The Monthly Update

November 2005

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: 

This Monthly Update contains information on what is happening across our United Methodist Church.

There is good news in the rulings of our "high court" — the UM Judicial Council. It upheld the Book of Discipline in areas of morality and returned The Rev. Ed Johnson to the ministry with full status as an elder in the Virginia Conference. This means that he must be appointed by Bishop Charlene Kammerer. He had been unjustly removed from his position as senior pastor of South Hill UMC because he would not accept a man into the membership of his church because that individual was living in an immoral relationship. This Judicial Council action is a reaffirmation of both the moral stance in our denomination and the pastoral right to determine who may he admitted into a local church. 

There is other information to include news on Hurricane Wilma, positions taken by both the General Board of Church and Society and the UMW, and news from overseas. We applaud what is happening in Christendom across the world but at the same time grieve for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and suffering for nothing more than their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  

We are experiencing a financial slowdown as it gets toward the end of the year and people are turning their thoughts toward the holidays, as they most assuredly should. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the most-anticipated times of the year. Nevertheless, we ask that you pray about how the Lord would have you help Concerned Methodists financially and prayerfully during this coming year.   

So we are asking for your support. A commitment to the ministry of renewal in which we are engaged will help us as we "contend for the faith" during this very crucial time in the life of our United Methodist Church. We truly believe that we are living in a crucial time in our denomination and are standing on the brink of either a great revival and growth, or plunge into moral relativism resulting in accelerated decline.

Thank you for standing with us at this time. We ask that you would keep us in your prayers.

                                                                                            In His service,

                                                                                             Allen O. Morris,
                                                                                            Executive Director


November 2005 Update

 Bits and Pieces from across the United Methodist Church 

Becoming a Christian is not making a new start in life; it is receiving a new life to start with.

— The Navigators— Daily Walk, September 2, 1994.

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Of Interest.

Oct. 20, 2005

To friends in the United States,

The greatest threat to your civil liberties and the future liberties of your children is once more upon us. In September the House of Representatives passed a "hate crimes" bill, entitled "The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act," as an amendment to the Child Safety Act (H.R. 3132). It was rushed through the House in 40 minutes in a stealth move by Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and includes among its classifications for special protection "sexual orientation" and even "gender identity" (i.e. transvestism and transsexualism). Now Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and others are seeking to get a similar amendment passed in the Senate. If it passes the Senate, it becomes the law of the land. Although the Senate Judiciary Committee passed today a new version of the Child Safety Act without the "hate crimes" amendment (S. 1086: "The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act," sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch [R-Utah]), it appears that Senator Kennedy either will try to reintroduce the amendment when the legislation comes to the floor or will add it to another bill such as "The Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005" (S. 1088).

It is extremely important for you to call your U.S. Senators, and perhaps too the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Bill Frist, at the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to reject such a "hate crime" amendment to any bill. If it passes, "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" will become ensconced into U.S. law as valid civil rights categories. From this will flow inevitably a number of tragic results for those who do not agree that homosexual practice or transgenderism is a good thing. Some of these tragic results will occur in a very short space of time; others will happen within a few years to a decade. Many of these tragic results have already taken place in Canada, Scandinavia and the lowland European countries, and even in parts of the United States. For a nice summary of what has already happened in Canada go to: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/persecution/pch0080.html. For references to events in the United States and other parts of the world see, for example, my online articles at http://www.robgagnon.net/HomosexualAgenda.htm and http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/homoBalchFalseWitness.pdf (pp. 10-18); also, online articles by Robert Knight at http://www.cwfa.org/articles/2575/CFI/papers/index.htm and http://www.cwfa.org/articles/9069/CFI/papers/index.htm; and Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003).

Here is a sample of twenty-five things that are likely to happen if "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" is made a specially protected civil rights classification in the legal code:

1.  Large fines and eventually jail time if one publicly speaks out against homosexual activity or transgenderism, even as a minister, and the state determines that one's message arouses people to hate homosexual or transgendered persons; this includes messages that cite Scripture or that refer to studies that show higher incidences of promiscuity and disease among homosexually active men.

