Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: Mass Starvation Killing Hundreds of Venezuelan Children

Venezuelan selling food in 2012, before the oil prices dropped and the economy failed.

In a heartbreaking news article, The New York Times reports that in 2018 almost 400 Venezuelan children died from starvation at nine public hospitals following emergency room visits.

Dr. Livia Machado told The Times, “Never in my life had I seen so many hungry children.” Dr. Milagros Hernández describes the tragic conditions of her patients, “Children arrive with the same weight and height of a newborn.

Prayer List

* Pray for Venezuela’s starving citizens to receive the food and nutrients they need for physical health.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the parents and siblings of children grieving the loss of family members.
* Pray for the physical, emotional and spiritual health of parents, doctors, nurses and other care givers struggling at this time.
* Pray for Venezuela’s political leaders to change their destructive economic policies or be replaced by politicians that will pursue policies that would rebuild the economy.

Unreached People of the Day

Thursday: Magh in Myanmar
Friday: Arab, Jordanian in Canada

Operation World Prayer Focus

Thursday: Global Hot Spots
Friday: The Church Worldwide

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

  • Lou Engel ends “The Call” to usher in Billy Graham’s “mantle”
    Millions of young people around the world are being told that they can soon supernaturally receive the hovering mantle of evangelism from the late Billy Graham, and that this opportunity will be theirs on February 23. Please hear me, Christian, there is no “mantle” from any person dead or alive that we are to activate […]The post Lou Engel ends “The Call” to usher in Billy Graham’s “mantle” appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 85 days ago 28 Jan 19, 9:28pm -
  • 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.
    - 9 Oct 18, 2:21am -
  • Why we “Mark and Avoid”
    There is a growing trend to dismiss the Bible in a world that says, “you can’t believe a book that’s a couple thousand years old,” as Rob Bell has done. Bell recently made these statements and said that the Church is very close to embracing gay marriage. If you haven’t boldly marked false teachers, people […]The post Why we “Mark and Avoid” appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 5 Oct 18, 7:37pm -
  • 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.
    - 2 Oct 18, 4:11pm -
  • 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.
    - 26 Sep 18, 10:36am -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • The Suffering Servant Only Makes Sense in the Context of the Trinity
    The historical Christian doctrine helps us to see the goodness of God in Good Friday.Good Friday sermons aren’t always easy to sit through. They’re even tougher to preach. Never have I been more moved or more likely to squirm in my seat in church than on Good Friday. Perhaps that’s because they invite us to sit in the midnight passages of Scripture, caught up with suffering, death, and the purposes of God. For many of us, it is a trial to read Good Friday texts and still see God as good.Might I suggest that the careful use of historical Christian doctrine can help?Take Isaiah 53’s shadowy prophecy of the Suffering Servant. In its own context, mystery lies thick around the Servant. A disturbing portrait of travail and torment mystifies and perplexes, even as it enthralls. In the earlier Songs of the Servant in Isaiah, he is clearly a communal figure for Israel in exile. But in this chapter, the communal figure becomes a concrete individual—an enigmatic and tragic one. Despised and rejected by men, oppressed and led away to death by his enemies, he seems among men the most to be pitied.The worst of his lot lies not in the abuse by his enemies, or even the rejection of his friends—it is his treatment by God that is most unnerving. Even though he was innocent and there was no “deceit in his mouth,” it seems “it was the Lord’s will to crush him” in order to make “his life an offering for sin” and bring about the salvation of many (Isa. 53:10).But how could it serve the purposes of Israel’s God to see this righteous one crushed? What does it tell us about the way God treats his servants, his elect? These are truly dark sayings. A gleam of light begins to shine, though, not only when we recognize their fulfillment in Jesus, the ...Continue reading...
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  • Across 27 Countries, Most Don’t Mind More Religion in Society
    Pew survey of 30,000 people finds a median of 39% favor, 13% oppose a “more important role for religion.”Despite signs of increasing secularism in the United States, far more Americans favor an increased role for religion in society than oppose it.According to a massive new report from the Pew Research Center that queried more than 30,000 people across 27 countries, almost three times as many Americans say they would view “a more important role for religion” in the US as a positive change (51%) versus a negative change (18%).In general, that sentiment is shared around the globe—at the same rate. Across all countries surveyed, a median of 39 percent of respondents favor religion becoming more important in society, while only 13 percent oppose it.Only 5 of the 27 countries surveyed have populations in which those opposed to religion playing a more important role outnumber those in favor. All 5 are in Europe: Sweden (51%), France (47%), the Netherlands (45%), Germany (35%), and Spain (38%), where an openly atheist prime minister was elected last year amid concerns over his vows to remove religious symbolism from institutions and religion from school curriculums.In the African nations of Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Tunisia, along with other countries in the global south such as Indonesia and Brazil, the idea of religion gaining more importance in society is viewed favorably by large majorities of the population.Pew highlighted one country where views vary by religion: Nigeria, which continues to be rocked by deadly sectarian conflict.“The vast majority of Nigerian Muslims (88%) are in favor of a more important role for religion, while a smaller majority of Christians (61%) say the same,” stated researchers. “However, it’s important to note that roughly a quarter of Christian respondents ...Continue reading...
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  • Mastering the Fundamentals of Mission
