Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’
Hint: it’s not pretty.
Growing persecution of Middle Eastern Christians and holy sites by radical Islamists in the Middle East and Africa in 2012 resulted in large numbers of murders, bombings, imprisonments, church closures and forced conversions to Islam. In addition, the rise of Islamic governments – coupled with tepid responses from some Western countries, the UN and many NGOs – has contributed to unprecedented levels of Christian persecution.
In the course of interviews with The Jerusalem Post, leading experts on Middle Eastern Christians commented on the plight of the region’s dwindling Christian population and Israel’s role in fostering Christianity.
There was no shortage in 2012 of repressive and bloody campaigns against Christians in Iran, Gaza, Nigeria, Libya and Egypt.
Reuters reported on Sunday that in Libya two church workers were killed. “Attackers threw a homemade bomb at an administrationbuilding belonging to the Egyptian Coptic church in Dafniya, close to the western city of Misrata.” The wire service noted that Egypt’s consul in the city, Tareq Dahrouj, said he had visited the church and the building where the two church workers were killed early on Sunday.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington- based organization that promotes religious freedom in the US and across the globe, told thePost that Israel is the “most free and protective of religious liberty for Christians” of all the region’s nations.
“So much of this persecution is centered in the Middle East, where Christians face grave danger,” Sekulow said.
“We’re grateful that countries like Israel embrace religious freedom and protect Christians and the Christian Holy sites…. Israel’s dedication to religious freedom and human rights is critical during this most challenging time.”
[...] Clifford D. May, president of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former New York Times reporter, told the Post that the rise in the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world “may be the most significant – and under-reported – story in the world today.”
“A generation from now, Christians may be entirely ‘cleansed’ from their ancestral homes – this at a time when Muslim populations are growing in Europe and America,” he said. “Yet there is very little urgency or even attention to this crisis by the UN, most of the media or Western leaders. I wish I were confident this would change in 2013. But I’m afraid this is an issue most people in America and Europe are determined to avoid.”
Christmas is a popular time of year for Islamic terrorists to attack the Christian minorities in their countries. Pray for the safety of the persecuted church this Christmas!
The Associated Press reports (via Jihad Watch):
With Christmas just days away, 40-year-old Mira begged her parents to flee their hometown of Aleppo, which has become a main battleground in Syria’s civil war.
Her parents have refused to join her in Lebanon, but they are taking one simple precaution inside their besieged city. For the first time, Mira says, her parents will not put up a Christmas tree this year for fear that their religion might make them a target.
“They want to stay to guard the property so nobody takes it,” said Mira, who spoke to The Associated Press in Lebanon on condition that only her first name be published, out of concern for her family.
“They cannot celebrate Christmas properly. It’s not safe. They are in a Christian area, but they don’t feel secure to put a tree, even inside their apartment,” Mira said.
Syria is not the only country where Christians are forced to watch their backs around the holidays. Iran is threatening similar attacks:
Iranian Church leaders have urged prayers for Christians in Iran amid concerns authorities will raid more house churches and detain believers over the Christmas and Western New Year period.
[...] They said it was important to also pray for “Leaders of recognized churches, many under pressure to cancel or limit Christmas celebrations” and officials of house churches and others seeking to worship this Christmas.
Additionally they asked prayers for Iranian Christians who are facing financial difficulties because they lost their work or helped to pay for bail and lawyers fees for those behind bars.
Nigerian Christians are also asking for prayer as they face the brutal Islamic Terrorist group Boko Haram:
Nigerian Christians are asking churches across the world to pray for their safety from deadly attacks this Christmas, amid renewed threats.
The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has been carrying out a series of attacks on Christians from northern Nigeria.
[...] Mr Asake says that that the security situation will still not prevent Nigerian Christians from going to church on Christmas, one of the holiest occasions of the year.
[...] Over 770 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks so far this year, making 2012 the worst year of violence attributed to the group, says Religion Today website.
As you celebrate the season in relative peace with typical holiday stresses, remember those who are truly suffering in the name of the One who came on Christmas Day.
I gotta be honest…I don’t see how someone can call themselves a Bible-believing Christian while casting their vote in support of the most pro-abortion, anti-Israel, anti-religious freedom, most Biblically hostile president America has ever known.
What have they sold the innocent and themselves out for? For “free stuff?” For the glib, false self-righteousness of believing they can fulfill Christ’s mandate to help the poor by stealing from their neighbors?
Bill Blankschaen ponders “5 Things I Don’t Understand about Christians Who Voted for Obama“:
- Life. Obama’s record is one of the most radical in support of abortion. I could understand some thinking Romney might be soft on it, given his late-arriving public opposition. But between the two, one supports the killing of unborn children. The other does not. Again, I’m talking about Christians who supposedly are all about Scripture as the final authority. There can be no neutrality on this issue. You can’t sort of support abortion and sort of not. In the end, something is dead. How do you get around that? By narrowly defining life to after-birth?
- Marriage. I know we’re all supposed to pretend the Bible doesn’t say what it actually says. I know we’re all supposed to bow at the temple of tolerance. I’m pretty sure that’s why the angels told Lot to get out of Sodom. Because the city had refused to be tolerant. Not. Obama has stated clearly that he supports redefining marriage in opposition to how God defines it in Scripture. Romney supported preserving a Biblical definition. Any explanation here, especially from the 20%, would be welcome. And yes, I’m also asking the 95% of Protestant Christians whose skin God made darker than mine who supported Obama. If Kingdom comes before race, how does that vote get cast with a clear conscience? I love you, but I don’t get it.
- Religious Freedom. The HHS Mandate tramples our religious freedom, and it does so unnecessarily. Too many of us think that we can somehow all hold contradictory viewpoints and still make it all work out. Ideas have consequences. What the HSS mandate shows is that Obama values certain perceived freedoms (reproductive rights) as greater than other God-given freedoms. A vote for Obama was a vote to continue to restrict the freedom to freely worship God. 20%? Help me understand.
- Private Property. This concern will sound the least religious to most Christians because we have long embraced the Greek/gnostic thinking that the physical world is inferior to the spiritual, in spite of the fact that the second person of the Godhead will be forever be both spiritual and physical — as will we. God is the ultimate owner of all things. In his sovereignty, he has put His world into our care in general, but into individual hands in particular to steward on His behalf. “You shall not steal” is the clearest affirmation of private property there can be. And yet Obama has expressed that it is the role of government to correct God’s incorrect distribution and spread the wealth around according to another standard. While neither candidate was perfect on this issue, one candidate took a far less Biblical position than the other.
