Archive for June 3rd, 2007

Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Yet one more shinning example of the loving, tolerant nature of Islam…sentence a Christian to death for the so-called crime of blasphemy against Mohammad. Anyone else see the duplicity here?

LAHORE, Pakistan – A Pakistani Christian has been sentenced to death for blasphemy by the sessions court in Lahore.

According to sources in Pakistan, following the sentencing Wednesday, a large mob led by Islamic clerics responded by shouting slogans against Younis Masih and threatening anyone involved in providing security or legal assistance to “blasphemers.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide says Masih, a Christian from Chungi Amar Sadu in Lahore, was charged Sept. 10, 2005, under Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code. Section 295C relates to blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad and carries the death penalty.

Although no one has yet been executed by the state for blasphemy, several have been murdered by extremists. Masih has been held in Kot Lakhpat prison since Sept. 11, 2005, where he faces regular threats to his security.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide says Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are regularly misused as a means of settling scores or targeting religious minorities. Although Masih will now appeal against the sentence in the High Court, he faces death threats from extremists even while he remains in jail.

The human rights organization says Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which relates to blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, was introduced in 1986 by the then-ruler of Pakistan, General Zia ul-Haq. Section 295B, relating to desecration of the Koran, was introduced in 1982.

The blasphemy laws require only an accusation by one man against another for a case to be filed. In almost all cases the charges are entirely fabricated. Masih was outspoken against incidents of rape committed against Christian girls, and is a Christian himself. It is believed these were the reasons he was accused of blasphemy.

Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry, executive secretary of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance and one of Pakistan’s leading human rights activists, said: “This judgment in the case of Younis Masih is an example of the blatant abuse of the blasphemy laws. The laws require absolutely no evidence, and no proof of intent, and as such they are a tool in the hands of extremists to threaten and destroy the lives of anyone they disagree with.

“In addition, the judiciary is threatened and is therefore unable to provide a fair trial. Furthermore, the safety of the accused, and of the lawyers defending them, is under constant threat. Younis Masih faces severe danger in jail. It is imperative that the international community raises this case with the Pakistani authorities as a matter of urgency to ensure that Younis Masih, and others like him, receive proper protection and a fair appeals process. Ultimately, this unjust law which is so open to abuse must be repealed.”

Stuart Windsor, national director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: “We are so saddened and deeply concerned to hear that Younis Masih has been sentenced to death. We will do all we can to raise his case with the Pakistani authorities and the international community. This is a blatant miscarriage of justice and the world should not stand by while an innocent man faces death.”

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“Might the Evil of Abortion Destroy Itself?” by John Piper

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Editor’s Note: The following article contains a very graphic description of partial birth abortion. Please feel free to skip past the third paragraph if you’d rather not read it. Despite the disturbing picture it paints (well, actually, because of it), this article has become a “line in the sand” piece for me on an issue which I’ve tended to keep at arm’s length. Topics like this are not usual fare on our Spiritual Life channel, but as this article strengthened not only my resolve but also my hope, I’m glad to share it with you. -Ed.Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion of the Supreme Court in upholding the ban on partial birth abortions on April 18, 2007. It is astonishing to read the opinion (PDF). The detail with which abortion is discussed exceeded my expectation. Kennedy’s own descriptions of the various forms of abortion are explicit and extensive. Descriptions of the procedure of partial birth abortion (“intact dilation and extraction”) are given from both doctors’ and nurses’ perspectives.For example, one nurse described the procedure on a twenty-six-week-old “fetus” as follows — and remember this is a quote from Justice Kennedy’s official Supreme Court decision:

Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms — everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus… The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp… He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used. (p. 8 )

There is a certain irony to the argument for the Supreme Court’s ruling. One argument against the necessity of a health exception for the mother was that alternative methods of abortion are legally available, if necessary, even at this late stage in the pregnancy. For example, the ordinary D&E (dilation and extraction). The irony is that the Court concedes that the “the standard D&E is in some respects as brutal, if not more, than intact D&E” (p. 6). In other words, in normal, legal abortions, the baby is torn apart limb from limb while still in the womb, but in a partial birth abortion, the baby is mercifully spared the dismemberment and his brains are quickly sucked out of his head.

Such are the contorted conditions in which we find ourselves: The proposal of a manifestly barbaric law (permitting the brain evacuation of a partially born child) is defeated by the legal standing of a more barbaric law (permitting the dismemberment of a child in the womb). But the history of Providence has many such stories to tell — great evils finally being self-destroyed, like a python swallowing its own tail.

Pro-abortion politicians tremble as they see it coming. Barack Obama worries that “this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose.” The Supreme Court erred, he said, because partial birth abortion is “a matter of equal rights for women.”

This use of catch phrases is surely tired. “Right to choose.” “Equal rights for women.” The grandchildren of the sixties are waking up to the vagueness and danger of those phrases. Right to choose what? Anything? All laws that protect children limit the rights of moms (and dads) to choose. You can’t choose to starve them. You can’t choose to lock them in closets for three weeks. You can’t choose to abandon them. You can’t choose to strangle them five minutes after they are born.

And “equal rights for women” — equal with whom? Equal with the irresponsible dad. Dad has sex and bears no responsibility for the baby. Mom should be equally able to have sex and bear no responsibility for the baby. Young people are looking at this and saying: Something is wrong with this picture. Maybe our lives are as broken as they are because our parents have twisted their hearts and minds so deeply to justify equality in irresponsibility.

Hillary Clinton opposes the Supreme Court decision because “the rights and lives of women must be taken into account.” Yes. That is mainly what this forty-page opinion of the court does. Read it. And it will be interesting whether Senator Clinton will have any opinion about moms and dads who want to abort their little girls, but not their little boys. I think the younger generation may ask the senator: Should the life of little women be taken into account, or only big women?

I pray that ahead and behind of the delegalization of abortion will flow waves of inner repentance as we awaken to the outrage of assaulting God’s image-bearers in the very moment of his knitting them together in their mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13).

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

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