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Compromising the truth about marriage is a serious blunder




The Guardian newspaper has published a series of articles demonstrating that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world. They highlight the sheer scale of persecution and give evidence that it is on the rise.

Using data from charity Open Doors and the personal experience of Christians in countries such as China and Pakistan, the newspaper sheds light on a situation which is largely under-reported by the mainstream media.

One article, entitled ‘Dying for Christianity’, begins: “The scale of attacks on Christians in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America has alarmed organisations that monitor religious persecution, with most reporting a significant deterioration in recent years.”

Rise in persecution

The newspaper cites figures from Open Doors, which “conservatively estimates that 4,344 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons in 12 months up to November 2014, and 1,062 churches were attacked”.

The organisation also reported that “persecution increased in 24 countries last year” and that “the rate of increase is accelerating”.

A second article, ‘Christians under pressure: from bigotry at school to imprisonment and murder’, shares the stories of Christians living with persecution.

Pastor Xu Yonghai has served five years in Chinese prisons for his faith and has spoken out against the systematic persecution of Christians by the state.

Imprisonment

The Guardian reports that: “He has denounced the bulldozing of churches and attacks against preachers, and has been imprisoned twice”.

The article notes that Xu prayed, “Please give me the strength to hang on,” and “Please let the policemen confess their crimes and repent their sins.”

The global extent of persecution is further emphasised in a third feature, ‘Where in the world is the worst place to be a Christian?’ North Korea comes top followed by Somalia and Iraq in the list of the “top 25 most anti-Christian countries”.

’Enormous scale’

Lord David Alton, who led a debate on religious freedom in the House of Lords this month, said: “some assessments claim that as many as 200 million Christians in over 60 countries around the world face some degree of restriction, discrimination or outright persecution”.

He continued: “Whatever the real figures the scale is enormous. From Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt to North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, from Cuba, Colombia and Mexico to Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan, Christians face serious violations of religious freedom”.



taken from http://www.christian.org.uk

Christian GP 'suggested suicidal patient embrace Jesus'

22 Sep 2011

A GP told a troubled patient that he could benefit more from Christianity than his own faith, a hearing was told.

 

Dr Richard Scott spoke about the matter of religion to the 24-year-old, who has been described as "suicidal" and "vulnerable", at the end of a consultation at his surgery, the General Medical Council (GMC) heard.

After allegedly being told ''Go for it'' by the patient, the GP is said to have told him faith in Christianity may help him overcome personal problems.

But the 51-year-old doctor ''crossed the line'' in discussing his own personal religious beliefs with a vulnerable patient and even went on to suggest he might benefit from a Christian faith - above his own religion.

The patient, who was seen by the GP at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, was left ''very upset'' and felt Dr Scott had ''belittled'' his own faith, th GMC heard, and made a complaint.

Under GMC rules, doctors are not allowed to impose personal or religious beliefs on patients and, if such issues are raised, it must be done in a ''sensitive and appropriate'' manner, the hearing was told.

Patient A, whose identity has not been made public, has decided not to attend the hearing. His own religious affiliation has not been made public.

Paul Ozin, counsel for the GMC, said: ''Dr Scott said to patient A about the 'additional help which he might derive from Jesus'.''

Mr Ozin told the committee of an interview Dr Scott gave to BBC Radio 5 Live with Nicky Campbell on May 24 this year.

Campbell put it to him that, during the course of the conversation, Dr Scott was ''trying to convince him that your faith may be better...''

Dr Scott replied: ''Yeah, my actual words were 'You might find Christianity offers you something more than your current faith does in this situation'.''

Campbell then said: ''What is it that Jesus could have offered him more than his own faith?''

Dr Scott replied: ''He had an awful lot of problems, and the thing to know, that God loves us and Jesus loves us and you can deal with stuff in the past, in terms of hurt or guilt or fear of failure, stuff you can only really find through Christianity.

''I do offer it (faith) in situations like this.''

Patient A did not take up the offer, Mr Ozin said.

He continued: ''It is a matter of record that Patient A subsequently complained about Dr Scott and said he was very upset about the consultation and he was offended by what he saw as the belittling of his own religion.

''On these facts alone Dr Scott failed to comply with the relevant GMC guidance, designed to strike the right balance between doctor and patient in this difficult and sensitive area.

