The notion that we should avoid ‘false balance’ is directly contradictory to the original neutrality policy.”

Referring to the Jesus article on Wikipedia, Sanger said, “It simply asserts, again in its own voice, that ‘the quest for the historical Jesus has yielded major uncertainty on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how closely the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus.’”

He continued, “In another place, the article simply asserts, ‘the gospels are not independent nor consistent records of Jesus’ life.’ A great many Christians would take issue with such statements, which means it is not neutral for that reason—in other words, the very fact that most Christians believe in the historical reliability of the Gospels, and that they are wholly consistent, means that the article is biased if it simply asserts, without attribution or qualification, that this is a matter of ‘major uncertainty.’

“In other respects, the article can be fairly described as a ‘liberal’ academic discussion of Jesus, focusing especially on assorted difficulties and controversies, while failing to explain traditional or orthodox views of those issues. So it might be ‘academic,’ but what it is not is neutral, not in the original sense we defined for Wikipedia.”

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Opinion

Why does Facebook discriminate against gays?

Why does Facebook discriminate against gays?
Why does Facebook treat gays unfairly? Why does it put them in a special class, telling them they must remain gay even if they want to change? Why does Facebook suppress the stories of those who have changed – and are much happier for it – rather than give them the space to choose for themselves?

You might say, “Are you crazy? You have this all wrong. Facebook is standing with the gay community, protecting them from hate speech and exposing ‘conversion therapy’ as dangerous. That’s why Facebook has removed the pages of so-called ‘ex-gay’ organizations.”

Of course, I’m quite aware that Facebook is acting in cooperation with LGBTQ leaders. That’s been an open secret for years.

But there is no question that Facebook is doing a disservice to that very community by censoring the stories of those who once identified as LGBTQ but do so no longer. On what possible grounds should their pages be removed? This is unethical and unfair.

We’re not talking about forcing gays to undergo shock treatment or encouraging parents to send their gay-identified kids to a prison-like, “conversion” camp.

God forbid. Everyone I know in the ex-gay movement would join me in saying, “Never!”

Rather, what we’re talking about is that, “Facebook recently shut down Restored Hope Network’s (RHN) entire page, removing the organization’s presence from the social media platform.”

And what, exactly, is RHN? It is “a coalition of ministries, therapists and pastors who offer Christian help, support and healing for those struggling with unwanted homosexual and transgender desires, actions and identities. They also provide information and support for churches, friends and family members on these difficult topics.”

That’s it. And that’s what Facebook has censored and shut down. Why?

I know the leaders of RHN. I have worked with RHN. And I can vouch for the accuracy of this description.

They help the countless thousands of people who do struggle with same-sex attraction and gender-identity confusion, the people who say, “I really don’t want to be gay (or trans).”

They force nothing on anyone. They use no coercive methods. They simply offer prayer and counseling to those who want help.

Yet Facebook openly discriminates against these individuals, saying in effect, “We will stand in the way of you getting the help that you desire. As for those who have been helped, we will block you from telling your stories.”

I ask again: On what grounds? Based on what Facebook community guidelines?

Johnston explains that, “For years [RHN] has had a presence on Facebook. The ministry shared articles and videos about people walking away from homosexuality and gender confusion. Posts would give details about upcoming conferences and workshops for those caught in conflict between their sexual feelings and their biblical faith.”

Yet Facebook felt the need to remove this page. What an absolute travesty. And what open and overt discrimination against a specific group of people.

As noted by Anne Paulk, the executive director of RHN, in a press release, “Facebook’s actions are a chilling example of viewpoint discrimination.”

She added, “Facebook is deciding they have the authority to silence the stories of those of us whose lives have changed. Their dismissive action – canceling our page as if it never existed, leaving a vague ‘the link may be broken’ message in its place – is shameful. Not even extending us the courtesy of a notification, a chance to offer our side of the very politicized story, is unconscionable.”

And what about RHN’s promotion of “conversion therapy”? Hasn’t that been proven to be destructive, let alone totally unhelpful? Isn’t Facebook simply protecting gays against harm?

The RHN press release sets the record straight, noting, “The removal of the page stems from Facebook’s aggressive efforts to support the bans on so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ The problem: Conversion therapy doesn’t exist.”

As Paulk explains, “It is a deliberately and misleadingly provocative term coined by the LGBTQ activist community that does not describe any type of actual counseling assistance offered to men and women who struggle with same-sex attraction.”

So much for Facebook protecting unsuspecting gays from evil conversion therapy.

This is nothing but smoke and mirrors. This is nothing but Facebook protecting the idea that homosexuality is innate and immutable, that you’re born that way and that the change of any kind is impossible.

That cat has long been out of the bag, as ex-gay and ex-trans testimonies are becoming increasingly common. Yet it is these very testimonies that undermine the entire foundation of LGBTQ activism, namely, that sexual orientation or gender identity is the same as race or ethnicity, thereby making LGBTQ “rights” equal to civil rights. But if people can change, that foundation no longer exists.

To be sure, it’s important that everyone receives equal treatment under the law and that we all seek to work against anti-LGBTQ bullying. It’s also important to recognize that there are millions of gay and trans-identified people who say that they are enjoying their lives and are glad to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. And there is no denying that others have tried to change and failed in the process, adding to their depression and discouragement.

There is also no denying that, right now, there is an 18-year-old girl who feels like a boy trapped in a female body, and she would like nothing more than to be at home in her body as a girl. She doesn’t look forward to the prospect of a mastectomy or sterility or a lifetime of hormones. (See here for an important, related study.) It is cruel for Facebook to shut down the very pages that could offer her real hope.

And there is no denying that, right now, there is a 40-year-old man who has been married for 15 years and has three lovely children with his wife, yet he secretly struggles with same-sex attractions. Facebook discriminates against him when it bans the pages of others like him who found transformation and wholeness. Why take away his hope? Why make it more difficult for him to hear from others who have been changed?

It is one of the great ironies of LGBTQ activism that, in the name of diversity, it suppresses all opposing viewpoints and in the name of tolerance is utterly intolerant. That alone should indicate how flimsy and insecure their ideological foundation actually is.

One of the best ways that you can fight back against this Facebook discrimination is to encourage everyone you know to watch a powerful new documentary that will be released for free viewing on October 20. It is called In His Image, and not only does it offer solid biblical teaching, it shares some very powerful ex-gay and ex-trans stories.

People today could certainly use all the hope they can get. That includes the LGBTQ community.

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Opinion

Ballot initiatives of 2020: abortion, marriage, sex ed

Ballot initiatives of 2020: abortion, marriage, sex ed
Presidential candidates get all the love. Just kidding. “Love,” of course, is the wrong word. What Presidential candidates get is all the attention.

The Presidency matters, of course, and voters should know as much as possible about the character, the party, the policies, and the likely people each candidate will bring to the highest office in the land. At the same time, for almost all of us, this election features incredibly important decisions all the way down the ballot.

For example, Amy Coney Barrett might have a new appreciation for the importance of Senate races. Or, ask Colorado State Troopers if their lives have changed since a particular ballot initiative passed in 2016. Or, ask the parents of Loudon County (VA) school children if school board elections make a difference.

At a time when, as Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse observed in his book Them, our natural appetites for community, belonging, and meaning are increasingly being satiated by politics instead of religion, Americans are voting on a wider spectrum of issues. At the local level, our ballots decides more than just what taxes we pay, what resources schools receive, which roads are fixed, and the size of the police force. Today, our votes determine what behavior is incentivized by the state, what worldview is taught as fact in our schools, and in some places, which laws police will enforce.

More and more, state by state, these decisions are going directly to citizens, to be determined by ballot initiatives. For example, in 2016, after years of failing to legalize doctor-assisted suicide through the Colorado legislature, the issue was put directly before the people and decided on the ballot. More initiatives appear on ballots in Presidential election years because more voters turn out for Presidential elections.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 110 ballot initiatives will be decided by voters across the country in next month’s election. Seventy-six involve making permanent changes to state constitutions.

While some are more technical or procedural measures, a handful have important cultural implications. In Colorado, a “yes” vote on Proposition 115 would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, putting an end to the more than 200 later-term abortions committed here every year. Opponents of Proposition 115 have argued that, at 22 weeks, the preborn are just “11 inches long” and weigh about a pound, as if the size of a human being changes whether or not it should be killed. Voting yes on Colorado Proposition 115 could save lives. My fellow voters, not legislators, will decide.

