Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: Stampede Kills

A graduation celebration turned into a nightmare when a fight began and a tear gas canister exploded. 500 people were in the Venezuelan club in Caracas and 17 died during the ensuing stampede to escape. The Associated Press reports, “Family members wept and embraced one another after identifying the remains of their loved ones at a nearby hospital.”

Prayer List

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the families and friends of the deceased.
* Pray for physical healing for the five people injured in the incident.
* Pray for the teenagers detained for allegedly using tear gas in the club to repent of their sins.
* Pray for Christians to provide emotional support for the people impacted by the explosion and stampede.

Unreached People of the Day

Monday: Mwani in Mozambique
Tuesday: Bulang in China

Operation World Prayer Focus

Tuesday: Iceland
Wednesday: India: Andhra Pradesh

Birthday Prayer Lists

Have you prayed for the salvation of all your friends? Why not turn your Facebook friend list into a prayer list? It shouldn't take long to pray for each friend on their birthday.

Some Christians also pray for entertainers, politicians and media personalities on their birthday.

Religious News Websites

Baptist Press

Berean Research

  • Holding on.
    Discernment Ministry. What do you think of when you hear or read that term? Does your nose wrinkle a little? Does your upper lip curl in disgust? A lot of good, solid, caring, sheep-loving discerning writers are being told not to quit their day jobs due to the actions of a few. Whether those actions […]The post Holding on. appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 6 days ago 9 Oct 18, 2:21am -
  • Liberation-Not For Everybody
    Youth Testify, a new program launched by Advocates for Youth and the National Network of Abortion Funds is “helping young people advocate for their reproductive rights and reframe the narrative around abortion.” Reframe the narrative? According to Peter Jones, re-framing means that “not a word of warning will be given to young women about the death knell that will forever […]The post Liberation-Not For Everybody appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 13 days ago 2 Oct 18, 4:11pm -
  • “Gay Christian” Event Planned with Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church
    Mark Dever is the senior pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., author, speaker and the president of 9Marks, a ministry that encourages pastors to go to the Bible for instruction on how to lead their churches. Even though Dever’s doctrinal teaching is said to be stellar, this popular pastor is among those […]The post “Gay Christian” Event Planned with Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 17 days ago 28 Sep 18, 3:08pm -
  • Andy Stanley: “Most Former Christians Still Have a Crush on Jesus”
    Megachurch leader Andy Stanley has made some interesting statements over the past few years. Most notably are his statements distancing himself from the authority of Scripture. Easy to mark and avoid a teacher like this, right? Actually, not so easy. Stanley’s many marketable brands include curricula for children, teens, adults, couples…and many well-meaning church staff […]The post Andy Stanley: “Most Former Christians Still Have a Crush on Jesus” appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 19 days ago 26 Sep 18, 10:36am -
  • Downplaying the Devil in NAR
    Should you pray for God’s protection from being deceived and then stop worrying about being deceived by the devil? Likewise, once you pray for protection should you then let your guard down, not worry about your need for protection, and embrace all–and I mean all–manifestations of the miraculous? Holly Pivec explains why putting aside spiritual discernment […]The post Downplaying the Devil in NAR appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 20 days ago 25 Sep 18, 4:14pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • Free at Last: Andrew Brunson Released by Turkey After Two Years
    American pastor was imprisoned on false charges of terrorism.American pastor Andrew Brunson has been released after being detained for two years in Turkey.At a hearing this morning, a Turkish court freed him from judicial control, which lifts his house arrest and travel ban.Despite a guilty verdict sentencing him to 3 years, 1 month, and 15 days in prison, Brunson may return home to the United States as soon as today due to good behavior and time already served.NBC News broke the news yesterday of the expected deal between Turkey and the United States over Brunson, a North Carolina pastor who had worked in Izmir for decades and was arrested on terrorism and espionage charges in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016.US officials and religious freedom advocates considered the charges against Brunson to be erroneous, and multiple witnesses retracted their testimonies against him during today’s hearing.Trump administration officials were optimistic but cautious that Turkey would follow through on the deal, reported The Washington Post. The deal would likely lift recent US sanctions in exchange for Brunson’s release by being sentenced today to time already served.Officials expect Brunson to “be handed back his passport and put on a plane to the US,” reported The Wall Street Journal.World Watch Monitor was with Brunson and his family and lawyers in Turkey at 8 p.m. local time (1 p.m. eastern time in the US). He was expected to leave for the airport at about 9 p.m. local time/2 p.m. Eastern.Facing up to 35 years in prison if convicted, Brunson flatly denied all charges. He had declared in court, “I am an innocent man on all these charges. I reject them. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus’ name.”After being held in a number of different ...Continue reading...
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  • Eugene Peterson Enters Hospice Care
    Beloved pastor and author nears completion of his long obedience in the same direction.“Every moment in this man’s presence is sacred.”So concluded the son of Eugene Peterson in a weekend announcement that the 85-year-old retired pastor and bestselling author of The Message and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is receiving hospice care.Robert Creech, a professor of Christian ministries at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, shared the announcement from Eric Peterson on Facebook.“Eugene Peterson has encouraged, formed, and often literally saved the ministry of more than one pastor over the years through his writing and thinking (I would include myself in that list),” wrote Creech in a Saturday post now shared more than 1,000 times. “He has refreshed Scripture for many through his thoughtful paraphrase of the Bible published as The Message.“He has taught us to pray,” Creech continued. “It is time for those who have benefited from his ministry to return the favor to him and his family with prayer over the next several weeks.”This past Tuesday, Peterson was hospitalized after “a sudden and dramatic turn in his health caused by an infection,” wrote his son on Friday to friends and family (with the encouragement that they share the news). “He is now being treated for pneumonia and is responding well to the IV antibiotics. He is eating again, and went for a very short walk this afternoon. He is much improved as of today.”Eric Peterson continued:Elizabeth and I joined Jan and Leif in his room this afternoon for a meeting with his health care team of three doctors. They confirmed for us that the two main medical issues he is facing—heart failure and dementia—are advanced and progressing. Based on their recommendation, ...Continue reading...
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  • Renewing Your Church: Recalibrating Your Vision to Create Sustainability
