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Judge rejects churches’ challenge to Virginia’s LGBT antidiscrimination law


Reported by By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter | Thursday, July 22, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/judge-rejects-churches-challenge-to-virginia-lgbt-antidiscrimination-law.html/

Gay pride parade
Participants carrying a rainbow flag attend the annual gay pride. | Reuters/Annika Af Klercker/TT News Agency

A judge has ruled against a group of churches, schools and a pro-life pregnancy center challenging a Virginia law that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to state antidiscrimination law. Judge James E. Plowman Jr. issued a ruling from the bench last week in favor of the Virginia Values Act, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled state government in 2020.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring released a statement last Friday expressing support for the ruling, which will be entered as an order within the next few weeks.  

“Our landmark civil rights protections will remain in place, and Virginia will remain a place that is open and welcoming to all, no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, or who you love,” stated Herring.

“I was proud to support passage of the Virginia Values Act and am so proud of our work to successfully defend the law twice against legal attack.”

In late September of last year, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of two churches, three private schools, and a pregnancy care center against the Virginia Values Act. In the suit, Calvary Road Baptist Church of Fairfax County and its school, Community Fellowship Church of Staunton and its school, Community Christian Academy of Charlottesville, and Care Net of Loudon County claimed that the new law forced them to compromise various hiring and employment practices based on their sincere religious beliefs.

“[The Act] puts the Ministries in an impossible position: they must either abandon the religious convictions they were founded upon, or be ready to face investigations, an onerous administrative process, fines up to $100,000 for each violation, unlimited compensatory and punitive damages and attorney-fee awards, and court orders forcing them to engage in actions that would violate their consciences,” stated the suit, in part.

“Even merely posting their religious beliefs on their own websites could subject the Ministries to prosecution and exorbitant fines. These penalties could easily exceed a million dollars, ruin the Ministries financially, and make continuing their Christian missions impossible.”

In March, U.S. District Court Judge Claude M. Hilton rejected a separate challenge to the Virginia Values Act, another lawsuit filed by the ADF, this time on behalf of Robert Updegrove of Bob Updegrove Photography. In his decision, Hilton argued that the Updegrove lacked the standing to sue since the Act “has never been enforced against” him “or any other person.”

“In the almost nine months since the statute became effective, no complaint has been filed under the statute,” wrote Hilton in late March. 

“No case or controversy exists when a person expresses a desire to change his previously compliant conduct to violate a new statute that no person, government or otherwise, has ever sought to enforce.”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

California Pastor Che Ahn warns church closures rooted in Marxist ideology


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/california-pastor-covid-church-closures-rooted-in-marxism.html/

Harvest Rock Church, Ché Ahn
Pastor Ché Ahn speaks at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, 2019. | Facebook/Harvest Rock Church

A California pastor who has challenged his state government over worship restrictions and church closures in response to COVID-19 believes such restrictions are rooted in Marxist ideology. 

In an interview with The Epoch Times published Saturday, Pastor Che Ahn of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, asserted that “When the pandemic happened, I think a lot of what I would call left-wing governors, you can call Democrat or liberals, but I feel they’re more left-wing, I think they seized the opportunity to really control society and one of the areas that I think they really like to control is the church because historically, the church has been the most outspoken against government control in this country.” 

While many proponents of limiting the number of people who can attend in-person church services point to public health concerns as the justification for their actions, Ahn attributes the restrictions to a more sinister motive: “Marxism is a religion. Humanism is a religion. It is putting the human at the top instead of God, and so, [socialism] will do everything possible to get people to reject worshiping the true God.” 

“That’s why we’re having such a battle in our nation against the values of our Founding Fathers who are mostly Christians and you know they had biblical values, Judeo-Christian values. So that’s why I feel there is an assault going on,” he asserted. 

Over the past year, Ahn has found himself among several pastors clashing with the government over coronavirus worship restrictions. California implemented particularly strict restrictions on worship services during the coronavirus pandemic. The state faced criticism for not imposing similar restrictions on secular businesses, which led to some pastors to designate their churches as “strip clubs” so they could remain open during the pandemic. 

In addition to limiting the number of people who could gather for in-person worship services, the state prevented people from conducting at-home Bible studies, which prompted Ahn to file a lawsuit against the state. Pastor Ahn took his challenge against the ban on all forms of in-person worship to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and later to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered the district court to rehear the case in light of its ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo that struck down coronavirus worship restrictions in New York state. 

In April, more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic first began to spread in the U.S., California lifted its mandatory restrictions on religious services, changing the language on capacity limits regarding worship services from “mandatory” to “highly recommended.” In response to this move, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, who represented Harvest Rock in its legal proceedings, expressed relief that California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom “finally dropped his draconian restrictions on churches.”

In May, the state of California was ordered to pay Harvest Rock Church $1.35 million in attorneys’ fees and legal costs that the church incurred as a result of its litigation against the state. Last month, a federal judge ordered the state to pay $1.6 million in attorneys’ fees to South Bay United Pentecostal Church and an additional $550,000 to a Catholic priest who also sued the state over its worship restrictions. 

At the same time, the same federal judge issued an injunction preventing Newsom and other state officials from “issuing or enforcing regulations” against churches and places of worship in response to the pandemic. Although Ahn was threatened with fines and jail time for holding in-person worship services in violation of public health orders, he maintained that he made the right decision by defying the state’s restrictions in his interview with The Epoch Times. 

“Thank God that we chose to be open, defying [Newsom’s] orders because we feel strongly that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and no one’s above the Constitution, even our president or governor, and the Constitution protects our right, not only for free speech but for us to assemble, to worship, and they will not interfere with a free exercise thereof, ” he said. 

Ahn is not the only person warning about the advance of Marxism in the U.S. In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Kevin McGary, the co-founder of Every Black Life Matters, said “Marxism is really what we’re fighting on all fronts at the moment,” specifically noting its prominence in American education.

Even as churches in California no longer face the strict worship restrictions they were subject to at the beginning of the pandemic, Newsom could still face political consequences for the restrictions he imposed during the height of the pandemic. His private dinner at an upscale French restaurant, which took place as coronavirus restrictions prevented Californians from eating out, resulted in allegations of hypocrisy and accelerated the effort to recall him. 

The recall campaign gathered enough signatures to force a recall election, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 14. California voters will be asked if they want to remove Newsom from office. If a majority vote to oust him, the votes for replacement candidates will be tallied. In such a scenario, the replacement candidate that receives the most votes would become governor. 

The most recent poll of the recall election, conducted by Democratic pollster Change Research in June, found that 54% of California voters oppose the recall election compared to 40% who support it. However, a June poll from Republican pollster Moore Information Group found a plurality of likely voters (49%) support the recall effort and 46% oppose it. The most recent nonpartisan poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in May, found that 57% of Californians oppose the recall while 40% would vote in favor of it. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

DC to pay $220K for restricting Baptist church’s in-person worship during pandemic


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter | Friday, July 09, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/dc-to-pay-220k-for-restricting-in-person-worship-of-church.html/

Capitol Hill Baptist
Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. | Wikimedia Commons/Farragutful

The District of Columbia and Mayor Muriel Bowser have agreed to pay $220,000 as part of a legal settlement with a local Baptist church that sued the city over in-person worship restrictions during the pandemic. 

Last September, Capitol Hill Baptist Church sued the district over the government’s ban on outdoor worship services that had more than 100 people in attendance. In a settlement agreement and release approved on Thursday, the city agreed to pay $220,000 to the counsels representing the church, which broke down to $210,000 for the law firm WilmerHale and $10,000 for the national legal nonprofit First Liberty Institute.

As explained in the settlement, the district has lifted earlier meeting restrictions so that Capitol Hill Baptist can gather indoors for worship services.

“The District agrees that it will not enforce any current or future COVID-19 restrictions to prohibit CHBC from gathering as one congregation in the District of Columbia,” explained the settlement.

“The District further agrees that, should it decide that new restrictions on religious gatherings are necessary during the current, or any future, COVID-19 (or variant thereof) public health emergency, it will not impose restrictions on CHBC that are more restrictive than the restrictions on comparable secular activities, as defined by the Supreme Court.”

Hiram Sasser, executive general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, said in a statement that Capitol Hill Baptist “is relieved and grateful that this ordeal is behind them.”

“All Capitol Hill Baptist Church ever asked is for equal treatment under the law so they could meet together safely as a church,” stated Sasser. “Government officials need to know that illegal restrictions on First Amendment rights are intolerable and costly.”

In March 2020, as part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bowser issued an executive order restricting the capacity for religious services of 10 or more people. The restriction was eventually expanded to no more than 100 people or 50% of the building capacity.

The 850-member Capitol Hill Baptist filed its lawsuit last September, arguing that the restrictions unfairly burdened houses of worship compared to comparable secular entities. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, granted an injunction in favor of the church last October, arguing that the “current restrictions substantially burden the Church’s exercise of religion.”

“… the District has failed to offer evidence at this stage showing that it has a compelling interest in preventing the Church from meeting outdoors with appropriate precautions, or that this prohibition is the least-restrictive means to achieve its interest,” wrote McFadden.

Soon after, the church held its first outdoor service since the litigation began, meeting at Anacostia Park in Southeast D.C. on a Sunday morning. The attendees wore face masks and maintained social distancing in keeping with the official public health recommendations at that time.

“It is absolutely appropriate to take stock, to give thanks, to give honor to whom honor is due, to recognize the many blessings that our government continually secures and provides for us,” Associate Pastor Bobby Jamieson preached at the October 2020 service.

“The only conditions that justify disobedience to legitimate government authority, legitimate earthly authority are when they either command something God forbids or forbid something God commands.”    Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

82% of Americans say religious freedom is key to ‘healthy American society’: poll


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter | Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/82-see-religious-freedom-as-key-to-healthy-us-society-rasmussen.html/

Religious freedom
Religious freedom supporters hold a rally to praise the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby, contraception coverage requirement case on June 30, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, which operates a chain of arts-and-craft stores, challenged the provision and the high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

More than four-fifths of surveyed Americans believe that freedom of religion is an important aspect of a “healthy American society,” according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports and Summit Ministries.

In findings announced Tuesday, the report found that 67% of respondents said freedom of religion is “very important to a healthy American society,” while 15% said it was “somewhat important to a healthy American society.”

Some 9% of respondents said they believe freedom of religion was either “not very important” or “not at all important” to a “healthy American society,” while 9% said they were unsure.

Party affiliation only offered slight variance, as 86% of Republican respondents said freedom of religion is very important or somewhat important, while 83% of Independents and 79% of Democrats also responded that it was very or somewhat important.

The poll also found that 50% of Americans believe that churches and faith-based charities should not be required by law to hire people who oppose their religious beliefs, while 20% of Americans say they should be required, and 30% of Americans were not sure.

Summit President Jeff Myers said in a statement included in the announcement that he believed the findings showed “that the American people overwhelmingly support the continued protection of the Constitutional right of freedom of religion.”

“Yet, leaders in Washington, D.C., are aggressively pushing forward on legislative measures such as the mislabeled Equality Act, which specifically strips away religious freedom protections,” stated Myers.

“In an era of hyper-partisanship, freedom of religion retains broad, bi-partisan support among Democrats, Republicans and Independents.”

The poll drew from a sample of 1,000 likely voters in the United States, being conducted June 16-17 and with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in which they conclude that a Christian foster agency could not be forced to place kids in same-sex households.

Known as Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the high court ruled city officials were wrong to quit working with Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for refusing on religious grounds to place children with same-sex couples.

“Government fails to act neutrally when it proceeds in a manner intolerant of religious beliefs or restricts practices because of their religious nature,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the court.

“The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny, and violates the First Amendment.”  

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Ted Cruz says the ‘Church is asleep,’ must ‘wake up’ to defeat ‘woke assault’: ‘Revival is coming’


Reported By Emily Wood, Christian Post Reporter| Monday, June 21, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/ted-cruz-calls-on-church-to-wake-up-to-defeat-woke-assault.html/

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. on June 7, 2018. | (Photo: The Christian Post)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called for the Church to “wake up” if the “woke assault” is to be defeated in the United States, promising during his speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference on Friday that a “revival is coming.” 

Cruz’s address to the crowd of Christian conservatives gathered for the national evangelical grassroots organization’s annual conference held this year in Kissimmee, Florida, centered around two messages: the need to “defend America” and a coming revival.

“If we are going to defeat the woke assault, then all of us need to wake up,” the staunch conservative said, followed by applause from the crowd.

“The slumbering Church needs to wake up…,” Cruz continued. “We need to wake up. We need to energize. We need to engage. … We can win and we will win.”

Billed as the nation’s “premier pro-life, pro-family event”, the conference also included speakers such as former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other conservative congressmen and political leaders. 

“Today, politics is culture,” Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, said in contrast to the idea that “politics is downstream from culture.” 

“If you want to hold on to your faith, if you want to hold on to your freedom, then you have to rise and answer the call to defend America,” he stressed. 

The senator issued a “call to rhetorical arms” for Americans to be “prayer warriors” who organize, mobilize and go to the ballot box. He urged: “use your arms to vote the bums out.” 

Cruz said that out of roughly 90 million evangelical Christians in the U.S., only about half vote because the “Church is asleep.” 

While millions of lives have been lost to abortion and “values are being stripped away,” Cruz shared how his dad, Raphael Cruz, who is a pastor, says “no one bears more responsibility for that than the pastors in America … who hide behind the pulpit.” 

Cruz proclaimed that the nation’s foundations and “eternal principles” are under a “relentless” assault like never before. 

“America is great,” he contends. “Christopher Columbus discovering America was a good thing. George Washington was an American hero. Thomas Jefferson was an American hero. Abraham Lincoln was an American hero. Our founding fathers were extraordinary patriots. America has been a force for good in the world. We should stand for our national anthem.”

“Police officers keep us safe. Marriage is a holy covenant before God,” he continued. “An unborn child is a child. Children do best when they are raised by a mother and a father. Israel is our friend. The Wuhan virus came from Wuhan. And there is a difference between boys and girls.”

Cruz went on to explain that just a few years ago, each statement he made “would have been utterly uncontroversial and blazingly obvious, even to the most dimwitted among us.”

“And today, we are at a moment where saying those words can get you canceled,” he added. “Saying those words can get you fired. Saying those words can get you erased.”

Cruz condemned critical race theory, which is being pushed into school curriculums, calling it “bigoted” and “a lie.” He argued that critical race theory “seeks to turn us against each other” and is “every bit as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets.”

The politician said that even though the political left wants to convince patriots that they need to retreat and “give up on America,” such an argument is “built on a pile of lies.” 

“Common sense is there. It is real. And the American people are with us. We’ve just got to see it, we’ve got to believe it,” he said. 

Cruz said he remains hopeful despite the constant negativity and demoralization in politics because there is a “natural pendulum to politics.”

“The further and further and further crazy left they go, the more the American people are going to bring us back and pull this country back from the edge of the cliff,” the Texas senator said.  

He expressed optimism for the 2022 and 2024 elections, which could allow Republicans to reclaim Congress and the White House. 

“It took Jimmy Carter to bring us Ronald Reagan,” Cruz maintained. “Joe Biden is Jimmy Carter 2.0, and I’m here to tell you revival is coming.” 

He quoted Psalm 30, which says, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

“I’m here to tell you morning is coming,” Cruz encouraged the crowd. “We’re going to win in 2022 and retire [Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer. And then we’re going to win in 2024 and send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris a one-way ticket finally to our southern border.”

“Revival is coming,” Cruz concluded his speech. “God bless America. Revival is coming.”

Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: emily.wood@christianpost.com

Democrat warns Catholic Church it may be stripped of tax-exempt status if politicians denied communion


Reported By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor| Monday, June 21, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/democrats-warn-catholic-church-against-denying-them-communion.html/

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Members of the congregation take part in a communion with social distancing during a mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception June 22, 2020 in Washington, D.C. The government of District of Columbia has begun phase two of reopening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with houses of worship resuming at maximum of 50% capacity, and no more than 100 people. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

As U.S. Catholic bishops draft a controversial document on whether priests can deny communion to politicians who support abortion, one House Democrat has implied that the Catholic Church should lose its tax-exempt status if churches institute such a ban.

“If they’re going to politically weaponize religion by ‘rebuking’ Democrats who support women’s reproductive choice, then a ‘rebuke’ of their tax-exempt status may be in order,” wrote Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., in a Twitter post lashing out at Catholic bishops.

Huffman’s post came after nearly 60 House Democrats released a statement of principles to warn the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops against what they deem as “weaponizing” the Eucharist. The statement was released after the USCCB voted Friday to approve the continued drafting of the document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.”

An overwhelming majority of the bishops (168) voted in favor of proceeding with the draft document, while 55 voted against proceeding. The bishops will continue working on the document, which will be presented to the public at a later date. While the document will provide guidelines for the reception of communion, it will leave “decisions on withholding Communion up to individual bishops.”

In their statement, the Democrats “solemnly urge” the Church “to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue.”

“… We seek the Church’s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience,” it reads. “In recognizing the Church’s role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas.”

It continues: “We recognize that no political party is perfectly in accord with all aspects of Church doctrine. This fact speaks to the secular nature of American democracy, not the devotion of our democratically elected leaders. Yet we believe we can speak to the fundamental issues that unite us as Catholics and lend our voices to changing the political debate — a debate that often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.”

It adds: We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”

The debate over whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should receive communion has intensified following the election of President Joe Biden, a pro-abortion Catholic who attends mass regularly. As he campaigned for president ahead of the 2020 presidential election, a priest in South Carolina refused to serve Biden communion due to his abortion advocacy.

Last month, more than 60 bishops also wrote a letter to Archbishop Jose Gomez calling for the delay of the debate over whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should receive communion, citing concerns that implementing a national policy on the matter would pose a threat to the unity of the Church.

Supporters of withholding communion from pro-abortion Catholic politicians, both inside and outside the Church hierarchy, point to the Church’s Code of Canon Law as the justification for their position. The Code of Canon Law states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Critical race theory sparks flurry of resolutions for annual SBC meeting, Denny Burk reveals


Reported By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter | Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/critical-race-theory-sparks-flurry-of-resolutions-for-sbc-meeting.html/

Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting
Morgan Bush, a messenger from Alabama, brings a motion during the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting on June 11 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. | Matt Miller

In what is shaping up to be a historic annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, this month, the denomination’s Resolution 9 acknowledging critical race theory as a useful tool to explain how race has and continues to function in society is the target of multiple resolutions seeking to strip it of its power.

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, revealed in a blog post Friday that he was aware of nearly 60 resolutions being submitted to the Resolutions Committee asking SBC messengers to condemn critical race theory.

“I am aware that a number of people have submitted resolutions relating to CRT. I know of at least three that are opposed to CRT (herehere, and here) and one that is in favor of CRT (here). As I write this, it looks like there are about 57 people submitting the exact same resolution as Mike Stone’s proposed resolution,” Burk wrote.

Mike Stone, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia, and one of three nominees vying to become the next president of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, recently proposed a resolution asking the denomination to condemn the theory. The proposed resolution also seeks to affirm the controversial portion of the November 2020 statement from the Council of Seminary Presidents that states, “affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message.”

“And these are just the ones I know about because they’ve been publicized on the internet,” Burk added.

“I have heard through the grapevine that there are other proposals that haven’t been publicized and that we won’t know about until the Resolutions Committee reports on them at the convention. This means that the committee is not going to be able to please all sides and likely won’t try to. It also means that they have their work cut out for them.”

Regardless of what happens, Burk expressed confidence that SBC messengers “won’t leave Nashville without a strong resolution against critical race theory.”

“I have heard of at least one effort to rescind 2019’s Resolution 9. If that came to the floor of the convention, I would support it, but I’m not sure if it’s possible under the rules (someone else who knows more about Robert’s Rules can weigh-in),” he wrote.

“But I’m also not sure that it’s even necessary. If the convention passes a strong resolution against CRT, it would serve as a de facto rescinding of Resolution 9 (sort of like subsequent resolutions became a de facto repudiation of the SBC’s infamous pro-choice resolution of 1971). For me, the priority is getting a strong statement against CRT. That is the main thing.”

The professor expressed support for a resolution proposed by Stephen Feinstein, a pastor at Sovereign Way Christian Church in Hesperia, California, and a chaplain in the United States Army Reserve.

“What I like about this is that it defines ‘institutional racism’ not as CRT does, but in terms of willful discrimination,” Burk explained.