In Louisiana, voters have an opportunity to amend the state constitution, explicitly declaring there is no legal right to an abortion or for state funding of abortion. Proponents call Amendment 1 the “Love Life Amendment.” Though it would not ban abortion outright, it could lay important legal groundwork for a ban in the future.

In Nevada, a ballot initiative called Question 2 would amend the state’s constitution and explicitly recognize marriage as a contract between any two people regardless of gender. South Dakota voters will decide whether to legalize sports gambling. Utah voters will consider the rather bizarre proposal to make the language of its state constitution “gender-neutral.”

A somewhat confusing ballot measure in Washington State will directly impact the safety and well-being of school children. Back in March, the Washington State Senate voted to mandate comprehensive sex education for all public schoolers, starting in kindergarten, with explicit conversations about sexuality and sexual behavior to start in fourth grade. Supporters said that, since kids are getting sex ed from the internet anyway, they might as well learn it in the classroom. The confusion is that passing Referendum 90 would approve the sex-ed mandate. So, Washington parents and anyone else who thinks 10-year-olds should not be taught a so-called “LGBTQ-inclusive” sex ed curriculum, should vote no on Referendum 90.

As the Washington State issue illustrates, it is essential for voters to learn about the initiatives in their own states and study the wording of each one carefully. For Christians who are American citizens, it is a way by which we can love our neighbors. For Christians who are citizens of Colorado and Louisiana, it is a way to love our preborn neighbors.

Originally posted at breakpoint.org

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Opinion

Understanding Christian martyrdom reveals mystery of cross

Understanding Christian martyrdom reveals mystery of cross
I would like to share some personal experiences that I believe can be of help to many Christians who have not understood how powerful the Old Rugged Bloody Cross is. In my nineteen years in Christ, I had some confusions and doubts that became more complicated as I searched for answers to many questions about Christianity but the revelation of the mystery of the cross answered them all.

I had persistently asked God why He could not protect His servants. I expected God to arise and fight for the Nigerian Christians but He remained silent. I wept profusely when I saw the video of how the chairman of Michika local government area, Adamawa state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Lawan Andimi, was beheaded. His killing discouraged me so much that I wondered if these missionary risks were worth taking for a God who cannot protect His own.

I was bathing in the dysphoria of this killing when the Lord took me into a journey of scriptural insightful voyage that revealed the mystery of the cross to me. I came to know that Lawan Andimi was one of the most privileged Christians whom God has prepared to officiate as king, priest, and judge in the millennium rule (Revelation 20:4). I had no option than to send a posthumous congratulatory message to him for his martyrdom.

My joy knew no bound when I realized that if I die in the course of preaching Christ, I will be qualified to reign as a king, minister as a priest, and officiate as a judge during the one thousand year reign of Christ on this earth when He returns. My fear of being killed disappeared as I now know that to live is Christ and to die is gain.

When the mystery of the cross was revealed to me, all answers to my questions were released along with it. I now understand why God allows certain calamities to befall those who faithfully serve Him. I now know that martyrdom is the greatest privilege any believer can have in Christ. The mystery showed me that there are sufferings that are reserved for genuine believers to augment the affliction of Christ that has not been completed.

"Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church"(Colossians1:24 NIV). Apostle Paul rejoiced because He understood the benefit of supplying in his body, the suffering that was lacking in Christ's affliction. What a privilege to be part of these supplies that will facilitate Christ returns when His affliction is complete. I now understand the role of the cross in the lives of believers and why Christ himself had to pass through the agony of the cross before He could fulfill His ministry on earth.

There is this aspect of Christianity that gave me much concern. Sincerely speaking, there was a time that I concluded that not all the old things pass away if one comes to Christ. In my life, I struggled with some old things that refused to pass away and I wondered sincerely if born again really changes one's life.

It was the revelation of the mystery of the cross that gave me the reason why my life was not reflecting Christ and how the cross is the solution to ungodly characters displayed by some us who have professed Christ. I came to know that confessing Jesus as our Lord and Savior does not change characters. What changes characters is our walk with Christ after we have come to Him. We are to advance our Christian journey by denying ourselves, carrying our cross, and following Christ. When we deny ourselves and our flesh are crucified, the Spirit takes over our lives and the manifestation of the flesh is dealt with.

Believers are supposed to be crucified to the world and the world to us. I have learnt through the mystery of the cross how to die daily. When we choose to follow Christ, what it means is that we have also chosen to crucify our flesh. This choice did not in any way remove the influence of the flesh over our body and the conflict of our flesh with the Spirit of God.

The only antidote to the manifestation of the flesh is daily crucifixion that the cross has provided a platform for us. According to Apostle Paul, there is a daily battle between the flesh and the spirit (Galatians 5:17). It is the power of the cross that enables our spirit to defeat the flesh. Since I know this, old things have passed away and every other thing has become new.

The revelation of the mystery of the cross made me realize that Christianity is beyond presenting my request to God and Him solving my problems. The revelation brought me to recognize that it is my responsibility to embrace the cross and suffer for Christ, His name and His gospel if I must enter into the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

This knowledge prompted me to visit the base of the old rugged bloody cross and picked my customized cross. I kissed it the day I found it and since then I polish it every morning in readiness for the day's journey. I do not know what could give me the joy that my cross gives me every day. I carry it in preparation to die the most shameful death for the sake of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray daily for the grace to have my cross beside me on my dying day so that I can exchange it for a crown when Christ returns.

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Opinion

Standing firm in an age of weaponized information

Standing firm in an age of weaponized information
Conservative candidates for public office must not only run against a human opponent, but also must withstand a massive left-oriented consensus establishment that weaponizes information.

“Those who tell the stories rule society,” said Plato centuries ago.

“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture,” said Allen Ginsberg more recently.

Neil Postman, in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (Penguin Books, 1985), argued that “TV is turning all public life (education, religion, politics, journalism) into entertainment.” The result is that “image is undermining all forms of communication, particularly the written word.”

Further, “our bottomless appetite” for TV is leading to an “information glut” so that “what is truly meaningful is lost and we no longer care what we’ve lost as long as we are being amused,” added Andrew Postman in his introduction to his father’s book.

Neil Postman reflected on Aldous Huxley and his dystopian book Brave New World. According to Postman, Huxley was telling us that “people will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”

The Consensus Establishment eagerly promotes such a culture.

The Bible foresees a time when people are easily led into lies and delusion by the spirit of antichrist. (2 Thessalonians 2) We seem to be living in such an age.

As I have noted in previous columns, the Consensus Establishment consists of five elites: Information, Entertainment, Academic, Political, and Corporate. In my book, Two Men From Babylon: Trump, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Lord of History (Thomas Nelson/Emanate, 2020), I have compared this powerful conglomerate to the Chaldeans of Babylon in Daniel’s day. Under Nebuchadnezzar they defined and enforced Babylonian political correctness.

Today the elites of the Consensus Establishment are in agreement among themselves about how reality works and what we should be influenced and even forced to think and believe.

Woe be to those who are threats to that mighty coalition of elites. To refuse to yield to their consensus is to be “cancelled.”

Political correctness has thus morphed into the “cancel-culture” beast. Rod Dreher has this in mind in his book, Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents. (Sentinel, 2020). There he writes, “I am not at liberty to thank some of those who helped me research this book, because it would put them at risk of retaliation in the workplace... None of these anonymous helpers live in the former Soviet bloc; all are Americans.”

In a review of Dreher’s book in National Review, Daniel Flynn says that “many Americans (already) cannot live out loud... because revealing oneself comes at great expense.”

Dreher believes that we in the West are living already “under decadent, pre-totalitarian conditions” that make our society “vulnerable to the totalitarian temptation to which both Russia and Germany succumbed in the previous century.”

The bottom line: If Biden and Harris win in November, the left that dominates the Consensus Establishment will be in power in the United States for a long time, shaping the consensus through its powerful manipulative tools.

They will be able to perpetuate their worldview across generations, impacting not just the contemporary moment, but history itself.

We are thus living in a seriously dangerous moment. The left warns about an effort by Donald Trump to hold on to the presidency even if he loses the vote. But the American people must also keep a steady watch on the Consensus Establishment that will continue telling the “stories” — forming the accepted narrative and controlling the “images.”

