Archive for March 23rd, 2006

Clerics Call for Christian Convert’s Death Despite Western Outrage

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

More about Abdul Rahman, the Afgan who converted to Christianity, and the so called religion of peace and tolerance, otherwise known as islam, who wants to kill him. What really pleases me is that islam continues to show it’s true colors to the world, over the past several months. They are not, or have they even been, a religion of peace, tolerance and love.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Senior Muslim clerics said Thursday that an Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity must be executed and if the government caves into Western pressure and frees him they will incite people to “pull him into pieces.” (You mean that YOU (the clerics) will incite the people to “pull him into pieces” -ed.)
The trial of Abdul Rahman has fired passions in this conservative Muslim nation and highlighted a conflict of values between Afghanistan and its Western backers.
“Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die,” said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hardline regime was ousted in 2001.
Rahman, a 41-year old former medical aid worker, faces the death penalty under Afghanistan’s Islamic laws for becoming a Christian. His trial, which began last week, has caused an international outcry. U.S. President George W. Bush has said he is “deeply troubled” by the case and expects the country to “honor the universal principle of freedom.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that she received assurances from Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a telephone call that Rahman would not be sentenced to death.
“I have the impression that he (Karzai) has a firm willingness” to abide by the human rights requirements and “I hope we will be able to resolve this,” Merkel said going into pre-EU summit talks.
Diplomats have said the Afghan government was searching for a way to drop the case, and on Wednesday authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial.
But three Sunni preachers and a Shiite one interviewed by The Associated Press in four of Kabul’s most popular mosques said they don’t believe Rahman is insane.
“He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian,” said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque.
“The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed.”
Raoulf, who is a member of the country’s main Islamic organization, the Afghan Ulama Council, agreed, saying, “The government are playing games. The people will not be fooled.”
“Cut off his head!” he exclaimed, sitting in a courtyard outside Herati Mosque. “We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there’s nothing left.”
He said the only way for Rahman to survive would be for him to go into exile outside Afghanistan.
But Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country.
“If he is allowed to live in the West then others will claim to be Christian so they can too,” he said. “We must set an example. … He must be hanged.”
The clerics said they were angry with the United States and other countries for pushing for Rahman’s freedom.
“We are a small country and we welcome the help the outside world is giving us, but please don’t interfere in this issue,” Nasri said. “We are Muslims and these are our beliefs. This is much more important to us than all the aid the world has given us.”
Afghanistan’s constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death.
Hamidullah warned that if the government frees Rahman, “There will be an uprising” like one against Soviet occupying forces in the 1980s.
“The government will lose the support of the people,” he said. “What sort of democracy would it be if the government ignored the will of all the people.”
Meanwhile, human rights group Amnesty International issued a statement, saying that if Rahman has been detained solely for his religious beliefs, he would be a “prisoner of conscience.”
“The charges against him should be dropped and if necessary he should be protected against any abuses within the community,” the London-based group said.
Rahman is believed to have lived in Germany for nine years after converting to Christianity while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He returned to Kabul in 2002.
It was not immediately clear when Rahman’s trial will resume. Authorities have barred attempts by the AP to see him and he is not believed to have a lawyer.

Re-Post: Deep Thoughts with Jen

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE DEMISE OF THE EVIL ONE. DEVIL – YOU ARE GOING DOWN!

Alright, I hope that has caught your attention. That was the point. Basically, I am sick and tired of the stupid Devil. That’s really it! He is real, he is really there and he is really out to get you. He’s got your number and he’s out to kill you (and me), steal from you (and me), and do everything he can to destroy you (and me). He is actively fighting against us. We are human; we are flesh and blood still. We aren’t in Heaven yet, so, although we are reborn of the Spirit, we still inhabit this body as long as God sees fit. So, we are completely susceptible to the Devil and his active work of demise against us. But, now we know and that’s the first step in any battle – being aware of your opponent. You should know his strengths and weaknesses, his provisions and equipment and his tactics and strategies. You should go into battle with knowledge in all this or you are not prepared and not very wise. Prov 20:18 says, “Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.” Prov. 24:6 says, “for waging war you need guidance…” And trust me – rising up against the Devil is WAR!

But, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” See, we don’t have to be scared of the Devil or his ploys. WE HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE ABOUT OUT FREEDOM IN CHRIST! We have to be just as active in fighting him otherwise we will be defeated. We can not shrink back in complacency or in fear – NO! We have to take ground and vigorously assail the Devil. We have to call out to our Creator to reveal with His Holy Spirit all that we have been attacked with and we have to tell the Devil where to go and guess what? HE WILL! I love The Message version of Jam. 4:7, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud NO to the Devil and watch him scamper.” He won’t just shrug his shoulders and look at you with a look that says, “Are you really serious this time, because this worked the last time that I tried this on you?” NO! He will flee like the coward that he is because the name of Jesus and the fact that you used the authority of that name causes him to tremble in fear! Demons shudder at the name of Christ and His authority.

If we know this with out heads, if we have the knowledge of this, then why aren’t more people using it to dispel the darkness? Why aren’t people rebuking lies that they have been told? Why aren’t people stopping the Devil at his first word? Maybe it’s possible that people don’t realize that it’s an attack from the Devil. Think about it. Do you think that maybe you have been told lies? Do you think that you believe a lie right now? Do you think that it’s possible that you are captive by the Devil? He has attacked me with a quiet and cunning voice that has led me to believe that I am unworthy, that I will never be good enough for the things that I was designed for, that forever I will be inadequate. Have these thoughts crossed your mind? I am sure that they have.

One sure way to tell if you are under the assault of the Devil is to contrast them to the thoughts that God has towards you. Think about scriptures like these:

Isa. 54:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”

In Jer. 31, He tells us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

John 17: 22 – 23 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

This is profound! Not only did God love us so much that He would send His only beloved Son to die as ransom for our sins, but He loves us, just as much as He loves Jesus! That’s crazy, isn’t it!

I challenge you to get aggressive about your freedom in Christ! Nailed to that cross was every insecurity, every fear, every worry, every pain of your heart, every shameful thing that the Devil reminds you of, every sleepless night, every inadequacy, everything that hinders, right next to your sins! It was all crucified with Christ! He has already overcome every one of these obstacles. Praise God! So, start reminding the Devil of that and see what happens!

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Eph 3:16 – 19

posted by JEN @ 2:59 PM

Three Christian Activists Rescued in Iraq

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

I am glad that these men were rescued, but find two things ironic:
1) They were there to seek human rights violations (which they never found) by coalition troops.
2) They were kidnapped by the very people they were representing.
It is sad that one of them had to loose his life.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A coalition force on Thursday freed three Christian peace activists taken hostage in
Iraq, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the captives were rescued in a joint U.S.-British operation in rural area northwest of Baghdad, between the towns of Mishahda, 20 miles north of Baghdad, and the western suburb of
Abu Ghraib, 12 miles from downtown.
British officials in Baghdad said those freed were Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32; and Briton Norman Kember, 74. The men — members of the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams — were kidnapped on Nov. 26 along with their American colleague, Tom Fox, 54, whose body was found earlier this month.
Speaking in Toronto, Doug Pritchard, co-director of the group, said no shots were fired during the operation and that the kidnappers were not present when the U.S.-British force freed the hostages. U.S. and British military officials did not provide details of the operation.
In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Kember was in “reasonable condition” in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. The two Canadians required hospital treatment, he said, but gave no further details.
Straw also gave few details of the operation, saying only that it followed “weeks and weeks” of planning.