“In CRT, no human agency is required at all for racism to be present in a given institution or system (as I have written about here). CRT says that racism is everywhere all the time and that all white people are racists whether they choose to be or not. Any racially disparate outcome is racism even if no one willfully discriminated against anyone.”

Burk argues that such an argument is “completely incompatible with what scripture teaches about sin and judgment, but this resolution fixes that.”

“It recognizes that sinful partiality can affect institutions and systems while not alleging that all institutions and systems are racist by default (as in CRT),” he wrote. 

Any member of a cooperating Southern Baptist church can propose a resolution for adoption by the SBC. However, the SBC Committee on Resolutions may decline to recommend properly submitted resolutions to the convention for adoption.

Prominent Southern Baptist Pastor Dwight McKissic, who founded and leads Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, warned earlier this year that if Resolution 9 is rescinded, he would leave the SBC. His threat came after he quit the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention after leaders adopted a “strongly worded, anti-CRT policy that denounces all aspects of critical race theory.”

McKissic’s declaration also came amid an exodus of prominent black Southern Baptist pastors, such as Ralph West and Charlie Dates, over the Council of Seminary Presidents’ renouncing critical race theory and intersectionality.

The 2021 annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention is set to take place in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 15 and June 16. More than 13,000 messengers have pre-registered for the event, according to Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee. Only four other conventions have attracted at least 10,000 messengers since 2000, he said. 

“This could be one of our largest gatherings since 1995 in Atlanta, when we had 20,654 messengers,” he recently noted.

California to pay $1.35M to settle Harvest Rock Church lawsuit against gathering restrictions


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter | Thursday, May 20, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/calif-to-pay-135m-to-settle-churchs-lawsuit-over-covid-rules.html/

Harvest Rock Church, Ché Ahn
Pastor Ché Ahn speaks at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, 2019. | Facebook/Harvest Rock Church

California will have to pay over $1 million in legal fees and attorney costs as part of a settlement reached with Harvest Rock Church over litigation surrounding the state’s lockdown rules.

Last year, Harvest Rock and other ministries sued Gov. Gavin Newsom over a coronavirus pandemic lockdown order limiting the size and scope of worship gatherings they argued violated their religious freedom. U.S. District Court Judge Jesus G. Bernal issued an order last week requiring the state to pay the plaintiffs $1.35 million in attorney’s fees and legal costs incurred in the case. The order also prohibited unfair treatment of houses of worship in emergency orders, explaining that the state government could “impose capacity or numerical restrictions on religious worship services and gatherings at places of worship that are either identical to, or at least as favorable as, the restrictions imposed on other similar gatherings of similar risk.”

“This Order does not prohibit the State from issuing recommendations, best practices, precautions, or other measures, as long as such promulgations make clear to the public that they are voluntary and not enforceable, continued the order.

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver, whose legal nonprofit represented Harvest Rock, said in a statement released Monday that “Newsom has now been permanently quarantined and may not violate the First Amendment rights of churches and places of worship again.”

“We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn’s leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California,” he added.

Last July, Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which includes multiple member churches, filed legal challenges to California’s gathering restrictions. A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 against Harvest Rock last October, concluding that the limits were justified.

“The Orders apply the same restrictions to worship services as they do to other indoor congregate events, such as lectures and movie theaters,” the court majority argued. “Some congregate activities are completely prohibited in every county, such as attending concerts and spectating sporting events.”

But in December, the U.S. Supreme Court granted injunctive relief for Harvest Rock, in light of the court’s 5-4 ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo.

In April, amid various legal challenges to the state restrictions, California lifted rules requiring houses of worship to adhere to capacity limits, changing the standards on places of worship from “mandatory” to “strongly recommended.”

“In response to recent judicial rulings, effective immediately, location and capacity limits on places of worship are not mandatory but are strongly recommended,” a government website explained. “The linked guidance is in the process of being updated. All other restrictions in the guidance remain in place.”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

TD Jakes warns the Church has become ‘deaf,’ consumed with ‘tribalism’


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter | Monday, May 03, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/td-jakes-warns-church-has-become-deaf-riddled-with-tribalism.html/

Bishop T.D. Jakes at the “Healing the Racial Divide” summit in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday January 15, 2015. | (Photo: A. Larry Ross Communications)

In an increasingly divided society, Bishop T.D. Jakes has warned that “tribalism” permeates even the Church of Jesus Christ and is causing it to become “deaf” to the plight of those beyond its four walls. 

“I think the first thing we need to do is go on an expedition and go beyond the borders of the safety of our sanctuaries and finally fulfill the Matthew 28:19 commission to go into all the world,” Jakes, leader of The Potter’s House megachurch based in Dallas, Texas, said on “The Edifi Podcast With Billy Hallowell.” 

“But before we teach them, let’s listen. Because I think there’s a huge disconnect between the sanctuary and the solar orbit that it encircles. And that difference makes a difference in how we approach the Great Commission.”

Jakes, who recently released his latest bookDon’t Drop the Mic: The Power of Words Can Change the World, lamented the “tribalism” he said is prevalent both in Christian and non-Christian circles.

Tribalism is defined as a “strong loyalty to one’s own tribe, party, or group.” 

He said people are “supported even by cookies on the phone and everything else to stay in your tribe.” 

“Tribalism always leads to war. Always,” the 63-year-old stressed. “You have to break down the wall and not build walls between us, but draw circles around us and begin to talk. … I’m talking about actually becoming friends with people. It’s hard to hate somebody you understand.”

Listen: subscribe to “The Edifi Podcast With Billy Hallowell.” 

Drawing from the example of Jesus and other biblical heroes, Jakes stressed the importance of empathy and “listening.” He warned that “if you speak fluently and lose your hearing, your speech will deteriorate down to the level of your hearing.”

“I think that the Church has become deaf,” he said. “And in so doing, we’re so busy teaching and talking. And we have our lines down pat and our talking points down, [but] we’re not listening.”

“And we have to be listening. We’re suffering as a country because we have a Congress, and leadership, and a society that doesn’t seem to listen,” he added. “They’re so busy fighting between the right and the left, that they can’t hear the people they represent. It seems not to matter what the people think anymore.”

The New York Times bestselling author emphasized that change doesn’t come from “people on TV,” but from average people learning to understand one another. 

“This is our country, not elected officials, not famous people, not rich people. This is our country,” he declared. “And if we want change, change has to start in our lives rather than becoming angry at what they are doing. It’s up to us to make it a better world. … The mic is in your hands. Let your voice be heard. But listen to other people as well.”

https://player.edifi.app/embed/index.html#/episodes/TD-Jakes-on-Culture-Chaos-and-Division-and-FOX-News-Shannon-Bream-Breaks-Down-the-Women-of-the-Bible/3926036

Jakes is not the only evangelical leader to warn of the dangers of tribalism within the Body of Christ. 

In January, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore warned that the crimes being perpetrated against religious minorities in China and elsewhere rely on “tribalism” and invisibility “where the rest of the world doesn’t pay attention.”

“The way of Jesus Christ says that we pay attention to our neighbor on the side of the road who is persecuted, who is being beaten,” he said. “So let’s pray for … persecuted peoples. Let’s pray not just individually, but together, and pray for them by name.”

“Let’s be the people who stand up for whoever is being made invisible, whoever is being intimidated and bullied in our own neighborhoods and in our own communities because we’re the people of Jesus Christ.”

‘A putrid threat’: China’s persecution of Christians ‘intensified’ in 2020: report


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter | Friday, April 23, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/chinas-persecution-of-christians-intensified-in-2020-report.html/

A villager climbs up the steps toward a cross near a Catholic church on the outskirts of Taiyuan, North China’s Shanxi province, December 24, 2016. | REUTERS/Jason Lee

Religious persecution in China intensified in 2020, with thousands of Christians affected by church closures and other human rights abuses, according to a new report from ChinaAid.  ChinaAid’s research on persecution in China last year documented nine church demolitions carried out by Chinese Communist Party authorities, affecting more than 5,000 members and attendees. Overall, CCP authorities persecuted 100% of house churches, the study found, with police summoning and questioning every church’s main leader. 

Under the direction of Chinese President Xi Jinping, CCP officials also worked to more fully control religion,” ordering Christians in both official, state-run churches as well as in house churches to fly the Chinese flag, and sing patriotic songs in services. Authorities also directed ministers and priests to “Sinicize” sermons, or alter them to conform to CCP ideology.

According to the report released this week, CCP authorities also invaded Christians’ homes, raided family gatherings, and interfered with parenting decisions. In numerous instances, authorities sued Christians for homeschooling their children or sending them to church-run schools.

“ChinaAid’s research for 2020 confirms that China’s persecution of Christians and of those professing any belief again exceeded incidents reported for the previous year,” the report says.

“As suppressed facts have emerged from dark, secret places, the fallout from the CCP’s persecution, like results from the unchecked Covid-19 pandemic, present a potent, putrid threat to challenge the outside world to pay attention.”

The group said it publishes its annual report to “not only increase awareness of religious persecution in China, but to promote religious freedom for all.”

ChinaAid’s findings come on the heels of the 2021 annual report from The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that identified China as an egregious violator of human rights, specifically toward Christians and Uyghur Muslims. The report notes that CCP authorities continued their unprecedented use of advanced surveillance technologies to monitor and track religious minorities last year.

“Although the CCP has long repressed religious freedom, in recent years it has become increasingly hostile toward religion,” the report says.

The Commission recommended that the U.S. redesignate China as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. Previous reports reveal that schools in China have been teaching children that Christianity is an “evil cult,while children are being taught to oppose religion, encouraged to question the beliefs of family members and report those closest to them to authorities.

USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer commented: “Communist China doesn’t only deny its citizens basic human rights, including the right to seek and worship God. It is also asserting itself as a new authoritarian model for developing nations around the world. It is actively engaged in undermining international human rights standards. It utilizes its growing military power to intimidate and threaten its neighbors.”

Open Doors ranks China at No. 17 on its World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted. 

Boyd-MacMillan, director of Strategic Research at Christian charity Open Doors, recently told Express UK that the CCP is becoming increasingly concerned about the Christian population’s growth and is cracking down on religion as a result. 

“We think the evidence as to why the Chinese Church is so targeted, is that the leaders are scared of the size of the Church and the growth of the Church,” Boyd-MacMillan said.

“And if it grows at the rate that it has done since 1980, and that’s about between 7 [percent] and 8 percent a year, then you’re looking at a group of people that will be 300 million strong, nearly by 2030. And, you know, the Chinese leadership, they really do long term planning, I mean, their economic plan goes to 2049, so this bothers them. Because I think if the Church continues to grow like that, then they’ll have to share power.”

Lebanon, a haven for Christianity, on the brink of collapse if world fails to act, experts warn


Reported By Emily Wood, Christian Post Reporter | Thursday, April 15, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/lebanon-a-haven-for-christianity-on-the-brink-of-collapse.html/

Damaged furniture is seen in the foreground as people attend Sunday mass at the partially damaged St. Antoine Church on August 16, 2020, in Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion at Beirut’s port last week killed over 200 people, injured thousands, and upended countless lives. There has been little visible support from government agencies to help residents clear debris and help the displaced, although scores of volunteers from around Lebanon have descended on the city to help clean. | Getty Images/Chris McGrath

Lebanon, known as a haven for Christianity in the Middle East, is on the brink of financial collapse and teeters on the edge of failed-state status if its path is not quickly reversed, an expert roundtable hosted by a leading Middle Eastern Christians advocacy group warned.

“Lebanon is moving rapidly towards total state failure. Full collapse would take weeks to unfold but decades to repair,” former U.S. Ambassador Ed Gabriel, the president of the American Task Force on Lebanon, said during a media roundtable hosted by In Defense of Christians last Friday.

Richard Ghazal, a senior advisor for IDC, a nonpartisan Washington-based grassroots human rights organization, said Lebanon will not remain “the final remaining bastion of Christianity in the Middle East” if immediate action does not take place to reverse the country’s downfall.

The explosion in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut on Aug. 4 led to over 200 deaths, thousands of injuries and the destruction of over 300,000 homes. The explosion worsened Lebanon’s financial and humanitarian crisis as the country with nearly a 40% Christian population was already in a state of decline.

The Lebanese prime minister resigned days after the deadly explosion and the protestors alleged the government was guilty of negligent handling of the explosives that triggered the blast. Before the fatal blast, nearly 1 million people in the Beirut area could not afford basic living essentials such as food, clothing and shelter. Around and 60% of citizens live below the poverty line due to political corruption and negligence, according to IDC.

Lebanon, a country with a population of around 6.8 million, shares borders with Israel and Syria.

Though it was once a financial capital in the Middle East, recent events, government corruption and the destabilization of its currency are causing international banks to flee as it is in a financial crisis. Foreign lenders such as HSBC and Wells Fargo are removing themselves from Lebanon’s central bank, while Bank of America and Deutsche Bank have reduced activities in Lebanon. The prevalence of Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah makes the country’s banks increasingly risky for international lenders.

Bishop Peter Karam, the patriarchal vicar and titular bishop of Acre of Phoenicia of the Maronites, said part of Lebanon’s financial crisis is due to the amount of corruption in the government. He compared the financial system’s mismanagement as a “Ponzi scheme.”

“We must admit the fact that there is a lot of corruption in Lebanon. A lot of corruption in Lebanon financially, politically, socially. … The collapse of the financial institutions in Lebanon is a very complex issue. …,” Karam said. “The financial sector in Lebanon was a model in the region for a lot of years. The country was known as the Switzerland of the Middle East. But now it’s just nonexistent because of mismanagement, corruption and political interference in the workings of the central bank and the financial sector.”

Ghazal said the whole world would feel the effects of Lebanon’s failure if it collapses.

“The Lebanese people cannot buy food or even the basic life essentials. So make no mistake about it, a total collapse in Lebanon will send economic humanitarian and even national security ripple effects around the region and then across the globe,” Ghazal explained.

Ghazal said the international community must respond to Lebanon’s worsening crisis through a United Nations-led summit to “re-chart its course going into the future” and restore its founding values of egalitarianism, accountability, the rule of law.

“We often hear the phrase, ‘eternal vigilance is the cost of freedom,’ well that’s never been more true than today in the case of Lebanon,” Ghazal said.

The panelists agreed that the international community must respond to Lebanon’s worsening crisis with a non-corrupt, reform-minded government. Stabilizing the currency will be a first step in the right direction, Gabriel, the former U.S. ambassador to Morocco, said. Gabriel recommended a “solid diplomatic effort” and an international conference led by the U.S. and France to provide humanitarian effort and stabilized armed forces.

Robert Nicholson, president of the Philos Project, a Christian advocacy group in the Near East, said the country’s geopolitical importance means its impending downfall would cause a ripple effect of ramifications across Israel, the U.S. and Europe.

“Lebanon is uniquely linked to the West,” Nicholson explained. “It’s part of the Arab world, but it’s just as much a part of the Western world. I sometimes think of Lebanon as kind of a ceasefire zone between these two worlds or civilizations or cultural-religious blocks.” He said Lebanon is on the “seam line between the Christian West and the Islamic [Near] East.”

“We talk a lot about, as Christians, the importance of this country to the [Christian] who live there. But Lebanon is just as important for the Muslims who live there and their co-religionists throughout the region,” Nicholson contended. “What happens in Lebanon affects the Christians, yes, and I am very concerned about that as a Christian. But it also affects many Muslims.”

Lucas Miles Op-ed: Satanist TikTokker thanks progressive Christians


Commentary By Lucas Miles, Op-ed Contributor

In a shocking new TikTok video, a man wearing sinister looking red-colored contact lenses, illuminated by an eerie red glow, who refers to himself as a member of the “Lucifer Gang”, takes a moment to thank “progressive Christians,” saying, “There is a wave of Christian people that I have met on this app, and I have found favor among them. Progressive Christians are what the world needs right now.” The TikTokker, whose page is filled with anti-Christian arguments, as well as content promoting witchcraft, ‘dark energy’, and satanic imagery, goes on to say regarding progressive Christians, “We both agree that religion needs massive amounts of change.” 

Courtesy of Lucas Miles

For those new to the term, ‘progressive Christian’ isn’t simply a reference to a democrat who is a Christian, but rather a specific viewpoint of both Jesus and the Bible.  Progressive Christianity, also referred to as ‘Liberal Christianity’ or the ‘Christian Left’ (For more on Progressive Christianity, see Lucas Miles’ new book, The Christian Left: How Liberal Thought Has Hijacked the Church), emerged from Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophers like Voltaire, Kant, and Hegel, as well as French Roman Catholic Richard Simon, often referred to as the ‘Father of Biblical Criticism.”

Progressive Christianity introduced to the world a belief in the ‘historic Jesus’, as an intentional distancing from the Biblically orthodox Christ presented in the scriptures.  For the Christian Left, while the Bible may contain certain truths and historical accuracies, it cannot be trusted as a whole and requires human reason to evaluate each and every passage to determine whether or not that specific passage can be used to create a reliable portrait of Jesus.  As such, a progressive view of scripture tends to reject and reason away all supernatural aspects of the Bible, including the miracles of Jesus and the resurrection. In the progressive historic view, Jesus is a good teacher, a social reformer, a rabbi, and a Cynic philosopher, but rarely the Son of God or Christ, the Savior of the world.

In our day, while beliefs among the Christian Left vary, most hold to a critical view of scripture (as opposed to a traditional view that holds the Bible to be the inerrant ‘Word of God’), an acceptance of Darwinism, a normalization of progressive views of gender and sexuality, and an emphasis of Jesus’ role in social justice and societal reform. Among those often regarded as being modern adherents to a form of Progressive Christianity are author and scholar Bart D. Ehrman, Democratic politician Pete Buttigieg, and journalist Jonathan Merritt. For Ehrman, his historic view of Jesus led him to a form of agnosticism, whereas Buttigieg still claims denominational affiliation with the Episcopal Church.

Describing his own ‘de-conversion’ from traditional Christian faith, Merritt, a contributing editor at Religion News Service, confessed in a tweet, “Like many, evangelicalism provided me with some wonderful gifts for a season, but I feel like I have grown beyond it in many ways. Its tools and frameworks are no longer sufficient to sustain me in this phase of life. While I honor my heritage, I’m mostly seeking God elsewhere.” For Merritt, his elsewhere, appears to be a form of progressively ‘woke’ Christianity – the kind affirmed in the aforementioned TikTok video.

The reason this video is noteworthy is because it demonstrates the growing chasm between a Biblical view of Christianity and progressive view of Jesus. In the same video, the TikTokker goes on to attack traditional Christians, warning, “Between your flawed bibles, asinine ideals, and just outright misinformation – we’ve had enough.” 

Surprisingly, due to the departure of certain Biblical ideas, such as the Lordship of Jesus and original sin, progressive Christianity apparently is able to stand unified alongside satanism, since the cause of division, namely viewing Jesus as Savior, has been removed. Biblical Christianity, on the other hand, while still offering love to someone caught in the deception of satanism, cannot find agreement or unity in belief, as the apostle Paul wrote, “What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?”  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lucas Miles is the host of The Lucas Miles Show and the author of the new book, The Christian Left: How Liberal Thought Has Hijacked the Church (Broadstreet Publishing, 2021). Follow Lucas on Twitter at @LucasMiles.

Vatican says Catholic Church can’t bless same-sex marriage: God ‘cannot bless sin’


Reported By Emily Wood, Christian Post Contributor 

Saints Peter and Paul Church is a Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, directly across from Washington Square. | Getty Images

The Vatican released a statement Monday announcing that churches have no power to bless same-sex marriage since God “cannot bless sin,” which clarifies Pope Francis’ stance on same-sex unions.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic churches have the power to bless same-sex unions. The question comes when “plans and proposals for blessings of unions of persons of the same sex are being advanced” in some “ecclesial contexts.”

“… It is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage …,” the Vatican statement reads.

“As is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”

In a Monday interview with The Christian Post, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, which claims to be the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, said the statement was “very much” welcomed because it removed doubt about the Vatican’s position on this topic.

“This [decision] finishes it,” Donohue said. “There’s nothing left to discuss. It’s non-negotiable. The Vatican left nothing on the table with these people pushing this agenda. It made it very clear that the Church can bless homosexuals as individuals, but it will never ever bless homosexual unions, never mind gay marriage.”

Same-sex marriage can’t be considered lawful in the Church because there are no grounds to consider it “even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” the statement written by Cardinal Luis Ladaria, a Spanish Jesuit, shared.