    I narrowed the process of church recalibration down to four phases.I remember the first Sunday of January 2004 like it was yesterday. I had just been elected Lead Pastor of New Life Church, the church where I was saved and had served as youth pastor. It was my first official Sunday, and our Superintendent was going to “commission” me as Lead Pastor.It snowed the entire night before (In Seattle, snow shuts down everything.) The Superintendent called, saying he couldn’t get there. So, I was up to preach—my first time as Lead Pastor. Even better, only 30% of the normal Sunday crowd arrived! Nevertheless, I stood at the pulpit and started preaching, not realizing the winding, complex road that lay ahead.New Life was a good church, but it had plateaued. The church was in a dangerous place, what I now describe as “deceptively healthy.” It had signs of health, but if not revitalized, it would slowly die. I knew it needed new vision and leadership, however I had no understanding of the courage this would take––or the pain it would cause.I soon realized that the changes needed were more than a new preacher or some quick cosmetic modifications. New Life was a choir-driven church, with a strong Sunday school and midweek program. I recognized that necessary changes would be deep and cultural: music style, discipleship approaches, transition to an intentional church model, and a change of core priorities.The first three years were really hard. I quickly learned, “It would be easier to change the Bible than the music style.” Many at New Life saw change as a threat; they watered down the gospel and lessened the church's impact.I remember the day when the top giver left the church. Over lunch, he said, “I am leaving. I don’t agree ...Continue reading...
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  • The Difference A Metaphor Makes: Men & Women Working Together
    Unearthing and critiquing the guiding metaphor about women is one of the most important leadership tasks in our era. Each workplace has a guiding metaphor about women, and while most never bring it out into the open for honest dialogue and critique, it communicates loudly throughout an organization’s culture, policies, processes, and how people relate with one another.As I reflect on research I conducted with talented women from approximately 30 nations who are serving and leading in God’s mission, I believe unearthing and critiquing the guiding metaphor about women in our ministries and workplaces is one of the most important leadership tasks in our era.Females make up more than half of the people in our congregations and more than half of the global mission work force. To do their best work, they need a guiding metaphor that is affirming of their gender and humanity.Women as Temptresses Who Cause Men to StumbleSometimes, it feels like the prevailing metaphor in many evangelical ministries and workplaces is “women are temptresses.” Ever since Eve took a bite of that forbidden fruit, it can feel like women are blamed for many of men's shortcomings and character defects,especially in the area of sexuality.In all my years of ministry, I have yet to meet one woman leading in God's mission who had the intent of snaring a man and leading him down a destructive sexual path.Nevertheless, because of this guiding metaphor, women leaders are often separated from men and frequently shut out of opportunities that impede their development. I believe in exercising wisdom when it comes to sexual temptation, just as I adhere to wisdom when establishing processes in other areas such as integrity regarding how money is handled.There are basic principles that are simply wise to implement in a wide array of situations because ...Continue reading...
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  • A Day of Rejoicing! Lessons from Two Years of Petition for Pastor Andrew Brunson
    After years of prayer before the Lord, Andrew Brunson has been set free.Today, after years of prayer and petition before the Lord, Andrew Brunson has been set free from imprisonment in Turkey. Praise be to God.Many of us have been following the news throughout the duration of Brunson’s unlawful detainment. We watched in confusion as authorities arrested him in October of 2016, sending him to a detention facility.I’m very thankful for the work of President Trump and his adminstration in working for Pastor Brunson’s release, and particularly for his vocal advocacy.Persecution is RealWe were horrified to hear the accusations made by Turkish authorities implying his “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” We waited impatiently as Congressional figures, President Trump, Vice President Pence, and so many others eagerly advocated for his release.If anything, this long period of waiting opened the eyes of churchgoers in the West to an important reality: Persecution is real. It’s not just something that happened back in the second and third centuries during the days of the early church.Still to this day, it happens all over the world to our brothers and sisters in Christ.The right to independently exercise one’s religions beliefs—to worship God without fear of repercussion or government intervention—is not afforded to all people everywhere. Consider this reality as you go to church this Sunday, recognizing the blessing that it is to come before God so freely; we mustn’t so easily take these liberties for granted.Even in the 21st century, we understand that religious freedom is still a cause worth championing. Just because we don’t see persecution or discrimination of this magnitude happening in our own backyard doesn’t deny ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • Donbas: Donetsk: Places of worship seized, sealed
    A Baptist Church in Novoazovsk is the latest place of worship known to have been confiscated by the rebel Donetsk People's Republic. Rebels are known to have earlier seized a Mosque, a Baptist Church and Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Halls. Rebel officials claim many were abandoned, but communities deny this.
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  • Tajikistan: Hijab-wearing and beards ban continues
    Tajikistan continues beard and hijab-wearing bans, and has forced one couple to divorce. Police set up a roadblock to enforce the bans, which are also been enforced in schools and universities. Officials have refused to give Forum 18 a legal reason for the bans.
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  • Azerbaijan: Fines, censorship amid state control of Islam
    Agsu court fined three Muslims after state religious affairs officials and secret police raided a home religious meeting. A Baku court rejected theologian Elshad Miri's appeal against a state ban on his book on Islam. The government must explain to the European Court of Human Rights why it jailed Sardar Babayev for leading mosque prayers.
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  • Kazakhstan: Senate approves more religious freedom restrictions
    Parliament's upper house adopted almost unchanged wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and 10 other laws in both first and second readings on 27 September. The Amending Law - described by one Muslim as "extremely harsh" - returns to the lower house, the Majilis, before final adoption.
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  • Kazakhstan: Senate to adopt "extremely harsh" religion amendments?
    Parliament's upper house is due to hold its first and possibly also second reading on 27 September of wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and other laws. "This draft Law is extremely harsh, harms the rights of believers and should not be adopted in its current form," a Muslim told Forum 18.
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Get Religion

