India: PM Modi, Sir India Is Not A Democracy If You Do Not Have Religious Freedom

To India’s Prime Minister Modi:

This article is in regard to a story I read earlier today from the Christian Post. In several regards this article if it is true shows that India is not yet a true democracy. For any country to actually be a democracy there are many issues that must be addressed, in this article I am only going to try to address a few of these ideals. In a true democracy there has to be equality in areas of their caste system where anyone can move up, or down in the financial arenas depending on their own abilities. All adults must be allowed to vote for whomever they chose at least as long as they are not convicted felons who are in jail at the time of the elections. This last issue I have with your government is in regard to India not having true honest religious freedom.

 

I do believe that India is a great country right now yet it could be so much more if the political will is there. The article today in the Christian Post said that six Christian adults were arrested last month for taking 72 Christian children of Christian parents to a ‘vacation Bible school’. A State can not prosper for all of its citizens if they cannot worship their God as they see fit. The only exception to this rule should be if the religion is telling people to go into the population and attack and or kill people who don’t agree with them and their ‘God’s’ teachings. If a person actually knows anything about the New Testament Scriptures of the Bible then they know that the Scriptures do not teach violence toward anyone. As you well know Mr. Modi there are some ‘Religions’ that do teach such violence and not even as arbitrarily, but as a requirement. Mr. Modi, is the Hindu Religion really one of these Demonic Cults? I believe that the Nation of India can be the greatest Democracy size wise on this planet in about 20 or 30 years and you may think it is now but with these glaring flaws that is not so, not yet. If the politicians in your country do not fix these serious issues I believe your future will look like a mixture of Iran and China except not Islamic or Atheist but a horrible debased Hindu State that will end up having no semblance of Democracy or freedom.

India: 6 Christians Charged With Kidnapping For Taking Their Christian Kids To VBS

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

6 Christians Charged With Forced Conversions in India After Taking 72 Children to Vacation Bible School

Six Christians who were arrested in May for taking 72 children to a Vacation Bible School camp in Madhya Pradesh state, India, have reportedly been charged with kidnapping and forcible conversions as police refuse to recognize the children as Christians.

(Photo: Reuters/Babu) Women attend a mass inside a church to celebrate Easter in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 31, 2013. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter.

Sources told Morning Star News in a report published June 23 that along with the six Christians, a 15-year-old boy was also held in a juvenile detention center for nearly a month, before finally being released last week.

“I missed my home so much — I cried every day, and prayed and prayed,” Akash Gundia said. “Finally, the Lord heard me. I am happy to be back home.”

Gundia was reportedly one of the 72 children detained by Ratlam Railway Police on May 21 as they traveled to the VBS camp in Nagpur. Eight supervisors were also arrested, and despite explanations that all the children had Christian parents, they were accused of trying to convert the children.

Authorities claimed at the time that the parents hadn’t followed the proper procedures in converting to Christianity, and insisted that the children will be treated as Hindus under the law.

“For changing to another religion, one needs to submit a written application to the district collector and only after the stipulated process, a person can change religious identity, which didn’t happen in the case of any of the parents claiming to be Christians,” police superintendent Krishnaveni Desavatu said at the time.

“This is why the children and their parents will be officially treated as Hindu tribals and not Christians,” he added.

Morning Star News noted that the children had permission from their Christian parents to go to the Bible camp program, however.

“I told the police I am a Christian by birth, and we are going to attend the VBS, but they did not listen to me and took us to the police station,” the 15-year-old boy said.

“Children as young as 6 were also in police custody, but when their parents came, the police handed them over to the parents. I was produced in court a day later, and from there was sent to a juvenile detention home,” he added.

Hartesh Singh Gundia, the boy’s father, insisted that Hindu extremist groups put pressure on officials to punish Christians, and blamed them for his son having to spend 25 days in judicial custody

Attorney Anand Nagarkar added: “The charges were framed based on malice and suspicion, and on this basis there can be no conviction, but the police have been taking it slow to file the challan [charge sheet]. They are under pressure by the Bajrang Dal and RSS activists.”

Nagarkar noted that that parents of the 72 children have submitted an affidavit before the court declaring that all the children were born to Christian parents, and that the volunteers came from the Sunday schools of their respective churches.

Christians, who are a growing minority in India, have found themselves attacked by Hindu radicals but also persecuted by authorities antagonistic to their faith, watchdog groups like International Christian Concern have warned.

ICC reported in February that a Christian evangelist fell into a coma following heavy harassment by a group of Hindu radicals in Hyderabad, who were angry at him for distributing copies of the New Testament.

Ronald John, state president of Telangana Christian Joint Action Committee, said at the time that such treatment of Christians is “unacceptable.”

“Even the responsible, so-called law protectors don’t go by the constitution that guarantees religious freedom. This shows how minorities are being treated in this nation,” John said.

