Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: 17 Killed in School Massacre

Sheriff Scott Israel announced Wednesday, “I’m saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives.” The Orlando Sentinel reported, “Fifteen victims died at the school. Seventeen victims were taken to four area hospitals, and two of those victims died at the hospital.” Police are holding former student Nikolas Cruz as the sole suspect for the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

According to Time Magazine, “It also marked the 18th school shooting of 2018 for the United States.”

Prayer List

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the families, friends and acquaintances of the deceased. Pray for their emotional and spiritual health as they deal with grief and loss.
* Pray for speedy healing for the fifteen injured.
* Pray for people to compassionately reach out to mentally ill, depressed and angry students that are considering violent attacks on their classmates.

Unreached People of the Day

Saturday: Fulani, Toroobe in Nigeria
Sunday: Sumbawa in Indonesia

Operation World Prayer Focus

Saturday: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda
Sunday: Argentina

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

  • Bible Study: Feb. 25, 2018
    This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 8:01pm -
  • WRAP-UP: EC considers DC convention, mission board merger
    The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has given the District of Columbia Baptist Convention 90 days to "secure" the "the removal of any churches from its fellowship that have demonstrated a faith or practice affirming, approving or endorsing homosexual behavior," according to a recommendation adopted by the EC Feb. 20.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 7:56pm -
  • Study shows far-reaching impact of Billy Graham
    About 80 years after he began his ministry, Billy Graham continued to impact the faith of millions with nearly half of all Protestant churchgoers saying they have watched one of his sermons on television, a recent LifeWay Research study shows.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 7:29pm -
  • Pastor, sports ministry share God's love to Olympians
    Ryan Schneider, a Southern Baptist pastor near Lake Placid, New York, and representatives from the sports ministry Athletes in Action have found ways to encourage Christian athletes and share the Gospel during their time in South Korea.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 7:27pm -
  • FROM THE COLLEGES: Merritt to headline 3rd West Tenn. Evangelism Rally; Finn named N. Greenville provost
    In today's From the Colleges: James Merritt to headline 3rd West Tennessee Evangelism Rally at Union; Nathan Finn named as North Greenville University's provost and dean of the faculty.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 6:20pm -

