International Religious Freedom Act Heads to the President

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — The U.S. House of Representatives passed and sent to the President’s desk the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 1150) yesterday. 

The bipartisan bill, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and co-sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), will give the Administration and the State Department new tools, resources and training to help counter extremism and the growing persecution of religious minorities globally.

The act seems to give the U.S. government ways to take worldwide religious freedom seriously…or not, depending on the way the winds blow:

  • Creates a “Designated Persons List” for individuals who commit egregious violations of religious freedom
     
  • Creates a comprehensive religious prisoners list—persons who are detained, imprisoned, tortured and subject to forced remission of faith.
     
  • Integrates religious freedom into every aspect of U.S. foreign policy
     
  • Strengthens the Special Advisor for religious freedom at the National Security Council
     
  • Requires international religious freedom training for all Foreign Service Officers
     
  • Requires that the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom report directly to the Secretary of State

There’s more.

When ISIS stops walking people out to be butchered, when churches in the middle east stop blowing up, and when carrying a Bible in Saudi Arabia is okay, then I’ll be encouraged.

UPDATE:

 12/14/2016 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Andrew Brunson, a Christian leader of a Protestant church in Izmir, Turkey, was imprisoned by Turkish officials on Friday after 63 days of detention. While details remain scarce, ICC sources say that Andrew has now been transferred from the Harmandali Detention Center to the Sakran 3 Nolu T Tipi Prison near Izmir, despite quiet efforts by the US State Department and Members of Congress to negotiate his release over the past several weeks.

 
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International Religious Freedom Act Heads to the President

Christian Couple Agree With Pastor

And some folks lose their minds.

Every now and then they pick a new Pope, and the media reacts oddly surprised when the new Pontiff says things which are Catholic.  The new Pope seems to have broken that mold, by doing and saying things which are not actually so Catholic at all.  But this post isn’t about them, but the stars of a reality show.

 

The Mainstream Media and militant LGBT activists are unleashing their fury over reports the Gaines family attends Antioch Community Church, a non-denominational megachurch.

“Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Pastor Preaches ‘Homosexuality is a Sin'” – blared a headline on Cosmopolitan.

“Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Church is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage,” screamed a Buzzfeed headline. “Their pastor considers homosexuality to be a ‘sin’ caused by abuse – whether the Fixer Upper couple agrees is unclear.”

What the shiplap, America?!     <–That’s a running joke about the show. — Dave

“Their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, is both staunchly against same-sex marriage and a strong believer that homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle’ choice and a ‘sin’,” Cosmo reported.

This bit of news was more than their feeble journalistic minds could handle.

“Given the diversity of Fixer Upper‘s audience, this is a startling revelation that has left many wondering where Chip and Jo stand,” Cosmo reported.

Click on the picture for an essay in the Washington Post which takes a different direction.

I know that the writers for major media outlets figure Christians are something to be studied by anthropologists. They hope someday they (or we) will be studied by archaeologists.  

Still, you’d think that in a world busting at the seams with conflict, the idea that these nice looking folks respect the words of their holy book and pastor would be boring.

Unless the publicity is an attempt to pull them down, like the treatment dished out to the Duggar family, or the Palins, or the Robertson family.  You wouldn’t think that’s the plan, wouldya?

 

 

Christian Couple Agree With Pastor

Don’t Even Pretend

“If a group of atheists wants to stop by and thank us, that’s OK, too.”  

Linn County (Iowa)  Sheriff Brian Gardner, whose officers were invited to appear at a prayer event outside police and sheriff’s department headquarters.  An atheist group opposed the partipation of officers in the event, in which the community would pray for the officer’s safety and wisdom. Link

Rev. Pat Fish, pastor at Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church, in Cedar Rapids, said he and other pastors hatched the idea as a way to come together as a community after the Nov. 1 Cedar Rapids officer-involved shooting of Jerime “Danky” Mitchell, now paralyzed, and the fatal shootings earlier this month of two police officers in the Des Moines area.

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Don’t even pretend that the right to worship in the public square is not under attack.  

Don’t Even Pretend

It’s Time for Backbone (An Open Letter to Preachers)

And that is how you ‘give ’em hell…” or at least remind ’em that it is still there.

The Recovering Legalist

Dear Fellow Preachers,

I know this might not open many doors for me, but now’s the time – it’s actually past time – for some honest-to-goodness, strong-as-steel, George S. Patton and John Wayne-like BACKBONE!