The Vatican’s statement comes after Pope Francis said during a documentary interview last October that he believes civil union laws should be created to legally cover same-sex couples in the civil sphere.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,” the pope said.

Donohue said this was an awkwardly-phrased statement by the pope. But while some Catholics have urged Pope Francis to bless gay marriage in the past, the statement released today settles his position on same-sex unions.

Donohue said the statement came from the top doctrinal office of the Catholic Church and would not be released without receiving the Pope’s blessing.

“I was actually struck by the fact that it was so definitive,” Donohue said. “They really slammed the door shut on this issue. And I think it’s welcome because some Catholics and non-Catholics say, ‘Well, where is the Church on this issue? It seems to be bending toward their way.’ And now, I think this will put an end to it. And if people who are Catholic don’t like it, well, they are going to have to change their status then.”

In its statement, the Vatican said that the unlawful blessing of same-sex unions is not “a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them.”

The Vatican’s response said the Christian community and pastors should “welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclination” and find appropriate ways to “proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness.”

“But [God] does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him. He in fact ‘takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are,’” the statement added.

The Catholic Church’s stance goes beyond gay marriage since it will not bless any union against God’s design of marriage, Donohue concluded.

“We can take it a step further,” he shared. “The Church will never bless cohabitation. This is not just with homosexuals. There are guys and gals who live together outside of marriage, and the Church does not recognize that. This is not strictly about homosexuals, although they are the ones who are pushing for it, obviously. But it would apply to any union that is outside of [licit marriage].”

Critical race theory provides answers very different from what Christianity offers


Thousands of people gathered in the heart of Atlanta to worship, pray, and repent for systemic racism in late June 2020 for an event hosted by OneRace Movement. | Courtesy of Adventures in Mission

Francis Schaeffer described how ideas escape the ivory towers of universities and think tanks eventually to shape how ordinary people think, speak, and view their world. In 2020, one idea made that journey in record time. Not that long ago, conversations involving Critical Race Theory were largely relegated to academic papers, classroom discussions, and scholarly journal articles. Today, dialogues about CRT can be found across social media, in corporate boardrooms, and even in the Church.

As a theory, CRT descends from European and North American philosophical traditions, particularly Marxism and Postmodernism. Like these worldviews of its intellectual ancestry, CRT sees the world in terms of power dynamics. In this way of thinking, social evils such as poverty, crime, or oppression result not from universal human frailties but from Euro-Americans intent on securing and increasing their economic and social power. Based on this metanarrative, equality and justice demand privileging the stories of those kept out of power. CRT sees members of the oppressed group as morally right, and members of the oppressor group as morally wrong.

CRT, like any worldview framework, should be evaluated. That, however, is easier said than done, even in the Church. Advocates often point to common ground between Critical Race Theory and the Christian worldview (for example, the commitment to justice and human dignity), and label any critiques of CRT as convenient ways to avoid confronting injustice and racism (which may not be true, but often is).

Many Christian critics, myself included, are specifically concerned with how CRT conflicts with a Christian worldview, particularly in areas of identity and morality. Not everyone agrees. Recently on Twitter, a defender of CRT boldly tweeted, “Whoever told you CRT is a worldview was either lying to you or didn’t know what they were talking about.” Of course, assuming malice or greed is a way of dodging the question rather than making an argument.

Another Twitterer offered a different response, “If CRT is bad because it’s a ‘secular worldview’ and we must only derive our worldviews ‘biblically’ then I better not see a TRACE of Aristotle or Plato in your worldview either, brother.” This one is a slightly more clever way of missing the point or, specifically misunderstanding what it means for a worldview to be “biblical.” To have a Christian worldview is to hold views that are consistent with the Bible, not to only have views that are in the Bible. The problem with Critical Race Theory is not that it isn’t found in the Bible; it’s that it offers a very different explanation of humanity, sin, and redemption than the Bible does. 

Like the postmodernism that birthed it, Critical Race Theory can be considered a worldview. It does more than just offer a handful of specific ideas about race and society; CRT offers a complete framework of beliefs, a universalizing story of the world. CRT describes who we are, what’s wrong with the world, and prescribes how to fix it and what “better” would be. In other words, like Christianity, CRT answers the basic questions any worldview does. Except, the answers CRT provides are very different than those Christianity offers, even if both worldviews recognize the world is broken by evils such as racism and injustice.

Critical Race Theory has critical errors. By simplistically reducing evil to power dynamics and external social realities, CRT denies moral agency and the redemptive potential of entire groups of people because of their racial identity. 

At the same time, those who oppose Critical Theory must do more than simply write off all its concerns. Like Marxism, Critical Theory is something of a Christian heresy, taking the Christian themes of human dignity and justice and a world remade, and re-orienting these causes under new management. Most pertinently, CRT is slipping into the space where the Church belongs but is too often absent.

If we don’t want unbiblical explanations of life and justice sweeping through the Church or culture, we’d better make sure we communicate and embrace the full ramifications of Christian truth for society, and then act justly and love mercy. If we rob our Faith of its social implications, we are no longer talking about Christianity. Such a personalized, privatized moral system may make us feel better, but it will never stand up to the rival worldviews of our day.

Over the next four Tuesday nights, The Colson Center is hosting an online course taught by Dr. Thaddeus Williams, on his book, Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth. This is the book I’ve been waiting for, the book that carefully and biblically walks through a Christian view of justice. Dr. Williams carefully explains not only why theories like CRT aren’t true, but what the Bible asks of Christ’s followers when it comes to justice. Space is limited. Register today at breakpoint.org/Williams.

Because, the best antidote for the failings of Critical Theory and its inadequate worldview is for the Church to understand and live consistently with the Bible.

Originally posted at breakpoint.org

From BreakPoint. Reprinted with the permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. “BreakPoint®” and “The Colson Center for Christian Worldview®” are registered trademarks of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Stonestreet is the President of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and co-host with Eric Metaxas of Breakpoint, the Christian worldview radio program founded by the late Chuck Colson. He is co-author of A Practical Guide to CultureA Student’s Guide to Culture and Restoring All Things.

Nepal: Miracles drive one of the world’s fastest-growing churches


Reported By Jackson Elliott, Christian Post Reporter 

Nepalese Christians Reuters/Shruti Shrestha

In 1999, doctors diagnosed Nepali Christian Gita Shakya with a painful, paralyzing spinal growth. Doctors told Gita and her Christian son, Suroj, that her best option for healing was a risky, potentially lethal surgery, Suroj said in a written testimony shared with The Christian Post.

Surgery was also expensive, and Gita’s husband, Babukaji, a Buddhist priest, refused to pay his Christian wife’s expenses. Doctors in Singapore gave 19-year-old Suroj two days to decide whether to let his mother live in terrible pain or risk her death. He prayed, then decided it was best to do the surgery. But he didn’t know what he would tell his family if Gita died, he said.

“At that time, I felt so alone in Singapore because it was my first visit, and I had nobody to share my problems with besides talking with the Lord in prayer,” he added.

Suroj heard a knock at the door. It was a group of local church members who wanted to pray for Gita. After 20 minutes of prayer, a miracle happened, he said. Gita stood up. She kicked out with her left foot, which hadn’t moved for years. She punched out with her left arm. Suddenly, she could move. Gita started to weep and praise God, Suroj recalled.

“There was no pain and sadness, which she had before. Her face was changed into joy and happiness,” he said.

Afterward, Suroj said doctors didn’t believe Gita was the same woman. Babukaji didn’t believe his wife had been healed without surgery until he saw she had no scars. Then along with his son, Suman, he became a Christian.

Such stories happen often in Nepal, said Suroj, who’s now a 41-year-old church elder. Despite persecution and poverty, the Nepalese church has grown incredibly quickly. The South Asian country has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world.

To secular Westerners, it might seem impossible. But the mountains of Nepal have witnessed incredibly fast church growth in part because of miraculous healings. Suroj told CP that he became a Christian at 8 years old after God healed him from food poisoning.

“Firstly, church growth is because of miracles,” Suroj asserted. “[If] people don’t [get healed] from the hospital, they go to the church and ask for prayer from the church leaders. When the church family and church leaders pray for the sick people, they are getting healed.”

To those who see the world from a materialistic viewpoint, reports of miracles might sound impossible or far-fetched.  The miraculous break nature’s laws and can’t be replicated. But that alone doesn’t disprove their existence, Wheaton College Intercultural Studies Professor Scott Moreau told CP. Not all of reality can be understood by using scientific methods.

“It’s not that science clashes with religion [when it comes to miracles],” he said. “They have completely different toolkits to get at the understructure of reality. One has testable formulae, but miracles don’t work that way.”

While miracles can’t be explained by natural laws, Moreau said they can be observed or verified.

“You can examine whether the reports of a miracle are consistent with each other,” he said.

People around the world agree that miracles exist, Moreau added. The fastest-growing Christian denominations around the world emphasize the miraculous.

Church growth in Nepal

In 1951, Nepal reported no Christians in its government census. And by 1961, that number increased to just 458. Today, the World Christian Database ranks the country as the 12th fastest-growing Christian population in the world with 1,285,200 believers, said database co-director Gina Zurlo. The real number might be higher.

“In some countries, fast growth rates of Christians are due to migration. In other countries, high birth rates may contribute more. But in Nepal, the main factor for growth is conversion from other religions,” she explained. “We estimate that Nepal is 4.25% Christian.”

Most Nepalese people today practice Hinduism, the world’s third-largest religion. The polytheistic Hindu religion values behavior and community belonging over belief. Until 2008, Nepal was a Hindu kingdom. For Hindu radicals, being Nepali means being culturally Hindu, Pastor Tanka Subedi told CP.

Subedi leads Nepal’s Family of God Church and serves as director of the International Nepal Fellowship.  Although most Hindus live in peace with Christians, he said some fiercely oppose the Gospel.

“The prime minister himself says he doesn’t believe in God but is Hindu,” said Subedi. “State media and government officials [say] Christianity is coming to Nepal to destroy our culture. It’s challenging to evangelize people who have that mindset.”

The pressure and violence Christians experience from Hindus places the country at No. 34 on Open Doors USA’s global persecution watch list. Nepal is known for criminalizing actions that lead people to change their religion, International Christian Concern South Asia Regional Manager Will Stark told CP. Hindus fear Christianity because it threatens the Hindu caste system, Stark said. They believe that people get reincarnated based on what they did in their past lives. Bad people are reborn to do degrading or “unclean” jobs. They are “low caste” or “untouchable” because it’s believed that they spiritually pollute other Hindus. Hindus in higher caste positions often treat them with cruelty or contempt.

When Christians preach equality before God, Hinduism crumbles, Stark asserted.

“The Gospel tells you that all people are equal and Jesus cares about you and being your personal Savior,” he detailed. “The caste system is based on dividing out or stratifying the community. Without the bottom of the pyramid, the rest of it doesn’t really exist.”

Nepal’s anti-conversion law says that “‘any act that causes a religious conversion will be punished.” This broad wording gives police the right to punish Christians for even mentioning the name of Jesus in public, Stark noted. Hindu radicals who attack Christians also justify their actions by saying they were enforcing the law.

Bishwa Raj Pokharel, spokesman for the Nepalese National Police, claimed, “One can choose the religion they want to follow,” in a statement to the Global Press Journal in response to a January article about Christians who accused police of targeting them for their faith.

“But one cannot take advantage of a person’s situation and induce them to change their religion. The law says that you can change your religion, but you cannot change someone else’s religion.”

Persecution increasing

Government persecution has increased recently, said Subedi.  In 2019, Nepalese authorities threw 73-year-old Christian Cho Yusang in jail for distributing Bibles. Two weeks in prison damaged his health so severely that he had to be admitted to a hospital.

After an orphanage closed this year, Nepalese Pastor Hari Tamang opened his home to shelter children for 10 days. In response to his generosity, police arrested him on false charges of trafficking and attempted religious conversion.

According to Open Doors USA, Christian persecution in Nepal rose during the watchdog organization’s 2020 reporting period as pressure is high for Christians “in every sphere of life.” The group reports that governing authorities in Nepal “make life difficult for followers of Christ.”

China and India both support Nepal’s government in its persecution of Christians, but for different reasons, Subedi said. India wants Nepal to remain Hindu, while China fears that Christians will support political movements to free Tibet, he explained. Despite rising persecution, Christians continue to share their faith, Subedi said, because the government can’t arrest them all.

“We come from a persecuted background. We were never free. We are used to it,” he said. “There’s not necessarily a state apparatus to use [the anti-conversion] law for mass arrests.”

People also feel eager to become Christians because of the reality of the Christian faith, Subedi added. God works visible miracles in churches and traditional healers can’t compete. Christians point to a historical Jesus in contrast to mythical Hindu gods.

“If you go deeper [into Hinduism], you find nothing. They’re just stories from different places with different gods,” the pastor contended. “When you hear about Jesus, it is solid. It is a fact. It happened in history and people can accept it. People are looking for a real God. All the Christians pray for healing and healings happen.”

Suroj stressed that Christianity also changes the lives of believers.

“When a man comes to the church and accepts Jesus, his life will be changed,” he said. “Before coming to the church, he used to take alcohol and smoke. But after coming to the church, he leaves all these things. The people who are not Christian want to come to the church and leave all the negative things in their life. People from other faiths feel excited and amazed that these things happened.”

Subedi noted that so many people become Christians in Nepal that it’s difficult for current believers to teach them all. He estimated that the church grows between 5% and 10% per year.

“The Hindu people are so scared of the Christians,” said Suroj. “They know that the Christian community is growing in very large ways. They are scared that if it happens for a few more years, in Nepal there will be no more Hindu people.”

In an increasingly connected world, many religions have spread far from their original homelands. Buddhism has gained popularity in America over the decades, and ideas from Hinduism influence popular American movies like “Star Wars” and “The Matrix.” In Asia, Christianity has grown more rapidly than ever before. But there’s a difference between the way Western people have sampled Eastern religions and the way Eastern people have believed in Christianity, according to Wheaton College Anthropology Professor Brian Howell.

“They are two really different phenomena. In the West, people are picking up Eastern religious influences in a very piecemeal fashion. They are doing it as self-expression,” he told CP. “With people finding Christianity, they are finding a community and a tradition they can connect to globally.”

Americans want some Eastern religious ideas; Nepalese people want to become Christians, Howell said.

Nepalese believers tend to gather in churches smaller than 100 people, although some churches are far larger, said Suroj. Believers in rural villages want practical teachings on how to live out their faith, while believers in cities want to know more about Christian theology.

“Giving, repentance, all these practical things, we teach in the church. We also teach the theological part of the Bible because the church believers we have in Nepal are about 60% uneducated people,” he said. “They love to learn and hear practical things.”

Church members in Nepal also help and care for each other, he said. They become family.

“The Christian people face many problems from his or her [Hindu] family and community,” Suroj added. “The church helps these Christian brothers and sisters in whatever way the church can. We are staying as one family. We help each other, we care for each other, we teach and we support each other.”

As it grows, the Nepalese church faces many difficulties, said Subedi. Poverty and persecution cause problems, but the biggest need is pastors who can help people fully understand their faith.

“This is one of the biggest challenges, to disciple people,” he said. “A lot of pastors in the villages haven’t gone to school. My organization tries to teach them at home. There is a huge need for training pastors and leaders in the villages.”

New Testament communities

In countries with heavy persecution, small churches grow faster, Moreau explained. House churches split as they grow larger and believers commit to share their faith. Small churches also resemble the New Testament Church.

“If it’s a house gathering, it tends to be more organic. If it’s in buildings, it tends to be more programmatic. The biblical evidence seems to point to the more organic method as the norm,” he said. “In the Muslim world, the organic churches have grown bigger faster simply because when a church becomes visible in the public arena it can get shut down very quickly.”

As Nepal’s church has grown in size and reputation, a small number of people have tried to join for the wrong reasons, Suroj said. Christians in Nepal have a reputation for politeness, hard work and honesty, so people become Christians in an attempt to get a job or visa.

“They think, ‘If I become a Christian, I can easily get a job,’” he said. “One family came to my church office and was asking for a Christian certificate even though they are not Christian, churchgoers or baptized. They offered money to the church and said if the church wants money, we need the baptism certificate.”

In many ways, the church in Nepal resembles the church of the New Testament.

At once hated and admired, it’s a new community that people join even at the cost of their families. It heals the sick, helps the poor and transforms sinners. People want the life the church gives, sometimes even for the wrong reasons. Despite persecution, it multiplies.

“It’s like the time of Jesus for Nepal. Believing in Jesus means you are a second-class citizen. You may be disconnected from your family,” Subedi said. “It’s a big sacrifice to follow Jesus. It was bigger in the past, but it has not changed a lot. We’re still considered second-class citizens, outcasts from many things. It costs you a lot.”

Op-ed: Why does the media give a pass to Biden’s faith?


Commentary By Jason Jimenez, Op-Ed Contributor

Biden, the 46th president, is America’s second Catholic President. The first was John F. Kennedy — when he became President in 1961.  From the start of his campaign, Biden wanted everything to be about his faith. A favored campaign slogan for the Biden camp was the “battle for the soul of the nation.”

(Courtesy of Jason Jimenez)

It didn’t matter the media outlet. They all loved reporting on how Biden was a “deeply devout Catholic” and that his faith is a huge factor in “shaping his politics.” Even Speaker Pelosi publicly praises Biden’s faith and willingly admits that his Catholic faith has shaped his career and public policies. An article in The New York Times stated, “President Biden, perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century, speaks of how his Catholic faith grounds his life and his policies.”

Interesting, isn’t it? How the media and every single big-time progressive politician have no problem mixing Biden’s faith with politics. But suppose you are a Christian who is pro-life and not in favor of the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage. In that case, the response you get from the Left is the complete opposite. How was Judge Amy Coney Barrett (also a deeply devout Catholic) treated during the Senate confirmation hearings? Senator Dianne Feinstein and her colleagues didn’t praise Judge Barrett for her faith. Instead, Senator Feinstein expressed her concern about how Judge Barrett’s faith might influence her decisions by stating, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.” But if the Left is so concerned about a person’s faith interfering with their public service, why isn’t the Left disparaging Biden from talking about how his faith shapes his public policies?

The main reason? Because President Biden is as much of a progressive as he is a Catholic. He is what I refer to as a “Progressive Catholic.” Don’t believe me? Listen to what he said in his book, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, “I’m as much a cultural Catholic as I am a theological Catholic.” Biden continues, “My idea of self, of family, of community, of the wider world, comes straight from my religion. It’s not so much the Bible, the beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, the sacraments, or the prayers I learned. It’s the culture.”

Because Judge Barrett is a conservative Catholic and not a progressive, liberal Democrats are concerned about her “dogmatic” positions embedding on her judgment. Therefore, she must be censored at all costs. However, in President Biden’s case, he gets a pass because he’ll keep on advancing progressive policies like the Equality Act (which will eviscerate religious freedoms in America), government funding of abortion, and the Green New Deal.

It’s not a question of whether President Biden has a right to express his religious beliefs. He has that right under the Constitution. It’s really about charging the media for being inconsistent by not allowing conservatives to do the same.

Let’s hope the media will admit to their intolerance and learn to be more receptive to Americans who hold conservative viewpoints.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jason Jimenez is president of Stand Strong Ministries, a faculty member at Summit Ministries, and a best-selling author who specializes in apologetics and biblical worldview training. Check out www.standstrongministries.org.

‘Screams echoed throughout the building’: Women raped, tortured in China’s ‘re-education’ camps


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter 

Ethnic Uyghur members of the Communist Party of China carry a flag as they take part in an organized tour on June 30, 2017, in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. Kashgar has long been considered the cultural heart of Xinjiang for the province’s nearly 10 million Muslim Uyghurs. At an historic crossroads linking China to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the city has changed under Chinese rule with government development, unofficial Han Chinese settlement to the western province, and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. Beijing says it regards Kashgar’s development as an improvement to the local economy, but many Uyghurs consider it a threat that is eroding their language, traditions, and cultural identity. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Women imprisoned in China’s network of internment camps in Xinjiang are subject to horrific torture, systematic rape, and sexual abuse as the country’s Communist leadership seeks to “destroy” those it sees as a threat, a graphic new report has revealed.

report from the BBC highlights interviews from several former detainees and a guard who shared firsthand accounts of their horrific experiences in China’s internment camps in the Xinjiang region. Estimates suggest that over 1 million to as many as 3 million Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups in Western China have been subject to these internment camps, which are intended to strip Uyghurs and other minorities “of their culture, language and religion, and indoctrinate them into mainstream Chinese culture.”