Berean Research

  • Dr. Michael Brown — When Dangerous Becomes Delusional
    “This is another hallmark of the Michael Brown playbook,” chides Anthony Wade. “He always wants to sound like the more reasonable party in the discussion. So he pays lips service to the cause of the other side.” In the following quote, Brown actually admits that some online apologetics and discernment ministries, are exposing error and […]The post Dr. Michael Brown — When Dangerous Becomes Delusional appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 2 days ago 20 Feb 18, 4:43pm -
  • Building a Biblically Healthy Women’s Ministry
    The following piece, written by Pastor John Chester of Piedmont Bible Church and Parking Space 23, is published on Michelle Lesley’s blog. One piece of advice he offers to pastors who desire to build healthy women’s ministries is “Be willing to veto a book, a curriculum, or even a topic that the women’s Bible study wants to use.” Pastors must also […]The post Building a Biblically Healthy Women’s Ministry appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 3 days ago 19 Feb 18, 3:44pm -
  • Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism
    “Every false religion in the world is not just wrong. It is demonic. It is energized and powered by the kingdom of darkness that is ruled by Satan himself,” says Mike Riccardi. He goes on to say “There is absolutely no fellowship or spiritual partnership between the people of God and the people of this […]The post Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 6 days ago 16 Feb 18, 7:03pm -
  • 5 Ways to Face Tests and Trials Biblically
    James 1:1-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James of course was inspired by the Holy Spirit to remind believers not […]The post 5 Ways to Face Tests and Trials Biblically appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 8 days ago 14 Feb 18, 3:35pm -
  • Enneagram: The Road Back to You, Or to Somewhere Else?
    In a piece I wrote over 10 years ago, Christians are mixed up in… mysticism, I dealt with the Enneagram. In a moment you’ll find out what this personality tool is all about from Kevin DeYoung. In a nutshell, the Enneagram is a form of modern psychology that categorizes people into nine basic personality types. […]The post Enneagram: The Road Back to You, Or to Somewhere Else? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 10 days ago 12 Feb 18, 3:11pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • Evangelist Billy Graham Has Died
    'America's pastor' shaped modern evangelicalism.Billy Graham was perhaps the most significant religious figure of the 20th century, and the organizations and the movement he helped spawn continue to shape the 21st.During his life, Graham preached in person to more than 100 million people and to millions more via television, satellite, and film. Nearly 3 million have responded to his invitation to "accept Jesus into your heart" at the end of his sermons. He proclaimed the gospel to more persons than any other preacher in history. In the process, Graham became "America's Pastor," participating in presidential inaugurations and speaking during national crises such as the memorial services following the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks."He became the friend and confidante of popes and presidents, queens and dictators, and yet, even in his 80s, he possesses the boyish charm and unprepossessing demeanor to communicate with the masses," said Columbia University historian Randall Balmer.Billy Graham was born in 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina, attended (briefly) Bob Jones College, graduating from Florida Bible Institute near Tampa, and Wheaton College in Illinois. He was ordained a minister in the Southern Baptist Church (1939) and pastored a small church in suburban Chicago and preached on a weekly radio program. In 1946 he became the first full-time staff member of Youth for Christ and launched his evangelistic campaigns. For four years (1948–1952) he also served as president of Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis. His 1949 evangelistic tent meetings in Los Angeles brought him to national attention, and his 1957 New York meetings, which filled Madison Square Garden for four months, established him as a major presence on the ...Continue reading...
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  • The Ultimate Billy Graham Playlist
    How America’s pastor popped up in lyrics from Pat Boone to Johnny Cash to dc Talk.Many musicians—from Johnny Cash to dc Talk to Pat Boone—considered Billy Graham an inspiration, often bringing him into their songs. For decades, Graham has made cameos in tunes across multiple genres, not just Christian music.Fernando Ortega, one of Graham’s greatest admirers, wrote a song in 2011 called “Just As I Am” specifically for the evangelist. Ortega’s original tune shares the title with Graham’s favorite hymn—sung at most of his crusades—and includes the same famous chorus:Just as I amWithout one pleaBut that Your bloodWas shed for meBut Ortega’s version is written from Graham’s perspective. “Lyrically, I was trying to imagine what his prayer life must be like as he approached the end of his life,” Ortega wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page.On Graham’s 94th birthday in 2012, Billy’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz invited Ortega to the Graham home in Montreat, North Carolina, to join a low-key celebration. Ortega recalled that after Anne led a Bible study, “we ate birthday cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Dr. Graham. Then he asked me to sing a solo for him. I leaned over and sang in his ear ‘Just As I Am.’”Here is Ortega’s song. Listen for Graham’s voice in the bridge:Randy Stonehill, one of the pioneers of Christian music, wrote a sweet-but-seldom-heard song called “Billy Frank”—Graham’s nickname as a boy. The last verse is especially poignant:Now your flame is flickering as you are nearing homeAnd pretty soon you’ll stand in awe before God’s gleaming throneI have no doubt there’ll be a shout as heaven celebratesWhen St. Peter ...Continue reading...
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  • The Secrets to Graham’s Success