- Leadership. Admittedly, this is the vaguest concern of them all. I could likely find others on which Scripture is clearer for most. So I’m not taking some kind of adamant position on this one. But, as someone who has spent a lifetime studying leaders and leadership principles, I just don’t understand it. Biblical leadership principles — that is, all sound leadership principles, for they all find their foundation in Scripture — leave me confused as to why anyone would think him a sound choice. I know, critics are demanding that I reprint every leadership book ever written. I can’t in this limited space. But I’d be curious as to why that 20% thought Obama the better leader, the more Biblical, or even the wiser choice. I see him as very similar to another Biblical leader named Barak from the book of Judges, a leader who lacked the courage, vision, and integrity to lead faithfully. Or as Rehoboam who foolishly sought to crush his opposition and thus created far more conflict for those he led. Many more poor examples come to mind. But I don’t understand how evangelical Christians could see Obama’s leadership model as being Biblical. A little help?
So, yes. God is sovereign. And yes, I will be praying for President Obama. Just as I would be praying, I hope, for the political leader who may one day order the torch to light the sticks heaped around me. But that doesn’t mean I would understand how fellow Christians could have supported it.
Peter Heck asked the question before the election, “Is it a sin to vote for Barack Obama and the Democrats?” This was part of his answer:
[W]hile it’s certainly true that not every Republican is worthy of our support as Christians, any individual who runs under a platform that justifies the legal slaughter of innocent life made in the image of God is an unacceptable choice. Period.
Reading the list of supposed justifications for why Christians can turn a blind eye towards this outrageous offense, I imagine these Democrat apologists writing similar essays in the 1930s of how the Nazi Party was doing great things for infrastructure and social welfare programs in Germany. “Never mind that killing of the Jews thing,” they would essentially argue. That’s the underlying current of the Christian Democrat defense — “never mind the killing of the unborn beings made in God’s image thing.” That’s not to say that Democrats are Nazis, of course. It’s to say that there is something dreadfully wrong with your priorities and moral compass when you try to find ways to excuse genocide. As a believer, I cannot imagine justifying that to God.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? Christian Democrats used to find ways to justify their support of a party that promoted slavery. Now they do the same for a party promoting abortion. Tragic.
Mario Murillo thinks he’s identified the problem:
My concern is if there was a great shift in America and we did not know it. But the greatest concern is if it is true that 6 million born-again Christians voted for Obama because that is a massive earthquake in the Church. [...]
Why did 6 million Christians vote for Obama? There is plenty of blame to go around. I believe that the Republican Party ignored the fundamental changes in America and especially they lost sight of the concerns of women, including Christian women.
Then there was the Mormonism. I believe that Romney is an honorable man. I would love to see him touched by Christ to see the error of Mormonism, but I still believe that he would have been a great Chief Executive. However, many Christians could not get past his Mormonism. How that alarmed them more than the extremes of Obama is curious.
Finally, there is the real issue: Christians do not know the Bible. Christians have sat under pastors that do not teach Bible doctrine or call for commitment. Many of the posts I have read showed remarkable illiteracy about what the Bible says. They make remarks that remind me of Jay Leno’s man on the street interviews. Where they could not find Montana on a map, or name the vice president of the United States.
I believe that Obama is the crowning achievement of a celebrity cult nation, a nation that prizes style over substance. That same system is why celebrity pastors mishandle truth. Ask yourself, shouldn’t it bother you that your pastor sounds like he is quoting fortune cookies in the pulpit?
The great Bible dumb down has filled buildings but it has emptied our souls. Now we have a Christian constituency that can’t see anything wrong with secular situation ethics. Take for example, one of the most famous young female country singers in America. “I am a Christian but I believe in gay marriage because my pastor said we should not judge.”
With this sloppy agape on their mind, they went into vote blissfully unaware of the glaring contradiction of their faith. All they knew is that they were being cool and nice to people.
Matt Barber warns that “God will not be mocked“:
America has rebelled against God. She has shaken her fist at Him and arrogantly cried, “We don’t need you. We don’t want you. We know better than you. Now go away.”
And so He’s going away.
Hosea talks of judgment against the nation that “plays the harlot” before God: “Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them!” (Hosea 9:12)
I grieve for my children. I grieve for America’s children. Evil won on Tuesday. An arrogant and rebellious nation has chosen, for her leader, an arrogant and rebellious man, whose arrogant and rebellious party has, as Pastor John MacArthur put it, “adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform.”
“This is a new day in our country,” he lamented. “Parties that used to differ on economics, now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.”
We have mocked God.
God will not be mocked.
[...] We excuse sin. We call that which God calls an abomination, “equality.”
We call that which God calls murder, “reproductive choice.”
We call that which God calls theft, “fundamental fairness.”
We “call evil good and good evil.”
America is divided and her president the divider. The scales have tipped. The 51 percent – the takers, the God-deniers and the subversive, now outnumber the makers, the seekers of righteousness and the patriotic.
Yet, soon after the election results were announced – after several hours of deep mourning for our nation, I found myself smiling. I found myself singing praises to the Creator of the universe: Christ, the way, the truth and the life. Jesus, Y’shua, the very image of God.
Indeed, I found myself experiencing joy.
Through it all, you see, He remains sovereign. His will is being done, even when it is not our own. He is faithful, though we are not. Victory is His. We are His. And so victory is ours.
Those of us who believe needn’t win every battle – any battle – to which we are consigned. We need only remain obedient. We need only remain faithful to his Word and to his commands. We need only remember that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Truly, though God has given over a rebellious nation to the party of Romans 1, we remain the people of Romans 8: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
Still, there will be condemnation for America. Things will get far worse before they get better – if they ever get better. As individuals, we will each stand before God and give an accounting – we will all face judgment. As a nation, we can only be judged in the temporal – in the here and now.
Have we reached the point of no return? Perhaps – perhaps not.
God is faithful. He has promised: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Christ is faithful. He has promised: “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
The rain is descending. The floods have come and the winds beat down on our great nation. I am thankful that our forefathers, wise men indeed, built America’s house upon Christ, the Rock.
Moral Relativism and an unwillingness to acknowledge the most basic standards of absolute right and wrong have led our nation down a destructive path that can only end in war, economic collapse, or both. Only revival can save our nation now.
I know that I’m supposed to say that God is in control and that we should simply pray for our president and put our faith and trust in the sovereignty of God, but I’m not going to.