''A line was crossed because Dr Scott expressed his personal religious belief to a person who he knew was a vulnerable patient in a way that was plainly liable to cause the patient distress.

''He suggested Jesus or Christianity - his own religion - offered something exclusive and superior to that offered by the patient's own religion.''

 

Information taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/religionbookreviews/8781871/Christian-GP-suggested-suicidal-patient-embrace-Jesus.html

 

 

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Secularists try to end free parking for churchgoers

16th September 2011

Churchgoers in Woking could be forced to pay car parking charges to attend church on Sundays, following an intervention by a secularist pressure group.

Currently worshippers at three churches in Woking town centre are able to park free of charge at two public car parks on Sundays.

The National Secular Society has called for Woking Borough Council to end the concession, claiming that it “is almost certainly illegal under equality legislation”.

Value

Ray Morgan, Chief Executive of Woking Borough Council, said: “They have made a challenge and say they think it is illegal, so we have sought formal legal advice on that matter.”

Mr Morgan added: “The council greatly values the whole faith community and the work they do, and it actively supports things like Woking People of Faith and people from faith backgrounds.

“It’s important that we do what’s right for Woking’s residents.”

Attendees

Without the scheme attendees at Coign Church, Christ Church and Trinity Methodist Church would have faced parking charges of more than 55,000 over the past two and a half years.

Those attending insert tickets into a “validating device” at the churches which encodes the tickets so that they raise the exit barrier without the need for payment.

But Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “If Woking’s exemptions were to be replicated throughout the country, the subsidy would amount to tens of millions of pounds.

Scheme

“We have advised the council that under the Equality Act these arrangements almost certainly amount to illegal discrimination. We await their response with interest.”

The parking scheme will continue pending legal advice, and will be raised at a meeting of the council’s executive committee next month where a decision on its future may be made.

Prayers

The National Secular Society is currently suing Bideford Town Council for saying prayers at the start of its council meetings.

The council is said to have had prayers at its meetings since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

 

taken from http://www.christian.org.uk

Church of Scotland votes for gay clergy

27th May 2011

The Church of Scotland has voted in favour of allowing homosexual men and lesbians to serve as church ministers.

The decision, taken yesterday at the General Assembly, applies to clergy who have declared their homosexuality and were ordained before May 2009.

The future ordination and training of gay and lesbian clergy will be decided in 2013 when a theological commission publishes a report on the matter.

Dissent

The commission will also discuss the issue of same-sex marriage and liturgy for civil partnerships.

A motion of dissent will be signed today by those who are opposed to the move.

The decision to allow homosexual clergy was taken despite a special commission showing 60 per cent of Kirk session members were against the move.

Revisionism

The issue came to the fore two years ago when it was announced that Scott Rennie, a divorced father-of-one who lives with his homosexual partner, had been appointed as minister of a church in Aberdeen.

Revd Andrew Randall of Larbert Old Church said yesterday’s decision by the General Assembly “opens the door to de facto revisionism” and would be a Trojan horse for liberalism.

Scripture

And Revd Louis Kinsey, Minister of St Columba’s, Bridge of Don, said: “The Church of Scotland has decided to follow modern culture and not Scripture.”

But homosexual lobby group, Stonewall Scotland, was delighted. Director Carl Watt said: “Although we await further decisions from the assembly and details on the next steps, we hope that in 30 years’ time this will be regarded as a storm in a teacup.”

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ETHIOPIA — Muslims Warn Christians to Convert, Leave or Die

Posted 19/02/11

 

Muslims in the city of Besheno posted notices on the doors of Christians' homes warning them to convert to Islam, leave the city or face death. Three Christian leaders were forced to flee the city and two Christians were forced to convert to Islam. Other Christians have been harassed and physically abused since the notices were posted. The Christian community in Besheno consists of only about 30 believers, and Christians there have been targeted by Muslims for many years.

Evangelist Kassa Awano remains in critical condition after Muslims attacked him on Nov. 29, 2010. A few days after the attack, nearly 100 Muslims surrounded a vehicle carrying Christian leaders who were on their way to negotiate for peace with Muslim leaders. Two men, Tesema Hirego and Niggusie Denano, were seriously wounded in the attack, and the other Christian leaders suffered minor injuries. On Jan. 2, Muslims assaulted Temesgen Peteros with a knife after he testified against the evangelist's Muslim attackers in court.