    Five factors that show why the evangelist turned the world upside down.When D. L. Moody died in 1899, the evangelical world felt his loss deeply. More than anyone else in his day, Moody, the rough-hewn shoe salesman turned evangelist, had motivated Christians on both sides of the Atlantic for the work of evangelism. In doing so, he had become a force for evangelical unity and gospel advance. The question on the lips of nearly everyone was, “Who will be the next D. L. Moody?”Then Billy Graham was born in Charlotte in 1918. Graham carried Moody’s “passion for souls” to the ends of the earth. He became, along with Pope John Paul II, one of the great shapers of the world Christian movement. Yet Graham, a dairy farm hand and Fuller Brush huckster, was no less likely than Moody to fulfill such a calling. What was the secret of Billy Graham’s evangelistic success? Here are five factors:Single-mindednessGraham spent 18 months as the pastor of a small church near Chicago, but from the beginning it was clear that he was called to be an evangelist. He had a burning compassion to call lost men and women to faith in Jesus Christ; he did this faithfully, consistently, and single-mindedly. Graham shunned opportunities in politics, business, and entertainment to “do the work of an evangelist,” yet he had an impact in each of these fields. His single-mindedness brought him criticism as well as praise. In 1952, two years before Brown vs. the Board of Education, Graham walked down from the crusade platform in Jackson, Mississippi, and personally removed the barrier separating whites and blacks. Later he commended the work of Martin Luther King and invited him to pray in his crusades. Though Graham did not march in Selma, King acknowledged that Graham’s ministry ...Continue reading...
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  • Billy Graham Goes to Washington: First Pastor Honored in US Capitol
    Before his “canvas cathedral” funeral, the late evangelist will be the first private citizen since Rosa Parks to get a viewing in the Rotunda.A week after his death, Billy Graham will become the first religious leader and fourth private citizen in history to lie in honor at the US Capitol.House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will take part in the service on Wednesday, February 28, and Graham’s casket will be on display in the Capitol Rotunda through Thursday, March 1, where the public is invited to pay their respects to America’s pastor.The position of lying in repose in the Capitol building is reserved for the nation’s “most distinguished citizens,” including presidents, politicians, and military officers, who lie in state for public viewing. The last private individual to lie in honor in the Rotunda was Rosa Parks in 2005.“In recognition of Rev. Graham’s long and distinguished service to the nation, it is our intention to ask the House of Representatives and the Senate to permit that his remains lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol,” wrote the two legislators in a letter to the Graham family.Over his decades in ministry, Graham was active in American public life and met with presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, spoke at more inauguration ceremonies than any other religious figure, and regularly prayed for the country’s leaders.Ryan and McConnell announced the congressional honor on Thursday, following the news of Graham’s memorial plans in his home state of North Carolina.“As soaring a figure as he was, Rev. Graham connected with people on an elemental level. His reach was rooted in decency, humility, and love,” Ryan said in a statement. “He set a tone of ecumenical inclusion, advocated civil rights, and refused to accept the segregation ...Continue reading...
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  • Billy Graham and Johnny Cash: An Unlikely Friendship
    The evangelist originally sought out the singer for the sake of his son.Billy Graham and Johnny Cash were the best of friends, mutual confessors, and fishing buddies. Their wives, Ruth Bell and June Carter, were prayer partners. The two men could sit for hours in the same room without saying a word—Billy working on a book and Johnny on his songs. Once in a while, Johnny would interrupt and try out a song on Billy or ask a question about the Bible. At mealtimes, the families would gather to pray, sing, and eat. Usually the subject moved quickly to family and friends, problems and challenges. Johnny always had a list of friends he wanted Billy to call, while Billy would ask Johnny for advice and prayer for his loved ones.Billy and Johnny’s connection originated with Billy’s desire to connect with his son Franklin and the boy’s teenage peers. Franklin says that even as a little boy, “I loved Johnny Cash’s music.” He recalls that in 1969, Billy called the governor of Ten­nessee to ask for help in setting up an appointment with Johnny. Billy was observing his son slip into smoking, drinking, drugs, and girls. Franklin left one school after another, sometimes after being expelled. In his autobiography, Just as I Am, Billy explained that Franklin believed he was successfully hiding these things from his dad—“or so he thought,” Billy wrote.Both father and son later agreed that Billy had approached Johnny with the goal of connecting with Franklin. “My favorite song was ‘Ring of Fire,’” says Franklin. “Father wanted to con­nect to me by connecting to Johnny Cash.” The elder Graham framed the matter in more global terms while visiting the sing­er’s home near Nashville.Johnny told Country Music ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • Russia: Two criminal trials, three criminal investigations
    The criminal trial of Danish Jehovah's Witness Dennis Christensen, accused of "continuing the activities of a banned extremist organisation", began in Oryol after nearly nine months' detention. Investigators launched three similar criminal investigations against Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod, Kemerovo and Oryol. Arkady Akopyan is on trial for inciting religious hatred.
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  • Tajikistan: Amendments impose even tighter state control
    Religion Law amendments allow the state to restrict freedom of religion or belief on illegitimate grounds, increase religious communities' reporting obligations, require state approval for all imams, and increase state control on religious education. "We do not need to be afraid of control," said parliamentary deputy Muradullo Davlatov.
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  • Azerbaijan: Extra prison term for Koran micro-discs
    A Court added 10 weeks to prisoner of conscience Taleh Bagirov's 20-year prison term for having micro-discs of the Koran in his cell. The Supreme Court rejected Sardar Babayev's appeal against a three-year prison term for leading mosque prayers while having foreign religious education. Six months after a Court ordered compensation for illegal imprisonment, two Jehovah's Witnesses have received nothing.
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  • Turkey: Why can't Armenians elect a Patriarch?
    The state has again blocked the long-delayed election of a new Armenian Apostolic Patriarch, arguing that such an election would be contrary to the community's traditions. Yet, freedom of religion or belief protects the right of religious communities to elect leaders in accordance with their traditions as they interpret them.
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  • Azerbaijan: State's theological review bans book on Islam
    The State Committee for Work With Religious Organisations - which implements the state's prior compulsory censorship of all religious literature - banned a book on Islam by Muslim theologian Elshad Miri. An official deemed it "unsuitable for publication" because he disagreed with it theologically.
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Get Religion

