Charisma News | Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective. http://www.charismanews.com/component/content/?view=featured Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:00:02 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Atheist and His Metal Detector http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48932-the-atheist-and-his-metal-detector http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48932-the-atheist-and-his-metal-detector

I grew up on the Jersey shore. (No, it wasn't like the TV show.) Every summer morning I'd see several men combing the beach with metal detectors looking for jewelry and change lost the day before. One lost diamond earring or ring could pay for the metal detector several times over.

But as useful and successful as metal detectors are, they can't be used to find everything. Metal detectors won't help you find wood, plastic, rubber, or other nonmetallic objects.

Now, suppose metal-detector man, after just combing the beach, says to you, "I know there's no plastic or rubber on that beach because I looked for those things with my metal detector and found nothing!" Then suppose he goes even further and says, "There's not only no plastic or rubber on that beach, there is no plastic or rubber anywhere because I've never found a speck of it with my metal detector!" Meanwhile, you can't help but notice that his metal detector is made of mostly plastic and rubber.

You'd think, "Is metal-detector man nuts? He's certainly not thinking properly."

That's what Dr. Edward Feser, who thought of this illustration, thinks about atheists who insist that all truth comes from science. The atheists are like metal-detector man, and science is their metal detector. Because their chosen tool—science—has been so successful in discovering material causes in the natural world, atheists mistakenly assume that nothing but material things exist. Just like metal-detector man doesn't realize that plastic and rubber are part of his metal detector—in fact, it couldn't work without them— some atheists don't seem to realize that immaterial realities are part of science, and science couldn't work without them.

When the new atheists (such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) refer to "science," they are normally referring to the study of material causes in fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, and astronomy. There's obviously much to gain by studying those areas of reality. The problem arises when the new atheists assert that those are the only areas of reality—that everything can be explained by material causes, and all truth comes from science.

Such an assertion is obviously false. In fact, the claim "all truth comes from science" didn't itself come from science.  It's not a scientific truth, but a philosophical claim about science. So the claim is self-defeating.

As I argue in my new book, Stealing from God:  Why atheists need God to make their case (from which this column is adapted), we learn truth in many ways other than the physical sciences. For example, you can't know or learn any truths without relying on the self-evident philosophical principles such as the laws of logic and mathematics. In fact, science itself is impossible without them.   

We all know the basic moral truths because they are, as Thomas Jefferson put it, "self-evident." Running a scientific experiment will not help you discover them. You can't get honesty from a test tube—you need to be honest to run experiments in the first place! In other words, scientists themselves must behave morally by reporting the data from their experiments accurately.

You don't need to be a scientist to learn basic truths through your senses either (call me crazy, but you don't need to run a scientific experiment to learn if there's a screen in front of you right now!). And certain truths you know directly through introspection (like whether you are hungry, tired, interested, bored, "in love," convinced, doubtful, and so on). The testimony of others is still another way you can learn truth about historical events or those in the present day. And the list goes on.  

If fact, if atheism were true, we wouldn't be able to learn anything reliably, even from science itself. Atheists assert that only molecules exist.  But if that's the case, then human beings don't have free will or the ability to reason.  We are merely moist robots whose actions are completely determined by the laws of physics. So why should we believe anything atheists say, including any of their scientific conclusions or their reasons for believing atheistic materialism is true? They arrived at their conclusions not by reason, but because the laws of physics determined they would arrive at their conclusions.   

Atheist Thomas Nagel is a professor at NYU whose recent book set off an atheist inquisition against him for expressing doubts about the atheistic worldview.  He wrote, "Evolutionary naturalism provides an account of our capacities that undermines their reliability, and in doing so undermines itself." Indeed, atheism scuttles free will and destroys our confidence in everything we think.

A metal detector can't even find metal without relying on non-metallic things such as rubber, plastic and electricity. Likewise, scientists can't find material causes without relying on the immaterial realities that are necessary for anyone to do science in the first place, such as the laws of logic, mathematics, consistent natural laws, and the very existence of our minds that go beyond the mere molecules of our brains.   

Since science depends on those realities, atheists can't use science to deny that some of them exist. Feser says that doing so is "utterly fallacious—as fallacious as appealing to the success of metal detectors in order to support the claim that only metal exists." The man who does, Feser writes, "is like the drunk who thinks his car keys must be under the lamppost because that is the only place there is light to look for them—and who refuses to listen to those who have already found them elsewhere."

Of course I'm not saying atheists can't do science. Obviously they can. What I am saying is that they are unwittingly stealing from God's immaterial universe in order to do science. Atheistic materialism has destroyed all tools necessary to do the job!  So ironically, it's not religion that's at war with science—it's atheism that's at war with science.  

 rank Turek is the president of crossexamined.orgcoauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of the new book Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.

]]>
Frank Turek Featured Opinion Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0400
9 Factors That Ruin a Good Night's Sleep and What to Do About Them http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48929-9-factors-that-ruin-a-good-night-s-sleep-and-what-to-do-about-them http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48929-9-factors-that-ruin-a-good-night-s-sleep-and-what-to-do-about-them

Lack of sleep is a serious problem in the United States. Recent surveys indicate almost half of all Americans do not get enough shut-eye. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems. Lack of sleep often causes us to overeat because when we're tired the hunger hormone kicks into high gear.

Some people get less sleep than they need by choice. These are the people who make the conscious decision to stay up late working (or playing) then get up early. Those people would be wise to re-think their choice to burn the candle at both ends and exercise self-discipline by getting the proper amount of sleep.

In the short-term as well as in the long-term, they will reap the health benefits. You know you are not getting enough sleep if you do not feel refreshed in the morning. Other clues are irritability, grogginess, difficulty concentrating or staying awake during meetings or classes, and trying to catch-up on sleep on weekends.

Aside from people who choose to get less sleep than their body requires, there are millions of people who would like to get a full eight hours of sleep and try to do so but can't. This is called insomnia. There are two types of insomniacs: people who can't fall asleep to begin with, and people who fall asleep just fine but who wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.

Since so many people have difficulty sleeping, sleeping pills are some of the most widely prescribed medications in America and some of the best-selling over-the-counter medications. Sadly, however, sleeping pills usually do more harm than good. For many, the first step tends to be sleeping pills when, in reality, it should be one of the last. According to sleep experts, this medication is addictive, can have serious side effects, and can cause drowsiness during the day.

Instead of taking a sleeping pill, it's better to figure out what's causing the sleep trouble and fix that. Many sleep disorders are brought on by underlying physical problems, like obesity or emotional issues like depression.

Many doctors say that by addressing those root causes and changing some lifestyle choices, you can get the sleep you want and need without drugs.

1. Diet. One reason for sleeplessness can be eating or drinking the wrong things. Too much caffeine can be a culprit so cut out coffee, tea, soda and even chocolate, eight hours before bedtime or better yet, altogether. Don't eat within two hours of bedtime and avoid big meals and alcohol, which can knock you out but later wake you up. Nix the spicy or fatty foods. They cause heartburn, which interferes with sleep.