  • newForget politics and focus on faith: Thinking about that 'evangelical' puzzle again
    Every now and then a columnist faces a writing challenge that requires a call to the copy desk asking what is or what is not appropriate language in a family newspaper.Believe it or not, this even happens to folks like me who cover religion.Consider, for example, this passage from one of my “On Religion” columns back in 2011 about debates — in journalism and in academia — about the meaning of the much-abused Godbeat f-word, “fundamentalist.” Anyone who expects scholars to stand strong and defend a basic, historic definition will be disappointed. As philosopher Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame once quipped, among academics "fundamentalist" has become a "term of abuse or disapprobation" that most often resembles the casual semi-curse, "sumbitch." "Still, there is a bit more to the meaning. ... In addition to its emotive force, it does have some cognitive content, and ordinarily denotes relatively conservative theological views," noted Plantinga, in an Oxford Press publication. "That makes it more like 'stupid sumbitch.' ... Its cognitive content is given by the phrase 'considerably to the right, theologically speaking, of me and my enlightened friends.' "Now, in the Donald Trump era, similar arguments have raged about the meaning of the word “evangelical.”As a rule, journalists have — #DUH — attempted to turn “evangelical” into a political word, as opposed to a term linked to specific doctrines and church history. Many evangelical leaders have attempted to point reporters to the work of historian David Bebbington, who produced a short, focused set of four evangelical essentials. Here is one version of that: Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus
    - 17 hours ago 14 Oct 18, 6:00pm -
  • Same-sex dating on evangelical campus: Are there two sides of this hot-button story?
    Thirty years ago, I asked a gay theologian in Denver a blunt question, while we were thinking out loud about the distant possibility that gay marriage would become a reality.The question: Did he know anyone in the gay theological world — this man was well connected — who thought that gay women and men should remain virgins until taking vows and forming a monogamous, lifelong relationship with a partner?After laughing out loud, he said, “No.” The debates, he said, would be about the meaning of the word “monogamous”? Few gay men, in particular, would accept what he called the “twin rocking chairs into the future” approach to absolute sexual fidelity.About 15 years ago, I asked another gay activist if LGBTQ people lobbying for change in Christian higher education had considered attacking a very specific fault line: If Christian college leaders asked students to promise not to have sex outside of marriage, what would be the doctrinal grounds for banning gay dating?He said: That’s a very interesting point. That’s going to be an issue someday.Put those two questions together and you get the tensions on the campus of Azusa Pacific University, where administrators briefly approved a policy stating that gay romance — short of intercourse — was as welcome on the campus as straight. The trustees quickly nixed that revolutionary change.During this week’s “Crossroads” podcast (click here to tune that in), host Todd Wilken and I talked about the APU furor, focusing on a particularly lousy, one-sided news report on the subject that ran in The Los Angeles Times — a newspaper once known for its quality religion-news work.
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 2:20pm -
  • Friday Five: Wuerl resignation, freed American pastor, Tebow's J-word, Texas accused, Mormon identity
    Among the religion news breaking today: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.As the Washington Post reports, Wuerl is a “trusted papal ally who became a symbol among many Catholics for what they regard as the church’s defensive and weak response to clerical sex abuse.”But even in letting Wuerl go, Francis offered him a “soft landing,” as the Post described it.Stay tuned for more GetReligion analysis of media coverage of that big story.Another major religion story today: American pastor Andrew Brunson has been released after being detained for two years in Turkey, as Christianity Today reports. Look for more commentary on that news, too.In the meantime, let’s dive into the Friday Five:1. Religion story of the week: Tim Funk’s exceptional Charlotte Observer deep dive into the sordid history of a North Carolina pedophile — a former United Methodist pastor — is my pick for must-read Godbeat story this week.As I noted in a post earlier this week, Funk’s 5,000-word report “is both conversational in tone and multilayered in terms of the depth of information provided.”
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 5:00pm -
  • On the Society of St. John: Sometimes reporters (like me) just can't see the story
    Although I’ve been blogging all summer about various scandals in the Catholic Church, I’d like to include a story in the past that was staring me in the face — yet I absolutely missed it.It’s a news story about a religious order in northeastern Pennsylvania. Things sounded good in all their fundraising brochures, so I showed up in isolated Shohola, Pa., one day in the summer of 2000, to write them up.I had no idea there was a ton of sexual abuse going on in their boys’ boarding school in Elmhurst, which was near Scranton. I believed everything told me about this order’s dreams of building a medieval village-style society in the foothills of the Poconos.Fast forward 18 years to this NBC-TV story. On Dec. 18, 2001, a desperate North Carolina dad wrote a letter to the Vatican asking the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to discipline a group of priests at a Pennsylvania boys’ boarding school who he said took turns sexually abusing his teenage son. The priests were members of an organization called the Society of Saint John, the father wrote, and Bishop James Timlin, then the head of the Diocese of Scranton, had allowed them to take up residence at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania. “How long will the Bishop of Scranton tolerate this Society of Priests and promote them and their plans?” the father, whose name NBC News is not disclosing to protect his son’s identity, asked in the 2001 letter.All roads, as we will see, eventually lead to an explosive grand jury report that came out of Pennsylvania this summer. The answer turned out to be two more years. It was not until 2003, after the man’s son filed a federal lawsuit, that the Society of Saint John was finally disbanded in Scranton. The lawsuit accused two of the society’s priests of cultivating “intimate relationships with students” and of plying students “with alcohol, as well as sleeping with them.” The society was singled out in the scathing grand jury report that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released in August, which included its leader and three members, along with 297 other Pennsylvania clerics that he branded “predator priests.” … Speaking publicly for the first time since he and his parents filed a federal lawsuit against the Diocese of Scranton, Society of Saint John, St. Gregory’s Academy, Timlin, Urrutigoity and others in March 2002, which eventually led to the society’s demise, “John Doe” said that the abuse by three Society of Saint John priests from 1997 to 2000 nearly wrecked his life. All three were named in the grand jury report.My Washington Times article on this order ran in August 2000. (Although my byline has been removed, I did write the piece.) Here is a snippet: SHOHOLA, Pa. — There was a time when the Roman Catholic faith was found everywhere in medieval Europe, where faith and culture were one. Today, in an American society where faith and culture are mostly at odds, a new order of priests and a handful of families plan to re-create a Catholic medieval city on a 1,025-acre tract on a small mountain overlooking the Delaware River. With the help of the Internet and computerized mailing lists, the Society of St. John is busily raising $300 million for what could be one of 21st-century America's more unusual social experiments. "This is not Utopia," the Rev. Eric Ensey, 34, tells visitors. "We are not building the perfect society. We are trying to bring people who are human so we can witness to the beauty of the lifestyle. We wanted to make it possible for people to have access to the sources of the faith, to beauty and a Catholic ambiance."
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 1:00pm -
  • Will white evangelical women push Ted Cruz challenger Beto O'Rourke over the top? Not so fast
    My baby sister, Christy, is a conservative Christian and a registered Republican in Texas. She never has voted for a Democrat (she insists her vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election actually was a vote against Hillary Clinton).However, Christy, who is in her mid-40s, told me she’s torn on the high-profile U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.“I can’t support Beto because he’s pro-choice, and I just think Cruz is a liar,” my sister said in a text message.I thought about Christy this week as I read a New York Times story from Dallas on some white evangelical women — who have supported anti-abortion candidates in the past — putting their support behind O’Rourke: DALLAS — After church on a recent Sunday, Emily Mooney smiled as she told her girlfriends about her public act of rebellion. She had slapped a “Beto for Senate’’ sticker on her S.U.V. and driven it to her family’s evangelical church.  But then, across the parking lot, deep in conservative, Bible-belt Texas, she spotted a sign of support: the same exact sticker endorsing Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who is challenging Senator Ted Cruz. “I was like, who is it?” she exclaimed. “Who in this church is doing this?” Listening to Ms. Mooney’s story, the four other evangelical moms standing around a kitchen island began to buzz with excitement. All of them go to similarly conservative churches in Dallas. All are longtime Republican voters, solely because they oppose abortion rights. Only one broke ranks to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But this November, they have all decided to vote for Mr. O’Rourke, the Democratic upstart who is on the front line of trying to upend politics in deep-red Texas.  In the Senate race, one of the most unexpectedly tight in the nation, any small shift among evangelical voters — long a stable base for Republicans — could be a significant loss for Mr. Cruz, who, like President Trump, has made white evangelicals the bulwark of his support.If you’re unfamiliar with O’Rourke, he’s a rock star among the national Democratic Party and a favorite of national news media eager to explore whether his candidacy might turn Texas — long a red state — blue:
    - 4 days ago 11 Oct 18, 10:35pm -