Yet the answer is not for the church to lean more heavily on the right-wing. The passion for profit is as powerful as the progressivist forces that propel the left.

The only way to keep from being swept into these constricting, distorting worldviews is to focus beyond them, to Transcendent Truth.

Perhaps never has it been more important for the church to hold to the highest view of the Bible’s inspiration and authority. The bottom line is that the leftward Consensus Establishment strives to direct our socio-cultural concepts away from scriptural foundations to their own value system and worldview.

The early church in first century Athens had to face elitist philosophers whose beguiling sophistries would have snuffed out “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:1-3) In Rome, the infant church had to minister in a city and empire ruled over by mighty elites eager to take the “cancel” idea to its fullest expression in the Colosseum.

The Bible-based church must hold its ground in this present age. She must distinguish herself from a right-wing consensus that would too eagerly abandon principle for the sake of pragmatism, and a left-wing consensus that has turned from transcendent principle to secular progressivism and idealism.

The road ahead will be hard, and the church and the people who are its “living stones” (1 Peter 2:1-5) must take seriously Paul’s admonition to “stand firm” against the mighty elites and their establishments. (Ephesians 6)

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Yes: The church belongs in politics

Yes: The church belongs in politics
Does politics belong in the church? During this political season we are facing what many Americans believe to be the most important election in the history of this nation. If that’s true, as I believe it is, the question of the Church’s role in the political process is extremely important.

But, some pastors are reticent. They ask, “does politics have a place in the Church?”

My answer would be, “No, politics does not belong in the Church,” but I would quickly add, emphatically, that, “But the Church also belongs in politics!”

Jesus taught us to, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). But he never said that we should give to Caesar the things that belong to God.

When we think about all the unsavory characters in the media, Hollywood, and the bowels of government today, it often seems as if the great truths and moral standards we’ve believed in for so long are suddenly “out of date.” The political left has been telling us for decades that our views are “too narrow.” They say people of faith are a tiny minority, all alone, a minor class of rustics, rubes, and “deplorables,” and our numbers are too small to make much difference in the modern world. Well, I beg to differ.

I think of the Prophet Elijah at a time that may have felt a lot like this one, sitting there under the juniper tree and complaining to God that he was the only faithful man in all of Israel — the only one who had not bowed the knee to the pagan god, Baal. He believed he was the only man in Israel who still respected the ways of God. But then to his surprise God spoke, informing him, “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal” (I Kings 19:18).

Elijah’s complaints were unfounded, and that truth transformed the prophet’s heart and renewed his calling. Our situation is much the same. No matter how besieged we may feel, we are not alone either. God cares, and he has prepared the hearts of millions who can make all the difference if we will listen and respond.

I am convinced we’re on the threshold of saving America from those who want to lead us down a path of destruction. This effort will be brought about by faithful Christians and other like-minded conservatives who have reached an emotional and cultural tipping point. We’ve reached an impasse with today’s so-called elites. So many of the men and women I meet as I travel and speak around the country are fed up with what the liberal media and the woke socialists are trying to do to America.

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COVID-19-related mental health disorders will cause increased suicides, drug overdoses: researchers warn

COVID-19-related mental health disorders will cause increased suicides, drug overdoses: researchers warn

Amid a dramatic increase in suicide over the last two decades, a number of faith leaders have weighed in on whether or not those who commit suicide are condemned to hell.

A second wave of devastation stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic including soaring suicides and drug overdoses is imminent with the declining mental health of communities, medical researchers warn and it is expected to disproportionately impact the poor, older adults, blacks and Hispanics.

The warning came in Mental Health Disorders Related to COVID-19–Related Deaths published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday. The article was authored by NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers: Dr. Naomi M. Simon from the Anxiety and Complicated Grief Program; Dr. Glenn N. Saxe from the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Dr. Charles R. Marmar from the Center for Alcohol Use Disorders and PTSD.

“While nations struggle to manage the initial waves of the death and disruption associated with the pandemic, accumulating evidence indicates another ‘second wave’ is building: rising rates of mental health and substance use disorders,” the doctors wrote. “This imminent mental health surge will bring further challenges for individuals, families, and communities including increased deaths from suicide and drug overdoses. As with the first COVID-19 wave, the mental health wave will disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic individuals, older adults, lower socioeconomic groups of all races and ethnicities, and health care workers.”

The researchers cited a June 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 5,412 U.S. adults which found that 40.9% of respondents reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,” including depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and substance abuse, with rates that were 3 to 4 times the rates just a year earlier.

“Remarkably, 10.7% of respondents reported seriously considering suicide in the last 30 days. The sudden interpersonal loss associated with COVID-19, along with severe social disruption, can easily overwhelm the ways individuals and families cope with bereavement,” they noted.

The NYU academics who also suggested that the more than 215,000 COVID-19-related deaths this year were likely underestimated by 50% due to misclassification, said they were particularly concerned about normal grief and distress developing in major depressive disorder and symptoms of PTSD.

“Prolonged grief disorder is characterized by at least 6 months of intense longing, preoccupation, or both with the deceased, emotional pain, loneliness, difficulty reengaging in life, avoidance, feeling life is meaningless, and increased suicide risk. Once established, these conditions can become chronic with additional comorbidities such as substance use disorders,” Simon and her colleagues wrote.

They noted that COVID-19 deaths impact about 2 million people directly as an estimated nine family members are bereaved when someone dies from the virus.

This increased rise in mental health conditions will require increased funding for mental health to both screen and care for the vulnerable, the doctors argued.

“History has shown that societies recover from such devastation when leaders and members are joined by a shared purpose, acting in a unified way to facilitate recovery. In such societies, there is a shared understanding that its members must care for one another because the loss of one is a loss for all. Above all, this shared understanding must be restored,” the doctors said.

In their latest report on the use of medications to treat three of the most common mental health conditions — depression, anxiety and insomnia — Express Scripts, America’s largest pharmacy benefit management organization, showed how the coronavirus had already been impacting Americans' mental health in April.

Their research showed that the number of prescriptions filled per week for antidepressant, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications increased 21% between Feb. 16 and March 15, peaking the week ending March 15, when the virus was declared a pandemic.

“It’s understandable. Americans have grown increasingly anxious as they’ve seen this global pandemic upend their lives within a very short time," the report said. "This analysis, showing that many Americans are turning to medications for relief, demonstrates the serious impact COVID-19 may be having on our nation’s mental health.”

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Last of 21 Christians martyred by ISIS in Libya finally laid to rest after 5 years

Last of 21 Christians martyred by ISIS in Libya finally laid to rest after 5 years

The remains of a Ghanaian Christian beheaded by the Islamic State terrorist group on a Libyan beach in an execution video in 2015 has finally been laid to rest in Egypt.

Cairo-based journalist Farid Y. Farid reported on Sept. 29 that the body of Matthew Ayariga was finally laid to rest alongside the 20 Coptic Christians who were beheaded beside him on a beach in Sirte, Libya, in a video released by the jihadi death cult in February 2015.

Farid provided a link to an article by Watani Newspaper, an Egyptian weekly newspaper widely read by Coptic Christians. The article reports that the families of the Coptic Christians celebrated the remains of the martyr.

“We collapsed with great joy because the martyr Matthew is dear to us, and he is one of our children because he was martyred with our children and adhered to his Christ,” a mother of two of the martyred Coptic Christians told Watani News. “We thank our master because He succeeded in returning the remains of the martyr so that he would be next to his [brothers] in the church.”

The 21 men were abducted while they were living in Sirte as migrants working there to support their families back home.

Before the execution, the men were filmed kneeling in front of 21 knife-wielding black-masked jihadis on the shore of a beach in Sirte, Libya. Several of the men were seen praying silently.

Their execution video, along with the video executions of other high-profile victims in Iraq and Syria, put the world on notice about how brutally the terrorist group was torturing those it captured.

The video came at the height of the Islamic State’s reign of terror in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Afghanistan.

News of the return of Ayariga’s remains was celebrated by Barnabas Aid, a United Kingdom-based Christian aid agency serving persecuted Christian communities across the world.

In a statement, Barnabas Aid noted that in the 2015 execution video, Ayariga was asked by a terrorist: “Do you reject Christ?” The militant also demanded that he follow Islam. Referring to his brothers in Christ next to him on the beach, Ayariga answered: “Their God is my God.” He was then beheaded.