Mega-Church Pastor Todd Coontz Indicted On Tax Fraud: 1.5 mil Condo Fleet Of Luxury Cars As Business Expences

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

After North Carolina televangelist Todd Coontz was indicted on tax fraud charges last week, claiming that his $1.5 million condo and luxury cars were “business expenses,” a group that monitors ecclesiastical fraud has warned that some preachers are “raping” the Christian community.

“It’s time the IRS started looking into these people that are raping the Christian community,” Trinity Foundation President Ole Anthony told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Monday.

Anthony, whose Texas-based group reports on fraud committed by pastors and televangelists, said people who scheme others out of their money are not leading Christian lives.

“They are cheating the people of knowing the mystery of God,” he said.

As The Charlotte Observer reported last week, Coontz was indicted on three counts of failure to pay taxes and four counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.

The televangelist and author of several books on the topic of seed giving that he says can make people rich, claimed as business expenses his family’s $1.5 million condo, along with a fleet of luxury cars, including three BMWs, two Ferraris, a Maserati and a Land Rover.

The federal criminal bill of indictment further states that Coontz provided no proof that his Regal 2500 boat, 400 charges at movie theaters, $228,000 in clothing purchases and $140,000 in meals and other entertainment were all business expenses.

U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said when announcing the charges: “This is a classic example of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.'”

“As a minister, Coontz preached about receiving and managing wealth, yet he failed to keep his own finances in order. Coontz will now receive a first-hand lesson in ‘rendering unto Caesar’ that which is due,” Rose added.

Coontz, who was the minister of Rock Wealth International Ministries from 2010 to 2014, says on his website that others describe him as a “pastor, evangelist, television host, author, humanitarian, philanthropist, businessman.”

His lawyer, Mark Foster of Charlotte, said in a statement that Coontz “unequivocally asserts his innocence … and will vigorously defend himself against these charges.”

“Todd Coontz has always endeavored to follow the law and to be a good citizen, father, and minister. He trusted others to manage his finances and taxes for him and was shocked to find out he was under criminal investigation by the IRS,” Foster said, outlining his expectation that the jury will find his client not guilty after hearing the evidence.

Anthony told CP, however, that he’s “very thankful that the IRS finally took some action,” both on Coontz and on televangelist Benny Hinn.

Hinn, who has asked his supporters in the past to step up to “higher seed-level giving” by donating $1,000 to his ministry, basing his request on Coontz’s financial teachings, admitted back in April that criminal investigators from the IRS and inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service had raided his offices in Grapevine, Texas.

Hinn said he’s “cooperating fully with the governmental entities” who are “reviewing certain operations of the Church,” but did not provide further details.

Anthony added that televangelists such as Hinn and Coontz like to “give each other credit,” and build their own ego.

“There is more fraud committed in the name of God than any other fraud in the world,” he said.

“We just found out that there’s now more clerical fraud, ecclesiastical fraud than there is money given for missions. And now, this year, it’s in the neighborhood of $55 billion for fraud, and about $49 billion for missions,” he explained.

“They are not feeding the hungry or clothing the naked or housing the homeless, they are building themselves mansions and multiple jet planes,” he said of televangelists who commit fraud.

“It’s heresy that’s worse than almost any heresy that I know of,” the Trinity Foundation president continued. “Jesus warned of it. The only time I’m aware that He said He hated something [was] the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of Nicolaitans in the book of Revelation.”

Anthony noted that while the doctrine of Balaam talks about mixing religion with politics and money; the doctrine of Nicolaitans preaches success in the world in the name of God.

“There’s no End Times revival — it’s an End Times apostasy, and we’re now seeing the greatest apostasy that the world has ever known,” he positioned.

The Trinity Foundation, he said, has submitted 38 reports to the Senate Finance Committee on abuses to the tax code and on ecclesiastical fraud that is being committed.

Anthony said that while the committee promised that there would be hearings, at the end nothing was done. He claimed that many politicians are afraid of those in the Christian community who preach “the success theology.”

“They hire the nation’s best attorneys, and ex-IRS directors,” he said of fraud suspects.

“It just infuriated me,” he said of the committee’s inaction.

The Trinity Foundation also sent CP Anthony’s unpublished comments in an interview with WSOC-TV Charlotte four years ago when when Coontz asked viewers to send him a $273 ‘Recovery Seed’ donation to experience a “supernatural change in 90 days.” The number 273 is also the number to his $1.5 million condo.

“There are many thousands that are victims that are giving their money under false pretenses, false promises. It’s a sham. In any other society it would be criminal. But in religious broadcasting it’s the soup du jour.

“There is no accountability for the ministers. They get by with anything they want to do because prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in this country do not want to go after religious figures,” Anthony said.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/televangelist-todd-coontz-indicted-tax-fraud-claims-1-5-million-condo-ferraris-business-expenses-189752/#Mpdp6JjhAbtg63s5.99

The U.S. And Their ‘Alliance’ (Except For The Kurd’s) Need To Leave Syria Right Now!