[F]or those who seek to live according to the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, these astonishing election results should cause us to fall to our knees and grieve for our nation. Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts, Maryland, and Oregon have approved it for medical usage. Maine, Maryland, and Washington have legalized homosexual marriage. And Massachusetts has also joined Oregon and Washington in allowing euthanasia. It has become clear that in every instance where Biblical values were up for a vote, the American people have chosen to reject them. This election goes so much deeper than just who was elected president for the next four years. This election was a barometer of the soul of America, and America is in critical condition.
Yes, we are. James Lewis laments:
[T]he balance of decency in America has changed. Every society has normal, decent people and the other kind. The America we grew up in was fundamentally decent. Decency was the expected standard.
Now the balance has changed.
The evidence for our sleazified culture can be seen all around. It is in our pop music, which has lost melody and now just has rhythm. We have a President who won on revenge against middle class values. That’s what he meant by telling his people to vote for revenge. And they did — showing us exactly who they are.
We are now a society divided between the makers and the takers, and the takers are on a campaign of theft and revenge.
We have a President who takes dangerous pride in his hatred for “middleclassness” as Jeremiah Wright taught him to believe. We have a President who culminated his campaign with a ghetto singer rapping about hoes and bitches, about drug-ridden and broken families, as if all those cruelties were good.
This is not normal, decent America.
It is not.
We need to face that.
Mark Steyn spoke in a recent interview about where America’s hedonistic entitlement mentality is leading us:
“We’re actually redistributing from the future to the present. We are borrowing money that is yet to be earned by generations yet to be born, in order to bribe people with the Obama phones and all the rest…”
Mark Steyn: American Dream Sinks To Bribing Voters With Free Stuff
View on YouTube
Walter E. Williams explains how our Moral Relativist society justifies deviant behavior, flaunting the rule of law and the constitution:
Much of today’s language usage demonstrates a desire to be nonjudgmental. People used to shack up; now they cohabit or are living partners. Few young women of yesteryear would have felt comfortable to publicly declare they slept around. Unmarried women used to give birth to a bastard; later, this was upgraded to an illegitimate birth or a nonmarital birth. In many instances, unwed mothers proudly hold baby showers celebrating their illegitimate offspring, and the man, if known, who sired the baby is referred to as “my baby’s daddy” or sometimes as “my baby daddy.”
Homosexual marriages, which are not a basic human survival trait, were unheard of; today, in some jurisdictions, homosexual marriages have legal sanction. To be judgmental about modern codes of conduct is to risk being labeled a prude, racist, sexist or a homophobe. People ignore the fact that to accept another’s right to engage in certain peaceable, voluntary behavior doesn’t require moral acceptance or sanction.
[...] Think back to former President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and the nation’s response that “it was just about sex.” Therefore, it was no big thing for the president and his men to become involved in witness tampering, perjury, obstruction of justice and a White House-organized attack on Kenneth Starr, an officer of the court. Most Americans thought removal from office was too harsh for Clinton’s lawlessness.
That kind of lawlessness helped establish a precedent for lawless acts by President Barack Obama. His most recent was an executive order that suspended legal liability for young people who are brought to our country illegally by their parents. He also repealed the legal requirement that welfare recipients must work, by simply redefining “work” to include other things, such as going to classes on weight control. Then there are waivers from Obamacare for favored allies — waivers that offend the principle of equality before the law.
Whether the president’s actions were good or bad ideas or not is irrelevant. What’s relevant is whether we want to establish a precedent whereby a president, who has no constitutional authority to repeal parts of congressional legislation, can grant special favors and rule by presidential decree like Third World tyrants.
I don’t hold President Obama completely responsible for his unconstitutional actions. It’s the American people who are to blame, for it is we who have lost our morality and our love, knowledge and respect for our Constitution, laying the foundation for Washington tyranny.
Gary DeMar explains how the Messianic Welfare State has become an idol in many American’s lives:
The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as [C.S.] Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. “Our whole lives are their business.”
The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically [in close union with one another] to destruction.
Is there hope yet? David Jesse thinks so:
[...] Throughout history, God has always chosen to work through weak, frail, inadequate human beings who are willing to give Him whatever they have, and allow Him to use that for His glory and purposes. But for too long now, the Church in America has sat back and made excuses for our laziness and apathy by saying, “God’s in control.” And while I fully believe that God IS in control, I realize that He has chosen to limit Himself to a great extent by what He can do through His people. We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand, hoping for things to get better. It’s time for God’s people to rise up.
[...] We need revival. And revival never comes to an apathetic people. In fact, revival most often comes to a people suffering from persecution. It is during persecution that God’s people take their eyes off of their own frivolous desires and petty differences, and return to simple faith in God based upon hearing and obeying His Word. And let me assure you, persecution is coming. The virtual prison of political correctness, tolerance, and celebrating diversity, will soon move into a radical agenda that attempts to silence the voices of those who speak out against sin and the evil that dwells in the hearts of men. Those who refuse to be silenced will be branded as religious extremists and relegated to the fringes of society. Two of our most sacred rights as Americans – Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of Speech – will be chipped away at until we will no longer recognize the country that we were born in.
But in that persecution is the hope that awaits America. As the persecution grows, the Church will be forced to return to God’s principles of love, obedience, justice, holiness, compassion, truth, and faithfulness. The Church in America will once again become the salt and light that Jesus told us we are supposed to be. And when all is said and done, I believe that revival will come to America. And that revival can spread to the world.
My heart is very heavy today. I recently learned that Barbara Curtis, mother of 12, author and blogger at MommyLife, has suffered a massive stroke and is not expected to regain consciousness. I can’t imagine the heartbreak her family is going through. She has four sons with Down Syndrome who still live at home, three of whom she adopted with her big, motherly heart, and one of whom also suffers from Autism.
A former leftist radical, she she was a testimony to God’s grace and transforming power, and a passionate conservative who understood the dark, deceived Leftist mindset in ways that few others could. At the time of her stroke she was preparing for the release of a new book and trying to raise money to keep her youngest daughter Maddy at the Catholic university that has been helping her to develop her amazing voice talents.
Barbara has been one of my greatest mentors as a mother, homeschooler, and blogger. I had the privilege of meeting her in person only once, during a brief trip to D.C. We had lunch and chatted as if we’d been old friends for years. She has such a wise, compassionate heart and has had such an amazing impact on so many people.
Please continue to keep them in your prayers!