Pray that God will enable Christians in Besheno to share the gospel boldly and lovingly. Pray that their persecutors will come to know Christ's love through the lives of the Christians.

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Don’t mangle definition of marriage, warns senior Tory

A senior Conservative MP has slammed the coalition Government’s proposal “to do away with traditional marriage”.

On Thursday the Equalities Office revealed that it will “formally look” at redefining marriage so that homosexual couples can get the same certificate as married people.

The Government will also consult on plans to allow civil partnerships to be registered in churches for the first time.

Devastating

But Edward Leigh MP has questioned why the Government is trying to ‘mangle’ marriage, warning that it could have devastating consequences for those who adhere to the traditional definition.

Mr Leigh, a former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, described the move as “mangling the language of marriage so that, for the sake of the tiny number of gay people who prefer marriage to civil partnership, everyone else in society must have the definition of their own marriage altered forever.

“Once we have departed from the universally understood framework of marriage, there is no logical reason why the new alternative institution should be limited to two people. Why not three? Or thirty-three?

Nation

“Same-sex couples already have all the rights of marriage in the form of civil partnership. Why must they also have the language of marriage?

“No doubt because it is an important symbol to them. But it is also an important symbol to many other people.

“Must the religious and cultural heritage of the whole nation be overturned to suit the demands of a minority even of the gay community itself?”

5 billion

He added: “In recent years people who say things gay rights groups do not like have often found themselves being reported to the police.

“If the government presses ahead and replaces marriage with a unisex institution, what is the future for those who say they do not believe a man can have a husband or a woman a wife?”

It has been reported that the Government’s preferred option would also allow heterosexual couples to enter civil partnerships, a move which would cost 5 billion according to Stonewall.

Broken

Mr Leigh also criticised the Government’s proposal to allow civil partnerships to be registered in churches, saying: “When Civil Partnerships were brought in we were assured that they were not marriage.

“This pledge has now been broken. A marriage is a union between a man and a woman making a sincere attempt to stay together for life with a view to raising children.

“Civil Partnerships, by definition, cannot be this. The whole point of banning Civil Partnerships in a place of worship was to make clear that they were not marriages. This distinction will now be lost.”

Litigation

Mr Leigh also warned that clergy who refused to perform same-sex marriages would face litigation “sooner rather than later”.

Speaking after yesterday’s announcement Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said: “The introduction of civil partnerships was one of the most significant changes introduced by Labour.”

He added: “Five years on from the first civil partnership it is right that we look at extending marriage equality for those people who want it. I welcome the announcement and hope that progress can be made on this important issue as soon as possible.”

Oppose

Earlier this week a number of evangelical Christian organisations released a joint statement pledging to “firmly oppose” any change to the law.

And media commentators are expressing concern over the proposal to radically redefine the nature of marriage.

Michael White, writing on the Guardian’s politics blog earlier this week, said: “Aside from all the theological, moral and cultural freight, there’s an important practical distinction here which goes to the root of any society – namely that heterosexual marriage is there to produce and raise children in a more or less stable environment.

Truth

Mr White, an Assistant Editor of The Guardian, went on to warn that no amount of technology could “eliminate the need for a female egg and a male sperm to make a baby. On that fact rest all successful societies since the year dot.”

His comments were echoed by Melanie Philips, writing in the Daily Mail, who said: “Gay rights supporters contend that there can be no justifiable objection to extending the status of marriage to those who are not heterosexual. Gay or straight — what does it matter, as long as two people are committed to each other?

“But those who make this argument merely reveal they have no idea of the significance of marriage. They seem to think it’s just another contractual arrangement involving a binding (or not so binding) commitment — like buying a house or a car.

“But the truth is that marriage is a unique institution because it involves the process by which humanity reproduces itself — which is only through the union of male and female.”

 

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Homosexual marriage and the registration of civil partnerships in churches

Joint Statement by Affinity, The Christian Institute, Christian Concern, Reform and the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches

 

There has been speculation in the press about the Government's proposals for civil partnerships to be registered in places of worship. There has also been speculation, and indeed confusion, over the separate issue of scrapping the definition of marriage in order to allow two people of the same sex to hold a marriage certificate.

Government proposals to allow civil partnerships in churches implement changes made in the 2010 Equality Act. However, there has been no announcement from the Government that it has any plans to introduce full same-sex marriage.