 

Any time that a person or more so a military, are in or flying above another Nation without the permission of that Nations government then you are an illegal intruder and you have declared war on that Nation. Syria’s President Assad has made it very clear that he considers the U.S. and their Alliance partners to be in his Country illegally and that he does not want them there. Even though I am an American citizen I cannot condone our actions in this Syrian Civil War nor with Syria’s inner-border conflict with the terrorist group called ISIS. We were never invited to step into this conflict within Syria’s borders and we should never have gone into that country, we have no right to be there. I will try to keep this article as short as I can yet I will do my best to explain my thoughts/beliefs as to why I believe as I do, for your consideration.

 

As I have written a few times before on this site that history shows within the Islamic world that it appears that about the only way to not have total chaos is if a rather brutal dictator rules their country. I personally do not like anything to do with brutality or with dictators, I am merely expressing an observation. I know that Syria’s President Assad is both of these elements yet I believe that the people of Syria as a whole were far better off six years ago than they are today. In Islamic countries there has been a civil war raging for about 1,400 years now between their two main sects and this hatred of each other still shows no sign of ending, ever.

 

Just like in Afghanistan the U.S. is in an Islamic country with our military and we have no exit strategy, as is the case in Syria. In Afghanistan the American tax payers have spent well over a trillion dollars to help bring peace to this tribal war-torn land and we have spilled the blood of many of our soldiers, and for what? In the long game our government has been trying to get the Taliban and to sit down with the very weak Government in Kabul to form a ‘sharing’ government, so why are we there? Unless a person is totally ignorant of reality they must know that once there is a ‘sharing’ government and the U.S. pulls out of the country that the Taliban will simply murder the civilian government people and everything will go back to the Taliban like it was 15 years ago. So, all of that gold and all of that blood spilled, for what? With all of this money the American government has spent in this country it is estimated that 90% of the civilians there only have one set of clothing, our occupation time there could have been spent in more productive ways.

 

Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, all far away countries that in the long run where our blood and gold have really accomplished very little to nothing. There is always one ‘positive’ to these military campaigns and that is the jobs provided by the ‘war-machine’ industry and of course the billions of dollars that go to the corporations leaders and to the people who are able to afford stock in these companies. To many government leaders in to many different countries seem to believe that their infrastructure must have a very strong weapons export economic base. People in these ‘second and third’ world nations (economically) need safe housing, schools, clothing and food. They need an infrastructure, roads, bridges, hospitals and jobs. I am sure that you noticed that these items I mentioned are the same exact things that the people of the economic powers also want and need, in most respects all people need and wish for the same things. The ‘Western Powers’ have a long history of setting up ‘war lords’ to rule small countries, then sell them a lot of weapons whom they use against their own citizens and then we wonder why their people hate us so much.

 

Now, back to the main line of thought, the situation in Syria. The Syrian President Mr. Assad has many economic and security issues within his borders and hundreds of thousands of people have died because of this Civil War that has been raging for the past six years. Back in the first term of U.S. President Obama when he had Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State the so-called Arab Spring started. Mrs. Clinton pushed Mr. Obama into trying to ‘help’ fire up the civil war in Libya to over through their dictator, look at the total mess that Libya still is. Egypt came next where we helped to over through their dictator then we got the Muslim Brotherhood who had to be over thrown by the Egyptian Army before Egypt became another Libya. Then Hillary set her eyes on removing President Assad from power in Syria, now look at what a disaster Syria has become.

 

The U.S. encouraged the Syrian citizens to revolt against President Assad and we have spent several billion dollars on training and supplying weapons to ‘moderate Islamist’ whom Assad calls terrorist, if the situation were reversed would we not call them terrorist? As we all know when we decided to pull out of neighboring Iraq we opened up a vacuum along their western border which made a very weak Iraqi government even weaker. We should have stayed longer just doing border control help while the government soldiers and police tried to keep the peace in the cities and the country’s interior. Our governments failures helped open up the eastern part of Syria and the western part of Iraq (both Shiite Islamic nations) for a new Sunni military army to step in and form their own government in these two countries. ISIS is a result of our governments ignorance of reality in this part of the world. We say we are in Syria to fight against this group of mass murderers and that we are not at war with Syria itself but that is an obvious lie. If we are training and supplying groups like the ‘Free Syrian Army’ who are fighting to bring Assad’s government down then we are in an ‘undeclared’ war with the Syrian government.

 

The Syrian government has many allies to help them fight the different intruders trying to over through them. Russia of course is their most powerful ally but they do have several more including other Shiite countries like Iraq, Iran and basically Lebanon through their proxy Hezbollah. The ethnic people know as Kurd’s are also fighting against ISIS but their case is a bit different because several hundred thousand Kurdish people have lived within these borders for thousands of years so in a sense they are fighting against ISIS and to a degree against the Syrian government in an attempt to keep and to achieve their own Nation. The recent episodes where we have shot down a Syrian jet fighter and a couple of Iranian drones has brought the U.S. closer to direct war with Syria, Russia and Iran. These events would not be a reality if we simply weren’t there. Some will say that we have to be there to fight ISIS but this is not true. The American people have spent our own money and blood in a Nation who has not attacked us or declared war on us and whom does not want us there. If the U.S. and our ‘Alliance’ partners were not there then Syria’s allies would have and could have taken our place with their bombers and their soldiers. But the real question is why are we doing what we are doing there? My question is, is it because of the trillions of dollars in war materials our economy produces and of course the jobs this creates for our economy? Could the reason partly be because of the friends our politicians have on the Boards of these companies, or is it because of the stocks that our Senators, Congressmen and women and also this President own in these companies?