UPDATE: This is what her son, Josh, posted on his Facebook page two days ago:
“Everyone please say a prayer for my Mom, Barbara Curtis. She has suffered a hemoral stroke (bleeding into her brain). She was ambulanced first to Cornwall Hospital and then to Fairfax Hospital. The doctors think the bleeding was caused by the high dose of blood thinners that she has been on. She is awake, but very incoherent, slurry speech, and can’t communicate well. The CAT scan showed a build up of blood against the left side of her brain. They are going to watch her for the next 24 hours and give her medication to combat the blood thinners. Hopefully the bleeding stops and the existing build up of blood will be absorbed by the brain. If the build up gets worse, they will have to do a surgery to make a small hole in the skull and drain the blood. I will keep you updated.”
There have been no updates since. I’ll let you know if I find out more.
UPDATE II: Barbara’s daughter Samantha just posted that she has passed into the arms of the Savior she loved so well:
My mother, Barbara Curtis, is now with Jesus. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.
Heaven has welcomed a beautiful saint and patriot today, and I have no doubt that she is now hearing the words that all of us long to one day hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:23)
My prayers are with her husband Tripp and her 12 children as they grieve.
For the next 40 days leading up to the election, Christians across America will be uniting in prayer for our nation.
The Family Research Council has launched “40 Days to Save America.”
No matter if you follow along with all the groups or just one, let’s storm the gates of heaven and claim God’s promise:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
Perhaps only months away from another recession or even economic collapse, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is calling for prayer, fasting, and repentance as part of the “40 Days to Save America” campaign.
Joined by hundreds of major organizations, ministries, and houses of worship representing a broad swath of American culture, Perkins is asking Americans to pray, fast, and turn back to God in the 40 days leading up to the presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
“I think we’re headed down a path that very quickly becomes irreversible,” Perkins told Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “We have a $16 trillion debt and building, and financial experts say we cannot sustain that kind of debt load much longer. We’re not talking years. We’re talking months. Our fiscal house is a wreck and I think it’s a reflection of our spiritual, moral, and cultural house, which has to be realigned.”
Perkins cited a recent Congressional Budget Office report that highlighted uncertainties about the nation’s economic future, including the possibility of another recession next year.
“We’re looking at a double-dip recession,” Perkins says. “We are now into another QE3, more quantitative easing – monetizing the debt. If you look at the timelines, these are becoming more frequent – trying to manipulate the money supply. That’s why the economists are saying that we are soon going to be at the point where even this quantitative easing is not going to work to relieve pressure on our economy and then it just collapses.”
Hoping to reverse the nation’s economic, moral, and spiritual decline, the campaign will kick off Sept. 28-29 during “America for Jesus – A National Call for Prayer” at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Penn. More than 60,000 people are expected to attend. For more information, log onto www.afj2012.org.
“This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed, where the Constitution was formed, and where our Forefathers bowed in prayer at the very founding of our nation and asked for God’s protection, mercy, and grace,” says Billy Wilson, chair of the Awakening America Alliance and host of the TV program World Impact that reaches more than 300 million households in 200 nations.
“We are going right back to our foundational moment – to both remember that we are a nation under God, and also to pray that God would restore America’s spiritual heritage and vitality.”
Rick Scarborough, a pastor, founder of Vision America, and chairman of “40 Days to Save America,” says hundreds of organizations and houses of worship are encouraging people to pray for spiritual renewal and revival.
“After those two days of prayer (in Philadelphia), we are going back to our churches and homes and will set aside a portion of each day to pray for America and to ask God to give this country a Third Great Awakening — much like He did just before the Revolutionary War,” Scarborough says. “We are asking for a mighty move of God that would redirect our country back onto a moral foundation from which she cannot long survive.”
The campaign is similar to other ones during times of national crisis. During the American Revolution, the Civil War, and at the outset of World War II, presidents as varied as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared national seasons of prayer, fasting, and repentance.
Today, the United States faces multiple crises — a potential economic collapse, moral disintegration, growing secular humanism, attacks on religious liberty, a spate of historic natural disasters, and a severe drought, according to “40 Days to Save America.”
These crises — together more daunting than those Americans faced in 1776, 1863, and 1941— are beyond the power of human beings to resolve without divine intervention — and “nothing short of a Third Great Awakening can save us,” according to the campaign.
Famed evangelist Billy Graham’s letter calling America and its “deceived people” to repentance is one in a series of escalating warnings that the nation is in growing danger of God’s judgment, prominent faith leaders told Charisma News.
“This may be our last chance to call the nation to pray,” says Anne Gimenez, national chairperson ofAmerica for Jesus—America for Jesus—The Awakening, which expects hundreds of thousands of people to gather at Independence Mall in Philadelphia Sept. 28-29 to pray and intercede for the United States.
“We believe it possibly could be the last time we have this opportunity. Nineveh is a great example. All the wickedness of that city, and yet when they did what God said they should do and repented, God healed their land. That’s right where America is today. We’re on the brink of America being destroyed as we know it, but I believe God is giving America a chance at this hour.”
In his letter, “My Heart Aches for America,” the 93-year-old Graham wrote that he recalled how his late wife, Ruth, once expressed concerns about the nation’s “terrible downward spiral”—exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Graham, who has preached to more people than any other Protestant in history—2.2 billion—wrote that he wondered what Ruth would think of the country today where “self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”
[...] Graham’s letter calling America to repentance comes as a growing number of highly respected Christian leaders have issued similar warnings in recent months, noting that the nation is in a downward spiral of economic decline, immorality, corruption, growing secular humanism and attacks on religious liberty.
Jack Hayford, the founding pastor of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif., and the former president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, says Graham’s letter comes as the nation is in a “very grim hour as we approach the election this year.”
“What we need is something on the order of shock troops at this hour, and I can imagine that can be raised,” Hayford says. “I don’t feel despairing. I do feel the urgency. We are at a point that desperate action is needed and Billy’s voice, certainly as no other, can give rise to that.”
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the author of the New York Times best-selling book The Harbinger, says Graham’s letter is a “prophetic word” that parallels the message in The Harbinger—that America is rapidly departing from God and is in danger of judgment unless it turns back to God in humble and genuine repentance.
The fact that Graham released the letter “should get our attention” and is “very striking” and “very stunning,” says Cahn, the senior rabbi at the nation’s largest messianic congregation, the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, N.J.
“I believe this is a very, very critical time for America and for God’s people in America, and I believe it has ramifications for world history,” says Cahn, a descendant of Aaron, the high priest of the ancient Israelites and the brother of the Biblical prophet Moses. “The way that America goes is going to affect the world, and the way God’s people in America go will affect America.