British Prime Minister
Tony Blair’s office said he was “delighted by the news” of the trio’s release. “He is particularly pleased for those released and their families. He congratulates everyone involved in the operation to rescue the hostages,” Downing Street said in a statement.
Loney’s brother, Ed Loney, told CBC television that his mother had spoken with Loney on the phone and he sounded “fantastic.”
“He’s alert and he was asking how we were doing and said he was sorry for the whole situation,” Ed Loney said. “My mom said, ‘Don’t worry about it — just get home and we’ll talk about all that stuff when you get here.'”
The kidnapped men were shown as prisoners in several videos, the most recent a silent clip dated Feb. 28 in which Loney, Kember and Sooden appeared without Fox. Fox’s body was found March 10 near a west Baghdad railway line with gunshot wounds to his head and chest.
The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.
In a statement, the Christian Peacemaker Teams said the activists went to Iraq “motivated by a passion for justice and peace.” The group called for coalition forces to remove their troops from the country.
“We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq,” the statement said.
Other Americans taken hostage in Iraq and killed in addition to Fox were Ronald Schulz, 40, an industrial electrician from Anchorage, Alaska; Jack Hensley, 48, a civil engineer from Marietta, Ga.; Eugene “Jack” Armstrong, 52, formerly of Hillsdale, Mich.; and Nicholas Berg, 26, a businessman from West Chester, Pa.
Still missing is Jill Carroll, a freelance writer for The Christian Science Monitor who was kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad. She has appeared in three videotapes delivered by her kidnappers to Arab satellite television stations.
The last hostage to be freed in a military operation was Douglas Wood, an Australian rescued in west Baghdad by U.S. and Iraqi forces on June 15 after 47 days in captivity.

The Peril of Ignoring What Your Children Learn

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

The author of this article, Cindy O’Halloran is a book reviewer, writer, speaker, and playwright. She makes some very good points concerning the education of our youth. Many of her points have been echoed in this blog very regularly.

(AgapePress) – “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so ….” Our children love their Savior with a simple faith Jesus Himself recognized. We teach them their first verses and prayers, watch them bow their curly heads, and listen with satisfaction and relief when they grab on to what seems to be a sure place in heaven. But according to the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life, 88 percent of Christian children leave the church by the time they reach the age of 18. What is happening?
Many people believe that the schools are to blame for the growing secularization of Christian kids; that schools subvert the godly upbringing we work so hard to instill. The evidence, at first, seems to agree:
Literacy rates do not support quality public education. The Washington Post reports that only 31 percent of college graduates are proficient in reading and understanding short prose texts.
Increased rates of academic dishonesty show moral decay. The Ad Council Campaign to Discourage Academic Cheating shows that, while 20 percent of students in the 1940s admitted to cheating in high school, today between 75 and 98 percent do.
Sexual activity among teenagers also has increased. According to reports from the Heritage Foundation, 48 percent of American teenagers are sexually active and 8,000 teens contract a sexually transmitted disease every day.
Although these statistics clearly show that the public schools’ experiment in values-neutral education based on morality without foundation has failed, the Nehemiah Institute’s surveys remind us that as many as 25 percent of children educated in Christian schools have a secular worldview. Barna Research’s “Churched Youth Survey” shows that 57 percent of Christian children overall could not even say that an absolute standard of truth exists.
Every adult who interacts regularly with children teaches. Schools may appear to teach only academics, but along with that, they demonstrate moral values in the way they teach them. We all understand that what young people see, hear, think, and believe will determine the future. Praise God for godly teachers instilling biblical values — but we need to remember that it is our job as parents to be the chief force of godly standards; not only teaching, but evangelizing our children as well. We must be the ones to arm our children for victory in spiritual battle, teaching them to wear the armor of God as laid out in Ephesians 6. It is not the school’s job — not any school. Worldviews can be imposed but, in the end, each individual’s worldview must be chosen. This is a big job in a world where two out of three adult born-again believers do not believe in a standard of biblical absolute truth.
The heart of one church aches over what’s happening to our young people and their families. Richland Center Fellowship in Richland Center, Wisconsin, has taken on a mission to reveal the danger of this trend by bringing a live portrayal on stage incorporating culturally relevant scenes in their annual Easter production, The Keys.
The Keys plays out the life of Jesus from His ministry to the ascension, but it does more than communicate the Gospel. It intertwines modern scenes among the ancient scenes that relate the Gospel message to today’s issues. The 2006 modern theme shows Christian parents recognizing the flaws in their children’s education and in themselves in a way that will leave those who see it with a realistic image of the potential eternal consequences of their negligence.
As parents, we are accountable to God for what our children learn — whether it comes from us, through the church, or through one of their schoolteachers. We are also responsible before the Lord to impress biblical truths on our children constantly. “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:7-9)
We must educate with intention in light of eternity, or none of us will be able to say we have lived righteously on Earth.