 

 

 

 

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Mississippi law that protects people who oppose gay marriage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Mississippi law that protects people who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds from being sued.

(Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake)Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant arrives to attend B.B. King’s funeral in Indianola, Mississippi, May 30, 2015.

In a unanimous decision issued Thursday, the panel concluded that the plaintiffs lacked the standing to sue the state over House Bill 1523, also called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, reversing a lower court’s decision.

“The governor of Mississippi and the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services appeal a preliminary injunction. Because the plaintiffs do not have standing, we reverse the injunction and render a judgment of dismissal,” wrote Circuit Judge Jerry Smith on behalf of the panel.

In April 2016, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed HB 1523 into law, which prohibits the state from compelling businesses and individuals from supporting or servicing gay weddings.

(Photo: Reuters/David McNew)A same-sex wedding cake topper is seen outside the East Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office on Valentine’s Day during a news event for National Freedom to Marry Week in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 14, 2012.

“The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that: (a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth,” reads HB 1523 in part.

LGBT groups and their allies denounced the legislation and sued to have it struck down. For his part, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last year banning non-essential state travel to Mississippi.

“[I]t is the policy of the state of New York to promote fairness, protect the welfare of the citizens of the state of New York, and combat discrimination,” read Cuomo’s 2016 order.

“All agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions [will] review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of Mississippi so long as there is law in effect there that permits and enshrines discrimination against LGBT citizens and unmarried individuals …” Cuomo’s order added.

Last summer, Judge Carlton W. Reeves blocked Mississippi’s law from taking effect, concluding that it was “a vehicle for state-sanctioned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement Thursday that he commended the panel’s ruling on the “commonsense law.”

“No person should be punished by the government with crippling fines or face disqualification for simply believing what President Obama believed until five years ago, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” said Perkins.

“Today’s ruling leaves us more confident that the courts will uphold the ability of elected officials to protect the freedom of their citizens to believe and live according to those beliefs”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/faith-based-business-owners-wont-be-forced-serve-gay-weddings-mississippi-appeals-court-rules-189278/#D4ljHrmCXmHwz8dC.99

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/faith-based-business-owners-wont-be-forced-serve-gay-weddings-mississippi-appeals-court-rules-189278/#0jjFfAGKXVH9qOiS.99

Christians Must Think Differently About Israel, Jews in Light of Past Atrocities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Christians Must Think Differently About Israel, Jews in Light of Past Atrocities: Gerald McDermott

 

Jun 22, 2017 | 10:05 AM

 The majority of Christians have been wrong about Israel for most of their history, according to a leading Anglican theologian and Israel scholar.
(Photo: Reuters) An Israeli flag flies high in Tel Aviv, December 28, 2010.

For many reasons, Christians ought to think differently about the land of Israel and the Jews as God’s covenant people, Gerald R. McDermott, Anglican chair at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, explains in a new book.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, McDermott explained that his latest work, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently About the People and the Land, articulates why it’s important for believers in Jesus to engage Israel with the utmost humility. This is necessary not only because of the geopolitical complexities present there but especially because “the Jews have been horribly wronged by Christians over the millennia.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Gerald McDermott)Gerald McDermott, author of Israel Matter: Why Christians Must Think Differently About the People and the Land.

“Even before the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Jews were murdered over the last 1,800 years by Christians as “Christ-killers,” McDermott said, noting at the time of the Holocaust Germany was the most Christianized nation in the world.

“Jews know these things and are afraid of us,” he said.

The error in thinking that Jesus departed from Judaism and began a new religion furthers the distance between Christians and Jews and makes Jews into an “other,” he said.

Yet in the past several decades, especially in the United States, a resurgence of what is known as Christian Zionism, the view that the land of Israel and ethnic Jews remain central to God’s eternal purposes, has occurred.

McDermott did not personally subscribe to this perspective because he associated it with dispensationalism, theology that considers biblical history as divided intentionally by God into specific ages to each of which He has allotted distinctive administrative principles. This teaching was popularized in the 1800’s by Anglo-Irish preacher John Nelson Darby.

But all that began to change for him upon doing further study of the Bible and history and he found that throughout the ages a minority has believed that one day, in accordance with Scripture, a massive in gathering of Jewish people to their historic homeland would take place.

(Photo: Courtesy of Gerald McDermott)Cover of the book “Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land,” by Gerald R. McDermott.