2. Environment. In order to really get a great night's sleep, turn your bedroom into a true sleep chamber. That means eliminating anything your brain associates with wakefulness. So when you're in bed, don't do things like watch TV, pay the bills or have tense conversations.

In fact, if you worry in bed, think about something calm or get out of bed and go to another room. Then once you are in that other room, get a pen and literally write down your problems. This subconsciously transfers them from your mind to the paper, relieving stress so you can go back to bed.

Prayer before bed and when you have difficulty sleeping is very effective. As the Bible says, "cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7).

3. Exercise. Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can have you sleeping like a baby. Many people find they no longer need sleep aids or anti-depressants after starting and sticking to a regular exercise program that involves at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily as well as weight training. Finish your work-out at least two or three hours before bedtime.

4. Bathing. Taking a warm shower or bath before bed is a great way to calm and soothe. Using fragrant bath products can also help.

5. Temperature. Make sure your bedroom is cool. The temperature should not exceed 68 degrees. Do not use a lot of heavy blankets. A cool temperature aids a good night's sleep. Many people don't realize they wake up because they are too hot. There are even cooling pillows available at home stores.

6. Sight and sound. Make sure your bedroom is dark. Avoid nightlights, light from other rooms or the hallway and electronics. Make sure no light is coming in from outside the window. You may want to invest in some thick curtains or blinds. Use a sleep mask or earplugs if necessary.

White noise machines are very helpful to block out sounds that might wake you, such as traffic, snoring, or the air conditioner or heater turning on and off.

7. Consistency. Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Our bodies do better when we stick with the same schedule.

8. Smoking. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a stimulant, meaning it keeps us awake just like coffee.

9. Sleep apnea. If these tips don't work, see your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea. This is a condition where a person's oxygen supply is cut off many times during the night, preventing a restful night's sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by the airway closing during sleep.

A good way to recognize sleep apnea is the person gasps and chokes during the night. People with sleep apnea are usually prescribed a C-PAP machine to use at night, that keeps the airway open. People with sleep apnea often find that when the use the C-PAP machine they experience restful sleep and have increased energy and lose weight.

For the original article, visit cbn.com.

]]>
Lorie Johnson/CBN News Medical Reporter Featured Opinion Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:00:00 -0400
WATCH: Do You Recognize These 15 Signs of the Times? http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/heres-the-deal/48928-watch-do-you-recognize-these-15-signs-of-the-times http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/heres-the-deal/48928-watch-do-you-recognize-these-15-signs-of-the-times

When Jesus walked the earth He told His followers that they know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but they can't discern the signs of the times. Here we are, more than 2,000 years later, and the signs of the times are speaking loud and clear. Can you recognize them? 

Watch my video and find out for yourself.

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with more than 41 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview (see "Is Gay OK? 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know" now on YouTube). He loves awakening people to today's cultural realities and responses needed for a restored, influential church. Please visit larrytomczak.com.

]]>
Larry Tomczak Featured Here's the Deal Opinion Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0400
Mantles of Might: It's Time for the Miraculous http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-flaming-herald/48926-mantles-of-might-it-s-time-for-the-miraculous http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-flaming-herald/48926-mantles-of-might-it-s-time-for-the-miraculous

"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city" (Acts 8:5-8). 

Demons entice sinners by entertaining them with the sweet bait of lustful play and sinful pleasure. The bland and the boring are identified with God while the dainty and delightful are unknowingly credited to Satan. The master of deception has majored in distracting the multitudes. 

Secular artists are in alliance with evil to accomplish hell's top mission: activate and accelerate the minds of the masses and make them too busy to stop, too unsettled to stand, too noisy to hear and too numb to feel the conviction of the Spirit. 

Hell's carefully planned distractions are always designed to keep the multitudes free from viewing and knowing Christ, the main attraction. Hell's fulfillment of this, their highest purpose, can only be halted when a sinner's mind is assaulted and his heart attacked by the Spirit's thunderous blast. 

Mighty miracles point the barrel of the gun at the sinner's back and declare: "Stop. Stand still. Don't move. Put your hands on your head. You're under arrest." Now his rights can be read, and he can be guided and led to repair and repent. 

Where are the sharp-shooting gunmen whose wonders place people under arrest and whose words do more than just caress? Where are the feared miracle ministries and marshals? 

Philip was one of those miracle marshals and sharpshooters from out west. He traveled east to Samaria looking for criminals to arrest. Philip's miracles arrested and his message was convincing and uncontested. 

Try to imagine a place like Samaria. This wicked city was completely under the rule of sorcery whose main operation came through one man. These Samarians were astonished at this man's magical powers, and they listened to him. His false miracles produced a false arrest of an entire city. The inhabitants exclaimed this sorcerer as the great power of God. 

This ruling principality and power of sorcery had occupied this city for a long time. It would take real Holy Ghost muscle to move this territorial tycoon out of Samaria.

When a man and a ministry of miracles come to an occupied demonic territory, he comes immaculately dressed with an armor of authority which reflects in the know-so confidence he possesses. He knows when Christ comes to a city He doesn't come to compromise or negotiate. There are no terms for any sort of agreement. 

In the Old Testament Israel's enemies would either surrender and live or oppose and die. Satan's power is no match for God. Under a miracle ministry, his weapons of deception are brought to naught every single time. 

To be harassed and embarrassed by already-defeated demon power only means you are the one who's deceived. Like Pharaoh's magicians challenged Moses, Satan may challenge a man or a ministry who show any bit of hesitation and doubt. 

But a man with a mantle, and a ministry with a mandate, Satan can never intimidate.

A man with an assignment will not be subject to confinement. He knows Satan has been stripped and spoiled of all his power. Satan lost. Christ is boss. 

That is why a humble man endued with this knowledge and power can appear bossy. He cannot afford to be anything less than that. His very attitude speaks. 

When he steps up to the plate, he points to the grandstands, a la Babe Ruth. Such a man knows the score. He comes to town with might and miracles to hit a home run.

"Win. Conquer. Take over. That is the language of miracles." 

Demons were cast out under Philip's anointed proclamation and power. Christ's authority in Philip made demons cry. Today they often sigh. They're relieved because there are so few with divine authority to make them leave. 

There are so few miracle ministries who have a knockout punch. And there are even less that possess the lethal combination jab and hook of potent preaching and mighty miracles. 

The greatest crime in many ungodly nations is anti-Christ governments who won't let preachers preach. But the greatest crime in many nations who do allow for freedom of speech are so-called preachers who deny the power of God. Which crime is greater, I wonder? 

Stephen was full of faith and power and performed great wonders and signs among the people (Acts 6:8). "Great" and "among" describe the power and the place for miracles. Miracles are to be notable and undeniable in the face of a world whose analysis and data are skeptical and unreliable. 

Where are the modern-day miracles that really make us shout and leave the world no doubt? 

The doubters couldn't dispute Stephen's miracles so they tried to dispute his message (Acts 6:9-10), but their efforts were futile because Stephen's words were as great as his wonders. 