“The bodies of the 20 Egyptian martyrs were flown to their homeland in May 2018, however, Matthew’s body was unclaimed,” the Barnabas Aid statement explained. “In September 2020, authorities in Libya released Matthew’s remains to Egyptian Christians to be laid to rest alongside the other martyrs.”

The 21 martyrs have been canonized as martyr saints by the Coptic Church and their deaths have not been forgotten by the church’s faithful.

The Minya village of El-Aour, where 13 of the 21 martyrs were from, has become a destination town now for Coptic Christians across the region even though it is a primitive village.

The village is now home to The Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland in El-Aour, the final resting spot for the 21 martyrs. The construction of the church was ordered by Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In February, a new museum was opened in El-Aour honoring those Christians killed by the Islamic State in Sirte. The museum will feature exhibits on the victim’s lives and go into detail as to how they were abducted and executed.

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Archbishop Condemns Priest for Performing a Sex Act on His Church's Altar with Two Women

Archbishop Condemns Priest for Performing a Sex Act on His Church's Altar with Two Women

Friar Travis Clark, a 37-year-old priest of Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River in New Orleans, was removed from his position after filming himself having sex with two dominatrix women on a church altar, The Christian Post reports.

The Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, condemned him in a statement uploaded to YouTube.

In his statement, which also makes mention of another priest, Pat Wattigny, who was removed from his post for a different reason, Aymond describes Clark’s act as “demonic,” stating, "What has happened concerning Pat Wattigny and Travis Clark is unacceptable, it's sinful, and it cannot be tolerated." He also went on to say, "Let me be clear. Both were removed from ministry immediately and will never serve again in Catholic ministry."

Reportedly, Travis Clark, with two sex workers, outfitted the church’s altar with stage lighting in order to record themselves being intimate with one another. While the shooting was happening, a local passerby saw the lights, alerted the police and, upon looking in the window, witnessed the sex act.

According to Nola.com, the two women who performed the sex act with the priest, Mindy Dixon and Melissa Cheng, were both dominatrixes and one was a porn star. Mindy Dixon made a tweet stating she was going to "defile a house of God," Nola reports. All three of them were arrested on obscenity charges because their sex act was clearly visible from a window.

Clark was also the chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, Louisiana. Clark replaced its previous priest, Wattigny, who was also removed for sexually abusing a minor in 2013. Wattigny also violated the archdiocese’s technology policy by exchanging text messages with one of the students at the high school.

According to Aymond, the Archdiocese removed and burned the now desecrated altar. A new altar was consecrated over the weekend.



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Judge cites scripture in rebuke of Mayor Bowser’s worship restrictions

Judge cites scripture in rebuke of Mayor Bowser’s worship restrictions

A federal judge quoted Hebrews 10:25 as he ruled against Mayor Muriel Bowser’s restriction on outdoor church services of more than 100 people, allowing Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., to resume in-person outdoor services.

“It is for the church, not the District or this court, to define for itself the meaning of ‘not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,’” Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, wrote, quoting the New Testament’s Epistle to the Hebrews, according to The Washington Times.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching,” reads the verse.

In late September, the church had filed a complaint in federal court, arguing that the city had violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“For CHBC, a weekly in-person worship gathering of the entire congregation is a religious conviction for which there is no substitute,” the church, led by 9Marks co-founder, Pastor Mark Dever, stated in its complaint. “The Church does not offer virtual worship services, it does not utilize a multi-site model, and it does not offer multiple Sunday morning worship services,” added the church, represented by attorneys at the First Liberty Institute and WilmerHale, LLP.

Issuing a memorandum opinion in the case, the judge wrote: “The Court determines that the Church is likely to succeed in proving that the District’s actions violate RFRA. The District’s current restrictions substantially burden the Church’s exercise of religion. More, the District has failed to offer evidence at this stage showing that it has a compelling interest in preventing the Church from meeting outdoors with appropriate precautions, or that this prohibition is the least-restrictive means to achieve its interest. The Court will therefore grant the Church’s motion for injunctive relief.”

The judge also wrote: “The Church has consistently represented that it will take appropriate precautions such as holding services outdoors, providing for social distancing, and requiring masks. As explained, the District has not put forward sufficient evidence showing that prohibiting a gathering with these precautions is necessary to protect the public.”

Sharing an update on the case, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention quoted its President, Russell Moore, as responding to a Supreme Court decision on California’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic orders: “This pandemic is a perilous time. We need to emerge from it with both our public safety and our First Amendment intact. We can do that, but only if elected officials and the courts take seriously the matters both of public health and of constitutional freedoms.”

The Department of Justice backed CHBC in the case.

The DOJ argued that “the Constitution and federal law require the District of Columbia to accommodate Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s effort to hold worship services outdoors, at least to the same extent the District of Columbia allows other forms of outdoor First Amendment activity, such as peaceful protests.”

“The right to free exercise of religion and the right to protest are both enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a DOJ statement earlier. “We are a nation dedicated to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. The District of Columbia has, unfortunately, neglected these rights. The Justice Department is committed to defending both of these fundamental freedoms and in supporting all Americans' rights to worship as they choose.”

According to the church’s lawsuit, the city was prohibiting worship gatherings of over 100 people or 50% of building capacity (whichever is fewer) “even if held outdoors and even if worshippers wear masks and practice appropriate social distancing.”

In a recent court brief, the church filed a photo showing Bowser standing without a mask amid a tightly packed crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in June.

Justin Sok, a pastor at CHBC, stressed earlier: “A church is not a building that can be opened and closed. A church is not an event to be watched. A church is a community that gathers regularly and that community should be treated fairly by the District government.”

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Gambia’s New Sharia-Friendly Constitution Fails. But Christians Are Still Concerned.

Gambia’s New Sharia-Friendly Constitution Fails. But Christians Are Still Concerned.

Though pleased with the draft’s overall democratic reforms, leaders are frustrated that “Christian rights do not matter” in the West African nation.

Instead, the English-speaking, sliver-shaped West African river nation—known for Muslim-Christian coexistence—will return to the 1997 constitution instituted by former dictator Yahya Jammeh and amended by him more than 50 times to entrench his power.

One year before being deposed in 2016 by popular protests, Jammeh declared Gambia to be an Islamic state.

The new draft constitution would have imposed term limits on the president, guaranteed religious freedom, and forbidden any future declaration of a state religion.

Muslims make up more than 9 in 10 Gambians, totaling 2 million. Lamin Sanneh, the Muslim-born Gambian theologian who died last year, praised his nation’s participation in a tradition of “pacifist Islam.”

Yet many of the nation’s Christians, who comprise only about 5 percent of the population, still feel like they dodged a bullet.

“Truly important positive changes were made in this [draft] constitution,” said Begay Jabang, a member of the Gambia Christian Council (GCC) campaign team, naming the separation of powers and the strengthening of the legislature. “This would have been a significant step forward given the history of our nation.

“But at the same time,” she said, “provisions were introduced in the judiciary that would have changed the face of our nation, moving it down the path of an Islamic state as Jammeh did before.”

The official GCC statement outlined the changes in detail, and was blunt in its assessment.

“The deafening silence of [political leaders] to the concerns we have repeatedly raised,” it stated, “has been read as a message that ‘CHRISTIAN RIGHTS DO NOT MATTER [sic].’”

Current head of state Adama Barrow was elected as an interim president as a consensus choice between the coalitions that deposed Jammeh, and he pledged to serve no more than a three-year term.

In 2017, the National Assembly created the 11-member Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), and over the three years that followed conducted 106 meetings throughout the country.

The government also conducted an extensive transitional justice process, where Muslims and Christians alike testified to human rights abuses.

Christians lamented specifically the Islamic turn under Jammeh’s administration.

Their cemetery in the capital of Banjul was threatened with closure. The veil was made mandatory, even in Christian schools. Arabic inscriptions were written on public institutions. Mosques were constructed within government buildings. And some official figures—including the former president—publicly disparaged the Christian religion.

You make a difference
But despite his promise, Barrow reneged and declared himself a candidate for president in upcoming elections. And lawmakers from his party and allied coalitions voted against the new constitutional draft, ensuring it did not reach the required threshold of 75 percent. Not only did the draft place term limits on the presidency, it retroactively counted Barrow’s now four years in office.

Scheduled for referendum in 2021, the new constitution would likely have passed. According to AfroBarometer, 87 percent of Gambians agreed with term limits, and 86 percent favored legislative approval of cabinet appointments.