Mission Network News

  • Somalia sees bloodiest terror attack in country’s history (MNN) -- Over 300 people were killed in Somalia's bloodiest attackThe post Somalia sees bloodiest terror attack in country’s history appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • Emergency medical flight gets conjoined twin infants to life-saving surgery (MNN/MAF) -- Conjoined twins saved through ministry’s medical flightThe post Emergency medical flight gets conjoined twin infants to life-saving surgery appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • Christmas short-term mission opportunities!'l (MNN) -- Short-term mission trip opportunities this ChristmasThe post Christmas short-term mission opportunities! appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • The faces and stories behind World Food Day (MNN) -- On World Food Day, ministry spotlighting long-term solutionsThe post The faces and stories behind World Food Day appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 16 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • State elections draw near in India, spark anti-Christian sentiment (MNN) -- Christians are being watched closely The post State elections draw near in India, spark anti-Christian sentiment appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 16 Oct 17, 4:00am -

PE News

  • newA Cold Cup of Water
    Church’s compassion fosters dialogue with LGBTQ community.
    - 4 hours ago 15 Oct 18, 7:00am -
  • Once Blind, but Now I See
    Pastor Philip Dunn regains his sight after 14 years.
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 2:30pm -
  • Renewed Vision for Outreach and Growth
    First Assembly of God in Humboldt, Tennessee, has experienced a renewal as the church undertakes the Acts 2 Journey.
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 11:00am -
  • Heartache as Training
    Hospice chaplain who lost his wife to ALS empathizes with the grieving.
    - 4 days ago 11 Oct 18, 12:00pm -
  • This Week in AG History -- Oct. 11, 1953
    At first, people questioned whether or not Speed the Light could possibly be a sustainable missions-giving effort . . . that was 73 years ago.
    - 4 days ago 11 Oct 18, 11:00am -

Persecution Blog

  • Missionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' Story
    Growing up the home of missionary parents in Ecuador, Gene Jordan has always known the story of five men—Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian—who gave their lives in the jungle to reach an isolated Indian...      Related StoriesNate Saint Memorial School: End of an EraVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 24 Jul 17, 4:06pm -
  • After Arrest, "I Was Terrified"
    “Dr. Andrew” is working to share the gospel in the Middle East, but he hasn’t always had a heart to share Christ’s love with Muslims. Growing up in a nominal Christian family, Andrew was harassed by Muslims his whole life....      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio in Central Asia 
    - 27 Jun 17, 10:07pm -
  • Being a True Vessel for God's Use
    “Brother Matthew” is a pastor and church planter in South Asia, working among Muslims to share the gospel. After threats against his life and an attack on his brother, he was encouraged by family members to leave his country. He...      Related StoriesVOM Radio in Central AsiaAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified"Openness in Pakistan? 
    - 7 Jun 17, 4:56pm -
  • VOM Radio in Central Asia
    "Tanya" is a Christian worker in Central Asia, living and ministering in a country where she must always be cautious about what she says openly and who she says it around. Listen to hear how Christians in the former Soviet...      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified" 
    - 9 May 17, 7:17pm -
  • Nate Saint Memorial School: End of an Era
    The end of an era comes next month. In August 1985, I clutched my mom’s hand and squeaked my rubber flip-flopped way down the gravel path from the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) “base” to the cinderblock Nate Saint Memorial school....      Related StoriesMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 27 Apr 17, 8:14pm -

Religion News Service

  • newUS pastor freed from Turkey prays with Trump in Oval Office
    (AP) — Andrew Brunson fell to one knee in the Oval Office and placed his hand on President Donald Trump’s shoulder in prayer on Saturday, asking God to provide the president “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”The post US pastor freed from Turkey prays with Trump in Oval Office appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 21 hours ago 14 Oct 18, 1:28pm -
  • Pope’s canonization of Paul VI, Romero personal, political
    (AP) — The two towering figures will be canonized along with five others in a ceremony designed to show that holiness can be attained in all walks of life.The post Pope’s canonization of Paul VI, Romero personal, political appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 5:34pm -
  • Pope defrocks 2 more Chilean priests accused of sex abuse
    (AP) — Pope Francis on Saturday defrocked two more Chilean prelates accused of sexually abusing minors, and to show greater transparency about how he’s responding to the church’s global sex abuse crisis, the pontiff publicly explained why they were removed.The post Pope defrocks 2 more Chilean priests accused of sex abuse appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 5:20pm -
  • The new anti-papalism
    Francis' opponents flirt with heresy.The post The new anti-papalism appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 12:36pm -
  • Photos of the Week
    This week’s gallery includes images from a Yiddish language festival, voting in Cameroon and more.The post Photos of the Week appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 1:00am -