Tursunay Ziawudun, a woman who spent nine months inside one of these camps before fleeing to the U.S., told the BBC that women were removed from the cells “every night” and raped by one or more masked Chinese men. She said she was tortured and later gang-raped on three occasions, each time by two or three men. She also recalled how police tortured her with electric shocks and, in one instance, violently abused her when she was unsure of her husband’s whereabouts, kicking her with their heavy boots. Because of the severity of the abuse, rape, and torture, Ziawudun said that there were “many people in those cells who lost their minds.”

“Their goal is to destroy everyone,” she said. “And everybody knows it.”

Gulzira Auelkhan, a Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who was detained for 18 months in the camp system, recounted how she was forced to strip Uyghur women naked and handcuff them before leaving them alone with Chinese men.

“My job was to remove their clothes above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move,” she recalled. “Then I would leave the women in the room and a man would enter —  some Chinese man from outside or policeman. I sat silently next to the door, and when the man left the room I took the woman for a shower.”

The Chinese men “would pay money to have their pick of the prettiest young inmates,” she said, stressing that the physical violence she witnessed amounted to “rape.”

Qelbinur Sedik, an Uzbek woman from Xinjiang, who was forced to give language lessons to the detainees, said the women’s camp was “tightly controlled.” She said there were “four kinds of electric shock” women would be subjected to — “the chair, the glove, the helmet, and anal rape with a stick.”

“The screams echoed throughout the building,” she told the BBC. “I could hear them during lunch and sometimes when I was in class.”

Sedik said that one time, she asked a Chinese camp policewoman about the rumors of rape. The women replied, “Yes, the rape has become a culture. It is gang rape and the Chinese police not only rape them but also electrocute them. They are subject to horrific torture.”

Interviewees also shared how they were required to watch propaganda videos praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and sing patriotic songs. They were also forced to undergo medical tests, take pills, and were forcibly injected every 15 days with a “vaccine” that brought on nausea and numbness. Women were also forcibly injected with IUDs or sterilized.

One former prison guard shared how women were forced to memorize books about Xi Jinping. Those who failed to complete the task were punished with food deprivation and beatings.

“I entered those camps. I took detainees into those camps,” he said. “I saw those sick, miserable people. They definitely experienced various types of torture. I am sure about that.”

China has repeatedly denied that it is persecuting ethnic groups in Xinjiang; however, reports reveal it is actually expanding its network of detention facilities.

An earlier report documented how hospitals in Xinjiang were ordered to abort and kill all babies born in excess of China’s mandated family planning limits — including newborns born after being carried to full term. The orders were part of strict family-planning policies intended to restrict Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities to three children.

In January, the former Trump administration officially designated China’s persecution of minorities in western Xinjiang Province as “genocide” and “crimes against humanity.”

“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time, adding that the Chinese Communist Party — which he described as a “Marxist-Leninist regime that exerts power over the long-suffering Chinese people through brainwashing and brute force” — is “engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”

The Biden administration has not stated whether it would maintain the previous administration’s declaration that China is committing genocide against its Uyghur population. White House Press Secretary Psaki told reporters at a press briefing that Biden has “spoken before to the horrific treatment” of Uyghurs, but she will “check” what the Biden administration’s policy will be, RCP previously reported. However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that he believes genocide had been committed against the Uyghurs.

Christian leaders have urged Christians in the West to care about the persecution of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities. In September, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore said that the crimes being perpetrated against religious minorities in China and elsewhere rely on invisibility “where the rest of the world doesn’t pay attention” and “tribalism.”

“The way of Jesus Christ says that we pay attention to our neighbor on the side of the road who is persecuted, who is being beaten,” he said. “So let’s pray for the Uyghur [and] for other persecuted peoples. Let’s pray not just individually, but together, and pray for them by name.”

“Let’s be the people who stand up for whoever is being made invisible, whoever is being intimidated and bullied in our own neighborhoods and in our own communities because we’re the people of Jesus Christ.”

Op-ed: HuffPost blaming Christian curriculum for Capitol riots is slanderous


Commentary By Adam Rondeau, Emory Thompson, and Angel Parrish, Op-ed Contributors 

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump protest outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Recently the Huffington Post ran an article that was extremely hostile to Christian education here in the United States. The overall implication of the article was that the January 6 rioting at the Capitol building was directly tied to the government allowing and possibly funding conservative Christian education in the US.  Specific curricula were cited and quoted (specifically, A-Beka, Bob Jones and Accelerated Christian Education) and blame was explicitly and carelessly lobbied at these schools and curriculum.

“Their religion-centered, anti-Democrat, anti-science, anti-multicultural message mirrors the Christian nationalism seen at the U.S. Capitol riot.”[1] 

Courtesy of Adam Rondeau

Such brash and unfair bias cannot go unanswered. The overwhelming majority of schools using these curricula are highly civic-minded American patriots. They love God and their country and deplore violence of any kind. Painting an entire demographic with a wide brush based on hear-say alone is slanderous. It is also disingenuous. The year 2020 was filled with leftist progressives rioting and looting all over the country in response to their own perceived inequities, yet none of that is alluded to in the Huffington Post article. If the author was seeking to be equitable, would she not have to acknowledge the possibility that government schools and their curriculum might bear some blame for those riots? Indeed the article concludes with just the opposite reaction.

The following statement from the article claims to have intellectual authority but is severely lacking in credulity.

“Scholars say textbooks like these, with their alternate versions of history and emphasis on Christian national identity, represent one small part of the conditions that lead to events like last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, an episode that was permeated with the symbols of Christian nationalism.”[2]

Exactly who are these scholars that the author is referring to? There are no footnotes or cited sources for this particular example, and of the three “scholars” quoted within this article, only one implies this thought process. Therefore, the reader’s only recourse is to give full trust to the statements of the author or practice intellectual independence and question the statements and opinions as presented. We choose the latter.

Courtesy of Emory Thompson

Linking terrorism to Christian education and its biblical worldview being communicated is grossly misleading. Consider Franklin Graham and the work of Samaritan’s Purse, which has helped countless suffering and needy people in the US and abroad. It is the same worldview that these schools and curricula seek to advance.  American students using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum annually donate to the BLESS outreach, which sponsors literacy programs in third-world countries, giving thousands of children the opportunity for advancement through education. Consider a very large Florida Christian school that utilizes A Beka and Bob Jones curricula, and funnels all the profit from that school and a thrift shop to help to fund a completely free medical clinic, two homeless shelters, and a food pantry. These are only a few examples. Conservative Christians and their churches and schools are not promoting or involved in riotous activity, but rather in activities that fulfill the Greatest Commandment to love God and neighbor. Students are taught to be contributing members of society who work for the common good of the nation around them.  This is an accurate representation of conservative Christian education in America.

A Clash of Worldviews

At its core this article is about a clash of worldviews. The author is a committed progressive and is defending her ideology. She feels that conservative Christian schools are seeking to undermine evolution and far-left progressive policies and therefore attempts to expose them as such. And this we have in common with her because Christians feel the same exact way. Why? Because it is true. This is the clash of worldviews that the apostle Paul so brilliantly contrasts in 1 Corinthians 2:14.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Courtesy of Angel Parrish

Conservative Christians can and most certainly have gone through the curriculum of the government schools and point out all the issues that we have with the worldview being presented. Whether it be evolutionary history[3], radical revisions of history (i.e., the 1619 Project), sex-education curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood, transgender and homosexual ideology, etc., etc., etc. But that would be a relatively futile tit-for-tat approach.

The most fundamental issue at stake is that progressives are now openly contending that one worldview is dangerous and are laying a foundation for the ostracization of the religious freedoms of anyone who disagrees.

Freedom of Speech First Requires Freedom of Thought

Those Christians that believe they have a responsibility to educate their child with a biblical worldview cannot consider public education a valid option. The courts have been clear over the years that there is no freedom of religion in a public school, nor is there freedom of speech for students or teachers regarding content that contradicts their sincerely held religious beliefs. Here are just some examples from the past 30 years.

  1. 1990 Webster v. New Lennox School District (7th Circuit Court of Appeals). School districts may prohibit a teacher from teaching creation science. It further states that this is not a violation of a teacher’s freedom of speech.

  2. 2000 – Minnesota State Court rules that there is no right for a teacher to present evidence both for and against the theory of evolution. This means that teachers are not allowed to question evolution in their own classroom.

  3. 2005 – US District Court refused to allow a school district to put disclaimer labels on textbooks regarding evolution being a “theory” and that other theories existed, including intelligent design and creation.  It was appealed. The appeal resulted in the schools agreeing not to denigrate evolution either orally or in written form.

  4. 2005 – US Court ruled that schools could not maintain an Intelligent Design policy. Judge stated that Intelligent Design “is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community.”

It is of great concern that the Huffington Post (and they are not alone in this sentiment) considers the worldview of conservative Christians as dangerous and worthy of suppression. The tone of the article is clear that Christian education in the United States is a danger to our democracy. For example, a previous student of a Christian school was interviewed and the following summation was offered:

Last week’s insurrectionists could have been her classmates, her teachers, her pastors. She felt a wave of recognition as she watched the pictures on social media.[4]

One of the grossest misrepresentations is embodied in this quote:

“That whole belief system revolves around the idea that you want the rest of the world to think like you,” said Garman, who is now a social worker. “It’s a ‘the ends justify the means’ type of thing.”[5]

But isn’t the whole point of the article that the author takes issue with the way conservative Christian educators think? That their worldview is inferior and dangerous? Doesn’t she intimate that allowing this thinking to continue is dangerous to our society? It’s the same old progressive logical fallacy – tolerance is only extended to those that agree with them.

Perhaps the greatest danger to our first amendment right of free speech are the intellectual chains that are being forged around minds. If there is not freedom of thought then there cannot really be any freedom of speech. Consider these words from Richard Dawkins, arguably one of the secularist’s most staunch apologists:

“How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents? It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods? Isn’t it always a form of child abuse to label children as possessors of beliefs that they are too young to have thought out?” [6]

Do Christian parents still have freedom of thought and speech to impart those beliefs to their children? So long as America is a free nation they do, but it is quite clear that the secular, progressive worldview would like to eliminate those freedoms.

The Real Threat

Christian education is not a threat to the safety and well-being of our democracy nor is it a driver of terrorist threats. The real threat of Christian education is that it provides a viable alternative to the progressive worldview, and that terrifies the left. Their philosophies, which are built upon the sand of humanism, are so fragile that they cannot allow anyone to counter them.

So how should Christian education respond? In faith – that which overcomes the world. Hebrews 11 reminds us that we can obtain a good testimony in this world through faith. The examples presented in Scripture are the basis of our worldview and must set the example for our response.  We continue in the course set before us, teaching what we know to be right.  We continue to set the example that we believe in a Sovereign God to preserve our thoughts and belief, regardless of opposition.  We continue to teach by example our love for fellow man, kindness for those around us, compassion for the hurting.  We respond with the faith that brought us to this place, believing that God can do the work we cannot.  We continue to believe that the Bible is not just a book, but the very Word of God.  We can’t fight the powers of progressivism through words and legislation; they are not our weapons.  We have the same power of prayer and faith that we started with.  Opposition is not new. Christian education must stay faithful to the mission of communicating a Biblical worldview to the next generation. Because if the real threat to humanism is the Truth we believe in, it is all we have.


[1] Klein, R. (2021). These Textbooks In Thousands Of K-12 Schools Echo Trump’s Talking Points. Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/christian-textbooks-trump-capitol-riot_n_6000bce3c5b62c0057bb711f

[2] IBID

[3] See Evolution Exposed: Biology from Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/store/product/evolution-exposed-biology/?sku=10-2-261&

[4] Klein, R. (2021)

[5] IBID

[6] Cited by Ken Ham and Greg Hall, Already Compromised, Master Books, June 2011; Richard Dawkins, The God Delusions (Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin, 2006, 2008), p. 315

Dr. Adam Rondeau has served as a Christian educator and administrator as well as a pastor for over two decades. He is an author, adjunct professor of the Bible and currently serves as the director of ViewPoint Christian Academy in Southbridge, Massachusetts as well as the Assistant Administrative Director of Global Christian Educators Association. He holds three earned degrees in Christian Education, Theology and Leadership.

Emory Thompson is the Administrative Director of Global Christian Educators Association with experience working for a Christian curriculum company. A fourth-generation preacher, he has a heart for Christian Education and for the people of the world. He is senior pastor of Golden Mountain Ministries in Sparta, Tennessee.

Angel Parrish is a Christian educator, writer, and editor living in The Villages, Florida. She has written curriculum for several Christian and conservative education companies for 25 years.  She is the Director of Educational Services for Global Christian Educators Association.

Biggest churches push ‘superficial Christianity,’ ‘phonies’ now being exposed: John MacArthur


Reported By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter 

Pastor John MacArthur announced during the Shepherd’s Conference held earlier this month that next year’s conference will include a summit on biblical inerrancy. Photo taken March 7, 2014. | Grace Community Church

Some of America’s biggest churches support a culture of corrupt, “superficial Christianity” and made a lot of money doing it but the internet is now making it harder for “phonies” to survive, Pastor John MacArthur recently said. Speaking at the pulpit of Grace Community Church in California for the first time after a brief absence during which some speculated he may have been ill, MacArthur suggested that the pandemic combined with the technological shift in ministry has led to a “sifting and shifting.”

“We had for decades, people trying to create a cultural Christianity that would appeal to nonbelievers, that was accepting of immorality, accepting of homosexuality, accepting of racial hatred. There was a kind of superficial, shallow Christianity that watered down the Gospel, didn’t talk about sin, tried to have a positive message. And it was very successful. And I get it because I fought that battle well for almost all the time I’ve been here,” he told his congregants in a sermon just over a week ago.

He explained that one of the things he likes to do is to call the church to repentance but it was a tough call because “superficial Christianity made a lot of money” and “elevated a lot of charlatans.”

It was successful. The biggest churches in America are part of it. It was very hard to call people to faithfulness when you could be so corrupt and so successful in Christian religion. That was the battle. Now I think there’s a sifting and a shifting,” he said before alluding to sex scandals surrounding prominent Christian figures like late apologist Ravi Zacharias and former Hillsong Church Pastor Carl Lentz without mentioning their names.

“First of all, phonies are going to have a hard time hiding with the internet. We’re seeing one after another after another. Dead ones and alive ones. This dead apologist had a deviant sex life. This cool dude rock and roll pastor was immoral with multiple women for years and years,” MacArthur said.

“I look at all that and my thoughts were I don’t think if it weren’t for Jesus Christ that I could sell anybody on Christianity. We preach Christ, right? And you’re attracted to Him, right? But if there are people out there looking at Christianity, it has to be uninviting, maybe even repulsive. Who are these people? Filthy rich, immoral, corrupt, narcissistic. If it weren’t for Jesus Christ, Christianity would have no appeal,” he said.

MacArthur also explained that despite efforts by government authorities to shutter his church during the pandemic, he has managed to defy every restriction and remain open regardless of fines and court actions against his church.

“They tried every way to close Grace Church. And I think it is true that there is no more scrutinized church in the United States of America than Grace Community Church,” he said, calling out major media organizations like ABC, CNN and the Los Angeles Times as well as “ungodly bloggers” who tried to discredit his church.

“I’m still here,” he said.

MacArthur said the decision to remain open in defiance of government restrictions has been a blessing to his church. He said even though the church had not collected an offering in the last 10 months, congregants “have given more in the last 10 months than any 10-month period in the history of this church.”

MacArthur fought for his church’s legal right to hold indoor worship services amid the pandemic and said even though his church has faced fines each Sunday for their defiance, the congregation has only continued to flourish.

“In the middle of the lawsuit, the Lord has grown our church. So this was a very small tiny local church until COVID. One thousand new members, baptisms,” he said, calling his new members “Grace refugees.”

“Did you hear the testimonies in baptism Sunday night? There’s a new evangelical term. I love it. It’s ‘Grace refugees,’” he said as his congregation laughed.

“It’s the people who had no other church to go to so they came here as church refugees,” he said to more cheers.

“And aren’t we happy about that? Aren’t we blessed? We’ll take you whoever you are even if you’re a Presbyterian refugee. People have flown in from all across America, driven in from all across the West every Sunday to be with us. Some of you only came here because it was the only church open and you found it wasn’t just a church that was open. It was a church that was presenting the Gospel and the Word of God,” he said.

Thunderous applause — We can kill our children and change our sex


Commentary by Shane Idleman, CP Guest Contributor

“The wicked freely parade and prance about while evil is praised throughout the land” (Psalm 12:8).

Photo: Shane Idleman

Almost a year ago, I wrote an article with a similar title when the so-called Reproductive Health Act passed in New York with thunderous applause in the state Senate chamber. I could not believe what I was reading: People actually applauded the slaughtering of children. Was I having a dream . . . a nightmare? Was this real?

Regardless of your political views, we should all be heartbroken at the state of our nation today. For example, by supporting certain candidates, many are cheering that healthy 9-month-old babies can be removed limb-by-limb. You may say, “But I’m not cheering abortion.” If you support those who support it, you are — let that sink in.

You’re also cheering that children can be influenced by transgenderism and be encouraged to change their sex (which is not possible by the way). Cheering that Congress will attempt to remove all male pronouns. The list of insanity that you’re supporting is endless.

Granted, these issues have been in America for years, but there is a huge difference between a politician who encourages perversion and murder, and one who fights against it. And I’m getting very frustrated at those who say, “But the Republicans haven’t done much to stop abortion either.” The reason is that adversaries in the House and Senate have fought for abortion rights. The enemy of our soul has done a great job preventing the shutting down of abortion mills and silencing churches via silent pastors. The view that Republicans haven’t done much is really just an excuse and a straw man argument.

I’m not writing this from a political party standpoint — I’m writing this from a God-fearing standpoint. When human life is devalued, atrocities such as the Holocaust, slavery, sex-trafficking, and abortion occur. God help us when we ignore our calling to confront evil. But how did we get here and what can we do?

The Church Must Be Revived

As I said in my recent sermon and article, both titled, The Great Reset of the Church: In the same way that Jesus warned the lukewarm church in Laodicea, He warns us today: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot . . . So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (See Revelation 3:15-17.)

I believe that the church in America resembles the Laodicean church more than at any other time in our history. Sadly, conviction is replaced with complacency, and God’s glory is often replaced with gimmicks and marketing ploys. Just look at the top sermons viewed on social media today. The preachers are motivational speakers, not voices “crying in the wilderness.” It’s about being bigger and better instead of holier and humble. 

Like many today, the Laodiceans thought that they were in the center of God’s will. They were large, wealthy, and involved in the community. They looked at numbers, but Jesus looked at the heart and said that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” His strong words were meant to convict and challenge, not coddle and comfort. In order to confront the massive cultural shift mentioned above, the church must be revived: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

Two Primary Areas of Ungodly Influence

How did we get here? A deathlike, deep slumber, has overtaken the church and God has allowed the complete breakdown of society. The beacon of light has faded, the salt has lost its savor, and the message of the cross has been edited out of most sermons. We have lost our fervor for the truth. Consider the following and how they may have played a role in where we are today — applauding murder and perversion:

The media is influencing the church. The politically correct police are on high alert. You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth. You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher. And you can embrace religion as long as it’s all-inclusive. Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted. The trend in churches is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming. Sermons are designed to tickle the ear but not convict the heart. God help us.

Additionally, many Christians enjoy programs about the occult, vampires, witches, zombies, illicit sex, and other perversions of the truth. A Christian should not be entertained by darkness. If we are, our heart needs spiritual resuscitation. “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

The church cannot be political . . . unless it’s “politically correct.” I’m often reminded of God’s words to Jeremiah, “I have not sent these pastors but they ran. I have not spoken to them but they spoke. But had they truly stood in My counsel, they would have turned the people from their evil ways” (paraphrasing Jeremiah 23:21). I agree with Leonard Ravenhill here: “We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets.” God uses true prophetic voices to confront and convict.

I make no apologies for the controversial content of this article. When we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive ideas and philosophies, we are, in essence, confirming them. To state the obvious, we become part of the problem. We cannot change what we will not confront.

As I often say, This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice — stand or fall. Watch the video on defending the faith here.