    If you can’t do the fundamentals with excellence, then you will never be successful—at least not for long.Every coach knows the value of fundamentals. Not only does each season start with the basics, but coaches rehearse them over again as the building blocks of the game. Many early season practices have started with an exasperated coach restating the basics with a Lombardi-like version of, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”Form, stance, positioning.Stickhandling.Blocking.Hitting the cutoff man. Every time.It’s skills taught to small children when learning their sport that, years later, will separate the winners from the losers at every level. If you can’t do the fundamentals with excellence, then you will never be successful—at least not for long.Could the same be true in our efforts at evangelism and disciple-making? Are there certain basic fundamentals that we must master in order to expect missional impact?Likely.Easter Monday provides a good opportunity for reflection on the basics. For many, this weekend was a special weekend. It was different – bigger than most Sundays. There’s something stunningly spectacular about reflecting on a vacant tomb and a triumphant Savior. And most churches attempted to take advantage of the spiritual opportunity that yesterday provided.But, on the back side of such a weekend of celebration we are left to consider the missionary implications of the resurrection for every other day of the year. The resurrection stands as a permanent reality that must shape the living priorities of every kingdom disciple. We can’t merely swing hard for a single day of hyper-intentionality in missionary action and then wait another year for a suitable plate appearance. In fact, the effectiveness of yesterday’s missionary output was largely predicated on a churches’ ...Continue reading...
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  • Repenting of Identity Politics
    New Zealand revealed the tragic logical end of evils like Christian Nationalism.The March massacre of 50 Muslims during worship in New Zealand was first and foremost a human tragedy, one felt deeply around the world. Unfortunately the massacre also signaled a political tragedy, displaying the logical end to a type of engagement increasingly defining the public square: identity politics.As British columnist Brendan O’Neill put it, “Increasingly, it feels like the New Zealand atrocity is what happens when the politics of identity, the reduction of everyone to cultural or racial creatures whose relationship with other cultural and racial cultures must be monitored and managed, comes to be the only game in public life.”The simplest definition of identity politics is summarized at Wikipedia: “a tendency of people sharing a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity to form exclusive political alliances, instead of engaging in traditional broad-based party politics, or promote their particular interests without regard for interests of a larger political group.” Adherents have no interest in broad-based politics because they believe that no other group can empathize sufficiently with them to truly understand their group. Only one born into the group identity, or who becomes “woke” through a kind of revelation, truly knows the score.Without genuine understanding between groups, the only way to gain political influence is through the raw use of power. Political power for those who are patient. Violence for those who are not. But the bottom line is the same: It’s about and only about gaining power for the benefit of your group and at the expense of other groups. This is not to suggest that every current advocate of identity politics champions ...Continue reading...
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  • Introducing CT's New President
    Unbeknownst to me, I began recruiting my successor six years ago.I’m so glad God doesn’t operate on my timetable. The year was 2013. The place: Harvard Yard. I found myself sitting over coffee with someone who had impressed me enough during the previous three years that I was about to offer him a position on CT’s executive team. The role was completely new; I had created it specifically for him in hopes that he might bring to the ministry new ideas for missional expansion and financial growth.Job description in hand, I put the full court press on this prospective new employee, confident that a “yes” was forthcoming. But no sooner was my pitch delivered than I heard: “Harold, I’d love to be a part of your team, and the role fits me perfectly. But now is simply not the time.” So much for my salesmanship!Fast forward almost six years to February of this year, when the Christianity Today board of directors was meeting in Dallas to consider that same man as my successor. They voted unanimously to ask Tim Dalrymple to be CT’s next president and CEO. And this time, Tim said yes!At the end of my 35 years serving here—12-plus of those in the “corner office”—I couldn’t imagine a better way to “sign off” this portion of my kingdom service. Tim will bring an impressive array of gifts to his new role, including an entrepreneurial drive, a digital-native mindset, and an immense intellectual and editorial capacity.After graduating from Stanford with a double major in philosophy and religious studies, Tim earned an MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in modern Western religious thought at Harvard University. Along the way, he also served in youth ministry, prison chaplaincy, and graduate and faculty ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • KAZAKHSTAN: 18 prisoners of conscience, 11 restricted freedom sentences
    In addition to one Muslim on trial in Shymkent, 18 individuals are known to be already jailed for exercising freedom of religion or belief. All are Sunni Muslim men. A further 11 are serving restricted freedom sentences. A further 12 are under post-jailing bans on specific activity. A further 29 who have completed sentences still have their bank accounts blocked.
    - -
  • KAZAKHSTAN: Muslim faces closed trial in Shymkent
    If convicted at his closed trial in Shymkent, 40-year-old Muslim Dilmurat Makhamatov faces up to 19 years' imprisonment. Kazakh police claimed he conducted "illegal preaching among Kazakhstanis via the internet" while in Saudi Arabia. After he was forcibly taken to Kazakhstan charges of "inciting religious hatred" and "propaganda of terrorism" were revealed. His friends reject the accusations. The trial resumes on 22 April.
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  • DONBAS: Luhansk: Orthodox cathedral, more Protestant churches raided
    Officials of the unrecognised Luhansk People's Republic raided at least two Protestant Sunday worship meetings on 24 March. Courts chose not to punish two pastors. On 4 April anti-"extremism" police raided the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's Holy Trinity Cathedral in Luhansk, diocesan offices and the homes of two priests. A police officer refused to say if further measures against the priests are planned.
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  • CRIMEA: Raids, another criminal case, four appeals
    Armed Russian FSB security service officers raided eight Jehovah's Witness homes around Yalta, seizing religious literature. Artem Gerasimov faces "extremism"-related criminal charges with a maximum ten year jail term, the second Crimean Jehovah's Witness to face such charges. On 16 April, Russia's Supreme Court is due to hear appeals by four Muslims convicted in January of membership of the Muslim group Tabligh Jamaat.
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  • RUSSIA: Obstructions to Protestant theological education "systemic, intentional"?
    The Pentecostal Union's Eurasian Theological Seminary's licence was annulled in October 2018 after inspectors questioned its theology course. The Baptist Union's Moscow Theological Seminary was suspended for 60 days from January 2019, and banned from admitting new students. Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin says these actions are "systemic, intentional".
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Get Religion