  • newHow major papers played Billy Graham's death on front pages: These bylines will be familiar to many
    For those in Godbeat circles, many of the bylines splashed across today's front pages are extremely familiar.I'm talking about names such as William Lobdell and Russell Chandler of the Los Angeles Times, Gayle White of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today.All of those veteran religion writers — just to name a few — wrote their respective papers' major obituaries marking Wednesday's death of the Rev. Billy Graham at age 99.But here's what might surprise many ordinary readers: None of them has worked for those papers in years.  "I must have written and updated a whole suite of advance obit stories on Graham at least three times over 15 years," Grossman said. "I last polished up the package in 2013, in the week before I left the paper on a buyout. However, I stayed in touch with USAT editors (and) emailed them where fixes/changes might be needed over the years."Welcome to the concept of the "prepared obit."Here's what that means: News organizations put together obits in advance for certain prominent people, such as presidents, movie stars and — in the case of Graham — world-famous preachers. That way, they're prepared (at least somewhat) if the person dies 10 minutes before deadline.Here's how a New York Times obituary writer explained it in a 2014 piece:
    - 5 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 10:09pm -
  • newHow can scribes capture Billy Graham's giant, complex life in newsprint? This will take time
    Back in the early 1980s, I sat in a meeting at The Charlotte Observer in which we discussed how the Rev. Billy Graham's hometown newspaper would handle his death. After all, he wasn't that far from the time when ordinary people start talking about retirement.Graham, however, wasn't "ordinary people" especially in a town with a major road called the Billy Graham Parkway. The Observer team needed a plan. How do you sum up Graham's giant, complex, sprawling life in a few paragraphs? Try to imagine being the Associated Press pro who had to come up with the first bulletin that moved when the world's most famous evangelist died early Wednesday morning. Here is that story in its entirety: The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning. He was 99. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.The priorities there seem solid, to me. The AP, of course, quickly released a full-length obituary.As you would expect, there were stumbles in other newsrooms -- some of them almost Freudian. Consider the opening of the Graham obituary at The Daily Beast: The Rev. Billy Graham, an evangelist preacher who changed American politics, has died at the age of 99. ...Uh, no.There were also some struggles to grasp the precise meanings of key religious words. For example, Graham was often called "America's pastor," but he spent very, very little time as a pastor, in terms of leading a congregation. There were some struggles, as always, with variations on words such as "evangelist," "evangelical" and "evangelizing." Was Graham a "fundamentalist"? The true fundamentalists would certainly say "no."
    - 9 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 5:20pm -
  • newBilly Graham reaped a media harvest through artless charm, more than promotional gambits
    As a flood of obits is proclaiming, Billy Graham had remarkable impact. He brought revival meetings from the margins back into the cultural mainstream with unprecedented audiences at home and abroad, changed Protestantism’s dynamics by turning much of fighting “fundamentalism” into the palatable and vastly successful “evangelical” movement and, along the way, befriended and counseled an incredible lineup of politicos and celebrities.Not least among the accomplishments was winning “good press” for his meetings and his movement. Coverage was not only vast but fond -- even from journalists with little regard for his old-fashioned, unwavering beliefs that that personal faith in Jesus Christ is the “one way” to salvation and that the Bible is God’s unique and infallible word to modern humanity.How did he do it?Graham’s well-chosen media team certainly knew how to manage all the usual promotional tactics. Its most spectacular feat of organizational moxie occurred in 1995, when his meetings in Puerto Rico were beamed by satellite TV to sites in 175 countries.However, The Religion Guy would maintain the secret to media appeal was not such benign artifice but the artless charm of the man himself, his evident sincerity, and, above all, his humility. In these times of political narcissism, it is remarkable to reflect that one of the most famous men on the planet managed to carefully leash his ego, not to mention remain free of scandal. Perhaps only prayer could have accomplished such a thing.  The Guy reported on the preacher’s last revival meeting (New York City, 2005) for The Associated Press, and 39 years before that had first joined the Graham beat for one of his most interesting forays, covering it for Christianity Today (the evangelical magazine made possible by Graham’s connections).It was his “crusade” in Greenville, S.C., the home of his harshest critics, the leaders at arch-fundamentalist Bob Jones University, which the young Graham had briefly attended.
    - 13 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 2:00pm -
  • Turtle on a fence post? Concerning Billy Graham, St. Pope John Paul II, Bob Dylan and journalism
    The Rev. Billy Graham must have told the turtle story a million times, so surely -- somewhere in the tsunami of analog and digital news ink we will see tomorrow -- there will be journalists who include it in their features marking the great evangelist's death.Graham, 99, died Wednesday morning at the family's rambling log home in the mountains outside Asheville, N.C. They bought the land 60 years or so ago, when it cost next to nothing and that's where Billy and Ruth stayed. What will happen to it now? Getting to spend part of a day there while interviewing him is certainly one of the highlights of my reporting career.But I digress. Members of the GetReligion team will start looking at the actual coverage of his life and career tomorrow. With only a few hours before deadline, I wrote my own piece on Graham and you can read it right here (with the permission of my Universal syndicate editors).Please send us links to the good and the bad. Obviously, there is a massive package already at Christianity Today, which Graham founded long ago, and at The Charlotte Observer (main story here). Here is the  main Associated Press story.But let's return to the turtle and the fence post. Here is how I retold that story soon after the creation of this blog: For decades, Graham has been asked -- thousands of times, I am sure -- why he has been so remarkably successful, preaching to more people in person than anyone else in history. Why have so many people, from the earliest days of his career, responded to his call to accept Jesus Christ as Savior? What's so special about Billy Graham? At this point, Graham almost always offers the following explanation. If you are walking down a road, he says, and you happen to see a turtle sitting on top of a tall fence post, what would you assume? You would, of course, assume that the turtle did not climb up there on his own. You would assume that someone far larger than the turtle picked him up and then placed him atop the tall post for some mysterious reason. Get the point? Clearly Graham did not get on top by his own merits.That's a perfect example of Graham being folksy and safe, but there is content there if you think about it.Obviously, Graham was a skilled media personality, with decades of experience in the trenches facing journalists who knew his life and work inside out as well as general-assignment reporters who, believe it or not, were sent to cover him after reading little more than a sheet of PR material.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 9:45pm -
  • On question of Texas lesbian parents adopting refugee child through Catholic Charities, media coverage skewed
    In Texas, a lesbian couple is suing in federal court after being told they "don't mirror the Holy family" and can't foster refugee kids, the Dallas Morning News reports.Some of the arguments at play mirror those that made headlines last year when the Texas Legislature passed a law to protect the conscience rights of faith-based adoption agencies that receive state funds.However, the latest case involves federal law since the U.S. government, not state agencies, are involved in the refugee children's placement.The Dallas paper reports: AUSTIN — Two Texas women are suing the Trump administration after the couple say they were told they could not foster a refugee child because they don't "mirror the Holy Family."  Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin, both professors at Texas A&M University, said they were turned away by Catholic Charities Fort Worth after they expressed interest in applying to be foster parents to a refugee child. Catholic Charities, which has multiple regional offices, is the only organization in Texas that works with the federal government to resettle unaccompanied refugee children here.  Catholic Charities' program is overseen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,  one of two lead agencies that partners with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. With the help of the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal, the couple is suing both the Conference and U.S. Health and Human Services, saying the decision to reject their interest in foster care violated the U.S. Constitution.The first version of the story that I read didn't include a response from Catholic Charities up high. But the Morning News later added this statement from the Fort Worth bishop: In a statement, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth did not comment on the couple's specific allegations but insisted their refugee foster care rules comply with all federal regulations and laws. "Finding foster parents — and other resources — for refugee children is difficult work," Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson said. "It would be tragic if Catholic Charities were not able to provide this help, in accordance with the Gospel values and family, assistance that is so essential to these children who are vulnerable to being mistreated as meaningless in society."
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 5:35pm -