2.  Suspension without pay from one's place of employment and even outright termination if one declares in any way one's opposition to homosexual practice or transgenderism, even if, as a white-collar employee, one makes such a declaration in a "letter to an editor" outside the domain of the workplace; moreover, one will have to pay the court costs of his persecutors.

3.  Termination from one's job if one does not support "coming out" celebrations or "gay pride" observances in the workplace, or if one does not attend mandatory "sensitivity" or "diversity" training sessions that espouse acceptance of homosexuality.

4.  Large fines if one owns a business and does not allow GLBT ("gay," lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) activists to make use of the business's services to advance the GLBT agenda (e.g., if a privately owned print shop refuses to print materials for homosexual advocacy); moreover, having to pay the court costs of the government agency that prosecutes the alleged violator.

5.  Corporations having to institute affirmative-hire programs for GLBTs as a necessary precaution against potential federal or civil lawsuits for "sexual orientation" discrimination.

6.  Forced indoctrination of children as young as kindergarten in the public school systems into the acceptability of homosexual and transgendered behavior and the labeling of their parents' contrary religious views as "bigotry" and "hatred," through required readings, "GLBT studies," and mandatory attendance at special diversity convocations or diversity workshops; also, mandatory "sensitivity training" for all teachers on the value of sexual orientation diversity.

7.  Even parochial schools being required to accept "gay prom dates" and "gay clubs."

8.  Home-schooled children not being allowed to receive certification if their parents do not teach a curriculum that incorporates appreciation for "sexual diversity."

9.  Loss of federal funds, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds for student loans, for any Christian college or seminary that does not hire homosexually active teachers, or that forbids students to engage in homosexual practice, or that allows a teacher at its institution to speak against homosexual practice.

10. Ultimately, the threat of loss of accreditation for Christian colleges that do not condone homosexual behavior and transgenderism.

11.Students and employees required to get counseling for the alleged mental health condition of "homophobia" or risk expulsion.

12. Imposition of national gay marriage by the courts, through appeal to a federal civil liberties category of "sexual orientation."

13. Being forbidden by a judge in a separation or divorce settlement from ever speaking against homosexual practice to one's child if one's ex-partner or spouse is openly homosexual.

 14. Having one's child (whether a foster child, adopted child, or, eventually, one's biological child) removed from one's house if the parent opposes the child's declaration of homosexual identity and activity.

15. Private civic organizations, as well as Christian camps and retreat centers, being fined or shut down if they do not allow their facilities to be used by persons or groups for homosexual activities (e.g., to host a "wedding" by a homosexual couple or for a meeting of a "gay choir").

16. Fines for any person responsible for a newspaper ad critical of homosexual practice or transgenderism, even if the advertisement merely quotes Scripture; also, fines for the newspaper that prints it.

17. Fines for any persons with rooms for rent in their home (e.g. a bed & breakfast) if they refuse to rent to a homosexual couple intent on having homosexual sex on the premises.

18. Mayors taken to court for refusing to declare Gay Pride Days in their cities and being forced to declare such celebrations.

19. Loss of charitable status for churches that seek to influence their members to oppose pro-homosex legislation or that refuse to marry homosexual persons.

20. Fines and/or loss of license for any broadcasting corporation that criticizes, or allows its broadcasting facilities to be used for criticism of, homosexual practice over the airwaves.

21. Adoption and foster agencies forbidden to give any priority to heterosexual married couples over homosexual couples on the grounds that such priority would be discriminatory.

22. Refusing the Boy Scouts and Salvation Army the use of public facilities because of their opposition to homosexual practice and transgenderism; moreover, censuring professionals who support such organizations in their private lives (e.g., prohibiting judges from involvement in any organization that "discriminates" on the basis of "sexual orientation").

23. Christian organizations that disapprove of homosexual practice (e.g., Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade) disallowed on university campuses.