  • newWhy rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral could cost billions and take over a decade
    The catastrophic Holy Week fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris completely destroyed the roof and center spire, although the famous facade of the centuries-old gothic house of worship was spared and remains intact, as did the lower part of the church.As investigators continue to sift through the damage — which includes three massive holes in its vaulted ceiling — in an effort to pinpoint the cause of the inferno, French officials and architects are working to determine how much money and time it will take to restore Notre Dame to its previous glory.“We have so much to rebuild,” French President Emmanual Macron said Tuesday in a televised speech from Paris. “We will rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral even more beautifully. We can do it, and once again, we will mobilize.”French officials confirmed, a day after the blaze, that the stone walls of the cathedral are structurally sound. Macron vowed that the landmark church, a symbol of Paris and Roman Catholicism for the past 800 years, will be rebuilt. State officials will enact an ambitious timetable of just five years to get the project completed.The investigation into the cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Despite a spate of vandalism at French churches over the past few months, authorities do not believe this latest incident to be arson.How long will it take to rebuild?French officials said an international effort would be needed to pay for the reconstruction. Although Macron said rebuilding would be completed by 2024 (with one estimate saying it could cost $8 billion), some experts said the cathedral’s full renovation could take up to 15 years.In terms of money raised, the billionaire Pinault family has pledged $113 million, as did the French energy company Total and cosmetics giant L’Oreal. The family of Bernard Arnault, who own luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has planned to donate $225 million. Donations are coming in from all over the world, including $100,000 from Notre Dame University.It’s worth noting that the cathedral was not insured.
    - 15 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 9:00pm -
  • newPolitical style question for tense times: What do you call people killed in church on Easter?
    I have been covering the religion beat, to one degree or another, for 40 years and I have never heard “Easter worshippers” used as a replacement for the word “Christians.”Is this a reference to people who worship ON Easter or, well, people who worship Easter?As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I am well aware that Christians around the world — due to the much-covered clash between the Gregorian calendar and the older Julian calendar — usually celebrate Christianity’s most important holy day (called “Pascha” in the East) at different times. (For the ancient churches of the East, today is the Monday of Holy week this year.)All that aside, there is no reason to substitute an awkward term like “Easter worshippers” for the word “Christian,” when referring to the victims in the horrible Easter morning bombings in Sri Lanka.So I was surprised to see this oh-so-Twitter firestorm erupt yesterday. Here is the top of a key D.C. Beltway report. The pro-forma headline at The Hill states: “Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity'.” And here is the overture: Former President Barack Obama on Easter Sunday condemned a series of explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka as "an attack on humanity." "The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity," Obama tweeted on Easter Sunday. "On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka."As you would expect, “Christians” pounced and this quickly became a story in “conservative” media.What caused this bizarre mini-train wreck? I can think of two reasons — one based on journalistic caution and the other based on Donald Trump-era cynicism.Let’s start with the closest thing to logic that I can come up with, if one is seeking a non-political reason for this switch. To bluntly state the point: The terrorists attacked churches AND hotels, so one could make a case that Christians were not the only people attacked.Now, yes, that still doesn’t explain “Easter worshippers” in the tweets by politicos.
    - 20 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 4:22pm -
  • newThe Easter Sunday massacre: Sri Lanka's complex religious landscape is a challenge