But concerning to many Christians were religious modifications that may have run against the grain of widespread political support.

Asked to choose whether they preferred their nation be primarily governed by religious or civil law, 60 percent of Gambians signaled “strong” support for civil law, and 70 percent overall.

But in the draft constitution, historic Muslim family law courts were renamed “sharia courts” and given jurisdiction over Christians in interfaith marriages and families. They were also established at a Supreme Court level, parallel with the common law system.

Christians also noticed that the constitution did not “entrench” the secular nature of the legal system. While in the current text, sharia courts would be limited to family law, they could be amended in the future to include penal and financial application.

Altogether, they counted the word sharia 44 times in the draft.

In contrast, the word secular was removed altogether.

“I want Gambia to live in peace, which is a religious peace,” said Omar Jah, the Gambian pro-vice chancellor of the Islamic University of Technology in Dakka, Bangladesh. “[Peace] was natural, and we developed it in the absence of the word secular.”

Jah, who previously served 14 years in the University of Gambia, was a member of Concerned Citizens, a group that advocated keeping the term secular out of the draft constitution. It was one of Jammeh’s illegal amendments—prior to his Islamic state turn—and to them represented a foreign secular agenda meant to transform Gambia’s traditional religious nature.

Christians agreed it was an illegal insertion. But the CRC’s initial mandate was to “safeguard and promote Gambia’s continued existence as a secular state.”

After initial protests, and the intervention of Thomas Schirrmacher, the World Evangelical Alliance general secretary for interfaith religious freedom, the GCC decided to focus on the content of “secular,” rather than the term itself.

Gambia is in the middle of two global agendas, secular and Islamic, said the German theologian. For the former, his foreign minister pressured politicians to tie German aid to Gambia on its support for same-sex marriage.

Schirrmacher’s visit was providential. He arrived in Gambia on the last flight to leave Germany before COVID-19 restrictions shut the airports.

“We convinced them they will not win if they insist on secular and no sharia,” said the WEA leader, whose connections to Gambia trace back to childhood when his parents supervised missionary outreach.

“If they drop this, they can win the moderate Muslims.”

Convinced, the GCC entered into partnership with leading Muslim figures in Gambia, providing a joint statement to the review commission in March. They suggested alternative wording for the concept of “secular,” and clarification on the version of “sharia.”

This led to the joint creation of their interfaith platform “Sunu Reew,” which means “Our Country” in Wolof, the national language.

Up until the last minute, they petitioned the CRC, Barrow, government officials, and the National Assembly to take up their concerns. Muslims also wanted to retain the freedom to access the civil courts for personal status, if they so desired.

Some consideration was given, but the expanded sharia language remained.

“Where are we headed as a country, when one particular religion is being entrenched in the constitution, dividing rather than uniting us?” said Lawrence Gomez, the Gambian associate regional secretary for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students.

“But God, in his way, paused the process to allow us as a nation to reflect on this national document, from our conscience and not our fear.”

And now, after three years and $2.2 million, Gambia returns to square one.

Disappointed religiously, Jah is glad that at least the term secular is now off the table.

Disappointed politically, Gomez is glad that at least the Muslim-Christian issues are now being discussed.

Jabang is glad that this failed experiment has finally brought everything together: Muslims and Christians, religion and politics. Each has stayed in its separate world for too long, she said.

In it for the long haul. Let’s rebuild together.
Politicians are divided about what to do next. Suggestions include piecemeal amendment of Jammeh’s constitution, another effort at rewriting, and reviving this draft effort before parliament.

The GCC has recommended that the government form a team of “competent, objective, unbiased professionals” to resolve disputed passages.

The European Union, meanwhile, urged Gambia to form a “new social contract” with a “new constitution at its core” before the 2021 presidential elections. Calling the vote a “setback,” the bloc urged completing the reforms necessary to entrench democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

The EU made no mention of sharia, but did emphasize “national consensus.”

So with their nation in political limbo amid both domestic and international pressure, Gambian Christians remain concerned.

“We should all take a pause, think deeply, and come back to the table of dialogue,” said Jabang, “in order to find a win-win solution for our people.”

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'Christianity Doesn’t Belong in China': Communist Officials Demand Churches Replace Crosses with Nation's Five-Pointed Star

'Christianity Doesn’t Belong in China': Communist Officials Demand Churches Replace Crosses with Nation's Five-Pointed Star
Persecution of Christians in China by the Chinese Communist Party has continued to rage on, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Local officials have removed crosses from the rooftops of hundreds of churches, religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter reports.

In August, Two Chinese Christian Councils in a county managed by the prefecture-level city of Jiujiang in Jiangxi Province ordered over 70 affiliated churches to replace all cross symbols from their official seals with China’s five-pointed star.

According to Britannica, the Chinese flag and national emblem features one large star surrounded by four small stars, which represents the CCP as the guiding force of the nation.

Additionally, the star is used in all other state-run institutions.

In early September, Jiujiang’s Religious Affairs Bureau ordered official churches to remove Chinese characters for “Christianity” from church seals.

“All official churches were ordered to replace their seals so that believers accept the Party as the main leader and follow only it,” a Three-Self Church venue director from Jiujiang said.

Another Three-Self venue director explained how the cross was inscribed on its church seals as “the symbol of our faith,” but “the government replaced it with the five-pointed star to show its power.”

The latest directives were made on the churches to follow through with President Xi Jinping’s Christianity Sinicization policy.

Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors USA describes Sinicization as the CCP’s means to conform “every religious ideology in the country—meaning, to make beliefs, including Christianity, fall in line with their interpretation of Communism.”

Bitter Winter reports that “numerous state-approved Three-Self Church venues” had crosses toppled from its rooftops along with the removal of other religious slogans and symbols.

“Crosses must be removed from all churches because Christianity does not belong in China,” one town official told onlookers as the demolition took place.

China is currently ranked as number 23 on Open Doors USA’s list of countries where it is the most difficult for Christians to live.

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Trump Says Catching COVID-19 was a 'Blessing from God'

Trump Says Catching COVID-19 was a 'Blessing from God'
On Wednesday, President Trump imparted his experience to COVID-19 noticing that at last coming down with the infection was “a blessing in disguise” since it uncovered what he guarantees is an incredibly successful treatment alternative.

“For me, I walked in, I didn’t feel good, a short 24-hours later; I was feeling great — I wanted to get out of the hospital. And that’s what I want for everybody,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter. “I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great. I feel, like, perfect.”

“I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it,” Trump declared. “This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said, ‘let me take it’ … and it was incredible the way it worked,” he included.

President Trump at that point shared that he is requiring the crisis approval of one specific test drug, Regeneron – which was an aspect of a mixed drink of exploratory medications used to treat him – to be delivered "soon" and for nothing to the American public in front of the antibody. Trump says he foresees an immunization being delivered after the Presidential political race.

"So, hopefully this is going to be not just a therapeutic, it’s going to be much more than a therapeutic. You’re going to get better, you’re going to get better fast just like I did. So, again, a blessing in disguise. Good luck," he closed.

On Wednesday, a report on the President's condition was given by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in an announcement by Trump's doctor, Dr. Sean Conley.

“His physical exam and vital signs, including oxygen saturation and respiratory rate, all remain stable in normal rage,” Conley stated. “He’s now been fever-free for more than 4 days for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization.”

President Trump and Democratic Presidential chosen one Joe Biden were initially scheduled to meet face to face for the second official debate on Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida, in a city center style design.

Yet, The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) declared on Thursday that the Oct. 15 debate will be made virtual “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.”

As opposed to bantering face to face, the two competitors will share “from separate remote locations.”

"The town meeting members and the mediator, Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer and Political Editor, C-SPAN Networks, will be situated at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida," the CPD included.

In a Fox Business meet on Thursday morning, nonetheless, Trump said that he will avoid the debate considering its virtual reformat.

"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," he told have Maria Bartiromo. “I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate.”

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Armenians Fight to Hold Ancient Homeland Within Azerbaijan
Is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict a Christian-Muslim conflict, or simply politics?

Armenians Fight to Hold Ancient Homeland Within Azerbaijan
Fierce fighting has broken out in the Caucasus Mountains between the Caspian and Black Seas, pitting Christian Armenians versus Muslim Azeris.

But is it right to employ their religious labels?