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane’s sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at shaneidleman.com or wcfav.org. He is the author of Feasting & FastingIf My PeopleDesperate for More of God, and Help! I’m Addicted. Follow him on Facebook at: facebook.com/confusedchurch. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler https://parler.com/profile/ShaneIdleman/posts.

Wallace B. Henley Op-ed: Christ’s Kingdom without Christ? Time to reset to ‘radical’ church (pt 2)


Commentary By Wallace B. Henley, Exclusive Columnist 

Wallace Henley, former Senior Associate Pastor of 2nd Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. | Photo by Scott Belin

Against the backdrop of current events — especially the increasingly frenzied preoccupation with the “reset” of the global order — a sometimes puzzling statement of Jesus becomes clearer: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been treated violently, and violent men take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12 NASB)

The Message paraphrase brings out an important nuance: “For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s Kingdom.”

We are living through an era when people under secular banners are trying to force the coming of the benefits of Christ’s Kingdom and conformity to its high values of love, equality, respect for those unlike us, and caring for the disenfranchised and victims of discrimination.

What’s wrong with this? The answer: Without Christ and the Holy Spirit it is fleshly striving that deteriorates into judgmentalism, legalism, and terrorism.

The violence sparked by agitators, the “cancellation” of resistant people and institutions, the passion of destroyers to kill and maim in the name of their self-sanctified causes we have seen before, many times in history.

This we do not need again.

It is not revolution we need, but transformation. Revolution is force from outside-in, and transitory, requiring armies of czars to sustain it. Few phenomena reveal this as glaringly as the 18th century French Revolution, or China’s 1960s Red Guard movement.

Transformation, however, works from inward to outward. “Conversion,” an inner change of heart, is vital to the movement Christ brings to the world.  It is wrought neither by sword nor czar, but by the continuing work of the Holy Spirit within the person. For radical transformation we must have the whole of the Trinity: The heart of the Father, the mind of the Son, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Hardly anyone understood this better than Salvation Army founder William Booth, who spoke prophetically in the 19th century when he said,

The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.

There may be much disagreement about a reset to a globalist vision and policy initiatives, but General Booth described a “reset” that is urgently needed.

In Part 1 of this series on the radical church we noted that the word “radical” refers to “roots.” Thus, the reset needed now in churches everywhere is back to their New Testament roots and recovery of their true identity.

I use here the term, “churches” rather than the The Church to stress the importance of locality in God’s vision for His gathered people. In the Old Testament God instructs Moses in the construction of the Ark of the Covenant and calls the lid the “Mercy Seat.” “There I will meet with you,” says the Lord. (Exodus 25:22, emphasis added)

God is omnipresent but humans are limited to the strictures of time and space. Therefore, the Omnipresent One must establish a localized point spatially and temporally where He can interact with beings bound to the local. Centuries later the Lord will show Solomon how to construct and order the Temple, and tells him, “I have consecrated this house which you have built, by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there always.” (1 Kings 9:3 NLT)

But Nebuchadnezzar destroys the Temple in 587 BC, it is rebuilt under Herod and dedicated in 164 BC, then demolished under Roman leaders Titus and Pompey in 70 AD.

Where, then, are God’s eyes and heart focused now?

Jesus Christ is born into the world as the Focal Point for God’s engagement with His creation and the beings made in His image that He sovereignly places there. Jesus Christ is the continuation of the Temple ministry. He is the “There” where humans trapped in locality can meet and interact with the Most High God.

Jesus Himself says as much when He is chastised by religious authorities for cleansing the Temple. “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” He says. “

What?” they ask in surprise. “It took us forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?”

“But when Jesus said, ‘this temple’, He meant His own body,” explains John 2:21-22 (NLT and paraphrase).

Suddenly John 1:14 jumps into view: “The Word became flesh and dwelt (‘tabernacled,’ or ‘pitched His tent’) among us.” And as God’s intense holiness and glory were manifested in the Holy of Holies within the Temple, so, says John, “and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John had also witnessed Christ’s transfiguration, when the outer shell of His human body was temporarily dimmed so that His core disciples could see Him as He really was and is, in the full splendor of His Being.

Jesus Christ is the continuing “meeting place” between God and humans, the “locality” during His incarnation where God’s eyes and heart are continually focused.

Now Jesus’s statement to Simon Peter at Caesarea Philippi becomes clearer, when He gives to the church represented in Peter and all others who make the confession, “You are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

The “keys” signify the authority given to Christ’s church to stand against the powers of “Hades,” or Hell. This is a transmission of the same authority that had been localized in the Jerusalem Temple, then localized in the incarnate Christ, then localized and globalized in the worldwide church.

Therefore, churches now must undergo a reset that begins with the ontological and proceeds to the functional.

More about this in Part 3 of this series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Wallace Henley is a former pastor, White House and congressional aide, and author of more than 25 books. His newest is Two Men From Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar, Trump, and the Lord of Historypublished by Thomas Nelson.

Religious persecution in India, China will increase in 2021: report


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter 

A woman wears a protective mask as she passes a church on February 8, 2020, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. The number of those who have died from the Wuhan coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, in China climbed to 724. Getty Images

Though religious persecution in China and India is expected to increase in 2021, exposure to the Bible is increasing in North Korea, the world’s most repressive country, according to the annual Persecution Trends survey from Release International.

In its latest report, RI, an international Christian watchdog organization for persecuted Christians worldwide, said that persecution is “thriving” in China and will likely increase in the new year. RI cited the recent passage of tough new laws controlling religion, the shuttering of numerous churches, and the increasing number of registered churches forced to install CCTV cameras and put up posters proclaiming communist ideals and beliefs.

However, the Chinese Communist Party has “bought the silence of the international community” through increased dependence on trade, it said.

“The government of President Xi Jinping is increasing its ‘clean up’ of anything that does not advance the communist agenda. They appear to believe that they can achieve this by systematic opposition,” the group warned.

Corroborating other reports, RI said that China has been exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to tighten restrictions on underground believers. Earlier this year, it was reported that amid the outbreak, impoverished Christian villagers in China were ordered to renounce their faith and replace displays of Jesus with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi or risk losing their welfare benefits.

“The Chinese government is trying every way to take advantage of the virus by increasing the crackdown against Christian churches,” said RI partner Bob Fu, of ChinaAid. “It has accelerated particular campaigns, such as the forced removal of crosses.”

The group also predicted that in India, intolerance toward Christians and other religious minorities will continue to grow during 2021, largely due to growing Hindu nationalism. RI noted that incidents targeting Indian Christians have risen steeply since 2014, when Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power.  It cited statistics revealing Christians suffered 225 incidents of religiously motivated violence during the first 10 months of 2020, compared to 218 incidents in the same period in 2019. Many of these attacks were by vigilante mobs.

In September 2020, Hindu extremists incited mobs of up to 3,000 people to attack Christians in three villages in Chhattisgarh state.

Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly-appointed head of The World Evangelical Alliance, which represents over 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide, previously told The Christian Post that Hindu supremacism is the driver of much of the persecution in that country.

“Elections are won by the prime minister with this topic: ‘India is for the Hindus,’ and suddenly Muslims and Christians find themselves in a country that clearly wants to get rid of them,” he said. “They promote the idea that an Indian by nature is a Hindu. So if he is not a Hindu, he has been stolen, and must be re-converted.”

“This idea was not on the market 10 years ago, and has led to an increase in discrimination and killings of Indian Christians and other minorities,” he said, adding that Christians in Western countries must “speak up” for those persecuted for their faith.

The report was part of RI’s annual Persecution Trends Survey, which was published in the recent edition of Release International’s Voice magazine. In addition to China and India, RI predicted Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Nigeria will also face increased persecution in the coming year. Interestingly, the group said that RI partners have been able to double their distribution of Bibles to Christians in North Korea throughout 2020, despite COVID restrictions. According to Open Doors USA, North Korea is ranked No. 1 on its list of countries where it’s most difficult for Christians to live.

“This has been the most creative year we have witnessed in the underground church to date,” the group said. A previous report found that the percentage of North Korean citizens who are exposed to the Bible is steadily increasing every year despite extreme persecution.

Before 2000, only 16 people claimed to have seen a Bible. After 2000, up to 559 North Korean defectors said they had “seen a Bible,” even though religious literature is banned in the isolated country.

Hungary passes constitutional amendment defining marriage as between man and woman, bans gay adoption


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter FOLLOW

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers a speech in front of the National Museum during Hungary’s National Day celebrations on March 15, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. Hungary’s National Day celebrations commemorate the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against the Habsburg monarchy. | Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images

The eastern European nation of Hungary has passed a constitutional amendment that will preserve the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The Ninth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, the country’s equivalent of a constitution, was passed in Parliament last week by a margin of 134-45. The amendment, which was backed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will amend Section L paragraph (1) of the Fundamental Law to read: “Hungary protects the institution of marriage as the association between a man and a woman and the family as the basis for the survival of a nation. The foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”

“The main rule is that only married couples can adopt a child, that is, a man and woman who are married,” said Justice Minister Judit Varga, Reuters reported.

Varga, who sent the amendment to Parliament last month, said it will also work to provide “all children with an education based on the values of the Christian culture of Hungary and guarantees the undisturbed development of the child according to their gender at birth,” Hungary Today noted.

“The Fundamental Law of Hungary is a living framework that expresses the will of the nation, the form in which we want to live,” Varga wrote in the justification section of the bill. “However, the ‘modern’ set of ideas that make all traditional values, including the two sexes, relative is a growing concern.”

“The constant threat to the natural laws of the forms and content of human communities, to the concepts arising from the order of Creation that harmonize with them and ensure the survival of communities, and, in some cases, the attempt to formulate them with a content contrary to the original raises doubts as to whether the interests, rights and well-being of future generations can be protected along the lines of the values of the Fundamental Law,” she added.

The passage of the Ninth Amendment comes less than a year after Parliament voted in favor of a measure that defines gender as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes.” Like the measure preserving the traditional definition of sex, the Ninth Amendment faced strong pushback from LGBT advocacy groups.

“This is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights,” said David Vig, director of Amnesty Hungary. “These discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws — rushed through under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic — are just the latest attack on LGBTQ people by Hungarian authorities.”

The government of Hungary, led by Orban, has worked to uphold the influence of Christianity on its laws and culture as much of the rest of Europe continues to become more secular. Orban previously described Christianity as “Europe’s last hope.”

Hungary was one of the 31 other countries that joined the U.S. in signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration, which asserts that “there is no international right to abortion.” Rather than rely on immigration to counteract the country’s declining birth rates, the Hungarian government implemented pro-family policies designed to incentivize people to have children.

The United States tried and failed to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment, which would have enshrined the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman into the U.S. Constitution, in 2006. At the time, several states had passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in response to a Massachusetts Supreme Court decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Less than a decade later, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the constitutional amendments, declaring that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. Of the 29 countries that have legalized same-sex marriage, more than half of them are in Europe.

Rick Warren: COVID-19 has ‘revealed a fundamental weakness in the Church’


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter 

(Screengrab Saddleback Church)

Many churches across the U.S. are scrambling in the wake of COVID-19 because they’ve focused solely on worship instead of other aspects of ministry, Pastor Rick Warren of the California-based Saddleback Church has said.

“COVID revealed a fundamental weakness in the Church,” the pastor recently told Relevant magazine in an interview. “Most churches only have one purpose: worship. And if you take worship away, you’ve got nothing. They’re in a hurry to get back to worship because that’s all they’ve got.”

But the 20,000-member Saddleback Church is built not on one purpose, but on five,” Warren explained.

“You take one circle out, we’ve still got four other circles. We’ve got ministry going on. We’ve got mission going on. We’ve got fellowship going on. We’ve got discipleship going on. Those all stand on their own.”

As a result, removing worship didn’t shut the church down, The Purpose Driven Life author contended. In fact, Saddleback’s seen over 16,000 people come to Christ since March — and is continuing to see about 80 new conversions a day.

“We’re in revival,” he said.

When the pandemic first hit, Saddleback’s leadership “looked around and made a list of all the different problems that COVID was creating,” and then met those needs.

“For instance, the first one was food,” Warren said, adding that Saddleback partnered with every school district in Orange County to develop “food pantry pop-ups.” Now, the church is the largest food distributor in Southern California,” having served over 3.5 million pounds of food to over 300,000 families.

“We teach our people that every member of the church is a minister,” Warren said. “Everybody’s a missionary too. You’re a witness. Those people already know how to share their faith. When people would pull up they’d talk to them about the Lord.”

“Of those 16,000 people who have come to Christ, over 12,000 of them have come through personal, one-on-one witnessing by my members. Not led to Christ by my sermons. By one-on-one evangelizing.”

Though California’s strict limits on church attendance during the pandemic have angered churches across the state, Warren stressed that he doesn’t believe places of worship are being discriminated against.

“They might have a discrimination case if theaters weren’t closed, football games weren’t closed … But they are,” he added. “We’re not being discriminated against. This is a safety issue. Regal Cinemas closed down 650 theaters. Disney laid off 28,000 people. We’re not being discriminated against.”

Suggesting that “some churches are willing to gamble the health of their people,” Warren said he is not.

“The good shepherd prays for his sheep, cares for his sheep. One day I will be responsible. I don’t want to be a super-spreader. I’m not doing this out of fear; I’m doing this out of love. You wear a mask for love your neighbors, yourself.”

Researcher Warren Bird, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, previously told The Christian Post that as the COVID-19 pandemic fades away, the churches that “do small groups well” will most likely be “stronger” than those that do not.

“In light of the pandemic, so much of church health today depends on a vibrant, small group system underneath the big gatherings, whether they’re in person or online,” he said.

“Much like in the pandemic, the churches that are most threatened are those with preexisting health conditions,” Bird explained. “The churches that are going to have the hardest time re-surfacing will be ones that depended solely on the Sunday morning gathering. They will have a hard time re-gathering, rebuilding momentum, and reestablishing their mission as a church.”

As many as one in five churches could permanently close due to shutdowns stemming from the pandemic, David Kinnaman, president of the prominent Christian research organization Barna Group, recently said.

As time passes, Kinnaman said that “we’ll look back at this pandemic as a fundamental change to the way Americans” handled church attendance.

Exponential CEO Todd Wilson recently said that “what is church” is “going to become “one of the key questions coming out of COVID,” as the digital way many are currently worshiping is “more of a missionary impulse for evangelism.”

“Personally, I’m predicting it’s going to become more of a debate, not less, as we move into the future,” he said. “It seems like the new normal is going to involve greater digital than pre-COVID. … All of a sudden, churches are going to think about, ‘Why do I even have a physical building? Why do I need it? Why not be completely digital?’”

“At some point, we’ve got to go through that question of, ‘What, physically, is church?”

2,200 Nigerian Christians hacked to death in 2020; 34,400 since 2009: Intersociety report


Reported By Jackson Elliott, Christian Post Reporter 

Christian mourners at the burial site of the Rev. Alubara Audu who was killed by jihadist herdsmen at Buda, Kajuru in Kaduna state, Nigeria, in September 2020. | Emeka Umeagbalasi

When radical Islamists murder Christians in Nigeria, the government lists their deaths as having other causes, according to new report released by Nigeria’s International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law. The newly-released report indicates that deaths which the Nigerian government describes as random banditry or inter-tribal violence, actually result from radical Islamists attacking Christians, said Intersociety leader and founder Emeka Umeagbalasi.

Since 2009, 34,400 Christians have been murdered by radical Islamists, with 2,200 slain in the last year, the report says. Radical Muslims have also killed an estimated 20,000 moderate Muslims.

” … the most dangerous dimension to radical Islamism in Nigeria is its secret rise and spread and clandestine control of state power through Fulani Jihadism. In other words, the Nigerian Government’s major local and foreign policy direction, in clandestine practice, is ‘Fulani Jihadism’ — a policy pursued with utter alacrity and through different colors and disguises including pro-jihadist or radical Islamic policies and conducts. To cover up these, the present Nigerian government has also created an international machinery of falsehood and propaganda with well-funded or oiled international lobbying campaigns targeted at misinforming and misleading key and strategic international legislative, diplomatic and democratic institutions or bodies especially the EU, U.S., U.K. and Australia and their Parliaments; the Commonwealth and the U.N. and other internationally respected state and non-state actors,” the report states, in part.

“What the government here is doing is mapping out strategies. [It’s] a kind of script that’s given to media, local media and what have you,” Umeagbalasi said.

According to Umeagbalasi, Nigeria’s government tells media that Fulani tribe herdsmen travel south fleeing desertification and kill during conflicts with local farmers. The truth is that Fulani tribesmen travel south because they are radical Islamists looking for Christians to kill. They don’t attack Muslim villages, and traditional cattle-grazing methods don’t support enough cows to justify fatal conflicts with farmers.

The Nigerian government hides these attacks because it supports radical Islamists, Umeagbalasi asserted. President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim. He is also a member of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, which supports radical Islamic tribesmen, he added.

“Buhari sets aside the Constitution. He makes appointments without recourse to the Constitution,” Umeagbalasi continued. “In the Constitution, it is forbidden for the government to have a state religion. The Constitution made it clear that the composition of the armed forces of Nigeria should reflect regional or religious balancing, but the president is not listening to that.”

Instead, Buhari stacks the government with Muslims in positions of high authority, the Intersociety report said. Since Buhari’s 2015 election, Muslims have occupied 32 of the most important 39 positions in politics, security, lawmaking and the judiciary, even though Nigeria has even numbers of Muslims and Christians.

In June, five of Nigeria’s major Islamic groups made an alliance with each other to rise up against Christians. The killings of Christians in Nigeria aren’t random acts of violence, but a calculated attempt to conquer Nigeria for Islam, Umeagbalasi claims.

“The country is being taken over by the caliphate,” he said. “When they are done in the north, they will now come to the south.”

In response to the rise in attacks, Nigeria’s government has done little or nothing, the report says. They consistently under-report casualties of Christians. Sometimes, the government buries murdered Christians using Muslim funeral rites in an attempt to convince the world that Christians aren’t under attack.

“The Government of Nigeria clandestinely will direct the Army Commander or Commissioner of Police in charge of the incident area to organize a press conference denying the killing or linking it falsely to another cause such as ‘attack by bandits’ or ‘rival communal violence’ or ‘killing associated with kingship/chieftaincy/intra communal violence’ or ‘reprisal violence’ or ‘cult-related killing,’ or ‘killing arising from armed robbery and kidnapping,’ or ‘road accidents,’” the report reads.

Rather than sending the military or police to defeat heavily armed terrorists, the Nigerian government orders its forces to stand down and retreat if fired on, said Umeagbalasi. In some cases, the Nigerian Army allegedly participate in the killing of Christians. Some Christians in the Army told him that commanders who tell their soldiers to fight terrorists get transferred to assignments where they can’t make the country safer.

“There is a security code given to Nigerian armies not to shoot or arrest Fulani hitmen,” Umeagbalasi said. “Christian Army leaders drew my attention to it. The soldiers said there was an instruction from the president [that] nobody should shoot. If you are under attack, you should retreat.”

Andrew Brunson warns hostility against Christians in US will get worse


Reported By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor 

Andrew Brunson speaks at a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom hearing on religious freedom issues in Turkey at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2019. The Christian Post

American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned for his faith in Turkey for two years, predicted that persecution of Christians in the United States will intensify due to “hostility toward people who embrace Jesus Christ and His teaching.”

“The pressures that we’re seeing in our country now are going to increase, and one of these pressures is going to be hostility toward people who embrace Jesus Christ and His teaching, who are not ashamed to stand for Him,” Brunson said during a virtual event, called “Global Prayer for U.S. Election Integrity.”

“On my return to the U.S. just over two years ago, for the first time in my life … most of my life I’ve been focused overseas … I really, I have an urgency for this country, for the United States, and not just with this election,” continued Brunson, a Christian missionary who lived in Turkey for more than 20 years. “It’s not precipitated by this election, but it has been growing in me these last two years.”

He said his concern is that “we’re not ready for this pressure,” and warned that “not being prepared is very, very dangerous on a number of levels.”

“Whoever ends up prevailing in this election, I believe that persecution is still coming and it’s coming quickly and it’s coming soon. So if President Trump prevails, it will delay persecution at a government level, but this will not keep us from the hostility that’s rising in our society toward followers of Jesus,” he warned. “And I want to mention here that Jesus was the most loving, kind person in history, and yet He was called evil and people are not going to just disagree with us.

“They will say that we are evil and they will justify everything they do to us because they will paint us as evil people. What is heavy on my heart is that we need to prepare ourselves to prepare our own hearts.”