Like hordes of creeping crawlers under a large rock, entire cities are infested with demons who sit comfortably under their cloak of darkness. But see what happens when somebody lifts that rock, and allows a laser of bright light to expose those creatures of darkness. They are sent scurrying. 

I hear a call for those miracle marshals to come forth. I see mantles of might falling from heaven upon God's chosen vessels. I see beaming lasers of lightning piercing the gross darkness in cities and towns across the world. I hear the booming voice of Jesus Christ calling for the resurrection of the manifold miraculous. 

Philip, come forth! Stephen, come forth! Be loosed in the earth! Holy Spirit, give birth! It's time! It's time! It's time to pray and bring forth the miraculous! 

Pockets of true revival are breaking out across America. Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others. 

Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Spirit of Revival and the newly released My Son, My Son—a beautiful father-son book co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of training up a holy generation. He and his wife also host The Holy Ghost Forum—a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.

]]>
Bert Farias Featured The Flaming Herald Opinion Fri, 27 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0400
Opinion: Obama Is Killing the Two-State Solution, Not Netanyahu http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/48931-opinion-obama-is-killing-the-two-state-solution-not-netanyahu http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/48931-opinion-obama-is-killing-the-two-state-solution-not-netanyahu

President Barack Obama is correct. There is, as he said on Tuesday, no realistic prospect of a Palestinian state being created through a diplomatic process for the foreseeable future. 

"What we can't do is pretend that there's a possibility for something that's not there," Obama said. "And we can't continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years."

So that, it would seem, is that. In 2012, Obama confidently told the U.N. General Assembly, "The road is hard, but the destination is clear: a secure Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine." Now, he has conceded that his own journey is over and the destination remains virtually invisible upon the horizon. The elixir that is a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has eluded Obama, just as it did his predecessors.

That is not an outcome we should celebrate. I also applaud the vision of a secure Jewish state of Israel living peaceably with a neighboring, prosperous Palestinian state—only I would add the entire Middle East to the equation. But here is where any empathy I have with the president ends.

It was entirely predictable that Obama would blame his predicament on one man: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "The issue is a very clear substantive challenge: We believe that two states is the best path forward for Israel's security, for Palestinian aspirations and for regional stability," Obama said. Then he added, drily, "And Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach."

The Netanyahu approach, as understood by Obama, was summarized in remarks he made the previous day. "Prime Minister Netanyahu in the election run-up stated that a Palestinian state would not occur while he was prime minister, and I took him at his word that that's what he meant, and I think that a lot of voters inside of Israel understood him to be saying that fairly unequivocally," said the president. He concluded that the "prospect of a meaningful framework" that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state was not in sight. 

In the future, Obama said, a credible negotiating framework would be one "that gives the Palestinians hope, the possibility that down the road they have a secure state of their own standing side by side with a secure and fully recognized Jewish state of Israel." In this sentence, there was a faint admonishing of Netanyahu, the implication being that the Israeli government's negotiating positions and actions in the current framework left the Palestinians with no hope at all.

It's here that we get to the heart of the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu, far beneath the surface noise of their mutual dislike. "The issue is not a matter of relations between leaders," Obama said. And he is right. Ultimately, Israel maddens Obama because its people and its leaders—whatever their disagreements over how Netanyahu has handled his personal relationship with Obama—are rightly wary of his strategy of enabling Iran to become the dominant power in the Middle East, among the many consequences of which is that many Sunni Arabs turn to groups like the "Islamic State" terror entity in response. 

What this reveals quite sharply is that Obama has never really empathized with the emotions that govern Israeli perceptions of the wider region—outrage that nearly 70 years after the Jewish state's creation, the Arab and Muslim world remains consumed by anti-Semitism and eliminationist ambitions towards Israel; impatience when it comes to a peace process that promises so much and requires so many sacrifices, like the 2005 evacuation of Gaza, and yet seldom, if ever, makes good; fear of a nuclear Iran and contempt for the negotiating process that is abetting it. 

From Obama's point of view, though, it's all about the current distribution of power and resources. Israel, Obama believes, controls the land, has a prosperous economy, and is robustly protected by a first-class military that enjoys a close, productive relationship with its American counterpart. It also has the support of America's influential and prosperous Jewish community, which further cements the distinctive relationship between the two nations. And yet, despite all those advantages, Israel refuses to see that a complete moratorium on construction activities in Jewish communities in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem is in its best interests, thus fueling the anger of extremists who oppose the peace process, thus leading to repeated wars in Gaza, thus provoking international condemnation and isolation, and so on and so forth.

We cannot compel Obama to see things differently. But I do fear that his legacy, as it applies to Israelis, will be a wholly negative one: namely, to kill off any remnants of support for a two-state solution.

After all, it's not just about the last seven years. The Oslo process, the second Palestinian intifada, the withdrawal from Gaza, and the assaults from Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north, have all persuaded Israelis that hard, territorial compromises can actually bring more war, rather than less conflict. Yes, a good number of Israelis might dislike Netanyahu personally, and think that he bears a portion of the blame for the fractious relationship with the White House. But that does not imply their support for a peace process that defines Israeli concessions as the main yardstick of progress—suggesting, at the same time, that the compromises they've already made, like the 10-month freeze on settlement building that was implemented in late 2009, are worthless. 

"Each man kills the thing he loves," wrote Oscar Wilde. And the president bears him out. Obama's zeal to create a Palestinian state, and his elevation of that quest to the most important goal of American policy in the region, has been profoundly disquieting for Israel. Not only do Israelis perceive Obama as placing undue pressure and censure upon Netanyahu, but they also perceive him as an appeaser of the Iranian mullahs and of the Assad regime in Syria.

Should the phrase "two-state solution" become a permanent metaphor for a failed policy, Obama's contribution on that score will have been decisive. But he will choose to blame Israel and its wily leader instead. That, after all, has been one of the few constants of this administration's Middle East policy. 

Ben Cohen, senior editor of The Tower, writes a weekly column for JNS.org. His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Ha'aretz, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He is the author of Some of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism. (Edition Critic, 2014).

For the original article, visit jns.org.

]]>
Ben Cohen/For JNS.org Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Fri, 27 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0400
School That Was Named After War Hero Forces Child to Shave Off Military-Style Haircut http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/48930-school-that-was-named-after-war-hero-forces-child-to-shave-off-military-style-haircut http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/48930-school-that-was-named-after-war-hero-forces-child-to-shave-off-military-style-haircut

Adam Stinnett looks up to his older stepbrother—a soldier in the U.S. Army. So when it came time to get a haircut, the 7-year-old told his mother he wanted a basic military-style cut. And that's exactly what he got—high and tight—just like his stepbrother.

Adam got his haircut on March 8. On March 9, his mother got a letter from the principal of Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School in McMinnville, Tennessee.

It seems they were not all that thrilled with the second-grader's new hairdo. The principal told Amy Stinnett that her son's haircut was distracting—and needed to be fixed.

Amy refused to comply. 