24. Making it illegal for members of mental health professions to counsel persons against a homosexual life.

25. Eventually special civil rights protection for other "sexual minorities" who can claim oppression for their "orientation": 'polysexuals' (those who are in multiple partner unions), participants in adult consensual incest, and perhaps even 'pedosexuals' (persons sexually oriented toward young adolescents or children).  

In short, the making of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" specially protected civil rights classifications of the federal government will, in the end, make opposition to, and even reservations against, homosexual practice and transgenderism the legal and moral equivalent of virulent racism and sexism. Those who espouse it will be subject to the same attenuation of their civil liberties that is currently imposed on racial and sexist bigots. Think of the kind of future your children will face if you do not act to stop such legislation. Then act.

Sincerely,

 

Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of New Testament
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

+ Author Warns Against Leftist Influences Corrupting Church, Culture

Conservative author David Kupelian says even the Christian church has been susceptible to those who market evil. He believes that is why liberals and their policies continue to dominate public policy.

Kupelian, managing editor of WorldNetDaily, is also the author of a recently published book called The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom (WND Books, 2005). He says the Church has not been immune to the radical liberal influence that is so pervasive in U.S. culture today. "Unfortunately the Christian church, institutionally, has been a target of marketers of evil," Kupelian says. "Leftists, basically, are in charge of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches." The latter body, the author contends, "is a group whose predecessor, the Federal Council of Churches, was an outright communist organization." Meanwhile, he asserts, "If you look at the very embarrassing history of the National Council of Churches, they're very liberal, very Leftist, and they have a way of always backing sort of communist and Leftist causes."

One of these Leftist pet causes Kupelian describes as being among the liberals' biggest frauds. He refers to liberation theology, a controversial school of socialistic Roman Catholic religious thought that emphasizes social justice, human rights, political activism, and identification with the poor and oppressed. But the managing editor for WorldNetDaily says liberation theology, as he defines it, "basically is Marxism that's been dressed up as Christianity."

One result of this left-ward tendency in the Church, Kupelian suggests, is the moral corruption and decline of culture, with adverse fallout affecting law and public mores. For instance, he observes, "We keep electing non-Christian people, and we keep allowing all kinds of death-affirming rather than life-affirming laws and policies."

Meanwhile, the author points out, "We have 80 percent of America that self-identifies as being Christian. And yet our culture and our laws and many of our institutions are increasingly not only non-Christian but anti-Christian -- hostile to Christianity." In a society where even the Christian church has fallen prey to the politically correct marketers of evil, Kupelian asserts, liberal radicals and elitists increasingly have virtually free rein to go on corrupting U.S. culture and damaging the nation's moral fiber.                                       - By Chad Groening; AgapePress; October 26, 2005.

 

+ Church responds to the Southeastern Jurisdictional "Hearts on Fire" conference.

This is for SEJ people who don't like the way the Wreckonciler meeting at Lake Junaluska was allowed to happen. I talked to our bishop well in advance of the scheduled meeting date.  He took the daring (not) step of "talking to Mr. Carr (Lake Junaluska Director) about it". Our bishop gets it--but---like too many, doesn't want to make waves.

I had several sharp exchanges with Mr. Carr.  He was defensive, and ended up insisting what they did was right. The SEJ controls Lake Junaluska. It is one of their retreat places. I was looking for a way to help SEJ and Mr. Carr "get it right", when along came our 06 apportionments from our Conference. In there were two line items which directly deal with Lake Junaluska. One is labelled "SEJ Administration", the other "Lake Junaluska Restoration Fund". Our Admin Council voted to accept the apportionments, with one exception:  we took the money allocated to the SEJ Admin and Lake Junaluska lines out and moved their total to the Wesley Foundation line.

I am not, and never have been in favor of witholding general apportionments, especially if it's being done to make a statement.  But, the above strategy simply reprograms, and has the added benefit of being very selective as to target. If a bunch of SEJ congregations do this for several years, it may help our bishops and Mr. Carr to "get it". 

- E-mail received from one of our supporters.