Cindy O’Halloran is a book reviewer, writer, speaker, and playwright. She can be contacted via her website. Special thanks to JoAnne Potter for her contribution to this article.

Afghan Convert to Christianity ‘Could Be Mad,’ Says Prosecutor

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

So here we have an “islamic democracy”, trying a man for converting from islam to Christianity. He could get the death penalty for his conversion, because under islamic law, the so called “prophet” mohammed, demanded that anyone who leaves islam be killed (Hadith Al Buhkari vol. 9:57). Now with international pressure mounting against the Afghan government, they are looking for any reason to let this guy go. All they have come up with is that he “could be mad”. So let me get this straight…being a converted Christian in Afghanistan makes on “crazy”? Someone (or group) is crazy, but I’d be willing to say it’s the Christians.

(AgapePress) – An appeal from the White House. Tens of thousands of e-mails urging President Bush to intervene. International reaction expressing concern for religious freedom. All of these are in response to the plight of an Afghan man who, because he converted from Islam to Christianity, faces possible execution if found guilty by a court in Kabul.
Forty-one-year-old Abdul Rahman reportedly accepted Christ as his Savior 16 years ago while working with an international Christian ministry helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. After several years in Germany, he returned to Kabul — and last month, after being found in possession of a Bible, confessed to becoming a Christian.
Afghanistan’s constitution guarantees religious liberty — but because it is based on Shariah law, many Muslims interpret that to mean that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death. Rahman’s trial began last week, and is under close international scrutiny. He has refused to renounce his conversion to Christianity, even with a promise from prosecutors that charges would be dropped if he did so.
Associated Press now reports that the Afghan Christian may be deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari says “We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn’t talk like a normal person.” If examined and found to be mentally unfit, says a religious advisor to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Islam would have “no claim to punish him” and charges would be dropped.
AP cites sources who report that the question of Rahman’s possible mental fitness may indicate the Afghan government, sensitive to the international reaction, is desperately searching for a way to drop the case.
Meanwhile, the United States, Britain, and other countries — some with troops in Afghanistan — have voiced concern about the trial. AP says Italy’s foreign minister has summoned the Afghan ambassador in Rome and may ask the European Union to intercede on behalf of Rahman. Germany’s foreign minister told a newspaper that he views the case with “great concern” and that German diplomats in Kabul have been in contact with Afghan officials about Rahman’s case. On Tuesday the Bush administration, being careful not to interfere with Afghanistan’s sovereignty, appealed to Kabul to allow Rahman to practice his faith in his home country. And today, ABC is reporting that Australia plans to lobby Afghanistan on behalf of Rahman.

International Concern Acknowledged
Afghanistan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah says he is aware of concerns in the U.S. and elsewhere about Rahman’s arrest, trial, and possible execution. In a briefing at the U.S. State Department, Abdullah said the Afghan embassy in Washington has received hundreds of messages of concern from Americans about the prosecution of Rahman — but he makes no promises that the convert would be found innocent.
“The government of Afghanistan has nothing to do [with the charges brought against Rahman], and it’s a legal and judicial case,” Abdullah stated, “but I hope that through our constitutional process there will be a satisfactory result.”
Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said that in talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah, Washington has called for open proceedings in the trial. “I said on behalf of our government that we hope very much that the judicial case … would be held in a transparent way,” he explained.
The prosecution of a religious convert, said Burns, is a legitimate cause for international concern. “We believe in universal freedoms, and freedom of religion is one of them,” the American official stated. “People should be free to choose their own religion, and people should not receive any severe penalties — certainly not penalty of death [or imprisonment] — for having made a personal choice as to what religion that person wishes to follow.”