The following day, she was summoned to the principal's office where she was given an ultimatum.

"We were told that we had to either cut his hair or he could not return to school," she said.

Amy tried to explain to the principal that her son's haircut was meant to emulate his older brother. But her explanation was dismissed and the principal demanded that the boy's hair be "in compliance with our rules."

"I have the utmost respect for the military and its members," the principal wrote in an email to Amy. "However, we are not a military school and the boy's haircut is against our rules."

She tried to reason with the principal—but it was a lost cause. So Amy complied with the school's demands.

"In order to fix the high and tight, I had to shave his head—like he has no hair," she told me.

Apparently the principal at Bobby Ray Elementary School doesn't seem to think a bald-headed second grader is going to cause a distraction.

But Amy also did something else—she contacted the Southern Standard newspaper. And as it turned out—the pen really is mightier than the clippers. 

"Military hair cut deemed distracting by Bobby Ray Elementary" was the headline—and, boy, did it create some controversy around McMinnville.

"They shamed my son and they shamed a lot of military people—that's how I feel about it," Amy said. She also would like the school to apologize to her son.

The Warren County School District responded to the newspaper story with a four-paragraph statement telling folks they could not comment on the incident or the investigation—on the advice of their attorneys.

"This is an internal school matter and the administration of the school district has been advised to address it as such from this point forward," the statement read.

While the district does not have a policy about hair styles, individual schools are given authority to make such decisions.

"Neither Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary, nor any school in Warren County School District, prohibits military haircuts," the statement declares.

Well, someone at the district office might want to clue in the principal—because according to her email—military style haircuts are clearly against the rules.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs in McMinnville—especially when you take into account that Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School is named after a local war hero

Navy Corpsman David Robert "Bobby" Ray was killed in action during the Vietnam War. His final act of heroism was to use his body to shield a Marine from a grenade. The Marine survived. Ray did not. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

"We are extremely proud that Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary was named in honor of a true American hero," the school district stated.

And yet, they chose to shame a 7-year-old boy who wanted to look like a soldier. That school district doesn't know the first thing about honor.

 

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.

]]>
Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:00:00 -0400
Navy to Chaplain Wes Modder: You Can’t Comfort Family of Dead Sailor http://www.charismanews.com/us/48927-navy-to-chaplain-wes-modder-you-can-t-comfort-family-of-dead-sailor http://www.charismanews.com/us/48927-navy-to-chaplain-wes-modder-you-can-t-comfort-family-of-dead-sailor

American Family Association (AFA, afa.net) is defending a highly decorated, greatly respected and deeply praised Navy chaplain for simply following his faith convictions and attempting to do his job to the best of his ability.  

This morning, AFA sent an Action Alert to its one million-plus friends and supporters, urging them to contact their Senators and Representatives in defense of Chaplain Modder, who, earlier this month, was dismissed from the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, South Carolina, after a few sailors complained about Modder's counseling methods surrounding his biblical view on sexuality and marriage.

Thus far, thousands of phone calls have gone to Capitol Hill in defense of the chaplain.

But just when we thought the Navy's anti-Christian bigotry couldn't go any lower, it did.

Now, Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry is telling onenewsnow.com, AFA's news service, that when Chaplain Modder received word of the death of someone in his previous unit last week, he leaped to action—doing what chaplains do best—comforting families in their time of need. But instead, Modder was stopped in his tracks by a commander who stepped in with the equivalent of a restraining order.

"He was told that he's not allowed to do that because of this 'no-contact' order," Berry told OneNewsNow. "And in fact, the unit was planning to have a memorial service coming up on Thursday and they've actually asked him to leave the base for that day. They don't even want him in the vicinity or on the same base."

Added Modder, "One of the most important things chaplains do is to provide comfort and care after a tragic death. I am heartbroken for the family, and yet the Navy won't allow me to do my job of helping them grieve and mourn."

"Every chaplain and every service member should be free to live according to their faith without fear of punishment by the government," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "We are encouraging Christians to get involved and help correct this injustice. Thousands of patriotic Americans have already called their Members of Congress, and the pressure is being felt in Washington. Let's flood Capitol Hill with more messages of support for Chaplain Modder."

In its Action Alert today, AFA is providing a link so those interested in contacting their Members of Congress can do so easily and quickly by providing phone numbers directly to the lawmakers' offices.

After the run-in regarding Modder's views on natural marriage, the Navy recommended that Modder be removed from the promotion list (where he was listed as "Early Promote," the highest rating possible); be "detached for cause," which is the military equivalent of being terminated for cause and removed from his unit; and/or be brought before an official Board of Inquiry, where he could potentially be forced out of the Navy.

]]>
Deborah Hamilton Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Atlanta’s Desperate Defense of Christian Discrimination Falls Short http://www.charismanews.com/us/48925-atlanta-s-desperate-defense-of-christian-discrimination-falls-short http://www.charismanews.com/us/48925-atlanta-s-desperate-defense-of-christian-discrimination-falls-short

The city of Atlanta's response to its wrongful termination of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran for his religious beliefs falls woefully short, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys who represent him in a lawsuit against the city.

ADF attorneys say the city's motion to dismiss filed in federal district court Wednesday actually confirms the lawsuit's argument that the city fired Cochran for holding and expressing religious beliefs city officials didn't like. In the motion, the city claims it was entitled to fire Cochran because the views he expressed in a Christian devotional book "caused at least one [fire department] member enough concern to complain to a City Councilmember" and because Cochran distributed the book to a handful of department members, most of whom had asked for a copy and none of whom objected.

"In America, a religious or ideological test cannot be used to fire a public servant, but that's precisely what the city did," said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. "That endangers everyone who works for the city who may hold to a belief that the city doesn't like. Furthermore, the First Amendment fully protects the freedom of any public employee to distribute religious materials at work to those willing to receive them, and no city rule—written or unwritten—can override that freedom."

After activists who don't agree with Cochran's Christian views on sex complained to City Councilman Alex Wan about a brief mention of the topic in the 162-page men's devotional book Cochran had written on his personal time, Reed suspended him for 30 days and announced that Cochran would have to complete "sensitivity training." Reed then fired Cochran, even though a city investigation concluded that he did not discriminate against anyone.

Reed recounted in his 2014 State of the City Address that he "begged" Cochran to return to Atlanta in 2010 from his job as U.S. fire administrator in the Obama administration. Cochran agreed, and the city council confirmed him to serve a second time as the city's fire chief, a job Cochran originally held from 2008 to 2009. In 2012, Fire Chief magazine named Cochran "Fire Chief of the Year."

Despite this, the city claims in its brief that Cochran was fired for breaking a rule it claims required him to obtain permission before publishing books even if they are unrelated to his job. While ADF attorneys point out that any such rule is unconstitutional even if it applies to Cochran, he did, on his own, obtain permission from a city official before he published his book, a copy of which he also provided to the mayor almost a year before he was fired. Public statements Reed and Wan made late last year confirm the truth about why the city fired Cochran.