    When I first heard news of the bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, I wondered which group was to blame this time. At first, the government was calling it a terrorist attack by “religious extremists.”That’s it? Think of it: 290 people dead. That’s five times the amount of Muslims shot by in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. And everyone tried to sidestep the identity of the perpetrators?Sri Lanka is a majority Buddhist country and hardline Buddhist groups have consistently harassed the minority Christians there. This is a complex situation, as former GetReligionista Ira Rifkin noted in this post last year.Writing in the Guardian, a Muslim writer points out here that religious Muslim and Christian minorities in Sri Lanka have been sitting ducks for militant Buddhists for a long time. Even after a Methodist church was attacked by Buddhists on Palm Sunday in the northern part of the country, no precautions were taken for Easter celebrations.But when I heard the attacks were set off by suicide bombers, that brought to mind radicalized Muslims, not Buddhists. The former is known worldwide for its use of suicide bombers. (However, Sri Lanka is the birthplace of the mainly Hindu Tamil Tigers, who pioneered suicide bombings in the 1980s. More on that in a moment.)As I wrote this Sunday night, no one was saying a word as to which religious group did this. Now, government officials say they believe an “Islamist militant group” is to blame. No group has taken credit for the attacks.So far, the U.K. press has been more on top of this story than was American media, with the exception of the New York Times, which has turned out some very good pieces in the past 24 hours. First, so I turned to the Guardian:
    - 23 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 1:00pm -
  • That mass-media firestorm surrounding 'Unplanned': Is 'censorship' the right word here?
    So, there’s another one of those “Christian” niche-market movies that’s about to come to a theater near you. Maybe you’re heard about it? Or maybe you have even seen the trailer for “Breakthrough” before one of those family friendly movies at your local multiplex?There’s a good chance that you have been able to see the trailer, as explained in this Religion News Service piece. That fact alone turns this into a somewhat different “Christian movie in the marketplace” story than the one that “Crossroads” host Todd Wilken and I discussed during this week’s podcast (click here to tune that in).Why? Hang in there with me, because this will take some explaining. Producer DeVon Franklin was “blown away” by the Smiths’ story several years ago when he met Joyce and John Smith and their pastor, Jason Noble, while promoting his film “Miracles From Heaven.” … The producer said “Breakthrough” builds on the success of the other films he has produced with explicitly Christian messages: “Miracles From Heaven,” which also is based on the true story of a mother holding on to faith as her child faces a health crisis, and “The Star,” an animated film telling the story of Jesus’ birth from the viewpoint of the animals. And it’s well positioned to reach even more people, he said. Franklin said he was surprised how many movies the trailer has accompanied in theaters since then and by the positive response they have received. He’s seen “unprecedented interest in this type of content,” he said.Now, if the trailer for this movie is showing in front of lots of mainstream films — like the superheat “Mary Poppins Returns” — and reaching family friendly audiences, then that would mean that “Breakthrough” is rated PG — which it is. The film has also been welcomed, without rancor, into the world of social media.So how is this different from that other Christian-market movie that is in the news right now? What have you read about “Unplanned” and its attempts to reach the emerging marketplace for faith-driven films?
    - 2 days ago 21 Apr 19, 5:00pm -
  • Regarding Israel and the End Times, what is Dispensationalism? What is the rapture?
    THE QUESTION:Regarding Israel and Bible prophecies about the End Times, what are the meanings of such terms as Dispensationalism, the rapture, premillennialism, the great tribulation,  pre-tribulationism and Armageddon?THE GUY’S ANSWER:A March 31 New York Times article on how religion may influence U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s approach toward Israel had this headline: “The Rapture and the Real World: Pompeo Mixes Beliefs and Policy.”One key point was that the then-Congressman told a religious audience in 2015 that humanity faces “a never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.” Yes, think “Left Behind” books and movies.The move of the United States embassy to Jerusalem, and U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights, were thought to boost both President Donald Trump’s evangelical support and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s April 9 election prospects. Analyzing those decisions, the Times explained that “white evangelicals,” Pompeo included, believe “God promised the land to the Jews, and that the gathering of Jews in Israel is foretold in the prophecy of the rapture — the ascent of Christians into the kingdom of God.”The Times wording was truthy but confusing, and the standard rapture belief is not taught by evangelicalism as a whole — but only one segment. Also, the “white evangelical” reference is strange, since this doctrine can be found in quite a few different kinds of evangelical sanctuaries.So let’s unpack some elements of these complex matters.Secretary Pompeo is a member of the Michigan-based Evangelical Presbyterian Church, a small body (89,190 members, 207 congregations) that forsook the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1981. It upholds the Westminster Confession and catechisms proclaimed by British clergy and politicians assembled by Parliament in the mid-17th Century. Churches that follow such Reformation-era credos affirm Jesus’s Second Coming and the Last Judgment, but not the modern rapture belief formulated two centuries later.
    - 3 days ago 20 Apr 19, 5:00pm -

