Edwin Mora – January 17, 2018
Christians and other minorities in Pakistan are bolting away from the predominantly Muslim nation by the “thousands” as Islamabad ignores harassment at the hands of Islamic extremists, reports Asia Times.
“Thousands of Christians, Ahmadis, and Hindus are fleeing as the government turns a blind eye to Islamic groups’ harassment of other faiths and beliefs; even atheists have now gone quiet,” notes the news outlet, adding “A closer look at the situation reveals that religious minorities and atheists are at a higher risk than ever.”
The report comes soon after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration placed Pakistan on a U.S. watchlist for countries of “particular concern” over “severe violations of religious freedom” after the commander-in-chief blasted Islamabad for harboring jihadists.
“This is only going to get worse,” Ibn Abdur Rehman, secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told Asia Times, referring to the persecution of religious minorities. “The state has surrendered to the radical Islamists and plans on gradually taking away every last bit of freedom from its citizens.”
Michael Grybosk – January 18, 2018
The Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a new division meant to defend the conscience rights of medical professionals who may hold moral or religious objections to things like abortions or gender reassignment surgery.
Known as the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, the entity will exist under HHS’ Office of Civil Rights and help to enforce conscience rights.
OCR Director Roger Severino said in a statement released Thursday morning that religious freedom laws are “just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced.”
“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice,” stated Severino.
Michael Gryboski – January 3, 2018
Presbyterian Church (USA) will soon have a new Book of Common Worship, which will include a new marriage service text that will feature “inclusive language.”
Scheduled to be released in May, the latest edition of the BCW is the first revision of the voluntary worship resource since 1993.
Among the changes made, the new edition will feature what the PCUSA publication Presbyterians Today described as “inclusive language” for its marriage rite.
“A revised marriage service features inclusive language and a flexible format, making the service useful for all sorts of couples and family configurations,” Presbyterians Today reported on Tuesday.
“Those who want to renew their vows will find a service that is adaptable for a variety of people and places. Also included is a brief service of prayer for those who seek a way to ritually mark the end of a marriage.”
Edwin Mora – January 11, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC — North Korea stands at the top of a list of 50 countries where at least 215 million Christians faced the most severe persecution in 2017, resulting in 3,066 deaths and 1,020 rapes mainly targeting women, revealed Open Doors, an organization that monitors ill-treated Christians worldwide.
At the National Press Club on Wednesday, David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors, unveiled the 2018 World Wide List (WWL) of the top 50 “most dangerous” countries to worship Jesus. Referring to North Korea, he declared:
Imagine in your mind a leader that thinks he’s god but acts like an animal — devouring his own people with his teeth where people are forced to worship at the statute of Kim Jung Un and bow down and lay flowers at his feet as if he was a god.
Yet, [Kim] sets up controls mechanisms, neighborhood watches that surround communities rewarding citizens for spying on each other giving them more food if they find somebody who has a Bible and who purports to a be a Christian and that makes Christians the number one enemy of the state in North Korea and that’s why it is the number one on the world’s watchlist.
Open Doors pointed out that thousands of Christians are facing death worldwide for practicing their faith, particularly in North Korea.
Heather Clark – January 9, 2018
NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Education has suspended the teaching certificates of a former high school teacher who came under fire seven years ago for speaking against the sin of homosexuality on Facebook.
As previously reported, Jenye “Viki” Knox, 56, first came under fire in June 2011 after she posted comments on Facebook decrying the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle Union High School.
The school had reportedly erected a display in acknowledgment of “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Month,” which featured popular homosexual celebrities.
“It’s still there,” she vented on her personal Facebook page. “I’m pitching a fit.”
The status then began to spark discussion, which turned into a controversy when others were offended by her comments.
Mark Martin – January 9, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a case involving a Mississippi law that allows government and private business workers to say their religious beliefs won’t permit them to offer services to LGBT people.
That decision leaves intact a federal appeals court ruling that permitted the law to go into effect. A three-judge panel determined the challengers of the law did not prove they would be harmed by the measure.
In June of last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit lifted an injunction that was preventing the enforcement of the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523).
“Good laws like Mississippi’s protect freedom and harm no one,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot in a statement. “The 5th Circuit was right to find that those opposing this law haven’t been harmed and, therefore, can’t try to take it down.”
Bob Unruh – January 2, 2017
Religious leaders in Israel are concerned that the United Nations’ is promoting idolatry after word was released that the organization is helping fund a reproduction of a third pagan god – the goddess of “extra-marital relations.”
First, the global body was part of the funding of the re-creation of the Roman triumphal arch that once welcomed travelers to the Temple of Baal.
Then it was the re-creation of a statue of the goddess Athena that once stood in Palmyra.
Now, Breaking Israel News reports a third project is nearing completion, and it again has a theme of pagan gods.
BIN reported a UNESCO-funded project “reproduced a statue of a lion, the third project of its kind the organization has supported.”
Joe Kovacs, author of “Shocked By The Bible 2,” says the sad spectacle is part of an old story.
“The promotion of pagan gods is certainly nothing new, and it again shows we’re all living in what I call ‘Opposite World,’” he explained.
Lela Gilbert – January 3, 2017
As 2017 drew to an end, the media missed one of the biggest news stories of the year: the persecution of Christians around the world.
According to a groundbreaking new report, “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians Persecuted for Their Faith 2015-2017,” published by the Catholic organization Aid to the Church in Need, Christian persecution is growing worse in virtually every nation.
The report states Western governments “failed to offer Christians in countries such as Iraq and Syria the emergency help they needed as genocide got underway.”
Had Christian relief organizations and other institutions not stepped in to help, the report says, “the Christian presence could already have disappeared in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.”
Taylor Berglund – January 2, 2017
Gunmen killed at least 14 churchgoers returning from midnight New Year’s services in Nigeria’s Rivers state. One relative told The Guardian the attacks happened around 12:30 a.m. in a coordinated attack in two different locations. Reports indicate that the shots were disguised by the sound of fireworks, making it difficult for people in the area to realize what was happening.
The exact death toll is disputed at this time. The Guardian reports a death toll of 14 people, while BBC cites police sources saying at least 16 were killed. One anonymous officer said, “14 persons died on the spot, while 12 who sustained gunshot wounds were rushed to the hospital and are receiving medical attention.”
David Umahi, governor of the Ebonyi state, condemned the attacks as a national tragedy in an official statement, according to the Nigeria Independent.
Todd Starnes – December 26, 2017
One of the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts colleges is advancing a “queer theology” agenda with hopes of destabilizing traditional beliefs about what the Bible says about gender and sexuality.
Swarthmore College, founded by Quakers, is offering courses in “queering the Bible” and “queering God.” The courses were first reported by Campus Reform.
“Queering the Bible” is a one-credit class that surveys “queer and trans readings of biblical texts.”
“By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans theoretical approaches, this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the Bible – and religion – says about gender and sexuality,” the course description reads.
The school’s religion department is also teaching a class that questions the sexuality of the Almighty called, “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology.”