"I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran's book is not representative of my personal beliefs and is inconsistent with the administration's work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all citizens ... ," Reed said in November of last year to explain why he suspended Cochran.

"I respect each individual's right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions, but when you're a city employee and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city's, you have to check them at the door," Wan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that same month.

"The only one engaged in discrimination here is the city," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. "The city exonerated Chief Cochran from any discrimination, but then it cited the need to tolerate diverse views as the reason for firing him. That demonstrates the city's hypocrisy as well as the true reason for why it fired the chief: It simply didn't like his religious beliefs—an unjustifiable reason for firing any public employee."

Jonathan Crumly and Garland Hunt, two of more than 2,500 private attorneys allied with ADF, are serving as local counsel in Cochran v. City of Atlanta, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

]]>
Alliance Defending Freedom Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:00:00 -0400
An Open Letter to Anyone Who Cares About Women http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48924-an-open-letter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-women http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48924-an-open-letter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-women

Dear U.S. Senators, Members of Congress, American and Global Leaders, and anyone who really cares about women ...

If you agree with us when we say that the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act has been held hostage too long, please keep reading. We are writing, though, not to urge you to compromise on the bill's language upholding taxpayer conscience rights through the Hyde amendment—far from it.  We respectfully call on you to be more vocal in explaining to the American people that money for abortion should have no place in this legislation.

If you are on the side of the women, men, teens and children who have been made slaves to ruthless individuals, you are actually on the side of the American public, two-thirds of whom tell pollsters that they oppose public funding for abortion. And you are on the side of the babies who are slaughtered by the greatest civil rights violation of our day, abortion.

The senators who are blocking the anti-trafficking bill are hearing the voices of the abortion lobby—and women, mothers and their babies are being hurt. Abortion is a bad product. 

By refusing to allow a vote on this measure, even a debate, the U.S. Senate is being held hostage (willing or not), slaves to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY's List. They and other pro-abortion politicians have procured for Planned Parenthood alone $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds over a three-year period according to a new GAO report. Their masters are now demanding more money and will sacrifice aid to the oppressed to get it. They should all be ashamed.

We encourage you, therefore, to stay strong in your defense of life, born and unborn. The frightened runaway snared by the web of trafficking; the victim of rape and incest; she deserves protection, not a coupon for the destruction of the one other innocent victim in her nightmare of human atrocities. Her baby, as innocent and fully human as any wanted child conceived in a loving marriage, is equally deserving of protection.

As we approach Passion Week, we are reminded of He who came to set the captives free. As the debate on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act resumes in April, we ask you to remember that to direct a young woman from one destroyer of life—her sexually abusing trafficker—to another—an abortionist—does not set her free. It does not show her love.  

Those who are seeking to overturn decades of Hyde amendment protections—protections not just for taxpayers, but also for babies and their mothers—cannot win. If they do, victims lose, life is devalued, and our society grows that much more hard-hearted.

Please speak on the Senate floor, if possible. Shout from the rooftops, if necessary. Abortion does not solve the problems of trafficking, rape or incest. Abortion hurts the mothers, kills the babies and gives the perpetrators permission to traffick again, to rape again, to commit incest again.  

On the other hand, our compassion offers life, not death. Let the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act offer life.

Sincerely,

The Voices Crying Out for the Voiceless

]]>
Alveda King Featured Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:30:00 -0400
$1.5 Billion of Your Taxes Go to Fund Abortion http://www.charismanews.com/us/48923-1-5-billion-of-your-taxes-go-to-fund-abortion http://www.charismanews.com/us/48923-1-5-billion-of-your-taxes-go-to-fund-abortion

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion mill in the United States, was given $1.5 billion in state and federal funds from 2010 to 2013. That's according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The figure translates to about $500 million per year in American taxpayer money. That should making you praying mad.

Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster  said the government should use the tax dollars of Americans responsibly, but this report confirms overwhelmingly that it has not.

"It's bad enough that the government is funneling the hard-earned money of Americans to pay for elective abortions, contrary to what federal law is supposed to allow, but as ADF has reported annually to Congress, Planned Parenthood and other organizations have bilked taxpayers out of millions through waste, abuse and potential fraud," Foster said.

"That's why Congress has been investigating Planned Parenthood, why some members of Congress have proposed additional legislation to help stop the funding stream, and why ADF will continue its fight in court against Planned Parenthood's misuse of tax dollars in multiple lawsuits, including Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland." 

]]>
Jennifer LeClaire Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Pro-Life Blogger Details Protest and Arrest at Boehner's Office http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48922-pro-life-blogger-details-protest-and-arrest-at-boehner-s-office http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48922-pro-life-blogger-details-protest-and-arrest-at-boehner-s-office

Since the U.S. House of Representatives pulled the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act from consideration on Jan. 21—the evening before March for Life 2015—pro-life blogger Jill Stanek has been relentless in calling for the bill to come back to the House floor for a vote.

With the bill yet to be reintroduced two months later, Stanek felt the voice of pro-life activists was not being heard. 

When she teamed up with Rev. Pat Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue to announce a Sit-in/Pray-in at Speaker John Boehner's Congressional office, within days the Speaker of the House responded

Before the protest, Stanek agreed to an interview as her team met at Pete's Diner on Capitol Hill—a location they knew was one of Speaker Boehner's favorite spots for breakfast.

Within two hours, she was handcuffed and arrested by Capitol Police outside the Congressional office of Speaker Boehner along with seven other pro-life activists.

Bound4LIFE: What do you expect will happen today? 

Jill Stanek: Pat Mahoney just spoke with the highest-ranking officer on the Capitol Police force, which is an indicator of how serious they are taking our protest.

Outside the Speaker's office, we'll explain our purpose with the protest; we each have a different purpose for being there. As a registered nurse, my purpose for being there has to do with my testimony of holding a 21-week-old abortion survivor until he died. He would have been saved by an abortion ban such as this bill.

I'm upholding his memory and reminding these Republicans who are dithering for whatever reason—that while they do this, babies are dying excruciating deaths every day. Trying to reorient this discussion to the babies is my reason for talking.

I will speak, Pat [Mahoney] will speak, Troy [Newman] will speak, the three primary organizers. We'll either kneel or sit; we are told the arrest may happen rather quickly. (Editor's note: approx. 20 activists were present at the protest, and eight pro-life leaders arrested.)

Bound4LIFE: What do you hope to accomplish through today's demonstration? 

Jill Stanek: We have two goals today. First of all, in our own way we want to pressure the GOP leadership in the House to present the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act for a vote.

From various sources on Capitol Hill, I have heard that we have already had an impact. There really wasn't any particular rush felt on this issue, and now there is.

The other goal is to reorient this discussion back to the babies, who are literally being drawn and quartered on a daily basis. People don't seem to have any sense of urgency about making that stop.  

Bound4LIFE: Your team is billing this as a sit-in/pray-in. Why prayer? 

Jill Stanek: That's what sets us apart from other protests. We are Christians first, called to defend the defenseless and be a voice for the voiceless.