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 Brazilian Influx
    Immigrant arrivals force isolated Massachusetts church to seek an expansion solution.
    - 7 hours ago 23 Apr 19, 5:30am -
  • newPray for Sri Lanka in Bombing Aftermath
    Hundreds were killed and hundreds more wounded while attending Easter services in Sri Lanka — an AG leader in Sri Lanka requests worldwide prayer.
    - 20 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 3:51pm -
  • Men's Ministries Offers Free Daily Devotional
    Every day, a new devotional message from Men's Ministries is available online or to be sent by email.
    - 1 day ago 22 Apr 19, 12:00pm -
  • Acts of God
    18 months on, South Texas is still rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey.
    - 1 day ago 22 Apr 19, 5:30am -
  • The Final Week of Jesus -- Resurrection
    Jesus' resurrection surprised and confused even His closest friends, but Amy Flattery, the director of the Center for Holy Lands Studies, shares how Jesus became the perfect example for living a resurrected life.
    - 2 days ago 21 Apr 19, 9:00am -

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 StoriesVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Nate Saint Memorial School: End of an Era"Holy, Holy, Holy" in a Sudanese Prison 
    - 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 Stories"Holy, Holy, Holy" in a Sudanese PrisonPetr Jasek: God Opened the Prison DoorMiddle East Christians "Standing in the Fire" 
    - 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 Asia"Holy, Holy, Holy" in a Sudanese PrisonAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified" 
    - 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 Use"Holy, Holy, Holy" in a Sudanese PrisonPetr Jasek: God Opened the Prison Door 
    - 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" 
    - 27 Apr 17, 8:14pm -

Religion News Service

  • Mormon leaders reverse LGBT policy, raising the question: What is revelation?
    (RNS) — Just over three years ago, Mormon leaders touted a controversial LGBT policy as revelation. Now its reversal is also being presented as revelation.The post Mormon leaders reverse LGBT policy, raising the question: What is revelation? appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 19 days ago 4 Apr 19, 6:09pm -
  • New Mormon policy no longer calls same-sex marriage ‘apostasy’
    (RNS) — Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will no longer consider same-sex marriage 'apostasy' and will allow the children of LGBT Mormons to be blessed and baptized. The post New Mormon policy no longer calls same-sex marriage ‘apostasy’ appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 19 days ago 4 Apr 19, 5:11pm -
  • New LDS domain name may spark brand war over ‘Church of Jesus Christ’
    SALT LAKE CITY — Along with dropping the 'Mormon' nickname, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has changed its website from to post New LDS domain name may spark brand war over ‘Church of Jesus Christ’ appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 19 days ago 4 Apr 19, 3:38pm -
  • In Robert Alter’s majestic Bible translation, the achievement is in the details
    (RNS) — With an accurate, understandable translation that captures the unique sentence structure, style and syntax of the ancient language, Alter has set a new standard for biblical scholarship.The post In Robert Alter’s majestic Bible translation, the achievement is in the details appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 19 days ago 4 Apr 19, 1:44pm -
  • Washington gets Wilton Gregory, a great bishop
    (RNS) — Washington should rejoice to have such a good bishop; too bad we may not have him very long.The post Washington gets Wilton Gregory, a great bishop appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 19 days ago 4 Apr 19, 12:32pm -

Today's Creation Moment

  • Recurring Donations

    - 13 days ago 10 Apr 19, 5:10pm -
  • Radio Archivo
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    - 12 Dec 18, 9:21pm -
  • Dashboard 2