"Early Sunday morning [Sept. 27], I got a call from our delegate in the capital city [Stepanakert]," said Harout Nercessian, the Armenia agent for the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA).

"He said they are besieging Stepanakert. It is a war."

One week later, the battling proceeds. In question is command over the Armenian-dominant part enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to 170,000 individuals in a Delaware-sized precipitous locale inside Azerbaijan.

Over 200 people have reportedly died, however Azerbaijan has not released its number of casualties.

Administered by ethnic Armenians since the time a truce was proclaimed in 1994, local people consider the area the Republic of Artsakh. Military encounters have not been surprising. There have been over 300 occurrences since 2015, according to the International Crisis Group.

This escalation is the most serious since 2016, with Azerbaijani powers assaulting numerous positions along the 120-mile "line of contact."

In any case, the shelling of civilian areas speaks to a troubling turn of events.

As does the part of Turkey—and the Syrian assailants it supposedly enrolled—which has swore full help for Azerbaijan.

Russia, France, and the United States—accomplices in the "Minsk Group" that has directed arrangements between the two countries since 1992—have called for a prompt truce.

Yet, Turkey has supported Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev's refusal, making a truce conditional on a complete withdrawal of all Armenian powers so as to reestablish the Caspian country's territorial integrity.

Muddling matters further has been the contested sending of Syrian militants. Denied by Azerbaijan and Turkey, a few news sources have revealed their enrollment from Turkish-held territories, and their organization—even passings—along the line of contact.

This legitimizes Armenian endeavors to purge Azerbaijan of "fear based oppressors," said a Nagorno-Karabakh official, even external the contested area.

Turkey's contribution has stirred the most noticeably terrible feelings of trepidation—or perhaps rhetoric—among Armenians.

"The Turkish state, which keeps on denying the past," said Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, "is once again venturing down a genocidal path."

The rhetoric of Turkish President Recep Erdogan doesn't help. He marked Armenia “the biggest threat to peace” in the region. Previously, he has called Armenians and other Christians in Turkey “leftovers of the sword,” alluding to the individuals who endure the massacre—a term he dismisses.

Azerbaijanis, majority Shiite Muslim by religion, are the world's second-biggest Turkic ethnic group after the majority Sunni Turks in Turkey. The groups describe their relationship as "two states, one country."

The most recent escalation has Armenians anxious.

"We comprehend this is an existential issue, not only a war," said Hovhannes Hovsepian, minister of the Evangelical Church of Armenia in Yerevan, Armenia's capital.

"We never really heighten the situation, or take the land of our neighbours. We are for peace—however now and again you need to battle for it."

The conflict goes back over 30 years—or maybe 100.

As per global agreement, Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani region. UN goals have approached all "possessing powers" to pull back.

In 1987, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh appealed to the USSR to add the district to the Armenian Soviet Republic. While solidifying the Caucasus during the 1920s, Stalin set it under Azerbaijani control, pacifying Turkey.

Both when freedom in 1991, Armenians and Azeris occupied with segment fights. More than 30,000 individuals were slaughtered, and 1,000,000 displaced. The two countries traded around 250,000 individuals as minority bunches were removed or fled to their ethnic-and strict greater part countries.

A large number of minority Azeris left Nagorno-Karabakh. Its Armenian populace announced autonomy in 1992, while Armenia possesses the land in the middle of to connect with its own domain.

“All wars have an evil side,” said Paul Haidostian, president of the evangelical Armenian Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon.

"Yet, profoundly, as significant as lawful limits are for the world request, they are just a single norm. Self-assurance, respect, and the 1,700-year Christian declaration of a land are likewise significant."

In formerly Armenian-held land, Azerbaijan has decimated 6th century khachkars, resplendently cut tombstones from a Christian cemetery, as indicated by reports. Muslim social legacy was additionally obliterated in the contention, however a few mosques were questionably revamped by Armenians.

In spite of the fact that Azerbaijan denies the khachkar decimation, Haidostian fears likewise for the legacy of old chapels and religious communities in Nagorno-Karabakh—and even a slaughter, if Azeris recover control.

In the interim, he said the Armenian diaspora in the Levant is united in help—and support.

“Armenians feel this is a continuation of the annihilating policies of pan-Turkism,” Haidostian said.

"Each inch is to be secured."

However, the cover of religion, identity, and legislative issues makes some awkward.

"The Armenians have learned they get Western help by making this conflict about Christians and Muslims," said Johnnie Moore, an individual from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom who has actually gone habitually to Azerbaijan with a Jewish rabbi.

"Armenia is aligned with Russia and Iran. This isn't as basic as individuals are making it."

Moore, leader of the Congress of Christian Leaders, said he has stressed with his nearby contacts the requirement for a quick truce and negotiated settlement before the circumstance spirals out of control.

However, he likewise applauded Azerbaijan as a model for peaceful coexistence between religions. Its minority Sunni Muslims, who make 15 percent out of the number of inhabitants in 10 million, cooperate with the majority Shiites, while Christians number 3 percent of the populace. Meanwhile, 12,000 Jews continue with their community's long presence there.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan speaks to the essential link for trade and energy among Europe and Asia, Moore stated, bypassing Russia and Iran. A short military erupt this late spring occurred not along the "line of contact," yet 190 miles away in Armenia's north, closest the oil and gas pipelines.

A few experts state that Russia—which offers weapons to the two sides—is permitting this escalation to linger so as to pressure Armenia's liberalizing government. Others state Turkey is playing in Russia's patio, as a message to Moscow to yield in Syria.

Azerbaijan, meanwhile, has seen its territorial force develop since submitting to the 1994 Minsk Group settlement that left Armenians in charge of Nagorno-Karabakh. Its oil and gas incomes prompted a 20-fold increment in military spending somewhere in the range of 2004 and 2014, which is two times Armenia's entire state budget.

Azerbaijan, meanwhile, has seen its territorial force develop since submitting to the 1994 Minsk Group settlement that left Armenians in charge of Nagorno-Karabakh. Its oil and gas incomes prompted a 20-fold increment in military spending somewhere in the range of 2004 and 2014, which is two times Armenia's entire state budget.

Many of the Shiite nation’s weapons are imported from Israel, including the “kamikaze” drones that have brought high-tech warfare to the conflict. Armenia has withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest.

Amid the complicated geopolitical realities, should evangelicals simply support the Christians?

“Absolutely,” said Nercessian.

The pipeline is a minor issue, he said. Armenia must be allied with Russia as it is the regional power broker. And in the early 1990s, with borders closed by Christian Georgia and Sunni Turkey, it was Shiite Iran that supplied Armenia with needed fuel.

“Politics is about national interests and calculations, not moral or spiritual principles,” he said.

“But if the church in America will not support the Christian nation, however nominal, who will they support?”

No one, said Moore. As this is a conflict over land—not religion—it is best to stay neutral and urge both sides to negotiate.

Azerbaijan is willing, he believes.

“Christians shouldn’t instinctually support Armenia just because it is a majority-Christian country,” he said. Doing so could strengthen Iran, while Azerbaijan is allied with Israel.

“This conflict needs to be turned down, and not given oxygen by religious passions.”

There is much of that in Lebanon, with its sizable Armenian minority, said Martin Accad, chief academic officer at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut. His social media has been flooded with statements of support.

Accad said he has not studied the issue sufficiently to weigh between the two nations, though he notes with concern the Syrian militants reportedly developed by Turkey.

But he advises a different measure of judgment.

“We are called to support the just cause, not a common religious or cultural belonging,” he said. “Otherwise it is just tribal sectarianism.

“Still, I can only imagine the psychological impact upon Armenians, given their history [of genocide] a century ago.”

Armenia was the first nation to accept Christianity, in A.D. 301. While only 1 percent evangelical today, 93 percent of its population of 3 million belong to the Armenian Orthodox Church.

The AMAA, established in 1918 to assist genocide survivors in the Ottoman Empire, today operates in 24 countries. Its largest missionary outreach is in Armenia, where it began work following a 1988 earthquake that killed 60,000 people.

But the evangelical movement began far earlier, when an 1860s revival spread through Anatolia to reach even into the Nagorno-Karabakh mountains. Today the region has one Armenian Evangelical church and three Christian education centers, with 22 churches in Armenia proper.

“Our main mission is to reach the people and spread the gospel,” Hovsepian said. His church in Yerevan serves over 200 families.