Pastor Brunson, who was taken into custody by Turkish officials along with his wife, Norine, in October 2016, said he thinks “one of the purposes God had for me in my imprisonment was that I learned perseverance at a deeper level again and again and again, as I was repeatedly broken and finally He rebuilt me.”

He added that helping prepare others to persevere was also one of the purposes.

The Facebook event was part of a series of special live prayer events for election integrity and against election fraud, the organizers said.

In Turkey, Norine was released soon after, but Brunson was thrown in prison, accused of plotting to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Following two years in detention, Brunson was released last October after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the country.

Brunson shared details about his imprisonment in Turkey, revealing he experienced a crisis of faith while in detention. “I was actually very afraid,” he admitted. “The issue, actually, is what we do when we’re afraid. There are things to be afraid of.”

The pastor also warned in March that being a Christian in the U.S. might soon come with great personal risk with the culture becoming increasingly “hostile” to believers.

“There is a price to following Jesus. There is a price in other countries. We hear about that. But increasingly, I think that there will be a price to be paid here,” he told hundreds gathered at the National Religious Broadcasters Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, at the time.

“It is normal to be afraid. The issue is, will you stand in spite of your fear? Will you remain faithful? In the end, people are going to pay a price for the sake of the Gospel. Overseas, yes, but also here … there is a cost to following Jesus.”

John MacArthur: World ‘perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come’ amid COVID-19 chaos


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter 

Pastor John MacArthur announced during the Shepherd’s Conference held earlier this month that next year’s conference will include a summit on biblical inerrancy. Photo taken March 7, 2014. | Grace Community Church

Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur has warned that today’s world is “perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come” amid the chaos and “lawlessness” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

MacArthur, whose Sun Valley, California-based church has repeatedly sparred with authorities over COVID-19 worship restrictions, said on Sunday that world governments “have done something that’s never been done in human history” by making the pandemic issue and the response “global.”

“Now we are a global world. And that is a setup that we’ve been waiting for through redemptive history since the Lord promised that there would come, in the future, an Antichrist who would have a global government,” the 81-year-old pastor said.

“We literally have such power over people globally that we can shut them down so they can’t function,” he said.

“This suits the world of Antichrist. As you look at the book of Revelation, there’s the mark of the beast, the number, and if you don’t have that, you don’t buy, you don’t sell, you don’t exist. Everything about you, they know — the people who have access to all your data. They know all of it. You can go out of existence virtually any moment [and] somebody decides that. This is the kind of world that appears to be perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come, bring a certain amount of peace, [and] the world falls at his feet.”

MacArthur, who also runs a syndicated Christian teaching radio and television program, described the Antichrist as the “instrument of Satan,” adding: “And of course, all hell breaks loose, and in that time of the Great Tribulation, God’s judgment comes, at the end of which Christ returns.”

The pastor said that while he’s not predicting that “the Lord is coming soon,” the unrest seen today reflect those prophesied in Scripture.

“The Bible says in the End Times there will be lawlessness. And there is lawlessness [today] and an escalating lawlessness and an effort to create more lawlessness by taking restraints away,” he said. “This is a world that could find itself in such absolute chaos that the right satanic leader who promises to fix everything could be given the title of king of the world. That Antichrist, aided by the false prophet, is what we see in the book of Revelation.

“We have the kind of weaponry that could destroy a third of the population, a fourth of the population, as you see in the book of Revelation,” he continued. “We have the kind of technology that can literally erase people out of existence. So, it’s just up to us to be sure that we’re looking at the signs of the times.”

MacArthur and his megachurch have made headlines in recent months after the church decided to resume in-person services in violation of California’s ongoing public health and court orders.

“I’ve been here 50 years; the church is 63 years old, and this church has never had any kind of mandate from the government to close,” MacArthur said in an interview with Billy Hallowell in August. “So when they came up with this mandate it seemed to be so rare and so unusual that we were listening.”

Upon hearing dire predictions about the death toll, MacArthur said it was “enough to make anybody with common sense” pause and take steps to ensure no one was endangered. The church initially moved to a live stream model and closed down in-person services — but within a few weeks, MacArthur said parishioners started showing up again.

Listen to MacArthur explain why his church is defying orders on the Edifi with Billy Hallowell podcast

Despite facing the prospect of fines and the threat of jail time as a result of his refusal to comply with coronavirus regulations, MacArthur has maintained that it’s the church’s biblical responsibility to stay open and hold worship services.

“Of course, my biblical hero apart from the Lord Jesus Christ is the Apostle Paul,” MacArthur said in September. “And when he went into a town he didn’t ask what the hotel was like. He asked what the jail was like because he knew that’s where he was going to spend his time.”

“So I don’t mind being a little apostolic — if they want to tuck me into jail, I’m open for a jail ministry,” he continued. “I’ve done a lot of other ministries and haven’t had the opportunity to do that one. So bring it on.”

Churches across the U.S. have grappled with how to operate amid ever-changing circumstances presented by state government lockdowns in response to COVID-19.

Ed Young, founding and senior pastor of Fellowship Church, told The Christian Post that the spiritual ramifications of refusing to meet outweigh the hype of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Look at our culture. There is so much going on right now spiritually, especially among young people facing depression, anxiety, and attempting suicide,” Young, who leads the evangelical megachurch in Grapevine, Texas, said. “I have counted the cost of not opening our church versus opening, and I believe that risk and faith go hand in hand. It’s critical to reopen churches.”

But Christian geneticist and U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins recently advised most churches to postpone in-person services due to COVID-19 until at least summer 2021, when most Americans are expected to have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

“I know people are tired of hearing these messages and having to be acting upon them, but the virus does not care that we are tired. The virus is having a wonderful time right now spreading through this country, taking advantage of circumstances where people have let their guard go down. We need to be just absolutely rigorously adherent to things that we know work. But they don’t work unless everybody actually sticks to them faithfully without exception,” Collins said.

“Churches gathering in person is a source of considerable concern and has certainly been an instance where superspreading has happened and could happen again. So I think most churches really ought to be advised, if they are not already doing so, to go to remote, virtual kinds of services. That’s the way I’m having my experiences as a churchgoer,” he said.

Church Leaders Who Cancel Christmas Services Are Clinging To Government Lies, Not Christ


Church Leaders Who Cancel Christmas Services Are Clinging To Government Lies, Not Christ

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Wednesday against discriminatory targeting of religious groups with COVID-19 restrictions marked a significant victory in the ongoing battle to preserve religious liberty. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, hostile stakeholders in public office have assaulted the first freedom through superciliously labeling religious services “nonessential.” Christians in much of the country now find themselves in the demeaning and intolerable position of being allowed to worship only in the manner and on terms dictated by politically motivated governors.

Respecting authorities’ claims about an unknown disease made sense early in the outbreak, but now after better scientific information shows many initial fears are false. Yet politicians refuse to come clean while ignoring their own rules forbidding us from fulfilling our Christian duties. So it is time for us once again to assert that church is the most essential activity, period. Instead of valiantly fighting in the vanguard, however, many religious leaders have quickly retreated.

It is one thing for a church leader to prayerfully consider the individual needs of his church, striving to maintain unity among members in disagreements, protecting the health of the vulnerable, and offering stability amid uncertainty. It is quite another for shepherds to forsake the assembling of their flocks and enable the propaganda that congregating freely to worship God is selfish and “could kill grandma.” This unbiblical stance also overlooks the hypocrites in public office and the media who don’t even play by their own silly rules and ignore the data, for much lesser purposes than the health of our souls.

Many such religious leaders are neglecting the soul-saving mission of the church. The notion that being a good Christian requires indefinite cessation of communal worship — and for Catholics, the suspension of the sacraments — to prevent the spread of illness is a falsehood that has confused the faithful and undermined religious freedom.

Supreme Court Upholds Religious Liberty

In the case brought by the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Supreme Court held that “the restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.” In a concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch posed a pertinent rhetorical question: “Who knew that public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”

Gorsuch held that “the only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as ‘essential’ as what happens in secular spaces.” He warned that “in too many places, for far too long, our first freedom has fallen on deaf ears.”

For several months now, elected officials and many church leaders around the country have flagrantly ignored religious liberty. States such as California, Oregon, and Washington have witnessed a new wave of post-election crackdowns on religious services. In San Diego County, churches are currently prohibited from holding indoor services. Meanwhile, a San Diego court just issued a temporary order exempting coronavirus restrictions from applying to a strip club, ruling that such entertainment constitutes “constitutionally protected speech.”

In Oregon, new restrictions limit faith-based gatherings to a maximum of 25 people regardless of church size but allow businesses to continue operating at a reduced percentage of their total capacity. Archbishop of Portland Alexander Sample rightly argued that allowing a measly 25 worshipers in a cathedral that can seat 1,000 isn’t data-driven and doesn’t make sense.

The Church Is Essential

expressed concern back in May about politicians labeling religious services “nonessential” and allowing the state to determine on what terms churches can hold services. At that time, Washington bishops effectively thumbed their noses at President Trump for declaring that state governments should allow houses of worship to reopen.

The bishops instead hitched their wagon to Gov. Jay Inslee’s rogue horse. Hence six months down the road, Inslee again targeted Washington churches as part of his latest round of arbitrary fiats. Church capacity is reduced to 25 percent, and congregational and choral singing is prohibited.

Meanwhile, the very authorities who tut-tut and wag fingers clearly don’t adhere to or believe in the merits of their own nonsense rules. Sanctimonious public officeholders have lectured us about keeping business closed, taking unemployment on the chin, staying home, and wearing masks while they visit salons, attend private dinners, and jet off out of state for holidays with family. The duplicity of notorious mask shamers such as CNN’s Chris Cuomo and White House correspondents Kaitlan Collins and Jonathan Karl has similarly been on display.

The hypocrisy is not limited to the secular sphere. Pope Francis condemned peaceful lockdown protests despite the World Health Organization’s warning against using lockdowns as the primary means of controlling the virus. Francis believes that closing churches, businesses, and schools, and forcing people out of work are all “necessary for people’s protection.” He has even canceled public celebration of Christmas liturgies at the Vatican.

Yet Francis didn’t appear particularly worried about Wuhan virus transmission when, free from any semblance of social distancing and masks, he enjoyed a cozy chat about poverty and social justice with a group of handsomely paid NBA players and fellow pals of the Chinese Communist Party. Evidently, on protecting the freedom to assemble, to provide for one’s family, and even to freely worship, government-imposed restrictions are non-negotiable, but when it’s about racial and economic politics, the holy grail of neo-Marxists, lockdowns are a suggestion only.

Against this backdrop, Christians should be prepared for the usual suspects in public office and the press, facilitated by an array of religious leaders, to crack down on Christmas celebrations. We will no doubt hear more of the “we do this not out of fear but out of love” mantra. Given, however, that the survival rate is 94.6 percent for those 70 years and older and between 99.5-99.997 percent for those 69 and younger, rapid breakthroughs in therapeutics have been announced, three reportedly effective vaccines are on the way, and government authorities are flouting their own restrictions, the “love thy neighbor” lecture is becoming as tedious as it is false.

Christians Need Church to Obey God’s Commands

The Gospels tell us the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We cannot fulfill the second greatest commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves if that love is not solidly founded in an encounter with God. This means gathering with the faithful in sung praise and thanksgiving, as we read in Psalms and was the custom from the earliest church, as well as explicitly commanded in scripture.

The Greek word for church, “ekklesia,” comes from the Old Testament and originally referred to the assembly of the people of Israel. When St. Paul first used the term, he intended it as the new community of believers in Christ. This “ekklesia” is not a human association borne of common interests and beliefs but a summoning by God himself.

For Catholics, the encounter with God is achieved even more profoundly through the sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus is literally and wholly present — body and blood, soul and divinity — under the appearances of consecrated bread and wine. Whatever way you look at it, religious services are essential, and church leaders should say so.

Religious leaders must get their priorities straight. No doubt, pastors are genuinely concerned for the health of the most vulnerable in their communities and trying to accommodate the confusion and fears of their congregants. Some must feel their hands are tied by unsupportive leadership. Still others, I suspect, find themselves effectively cornered by congregants whose political indoctrination runs deeper than their catechesis.

Nevertheless, the role of preachers is to win souls for Christ, not to protect us or themselves from physical infirmity. St. Paul urges a return to God through Christ and cautions against domination by earthly pleasures and preoccupations. In other words, if, as St. Ambrose of Milan taught, we have a wound to heal, Christ is the doctor; if we are parched by fever, he is the spring; if we fear death, he is life; and if we are in darkness, he is light.

After a dismal year, and in sober anticipation of Joe Biden’s threatened “dark winter,” it is more important than ever for Christians to unite in praise of the Light that shines in the darkness and which the darkness has never put out. We should demand that our religious leaders mark the Nativity with fitting pomp and ceremony and refuse to support churches whose pastors spread or cower behind the lie that the celebration of Christmas is nonessential.

ABOUT TYHE AUTHOR:
Carina Benton is a native Australian living in Washington state. She is a practicing Catholic and has taught for many years in Catholic and Christian schools. She is a mother of two young children.
Photo Pikist

Number of North Koreans exposed to Bible increasing annually despite persecution: report


Reported By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter 

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attends a welcoming ceremony and review an honor guard at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on March 1, 2019. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images

The percentage of North Korean citizens who are exposed to the Bible is steadily increasing every year despite extreme persecution, according to a new report that investigates and analyzes the conditions of religious freedom in the Hermit Kingdom.

The annual White Paper on Religious Freedom in North Korea from The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights found that the number of North Koreans who responded that “they have an experience of seeing the Bible” increased by 4% each year since 2000.

Before 2000, only 16 people claimed to have seen a Bible. After 2000, up to 559 North Korean defectors said they had “seen a Bible,” even though religious literature is banned in the isolated country.

Despite limited data, NKDB began its survey on religious persecution in 2007. For this year’s survey, the group collected information from 1,234 people and 1,411 cases of religious persecution. The latest report found that the number of respondents who testified on the ban of religious activities remained the same between 2007 and 2020.

When asked about the level of punishment for religious activities in the country, 46.7% of the respondents answered they have to go to prison camps. About 38.6% of respondents said that they did not know about punishments since they knew nothing about religion.

According to the Center, religious persecution has increased after leader Kim Jong Un issued an order in April 2014 to “arrest people who had contacts with Christianity.” Since then, security forces have actively searched for religious adherents — even in inner China. Employees of the National Security Department, Reconnaissance General Bureau, and the Embassy in China are mobilized to arrest people who have contacted Christianity, the report says.

The report also shared testimonies of several North Korean defectors. One defector who lives in South Korea recounted the story of an unidentified acquaintance who was killed for her Christian faith.

“When we were living [in North Korea], we did not know she was practicing religion. However, when I came back home, I heard she was killed,” the defector recounted.

“When I asked why she died, I was told she was arrested alone whereas the whole family left the town as they were practicing religion. I heard she was suffering and prayed until the point she died. She believed in Christianity. I heard she believed in God. She was investigated in the provincial political security department, and I heard they hit her until she shed excrement. I heard they dried her out to death as not giving her a drop of water. I heard she died after suffering like a dog.”

The NKDB report corroborates previous accounts of the religious freedom restrictions in North Korea, which is ranked as the worst persecutor of Christians in the world on Open Door USA’s World Watch List.

A recent report from the London-based Korea Future Initiative identified more than 200 Christians punished for crimes, including religious practice, religious activities in China, possessing religious items, contact with religious persons, attending a place of worship, and sharing religious beliefs. In several cases, prisoners found with a Bible or religious pamphlets were executed by a firing squad, while others were locked in electrified cages and fed watery soup. Others were executed for smuggling Bible pages into the country from China for North Koreans to make prayer books. In one instance, a victim found in possession of a Bible was publicly executed in front of over 1,000 people. The victim was tied to a wooden stake and executed by an MPS firing squad. One witness told KFI, “I saw the flesh fall off. That is how close I was.”

Torture techniques in North Korea

Another man, who had converted to Christianity, was allegedly forced into a metal cage that was just 3 feet high and 4 feet wide.

“There were steel bars on all four-sides that were heated with electricity,” he told KFI. “Usually prisoners lasted only three or four hours in the cage, but I sat there for 12 hours and prayed. I kept praying to God to save me.”

The man eventually soiled himself and passed out before being beaten by guards, leaving him with severe injuries.

Pastor Eric Foley of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, who is awaiting charges for launching Bible balloons into North Korea, said that despite the crackdown on religion, “God is finding ways to get Bibles into North Korea.”

“We’re amazed at the avenues He’s opening,” he said. “Please pray that continues. Pray that God is glorified.”

Christian leader facing charges for launching Bibles into North Korea asks for prayers

People look toward the north through a barbed-wire fence near the militarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, December 21, 2017. | Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Pastor Eric Foley of Voice of the Martyrs Korea has asked the international community of believers to pray as he awaits charges for launching Bible balloons into North Korea.  Last week, South Korean police recommended that prosecutors charge Foley, who has launched balloons carrying Bibles into North Korea for the last 15 years, on three counts, Mission Network News reports.

“One [count] is related to the violation of an inter-Korean exchange law. [This] is a law that regulates commerce between North and South Korea; anything you might be trying to sell from South Korea to North Korea would need to be pre-approved by the government,” Foley explained.

The second charge relates to national security. “These are laws designed for natural disaster management,” Foley said, “but now they’re being related to balloon launching with a charge that our activity created a national threat to Korea.”

Finally, “the third charge that will come out is one related to the use of high-pressure gas,” Foley added.

In June, South Korean police began cracking down on balloon launches following threats from North Korea. The announcement came after Kim Yo Jong — sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — said balloon senders were “human scum” and threatened to scrap a no-hostility military pact and shut down the North-South liaison office, among other threats.

Since then, Foley, who has been sending the Gospel to North Korea as part of a promise he made to underground North Korean Christians in 2003, has faced increasing harassment for his work. World Magazine reports that in addition to investigating Foley for his work, they have blocked the pastor’s car from reaching the launch site and placed the Voice of the Martyrs Korea leaders’ homes and office under surveillance.

This summer, the Ministry of Unification began investigating 89 groups that address North Korean human rights issues or provide aid to defectors. Three groups, VOM Korea included, have received most of the authorities’ attention.

In July, the Ministry of Unification revoked the nongovernmental organization’s status of the other two groups — Fighters for a Free North Korea and Kuen Saem — claiming they are “seriously hindering the unification policy of the government.” 

“We are the only ones that do Bibles,” Foley told MNN. “The other two launchers do flyers that are primarily focused on news events, and too often can be a political commentary on the situation in North Korea because North Korean defectors run both those organizations.”

While two of the groups mentioned above face additional charges related to embezzlement and mismanagement of donations, “we’re not charged with anything related to donations or fraud,” Foley said.

“We’re making a testimony that Christian organizations are different than political organizations. We act differently. We show respect for authority; we follow a higher standard in our current accounting practices.”

Foley explained that police recommending the charges “guarantees” that he will be charged, adding: “it’s just a question of when. Could be tomorrow, could be next week, could be next month; we don’t know.”

“Our case asks, ‘[Should] launching Bible balloons, which has been legal up until this point in time, be considered illegal not just going forward, but related to past launches?” Foley said.

“For 15 years, we’ve had a good relationship with the authorities. We’ve had police, military, even the intelligence services present at all of our launches. This year in a couple of launches, I asked the police, ‘is this illegal?’ And the police responded, ‘well, no, you just can’t do it here in this location,’” he continued.

VOM Korea has so far sent 600,000 Bibles into North Korea by balloon and other methods. World Magazine notes that the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights found that in 2000, nearly 0% of North Koreans said they’d seen a Bible. However, just 16 years later, the number had risen to 8%.

As he awaits charges, Foley has asked Christians to pray that despite the crackdown, the Gospel will continue to reach those in the hermit kingdom, which is ranked as the worst persecutor of Christians in the world on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.

“The prayer that God will bring glory to His name is already being met; people see that there’s something different about Christians,” he said. “The other prayer is that God would use each of the Bibles that we have for His purpose.’

“God is finding ways to get Bibles into North Korea. We’re amazed at the avenues He’s opening. Please pray that continues. Pray that God is glorified.”

BELOW ARE ACTUAL PICTURES OF NORTH KOREA TORTURE USED ON CHRISTIANS

The North Korean official is bending the fingers backwards until they break.