He realized he did not have to accept a dispensationalist approach to regard the land and people of Israel as an essential component of God’s ongoing work in the world. Nor did he have to subscribe to the often wild, apocalyptic end times scenarios some Christian Zionists have espoused in the past.

In Chapter 3 of Israel Matters the author showcases “Those Who Got It Right.”

From early Church fathers like Tertullian to more recent figures like American theologian Jonathan Edwards and Swiss theologian Karl Barth, each of these men believed that a day would come when the Jews would return to their ancient homeland.

During his ministry Edwards repeatedly warned against spiritualizing biblical promises to the Jews. When the modern state of Israel was established in 1948 Barth wrote that it was a “secular parable” and that the large numbers of Jews returning to the land was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

As is expressed throughout The New Christian Zionism, a volume of Christian scholarship on Israel released last year for which McDermott was the editor, Israel Matters argues strongly against supercessionism. This is also known as “replacement theology” which holds that the Church replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.

Today, what is known as “fulfillment theology,” which some assert is merely an updated form of replacement theology, also holds that Jews do not have a God-given destiny in their ancient land. But instead of the Church replacing Israel, its proponents contend that Jesus fulfills in his life and redemptive work all the promises that God ever made to the Jews, including the promise that the land of Canaan would be their everlasting possession.

This theology considers the land insignificant and that the only Jews who are now significant to God are Messianic Jews, those who believe Jesus is the Messiah.

But several passages in the New Testament suggest both beliefs are wrong, McDermott explained.

“Paul says in Romans 11:28 that the Jews who did not accept Jesus as Messiah were ‘enemies of the Gospel’ but nevertheless ‘are beloved’ to God, and that their ‘gifts and calling of God’ to be His special people ‘are irrevocable,'” he said.

Moreover, the Apostle Paul was writing to the Romans 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection but even then was still saying that God’s covenant with ethnic Israel remains in place. This did not mean that all Jews were saved, but that they were still special to God in a particular way.

Likewise, in his Beatitude in Matthew 5:5, Jesus was quoting Psalm 37:11 word for word when he said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the [earth.]” The Hebrew word for “earth,” which is used five times in Psalm 37, in every one of these five instances in Psalm 37 refers to the land of Israel, McDermott continued. So the Beatitude is better translated, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Land.”

And in Acts 1:6, “when Jesus’ disciples asked him just before his ascension, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ Jesus did not tell them they were wrong to think there would be a future Israel that God would establish,” he said.

“Instead, He (Jesus) said that the timing of that future was not to be known then.”

(Photo: Reuters)People walk near Damascus Gate leading into Jerusalem’s Old City, 2017.

In addition to the theological objections McDermott unpacks in the book, he explores the modern political history of the region, which is often characterized by intense and bloody conflicts.

Yet unlike some Christian Zionists who appear to think that the nation of Israel can do no wrong, McDermott is not afraid to criticize the Israeli government when it’s warranted.

He acknowledges in the book where Palestinians have been mistreated at times, how the Israeli government has broken promises, and how certain policies have been unwise. He also writes that the state of Israel should do more to protect Messianic believers. Whether an unjust action is perpetrated by a Jew or an Arab, he says, Christians need to feel free to raise their voices to criticize whoever is responsible when it is clear such an injustice has occurred.

Although imperfect, the state of Israel, “an oasis of freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” is inextricably linked with the Jews, McDermott insists.

“Even if the covenanted people of Israel and the state of Israel are not one and the same, they are intertwined in a complex way,” he writes in the book.

“The state could not exist without its people, and the covenanted people could not survive or flourish without the state. The state shelters the people, and the people — though not all are religious Jews — support the state. One without the other is unthinkable and impossible.”

For Christians who care about the Palestinians and their rights, McDermott encourages them to visit Israel since tourism helps everyone there, and to support the largely-unreported incremental steps Israel is taking to improve the lot of Palestinians.

(PHOTO: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN/FILE PHOTO) The facade of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel as seen on Jan. 20, 2017.

Written in a scholarly yet accessible tone, Israel Matters is likely to be a important resource for Christians looking to bring their faith to bear on current events unfolding in the United States and in the Middle East. Earlier this month President Donald Trump signed a waiver delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, skirting a key campaign promise that he might or might not revisit.

CP asked McDermott if moving the embassy would constitute a blessing to Israel, as some scholars have argued.

Such a move would “help the cause for peace, not hurt it,” he replied.

“First of all, it would be the simple recognition of reality: Jerusalem and no other city is Israel’s capital,” McDermott said.

“Second, the Palestinian leaders are thugs who would realize by this move that they can no longer dictate as they did to Obama, whose policies hurt both Jews and Arabs.”

The only hope for improvement is for [Palestinian President] Abbas to understand that he has to talk to the Israelis and moving the U.S. diplomatic outpost to the capital would signal to him that he can no longer circumvent the Israelis and try to get what he wants from the United Nations, he added.