Relations of late are good with the Orthodox “mother church,” with whom they cooperate in the Bible Society. But while the nation has experienced some revival along with a renewed focus on Christian education, there is still a lack of emphasis on the Scriptures.

So while the younger Hovsepian waits for a phone call drafting him into the army, Nercessian scrambles to answer the phone calls reaching out for assistance. Whether a political or a religious conflict, it is hitting a Christian nation.

“We are a small enclave of spiritual light in a dark region,” said the AMAA missionary. “We were there, we are there, and we will be there still.”

Culled from https://www.christianitytoday.com/...

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'Thankful to God' – The Bible Gets Translated into Its 700th Language

'Thankful to God' – The Bible Gets Translated into Its 700th Language
The number of full Bible translations hit 700 as of late, albeit because of the speed at which interpretations have been delivered, nobody is certain which one was the first to arrive at the imprint.

Wycliffe Bible Translations and the American Bible Society both praised the news, saying it's a significant achievement in propelling the gospel. The 700 all out includes total Bibles with each of the 66 books deciphered. Fractional interpretations, (for example, New Testaments) are excluded.

James Poole, chief overseer of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said the achievement "speaks to the huge work that Bible interpreters are doing over the world."

"Each time we know about the Bible being converted into another dialect, we realize that implies that unexpectedly the individuals in that language gathering can completely get to the total image of God's story," Poole said. "It's acceptable to make a stride back and acknowledge what this 700th Bible methods: 5.7 billion individuals who communicate in 700 dialects currently have the Bible in the language that addresses them best. That is a striking figure and keeps on developing."

Wycliffe said it's "incomprehensible" to know which one was the 700th in light of the fact that there were "a few dispatches of physical Bibles" and "a few being made accessible on the web and by means of applications, all at about a similar time."

An American Bible Society blog cited information saying the quantity of dialects with the full Bible has multiplied in the previous 30 years, from 351 of every 1990 to 700 out of 2020.

Book of scriptures interpretation has quickened in the previous scarcely any a long time because of "propels in interpretation innovation" and a "remarkable degree of association among Bible interpretation offices," the American Bible Society said.

"We are thankful to God, our service accomplices, and the money related accomplices whose liberality makes this Kingdom work conceivable," American Bible Society CEO Robert Briggs said.

Wycliffe recorded three late Bible interpretations that might have been the 700th interpretation:

the Huichol (Wixáritari) Bible, which is utilized by an indigenous people of Mexico.

the Ellomwe Bible, which is perused by a society in Malawi and Mozambique.

the Igede Bible, which is utilized by a Nigerian ethnic gathering.

Notwithstanding the achievement, about 1.5 billion individuals – or one of every five individuals on the planet – still don't have a Bible in their language, Wycliffe said.

"That is a treachery that Bible interpretation groups overall keep on attempting to put right," Poole said.

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Southern Baptists call racial oppression 'scheme of the devil' after Trump's 'stand back and stand by' remark

Soutthern Baptists call racial oppression 'scheme of the devil' after Trump's 'stand back and stand by' remark
Senior officials of the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed the section's disavowal of racial oppression as a "plan of the demon" Wednesday after a questionable call by President Donald Trump to far-right activists to "remain back and hold on" during the presidential discussion on Tuesday.

"When requested to denounce racial domination, each and every one of us ought to be prepared to do as such. Prejudice is, tragically, not terminated, and we know from our Southern Baptist history the impacts of the horrendous sins of bigotry and disdain," SBC President J.D. Greear said on Twitter Wednesday evening.

"We impugn and renounce racial oppression and each type of racial and ethnic scorn as a plan of the villain proposed to carry enduring and division to our general public. We re-insist what Southern Baptists said to this in 2017."

I beg White Evangelical pioneers to make it clear today(even in the event that you intend to decide in favor of President Trump), if you don't mind clarify that you revile White Supremacy and your help for Trump in no shrewd associated with his reluctance to upbraid White Supremacy. Kindly my brethren!

— Dwight McKissic (@pastordmack) September 30, 2020.

Notwithstanding Greear, the announcement was likewise supported by SBC senior officials: Marshal Ausberry, first VP and leader of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC; Noe Garcia, second VP; Ronnie Floyd, leader of the SBC's chief advisory group; John Yeats, chief head of the Missouri Baptist Convention; and Alabama Baptist Kathy Litton, overseer of grower mate improvement at the North American Mission Board.

The SBC proclamation came as conspicuous dark Christian pioneers responded unequivocally to the president's inability to unmistakably criticize the activists during his first presidential discussion with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and asked evangelicals to make some noise.

During Tuesday's discussion, arbitrator and "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace inquired as to whether he was "willing this evening to denounce racial oppressors and state army gatherings and to state that they have to remain down and not add to the brutality in some of these urban communities as we saw in Kenosha and we've found in Portland?"

Trump said "sure" he was "ready to do that," yet noticed that "nearly all that I see is from the left-wing."

Biden at that point referenced the Proud Boys, a far-right gathering drove by Enrique Tarrio who's half dark and half Cuban, while Wallace said racial oppressors.

E. Dewey Smith Jr., chief minister of The House of Hope Atlanta (Greater Travelers Rest) church in Decatur, Georgia, was one of the main unmistakable dark Christian pioneers to respond when he begged evangelicals on Twitter Tuesday night to "state something."

Hours after the fact, on Wednesday morning, noticeable dark SBC Pastor Dwight McKissic repeated Smith's call.

"I beg White Evangelical pioneers to make it clear today(even in the event that you intend to decide in favor of President Trump), if you don't mind clarify that you condemn White Supremacy and your help for Trump in no astute associated with his reluctance to revile White Supremacy. If you don't mind my brethren!" he composed.

Kyle Howard, a minister, scholar and Christian advocate, noted on Twitter: "You all have definitely no clue about what it seems like to watch your leader advise racial oppressors to 'remain back and hold on.' Y'all have no clue about how startling that is, particularly in this time."

The Rev. Mika Edmondson, planting and lead minister of Christ Presbyterian Church in more noteworthy Nashville, said the president's inability to "plainly decry racial domination" during the discussion made his family "less protected."

"Anyway you feel about the President, his strategies, and his aims, his firm refusal to obviously revile racial oppression is profoundly upsetting. His words the previous evening made my family and numerous others less sheltered today," he noted on Twitter.

In his examination of the discussion, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler called the president's reaction to the inquiry on racial oppression his "least second" during the discussion and said it was a "bombed opportunity."

"The least second for the officeholder president, Donald Trump, was the point at which he didn't offer a reasonable response when it went to the danger from the political right, from racial oppressors and others in the United States. When called to censure them, the President didn't actually not answer the inquiry, yet he addressed the inquiry so that it was not quite certain or exhaustive. I would score that as a bombed chance," Mohler noted on his digital broadcast, The Briefing.

In his first remark on the discussion Wednesday, Trump said he knew nothing about the Proud Boys.

Trump has upbraided the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and racial oppressors on a few past events, remembering for 2017, after a self-recognized racial oppressor drove his vehicle into counter-dissenters, murdering one and harming others, at a Unite the Right convention in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Woman beheaded in India for refusing to convert to Islam after marriage

Woman beheaded in India for refusing to convert to Islam after marriage
A Muslim man in northern India beheaded his Hindu wife one-and-a-half months after their marriage because she refused to convert to Islam, a local newspaper reported.

Police this week found the beheaded body of the 23-year-old victim, identified as Priya Soni, in a forest area near Preet Nagar area of Sonbhadra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, according to The Tribune.

The suspect, Soni’s husband who was identified as Ejaz Ahmed, and his friend, identified only as Shoaib, have been arrested. Police said they recovered the mobile phone of the victim, a knife and an iron rod from the suspects.

The district’s police chief, Ashish Srivastava, was quoted as saying that officers used social media to identify the woman’s body. Her father, Laxminarayan, identified her from her shoes and clothes.

Priya married Ahmed against the wishes of the family and was being pressured to convert to Islam, police said, adding that they were considering charging the accused under the stringent National Security Act.

While religion is a sensitive issue in India, such incidents are rare in the country, where Hindus constitute about 80% of the population of more than 1.3 billion people. India also has the world’s third-largest Muslim population — after Indonesia and Pakistan.

The Uttar Pradesh state and the federal government are both governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which, critics say, persecutes the minority communities of Muslims and Christians.