This isn't a Sharpton-esque sort of venture; we are entering into this with a lot of thought and prayer.

Bound4LIFE: Let's rewind to June 2013. The U.S. House voted 228-196 to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Do you believe this was a milestone for the House, or was it only in response to media frenzy around Kermit Gosnell's House of Horrors?  

Jill Stanek: The answer is yes. This bill was in the works, but the House felt it had the wind in its sails at that time. The American public will be with us on this, they saw.

Now they have a larger majority. They declare that they are pro-life. The January bill was an identical bill, so it should not have fallen apart.

In my remarks today, I'll speak about holding an aborted baby at Christ's Hospital in Illinois—the baby that became the reason for the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was introduced in the Illinois State Legislature. As a state senator, Barack Obama voted against that bill four times.

You know, I expect that from Democrats. But we shouldn't expect Republicans to covertly block pro-life legislation—because they're afraid or not invested in the issue beyond simple "I'm pro-life" platitudes. Many of them are also not very cogent on life issues, as we've seen the past few years. Their job isn't just to introduce pro-life bills and vote on them: They have to sell the American people on why we value life.

If they haven't done anything on this at the three-month mark, on April 22 we are going to come back with a bigger crowd.

Bound4LIFE: As you are a medical professional, it's important to ask a question about rape—an issue that derailed this bill in January. This bill pertains to rape victims who would seek to receive an abortion after 20 weeks conception. Could you comment on this? 

Jill Stanek: There's something that needs to be evaluated if you have a mother who is 20 weeks pregnant, and all of a sudden decides she needs to get an abortion halfway through the pregnancy because the child's father is a rapist.

For instance, the mother may not have even known she was pregnant. We may be talking about a child here; I've actually taken care of an 11-year-old who came into the hospital 24 weeks pregnant and didn't know she was pregnant. She was a small girl and had been raped by her 18 year-old stepbrother. She didn't even know the facts of life. 

The only reason that serial rape became known was because of her pregnancy. In the event of a 20-week pregnant woman suddenly making this decision, there have to be other factors at play.

This points to the necessity of having a reporting requirement: so that these victims can have their perpetrators prosecuted. Many of these victims are surely incest victims, or children raped by adult men—the only way they're going to get help is by going to the authorities. 

The other reason to have a reporting requirement is that otherwise it's a loophole that anybody can use. Any abortionist who wants to receive several thousand dollars for providing this mother an abortion will have her check the box, Due to rape. He may not even ask her and fill out the paperwork himself.

If you don't have to have any evidence or reporting, any woman could use the rape exception to receive an abortion. 

A reporting requirement is not just to help the victim herself, who could be rescued from serial rape against her. If we're dealing with a creepy Ted Bundy-type of criminal, and you're the first in a series of rapes he would be committing, reporting this rape helps save other victims from violence.

We should encourage women to do the right thing and report their rape, not only for themselves but for other victims.

Bound4LIFE: Some pro-life advocates believe that emphasizing the pre-born baby's pain, as this policy does, only invites abortion providers to introduce anesthesia before the violent procedure. How do you answer this objection? 

Jill Stanek: This proposed bill is a ban on abortions after 20 weeks development. There have been certain bills put out that say, You have to advise the mother that the baby feels pain and then she can decide. This is saying, We know the baby feels pain and there is little wiggle room after a certain developmental stage.

They could try to introduce an anesthesia loophole, but it doesn't bode well for the other side's talking points. At this point, they are denying that these babies feel pain—which is denying biology. Babies this same age who are being operated on in utero are being given anesthesia.

It only underlines the fact that this is a living pre-born baby, so I do not think they would ever fight for that. 

Bound4LIFE: House Leadership indicates the bill is in the process of being revised, to deal with issues that created negative backlash in January. How do you see this playing out?

Jill Stanek: There are two ways that it could turn out. There could be language introduced that removes the problems some Republican women have with it—they could remove the rape reporting requirement, but strengthen the bill in other ways.

Or, they could leave the rape reporting requirement in but create verbiage that somehow answers the concerns of some Republican women.

Another component of this is there have been no maternal health findings entered into this bill—in other words, the harm late-term abortions cause women. At 20 weeks development, if you get an abortion the mortality rate for mothers spikes.

Including these findings in this bill would be helpful so Congressional leaders see the evidence and have something to present to the American public. We are on the side of women and this hurts women, they can say with certainty.


Josh M. Shepherd serves as Communications Manager at Bound4LIFE International, a grassroots movement to pray for the ending of abortion and for revival worldwide. Reprinted with permission from Bound4LIFE

]]>
Josh Shepherd Featured Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0400
I'm Backing Christian Bakers, Says Pro-Gay Marriage Columnist http://www.charismanews.com/world/48921-i-m-backing-christian-bakers-says-pro-gay-marriage-columnist http://www.charismanews.com/world/48921-i-m-backing-christian-bakers-says-pro-gay-marriage-columnist

A columnist who is in favor of same-sex marriage has expressed support for the Christian-owned Ashers Baking Company, in order to protect the "vital" principle of freedom of speech.

Writing in The Belfast Telegraph, Fionola Meredith said that forcing Ashers to endorse a cause with which it disagrees would do "nothing to advance the cause of equality."

She made the comments ahead of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland's court case against Ashers, which starts on Thursday.

'Hypocrisy'

The Commission claims that Ashers broke discrimination laws by declining to decorate a campaign cake with the slogan 'Support Gay Marriage' last year.

Fionola Meredith said: "How would the principles of fair treatment, tolerance and respect for all be furthered if Ashers was compelled to squirt out these controversial words?

"The answer, of course, is not one iota. All that would be achieved is a form of state-enforced hypocrisy."

Vital Principle

She said her stance is "inexplicable" to some of her "'liberal' friends," and that standing with Ashers and its supporters is not her "natural home."

But she explained: "This is not about Right or Left, secular or religious, gay or straight."

She added it's about "remaining faithful" to the vital principle of freedom of speech, which is diluted "at our peril."

Freedom of expression

Meredith noted that Ashers refused the cake order on the grounds of the message they were asked to endorse, not the sexual orientation of the customer.

A new poll commissioned by The Christian Institute, which is backing Ashers, has revealed overwhelming support for freedom of expression.

The survey of 1,000 adults of all faiths and none from across Northern Ireland found that 90 percent of voters say equality laws "should be used to protect people from discrimination and not to force people to say something they oppose."

State Power

Meredith concluded: "You don't get everyone singing sweetly from the same hymn book—or whatever the secular equivalent may be—by using state power to dictate what songs they must sing."

Last week, a leading human rights lawyer warned that the Commission could face an avalanche of future cases if Ashers loses.

In a new legal opinion, Aidan O'Neill QC stated there would be no defense to actions being taken against businesses in similar situations, such as a Muslim printer not wanting to print cartoons of Mohammed, or a Christian film company refusing to produce an erotic film.