Americans increasingly comfortable with church defiance of COVID-19 restrictions: survey


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter 

Pastor Rob McCoy speaks at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in California, Aug. 23, 2020. | YouTube/Godspeak Calvary Chapel

A new survey reveals that the American public is much more accepting of churches defying coronavirus lockdowns than they were when the pandemic first broke out in March.

Paul Djupe, an affiliated scholar with the Public Religion Research Institute, and Ryan Burge, a political science professor at Eastern Illinois University, collaborated on a survey asking 1,750 Americans for their views about the coronavirus pandemic in October. They had previously collaborated on a coronavirus-related survey in March, when they spoke to 3,100 Americans.

When asked if they agreed with the statement, “If the government told us to stop gathering in person for worship I would want my congregation to defy the order,” 34% of respondents who participated in the October survey agreed (with 16% strongly agreeing). By contrast, 21.8% of Americans surveyed in March said that they agreed (with 10.7% strongly agreeing) with their congregation defying in-person worship restrictions.

Meanwhile, the share of Americans who disagreed with churches’ defiance of worship restrictions dropped significantly from March to October. In October, 39.1% of Americans disagreed (with 25.8% strongly disagreeing) with the defiance compared to 55.6% (with 36.4% strongly disagreeing) in March.

Those who strongly disagreed with churches’ defiance of in-person worship restrictions made up a plurality of the respondents in March but by October, a plurality of respondents (26.9%) said that they neither agreed nor disagreed with defiance of worship restrictions.

The survey also analyzed the responses to the question based on political party affiliation, finding that support for defiance of coronavirus worship restrictions had increased among all party identifiers. “Our data suggest defiance is growing across the board. Even strong Democrats are urging a more defiant stance, though the growth among Republicans is much greater,” Djupe and Burge wrote.

According to Djupe and Burge, another factor explains the increased support for churches defying worship restrictions: adherence to the prosperity gospel, which teaches that “religious belief is a quid pro quo, returning a wide range of benefits for believers, especially health and wealth.”

“Prosperity gospel belief is also linked to opposition to state health orders, and the connection is easy to see: if the church is the instrument of personal health, then shuttering the church is a direct threat to personal safety during a pandemic,” they said.

Data collected by the researchers show that the correlation between adherence to prosperity gospel beliefs and the opinion that churches should defy worship restrictions was even stronger in October than it was in March. They measured adherence to prosperity gospel beliefs using a “three question index.”

They attributed the increased support for lockdown defiance among prosperity gospel believers to “the messaging they are hearing from religious and political sources,” including Republican politicians who “continue to take a freedom-first approach.” 

“Agreement with prosperity gospel views has grown about 3 percent since March,” they said.

Other findings show a drop in the percentage of adults who believe “the government should tell churches and houses of worship that they should stop meeting in person to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.” While 66.1% of Americans agreed with that in March, 56% said the same in October.

As the idea that churches should defy in-person worship restrictions has gained ground since March, the idea that “hysteria over the coronavirus is politically motivated” has become less popular. In October, 22.5% of Americans strongly rejected that idea, an increase from the 14% who strongly disagreed with that assessment in March. The share of Americans who either agree or strongly agree with the idea that hysteria over the coronavirus was politically motivated dropped from 42.5% in March to 40% in October.

In their analysis, Djupe and Burge offered two theories to explain Americans’ changes in views about the coronavirus over the past seven months. The first theory contended that “people are responding to an elite messaging that combines with unorthodox Christian beliefs to promote an individualistic, go-it-alone style response,” an idea that they argue is “widespread enough to spell doom to efforts to inspire collective action against the behaviors that are spreading the virus.”

Their other explanation rests on the premise that “Trump’s gross mismanagement of the pandemic soured Americans on Trump as well as on government efforts to curtail the pandemic, which, strangely enough, redounded to the benefit of Republicans opposed to state action.” They concluded that “a bit of both explanations are in play.”

The survey comes as more states returned to strict lockdowns after reporting another surge in coronavirus cases since October.

After the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America sued, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Wednesday to temporarily block New York’s restrictions on houses of worship, saying that the rules “cannot be viewed as neutral” and appear to violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Christian group calls for probe of possible ‘crimes against humanity’ in Ethiopian military offensive


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter 

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/group-concerned-about-ethiopian-military-offensive-in-tigray.html?uid=03bea79789

Children play in front of a hotel damaged by mortar shelling, in Humera, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced military operations in Tigray on November 4, 2020, saying they came in response to attacks on federal army camps by the party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Hundreds have died in nearly three weeks of hostilities that analysts worry could draw in the broader Horn of Africa region, though Abiy has kept a lid on the details, cutting phone and internet connections in Tigray and restricting reporting. AFP via Getty Images/Eduardo Soteras

A Christian human rights group is concerned about a recently launched Ethiopian military offensive that is suspected of committing war crimes against civilians. Earlier this month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the military to attack forces tied to the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front in response to an attack on a base.

Mervyn Thomas, founder of CSW, a Christian nonprofit that advocates for religious freedom around the world, said there were “persistent reports of violations which may amount to atrocity crimes” that may “necessitate an immediate international response.” Thomas was also concerned about the presence of refugees and soldiers in the region from neighboring Eritrea which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and is located east of the region.

“Pressure must be exerted to ensure an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of Eritrean troops, the opening of humanitarian corridors to assist refugees and civilians, and the immediate, independent verification and investigation of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he stated.

Thomas also called on Ethiopia to “ensure protection for refugees in accordance with international law” and also “to fulfil its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, as well as under the Rome Statute, which describes the targeting of civilians, including through deliberate starvation.”

“We urge Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict, ensuring full respect for the right to life and the fundamental freedoms of all Ethiopian citizens, regardless of ethnicity,” he added.

Last week, Babar Baloch of the United Nations Refugee Agency told the press at a briefing in Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, that over 33,000 Tigray residents had fled to the Sudan, located west of the region, as a result of the offensive.

“Refugees have told us they were going about their daily lives when fighting erupted suddenly. We have met teachers, nurses, office workers, farmers and students who were completely caught by surprise,” explained Baloch.

“Many fled with nothing except what they had with them and then had to walk for hours and cross a river to seek safety in Sudan.”

Baloch went on to note that there were also approximately 100,000 Eritrean refugees located in four camps in the region and that they were “very worried” about their safety.

“Eritrean refugees in Tigray were completely reliant on assistance, including food and water, before the conflict erupted, and there are major concerns that ongoing hostilities will drastically affect services in the camps,” continued Baloch.

“Rations were provided until the end of November, so it is increasingly critical for humanitarian workers to have access and for additional food to be distributed before refugees run out.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In addition to being a reporter, Michael Gryboski has also had a novel released titled Memories of Lasting Shadows. For more information, click here.

Is gender equality shortchanging boys in churches, schools and other American institutions?


Reported By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter 

Getty Images

While parents in general believe institutions serve their children well, many are worried the majority, like churches and schools, have been serving their daughters better than their sons under norms of gender equality, new research suggests. And the only institutions where at least white parents believe boys are served slightly better are sports and other clubs.

Data from the 2020 American Family Survey, released in September, show that a striking minority, just 36%, of parents believe churches are serving their sons well. This share is almost equal to the 33% who say the same about how the criminal justice system is serving their sons. A minority of parents also believe churches are serving their daughters well but that number is five percentage points higher at 41%.

Daughters were also shown as being better served by every other institution highlighted in the survey, including the education system and friend networks. The only exceptions were sports and other clubs, which some 42% of particularly white parents believe are serving their sons well compared to 37% who say the same about how they serve their daughters.

The latest American Family Survey, was conducted between July 3 and July 14 in a partnership between the Deseret News and Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. The study explored several areas of family life, including relationships, economics, politics, health and culture. Market research and data analytics firm YouGov interviewed 3,251 respondents who were then matched down to a sample of 3,000 to produce a final dataset reflective of a sampling frame based on gender, age, race and education.

Surprising results

American Family Survey

Jeremy C. Pope, co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and one of the lead investigators on the survey, told The Christian Post that he was particularly surprised by how poorly parents rated the church in serving their children, especially their sons.

“My first reaction to that institutions data was I was surprised churches didn’t do so well. I didn’t really think about this deeply ahead of time but I thought that churches would do a little bit better than they did,” he said.

“I was not surprised that the criminal justice system was low but to be honest, churches are kind of in there with the criminal justice system and that surprised me. In future years, we want to follow up on that because it suggests a bit of dissatisfaction in how churches in particular are serving sons.”

Pope, who is a father of three daughters, said he was also struck by the data showing almost all of the institutions underserving boys and he believes the push for gender equality could be “blinding us to problems with boys.”

“It’s striking to me that daughters tend to be served better by virtually all the institutions except for sports or other clubs and it is also striking to me that friend networks, which you wouldn’t necessarily think is fantastic, dramatically outperforming churches in terms of satisfaction with how it’s serving their kids,” he noted.

“I think within the norm of gender equality, that may be blinding us to problems with boys and problems facing boys that the public knows are out there but is sometimes reluctant to talk about because nobody wants to favor boys over girls.”

Pope further argued that what the data reveals is an increasing concern about the well-being of boys and he doesn’t believe the concern is misplaced.

“I have three daughters. I don’t worry a ton about them. They are great young women,” he said.

“The thing that I think this survey highlights this year about gender is that increasingly I see signs that society is concerned about boys. I have a feeling that that concern is not misplaced. I think we should be concerned about how our sons are doing, what their prospects are in life. And it probably means that parents and maybe more as a society [need to think] about what it is we need to do to make the environment for sons hospitable to them, helpful, what sort of skills do they need to acquire? What sort of expectations should we be setting for them because it does look to me that there is some sort of dissatisfaction out there with how our sons as a society are growing up.”

The largest disparity between how parents believe institutions serve their sons and daughters was reflected in the education system where 63% of parents said it served their daughters well but only 55% said the same about their sons.

A small experiment

Pope and his colleagues noted in their report on the survey that to gauge the overall concern about boys and girls among respondents, they conducted an experiment where some were questioned only about their worries over girls, while others were asked about boys. Another group of respondents were asked about both boys and girls.

Parents who were only asked to think about their worries about girls responded with concern only 30% of the time. The group asked about both girls and boys responded with concern almost equally — 35% for girls and 36% for boys.

When respondents were asked only about boys, however, the level of concern shot up to 45%.

“This experiment highlights something key about society and it is a topic we plan to follow up on in future years. When the public is simply asked about boys and girls they tend to follow an ethic of equality. They will claim to have similar levels of worry about both genders. However, when only asked about girls the percentage of the public with concerns shrinks a bit and when only asked about boys the percentage of the public with concerns grows substantially,” the report on the survey said.

“What is the best way to characterize these results? Are people concealing concerns when asked about boys or girls? We doubt it. Our assumption would be that each of the responses is genuine it’s just that people do harbor some latent concerns about boys that come out when asked the question in a slightly different way. There is, probably, more concern about boys and young men in our current society but it can be masked by norms of gender equality,” the report added.

‘Absolutely accurate’

Michael Gurian of the Gurian Institute talks about brain science. | Gurian Institute

Michael Gurian, a social philosopher, family therapist and corporate consultant, called the AFS findings “absolutely accurate” in an interview with CP.

Gurian co-founded the Gurian Institute, which trains professionals who deal with the developmental aspects of childhood. He is also the author of 32 books, including The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men and The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives.

As a social philosopher, Gurian pioneered efforts to bring neurobiology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations and public policy. He has provided information on the educational needs of boys and girls to the White House and briefed members of the 114th Congress on the boy crisis in America.

“We’ve found this for more than 30 years. These findings are absolutely accurate and would corroborate what a number of us have been looking at for decades,” Gurian said.

He explained that systems in institutions like schools and churches reflect the overwhelming influence of women who populate them.

“These systems are set up more toward female brains in a number of ways. One is to a great extent they are populated by females. The women are great people but they think like women,” Gurian said, noting that training, which his institute has done successfully overtime, has helped address these disparities in both schools and churches.

“Without training, they (female teachers) walk into systems and their behavioral expectations for boys. When you add on boys of color, black and brown boys, then that’s a different data set; … the stats are even worse than for white boys. Even when you take race out of it and [look at] just boys, it’s kind of grim,” he explained.

“Not that they’re malicious, it’s just that they are women who think like women and teach to the behavioral academic and even spiritual expectations of females and so it’s kind of gradual, taking place over a period of decades. Of course, 100 years ago, churches and schools were much more male so we wouldn’t make this argument but in the last number of decades,” a transition has happened, he said.

While the AFS data reflect a frustration parents have with the way institutions have been underserving their sons, the Gurian Institute has successfully help hundreds of schools, churches and other institutions address the disparity with many success stories on their website.

“Since we began this program a year ago, Oak Hill School has seen positive improvements in academic achievement and school culture, and with increased teacher effectiveness and student engagement,” wrote Peter M. Schroeder, a principal at Oak Hill School in Missouri, 2019. “We believe that being designated a ‘Gurian Model School’ will help us maintain our competitive edge in the St. Louis marketplace as an independent, Catholic school. Our work with the Gurian Institute has helped us adapt our already powerful teaching model to provide excellence in our academic program-for both girls and boys.”

Gurian said, “For those people who say ‘well, we know there’s this problem but nothing is happening,’ what I always say is there are organizations that solve this problem. The schools that use the Gurian Institute’s research framework, they have solved this problem. They don’t have these issues anymore. So it’s really important to say to people that solutions exist. And if they are feeling paralyzed, they don’t have to feel paralyzed.”

David Murrow, who started Church for Men, an organization that helps congregations reconnect with men and boys, in 2005 around the same time he released his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, believes the key to help churches better respond to the needs of boys and men could lie in the creation of more gender neutral churches.

“I hear stories all the time from churches that buy 10, 15 copies of the book for their elders and leaders and there are a lot of churches that are implementing more man-friendly programming, boy-friendly things for young men. I think one of the secrets to the growth of the megachurches has been their ability to gender neutralize their worship spaces and create an environment where men walk in and feel like this is something for them and not just something for their grandmother,” Murrow told CP.

“The typical church in America is about 80 to 90 people. It’s what I call a grandma church. There is a lot of older members and the ladies of the church decorate the sanctuary with quilts and flowers and ribbons and lace doilies and the Sunday school rooms look like something out of a kindergarten classroom,” he explained.

“They’ve got construction paper and yarn. It’s a very feminine space that they create and there’s a lot of talk of nurture and relationships. And then the ministry opportunities, the volunteer opportunities typically revolve around female roles — caring for the sick, preparing meals for potluck dinners.

“The whole enterprise is pitched towards a middle-aged or older woman with an empty nest who wants to spend time with kids. So men, particularly young men, come into those little family churches, they see the décor, they see the opportunities and they find nothing for themselves. One of the things the megachurches did is they intentionally focused on young men and particularly these would be men with young families,” Murrow said.

Two megachurches Murrow said that have done a great job in appealing to men are Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, founded by Bill Hybels.

Warren reportedly designed his church based on his own door-to-door survey of 500 residents. He found that his target audience was “Saddleback Sam,” a prototypical yuppie who believes in God but has not attended church since childhood. The “Sams” told him they weren’t going to church because sermons were boring, people were aloof, childcare was a problem and pastors were too interested in money.

“They had a mythical parishioner named Saddleback Sam. I mean they went straight for this guy. He was a guy who represented all the values of Southern California — he’s overextended in time and credit. God is OK but he’s not interested in church or religion,” Murrow said.

Willow Creek’s target was a “mythical parishioner named Unchurched Harry,” Murrow noted.

“They were focusing on that guy because they realized something. When you attract the man of the family you tend to get the rest of the family on the deal. And so they made their churches not macho, they didn’t turn their church into a monster truck rally or anything like that. All they had to do was sort of take out the cues that were saying to men this is something for your wife and kids and really engage the men on a heart level,” he said. “And then growth took care of itself and that’s really been the secret of the megachurches. It’s their ability to attract and retain men and in the process retain the entire family.”

Of the estimated 344,894 churches in the United States, only about 1,750 of them are classified as megachurches with 2,000 or more members.

Murrow said about 15 years ago, his own church in Alaska got rid of the old model of Sunday School and rebranded it Adventure Land in an approach that involves more movement with male teachers leading boys and female teachers leading girls and they have seen a lot of success.

“This model has been very successful in reaching young men. The tragedy comes when we move into junior high and high school ministry,” he said, which involves a lot of singing to Jesus, which boys don’t like.

The power of fathers

Citing research such as The Demographic Characteristics of the Linguistic and Religious Groups in Switzerland, which reviewed the results of a 1994 survey of Swiss religious practice, Murrow also argued that the most effective way for parents to lead the spiritual life of their children is through their own personal witness. The study also highlighted the outsized influence of a father in the transference of faith to the next generation.

In that study, for families where neither parent attended church, only 4% of their children ended up attending church regularly. Some 15% went on to become irregular attendees while more than 80% did not attend at all.

When the mother attended church in families but the father did not, some 2% went on to attend church regularly, 37% attended irregularly and 61% not at all. When both parents attended church regularly, 33% of their children when on to do the same regularly, 41% irregularly and 26% did not attend at all.

In homes where the father was a regular church attendee and the mother’s attendance was irregular, the study found that 38% of the children went on to regularly attend church, 44% attended irregularly and 18% did not attend at all. The results showed that fathers who attend church more faithfully influences more faithful church attendance in their children.

“There is really nothing to compare with it. We can have all the youth groups, the retreats, … the praise and worship extravaganzas and all those things help,” Murrow said. ”But the one thing that towers above all other factors in a child’s decision to follow Christ as a young adult is whether his father was following Christ. And so that would be the most effective thing a church could do is to equip fathers to be witnesses to their children.”

He urged believers who are concerned about the way their church is serving their sons to try to engage their leaders under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as conversations about these issues can be delicate.

Making a cultural shift to help boys

Tim Wright, pastor of Community of Grace Lutheran Church in Peoria, Arizona, who authored Searching for Tom Sawyer and created a rite of passage for boys with Gurian called Following Jesus: Heroic Quest for Boys, said he was inspired to become an advocate for boys by Murrow’s book, Why Men Hate Going to Church.

“I read the book and I was so challenged by it that I invited David to Arizona to speak,” he told CP.

“He spoke for eight minutes and he was holding eggs in his hand. And his sermon was about boys and the disconnect of boys from the faith. And he kept dropping eggs and he said ‘now in the eight minutes I’ve been speaking, these eggs represent the number of boys who left the church.’ And so I did some quick research and found that the statistic is anywhere from 70 to 90% of all boys who leave the Christian church in their teens and 20s and most won’t come back and that really got my attention,” he said.

He eventually learned about Gurian and his use of brain science research to talk about boys and girls and how they learn.

“I hired him as a consultant and we became such good friends that we moved away from a consulting relationship and we became partners in creating different products for people,” he explained.

He argued that society needs to stop functioning as if girls are still behind educationally. While that may have been the case decades ago, Wright said, it is no longer true.

“Back in the 1960s we recognized educationally that our girls were behind our boys in part because of the feminist movement, in part because we were looking over all these different experiences with our daughters and seeing them fall behind. The whole country, metaphorically speaking, came together and said ‘we’ve gotta fight for our girls and get them caught up in school.’ The federal government at that time committed $100 million to helping our girls get caught up,” he explained.

“And here’s what happened. The great news — I raised a daughter, I’ve got two granddaughters; I’m all pro-girls and we want to make that clear and Michael had two daughters — in 1982, girls not only caught up to boys but they flew right by them. And now in 2020 our boys are behind and they are behind significantly our girls in every area of education from pre-school to graduate school,” except for perhaps STEM, Wright noted.

“The problem is that we still think culturally, we have so ingrained in us that our girls are behind … that when they caught up and passed boys we still live with the old story that our girls are behind, our boys are OK. And because of that, we tend not to see our boys. They become invisible,” he said.

“The challenge in terms of advocating for boys is we still sort of believe boys are doing OK when they are not. They are dramatically behind, not just in education but they are falling behind emotionally. They are falling behind economically. In almost every area of life, boys and men are doing worse,” Wright added.

Pointing to the disparities in how girls and boys are being served by institutions in the AFS research, Wright said he believes it’s this disconnect that, for example, is causing families to rank sports clubs as better institutions for boys over churches.

“We have gone far more to the female brain than the male brain in our churches, in our schools and that’s why sports are doing so well. And really, sports have become the new religion for men and for boys. I see that in my own family with my son and his kids. They are far more engaged with sports than they are with church because sports is movement, it’s teamwork oftentimes, but it’s also character building,” he said.