In a seemingly targeted spate of violence in February, at least 53 people, mostly from the Muslim minority, were killed in northeast Delhi. The violence came after months of protests in several Indian cities against a recent controversial citizenship law that excluded Muslims.

In July, a 25-year-old woman, Suman Munda, who had recently converted to Christianity, was brutally murdered in the eastern state of Jharkhand by four youths associated with a Hindu nationalist group, marking the fifth religiously motivated killing of a Christian in the country in less than two months.

A local pastor told the U.S.-based Christian persecution watchdog International Christian Concern that Munda converted to Christianity six years earlier. After learning of her conversion, Hindu nationalists started harassing her. When relatives visited Munda’s house they could not find her, they later discovered her body at a deserted place near her home.

“I suspect that it is the handiwork of a Hindu fanatic group. Christians here have been facing a serious threat from it. The fanatic group is asking us to go back to Hinduism. We are scared and our people are shattered,” Bishop Binay Kandulna of Khunti told UCA News at the time.

According to the bipartisan U.S. government advisory body, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the religious intolerance and violence in India rose with the growth of Hindu nationalism under the Bharatiya Janata Party government.

Muslims and Christians have had cordial relations in India.

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Trump vows to sign executive order protecting all babies born alive, including survivors of abortion

Trump vows to sign executive order protecting all babies born alive, including survivors of abortion
President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to sign an executive order to protect all babies born alive, including those who survive abortion.

In a pre-recorded address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, the president said protecting life "is our sacrosanct moral duty."

"Today, I am announcing that I will be signing the born alive executive order to ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve. This is our sacrosanct moral duty," said Trump.

The president also noted that his administration is increasing federal funding for neonatal research “to ensure that every child has the very best chance to thrive and to grow.”

Further details on the executive order were not available from the White House as of Thursday morning but the announcement quickly drew praise from members of the pro-life community.

“President Trump’s executive order protects the youngest of patients and ensures that their right to life is defended to the greatest extent of the law,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said in a statement to The Christian Post. “We thank President Trump for his dedication to the right to life and for working to protect all innocent human life. He is a champion for the most vulnerable among us and committed to guarding the right to life of all babies—born and unborn.”

“We hope this campaign will help bring this grave violation of rights to light and increase the correct implementation of Indian law, which prohibits sex-selective abortion.”

In his comments prefacing the announcement Wednesday, President Trump took the time to highlight the valuable contribution of Catholics and “all people of faith” to American society.

“I grew up next to a Catholic church in Queens, New York, and I saw how much incredible work the Catholic Church did for our community. These are amazing people. These are great, great people. Catholic schools give many underserved children the chance to reach their God-given potential. Catholics of all backgrounds share the love of Christ with the most vulnerable as they care for the elderly, the homeless and neighbors in need,” Trump said.

“Our nation is strong because of Catholics and all people of faith. We believe in the joy of family, the blessing of freedom and the dignity of work and the eternal truth that every child born and unborn, is made the holy image of God. I will always protect the vital role of religion and prayer in American society and I will always defend the sacred right to life,” the president added.

Leonard Leo, president of the NCPB board of directors who introduced Trump before his speech, praised him as a champion of the Church’s values.

“There is a longstanding tradition of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast to invite and host presidents of the United States who embrace the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life. President Donald Trump has fiercely defended the culture of life in this way more than any other president in my own lifetime,” Leo said.

“He’s done so much more to embraces policies that reflect the morals, teachings and objective of our faith. He has breathed new life into the First Amendment’s guarantees of religious liberty by protecting the conscience rights of healthcare professionals, ending discrimination against believers of all backgrounds when it comes to education, and fighting back against the movement to remove religious symbols from public spaces.

“President Trump has recognized the principle of equal opportunity and justice by pressing for educational choice and reform that would benefit the least fortunate in our society. And through his efforts at judicial selection, President Trump has helped secured human dignity by appointing jurists who bolster the rule of law by enforcing constitutional limits on the power of the state,” he said.

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast was established in 2004 in response to Saint John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization. Each year, over 1,500 people gather in Washington, D.C., for the nonpartisan event to pray for the nation.

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Facebook pulls political ad blasting Biden, Democrats’ support for allowing boys in girls-only sports

Facebook pulls political ad blasting Biden, Democrats’ support for allowing boys in girls-only sports

A conservative group has accused Facebook of censorship after the tech giant removed one of its political ads that's critical of Democratic politicians who support allowing boys who identify as transgender to compete in girls-only sports.

Facebook claims the ad, produced by the American Principles Project, a socially conservative think tank, was pulled for “missing context."

As part of a $4 million ad campaign targeting the swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin ahead of the November election, American Principles Project created three ads, one of which is titled “Not Fair” that slams Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., over their support for the so-called Equality Act, which passed the Democrat-controlled House and would allow biological males who identify as female to compete in girls'-only athletics.

“All female athletes want is a fair shot at competition, at a scholarship, at a title, at victory,” the ad says. “But what if that shot was taken by a competitor who claims to be a girl but was born a boy? Senator Gary Peters and Joe Biden support legislation that would destroy girls' sports."

The ad describes the Equality Act as “not fair” before labeling Biden and Peters as “too extreme for Michigan.”

First broadcast on Sept. 3, the ad was flagged by Facebook on Tuesday after PolitiFact subjected it to a "fact check." Facebook subsequently took action by removing the ad from its platform on Wednesday.

PolitiFact's article mostly cited sources that support or advocate for trans-identified athletes to compete in girls'-only sports. While PolitiFact featured commentary from several proponents of the Equality Act who attempted to debunk the premise of the 38-second ad, it also showed that the ad is correct, noting that both Biden and Peters support the bill's prohibition of discrimination based gender identity. It also showed that both politicians agree with allowing boys who identify as transgender to enter girls' bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.

In response to Facebook's action against the ad for purportedly "missing context," American Principles Project Executive Director Terry Schilling said in a statement shared with The Christian Post that "What that means is anyone’s guess."

"We are still waiting to hear exactly what context our ad is missing that made it so dangerous that voters needed to be protected from its message,” Schilling added, expressing concern that “Facebook is simply using the ‘missing context’ label as an arbitrary means to remove speech it disagrees with.”

“It would be understandable, though still very troubling, if Facebook removed the ad for being ‘fact-checked’ as false. However, our ad has not been found false by any fact-checker, nor could it be.”

He said Facebook’s removal of the ad was “just the latest example in a frightening trend of Big Tech censorship, particularly of conservative ideas.”

In an interview with CP on Wednesday, Schilling expanded on his discontent with Facebook’s so-called fact-checking policy.

He said Facebook’s removal of the ad was “just the latest example in a frightening trend of Big Tech censorship, particularly of conservative ideas.”

“Before last week, your ads could only be pulled down from Facebook if they were deemed to be false or mostly false. But last week, they changed their policy to give the fact checkers more leeway to where they could claim what they’re claiming here, which is that our ad is ‘missing context,’” he explained.

“The real problem with this is that every ad, whether it’s positive or negative in politics, is going to miss context because how campaign ads are supposed to work is there’s an issue that you’re talking about and one side makes an argument about what a policy will do and the other side makes a negative argument about what the policy will do, and we leave it up to the voters to decide what that policy will do, who has the better claims. And that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

A representative from Facebook did not reply to CP's request for comment, but instead pointed to the company’s policy on the enforcement of fact-checker ratings. “We do not allow advertisers to run ads that contain content that has been debunked by third-party fact-checkers, including content rated False, Partly False, Altered or Missing Context,” the policy explains.

Schilling maintains that Facebook had no reason to take down the advertisement. “My main point is very simple: This issue is currently being litigated in federal court,” he said. “A group of women athletes in Connecticut are suing the Connecticut high school sports association for allowing men to compete in women’s athletics.”

“They’re filing a Title IX suit against them. If their case and their arguments are enough to have standing in federal court, I have no idea how this doesn’t meet Facebook’s standards for political ads,” he contended.

The Equality Act, which passed the Democrat-controlled House last year, has little chance of becoming law by the end of the 116th Congress with Republicans in control of the Senate and President Donald Trump in control of the executive branch. Should Democrats regain control of the Senate and the White House following the Nov. 3 election, the controversial legislation has a strong chance of being signed into law.

Culled from https://www.christianpost.com/...

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