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    - 19 Jul 18, 5:09pm -
  • Today’s Creation Moments Email Sign Up
    - 16 Jul 18, 12:07am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • newHigh hopes for abortion survivors in Texas
    Amid a nationwide debate over late-term abortion and infanticide, Texas became the latest state to draft legal protections for babies born alive after an abortion attempt. Last week, the Texas House of Representatives approved a born-alive bill and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The Senate passed its own version of the measure earlier this month. Both bills require abortion facilities provide medical care to babies born after botched abortions.“At the heart of the bill, the ‘Texas Born-Alive Protection Act,’ it is designed to strengthen the protections to those babies who survive abortions,” Rep. Jeff Leach, a Republican and the bill’s sponsor, said at a news conference. “Join me in supporting House Bill 16, showing the rest of the country—states like Virginia, New York, and Washington, D.C.—that we’re going to continue to stand for life in this state.” The House passed the bill Wednesday by a vote of 94-2, with 49 representatives abstaining.Joe Pojman, the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, told me his organization fully expects the Texas legislature to approve either the Senate or House version of the bill and Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, to sign one of them. Both bills, Pojman said, “really demonstrate the concern of the Texas legislature, and, after it’s signed, of the governor, that we want to do everything possible to protect unborn babies and babies who survive abortion.”Many news outlets are reporting the state has received no reports of babies born alive after abortions, but Pojman pointed out that abortionists likely wouldn’t report those because state law protects unborn babies after 20 weeks of gestation unless the mother’s life is in danger or the baby has a severe abnormality.“We suspect that [live births] may be going on in certain facilities,” Pojman said. “However, it would be naive to assume that a physician who performs a late abortion, which results in a live birth, would report that live birth to the state. It would be like asking a physician who cheats on his income taxes to report that cheating to the IRS.”The House bill would allow parents or legal guardians to file a civil lawsuit against an abortionist who fails to provide care to their child born alive after an abortion attempt, while the Senate bill does not. Both bills impose a $100,000 civil penalty on abortionists who violate the act, but the Senate version would also make the failure to provide care a third-degree felony. Neither bill carries any punishment for the mother.Lawmakers began pushing the bills in response to efforts by several states to allow abortion up until the moment of birth. New York did away with nearly all protections for unborn babies in January. Vermont is considering both a bill and a constitutional amendment that would do the same. Del. Kathy Tran of Virginia, a Democrat, introduced a similar bill that led to controversial comments by Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat, who some people thought was promoting infanticide. That measure failed in committee.Pro-life legislators have since introduced legislation at the state and federal levels to protect babies from negligence after failed abortions. U.S. Senate Democrats blocked a bill in February that would have required medical care for babies who survived abortions. A born-alive bill passed in the North Carolina legislature on Tuesday, but Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed it Thursday. Cooper called the bill “needless” and pointed to state law that already protects newborns.“Roy Cooper didn’t just veto a bill, he vetoed babies who are innocently born alive as a the result of a botched abortion,” said Tami Fitzgerald, director of North Carolina Values Coalition. Associated Press/Photo by Rogelio V. Solis A pro-life demonstrator at an intersection outside an abortion center in Jackson, Miss. Across the nationUtah: Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, said he would defend Utah’s law protecting the unborn from abortion after 18 weeks of gestation after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against it Thursday. “Besides presenting questions about the fundamental right of the unborn to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the health and safety of the mother and her rights, the case raises important questions about governmental power and the proper role of courts,” Reyes said.Mississippi: The office of Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, filed papers last week upholding a law protecting unborn babies with a detectable heartbeat from abortion. The law, which Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, signed last month, faces a lawsuit from the Center for Reproductive Rights and an abortion center.Ohio: U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett on Thursday blocked part of an Ohio law that would keep babies from being dismembered during abortions. Barrett ordered the state not to bring criminal charges against abortionists who violate the law while the case proceeds through the courts.Alabama: A public hearing for a bill to protect babies from abortion in nearly all cases drew a small protest on Wednesday. State Rep. Terri Collins, a Republican, introduced the bill, which would allow abortion only when the mother’s health is in danger. —S.G. Facebook A pro-abortion billboard at the Missouri-Illinois border Fake newsAn abortion facility in Granite City, Ill., paid to erect a billboard last month along Interstate 55 that says, “Welcome to Illinois, where you can get a safe, legal abortion.” The billboard targets women entering the state from St. Louis, Mo. The wording is copied from a Colorado billboard campaign from February, according to the Hope Clinic for Women abortion center. Angela Michael, director of the pro-life group Small Victories, wrote on her organization’s blog that the sign is the “biggest hoax since the inception of Roe v. Wade.” She pointed to the high number of emergency transports the abortion facility has to make for women injured during an abortion procedure and malpractice lawsuits filed against it. —S.G.Adding to the abortion death tollThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its numbers this month on the drug Mifeprex, which is used in chemical abortions. As of Dec. 31, 2018, 24 women have died after taking the drug since its approval in 2000. Previous FDA numbers reported 22 women died after ingesting the drug. At least two deaths resulted from an undetected ectopic pregnancy, and several resulted from sepsis, or severe systemic infection. —S.G.Struck downThe South Korean Constitutional Court ruled this month against a 66-year old law that protected the unborn from abortion. The law gave women up to a year in prison for undergoing an abortion and abortionists up to two years in behind bars for performing one. It allowed abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or threat to the mother’s health but was not strictly enforced. —S.G. Image: Deck: A ‘born-alive’ bill could become law soonCategory: Pro-LifeKeywords: AbortionLegislationState GovernmentHealthHealthcareMedicineFamilyParentingSouth KoreaLifeSlug: AbortionArticle Title: High hopes for abortion survivors in TexasAuthor: Samantha GobbaDigital Branding: VitalsHide from Archive?: 0