]]>
Christian Institute Featured World News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:00:00 -0400
NatGeo Misses Point With “Killing Jesus,” Says Faith Driven Consumer http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48920-natgeo-misses-point-with-killing-jesus-says-faith-driven-consumer http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48920-natgeo-misses-point-with-killing-jesus-says-faith-driven-consumer

Faith Driven Consumer™—the consumer advocacy organization representing 41 million Christian consumers who spend $2 trillion annually, has earned wide recognition for rating the faith compatibility of Hollywood films, measuring how they will resonate with faith-driven audiences, and predicting box office performance. The group's Faith-Friendly Film Review system serves as a key resource for consumers to evaluate entertainment choices. 

The National Geographic/Scott Free Productions television movie Killing Jesus—which examines the life of Jesus Christ from three different perspectives—rates 3 out of 5 stars

Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer and Certified Brand Strategist, has issued the following statement: 

"Killing Jesus failed to earn more than thee stars because it largely ignores the divinity of Jesus Christ—a non-negotiable for the faith audience. This offering from Ridley Scott and National Geographic has strong production values and is entertaining, but its humanistic depiction of the Son of God—void of the divine essence of His life—lacks appeal to audiences who hold this as the pivotal and most important story in all of history and in their personal lives."

See Faith Driven Consumer's review of Killing Jesus here: faithdrivenconsumer.com/killing_jesus

Faith Driven Consumers and Christians overall: What they want in entertainment

  • 96 percent of Faith Driven Consumers (FDCs) say that their faith has a major influence on their entertainment choices, compared to 47 percent of Christians overall. Sixty-one percent of FDCs rate faith's influence as a 10, compared to 18 percent of Christians overall.
     
  • 87 percent of Faith Driven Consumers are much more likely—58 percent very much more likely—to choose entertainment options that promote Christian-compatible values, compared to 54 percent of Christians overall, while 73 percent of Faith Driven Consumers avoid watching television and films that conflict with their Christian worldview, compared to 41 percent of Christians at large. 
     
  • 81 percent of Faith Driven Consumers are likely to recommend a movie to others, compared to 79 percent of Christians overall. Forty-nine percent of FDCs are very likely to recommend a movie, compared to 39 percent of Christians overall, while 61 percent of Faith Driven Consumers are likely to discourage others from seeing a movie, compared to 49 percent of Christians overall. Thirty-one percent of FDCs are very likely to discourage a movie, compared to 17 percent of Christians overall. 
     
  • 78 percent of Faith Driven Consumers say it would have a significant influence on their decision to see a film if their church encouraged it, compared to 55 percent of Christians overall, and 57 percent of Faith Driven Consumers' churches encourage members to see specific faith-based films, compared to 36 percent of Christians overall.

Faith Driven Consumers and Christians overall: Importance of specific attributes

On a scale of 1 to 5, Faith Driven Consumers rate biblical accuracy as the No. 1 factor in considering a film. Below is how all factors were rated.

  • 60 percent gave "how accurately the movie reflects the Bible" a 5 (4-5: 84 percent), compared to 28 percent of Christians overall.
     
  • 59 percent gave "compatibility with Christian values" a 5 (4-5: 89 percent), compared to 23 percent of Christians overall.
     
  • 56 percent gave "how appropriate the film is for children" a 5 (4-5: 78 percent), compared to 30 percent of Christians overall.
     
  • 51 percent gave "faith-compatible characters and relationships" a 5 (4-5: 83 percent), compared to 21 percent of Christians overall.
     
  • 51 percent gave "faith-compatible situations" a 5 (4-5: 83 percent), compared to 20 percent of Christians overall.
     
  • 50 percent gave "entertainment value" a 5 (4-5: 83 percent), compared to 36 percent of Christians overall.

For further details on the poll, please go to: americaninsights.org

]]>
Matthew Faraci Featured Culture Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:30:00 -0400
Sunrise Service to Reclaim America for Jesus http://www.charismanews.com/us/48919-sunrise-service-to-reclaim-america-for-jesus http://www.charismanews.com/us/48919-sunrise-service-to-reclaim-america-for-jesus

As the first thumbnails of sunlight tip over the National Mall, Christians from across the country will lift their voices on Easter morning.  

"We believe in God the Father

"We believe in Jesus Christ

"We believe in the Holy Spirit

"That He's given us new life." 

The anthem is inspiring, and Newsboys' Michael Tait will lead thousands in that worshipful declaration at the Easter Sunrise Service at the Lincoln Memorial, April 5.  

In its 37th reiteration, Pastor Amos Dodge and Capital Church see their work not as an event, but as an assignment from the Lord.  

"We keep it pretty pure and simple," Dodge says. "We're there for one purpose: Not to grow our church, no political spin; we're there to declare to the city, the nation and the world that Christ has risen." 

The celebration of life, death and resurrection has grown from just over 100 people to nearly 6,000. It's so popular, Washingtonian ranks it as one of the top 50 things every local D.C. resident needs on his or her bucket list.  

For Dodge, though, it's not about achieving fame for him or his church. Rain or shine, he and Capital Church have made a commitment to worship the Lord there every Easter morning.  

In a town known for its politics both in and out of the the Legislative chambers, the service on a sacred American memorial sparks unity.  

"In a city steeped in tradition ... the Holy Spirit has created another," he says.  

He cites support from the government—everyone from politicians to the National Parks Service. He jokes that friends were once told by the parks department that the only people allowed to host events on the Lincoln Memorial were presidential ones and Capital Church. 

"It's just a statement of the favor of God, the blessing of God when a band of people celebrate the resurrection, promote Jesus and not themselves, ... we're building the Kingdom every Easter morning at dawn on the Lincoln Memorial."

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0400
An Open Letter to the Suffering Christians of the Middle East http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48917-an-open-letter-to-the-suffering-christians-of-the-middle-east http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48917-an-open-letter-to-the-suffering-christians-of-the-middle-east

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

I, as others, have experienced great anguish, anger and distress as I have read and heard of the atrocities that are being inflicted upon you because of your faith in Jesus Christ. The stories of your daughters being raped, your sons being beheaded and the genocidal slaughter of your friends and families have moved me and others to fervent prayer on your behalf.

During such a time of prayer for you recently I experienced a pronounced sense of peace as I prayed and thought on God's justice, and particularly His justice for you. I am writing to share that experience with you.

Our God is a just God, and His justice will not forever rest. He sees your sufferings and will not forsake you. He will eventually make all things new and right for you. Justice will be served!

Justice in this fallen world, however, is imperfect and in your case seemingly non-existent at this timeNonetheless, there is coming a day when every person will meet their Creator and each one will receive their just due for their actions—punishment and retribution for those who are evil and rewards and commendations for those who have been faithful.

This final judgement where all things will be made right and everyone will receive their just due, is described by John the Apostle in Revelation 20:11-15:

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God ... The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works."

As I thought on you and God's infinite and pure justice, I experienced a peace and sweetness in my soul. The terrible wrongs that have been done to you do not go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father. I was comforted knowing that He will vindicate you and make things right for you, if not in this world, then in the world to come.