Aside from the fulfillment of prophetic scriptures and political considerations, Christians need to think differently about the people and land of Israel because Jesus was and is Jewish, McDermott stressed. And in order to relate to Jewish friends, getting in touch with His Jewishness is essential.

“The Jews were raised up by God as representatives of humanity,” McDermott said. “So that if the Bible shows their departures from God, it is really illustrating ours.”

“Jesus prized Jewish law, said that salvation is from the Jews, predicted that one day Jerusalem will welcome Him, and foresaw that His Apostles will one day rule over the tribes of Israel,” McDermott said.

If Christians begin to think they are somehow better because they believe in Jesus as Messiah and the Jews do not, they fail to understand God’s grace, he added.

“When we realize how profoundly Jewish Jesus was and is, we will feel greater kinship with those for whom Paul said he had ‘unceasing anguish in his heart.'”

Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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Dalai Lama speaks at UCSD commencement amid Chinese student objection

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY COLLEGE NEWS)

Dalai Lama speaks at UCSD commencement amid Chinese student objection

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The Dalai Lama speaks to the crowd at the start of a press conference at the University of California-San Diego, June 16, 2017. The Dalai Lama gave a speech titled “Embracing the Beauty of Diversity in Our World.” He is in San Diego to deliver a commencement speech to the university graduates on June 17, 2017. (Photo: Bill Wechter, AFP/Getty Images)

This year, the trend of college students protesting against speakers they find to be offensive or oppressive has led to the cancellation of speeches by such figures as alt-right writer Milo Yiannopoulos and pundit Ann Coulter. But even when universities select figures renowned for their dedication to peace, their choices are not exempt from scrutiny.

The 14th Dalai Lama — a 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the spiritual leader of Tibet — is the latest speaker to drive controversy and protest on a college campus. He was invited by the University of California-San Diego to deliver the keynote at this year’s commencement. But not all students have celebrated his visit.

With the announcement of the Dalai Lama’s speech came opposition by many Chinese students, who say he stands for divisiveness with the goal of achieving Tibetan separatism from China. (Many Tibetans view China as an oppressor keeping them from expressing their culture and religion.)

There are about 4,600 international students from China at UCSD, with China sending the most students of any foreign country.

One campus organization, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), has been outspoken about its opposition to the Dalai Lama’s presence on campus. In statements made to its WeChat page, the CSSA said it would “resist the university’s unreasonable behavior.”

When UCSD stood behind its decision to host the Dalai Lama, a group of Chinese students met with university administrators to discuss their concerns and were assured by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla that the speech would not be political in nature, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Indeed, the Dalai Lama’s two talks at UCSD — in a public forum Friday, then at commencement exercises Saturday — focused on themes of diversity and compassion.

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“Embracing the Beauty of Diversity in Our World” @DalaiLama

 

But Chinese student Ruixuan Wang even wrote an op-ed in student paper the Guardian saying that the Dalai Lama’s very presence at graduation would “ruin our joy,” noting that many Chinese students’ families would also be present for graduation and affected by the speaker.

But the university held fast to the position that the Dalai Lama is a figure who represents peace and “global responsibility and service to humanity.”

“These are the ideals we aim to convey and instill in our students and graduates at UC San Diego,” university spokesperson Christine Clark wrote in an email to USA TODAY College. “Our focus and mission, including climate science and public good, and the messages by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama are aligned.”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at UCSD speaking on the importance of embracing diversity.

 

It’s not the first time the Dalai Lama has been protested by college students. In 2008 Chinese students at the University of Washington protested his visit to Seattle, expressing beliefs that the Dalai Lama himself was behind violence in Tibet.

This time around, Chinese students have used some of the same rhetoric as the Chinese government to oppose the Dalai Lama. The CSSA has ties with the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles to promote “news and messages from the government to our members.”

Not all Chinese students identify with the opposition, however. Jesse Zhou, a Chinese senior graduating from UCSD on Saturday, says he thinks the decision to host the Dalai Lama is a good one, but understands the concerns of some students.

“It’s a bit of a slap to the face to the international students who paid four to five years of tuition money,” Zhou wrote in a message to USA TODAY College.

On May 30, the CSSA held a demonstration on Library Walk — an area at the center of campus and a free-speech zone — with signs explaining their opposition to the speaker.

dalai lama ucsd protest

A demonstration by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association on May 30, 2017, at Library Walk on UCSD’s campus. (Photo: Jesse Zhao)

Ricky Flahive, the UCSD senior chosen to give the student speech at graduation, told USA TODAY College before graduation that this demonstration was one of the only visible forms of opposition from the organization. “Generally, most of the people know about it, but I haven’t seen it be very active,” Flahive says of the movement against the Dalai Lama’s speech. “I’ve heard excitement more than I’ve heard concern so far.”

And, Flahive says, the university prepared for the possibility of protest at commencement by adding a free-speech zone in the parking lot near the location of the graduation. As the student chosen to give a speech on the same stage following the keynote, Flahive said he was excited that the university was able to bring the Dalai Lama to UCSD. As far as the possibility of protest at commencement, Flahive says it doesn’t bother him.