“So, the message of The Harbinger is that we are in danger and that the same progression of judgment that occurred in the last days of ancient Israel is now occurring in America. The call is ultimately for salvation for those who don’t know the Lord and for repentance and revival for those who do. I see this (Graham’s letter) as another very stark sign that we are a critical point.”
[...] Meanwhile, starting Sept. 28 and continuing through Nov. 6, 40 Days to Save America is calling for prayer, fasting and repentance in the 40 days prior to the presidential election.
“During the American Revolution, in the darkest days of the Civil War, at the outset of our involvement in World War II, leaders as different as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared national seasons of prayer, fasting and repentance,” wrote Rick Scarborough, chairman of 40 Days to Save America on the website.
“Today, our nation faces multiple crises—pending economic collapse, moral disintegration and international terrorism—but all have spiritual underpinnings. Together, they are even more daunting than those Americans confronted in 1776, 1863 and 1941. Now as then our national survival is at stake. Now as then, our destiny rests in God’s hands. The crises confronting us are beyond the power of human beings to resolve without divine guidance. Nothing short of a Third Great Awakening can save us.”
Christians suffering in the Islamic world must feel so lonely and abandoned, with their brothers and sisters in the free Western world all but ignoring their plight.
Just last month, 50 Nigerian Christians – including women and children – were burned alive when they tried to hide from terrorists in their pastor’s house:
“Fifty of our church members were killed in the church building where they had fled to take refuge. They were killed alongside the wife of the pastor and children,” said the Rev. Dachollom Datiri, vice president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, in a July 11 interview.
Officials from the church confirmed that over 100 members were killed through various villages in Nigeria, which included Maseh, Ninchah, Kakkuruk, Kuzen, Negon, Pwabiduk, Kai, Ngyo, Kura Falls, Dogo, Kufang, and Ruk.
“Nigeria is truly becoming the new killing field for Christians. Hundreds of Christians have already been brutally murdered – including women and children – by the Boko Haram,” said Open Doors, USA spokesman Jerry Dykst. “The Boko Haram earlier this week said that all Christians need to turn to Islam or ‘they would never know peace again.’ Their goal is make all of Nigeria a country run and dominated by Shariah law.”
This week, radical Muslims murdered 52 more people in Kenya:
Men armed with machetes, bows and arrows, spears and guns attacked a rival village in southeastern Kenya on Wednesday in a dispute over land, killing 52 people, according to Kenyan police.
Found dead at the scene were 31 women, 11 children and six men, many of whom had been hacked to death, or had been barricaded in their huts and burned to death. Four others died at a hospital.
In Pakistan, an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down Syndrome was accused of “blasphemy” after some burned pages of Islamic text were found in her shopping bag (any one want to guess who put them there?).
The next day, angry Pakistani Muslims kidnapped and tortured an 11-year-old Christian boy to death:
The tortured body of an 11 year old Christian boy has been found in a town in Punjab, Pakistan, days after a young Christian girl was arrested on blasphemy charges.
Human rights campaigners condemned the killing of Samuel Yaqoob whose burned and tortured body body was discovered on Eid, the celebration which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
His lips and nose had been sliced off, his stomach removed and there was evidence that his legs had been mutilated too.
The boy had been missing since Monday when he left his home in the town’s Christian Colony to visit a local market. His relatives identified his body from a distinctive mark on his forehead.
Yaquub was reported to be an orphan but in local newspaper reports his mother Asia Bibi was quoted denying he had been accused of blasphemy. “We neither received any phone call for ransom nor were we told that Samuel had committed blasphemy,” she said.
It’s a disgusting, demonic, deceptive ideology that reduces people to this level of brutality – even against CHILDREN!
In addition, thousands of Iraqi Christians are fleeing the relentless attacks by jihadists on their homes, churches and families.
Where is the response from this administration, the UN, and human rights groups? Absolute SILENCE. Why? Because the Left considers it “Islamophobia” to condemn acts of violence by radical Muslims, and they must be portrayed as morally equivalent to their victims by the media, which is why they call it “sectarian” or “ethnic violence” instead of it’s TRUE name: mass murder.
Let’s storm the gates of heaven and claim God’s promise:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
Our State Department is deliberately turning a blind eye to the hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Muslim world whose churches are being destroyed, who are being robbed and imprisoned and murdered in the aftermath of the Islamic uprisings (euphemistically known as “Arab Spring).
America used to be voice for the voiceless and a defender of religious liberty and human rights around the world…now our government has chosen willful blindness and abandonment of the suffering masses to the mercy of their brutal oppressors.
“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports.
The new human rights reports–purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered–are also the human rights reports that include the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.
Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.
For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011 and instead referred the public to the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – a full two years behind the times – or to the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which was released last September and covers events in 2010 but not 2011.
Leonard Leo, who recently completed a term as chairman of the USCIRF, says that removing the sections on religious freedom from the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Roghts is a bad idea.
Since 1998, when Congress created USCIRF, the State Department has been required to issue a separate yearly report specifically on International Religious Freedom.
But a section reporting on religious freedom has also always been included in the State Department’s legally required annual country-by-country reports on human rights–that is, until now.
And this is the first year the State Department would have needed to report on the effect the Arab Spring has had on religious freedom in the Middle East–had its reports, as always before, included a section on religious freedom.
“The commission that I served on has some real concerns about that bifurcation, because the human rights reports receive a lot of attention, and to have pulled religious freedom out of it means that fewer people will obtain information about what’s going on with that particular freedom or right. So you don’t have the whole picture because they split it up now,” Leo told CNSNews.com.
Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Farr says it’s possible that the move to totally separate religious freedom from the human rights reports could simply be a bureaucratic maneuver.
But another possibility is much more likely.
“The other possibility is the Obama administration is downplaying international religious freedom,” Farr said.
Using Mother’s Day to celebrate abortion is like using Veteran’s Day to celebrate war crimes. But that doesn’t stop Planned Barrenhood:
Planned Parenthood has exploited Mother’s Day in the past for donation appeals and, this year, the donation requests are centered on furthering Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda globally.
“We are proud to be taking the Planned Parenthood mission global in supporting partner organizations that share our goals,” the abortion business says in an online donation appeal. “Since 1971, Planned Parenthood has expanded its work globally to promote the reproductive health and rights of women and their families in some of the poorest places in the world. When women are able to exercise their rights and access health care, they are able to make informed decisions — free of discrimination, coercion, and violence.”
Planned Parenthood, of course, ignores the violence abortion causes women and children.
“Join us in celebrating women everywhere this Mother’s Day by making a special gift to Planned Parenthood Global,” the appeal concludes.