Stand in the gap! Don’t be a politically motivated, crowd-pleasing, purse string-fearing wimp and PREACH THE WORD!

Gentlemen, more than ever what we need now are some Elijahs, some John the Baptists, another John Knox or two, and even some old-school Billy Grahams. We need more men of God who know the difference between the Word of God and a motivational speech! We need men who aren’t afraid to point a finger at sin and call it what it is.

Don’t try to be popular. Don’t try to be “cool” and “hip” with the younger generations. Quit fighting over the styles of worship if your congregation doesn’t even know HOW to worship! Forget trying to become…

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It’s Time for Backbone (An Open Letter to Preachers)

Don’t Fall for the Bait and Switch: Freedom to Worship

From Ryan T. Anderson of  the Daily Signal:

Donald Trump promised that he would make America great again. If he is to make good on that promise, he’ll need to start by robustly restoring our first freedom: the free exercise of religion.

Unfortunately, under President Barack Obama’s administration, it came in for attack as never before. Thankfully, many of those attacks can be rectified in the very first days of a Trump administration.

Trump should commit to protecting the free exercise of religion for all Americans of all faiths. In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton referred to the “freedom of worship”—piety limited to a synagogue, church, or mosque. But what the American founders protected was the right of all to live out their faith every day of the week in public and in private, provided they peacefully respect the rights of others.

Atheists need no protection anymore to pursue their Godless, deity-free form of humanism in the public square. I mean no insult to those without God in their worldview, but yeah.  Quote me.

It’s really not much for the left to agree to allow Christians, Jews and other people of faith to practice their religion in houses of worship.  It is in fact an insult to try and slide by a basic point: The First Amendment was written to free religion from government, and not government from religion. My faith does not stop at the church door at 12:15 on a Sunday.

It is a part of who religious people are.  When we are citizens also, I expect that our citizenship decisions should also be guided by faith.

Does this mean America is a Christian nation?  We’re a nation of laws, written by people.  Some of those people will be Christians, and others will have other world views.  In nation of laws, everybody has rights.  Atheists, Jews, Muslims…all of us.

Of course you might disagree,  Meet you at the courthouse and the legislature.

Don’t Fall for the Bait and Switch: Freedom to Worship

Attacks On Catholic Church Require People Of All Faiths To Say ‘We Are Catholics Now’

Religious Freedom issue causes a Lutheran Writer to say “Ego sum Catholicus”

America: The Good and the Bad

It doesn’t matter which faith you adhere to—we should care about attacks on the Catholic Church, because one threat to religious liberty affects us all.

In my school days, we were taught that the national government is limited. The powers of Congress are only those enumerated in the Constitution. The powers of the President and the Executive Branch are only those enumerated. All other powers are reserved to the States and the People.

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Attacks On Catholic Church Require People Of All Faiths To Say ‘We Are Catholics Now’

Erdogan Takes Back Christian Church For Islam

Can somebody please remind the Islamists that this is NOT a Holy war?  And that they’re a religion of peace?

PJ Media:

The Hagia Sophia is one of the most beautiful and well-known buildings in the world — and Islamists have detested that fact for years. After all, it is a Christian church, and therefore a Christian symbol.

That’s why the Ottoman Turks wasted little time transforming the church into a mosque when they invaded and conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) centuries ago. Christian symbols and works of art were destroyed or covered, and a dominating tower was built from which the Islamic call to prayer could be sung.

The Ottomans did that because they wanted to show Christians that, from then onwards, Islam was in power. Christianity would be subjugated.

That changed in the 20th century, when the Ottoman Empire fell and was succeeded by the secular Turkish Republic. The Hagia Sophia was declared a neutral place for Christians and Muslims (and for people of all other religions). The church/mosque was made into a museum where everybody was welcome.

 

Now under new management. (Wikipedia.) 

This fear has now been validated: last Friday, the Turkish government announced that it had appointed a permanent imam to the Hagia Sophia.

This means that the Islamic call to prayer will now be heard five times a day, instead of two times — and that it will basically function as any other mosque:

 It’s a tremendous slap in the face of Turkish Christians, who already are an increasingly beleaguered minority.

Earlier this month, Rev. Andrew Brunson and his wife Norine were arrested for supposedly being “national security threats.” That’s an excuse this government always uses to take out those who don’t support the president. Brunson has been arrested because of his work for Christ.

Pray for them, the other Turkish Christians, and even pray for those who say they are enemies of Christianity.

Erdogan Takes Back Christian Church For Islam