“I don’t really mind, personally,” Flahive says. “As a political science major, I’m totally in support of peaceful demonstration.”

.@DalaiLama: “Whether believer or non-believer, we must all focus on deeper value of human kindness and compassion.”

 

Members of the Tibetan community gathered to meet the Dalai Lama during his public address on Friday morning and at the Saturday morning commencement. Tenzing Dolma, who just graduated from UC Berkeley, is a Tibetan refugee who came to the U.S. with her family when she was two years old. She joined a group of Tibetan students driving to San Diego for the occasion.

“We want to ensure that when he comes on campus that he sees us, and not them and he doesn’t get disheartened by seeing people protesting his commencement speech,” Dolma says. “Our issue is not with Chinese students, our issue is not with Chinese people. It’s with the government, it’s with the institution.”

Dolma says much of the information being put forth by students protesting is coming straight from the Chinese government and acts as propaganda, but says she is not opposed to the students protesting because they have a right to do so. And given that the Chinese government promotes a narrative of the Dalai Lama as being divisive, Dolma feels the decision to bring him as a commencement speaker is a symbol of acceptance.

“Tibetans all over the world rejoiced and were happy that there was finally this opportunity, this platform to show the world that there is another side,” Dolma says. “You’re seeing someone up there addressing an audience of young scholars, and it’s amazing to see that someone that can be, according to the Chinese students, a ‘polarizing figure’ has the opportunity and is granted the freedom of speech to speak when inside China, inside Tibet that’s not a reality.”

Jeanine Santucci is a student at Georgetown University and a USA TODAY College correspondent.

Jihadists cried out “God is great” every time they shot a follower of Jesus Christ

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

image: http://d.christianpost.com/full/112411/590-415/coptic-christians.jpg
(Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) Hanaa Youssef and Mina Habib, the widow and son of a man who was killed in a militant attack against Coptic Christians last month, hold the victim”s portrait in Minya, Egypt June 8, 2017. Picture taken June 8, 2017.

A 10-year-old Egyptian schoolboy who witnessed the brutal murder of his father by Islamic State militants in Minya, where 29 Christians were slaughtered in May, says the jihadists cried out “God is great” every time they shot a follower of Jesus Christ.

Mina Habib told Reuters in a piece published Tuesday that his father, one of the 29 believers massacred on May 26 when IS stopped three vehicles on their way to a monastery, was killed specifically for his Christian faith.

“We saw dead people, just dumped on the ground,” the boy, who is now receiving therapy at a local church, said of the attack.

“They asked my father for identification then told him to recite the Muslim profession of faith. He refused, said he was Christian. They shot him and everyone else with us in the car,” he said of his father, Adel.

Mina said the 15 gunmen shot Christian children dead, but he and his older brother, Marco, were spared.

image: http://d.christianpost.com/full/110308/590-436/egypt.jpg
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) Mourners react at the Sacred Family Church for the funeral of Coptic Christians who were killed on Friday in Minya, Egypt, May 26, 2017.

Three vehicles were attacked that day, with a bus and car transporting children and families being the fist targets.

The extremists reportedly shot out the windows, took the women’s jewelry, and asked victims whether they were Christians before killing them.

“They saw us in the back of the truck. They made us get down and a man wearing camouflage like the army pointed his gun at us, but another one in all black told him to let us go. Every time they shot someone they would yell God is great,” the 10-year-old added.

He said the radicals had Egyptian accents, and most of them were wearing masks.

The killing of the 29 Christians was only the latest attack on Egypt’s minority Coptic community, which has been terrorized by Islamic radicals for years, with the attacks increasing with IS’ rise in the region.

The Copts have said that they “take pride” in dying for their faith, in defiance against IS.

“We take pride to die while holding on to our faith,” Bishop Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox cleric in Minya, said in May.

Thousands of Copts mourned the victims of the bus shooting, and expressed their grief and rage at the funerals.

“With blood and soul, we will defend you, oh cross!” Copts yelled at the Church of the Sacred Family in the village of Dayr Jarnous.

“We will avenge them or die like them,” they said. “There is no god but God and the Messiah is God!”

At the same time, however, they have pleaded with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to keep his promise to protect them, and to increase support for the families of victims.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/10-year-old-survivor-isis-massacre-every-time-they-shot-christian-they-yelled-god-is-great-188734/#gc4xoVK8ROgQaeYD.99

Indiana Muslims Appalled By Accurate List of Muhammad’s Deeds

 

US

Indiana Muslims Appalled By Accurate List of Muhammad’s Deeds

GRACE CARR
06/07/2017
A billboard on the east side of Indianapolis is catching the attention of many drivers and angering lots of Muslims.

“The Perfect Man” poster references the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam and was put up by Truthophobes — a website dedicated to “exposing the truth about Islam.”