Meanwhile, Cecile Richards has sent a special Mother’s Day donation appeal via email in which she celebrates her own mother, the late pro-abortion Texas Gov. Ann Richards, but mentions nothing about how her own mother chose life for her.
“I miss my mom. She taught me so much: about strength, about courage, about compassion. All those things I’ve tried to pass along to my own kids,” she says. “And she taught me something more: that there’s no excuse for not helping others when we have the power to make a difference.”
“For me, the best way I can honor my mother’s memory is by striving every single day to do what Planned Parenthood has done for decades — support and empower women and families. This Mother’s Day, you can help us make a difference for women in developing countries through Planned Parenthood Global. I hope you’ll help us celebrate Mother’s Day by making a special gift to Planned Parenthood Global today,” Richards says.
Not mentioned in the donation appeal? Supporters won’t find any information about its strategic plan for the Africa Region that calls for an 82 percent increase in the number of abortions. In its global documents, Planned Parenthood calls for upping the number of abortions it does internationally with an expectation of an “82 percent increase in abortion services: 212,021 services by 2013, and 273,656 by 2015.”
The thinking of these people is downright sick. Abortion is killing, NOT “health care,” and promoting killing one’s own child is NOT the way to celebrate Motherhood! And neither is shunning your family for a day:
This Sunday, children of all ages will celebrate the role mothers play in their lives. But Vogue model Christy Turlington Burns and a host of female celebrities are encouraging mothers across the nation to ignore their children as part of “No Mother’s Day,” a sign of their support for reducing maternal mortality by supporting family planning and global access to abortion.
The campaign asks women to “disappear” on Mother’s Day to raise awareness of maternal mortality rates and underscore “just how much a mother is missed when she’s gone.” But amidst positive initiatives such as improved health care for complications such as hemorrhage and sepsis, the campaign promotes “safe” abortion, and the legalization of abortion in nations where the practice is currently illegal, as a means of lowering maternal deaths.
A press release for Every Mother Counts, the nonprofit Turlington launched in 2010, notes a new PSA “features moms encouraging other moms to join in solidarity by disappearing on May 13th, Mother’s Day. No phone calls. No emails. No social media. No gifts.”Turlington told Time magazine, “It’s a day to stop going through the motions…It’s about taking that [day] back.”
Back to what? Dead babies?
Alex Newman gives a sobering analysis of how American foreign policy in the Middle East over the past decade has led to the near extermination of Christian minorities:
After trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives were sacrificed by the U.S. government over the last decade intervening in the Middle East — the birthplace of Jesus Christ and Christianity — Christian communities are facing unprecedented struggles across most of the region. More than a few analysts have even called the systematic and growing persecution of Christians throughout much of the Muslim world an ongoing example of genocide.
“Conditions for genocide against non-Muslim communities exist in varying degrees throughout the region stretching from Pakistan to Morocco. The crisis of survival for non-Muslim communities is especially acute in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, the Palestinian territories, Iran and Pakistan,” explained Dr. John Eibner of the non-profit human-rights group Christian Solidarity International. “Millions of lives and the future of a religiously pluralistic civilization in the Middle East are at stake.”
According to some estimates, more than 150,000 Christians are murdered every year for their faith around the world. The vast majority of those — over three-fourths — are in Islamic-dominated nations. And in many cases, U.S. taxpayers are either subsidizing the slaughter by distributing billions to oppressive regimes, or worse, helping to create the conditions that allow the persecution to happen in the first place.
One of the most frequent excuses offered to justify the persecution of Christians by murderous regimes and the anti-Christian fanatics they enable is that believers in Christ are somehow acting as surrogates or proxies for Western interests — especially the U.S. government. After decades of meddling in the internal affairs of nations around the world — backing dictators, sparking revolutions, imposing sanctions, and more — America is widely perceived as hostile and dangerous. Plus, as tyrants throughout history have learned, minorities make good scapegoats.
The trend of linking local Christian populations to American foreign policy goes back decades. In 1970, for example, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an official Islamic decree, or “fatwa,” accusing Iranian Christians of “working with American imperialists and oppressive rulers to distort the truths of Islam, lead Muslims astray, and convert our children.” The fatwa came while the Western establishment was still intervening on behalf of the Shah of Iran — leading to widespread anti-American resentment — and after the Central Intelligence Agency sparked a coup d’état in 1953 under the guise of fighting communism.
More recently, U.S. government intervention in the region has been justified using a broad array of issues: supposed “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMDs), the terror war, regional security, trade, and vaguely defined “national interests.” But increasingly, American policymakers have been meddling in the Middle East under the guise of “spreading democracy.” And as analysts have noted, when the overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim, so-called “democracy” — or majority rule — does not generally bode well for Christians and other minorities.
But to better understand the role of U.S. foreign policy in the ongoing and worsening atrocities against Christians, it helps to examine the two nations where the American government has been most involved over the last decade: Iraq and Afghanistan. According to experts like Chairman Leonard Leo of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an official advisory body, there is now a very real prospect that Christianity could be completely wiped out in both countries. And in other nations — from Libya and Egypt to Pakistan and Syria — the effects of U.S. policies are producing similar fruit.
Christianity goes back almost 2,000 years in the land known today as Iraq. In fact, Assyrian Christians are often said to be the true indigenous people of the area. The devout communities there survived through centuries of invasion, persecution, and attempted extermination. Despite the never-ending onslaught, Christianity continued to thrive. Until “democracy” arrived, that is.
In the wake of the U.S. invasion and occupation — which in 2007 the Congressional Budget Office estimated would cost U.S. taxpayers about $2 trillion — Christianity in Iraq might very well be fully eradicated. Reliable estimates found that about 1.4 million Christians lived in Iraq before 2003. Today, that number is less than 500,000, with some experts claiming the true figure is actually around 200,000. In all, some two-thirds of the nation’s Christians have already fled or been killed.
Despite making up just three percent of the population prior to the U.S. invasion, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Christians accounted for nearly half of the refugees by 2008. Much of the faithful remnant in Iraq is seeking a way out before the persecution gets even worse — and that is despite calls by numerous Iraqi church leaders for the Christian communities to remain in their homeland.
Under the secular dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, Christians and other minorities were largely protected from Islamist violence and genocide — unlike in many areas of the Middle East. Indeed, the tyrant’s socialist Ba’th Party was founded by Michel Aflaq, an Orthodox Christian, and actually held “freedom of religion” as one of its core tenets.