“It’s not always ‘aww, you’re just great because you’re great.’ It’s ‘hey, that was a great play, you missed that one; you let the team down’ and it starts to forge character,” he explained.

“We’re afraid of that for some reason. And what’s happening now is our boys tune out from things like school or church and if they don’t have good men or even good women who are both building up their character and calling them out when they’re not being boys of character, the boys sort of just check out or they make it up on their own.

“Most of our culture will never say this but increasingly in a world where feminine values have become the benchmark, boys and men are feeling left out. We can’t articulate our feelings the same way and if we want to articulate our feelings, they are not the right kinds of feelings.”

When asked what would happen if churches and schools were able to collectively make the cultural shift to better serve men and boys, Murrow said he believes it could be seismic.

“A lot of the dysfunction in our culture comes from poorly socialized men. There are more men in jails, men are more likely to commit suicide, more likely to commit crimes and this is not just the United States, this is the world over. And this goes back to thousands of years. The great question of every society is how do we socialize and harness the power of men to social good and not toward mayhem,” he told CP.

“My background is in anthropology so the first thing they teach you is the whole purpose of society is to socialize men. So if we had a church and we had schools that were more successful in engaging men, I think the result would be a kinder, more loving society. It would be a fairer society and it would be … a lot less family distress, way fewer men falling through the cracks,” he said, noting that women would also be able to find more suitable men to marry.

“Study after study shows that when men embrace religion in general, they tend to be more kind and considerate. They are less likely to gamble and drink to excess. A host of anti-social and negative behaviors fall away when they become engaged in the church and that’s the sociological reason for creating an environment where men and boys feel more welcome. And they feel like it’s something for them and not just something for women.”

‘Sanctuaries of Learning’: Churches nationwide help students navigate virtual school


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter 

Tutors assist students with schoolwork at the Restart Learning Center, a distance learning center set up by the Los Angeles Dream Center, a faith-based nonprofit organization based in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, 2020. | Los Angeles Dream Center

As the pandemic has forced many of America’s public schools to begin the school year with remote learning, several churches and faith-based groups nationwide have opened their doors to students who don’t have internet access at home or whose parents can’t stay home with them. Among those institutions are 14 Houston-based churches belonging to the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church that partnered with the Houston Independent School District to serve as distance learning centers.

The distance-learning centers were attended by hundreds of children before the school district’s return to in-person learning in late October.  The eighth-largest school district in the United States, with the help of the UMC conference, birthed the “Sanctuaries of Learning” program to aid approximately 500 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The program helped the students navigate the waters of virtual learning, a new experience for most K-12 students in the U.S.

“They lived in the neighborhood, they registered through the school, they called the school to save a place, … [and] their parents were notified about it,” said Rev. Jill Daniel, an elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Although the program concluded in mid-October when the school district resumed in-person learning, the program’s impact can be felt nationwide as some school districts have not yet returned to in-person classes.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Shannon Martin, director of communications for the Texas Annual Conference, explained that their regional church body “birthed this program.” 

“But then as people started hearing about it … it started catching on across the country. So there are people all over the country doing this,” she said. “Other people have adopted the same name, Sanctuaries of Learning. We certainly did not copyright it. We wanted people to use it and certainly utilize the same model of working with school districts. Once there’s a good model, we want other churches and other people to be able to follow along with … the same model because it’s worked.”

Daniel said the conference started receiving calls from all over the U.S., specifically recalling phone calls from New York City, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, the Carolinas and elsewhere in Texas. They asked: “What can we do to make this happen?”

“We probably had … well over 120 or so Zoom meetings with people all over the United States and we walked a little closer with some of them,” she explained. “And it’s been amazing to just watch God doing this very new thing and blessing it so mightily.”

The pastor predicted that the establishment of the Sanctuaries of Learning program would lead to a “rebirth” of neighborhood churches because “during quarantine, we had all this time where … our churches have been that mission depot in the neighborhood, where we’ve had food distributed and people have done dinners for their neighbors and checked on one another.”

While schools in Houston have returned to in-person learning, schools in California’s Los Angeles Unified School District are not likely to return to in-person learning before January. This week, the district released data based on 10-week interim assessments showing that poor grades surged in the district’s lower-income communities.

In addition to churches, faith-based organizations have also worked to set up distance learning centers.

The faith-based nonprofit Los Angeles Dream Center established the Restart Learning Center, a “safe, socially distanced outdoor learning environment” in the parking lot of its Echo Park campus. The parking lot contains a solar panel shed that shields against heat and precipitation.

Like the Sanctuaries of Learning in Texas, the Restart Learning Center draws in students residing within walking distance of the surrounding neighborhood. Participants include attendees of both public and private schools. The Restart Learning Center operates five days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is free of charge.

“This will all be executed in an effort to support parents, work schedules and schooling, to cheerlead kids and to provide them a safe place and motivation center,” Matthew Barnett, pastor of the Los Angeles Dream Center, told CP.

Barnett explained that about 80 children each day attend the learning center along with a “rotating group” of students that come and go. According to Barnett, the lockdowns in Los Angeles have had an adverse impact on “the poorest of the poor.” 

“I don’t think maybe people understand how much of a gap has been left between those that are in need and those who have,” he surmised.

“We had to supply more than half of the 80 kids learning tablets with our own money,” he continued. “I would say 75% of the kids get them from us.” The remainder of students use school-issued computers, he added.

How Sanctuaries of Learning came to be

Students gather outside as members of the Houston Texans visit a Sanctuaries of Learning campus in Houston, Texas on Houston Texans’ Founder’s Day. The Sanctuaries of Learning were distance learning centers set up by the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for children in Houston, Texas, 2020. | Jill Daniel

Daniel, who serves as director of a Texas Annual Conference initiative called “We Love All God’s Children,” explained how the Sanctuaries of Learning program came about.  The initiative aims to “change the trajectory of the lives of children from birth through the end of elementary school.” It also aims to help families in underserved areas through a holistic approach that includes discipleship and early education.

“We work with all 683 United Methodist Churches in the Texas Annual Conference,” she said.

“We Love All God’s Children” has worked to set up UMC Children Centers, which the elder described as “state-of-the-art early childhood centers.” Several United Methodist Children Centers were planned to open in 2020. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, they couldn’t open this year.

“We immediately shifted from doing what we had been doing to [figuring out] how can we help our churches … in this new crazy time,” she said.

“And so one of the things I tried to keep in mind was that …  my ministry area focuses on underserved children. And so it would be the children who I focus on who were not going to have access to technology, who didn’t have Wi-Fi in their house.”

Over the summer, the pastor said she began praying and trying to figure out how churches could join together to help the public school systems since it was looking very likely schools would return for the 2020-2021 school year virtually.

“And so I worked on a proposal. I went to one of our district superintendents, who’s the district superintendent over the … Central South District — that’s all the United Methodist churches within Beltway 8 in Houston,” she said. “And I pitched that idea to him. And he said, ‘I’ll tell you what … let my churches be the guinea pigs.’”

After the bishop approved her idea in early June, Daniel reached out to Dr. Grenita Lathan, the interim superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. However, she did not hear back from her right away. At the end of July, Daniel received an e-mail from Lathan, who said that she would announce the district’s plans for reopening later that week and asked if she wanted to meet with her.

“I know now that the reason she never responded was because she had no idea what Houston ISD was going to do,” Daniel explained.

“She kind of took the reins on our Zoom meeting. She wanted to join with us. She wanted to make use of all the United Methodist churches that she could that are near a neighborhood elementary school.”

District sent support staff to churches

According to Daniel, the churches needed people to oversee the safety of the students while teachers taught live from their classrooms.

“We just needed people to oversee the safety of the kids, to help if one of them has trouble logging on or that sort of thing,” the UMC elder explained.

Daniel said that the school district sent support staff to assist students at all distance-learning campuses.

“Those were people they were paying already, like cafeteria workers or bus drivers,” the reverend explained. “They were paying them but they didn’t have any work to do.” 

In addition to deploying support staff, the school district also provided breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack to all of the children participating in the program. The school district also provided personal protective equipment and a “cleaning crew that came in every afternoon” to clean the churches.

“They even came before we ever started and did a deep clean to start with. And then they also came every night and did it,” she recalled.

Daniel was amazed at what the school district provided.

“We never dreamed of that or imagined that,” she said. “If we didn’t have enough bandwidth, they brought boosters over so that everything would be good for the kids. They also sent their safety team and their property management teams around all of our churches.” 

Also, the Houston Independent School District even added the churches to its liability insurance.

The Sanctuaries of Learning program was paid for in part by coronavirus relief that the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church received. Each church that participated in the Sanctuaries of Learning program received a $1,000 check.

“We were so thankful to be able to provide a safe, healthy, affirming Christian environment, positive environment for those kids to be in,” Daniel said.

Every Friday was “fun Friday” for students participating in the Sanctuaries of Learning program. Daniel told CP that on Houston Texans’ Founder’s Day, Oct. 6, the football team came out to some of the churches. Daniel recalled one cheerleader reading a book to all the kids in that school. All the children received a free T-shirt.

“One fun Friday, we had ice cream sundaes and we gave … each child a whole library from the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation,” Daniel stated. “Each child had 25 books on their reading label to save and to take home.”

The Sanctuaries of Learning program did not come without challenges.

On the second day of school, a student at one of the campuses tested positive for coronavirus. This forced the campus to close down and anyone who worked closely with the infected student had to quarantine. For the remainder of the program, no one at any of the Sanctuaries of Learning campuses tested positive for coronavirus, however.

Daniel described the Sanctuaries of Learning program as a “game-changer for our children.”

“It’s a game-changer for mama or for daddy or for whoever is raising that child who doesn’t have to be worried every day about whether they’re safe and how and whether they’re going to get … what they need at school,” she said.

While in-person schooling has resumed in the Houston Independent School District and other large school districts nationwide, the Sanctuaries of Learning program is ready to restart should the district decide to move to online learning again.

No end to remote learning in sight for Los Angeles

A tutor assists a student at the Restart Learning Center, a distance learning center set up at the Los Angeles Dream Center, a faith-based nonprofit based in the Echo Park Neighborhood of Los Angeles, 2020. | Los Angeles Dream Center

Barnett explained that the Los Angeles Dream Center has the resources to continue operating the Restart Learning Center for the remainder of the semester. But he is “terrified of the fact that [remote learning] could go on for a whole year.” 

“With the teachers afraid to go back and the union battles that are going on, this thing, I fear it will be the whole year long,” he said. “So that’s going to really test our ability to keep it going. But we’re going to give it a try.”

The Restart Learning Center program provides one tutor for every three students.

“The best thing about it is that they have somebody who’s a cheerleader next to them, pulling for them to succeed and celebrating their accomplishment,” Barnett stated. “So I think that’s the … most important thing.”

He assured that tutors are there “every step of the way” to help students with whatever questions they may have.

Barnett estimated the cost of running the center is about $300 per month per student. It costs about “$20,000 a month to operate all these stations and school.”

“We’ve invested a lot of money that we really expect not to get back,” the pastor explained. “We just did it in a labor of love. … If people want to support, they can. … It’s been a kind of a missions work for us and it’s almost like we just started helping people and we’re trying to catch up.”

The Vatican Falls to the Dominance of the Chinese Communist Party


Reported by by Kari Donovan

The Vatican has agreed to allow the Communist Party to control the leadership of the church, thereby destroying the Church for many underground Catholics in China, and around the world who had hoped to see the Vatican use their authority and power to apply pressure to end Communist control instead of submitting to it.

This announcement comes at the same time the Pope has announced his support of Same gender Marriage.

Cardinal Jospeh Zen blasted the Vatican’s deal with communist China, calling it a “step toward the annihilation” of China’s underground churches who resist the state.

“In fact, the deal is a major step toward the annihilation of the real Church in China,” Zen wrote.

Zen argued that Pope Francis is sympathetic toward communists because he is sympathetic toward the poor and, in Francis’s native Argentina, care for the poor is conflated with communism, given South America’s history of the rich and the military systematically oppressing the poor. This, Zen said, has led Francis to view communists with not only sympathy but optimism.

According to the Hong Kong Free Press it is a disaster for China:

A secretive 2018 agreement between Beijing and the Vatican was renewed Thursday, despite strident US condemnation and warnings from underground Chinese priests loyal to Rome that they have only become more marginalized since it was signed. The deal allows both Beijing and the Holy See a say in appointing bishops in an attempt to close a schism in China’s 12-million-strong Catholic community.

Washington had put intense pressure on the Vatican to scrap the agreement, saying it has failed to shield Chinese Catholics from persecution.

“After friendly consultations,” both sides agreed to the extension “for two years”, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday.

“The two sides will maintain close communication and consultation, and continue to push forward the process of improving relations.”

The Communist Party is officially atheist and exercises strict control over all recognized religious institutions, including vetting sermons.

The New York Times reported, ” The Vatican said that it had extended an agreement with Beijing over the appointment of bishops in China, weeks after the U.S. secretary of state traveled to the Vatican on an unsuccessful mission to kill it.”

Jimmy Lai, who has been persecuted for journalism in Hong Kong, wrote on Twitter:

But Zen wasn’t able to convince Francais to move away from Communism. Johnathon Chen from the Wall Street Journal wrote about Zen and said, @CardJosephZen criticized the Pope for ignoring Beijing’s clampdown on freedoms after failing to get a meeting Francis in Rome last month. The Holy See is closing both eyes on all the injustices that the Communist Party inflicts on the Chinese people.”

“The Vatican renewed its controversial power-sharing agreement with Beijing on Thursday—not that it thinks the deal has gone all that well. Says the Vatican’s secretary of state: The results haven’t “been particularly brilliant,” Chen wrote.

In an extraordinary sign of dissatisfaction, one Chinese former underground bishop, Vincent Guo Xijin, submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, telling his flock that he wasn’t “in step with the times” and didn’t wish to be an “obstacle to progress,” he said.

“On the other hand, millions of Chinese were able to follow Pope Francis’ morning masses on WeChat this year as the Vatican streamed daily events during Italy’s coronavirus lockdown—a sign of progress,” wrote @francescosisci, an Italian Preist living in Beijing.

The Official statement follows:

China and the Vatican announced almost simultaneously that they will extend the “experimental implementation phase” of their agreement regarding the appointment of bishops.

In a press release, the Holy See praises the two parties’ “good communication and cooperation” and expresses its intention to “pursue an open and constructive dialogue for the benefit of the life of the Catholic Church and the good of Chinese people.”

The United States government had pressured the Vatican not to renew the agreement, to which the Holy See responded that it wasn’t a political agreement, but one of “ecclesiastical and pastoral value.”

The Vatican acknowledges that the agreement does not address other important matters, but focuses only on the appointment of new bishops. It’s part of the politics of small steps that Card. Pietro Parolin described.

CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN
Secretary of State, Vatican
September 30, 2020

“Our way of doing politics is about taking small steps. We believe that every result—even if it isn’t striking, even if it isn’t eye-catching, even if, at first, perhaps it seems to not yield big results—is however, a step forward, toward the affirmation also of greater religious freedom.”

FRANCESCO SISCI
China’s People’s University

“It’s not a diplomatic agreement because the Vatican hasn’t recognized Beijing, and neither does Beijing seem to want that. It knows that a diplomatic agreement would further isolate Taiwan, and that Taiwan could then become nervous and react dangerously. I think the Holy See’s strategy is very wise and prudent. It doesn’t yield, and at the same time, it seeks to maintain the ties that sustain this complicated relationship.”

The content of the agreement is not public. In two years, it has allowed for the appointment of only two new Chinese bishops in communion with the pope, despite the fact that there are about 50 vacant dioceses. That’s why instead of renewing or solidifying the agreement, the Vatican has decided to extend only the experimental phase.

The next two years will help determine whether or not this agreement allows Chinese Catholics to have bishops in communion with the pope. The Vatican and China’s diplomatic ties had been non-existent since Mao rose to power in 1950 and began repressing all religions.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Translation: CT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kari is an ex-Community Organizer who writes about Voter Engagement, Cultural Marxism and Campaigns. She has been a grassroots volunteer with the GOP, on and off for 18 years. She is a Homeschool Mom in North Carolina and loves Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism.

LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Wednesday, October 14, 2020


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Americans Support Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation By Double-Digit Margin
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Americans Support Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation By Double-Digit Margin

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LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Tuesday, October 13, 2020


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Amy Coney Barrett: Roe v. Wade is Not a “Super-Precedent” That Can’t be Overturned

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett: “I Believe in the Power of Prayer.” Thank You for “Praying for Me”

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LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Wednesday, October 7, 2020


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Vice President Mike Pence: “I’m Pro-Life, I Don’t Apologize for It”

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Biden Refuses to Say if He’d Pack Supreme Court With Liberal Judges: “I Won’t Answer the Question”

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LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Monday, September 28, 2020


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Planned Parenthood Opposes Amy Coney Barrett: “It’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Seat, We Demand a No Vote”
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Planned Parenthood Opposes Amy Coney Barrett: “It’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Seat, We Demand a No Vote”

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LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Friday, September 25, 2020


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President Trump Will Nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to Replace Ginsburg on Supreme Court

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LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Monday, September 21, 2020


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President Trump Will Nominate SCOTUS Justice Friday or Saturday Who Will “Abide by the Constitution”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has essentially admitted to violating a city coronavirus health order by attending Catholic mass.


 

 

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LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Wednesday, September 15, 2020


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Jill Biden Says “Vote for Science,” But She Doesn’t Think Unborn Babies are Human Beings

Jill Biden, the wife of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, urged Americans to “vote for science” Tuesday as if to imply that President Donald Trump opposes everything scientific.


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Hundreds of Michigan Overseas Mail-in Ballots Omit Vice President Mike Pence’s Name

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Just One Pregnancy Center Saved 575 Babies From Abortion, There are Thousands Nationwide

 

Missouri Governor Candidate Nicole Galloway is Radically Pro-Abortion

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Whoopi Goldberg: Supporting Trump is “Like Being in a Cult. Same Mindset as Jim Jones”

 

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Copyright 2003-2020 LifeNews.com. All rights reserved.

LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Monday, September 14, 2020


Top Stories
President Donald Trump Expands Executive Order Defunding International Planned Parenthood
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President Donald Trump Expands Executive Order Defunding International Planned Parenthood

President Donald Trump took another step to defund the abortion industry Monday through a new proposed rule to expand the Mexico City Policy.


 

 

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Pro-Abortion Group Says Abortion Will End if President Trump is Re-Elected

Michael Bloomberg Spending $100 Million Bankrolling Joe Biden’s Campaign in Florida

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Facebook and Twitter Censor President Trump’s Message Making Sure People’s Votes Count

Mayor Says Opening Planned Parenthood Abortion Business is Like Starting a Church

THE VIRGIN MARY SPEAKS TO AMERICA: “Come to Me, all mothers who weep for their children. Come to Me and I will solace you, and you will find great comfort with Me.” – Blessed Virgin Mary –  Join in Our Lady’s 50th Anniversary Vigil, September 26 to 28, 2020.  Priests go free, domestic air, hotels, meals. Buses available in various states. For info www.smwa.org or call 609-654-0245 or 609-206-2963.  For a free rose petal blessed by Jesus and Mary write to St. Michael’s World Apostolate, PO Box 514, Bayside, NY 11361 (ADVERTISEMENT)

California School District Adopts Sex Ed Curriculum Teaching Abortion to Pre-Teens

 

Congressmen Slam Disney for Filming Mulan in Region With Forced Abortions

Pro-Life Group Endorses Senator Bill Cassidy for Re-Election in Louisiana

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Want to “Codify Roe,” Making Abortions Legal Up to Birth Nationwide

 

Comments or questions? Email us at news@lifenews.com.
Copyright 2003-2020 LifeNews.com. All rights reserved.

LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report | Wednesday, September 9, 2020


Top Stories
President Trump Releases List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees Filled With Pro-Life Rock Stars
Pro-Life Groups Praise Trump’s New Supreme Court List: “He’s the Best Pro-Life President Ever”
Trump’s Decision to Defund International Planned Parenthood Cost Abortion Biz Over $100 Million
Congressman Calls for Ousting Nancy Pelosi: “It’s Past Time for Her to Leave”

 

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Catholic Bishop Slams Joe Biden’s False Catholicism: He Says He’s “Faithful” But Supports Abortion
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