 

+ Florida Conference examines Hurricane Wilma damage

ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS) - As the sun began to shine across parts of Florida hit by Hurricane Wilma, United Methodist disaster response coordinators started determining the extent of damage from the storm, the state's eighth hurricane in 15 months. Jim Luther, with the church's Florida Annual (regional) Conference, said he was worried about churches that were close to the eye of the storm, which came ashore just south of Naples early Oct. 24 as a Category 3 hurricane, spinning off tornadoes and bringing a potential for up to 10 inches of rain. As a disaster response coordinator for the conference's South West District, Luther is responsible for connecting with churches in Lee, Collier and Hendry counties in Southwest Florida. He said he heard from two of his 28 churches soon after the hurricane struck - Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Coral, which reported losing part of the roof of its sanctuary, and Christ United Methodist Church in LeHigh Acres, which had leaks around its steeple. He was not sure when he would have more information, especially from churches and residents in areas that were forced to evacuate, such as in the district's Marco Island area.

With widespread power outages and orders from emergency management officials to stay indoors, disaster coordinators were having trouble making contact with many churches.

Luther said power in his South Fort Myers neighborhood went out around 5:30 a.m. Trees were down, screens on porches destroyed, tiles blown off roofs. A tree fell on a neighbor's car. The streets of downtown Naples were flooded with a few feet of water, and Luther said the impact on nearby First United Methodist Church was not known.

 - By Tita Parham, United Methodist News Service (UMNS); {601}; Oct. 24, 2005.

 

+  Persecuted Church Ministry Takes Issue With Bush's Pro-Islam Rhetoric

A spokesman with Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a ministry to persecuted Christians worldwide, says President George W. Bush is sending mixed signals regarding the Islamic faith and its many less than peaceful followers. Earlier this month President Bush hosted a Ramadan dinner at the White House. During his speech at that event, he described Muslim men and women as good-hearted people in society and characterized Islam as a noble and peaceful religion. However, Todd Nettleton of VOM holds a different view, based on that ministry's experiences with Islam. He feels it is unfortunate that Mr. Bush has been promoting such a positive picture of Islam to the public and says the chief executive seems confused about the true nature of that religion. "The President obviously is a political officer," Nettleton says. "He has to represent all the people of America, including the Muslims. But it's just interesting that he, a week after talking about terrorism and talking about radical Islam, would sit down for a Ramadan dinner."

The VOM spokesman says he empathizes, to a degree, with the precarious position an elected official is in when he or she must represent a diverse constituency. "I would think as a Christian president, it would be very difficult to face the political realities of the country and what you can and can't say," he admits. "Obviously there are some things that America, or many in America, would not stand for their president to say." Still Nettleton feels Bush shouldbe consistent in confronting the true nature of Islam as well as its connection not only with the war on terror but with religious persecution and oppression around the globe. "Our experience with Christians in Islamic nations is that Islam is not a religion of peace, it's not a religion of freedom, it's not a religion of democracy," Nettleton says.

He encourages Christians to write their elected officials and also to call the White House to express their concerns about President Bush's views on Islam.                                                      - By Allie Martin, AgapePress; October 27, 2005.

 

+ Pro-Family Leaders Challenge Walgreens on 'Gay Games' Sponsorship

A leading national pharmacy and good retailer is saying its participation as a sponsor in the upcoming "Gay Games" in Chicago next year is primarily for engaging in AIDS awareness education and distributing treatment drugs. But the logic of that statement is being refuted by a pro-family organization based in Illinois. The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) continues to spearhead petition campaigns, encouraging the state's citizens to voice their displeasure with major corporations that are sponsoring the 2006 Gay Games. IFI executive director Peter LaBarbera says if Walgreens -- with its corporate office in Illinois -- is trying to fight HIV, it is counterproductive for them to contribute $100,000 and take part in an event celebrating the unhealthy lifestyle that produces HIV. "What Walgreens is saying is that this $100,000 gift allow them to dispense HIV drugs at the Gay Games and also to engage in AIDS awareness," LaBarbera explains. "Now first of all, a lot of those AIDS awareness programs are compromised because they promote homosexuality. But even if they were effective, we think it's ridiculous to say that you are stopping HIV but at the same time you're celebrating homosexual behavior, which is one of the big causes of AIDS. They can dispense HIV drugs," acknowledges LaBarbera, "but they don't have to give to an event which is just celebrating homosexuality in the name of sport."