Of course, as is well documented, enemies of the Iraqi regime were viciously persecuted and slaughtered. Despite the fact that the U.S. government once supported the regime, Hussein has been properly characterized as a monster. But under the dictator’s iron fist, Christians worshipped openly throughout Iraq and were not treated any worse than Muslims or anyone else.
Anti-Christian violence, prevalent across much of the Middle East, was not tolerated. Almost unprecedented in the entire region’s contemporary history: A Catholic, Tariq Aziz, served as Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
Even before the United States invaded Iraq, the repercussions of overthrowing a secular dictator in the Middle East were glaringly obvious to analysts — then-President George W. Bush was even warned of the consequences by his own advisors. The public was alerted, too, or at least could have been had citizens taken the time to perform a simple online search. Just a few weeks before American forces invaded, analyst and political-science expert Glen Chancy, a member of the Orthodox Church, wrote a piece explaining exactly what was likely to happen to Christians in the wake of war.
“This may come as a shock to many Americans, whose image of Saddam has been framed by comparisons to Adolf Hitler, but the prevalent fear among Assyrians [Christians], both in Iraq and abroad, is that what comes next after an American invasion will be worse,” he wrote. “Should the Assyrians be so concerned about being liberated by U.S. military power? If history is our guide, they shouldn’t be afraid. They should be terrified.”
Chancy made no effort to hide the murderous and barbaric nature of Saddam’s tyranny. But the Iraqi tyrant was brutal to all, and unlike under most Middle Eastern regimes, Christians in Iraq were doing very well. “Saddam’s regime has permitted a degree of free practice for Christians that is positively enviable compared to the situations experienced in such U.S. ‘allies’ as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” he noted. “Christmas and Easter decorations always abound, even in Baghdad, and attending church does not require an act of courage.”
After the United States invaded, however, everything changed. “The Assyrians have survived the coming of the Persians, the Arabs, and the Turks,” Chancy observed. “It remains to be seen if they will survive the coming of the Americans.” Unfortunately, as Chancy and countless other analysts warned, Christians did not fare well. With the fall of Hussein’s regime, Islamist militias vented their fury not just on the “infidel” invaders, but on local Christians, too.
Businesses were seized, churches were bombed, women were raped, Sharia law was brutally enforced, and Christians, including women and children, were viciously slaughtered. Muslim extremists throughout the nation and Kurdish nationalists in northern areas — supposedly U.S. allies — all participated in the massacres and persecution.
A year after the U.S. invasion, Chancy’s dire warnings had become reality. “In fact, the current policies of the Bush administration are threatening to absolutely devastate ancient and pious Christian communities whose blood will be on all our heads,” he observed in late 2004, saying the American people had become accomplices in the slaughter and destruction of large segments of the world’s Christian population.
“To deal with the subject honestly, it must be acknowledged that it almost appears as if President George Walker Bush were waging a global war against Christians,” he wrote. “Had President George W. Bush set out with the intentional goal of destroying the Christian population in Iraq, it is hard to see how he could have been more effective than he has been to date.” That was in 2004.
Since then, the situation has deteriorated further. In October of 2010, for example, Islamic extremists under the banner of the “Islamic State of Iraq” attacked Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad. More than 50 Christians were murdered including two priests. The same church had already been bombed in 2004.
In August of 2011, a series of apparently coordinated attacks on more than a dozen churches left over 65 dead. In 2006, a 14-year-old boy was reportedly crucified. A priest was also beheaded. Christian women and girls, meanwhile, are also among the victims, being routinely targeted for rape and execution.
The new U.S.-imposed “democracy” regime remains unable or unwilling to do much about the problem. Perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, and in more than a few cases, officials have been suspected of involvement. The brave Christians who remain in Iraq live in complete terror.
“Why did they come? To do what? They came to give us freedom — the freedom to kill one another,” Auxiliary Chaldean Bishop of Baghdad Shelmon Warduni told the Christian relief agency Aid to the Church in Need. Countless senior church figures have expressed similar thoughts in recent years.
“Everybody hates the Christian. Yes, during Saddam Hussein, we were living in peace — nobody attacked us. We had human rights, we had protection from the government. But now, nobody protects us,” explained Archbishop Athanasios Dawood of the Syrian Orthodox Church, accusing the U.S. government of making empty promises. “Since 2003, there has been no protection for Christians. We’ve lost many people and they’ve bombed our homes, our churches, monasteries.”
Top Vatican officials have pointed to the tragedy facing Christians in Iraq as well. After blasting the “pre-emptive” U.S. war as a “crime against peace” before the invasion began, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Jean-Louis Tauran noted in a 2007 interview that Christians, “paradoxically, were more protected under the dictatorship.”
Even the U.S. government’s own research confirms the ongoing tragedy. “In Iraq, members of the country’s smallest religious minorities suffer from targeted violence, threats, and intimidation, against which the government does not provide effective protection,” noted the USCIRF in its 2011 annual report. “These violations are systematic, ongoing and egregious, and perpetrators are rarely identified, investigated, or punished, creating a climate of impunity.”
In fact, beyond failing to protect Christians, the new regime installed by Western forces is actually part of the problem. “The smallest minorities also experience a pattern of official discrimination, marginalization, and neglect,” the report stated. “The violence, forced displacement, discrimination, marginalization, and neglect suffered by members of these [Christian and other minority] groups threaten these ancient communities’ very existence in Iraq.”
Analysts debate the causes of Christianity’s virtual extermination in Iraq under U.S. military occupation. Some say the American government was not prepared to deal with the situation. Others contend that it simply had other priorities and was not sufficiently concerned with the fate of Christians and minority groups.
International relations and geopolitics analyst Lee Jay Walker, for example, wrote in the Seoul Times that “the destruction of Christianity in Iraq is taking place because of misguided American policies and because the Christian community is not deemed to be important.” No matter the reason, however, it is undeniable that Christians in Iraq have suffered tremendously as a direct result of U.S. foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the purpose of the war — WMDs, terror, democracy, freedom? — remains as elusive as ever. But the constitution of Iraq, imposed with Western assistance, has come under fire from around the globe. “Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation,” it states. “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.” The document also enshrines big-government control over healthcare, education, employment, housing, and virtually every other sector.
As in Iraq, the history of Christianity in Afghanistan is believed to go back almost 2,000 years. According to numerous sources, the apostle Thomas set out for the region and preached the Gospel throughout several areas that are now part of modern-day Afghanistan and India. The so-called “Church of the East” thrived in the region for almost 1,000 years until the arrival of strict Islamism in the 13th and 14th centuries resulted in the destruction of churches and the attempted eradication of Christianity. Still, a small remnant of Christians is believed to have survived in Afghanistan over the centuries.