The definition of marriage

The thousands of churches that our organizations represent hold firmly to the clear teaching of the Bible that marriage is the lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman. This is the definition that has long been recognized in English law and, indeed, by almost all cultures for all of human history.

Marriage was ordained by God for the good of all people and is a holy institution. It was also designed to represent something of the relationship between Christ and his church. There are two partners to a marriage because there are two sexes. Marriage is a complementary covenant involving the bringing together of the two sexes not only for the purposes of procreation but also to reflect more fully the image of God.

We are also concerned about the effect of declaring that the institution in which children are raised does not require both a mother and a father.

For all these reasons we, and many others, would firmly oppose any efforts to eradicate the definition of marriage and impose a new definition on everyone in order to satisfy the demands of gay rights groups.

Civil partnerships in churches

We reiterate our long-held opposition to allowing civil partnerships to be registered in churches. It is a breach of undertakings made by Government ministers during debates on the Civil Partnership Bill. Parliament was persuaded to pass that Bill, in part, because it was made clear that civil partnership was a civil rather than a religious institution and would not take place in religious premises.

However, there are a small number of religious groups who are not content with being able to carry out civil partnership blessing ceremonies, as they currently do, but who want the legal registration itself to take place in their premises. In response to the demands of these groups, the Government is embarking on a course of action that is bringing it into conflict with thousands of evangelical churches and the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

In any legislation, churches must be protected against the possibility, now and in the future, of any kind of legal action being brought against churches which conscientiously disagree with civil partnerships.

When it comes to equality legislation, permission often turns rapidly into coercion. In a country where faith-based adoption agencies have been forced to close or cut their religious ties by equality law, where Christian marriage registrars can be dismissed for their religious views on marriage and where Christian B & B owners are forced to pay compensation to same-sex couples, Christians will need a great deal of reassurance that the Government is not about to do something that will make their situation even worse.

Issued on behalf of:
Affinity
The Christian Institute
Christian Concern
Reform
The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches

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Multi billion dollar chicken chain in gay marriage row

 

A major American fast food chain run by a devout Christian family has been branded as homophobic for agreeing to provide sandwiches for a pro-marriage seminar.

Opponents have called for people to boycott outlets of Chick-Fil-A, which has more than 1,500 outlets in the US, and launched an online petition against the popular chain.

But despite the backlash the fried chicken chain’s president has insisted that Chick-Fil-A, whose corporate purpose is to “glorify God”, will stand by its “biblical principles”.

Billions

The chain, whose sales run into the billions, is well known for its Christian ethos. Its stores close on Sundays, and prospective employees are asked about their marital status and civic and church involvement.

But Chick-Fil-A came under fire after it emerged that one of its outlets was set to provide sandwiches and brownies for a seminar run by the Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI).

In response Dan Cathy, president of the fried chicken chain, said: “Chick-Fil-A’s corporate purpose is ‘To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.’”

Strengthen

Mr Cathy insisted that the company would “continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families”.

He added: “To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles”.

And Michael Geer, president of the PFI, said: “People should applaud institutions that want to strengthen marriage”.

Abuse

Chick-Fil-A currently runs 1,530 restaurants in 39 states, and a spokesman for the company has revealed that their sales figures for 2010 are likely to be over $3.5 billion.

Earlier this year it emerged that young children had been exploited and used to rant foul-mouthed abuse in an anti-Christian hate video produced by gay marriage campaigners in America.

The controversial video features adults and children, some of whom appear to be primary school age, who repeatedly use the f-word to abuse those who believe in traditional marriage.

Fist

The video, which attacks the church, includes one young girl with her hair in pigtails shaking her fist at the camera and shouting “I will f*** you up”.

The video was produced by media campaigner Luke Montgomery, who has raised more than $200,000 for groups lobbying for gay marriage.

But the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that champions traditional marriage, says children have been exploited.

NOM President Brian Brown urged people to “pray for the children on this video mouthing the hate- and obscenity-filled scripts adults gave them to say – hatred against their friends, neighbours and fellow citizens who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife.”

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rollinsa01_180px.jpg

 

Birmingham street preacher wins wrongful arrest case

An autistic Christian street preacher who was handcuffed and arrested for speaking out against homosexuality and many other sins has been awarded 4,250 in damages following a court case against West Midlands Police.