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

  • newReclaimed Treasures
    Businesswoman's investment gives rise to ministry to single moms.
    - 11 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 4:00pm -
  • newMissions Programs See Giving Records Fall
    Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC), Girls Ministries' Coins for Kids, and Royal Rangers' Master's Toolbox all broke records for giving in 2017.
    - 12 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 3:00pm -
  • newThis Week in AG History -- Feb. 20, 1932
    Marion Wakeman, an English nurse, never dreamed that one day God would call her from the comforts of her clinic to minister to the physical, social, and spiritual needs of some of the most impoverished people in the United States — but when God placed them on her heart, she responded!
    - 14 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 12:30pm -
  • newNo Expiration Date on Spreading the Word
    Peggy Musgrove doesn't allow life's circumstances to deter her from devotional writing.
    - 20 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 7:00am -
  • AG Leaders Fondly Remember "America's Pastor"
    Billy Graham, who brought denominations together for evangelism, dies at 99.
    - 1 day ago 21 Feb 18, 3:09pm -

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

  • RNS Best of 2017: After 30 years, a farewell column
    (RNS) — David Gushee closes his column to return to life as a scholar — leaving behind culture wars and the fights over and within evangelicalism.The post RNS Best of 2017: After 30 years, a farewell column appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 57 days ago 27 Dec 17, 11:22pm -
  • After 30 years, a farewell column
    (RNS) — 'Perhaps voices will emerge that will enable us to find new ways forward together, past the screaming and the litigation, through a return to deeper theological and ecclesial wellsprings. I pray that this is so,' writes David Gushee.The post After 30 years, a farewell column appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 14 Sep 17, 11:41am -
  • American Christianity’s divisions go all the way down
    The reality of a hopelessly divided American Christian scene. The post American Christianity’s divisions go all the way down appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 5 Sep 17, 10:00am -
  • Charlottesville: What I said from the pulpit yesterday
    White supremacist Christian nationalism must be clearly repudiated by all followers of Jesus Christ. The post Charlottesville: What I said from the pulpit yesterday appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 14 Aug 17, 10:48am -
  • We knew what we were doing: Gushee on Trump, 2015-2016
    We had every reason to know what kind of president Donald Trump would become. The post We knew what we were doing: Gushee on Trump, 2015-2016 appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 7 Aug 17, 11:00am -