The Afghan Taliban — largely armed and trained in the 1970s and 1980s by the U.S. government and its allies — was brutal when it finally seized power, especially to Christians. Once the coalition of Islamic extremists took over Kabul, it destroyed churches and viciously sought to stamp out Christianity. But despite the persecution, a sort of “underground” church continued to exist throughout the group’s murderous reign.
According to the U.S. State Department, the hidden Christian minority inside Afghanistan is estimated at between 500 and 8,000 adherents. Other estimates place the number even higher, but it is impossible to know — publicly admitting to be a Christian would be a death sentence. Thousands more live as exiles outside of the country.
Incredibly, since the U.S. occupation began in 2001, experts say the situation for Christians in Afghanistan has not only failed to improve — it may have actually become worse. Even regular Afghans now associate Christians with the widely unpopular foreign occupation. And the new government is openly hostile to Christianity, which is, for all intents and purposes, illegal.
Meanwhile, the Taliban continue to rule over vast swaths of the nation, waging “jihad” against any Christians they may discover — foreign or domestic. Plus, the Obama administration is desperately seeking to negotiate with the group in a bid that could see it eventually restored to power. Hardly encouraging to U.S. troops or local Christians.
Finally, the last remaining public Christian church in Afghanistan was demolished in 2010. Apparently the courts refused to uphold Christians’ claim to the property. And the U.S.-backed regime has not issued a single new building permit for churches.
Open Doors’ 2012 World Watch List, a yearly ranking of the worst regimes in terms of Christian persecution, ranked Afghanistan as number two, up from third place the year before. The only nation worse than Afghanistan was the mass-murdering communist dictatorship ruling North Korea, which, perhaps ironically, also receives significant amounts of aid from the U.S. government. Saudi Arabia came in third.
For Afghanistan too, official U.S. entities acknowledge the tragic situation. “The government’s level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals,” noted the 2010 State Department Religious Freedom report almost a decade after U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the government. That decline came after President Obama’s military “surge,” too.
“Negative societal opinions and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity,” the report noted. “The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom.”
In its 2011 report, the USCIRF reported similar findings. “Conditions for religious freedom remain exceedingly poor for minority religious communities and dissenting members of the majority faith [Islam], despite the presence of U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan for almost 10 years and the substantial investment of lives, resources, and expertise by the United States and international community,” it noted, adding that even the government was prosecuting people for such “crimes” as apostasy and blasphemy. “The 2004 Afghan constitution has effectively established Islamic law as the law of the land.”
The new Afghan constitution, imposed with help from the U.S. government, states that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam” — Islam being the “official” religion of Afghanistan. And because certain interpretations of the Koran call for executing those who leave Islam, the few remaining Christians live under permanent threat of martyrdom at the hands of the U.S. government-backed regime or the Taliban, America’s former ally.
After a media broadcast showed Afghans being baptized, U.S.-backed “President” Hamid Karzai vowed to hunt down the new Christians. Some 20 people were reportedly arrested. A series of official prosecutions of Christians and converts has indeed helped shine the international spotlight on the issue — putting global pressure on the regime to back down in a few cases. But converts like Sayed Mussa, for example, have been imprisoned, raped, tortured, and prosecuted for their faith in Christ. Mussa and others like him were facing the death penalty, but massive global outcries may have saved their lives.
Of course, the U.S.-subsidized persecution has not gone unnoticed. Some American officials have even complained. “We cannot justify taxpayer dollars going to a government that allows the same restrictions on basic human rights that existed under the Taliban,” charged Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) in a letter to then-U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry. So far, however, it appears that little has changed.
This is like organizing “40 Days of Prayer” in support of death camps and gas chambers.
Ba’al, Ashtoreth, Molech…their names throughout history have changed, but their demands are always the same: sacrifice children in exchange for “prosperity” and for your own selfish convenience.
The god that these “religious ” pro-abortionists are praying to is a god they’ve created in their own image: a god of death who will smile on their murderous actions.
A local Planned Parenthood abortion business in California is copycatting the 40 Days for Life campaign, which recently resulted in saving the lives of more than 700 unborn children from abortion. The abortion business has set up its own 40 Days of Prayer for the local abortion center.
“We trust you to decide about your sexuality, having your children, and planning your family,” says a flier promoting the Humbolt County Clergy for Choice event. “We are religious leaders who value all human life. We accept that religions differ about when life begins. We are here to help.”
“We believe that human life is holy. That’s why we believe in your right to choose to be a parent or not,” the pro-abortion religious leaders continue. “It can be helpful to talk with friends you trust, with licensed counselors, and with whatever religious person you choose. Humboldt County Clergy are available to talk with you about the spiritual aspects of choice. Find out more by calling Six Rivers Planned Parenthood.”
“Humboldt County Clergy for Choice invite you to set aside time with your family and community to support women and reproductive justice for 40 days from March 18th through April 27th,” they say.
The flyer promotes specific prayers for abortion for each day:
* “Day 1: Today we pray for women for whom pregnancy is not good news, that they know they have choices.”
* “Day 34: Today we give thanks for abortion escorts who guide women safely through hostile gauntlets of protestors.”
H/T Weasel Zippers
Christians are being driven out of the Middle East by a scourge of persecution, especially since the “Arab Spring” radical Islamic uprisings. Yet Obama celebrates the rise of Islamic fascism and ignores the plight of millions of Christians who are being systematically exterminated as a result.
The church in Bethlehem had survived more than 1,000 years, through wars and conquests, but its future now seemed in jeopardy. Spray-painted all over its ancient stone walls were the Arabic letters for Hamas. The year was 1994 and the city was about to pass from Israeli to Palestinian control. I was meeting with the church’s clergy as an Israeli government adviser on inter-religious affairs. They were despondent but too frightened to file a complaint. The same Hamas thugs who had desecrated their sanctuary were liable to take their lives.
The trauma of those priests is now commonplace among Middle Eastern Christians. Their share of the region’s population has plunged from 20% a century ago to less than 5% today and falling. In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer.
As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries. The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren’t endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%.
In a democracy, a majority vote is all it takes for the majority to oppress the rights of the minority. That’s why promoting “democracy” in countries with majority Muslim populations who base their constitutions on Sharia law can lead to such tragic abuses of human rights.
This is also why America is a REPUBLIC, NOT A DEMOCRACY. We believe in unalienable rights, protected by our constitution, that not even a majority vote can take away.