He also says it is important that Chicago residents call Mayor Richard M. Daley to task for his apparent turnaround on pro-family values and issues -- including agreeing to be co-chair of the Gay Games. "There was a time when the mayor was pro-life and pro-family -- and his father was certainly pro-family," says LaBarbera, referring to the six-term mayor who died in 1975. "We think it's sad to see Mayor Daly pandering in such an extreme way on this homosexual issue."

Another pro-family group -- the American Family Association -- also takes issue with Walgreens' justification for the financial gift to the Gay Games. AFA contends the donation was made to "placate" homosexual activists, a group it says should already know plenty about AIDS. "If any group should be aware of the dangers of AIDS and how to prevent it, it should be homosexual activists," says a statement from AFA founder Don Wildmon. He points out that billions of dollars have already been spent to educate the public about AIDS. [Note: Don Wildmon is a United Methodist pastor.]

- By Ed Thomas, AgapePress; October 21, 2005

 

The UM General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). Board of Church and Society calls for withdrawal from Iraq

The following action comes as no surprise. The GBCS has a record of anti-American, pacifistic positions. The original statement was opposed by two combat veterans, who argued from a position of experience. This action is all too typical of those lobbied by the GBCS. The reasoning is deeply flawed in their calling it an "unjust war"; I wonder if the Iraqis themselves who suffered at the hands of Sadam Hussein would agree with that terminology. What is not mentioned here are references to the thousands of people who were murdered, raped, imprisoned, and tortured by that regime. In addition, no mention is made of that dictator's connection to the terrorists who attacked the United States on September 11th. Finally, this is mischaracterized as a "civil" war rather than terrorist acts; the high voter turnout on the constitution is witness to that. This action unfortunately reflects the lack of understanding and bias of so many promulgated by this apportionment-supported organization. We are disappointed that this type of rhetoric is represented as being United Methodist. 

The action follows:

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society passed a resolution calling on the United States to withdraw its troops from the country. "As people of faith, we raise our voice in protest against the tragedy of the unjust war in Iraq," the resolution stated. "We urge the United States government to develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of its troops. The U.S. invasion has set in motion a sequence of events which may plunge Iraq into civil war." Criticizing a war "waged on false premises," the resolution went on to state, "Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in a war the United States initiated and should never have fought. ...We grieve for all those whose lives have been lost or destroyed in this needless and avoidable tragedy. Military families have suffered undue hardship from prolonged troop rotations in Iraq and loss of loved ones. It is time to bring them home." The timing of the Iraq resolution, at a moment when the Bush administration is hoping a new constitution will start to stabilize that country, did not concern James Winkler, the board's top staff executive.

But first, members of the board had to work to overcome disagreement on the resolution. Drafted during the first three days of the meeting, the measure was tabled for a vote Oct. 15 when two board members objected to wording they interpreted as critical of U.S. troops and that they thought might give comfort and support to Iraqi insurgents. Pat Curtin, a board member from Conroe, Texas, and a veteran of the Korean War, said he remembered being shunned when he returned from the battlefield. "They haven't been there, they haven't had this stuff thrown at them," he said of some of his board colleagues. Howard Mason, a board member from Seaford, Del., and a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, joined Curtin in pushing for changes to the original draft. "It's an emotional thing because we were there," he said, referring to wartime combat. "We're against war, but we appreciate the G.I.s' sacrifice."

   - By Mark Schoeff Jr.; UMNS; Oct. 19, 2005.