Today's Creation Moment

  • newBeauty from Brokenness in the Mountains
    It is both a privilege and a joy that I get to take people to see sights around Mount St Helens. The other day, I took a school group into the Lava Canyon. As the river cascades violently over a lava flow, from about 2,000 years ago, it makes a beautiful sight. Some of that ancient lava flow was washed away by mudflows from the eruptions of more
    - 21 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 6:00am -
  • The Dinosaur Mummy
    We have now got used to the idea that there are dinosaur fossils containing soft tissue. Our familiarity with such finds has begun to dull the edge of the surprising import of such finds. Whichever way you spin this, the presence of soft tissue is not consistent with evolutionary ages for the more
    - 2 days ago 21 Feb 18, 6:00am -
  • Talent and Exercise
    In another Creation Moment, I described the natural ability of a sportsman like David Beckham and how his work could be defined by math. When we consider great sportsmen, we consider the link between talent and what they have done with that more
    - 3 days ago 20 Feb 18, 6:00am -
  • The Physics of Sport
    read more
    - 4 days ago 19 Feb 18, 6:00am -
  • Product Placement in the Garden
    The purpose of an advertising billboard would be to grab the attention of the passerby – or, in today’s world, the person driving by. One way of attracting the attention of prospective customers might be to use bright colors. Suppose that the more brightly colored paint was more more
    - 7 days ago 16 Feb 18, 6:00am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • newGun debate tipping point?
    WASHINGTON—A week after a mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla., the outcry over gun law reforms has never been louder.Everyone seems to agree a mentally unstable 19-year-old with a history of threatening behavior should not have been able to legally purchase the AR-15 assault rifle he used in the Valentine’s Day attack at his former high school. But that’s about the only thing uniting lawmakers as they debate policies to prevent future attacks.Partisan differences on gun laws remain as strong as ever, but with public unrest building, Congress could soon take some action—even though it’s unlikely to satisfy the loudest voices on both sides of the debate.Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., bore the brunt of the anger directed at Republican lawmakers during a televised town hall event held Wednesday night near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.—the scene of last week’s attack that killed 17 people. Parents, teachers, students, and other members of the community expressed anger and frustration over the nation’s lax gun laws. President Donald Trump and Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott both declined invitations to participate in the event.Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter died last week, confronted Rubio about not supporting a ban on assault weapons. “My daughter, running down the hallway, was shot in the back with an assault weapon, the weapon of choice,” Guttenberg said. “It is too easy to get. It is a weapon of war. The fact that you can’t stand with everybody else in this room and say that, I’m sorry.”The room repeatedly booed Rubio as he tried to explain complications and loopholes that plague assault weapon ban legislation. But in a sign he and other Republicans are open to the idea of making serious changes, Rubio pledged Wednesday to support legislation that would raise the minimum age for purchasing assault weapons from 18 to 21. He also vowed to reconsider his position on high-capacity ammunition magazines. The National Rifle Association opposes both measures.Earlier this week, Trump ordered the Justice Department to find a way to block the sale of bump stocks and other devices that increase the firing rate of weapons. Lawmakers from both parties are eyeing legislation that would permanently outlaw them.Bills banning assault weapons or even raising the purchasing age limit remain too controversial to secure a floor debate in Congress, but votes on bills banning bump stocks and reinforcing background checks are imminent.A bill from Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., aims to improve reporting of violent criminals to the FBI’s background-check database, which prevents them from purchasing weapons. The two senators first introduced the bill after a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The shooter in that case had a criminal conviction in a military court, but the Air Force failed to report it.If passed, the Cornyn-Murphy legislation would not expand the background check system but would provide incentives for states to report convictions to the federal database, which is not a requirement in all cases.John Malcolm, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow, told me banning bump stocks and passing the Cornyn-Murphy bill would be reasonable responses for conservatives. But he insisted lawmakers need to approach the subject with clear eyes and not rush to pass reforms just to quiet critics.“I don’t think some of the people on the left are going to be satisfied until essentially the Second Amendment is repealed,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t measures that can take place.”While urging passage for his bill, Murphy said no one should “pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic.” He and other Democrats ultimately want universal background checks for gun purchases and a ban on the sale of high-capacity firearms. Congress returns to work Monday, but the past 12 months have shown lawmakers’ inability to pass much of anything. Small gun law reforms might win enough support to pass, but don’t expect the sweeping changes some are demanding. Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin DACA supporters rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington earlier this month. What’s next for DACA?Lawmakers left town last week without reaching a consensus on a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving 700,000 immigrants in limbo.But with two separate federal courts ruling against President Donald Trump’s order to end the program on March 5, the timetable for immigration reform likely has shifted. While the court battle plays out, some lawmakers are warming to the idea of shoring up DACA now and coming back to broader reforms later.Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., wrote in The Washington Post this week that he plans to urge Senate leaders to consider a bill that would protect DACA recipients from deportation for three years and provide $7.6 billion in border security funding—enough for the first phase of Trump’s border wall. Without a hard deadline to pass something, don’t expect any action on immigration reforms until the end of the month. The continuing resolution currently funding the government runs out after March 23. Watch for lawmakers—particularly Democrats—to force another vote on immigration to coincide with that deadline. —E.W. Associated Press Billy Graham (left) meets with President John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1961. The pastor to the presidentsIt’s hard to overstate the Rev. Billy Graham’s significance, just ask any living U.S. president. Graham first visited the White House during President Harry S. Truman’s tenure in 1950. He built relationships with and counseled every commander in chief since then. Graham’s last official presidential meeting took place in 2010, at his home in Montreat, N.C., with President Barack Obama. Before he became president, Donald Trump joined 800 other guests to celebrate Graham’s 95th birthday in 2013. While other famous religious figures have sparked debate by weighing in on political issues—including Graham’s oldest son, Franklin—Billy Graham maintained a different strategy for ministry. “I’m just going to preach the gospel and am not going to get off on all these hot-button issues,” he told The New York Times in 2005. “If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting. I’m just promoting the gospel.” —E.W.Heitkamp’s high five for abortion​The National Republican Senatorial Committee unveiled an attack ad this week targeting Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., over her vote against a 20-week abortion ban. During a Senate vote last month, three Democrats joined pro-life lawmakers to protect unborn babies at five months gestation, but Heitkamp was not one of them. The bill needed nine more votes to proceed. After Heitkamp cast her vote she gave Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a big high five on the Senate floor. Heitkamp is one of 10 Senate Democrats running for reelection in states President Donald Trump won in 2016. —E.W. Image: Deck: Lawmakers mull minor restrictions, but major reforms remain unlikely to gain tractionCategory: PoliticsKeywords: PoliticsCongressGun controlgun lawsGun RightsImmigrationParkland ShootingSlug: PoliticsArticle Title: Gun debate tipping point?Author: Evan WiltDigital Branding: The StewHide from Archive?: 0
    - 6 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 8:17pm -
  • newCosmic quandary
    In trying to measure the assumed effects of the Big Bang theory, science keeps coming up with contradictory numbers.“This starts to get pretty serious,” Nobel laureate and astrophysicist Adam Riess said at a January meeting of the American Astronomical Society, according to Science News. “In both cases these are very mature measurements. This is not the first time around for either of these projects.” The two projects to which Riess referred use different methods for calculating the speed at which the universe is expanding.One method estimates the rate of expansion using measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation, or waves of radiation that take up the space between stars and are thought to be leftover energy from the Big Bang. The other method calculates how fast distant supernovas are moving away from each other based on observations from the Hubble telescope. If scientists’ underlying assumptions about the beginnings of the universe are true, then the estimate based on theory and the actual measurement should be the same. But they’re not.The cosmic radiation approach gives an expansion rate of 67 kilometers per second (for two astronomical bodies separated by 3.26 million light-years), while Riess’ telescope method puts the rate at 73 kilometers per second. Scientists have known about this discrepancy for a while, and many thought it would iron itself out as measurements became more sophisticated. But Riess just released a new study confirming his rate and raising big questions about the Big Bang theory’s assumptions.Jake Hebert of the Institute for Creation Research pointed out the lazy convenience with which Big Bang devotees “optimistically propose ad hoc laws of physics to explain the discrepancies—even though there is no observational evidence for these laws.” Some scientists have attempted to explain the Hubble constant discrepancy by claiming previously undiscovered particles could be affecting the universe. Even Riess appeared to poke some fun at those explanations: “Relativistic particles—theorists have no trouble inventing new ones, ones that don’t violate anything else. Many of them are quite giddy about the prospect of some evidence for that.” Riess acknowledged in an interview with Astrobites that the Hubble constant divergence “might indicate that something else is going on.” Hope for peanut allergy patientsA new treatment could save the lives of children with severe peanut allergies. A California-based company on Tuesday announced it had successfully built tolerance in allergic children using daily capsules of peanut powder. Aimmune Therapeutics studied the preventive treatment in nearly 500 kids between the ages of 4 and 17 with allergies so strong they reacted to as little as one-tenth of a peanut.The treatment consisted of a daily capsule of either peanut powder or a placebo powder sprinkled over food. Researchers gradually increased the amount of peanut in the real powder for six months, maintaining that final level for another six months.The study found 67 percent of the children treated with the peanut powder could tolerate roughly two whole peanuts without an allergic reaction by the end of the study. Just 4 percent of children given a placebo could tolerate the same amount. Research has shown tolerance to just one peanut protects 95 percent of allergic kids from having a reaction if they are exposed.But the treatment is not for everyone: About 20 percent of the kids getting the peanut powder dropped out of the study, more than half due to reactions or other problems that kept them from taking the daily dose.Aimmune plans to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment later this year. Officials said they expect the treatment to cost $5,000 to $10,000 for the first six months of treatment and $300 to $400 a month after that. —Kiley Crossland Farmer bearsScientists in Alaska recently discovered the God-ordained importance of an unremarkable substance: bear poop.Researchers from Oregon State University studying seed dispersal in the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska found brown and black bears—not birds, as commonly believed—are primarily responsible for distributing small fruit seeds.