    - 16 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 8:16pm -
  • newWhen Asian girl meets white boy
    When Asian girl meets white boyRace IssuesSexualityMarriageFamilyReactions to my non-Asian boyfriend surprised and disturbed meRaceSophia LeeThese are confusing times when it comes to racial issues, and I’d like to address one subtopic that’s gained attention: interracial couples—or more specifically, the increasingly criticized trend of Asian women dating white men. It’s a divisive issue fraught with emotion and misunderstanding, and weighed down with historical, cultural, and social baggage. It’s also one I’ve hesitated to write about, partly because I didn’t know what to think about it myself.You see, I’ve been seeing more articles with clickbait titles such as “The Alt-Right’s Asian Fetish,” “I’m an Asian Woman Engaged to a White Man and, Honestly, I’m Struggling With That,” and “I Broke Up With Her Because She’s White.” According to the first two authors, the prevalent trend of Asian women dating and marrying white men is problematic because it harkens to a long history of white supremacism. The third article was written by a Latino man who felt pressured by today’s “woke” society to stop dating white women.The basic idea is that “racial dating preferences” is just a code word for racial stereotypes and prejudices, such as the degradation of black women, the criminalization of black and Latino men, and the feminization of Asian men in Hollywood and the media, trends that sociologists trace back to colonialism. When it comes to Asian women, the myth is that they’re the “ideal” female: submissive, docile, and sexually eager to please. These stereotypes absolutely exist, and they are harmful.For me, it hits close to home. Conversations about racial stereotypes might not pop up in certain social circles in America, but they do in mine. Plus, I am a Korean American woman dating a blond, blue-eyed, German-blooded man born and raised in North Dakota to a baseball-obsessed, Baptist, Republican family.In terms of cultural background, David and I couldn’t be more different. I grew up as a missionary kid in Singapore; David grew up in a middle-class suburban home with a pool in the Midwest. My omma served me homemade kimchi and chili-laden noodles; he dined on Cap’n Crunch and Mom’s buttered knepfle and can’t eat anything mildly spicy without hyperventilating. I watched Korean dramas and practiced taekwondo; he watched DuckTales and chowed pretzels at baseball stadiums and air-guitared to Blink-182. But still, we somehow clicked. And now, more than two years later, we’re discussing marriage.The fact that David happens to be white didn’t bother me ... at least, not until I started receiving comments whenever I mentioned that David’s previous girlfriend was also Korean American. “Oh, I see. He’s got yellow fever,” one friend remarked. Another friend said, “Well, he’s obviously got a type.” Yet another acquaintance said, “Yeah, you’re the type white boys will go for.” These reactions all came from fellow Asian folks.Each time, I instinctively became defensive, and I would hasten to add, “Well, he’s dated white and Latina women too …” Even as I said that, I got annoyed at having to respond to such comments. But I can’t deny that these interactions always left me with a strong distaste—the sort that clenched my stomach and shrunk my heart. From the pit of my gut came complex feelings of irritation, fear, and ... shame? That bothered me. I understood why I would get irritated when people imply that a man would find me attractive simply because I’m Asian. But where do the fear and shame come from? So I’m in love with a white guy—what’s fearful and shameful about that?I traced those feelings back to when I first arrived in the United States as a teenage immigrant. I remember my Asian American friends warning me to watch out for boys with an “Asian fetish”—an ugly term for a non-Asian man who’s attracted to Asian females, presumably due to stereotypes. The way they said it—always with a disgusted scowl—seemed to suggest anyone who dates too many Asians is creepy and abnormal, akin to perverts who watch kinky dwarf porn in a dank basement. When that’s your introduction to your own community’s feelings about non-Asian males pursuing Asian females, it leaves a negative impression that’s hard to scrub off.As I grow older, I’m observing the ripple effects. I remember a Korean American friend asking me one day, “Do you think I’m a self-hating Korean?” I was surprised: “What do you mean?” She hesitated, then replied, “I’ve never really dated Asian men. When I was dating a Jewish guy, I started noticing that there were a lot of couples like us: white or Jewish man, Asian woman. And there’s this stereotype of Asian women who date white guys—that they’re dating them because they worship whiteness, because they despise their own Asianness.” Then she got very honest: “When I see other Asian-female/white-male couples, I instinctively stereotype them. Then I started wondering, ‘What if other people think the same about us?’”Nowhere are racial stereotypes more prominent than in the online dating world. When a Japanese American friend began dating online, she expressed skepticism about a white guy who wrote on his profile that he had lived in Japan and likes anime: “I’m just not sure that he’s just interested in me because he’s got an Asian fetish, you know?”These are muddy, uncomfortable thoughts. That’s why when I see articles that seem to address them, I click and read, because I want to understand why these thoughts exist. The problem is, the more I was reading such articles, the more they confused and upset me. Suddenly, I had to bear the weight of bulky terms such as “Asian fetish,” “white worshiping,” “colonial mentality,” and “internalized racism”—terms that, frankly, don’t describe my relationship with David, or the relationships of other interracial couples I know.When I