In a case backed by The Christian Institute, Birmingham County Court ruled on Wednesday that PC Adrian Bill committed assault and battery against Mr Anthony Rollins when he handcuffed him unnecessarily.

The court also ruled that Mr Rollins was wrongfully arrested, unlawfully detained and his human rights to free speech and religious liberty were infringed. The court ordered the police to pay Mr Rollins’ legal costs.

Civil liberty

Mr Rollins suffers from Asperger’s syndrome – a disorder that causes difficulties in social interaction. He was represented in court by Hugh Tomlinson QC, a respected civil liberty lawyer and joint author of the leading practitioner textbooks on human rights law and on civil actions against the police.

On 24 June 2008 Mr Rollins was preaching from the King James Bible in Birmingham city centre. He expressed his Christian belief that homosexual conduct is morally wrong.

A member of the public, Mr John Edwards, objected to Mr Rollins’ message and shouted “homophobic bigot” before calling 999 and asking for the police. Two officers arrived on the scene and PC Adrian Bill arrested Mr Rollins without further inquiry. Handcuffs were placed on Mr Rollins even though he was calm and compliant.

Charged

Mr Rollins was detained at a police station for over three hours. He was never interviewed for his version of events. He was charged with a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act – a law that has been criticised by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights for jeopardising free speech. The charges were later dropped before trial.

Mr Rollins made a complaint about the police action to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but they failed to uphold the complaint. In a civil action supported by The Christian Institute, Mr Rollins sued West Midlands Police for wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment, assault and battery, and infringement of his human rights. He won on all counts.

Giving his ruling the judge, Lance Ashworth QC, criticised the arresting officer, PC Bill. The judge said PC Bill had made the arrest “as a matter of routine without any thought being given to Mr. Rollins’ Convention Rights [to free speech and religious liberty].” The judge said PC Bill’s decision to arrest Mr Rollins showed “a lack of thoughtfulness”.

Self-important

The judge also said that PC Bill’s demeanour in the court was negative and evasive. He added that the police conduct was incompatible with Mr Rollins’ human rights to free speech and religious liberty.

The judge also criticised Mr Edwards, the man who originally phoned the police. Mr Edwards had appeared in court as a witness for the police. The judge said: “I was not impressed by Mr. Edwards as a witness. He struck me as a man, full of his own self-importance, who in the witness box relished the attention and greatly embellished his evidence.” The judge added that “in every respect where his evidence is at odds with the evidence of other witnesses I reject it”.

Mr Rollins told the court how it felt to be arrested, handcuffed and marched away by the police. He said he felt “anxious, shocked and very humiliated”. Mr Rollins told the court that he tried to talk to PC Bill following the arrest, but was told to “shut it, you will get your say in the police station”. However, he was never interviewed.

Heritage

Mr Rollins’ legal action against the police was supported by The Christian Institute, a charity that protects the religious liberty of Christians. The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Street preachers may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is part of our Christian heritage. Most people just walk on by and ignore it. The police have no business arresting Christians for quoting the Bible.

“Whether you agree with Mr Rollins’ beliefs or not, surely we all value free speech. Christians are tired of being put on trial for their beliefs. There is clearly a problem with the Public Order Act and it needs fixing.”

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, the civil rights group Justice and The Christian Institute have called for Section 5 of the Public Order Act to be amended so that it cannot be misused to interfere with free speech.

No to fish and chip shop, but sex shop is OK

A fish and chip shop has been banned from opening near two schools for fear of undermining health policies, but a sex shop has been allowed to open next door to a school uniform store.

The chip shop was blocked last week by Northamptonshire Council who rejected a plan to convert a disused corner shop into a takeaway fish and chip shop.

But meanwhile in Cornwall, the Council allowed a sex shop to open in Truro next to a school uniform store despite strong local objections.

Family

Now a local resident together with The Christian Institute is taking Cornwall Council to court over its controversial decision.

Mrs Carlyon, a city councillor and former Mayor, has previously hit out at the proposed sex shop.

The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert said: “Like a lot of people, we were shocked when Cornwall Council agreed to license a sex shop in a family shopping area, right next door to a school uniform shop.

Sex shop

“The sex shop licensing regime gives councils discretion to say ‘no’ but Cornwall chose to say ‘yes’.

“There is a serious issue of principle at stake for the whole country, not just Cornwall.”