Today's Creation Moment

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    - 64 days ago 12 Aug 18, 11:46am -
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    - 88 days ago 19 Jul 18, 5:09pm -
  • Today’s Creation Moments Email Sign Up
    - 91 days ago 16 Jul 18, 12:07am -
    BUY THE BOOK, GET A FREE DVD!   You already know Ian Taylor as the host of the Creation Moments radio program. But did you know he is also the author of the classic work on the history of Darwinism, its role in today’s social ills and the part it will play in creating a one-world government? Even today, you can find earlier editions of In the Minds of Men on eBay for $100 or more. But now you can get the revised and expanded hardcover edition for only $34.99! Plus, we’ll also send you – free of charge – the DVD God of Wonders! BUY THE BOOK … In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order 6th Edition Revised and Expanded  In the Minds of Men covers such diverse fields as history, geology, medicine and physics … yet the author has been careful to provide clear but entertaining reading, full of human interest and packed with valuable insights. With its extensive footnotes, more than 180 illustrations, full index and complete bibliography, the book is one you’ll turn to again and again in the coming years. Interest level: High School-Adult  $34.99 Hardcover 518 Pages Buy The Book GET A FREE DVD! ($19.99 VALUE) FREE WHEN....
    - 92 days ago 15 Jul 18, 9:43pm -
  • Radio Archive
    Current Volume: Volume 192 Volume 191 Volume 190 Volume 189 Volume 176 Volume 163 Volume 150 Volume 137 Volume 188 Volume 175 Volume 162 Volume 149 Volume 136 Volume 187 Volume 174 Volume 161 Volume 148 Volume 135 Volume 186 Volume 173 Volume 160 Volume 147 Volume 134 Volume 185 Volume 172 Volume 159 Volume 146 Volume 133 Volume 184 Volume 171 Volume 158 Volume 145 Volume 132 Volume 183 Volume 170 Volume 157 Volume 144 Volume 131 Volume 182 Volume 169 Volume 156 Volume 143 Volume 130 Volume 181 Volume 168 Volume 155 Volume 142 Volume 129 Volume 180 Volume 167 Volume 154 Volume 141 Volume 128 Volume 179 Volume 166 Volume 153 Volume 140 Volume 127 Volume 178 Volume 165 Volume 152 Volume 139 Volume 126 Volume 177 Volume 164 Volume 151 Volume 138 Volume 124   Each transcript has been written by Pastor Paul Bartz and designed to present a simple truth which upholds Biblical witness about the work of our Creator. Foreign translations of the broadcast are provided on the following websites:– Creation Moments in Czech – English and Russian – Creation Moments in Romanian
    - 98 days ago 9 Jul 18, 6:49pm -

United Methodist News Service

  • Seeing a Way Forward: Bishop Steiner Ball
    West Virginia Conference’s Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball talks about the Way Forward process and offers brief overviews of the three plans being considered by the 2019 special General Conference.
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 12:00am -
  • Commentary: Evaluating the GC2019 organizational plan
    A reserve lay delegate praises some of the organizational plan for the special General Conference 2019, but raises concerns about other points, including selection of committee officers.
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 12:00am -
  • Big crowds for meetings on denomination’s future
    United Methodists coming with questions and opinions to conference gatherings before special General Conference to address divisions over homosexuality.
    - 4 days ago 11 Oct 18, 12:00am -
  • United Methodists gear up for Michael relief
    For now, the best way for United Methodists to help is to donate money and pray. But teams are standing by to offer long-term aid.
    - 4 days ago 11 Oct 18, 12:00am -
  • Top court plays decision-making role
    As The United Methodist Church moves toward a February legislative meeting, the Judicial Council has been asked to look at constitutionality of proposed plans.
    - 4 days ago 11 Oct 18, 12:00am -