Fighting for Whose Freedom?
Some conservative leaders in the U.S. see some irony in the Rahman trial. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, for instance, says it is an “outrage” that a trial is even taking place.
“How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by Islamists who kill Christians?” Perkins asks, pointing out that the trial is a flagrant violation of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights — which is incorporated into the new Afghan constitution.
“President Bush should immediately send Vice President Cheney or Secretary of State Rice to Kabul to read Hamid Karzai’s government the riot act,” the FRC president continues. “Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes. Americans have not given their lives so that Christians can be executed.”
American Family Association founder and chairman Dr. Don Wildmon agrees. “We understand that this is a sensitive issue. But if the U.S. can send troops to die for the freedom of [Afghanis], then surely our country can use all channels available to keep Mr. Rahman from being executed … simply because he is a Christian.”
Wildmon asserts it is “absolutely wrong” to kill someone just because they have chosen to be a Christian. “This is not the kind of government and courts our soldiers are fighting and dying for,” he says. Wildmon’s group reports that more than 200,000 of its supporters have e-mailed President Bush, urging him to intervene to save Rahman’s life.
Concerned Women for America has joined FRC and AFA in calling for Rahman’s freedom. CWA president Wendy Wright says Rahman and every other Afghan citizen deserves freedom of religion.
“The ruling of this case is pivotal in that it will set a precedent for all that follow,” Wright offers. “Abdul Rahman’s life is on trial and religious freedom for Afghanistan hangs in the balance.”
The pro-family leader takes note of Rahman’s bravery. “We offer our respect and admiration to Mr. Rahman for his courage,” she says. His unwavering conviction to take a stand for Christ is an example to us all.”

Attorney: Two Women’s Legal Battle Forces State Marriage Law Face-Off

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

OK, so the long and short of this is that two lesbian women went to another state (from Virginia, to Vermont) in order to get a civil union. Now that the couple has split up and Virginia won’t recognize the non-biological “parent” and give her visitation. Do y’all see what opening the box on gay marriages is going to do to society? Can you not see how it’s going to tear about the basic foundations of our society? Expect more of this type of thing.

(AgapePress) – A Virginia judge has ruled that a Vermont court visitation order, issued in favor of a lesbian non-custodial and non-biological parent, may not be registered in Virginia because the state’s laws do not allow civil unions or same-sex “marriage.”
The case involves Lisa Miller, her biological child, and Janet Jenkins. In December 2000 the two women, who lived in Virginia, traveled to Vermont to obtain a civil union. In time, Miller gave birth to a child through artificial insemination. However, the lesbian couple’s relationship ended when Lisa became a Christian and left the homosexual lifestyle.
A Vermont trial court awarded Jenkins “parent-child” contact and visitation with Miller’s child. However, a Virginia court declared Miller to be the sole parent and ruled that the Virginia Marriage Affirmation Act barred recognition of civil unions. Simultaneous appeals are pending at the Vermont Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals.
Miller, the biological parent, is represented by Matthew D. Staver, president and general counsel of the Florida-based group Liberty Counsel. He says the legal battle between the two women pits the laws of Virginia and Vermont against each other.
“While this was on appeal, Janet Jenkins tried to register [the Vermont trial court’s] order and essentially tried to short-circuit the appeals process,” Staver says. Registration, he explains, is the first step in enforcing an out-of-state visitation order in Virginia.
Judge William Sharp acknowledged that the Vermont order was not enforceable with appeals pending but went ahead and registered it, Miller’s attorney notes. “The good news now, however, is that the attempt was met head on,” he says, “and the judge ruled that a Vermont civil union has no validity in the state of Virginia. It cannot be enforced.”
Staver believes this latest development in Miller v. Jenkins demonstrates the importance of states passing marriage protection amendments. “Whenever a state crosses the line and adopts a same-sex union,” he says, “whether it’s a civil union as in Vermont or same-sex marriage as in Massachusetts, the other states are directly affected, and children are caught in the middle of these conflicts.”
But the Liberty Counsel spokesman is convinced that not even state constitutional amendments will keep proponents of homosexual marriage from exploiting the legal system to challenge established laws in an effort to extend “marriage rights” to same-sex couples. “The definition of marriage is not for judges to decide,” he contends. “It must be decided by the people. It must be uniform.”
Unless the U.S. Constitution is amended to protect traditional marriage, Staver asserts, “same-sex marriage advocates will continue using the courts to force their agenda on the rest of the country.” While pleased that a judge has ruled that a Vermont civil union is legally invalid in Virginia, the pro-family attorney believes only a federal amendment can ultimately prevent future interstate conflicts over the definition of marriage.