Mr Calvert added: “If it is OK to license shops to sell hard core porn next to premises routinely used by children and families, then nowhere is safe. What next, a sex shop adjacent to a nursery school?

Law

“We think there are strong grounds for inviting the court to look at this decision and to see if Cornwall correctly followed the law.”

A judicial review allows a court to decide on whether a public body has acted lawfully.

In August a local news website reported a 700-name petition had been gathered and 90 complaints about the proposed sex shop had been made.

Children

One mum said she was concerned her children would see the sex shop when going into the school uniform shop.

“I don’t think it’s right to have a shop like that and I’m sad to see it happening in Truro”, said Siobhan Ward.

 

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INDONESIA - Mob Storms Indonesian Church

On August 17, a group of Muslims stormed a church service in Cipayung, East Jakarta, Indonesia, overturning furniture and chasing believers from the sanctuary. An angry mob interrupted a group of 20 church members, including Pastor Chris Ambessa, gathered at a church in celebration of Indonesia's Independence Day, according to Compass Direct News. The church members were chased into the street and warned not to return for future services. The mob then erected large banners that called for a ban on churches and religious services. Pray for Pastor Ambessa and other Christians in Indonesia. Pray that their church services will continue unhindered. Pray that believers will remain determined to obey God regardless of persecution.

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SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Man Killed Daughter for Converting to Christianity
 
Recently, a Saudi member of the religious police cut his daughter’s tongue off and burned her to death for converting to Christianity. The father, who works for the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, killed his daughter following a debate on religion, according to a Web story by the United Emirates-based GulfNews.com.

Media organizations in Saudi Arabia are reporting that the victim wrote a blog under the name “Rania” a few days before her murder. According to Gulfnews.com, the victim wrote that her life became an ordeal after family members grew suspicious about her following a religious discussion with them. She said her brother found some Christian articles written by her, as well as a cross sign on her computer screen. Since then, he started to insult her and blamed the Internet for pushing her to change her religion, Gulfnews.com reported.

“Our contacts have told us of new Christians simply disappearing when their families learned of their conversion,” said Todd Nettleton, Director of Media Development for The Voice of the Martyrs, “but now even Arab media outlets confirm the violent response of radical Muslims to Christianity. We pray that someday this man will come to know Christ, and find forgiveness for ending his daughter’s life. Our hope is that someday he will see his daughter again, in heaven.”

The Voice of the Martyrs supports the evangelism efforts of Christians in Saudi Arabia, despite the great cost.

“We call on Christians everywhere to pray for believers facing intense persecution in Saudi Arabia because of their faith,” said Nettleton. “Pray God will encourage them and give them boldness to stand up for Chris
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BELARUS – Government Renews Pressure on Baptists

The Belarus government has recently issued fines to the Baptist Council of Churches for “unregistered activity”. According to Forum 18 News, this increased pressure is aimed at pressuring Baptists to register their church activity. Forum reported, “The Council’s congregations reject state registration in post-Soviet countries, believing that it leads to government interference.” Nikolai Varushin, who recently faced persecution told Forum, “This is our path; we are prepared to suffer for our faith. We just pray that our people will remain true to the Lord.” Pray for believers in Belarus. Ask God to encourage them to remain courageous in the midst of increased persecution.

 

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IRAN - Iran Proposes Death Penalty for Apostasy

The Iranian parliament is reviewing a bill for the Islamic Penal Law (Penal Code) that aims at legislating the death penalty for apostasy.

According to the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, the draft law defines an apostate as “any Muslim who clearly announces that he/she has left Islam and declares blasphemy.”

Article 225 to 227 of the law defines two kinds of apostates, namely, innate (Fetri) and parental (Melli) apostates. Parental apostates are individuals whose parents had been Muslims and later the individual decided to leave Islam, while innate apostates had one parent who was Muslim, “but after the age of maturity, without pretending to be Muslim, chooses blasphemy.”

The draft law states, “Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death. Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death, but after the final sentencing for three days he/she would be guided to the right path and encouraged to recant his/her belief and if he/she refused the death penalty would be carried out.” The proposed law indicates that punishment for women will be life imprisonment and “hardship” will be exercised on female apostates who will be immediately released when they recant.