World Magazine

  • Freed from captivity, pastor prays for Trump
    UPDATE: U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson met with and prayed for President Donald Trump in the Oval Office just one day after a court released him from detention in Izmir, Turkey, where he lived and worked for more than 20 years. Trump welcomed the pastor and members of his family and told them “we’ve been negotiating long and hard” for Brunson’s release. He said members of Congress from both parties were involved in the push: “If there was ever a bipartisan event, this is it.” Trump also said that he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thought they had worked out details of Brunson’s release two months ago, but it ended up taking longer.After thanking members of the Trump administration and the Senate, Brunson knelt down, placed his hand on the Trump’s shoulder, and prayed in Jesus’ name for God’s blessing on the president. “Pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump that you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him,” Brunson prayed. “We bless him. May he be a great blessing to our country.” Norine Brunson closed the prayer by asking God to give Trump “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord,” a reference to Isaiah 11:2.OUR EARLIER REPORT (12:25 p.m.): Pastor Andrew Brunson has arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., after nearly two years of detention in Turkey and is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Saturday. A Turkish judge on Friday ordered the release of Brunson, whose captivity on trumped-up charges of espionage and terror led the United States to levy crushing economic sanctions against Turkey. Trump tweeted Saturday that though he made “no deal” for Brunson’s freedom, appreciation for his release “will lead to good, perhaps great, relations between the United States & Turkey!”Brunson was freed Friday after a dramatic court hearing in which witnesses against him changed their testimonies. Hours later, he flew out of Turkey to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, for a medical checkup. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, traveled from Germany to the United States with the Brunsons and tweeted they had landed at 12:04 p.m. Eastern time.“I love Jesus. I love Turkey,” an emotional Brunson, who had maintained his innocence, told the court at Friday's hearing. Brunson, originally from Black Mountain, N.C., lived in Turkey for 23 years and pastored Izmir Resurrection Church. Image: Category: PersecutionArticle Title: Freed from captivity, pastor prays for TrumpKeywords: Andrew BrunsonInternationalTurkeyPoliticsWhite HouseForeign PolicyPersecutionAuthor: Lynde Langdon
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 8:04pm -
  • States of emergency
    States of emergencyHurricane MichaelDisasterDisastersFloridaVirginiaWeatherAmid Michael’s ruin, groups bring relief and hopes of recoveryWeatherKim HendersonEven before Hurricane Michael packed its final punch in Virginia, volunteer groups were packing up and heading toward the storm’s wake of destruction.A 14-foot tandem-axle trailer loaded with chainsaws departed from the X-tended Missions Network in north Mississippi early Friday morning. Dennis Landrum, a director with the group, said his five-man crew will begin clearing trees from yards and roofs in the Albany, Ga., area over the weekend. They should have plenty to do. Michael’s winds pounded the south Georgia city, uprooting massive oaks and snapping pines like matchsticks. Drenching rains and flooding also caused extensive damage, and at daybreak Thursday, storm fallout blocked 100 intersections in Albany alone. Gerald Herbert/AP Clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott promised generators to help local government get traffic lights working. “Making sure our families that are returning are safe is one of our top priorities,” he wrote in a tweet. Samaritan’s Purse officials are on the ground assessing needs in both Albany and in the Florida Panhandle. The organization earlier deployed two disaster relief units to the region and sent chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.While a swath of five states felt the brunt of Michael’s wrath, Florida’s devastation is distinct. In coastal Carrabelle, roads are ruined, their pavement buckled and washed out. To the west, Lynn Haven’s electrical grid is gone, and Mayor Margo Anderson predicts the power will be out for two months. Hospitals are evacuated in Bay County. Tyndale Air Force Base is closed.In response, World Vision’s four truckloads of food, water, diapers, and tents arrived in Pensacola, Fla., late Friday. The aid will be distributed throughout the weekend in hard-hit spots like Mexico Beach, Fla., a tiny tourist town nearly obliterated by Michael. “A single truckload can carry enough supplies to serve 1,500 people,” said Reed Slattery, a World Vision spokesman. “We are working to get critical relief supplies to families and children that have had their lives flipped upside down.” Michael’s life-flipping abilities are no longer in question. With a death toll of at least 17, experts have deemed it the third-strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland. William Perkins was behind his desk at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) when another name in hurricane history—Katrina—first made the news. “Looking at the drone footage from Michael, I see a lot of similarities,” the MBCB spokesman said, referring to flattened areas and concrete blocks. “Makes the hair on my arms stand up.”Perkins recalled the lengthy post-Katrina recovery efforts in his state: “Our portable kitchen served food in the parking lot of First Baptist, Biloxi for more than a year.” The 18-wheeled, self-contained unit is being staged for Michael-related service now after returning from areas affected by Hurricane Florence. The mass-feeding kitchen will serve six thousand hot meals a day.      North Carolina-based Hearts with Hands outfitted two tractor trailers with boxed meals and paper products for residents in Panama City, Fla. The goods are set to be unloaded Monday morning in the Central Baptist Church parking lot. The adjacent $5 million church facility, according to Pastor Bruce Barton, is a complete loss: “This area was hit by winds of 150 miles per hour, and I’d say about 80 percent of the city is destroyed. Power lines are everywhere, roofs are off. We had 80 trees on the church property, and none were left standing.”  Barton spent Friday morning checking on elderly church members without cell phones, “making sure they’re alive.” He expressed concern for hurricane victims who not only lost their homes and possessions, but also their jobs: “We have a lot of educators in our congregation, and the schools are destroyed. My daughter is a dental hygienist. Nobody will be worried about getting their teeth cleaned any time soon.”Meanwhile, the longtime pastor made plans for an outdoor Sunday morning service. “It’s a sad time, but I’ve noticed uplifted spirits in spite of it.” DisasterFeaturesEditor's Notes: NotesUpdated byChangedCreated MEXICO BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 11: A member of the South Florida Search and Rescue team searches for survivors in the destruction left after Hurricane Michael passed through the area on October 11, 2018 in Mexico Beach, Florida. The hurricane hit the panhandle area with category 4 winds causing major damage. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)People cut away a tree that'll on a vehicle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)rachelfbeatty10/13/2018 - 11:3510/13/2018 - 11:35
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 4:34pm -
  • gv101218
    Image: Section: CartoonsDate to Publish: Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 06:54 to Monday, November 12, 2018 - 06:54
    - 2 days ago 13 Oct 18, 10:54am -
  • The Swift effect