 

The United Methodist Judicial Council

+ Church court reinstates pastor who denied membership to gay man

HOUSTON - United Methodist ministers do have the power to decide who becomes a member of the local church, the denomination's top court has ruled, supporting a pastor who blocked an openly gay man from joining the congregation. The United Methodist Judicial Council, holding its regular fall meeting Oct. 26-29, issued two decisions related to the case of Rev. Ed Johnson, who was serving as senior pastor at South Hill (Va.) United Methodist Church until he was placed on involuntary leave of absence in June. In Decision 1031, the council dealt with the due process problems in how Johnson was disciplined. Decision 1032 was the more sweeping ruling, saying that the church's Book of Discipline "invests discretion in the pastor-in-charge to make determination of a person's readiness to affirm the vows of membership." The result of both decisions is that Johnson is to be immediately reinstated to the status he held before being placed on involuntary leave of absence, with all salary and benefits retroactive to July 1, and is entitled to receive an appointment.                                                                                      - By Neill Caldwell , UMNS #612; Oct. 31, 2005.

 + Judicial Council reverses lower court, rules against Beth Stroud

The UM Judicial Council also reversed an appeals court ruling in the case of a lesbian pastor, restoring the original trial court ruling and verdict that had resulted in the minister losing her clergy credentials. The Rev. Irene Elizabeth "Beth" Stroud, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Germantown, Pa., was convicted by a clergy trial court last December after stating that she was a practicing lesbian - a violation of church law, which forbids the ordination and appointment of "self-avowed practicing" homosexuals. The trial court revoked Stroud's credentials, but a jurisdictional court of appeals set aside that ruling in April. The Oct. 31 decision by the denomination's top court restores the original decision. "The Northeast Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals erred in reversing and setting aside the verdict and penalty from Rev. Stroud's trial," the court said in its eight-page ruling. "Stroud was accorded fair and due process rights enumerated in the (Book of) Discipline and Judicial Council decisions," the court said. "Regulation of the practice of homosexuality does not violate the 'status' provisions of the Constitution. The Northeast Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals was without jurisdiction to declare that Paragraph 304.3 established a new standard of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards" Stroud attended the hearing, sitting in the front row with her partner, Chris Paige, but did not address the council.                                                     - By Neill Caldwell, UMNS #612, Oct. 31, 2005. 

+ Pacific Northwest declaration

The nine-member Judicial Council also rejected a declaration by Methodists in the Pacific Northwest that there is a "difference of opinion among faithful Christians regarding sexual orientation and practice." The court said the declaration was a "historical statement without prescriptive force" and had no bearing on church laws.

.  — Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, November 1, 2005.

 United Methodist Women (UMW).   Women's Division to take new approach to finances

STAMFORD, Conn. - A long-term decline in funding, impacted by inflation, will mean a new approach to finances for the Women's Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Various aspects of the current financial picture were discussed as directors met Oct. 7-10 for the division's annual meeting. The Women's Division is the administrative arm of United Methodist Women. Jan Love, the division's chief executive, told United Methodist News Service that while undesignated giving has varied in the past decade, the real problem is that giving patterns have not kept pace with inflation. "There is a long-term decline, but it's primarily in relationship to purchasing power," she explained.  In recent years, the division also has overspent its income "because of the demands on us" to fill in the gaps when other institutions fall short of funds, she added. To meet these demands, the division has spent down some of its assets.

Roland Fernandes, treasurer for the Board of Global Ministries, reported that undesignated giving to the Women's Division during the first eight months of 2005 is $1.1 million less than during the same period in 2004. Operating revenue for that period is $810,000 less than last year. "In the present situation, we appear vulnerable but need to remember that usually a good portion of the income is received towards the end of the year," he said. The division has reduced total operating expenditures by $1.84 million compared to 2004, a reduction sparked by "a conscientious effort to scale back spending." According to his report, the division's total net assets declined by almost $28 million from the end of 2000 to the end of 2004, with $23 million of that money falling into the unrestricted category.

     The division's section on finance presented a brief paper, "United Methodist Women Focus on Finance," to all directors. According to the paper, the division will explore ways to streamline its work and analyze the giving patterns of United Methodist Women and the effective use of mission funds.