“Bears are essentially like farmers,” said Taal Levi, an Oregon State assistant professor. “By planting seeds everywhere, they promote a vegetation community that feeds them.” Footage from motion-triggered video cameras set up in berry patches in the Tongass National Forest, America’s largest, revealed that while birds picked off a few berries at a time, bears gulped them down by the hundreds.Levi and his team discovered these bears hang out in berry patches while they wait for spawning salmon to enter streams. After munching, they disperse thousands of fruit seeds throughout the forest.Adding a layer of intricacy, the researchers found rodents sometimes find and bury the bear scat in caches, even further dispersing, and “planting,” the seeds. —K.C.Human organ incubators?Researchers from Stanford University and the University of California have successfully transferred human cells into sheep embryos, the first step toward growing human organs in the animals. The experiment involved putting adult human stem cells into early stage sheep embryos and allowing them to grow for several more weeks. The scientists harvested the embryos, which contained one human cell for every 10,000 sheep cells, before they developed into fully formed baby sheep. The team hopes eventually to duplicate an experiment in which it grew a mouse pancreas in a rat genetically modified to develop without one. Scientists used the resulting pancreas cells to cure the mouse’s diabetes. While the technique could offer hope to thousands of people on organ transplant lists, it raises ethical questions about where such treatment should stop. —Leigh Jones Image: Deck: The Big Bang theory faces new challenges from within scienceCategory: Science & TechKeywords: ScienceSpaceIntelligent DesignHealthMedicineSlug: ScienceArticle Title: Cosmic quandaryAuthor: Lynde LangdonDigital Branding: BeginningsHide from Archive?: 0
    - 8 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 6:27pm -
  • newPennsylvania lawmakers appeal map decision to Supreme Court
    Two Republican lawmakers from Pennsylvania filed an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday night to block a new congressional district map drawn by the state’s highest court. The new map, issued after the state Supreme Court ruled the previous one unconstitutional, likely would give Democrats an advantage in this year’s elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. Justice Samuel Alito, who handles emergency requests from Pennsylvania and other states under the jurisdiction of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, could issue a decision on his own or refer the case to the full court. Alito turned down two previous requests by the same lawmakers challenging earlier decisions in the long-running case. In January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave the state’s Republican-controlled legislature two weeks to come up with a new congressional district map that Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, could support. When they failed, the court issued its own map. In a sign of the case’s importance to national politics, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to urge Republicans to keep fighting for their version of the map: “Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money!”Image: Category: Supreme CourtArticle Title: Pennsylvania lawmakers appeal map decision to Supreme CourtKeywords: PoliticsCongressSupreme CourtAuthor: Leigh Jones
    - 9 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 5:30pm -
  • newBilly Graham to lie in repose at U.S. Capitol before burial
    Evangelist Billy Graham, who died Wednesday at age 99, will lie in repose in the U.S. Capital rotunda next week before he is buried beside his wife, Ruth, in Charlotte, N.C. Graham’s viewing in Washington, an honor usually reserved for political figures, highlights the significance of his influence on American life during six decades of public ministry. On Saturday, Graham’s body will be taken from Asheville, N.C., to Charlotte in a procession expected to take about 3½ hours. He will lie in repose at the Billy Graham Museum and Library in Charlotte on Monday and Tuesday before being taken to Washington. The Graham family will hold a private funeral on March 2. A family spokesman said Graham’s children plan to extend invitations to the funeral to President Donald Trump and past presidents, with whom the evangelist forged personal relationships. In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, Graham’s oldest son, Franklin, said the family asked their patriarch what he wanted on his tombstone, so they would not argue amongst themselves when the time came. After thinking about it, Graham gave them one word: “Preacher.”Image: Category: Faith & ReligionArticle Title: Billy Graham to lie in repose at U.S. Capitol before burialKeywords: ReligionAuthor: Leigh Jones
    - 10 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 4:56pm -
  • newU.S. women celebrate hockey gold
    The U.S. women’s hockey team defeated Canada in the gold medal game Thursday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The last time the U.S. women won gold in hockey, current goaltender Maddie Rooney was just 7 months old. Rooney saved the game, which went to an overtime shootout for the first time in women’s Olympic hockey history. She made 29 saves in the game, including overtime, and blocked shots from four different Canadian players in the six-round shootout. “She's a gem, talk about poise,” teammate Gigi Marvin said of Rooney. “We all knew she had it. She has been around all year and she just owns it.” The United States and Canada have played in all but one Olympic final since the Winter Games introduced women’s hockey in 1998.Image: Category: SportsArticle Title: U.S. women celebrate hockey goldKeywords: 2018 Winter OlympicsHockeySportsInternationalAuthor: Lynde Langdon
    - 10 hours ago 22 Feb 18, 4:55pm -

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 -