    With the November midterm congressional elections fast approaching, a number of entertainment icons are hefting their star status and huge social-media reach to rally their fans to storm the polls.Taylor Swift made headlines this past week as the latest celebrity to step into the political ring. In a lengthy Instagram post Sunday, the previously apolitical celebrity pop star said she could no longer stay silent. Swift endorsed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in Tennessee, saying his Republican rival Rep. Marsha Blackburn has a voting record that “appalls and terrifies” her. She encouraged her 112 million followers to register to vote.Following Swift’s post, voter registration on surged, particularly among millennials, Roll Call reported. Just a few days into October, the website had seen more registrations than any other month in 2018. More than 159,000 voters registered since Sunday, with 45 percent of them between the ages of 18 and 24. In a statement, said Swift’s post might have “pushed many of those 18-24-year-old voters over the line to register.”Not too long ago, mixing politics with stardom could be a potentially lethal career move. In 2003, lead Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines criticized then-President George W. Bush for his plans to invade Iraq. Fans responded by burning the band’s CDs, and radio stations blacklisted their music.But the tide has turned in recent years to favor progressive views. Rapper Kanye West became the subject of much online scorn after a meeting Thursday in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. West deleted his social media accounts earlier this week after facing backlash for supporting Trump in an off-air speech he gave on the set of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.Meanwhile, liberal-leaning celebrities discuss politics on award shows, show up at protests, and air their thoughts on social networks without fear of career-ending retribution. Some conservative fans expressed their disappointment with Swift’s statements, but the president rather mildly said he liked her music about “25 percent less now.”Other stars, including Rihanna, Mark Ruffalo John Legend, and Mark Hamill, have also taken to social media to urge their fans to register and cast their ballots in November. “VOTE like our future depends on it!” Legend urged.Compared to presidential elections, voter turnout slumps during midterms. In the 2014, around 41 percent of eligible voters took the polls, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The bureau reported about 61.4 percent said they voted in 2016, slightly lower than the 61.8 percent who reported voting in 2012.Some signs point to higher levels of voter engagement this November. The Pew Research Center reported that turnout for 2018 primary elections surged compared to 2014. In House primaries, 19 percent of voters cast ballots, up from 13 percent in 2014. Turnout was also higher across Senate and gubernatorial primaries. This boost in voter enthusiasm may carry over to November.Young people, particularly young professional women, tend to lean blue, but they also tend to be a notoriously unreliable voting bloc. A study released earlier this year from The Public Religion Research Institute showed that only 28 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 said they will vote in the midterm elections, while 74 percent of seniors said they will vote. A star-studded push from Hollywood icons might finally drive their millennial fans to the polls, but the success of those efforts remains to be seen. Associated Press/Photo by Evan Vucci President Donald Trump (left) and Kid Rock at signing ceremony Syncing paylistsPresident Donald Trump signed a law this week that will benefit nearly all musicians—regardless of their politics. The Music Modernization Act should make it easier for artists to collect the royalties they’re owed for music shared online. The legislation creates a new independent entity that will license songs for online play. The nonprofit collective will then pay songwriters.At a signing ceremony attended by musicians, including Kid Rock and John Rich and the Christian band MercyMe, Trump said the law closed loopholes in copyright regulations that hurt artists. “They were treated very unfairly,” the president said. “They’re not going to be treated unfairly anymore.”The bill was years in the making as artists, music executives, and tech companies negotiated a compromise, and they have more work ahead as they work to set up the licensing clearinghouse that will manage everything. —Lynde Langdon Associated Press/Sotheby’s Banksy’s spray-painted canvas Girl with Balloon Still worth itThe British street artist Banksy made art history last week by activating a hidden shredder that sliced up a limited-edition print of his artwork as soon as it sold at a Sotheby’s auction. An anonymous buyer said Thursday she would still make good on her $1.4 million winning bid and take home what was left of the work.The print was from a collection of copies of one of Banksy’s most famous graffiti murals, Balloon Girl. Sotheby’s said Thursday that Banksy certified the shredded work as his and renamed it Love Is in the Bin. Alex Branczik, head of contemporary art for Europe at Sotheby’s, called it “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.” —L.L. One down, five to goManhattan prosecutors said Thursday they were dropping one of the six sexual assault charges against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Accuser Lucia Evans’ case was compromised when prosecutors claimed a detective on the case urged a witness to keep quiet with information that might have cast doubt on Evans’ accusations. Evans helped spark the #MeToo movement a year ago when she told The New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to have sexual contact with him in 2004 when she was a college student and a fledgling actress. Evans’ lawyer said Thursday her client was telling the truth. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon insisted the district attorney’s office planned to pursue the remaining charges. —L.L.In theatersGosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer opens on screens across the country Friday. It has an 80 percent positive rating on the review-aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes. WORLD Magazine’s Megan Basham wrote of the movie: “The performances, production, and pacing of the movie more than do justice to the difficult subject matter.” —L.L. Image: Deck: Could a pop star’s plea make a difference at the polls?Category: Culture & ArtsKeywords: MusicVotersMillennialsInternetArtSexual AbuseGosnell TrialMoviesSlug: MusicArticle Title: The Swift effectAuthor: Harvest PrudeDigital Branding: MuseHide from Archive?: 0
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 9:36pm -
  • Beware mobocracy
    Beware mobocracyPoliticsProtestSupreme CourtSocietyProtesting isn’t the same as demanding desired outcomes at all costsPolicyJamie DeanOne of the most unsettling images in recent American politics came last Saturday as protesters pushed past Capitol Hill police and tried to claw open the massive doors of the U.S. Supreme Court. It struck me as visceral and strange and disturbing.They were protesting the swearing in of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and though they may not have had a clear plan, I wondered: What would these protesters have done if they had gained entrance to the court?I’ve reported at dozens of political rallies and campaign events for over a decade, and I’ve seen plenty of juvenile protests, insulting rants (including from candidates), and vulgar slogans on signs and T-shirts.But I’ve only felt genuinely unnerved a few times, and that’s usually when the mood shifted just enough to introduce the potential for real trouble. At Trump’s presidential rallies in 2015 and 2016, he always had a moment when he’d lampoon the press as it sat hemmed in a little pen across from the stage. Reporters expected it, and it carried little sting when he’d call all of the people in the pen miserable and disgusting.But the reaction from some audience members was sometimes unsettling. I never heard anyone level a physical threat, but I did hear angry bursts of profanity and disgust directed our way that made me watch my back when I walked through the parking lot alone after the events. It always turned out fine, but I was always thankful it did.During the Democratic National Convention here in Charlotte, N.C., in 2012, pro-life activists carried signs and prayed at a busy street corner, where a long row of Planned Parenthood supporters stood across the street chanting back at them. Within minutes, a troop of police officers in riot gear stood between the two groups, hoisting their shields and pulling down their helmets.It turned out fine, but I was thankful that it did.And moments like those always remind me of the fragile line we walk in a country that is deeply divided over so many fundamental issues of life and death and everything else. God has shown great mercy in restraining violence from activists across the spectrum of worldviews. The occasional but tragic outbreaks of riots in American cities is always a sobering reminder of how low we could go without God’s help.This week, former Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t help the climate when he revised former first lady Michelle Obama’s admonition that “when they go low, we go high.” Holder rejoined: “No. When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”Holder clarified he wasn’t encouraging Democrats to literally kick their opponents, but he also potentially encouraged a mindset where trash talk could lead to true trouble. Michelle Obama had a chance to respond to Holder’s remarks, and she rejected his take. That’s not what we’d want to teach our kids, she said.What do we want to teach our kids? Certainly, we want them to know worldviews matter, the truth matters, and standing up for right virtues is sometimes a messy business. But for Christians, it should also be a mature business.How we speak to and about those we disagree with—including other Christians—sets a tone. But it can also set a table: If I’m determined to tell the truth, even when it’s unpopular, some people are going to hate me. But if I’m determined to lampoon and belittle people who oppose my views, I’m going to let go of opportunities to love and serve people who need Christ more than they need me. That’s a thin line that has nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with the things that ultimately matter the most.PoliticsWhirled Views
    - 3 days ago 12 Oct 18, 8:26pm -