The billboard lists six boxes below things the prophet did or beliefs he espoused during his lifetime, according to Islam’s holy book, the Quran.

The billboard’s facts check out except for its first box stating Muhammad married a 6-year-old. In fact, his wife was 6-years-old when she became engaged to the prophet Muhammad and 9-years-old when they were married. The billboard signs off with “Educate Truthophobes.”

“I was a little disappointed when I saw that … We do support free speech, but we do realize this is also rooted in bigotry,” said Farial Khatri of the Islamic Society of North America, according to Fox59. “We’ve seen them in New York and several others cities on billboards as well as other transit ads,” he added.

Some groups spoke out against the display as disparaging to Muslims while other groups want to do more. The Muslim Alliance of Indiana plans to raise money to put up its own billboard nearby to spread a message of peace and kindness.

Rima Shahid, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said she was “heartsick” when she saw a photo of the billboard, especially since it appeared at the start of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. She strongly condemned the billboard for spreading lies and misinformation about Islam and its prophet. “These are completely false statements,” Shahid said, according to NBC news.

“It perpetuates hate. It perpetuates misconceptions about Islam, and it makes our neighbors think we believe things that just aren’t true … they’ve been misinformed,” she said. “This billboard is garbage,” Shahid added.

Shortly after the giant board went up, the Muslim Alliance of Indiana reached out to Mayor Joe Hogsett and Congressman Andre Carson about ways to challenge the billboard. It is important to note that the board was put up shortly after three separate terrorist attacks executed by Muslim extremists – Westminster Bridge, Manchester, and Borough – rocked the the UK.

FOX59 emailed “Truthophobes” to ask if the site’s operators are responsible for the billboard but they received no response.

Follow Grace on Twitter.

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FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs in custody after nearly a year on the lam

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Bishop Lyle Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was living out of his car for two weeks before his arrest in Yankton, South Dakota, an FBI official said Thursday.

Jeffs, who had been on the run from authorities for almost a year, did not resist arrest late Wednesday and is being held in Minnehaha County Jail in South Dakota. He appeared in court Thursday afternoon and didn’t answer reporters’ questions as he was brought in.
“The long arm of the law will eventually catch up with you and bring you back to justice,” John Huber, the US Attorney for the District of Utah, said earlier. “Undoubtedly, the flight from prosecution and his fugitive status will play a part (in the upcoming court case).”
The FBI received a tip from a citizen Tuesday, which included a partial description of Jeff’s vehicle. The tip was instrumental to tracking down Jeffs, said Eric Barnhart, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Salt Lake City, Utah, bureau.
Jeffs, 57, is expected to be extradited to Utah in the next couple of days “now that he is back in the loving embrace of law enforcement,” Barnhart said.
Jeffs, younger brother of notorious FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, escaped house arrest last July after using olive oil to slip a GPS tracking bracelet off his ankle. At the time of his escape, the FBI warned the public that Lyle Jeffs was traveling with bodyguards and was considered dangerous.
Jeffs took over leadership of the polygamist Mormon sect after his older brother was arrested on child sex charges related to his underage wives.
According to the FBI’s wanted poster, Jeffs was on home confinement while awaiting trial over his alleged involvement in a food stamp fraud case when he escaped.
He had been charged with conspiracy to commit benefits fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

FLDS Life After Warren Jeffs orig_00031327

Life after Warren Jeffs: FLDS town divided

Jeffs, another brother, Seth, and other conspirators were accused of defrauding the government of more than $12 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — more commonly known as food stamps.
Church members were urged to allow the conspirators to use their food stamp cards to buy food, according to court documents.
Families that qualified for federal assistance were allegedly told to turn over their food stamp debit cards and take what they needed from a warehouse of pooled resources called “the bishop’s storehouse.”
As a result, the federal government alleges, some families subsisted on beans, rice and toast, while high-ranking church members got meat, turkey and seafood.
The government also alleges that the Jeffs brothers and others laundered money by swiping food stamp debit cards and ringing up “ghost” purchases at church-friendly businesses. The laundered cash allegedly was used on big-ticket items such as a $30,000 pickup truck, a $14,000 tractor and $17,000 in paper products.

warren jeffs children FLDS lisa ling orig_00002624

 Children of Warren Jeffs accuse him of sexual abuse

An additional $250,000 was allegedly spent on printing costs for Warren Jeffs’ self-published book of jailhouse revelations, “Jesus Christ, Message to All Nations.”
A $50,000 reward had been issued for Lyle Jeffs’ arrest. The disbursement of the reward money has not yet been determined, Barnhart said.
The FLDS split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1930s after the Mormon establishment rejected polygamy.
Warren Jeffs took the reins of the sect in 2002 after the death of his father, the church’s founder. He is serving a life-plus-20-year term for sexual assault. Jeffs was convicted in August 2011 of the aggravated sexual assaults of a 12- and a 15-year-old girl who he claimed were his “spiritual wives.”
Last year, federal authorities expressed concern that Jeffs, now 61, was reorganizing his sect from prison.

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