- By Linda Bloom, UMNS story #575, October 11, 2005.

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Close your eyes and you will see everything you actually possess.   — Daily Walk, September 10/11, 1994.

 

Global Outlook

 No marvel that our sorrows are multiplied when our sins are. — Daily Walk, September 3/4, 1994.

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Israel.  A Middle East expert says the renewal of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis comes as little surprise. Author and terrorist expert Robert Spencer predicted that concessions to the Palestinians would not settle the thirst for blood of Islamic terrorists in that region. That has been shown to be true in the second homicide bombing in Israel in the past two days. "The Palestinian Authority, as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have been quite clear about their ultimate goal of destroying Israel altogether and establishing an Islamic state on its land," says Spencer. "This is something that's made no secret of at any point." At least seven innocent people were killed and nearly 40 more were wounded in the attacks.

The founder of an organization dedicated to a safe and secure Israel says President Bush continues to send mixed messages to both the American people and its enemies by pandering to the Palestinian agenda. Last week the president invited Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, and supported his call for the Israelis to stop constructing settlements on the West Bank. Bush also said the prospects for a Palestinian "state" seem to be better than every before. But Esther Levens of the Unity Coalition for Israel says the president seems to have forgotten that Abbas was Yasser Arafat's right-hand man. "While we continue to fight the war in Iraq against terrorism at great cost in American lives and taxpayer dollars, the White House entertains the former longtime right-hand man of Arafat who is the architect of the suicide bombing and the radical Islamic war against freedom and democracy," Levens states. She contends President Bush would rather pander to Saudi oil than support a true ally: Israel. "By promoting the Saudi road map as a pathway to peace, he is really presenting a major deception to the American people," she says. "Israelis are fighting the same battle against Palestinian terrorism that the United States fights against in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. So it's a very contradictory, mixed message." Levens' group is calling on people of faith to voice their complaints to the Bush administration about the Palestinian leader's recent visit to the White House.                   - Chad Groening, AgapePress, October 31, 2005.

Nigeria. Christians in the rural areas of Kano are afraid to send their children to public schools, fearing they will be forced to convert to Islam. Students are being forced to study Arabic, Islam, and say Islamic prayers. Moreover, Christian leaders report the government refuses to grant churches permission to establish schools in rural areas. "The strategy is to force Christians to send their children to public schools so they can be forced to become Muslims," said Rev. Murtala Marti Dangora, secretary of the Kano district of the Evangelical Church of West Africa. Rev. Dangora, a former Muslim, said there are still numerous cases of persecution in the state; in one case, 15 Christians were forced to flee Banda village because of Muslim antagonism. Another Christian leader noted that Christians in Kano state have lost religious liberty and are seen as second-class citizens. 

- Compass Direct, as received from the Voice of the Martyrs' News Update, November 1, 2005.

SyriaPentagon advisor and military expert says he agrees with the recent assessment of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when it comes to Syria. Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that President Bush has not taken the military option off the table. The Bush administration has accused Syria of not doing enough to prevent foreign terrorists from entering neighboring Iraq. While Secretary Rice declined to tell senators of any specific plan for military action against Syria, she made it clear that the option remains open. Army Lt. Colonel (retired) Bob Maginnis, who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Iraq, believes any action would be limited. "We will probably engage [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's] people along the border if in fact they're not being very helpful," Maginnis says. "And then, of course, it's always possible that we can identify some of those who are funding and recruiting and training the Islamists." Maginnis doubts the U.S. would move on Damascus, Syria's capital. "To go in to Damascus as we did into Baghdad would be a very different proposition," he says, "and I would argue that we don't have the forces in that part of the world at this time to accomplish that mission, much less to hold a country the size of Syria, which is a fairly large country." Maginnis agrees with Secretary Rice that diplomacy must continue. [Chad Groening]   - AgapePress, October 31, 2005.

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There is not such thing as a little sin because there is not such person as a little God to sing against.

Daily Walk, September 8, 1994.

 

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