World Watch Monitor

  • Sunni Arabs ‘helped drive out’ Mid-East Christians
    Amid the push by Iraqi government forces to retake Mosul from Islamic State (IS), some former inhabitants of Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains and northern Syria are refusing to go back because they believe their former Sunni Muslim neighbours were complicit in driving them out, says Middle East analyst and former journalist, Patrick Cockburn, in News Deeply. Christians returning to Nineveh believe Sunni Arab villagers were complicit in “taking their houses, killing and raping people,” he says.Cockburn adds that, in Syrian towns occupied by IS, Christians believe their Sunni Arab neighbours were similarly cooperating with IS and that returning Christians might drive Sunnis out in turn. There’s a “real, very high level of friction and hostility on the ground, which I think is going to be extraordinarily difficult to reverse”, he says.“A longer-term and very dangerous shift in both Iraq and Syria is that communities in general can’t live together any longer.”In November Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, a priest in the Assyrian Church of the East and head of CAPNI (Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq), said that defeating IS won’t guarantee Christians’ return. “What are the guarantees that it will not happen again?” he asked, noting that Iraqi Christians had been targeted not only since IS’s sudden appearance in 2014 but since the US-led invasion in 2003, after which he said the fabric of Iraq “was broken”.In the decades before IS, more than a million Christians left Iraq, which had turned increasingly hostile towards them, the minority population felt.
    - 13 Mar 17, 1:01pm -
  • ‘Freedom of religion or belief must be protected’
    Countries around the world are urged to act now to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief by a UN expert.The Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, made his appeal at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as he set out his priorities for the mandate of freedom of religion or belief, which he took up last November.Mr. Shaheed expressed concern about a rise in the number of incidents of violence - for religiousreasons - by extremist groups, vigilante mobs and others.“State and non-State actors, alike, continue to impose restrictions, or limitations, and engage in targeted harassment, intimidation of, or discrimination against religious minorities, unrecognised religious communities and dissidents, who are often confronted with threats to their freedom, safety and security,” he said.“I am particularly alarmed by continuing reports of mass atrocities and violence that threaten the very existence of religious minority communities, including some groups that have existed for over two millennia.”Mr. Shaheed pointed to a number of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief that have already been developed, and for which consensus among states already exists. He said his agenda for the next three years would be focused on the implementation of these state obligations.The Special Rapporteur stressed that policies adopted to enhance the capacity of security forces to combat terrorism by limiting fundamental rights (such as freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly) often have dire consequences for the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.He welcomed efforts to promote that right at national and international levels by governments, parliamentarians, national human rights institutions, human rights and faith-based organisations, and educational institutions.
    - 10 Mar 17, 6:39pm -
  • Iraq urged to allow UN investigation into genocide
    International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has called upon the Iraqi government to allow a UN investigation into the treatment of Yazidis by the so-called Islamic State (IS), reports Reuters.A year ago, the UK Parliament joined US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US House of Representatives, the EU Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in describing the actions of IS (or Da’esh) as genocide. In June last year, UN experts reported that IS militants seek to destroy the Yazidi group, whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions, through murder, sexual slavery, gang rape, torture and humiliation that amounts to genocide.Some religious leaders and other sources, including Vienna-based legal counsel Ewelina Ochab, believe that the campaign of genocide also extends to Christians. Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in the country. Today there are thought to be fewer than 200,000. World Watch Monitor reported in May last year that Christianity “could disappear” from Iraq and Syria withinfive years, according to Catholic sources. Britain is drafting a UN Security Council resolution to establish an investigation, but Clooney said the Iraqi government needs to send a letter formally requesting the inquiry before the council can vote.Clooney, who represents Yazidi victims of IS, told reporters, “We do want to see an investigation take place with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities, but ultimately if that support is not forthcoming in terms of real action, then the UN has to think of other ways in which to achieve accountability.”Since 2014, when IS took control of parts of Iraq, Yazidis and Christians have been under severe, and often violent, pressure with many Christians being given four options: to leave, convert to Islam, pay the jiyza (tax), or be killed. A report last October highlighted this accelerated targeting of “disproportionately suffering” Middle East Christians.
    - 10 Mar 17, 1:08pm -
  • Iranian mother and son Christian converts arrested
    An Iranian mother and son who converted to Christianity have been arrested in the north-western province of West Azerbaijan. Anousheh Reza-Bakhsh (known as Veronika) and her son Soheil (known as Augustine) were arrested on 20 February at their home in Urmia, the provincial capital. Mohabat News reports that it is the first known arrest of Christians in the city since 2008. Urmia, with nearly 700,000 inhabitants, is famous for housing the Cathedral of St. Mary the Mother of God, whose origin dates back to the 16th Century. Middle East Concern (MEC) reports that the mother and son, who had become Catholics, were baptised in Istanbul in August last year, after which they returned home and “continued to read and learn about the Christian faith”. Christian material was reportedly found at their home, as Augustine, reported to be a psychology student, had been “a keen follower of online Christian theological training programmes and Christian satellite TV channels”, according to MEC. There has been no further update on their whereabouts or safety, though they are believed to have been taken to an intelligence office of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. They are both reported to have health issues. Iran, which is no. 8 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian, continues to monitor and persecute Christians across the country. Often, detainees are subject to psychological and physical harm by the authorities. Iranian and European human rights and religious rights organisations have urged the international community to use new opportunities for trade with Iran since the nuclear agreement to hold the government there to account over its treatment of Christian converts.
    - 9 Mar 17, 3:23pm -
  • Pope: ‘Persecutors don’t care about denominations’
    Pope Francis has urged all Christians to pray for fellow believers who are persecuted for their faith, saying that “those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong”.“How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!” Francis says in the video that shows three representatives of different denominations: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox – standing as if in a police line-up accused of a crime. “They are persecuted and killed because they are Christians,” the Pope continues, adding, “I ask you, how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?”The one-minute video, which also includes images of broken religious statues and a burnt-out church, is the latest to be produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and contains his prayer intention for March: the support of persecuted Christians through prayers and material aid from all the Churches.Francis has spoken frequently about an “ecumenism of the blood” to emphasise that persecution is affecting many parts of the Church and should be met with ecumenical solidarity.
    - 8 Mar 17, 2:31pm -