This law reinforces stringent laws Christian converts from Islam face in Iran. The Voice of the Martyrs provides assistance and encouragement to persecuted believers in Iran. Pray for Iranian believers who live in danger because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Ask God to give them courage and increased faith as they remain faithful in their walk with the Lord.

 

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'Resign,' clergy tell Archbishop of Canterbury
Call for Williams to quit part of backlash over sharia comments


Posted: February 08, 2008
1:06 pm Eastern

 2008 WorldNetDaily

A senior clergyman in the Church of England is calling for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, because of his comments promoting Islamic sharia law in Britain.

The comments were reported by the Times Online, which said the reaction from the "long-standing member of the church's governing body, the General Synod," was just a part of the backlash against Williams over his comments.

WND has reported that Williams, chief of the 70-million strong worldwide Anglican Communion, has advocated for establishment of Islamic law, drawing a rebuke from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, among others.

The Times Online reported the Synod member, who insisted on anonymity, reported, "A lot of people will now have lost confidence in him. I am just so shocked, and cannot believe a man of his intelligence could be so gullible. I can only assume that all the Muslims he meets are senior leaders of the community who tell him what a wonderful book the Quran is."

(Story continues below)

"I don't suppose he will take any notice, but yes, he should resign," he told the newspaper.

The report said the Bishop of Southwark, the Right Rev. Tom Butler, also challenged the idea, saying it would take "a great deal more thought and work" before he could find the idea acceptable.

The controversy follows the developing split in the Anglican Community over homosexuality, as up to a quarter of the 800-plus Anglican bishops worldwide plan to boycott the church's annual Lambeth Conference this year. The church's American branch, the Episcopal Church, has adopted a pro-homosexual agenda, leading some U.S. congregations to abandon their national leadership if favor of more conservative leaders from Africa.

The report said besides criticism from within his church, there's been more adverse reaction from governmental leaders, including David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary.

Formalizing sharia "would be wrong democratically and philosophically but it would be catastrophic in terms of social cohesion," he said.

The report said the only group to have supported Williams was the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which said those who have objections are exhibiting "vitriolic hatred."

Williams had said, "It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system."

In an interview months ago with a Muslim lifestyle magazine, Williams compared Muslims in Britain to Good Samaritans, and praised the Islamic ritual of praying five times a day. He also has argued the 9/11 terrorists should not be described as evil, the report said.

"There are real human rights issues under sharia – women are not equal with men," Alan Craig, a councilor who has campaigned against a mega-mosque planned in East London. "If he is accepting that sharia could be ingrafted in British law, it can only be ingrafted if it complies with British law in which case there's no pointing ingrafting it."

On the newspaper's forum, Louisa, from Winchester, was blunt.

"This is BRITAIN, I live in ENGLAND and we should live under ENGLISH law, no other. This is getting totally ridiculous."

"If the Archbishop of Canterbury means that Muslims can choose to have certain disputes settled according to their own law, by binding arbitration [what some call a sharia court]. then they can do this now, in the same way that some Jewish people have their disputes settled in the Beth Din," added David Pannich, a human rights lawyer.

"But such transfer of jurisdiction is subject to public policy considerations. That means that the fundamental standards of fairness, of human rights which underpin our laws cannot be abrogated. … If the archbishop is saying this, then that is fundamentally wrong."

According to the Daily Mail, Williams has explained he wanted to "tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state."

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, told the Daily Mail he was appalled by the idea.

"The idea that you can have the moderate bits without the nasty bits coming along at a later time is nave," he said.

Anne, of Herefordshire, summed up the opinion of many on the Daily Mail forum site, stating, "What planet is he on?"

Williams' comments came in an interview with BBC Radio 4's "The World At One Today."

"We already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal laws of religious communities is (sic) recognized by the law of the land as justifying conscientious objections in certain circumstances," he said.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office, however, disagreed.

"Our general position is that sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes," a spokesman for Brown's office said.

In the BBC interview, William advised the UK to "face up to the fact" that some residents do not relate to the British legal system and that Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters handled by a sharia court.

Sharia is the Islamic religious law that operates in many Muslim countries around the world, including Libya and Sudan. Egypt's constitution also defines sharia as the source of its law. Some nations also have secular codes that operate alongside, but mostly subservient to, sharia.

 

Full Gospel Evangelism, C/O Immanuel Christian Centre, 89 Vallentin Road, London, England E17 3JJ
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