mentioned the Asian female stereotype to David, he laughed: “That’s crazy. You’re the least submissive and most stubborn person I know!” When I try to discuss more complex racial issues, he gets uncomfortable, and I get it: In today’s “woke” culture, a white, straight male can never say anything right, and that’s not good. But like most white Americans who still represent the nation’s majority demographic, he also rarely thinks about his skin color—a privilege that minorities in this country don’t have. For us, we’re rarely seen as just American. It doesn’t matter how Americanized I am, people will always see me as a Korean American. The reality is, I can never forget the color of my skin, and that’s why people of color think and talk and wrestle more with racial topics. I think it’s good to be self-aware and educated on such matters … but when does it go too far?Recently, a friend sent me an Invisibilia podcast episode in which an Asian American woman interviews another Asian American woman who mostly dates white men. When Asian men harassed her online for her “racist” dating habits, she felt badly about herself, so she decided to stop dating white men and intentionally date non-white men. In doing so, the interviewer proclaimed, she would “decolonize her desire” and “fight back against centuries of racist U.S. policies and Western colonization.”As I listened to this interviewee and her self-congratulating, patronizing, “woke” mission, I felt shaken awake: What in the world is going on? Have we really come down to this—marking racial check boxes in our romantic pursuits? Nowhere in that interview did I hear her talk about being equally yoked or seeking commitment, mutual respect and trust, sacrificial love, and open communication. Instead, she focused on skin color, sociology, and how it made her feel about herself.Today, people are free to date and marry whomever they want, regardless of skin color—yet somehow, we’re still slapping taboos on certain kinds of interracial dating.Racial prejudices are real and serious sins. In the United States, it’s been only a few decades since the Supreme Court overturned laws banning interracial marriage in some states. Today, people are free to date and marry whomever they want, regardless of skin color—yet somehow, we’re still slapping taboos on certain kinds of interracial dating. That New York Times column by the Latino guy who broke up with his white girlfriend describes his internal angst with such clarity:“How did we get here? If everyone is so woke, why are things so terrible? Maybe everyone isn’t so woke. Anyway, what am I supposed to do? How do I love as a brown body in the world in a way that makes everybody happy? I fell for a white woman and she fell for me—simple as that—yet I feel as if I’m doing the wrong thing by dating her.”Ironically, by trying to break free from racial oppression or internalized racism, we sometimes construct new racial prisons for ourselves. Interracial marriage is something joyous and beautiful—two individuals breaking the barriers of cultural and ethnic differences to become one flesh in a relationship representing the holy union of Christ and the Church. For believers of different races, Christ Himself has become “our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).In my case, even if David and I aren’t in a covenantal relationship yet, that means loving him for his God-gifted qualities—pale skin and blond roots and sensitive personality and silly humor and all. It also means learning from one another: So far he’s taught me to become a Dodgers fan, while I’ve pushed him out his comfort zone into foreign places. As a result, he’s tasted the joys of exploring new cultures, while I ... well, I’m still waiting to reap the rewards of rooting for the Dodgers. Maybe this year. Third time lucky, eh?Race IssuesSophia's World
    - 17 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 7:32pm -
  • newgv042219
    Image: Section: CartoonsDate to Publish: Monday, April 22, 2019 - 13:17 to Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 13:17
    - 19 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 5:17pm -
  • newCain withdraws from Fed nomination
    President Donald Trump said Monday that he would no longer consider Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve board. Cain was expected to bow out after a number of senators, including Republicans, voiced concerns that he may not be “politically independent.” The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza dropped out of the 2012 presidential race amid allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity. “My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. I will respect his wishes,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!”Image: Category: White HouseArticle Title: Cain withdraws from Fed nominationKeywords: PoliticsFederal ReserveWhite HouseWashingtonAuthor: Lynde Langdon
    - 19 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 5:06pm -
  • newSupreme Court to consider LGBT employment cases
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the case of a funeral home employee who sued because he said the Christian business owners would not let him dress as a woman at work. At the same time, the high court also will consider cases filed by individuals who claimed they were fired because of their sexual orientation.The three cases, scheduled for oral arguments in the fall, revolve around Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity, but federal appeals courts in Chicago, New York, and Cincinnati have recently ruled in favor of homosexual or transgender employees who claimed employment discrimination. In R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home v. EEO, Anthony Stephens claimed Title VII protection as a transgender employee of the Detroit-based funeral home. Business owner Thomas Rost said he could not in good conscience permit Stephens to present himself as a woman to grieving clients. And his convictions about God-designed manhood and womanhood prevented him from paying a clothing stipend to help facilitate Stephens’ transition.This will be the first time the Supreme Court has considered LGBT discrimination cases since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the 2015 same-sex marriage decision Obergefell v. Hodges, and the appointment of his replacement, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who established a conservative majority on the court.Image: Category: SexualityArticle Title: Supreme Court to consider LGBT employment casesKeywords: Supreme CourtSexualityHomosexualityReligious LibertyTransgenderismAuthor: Rachel Lynn Aldrich
    - 19 hours ago 22 Apr 19, 5:04pm -

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 -