When the early believers in Thessalonica were suffering persecution, Paul wrote to them and comforted them by reminding them of God's justice. He said;

"It is a righteous matter with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 1:6-8).

At that time the song written by David Phelps called "No More Night" will be a reality. The main chorus of the song says;

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.

Praises to the great I AM.

We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

I also want to say that I am very impressed with your Christian character and I realize that we in the West could learn much from you concerning what it really means to be a follower of Christ in this world. I am thinking in particular of the Coptic Christian woman in Egypt who had two sons beheaded by ISIS in Libya because of their faith in Jesus.

When she was asked what she would do if she saw the men who had murdered her sons passing in front of her house, she replied, "I would ask God to open their eyes and I would then invite them into my home." She must have the Spirit of Christ for that is the spirit of the words of Jesus from the cross when He prayed for forgiveness for his tormentors. It is also the spirit of the words of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who prayed for those who were taking his life (Acts 7:59-60). 

We, of course, can act in that forgiving manner when we know that justice will be ultimately and finally carried out by the great God and Judge of all the earth. We do not seek vengeance for we know Him who has said, "Vengeance is Mine. I will repay" (Rom. 12:19).

We continue to pray for you for great spiritual strength to be His witnesses in your time of trial, and for His deliverance of you from this evil.

Please pray for us in the West that we will stand faithful and true as His witnesses in the midst of our light afflictions. Please also join us in praying for great spiritual awakening in America, Europe, your countries and all over the world.

Your friend and brother in Christ, 

Eddie Hyatt

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Bible teacher. His books, including America's Revival Heritage, are available from Amazon and from his website. He is the founder of The Revive America Project and conducts Revive America events throughout the nation. To learn more about his ministry, check out his website at eddiehyatt.com.

]]>
Eddie Hyatt Featured Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:30:00 -0400
Ex-US POW Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion http://www.charismanews.com/us/48918-ex-u-s-pow-bowe-bergdahl-charged-with-desertion http://www.charismanews.com/us/48918-ex-u-s-pow-bowe-bergdahl-charged-with-desertion

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a former Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan, was formally charged on Wednesday with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the most serious count, the Army said. 

Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell of Yale Law School, said the Army had scheduled an Article 32 investigation hearing on April 22 to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed with a court-martial. 

The Army said the investigation, similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, would take place at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. 

Bergdahl, 28, was released from Taliban custody last summer in a controversial prisoner swap that saw five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, transferred to Qatar, where they were required to remain for a year. 

Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009, from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan and was subsequently captured. He disappeared from the outpost early one morning after doing guard duty, leaving behind his gun, ammunition and body armor. 

An initial wave of euphoria over Bergdahl's release was followed by a backlash among U.S. lawmakers angry because they were not given 30 days' notice before the transfer of the Guantanamo prisoners, as required by law. 

Some of Bergdahl's former Army comrades also came forward and said they believed he deserted his post. 

Former Army Sergeant Evan Buetow, who served with Bergdahl, said on Wednesday that the former war prisoner had been treated fairly by the Army and needed "to answer for what he did." 

"He put all of our lives in danger," Buetow said. "Men from our company died, when I don't believe they would have if he wouldn't have left." 

'IMPORTANT STEP' 

Republican lawmakers also backed the Army's decision to move ahead with the charges. Senator John McCain, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee and himself a Vietnam War prisoner, said it was an "important step" toward determining Bergdahl's accountability. 

Representative Mac Thornberry, head of the House Armed Services Committee, accused the administration of making the case more difficult by failing "to follow the law surrounding the release of the Taliban 5." 

Bergdahl's case has been under review by General Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, who was asked to look at the circumstance surrounding Bergdahl's capture. 

As a result of the review, Bergdahl was charged with desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place, said an Army spokesman at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where Milley is based. 

The desertion charge carries a maximum prison term of five years, while the misbehavior count carries a maximum term of life in prison, he said. The charges also carry a number of other potential punishments, including a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to private and forfeiture of all pay. 

In a statement issued by his lawyers, Bergdahl said he was beaten by his Taliban captors a number of times with a copper cable or a thick rubber hose. He also said he tried to escape about a dozen times. 

Bergdahl's parents declined to comment on the Army's decision to charge their son. Some residents in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, also expressed reluctance to comment on the developments, citing anger aimed at the community after it showed support for him following his release. 

A rally for Bergdahl was abruptly canceled last summer amid the political uproar. The family and several supporters received threats by email and telephone, Hailey officials said. 

Debbie O'Neill, one of the co-organizers of the canceled rally, said she thought people were shocked by the Army's decision on Wednesday. 

"Other than that, I think we have to wait for the military justice system to play out," she said. "I'm sure the military has enough evidence to back up the charges, but my heart breaks for him (Bergdahl)." 

After a period of rehabilitation following his release, Bergdahl was reassigned to military duties. He currently has an administrative role in an office at Fort Sam Houston. 

A spokeswoman at the base said it would be up to the lawyers to determine what would happen to Bergdahl now that he had been charged.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
Kelly Twedell/Reuters Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:15:00 -0400
WATCH: 'Leave Your Faith or Be Shot Dead' http://www.charismanews.com/world/48916-watch-leave-your-faith-or-be-shot-dead http://www.charismanews.com/world/48916-watch-leave-your-faith-or-be-shot-dead

Anticipation of further violence as Nigeria begins voting for its next president is growing after the release of a new video shows Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau threatening that the election "will not happen in peace."

The chilling message will alarm Christians from Nigeria's northern states who live in persistent fear of attack from the group.

In the lead up to the elections a Nigerian pastor visited the U.K. parliament to highlight the problems Christians face in the troubled region. Afterwards, in an exclusive interview, Pastor Daniel Awayi told World Watch Monitor about atrocities carried out on his congregation by Boko Haram.

Ahead of Nigeria's delayed Presidential election on March 28, the world's media remain focused on the continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the country's north-eastern states and their cross-border raids into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Nigeria's government has failed to stop the group taking control of large swathes of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states. The standard refrain that the insurgency will "soon be over" was repeated on March 20, when President Goodluck Jonathan assured the BBC that the Islamists would soon have no more control of any territory.

500 Children Missing

Other countries in Africa are beginning to take the initiative in dealing with Boko Haram. Both Niger and Chad recently sent soldiers across the border to make retaliatory strikes. Damasak, a town close to Niger's border, has been recaptured by the coalition but on March 24 it was revealed that about 500 children under 11 years old are missing. Witnesses suspect they were taken by Boko Haram as they retreated.

But it is feared by security experts that gains by the coalition might force Boko Haram to retaliate against soft targets like the IDPs (Internally Displaced People) and revert to guerrilla tactics of bombings and suicide attacks.

Chad and Niger, together with other African states, are meanwhile appealing to the United Nations to finance a military force and to share intelligence and equipment. A draft U.N. Security Council resolution suggests a force created by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. It is hoped the Council will vote on the resolution by the end of March.

Young Girl Suicide Bombers

One town that has been in the news a lot this year is Potiskum in Yobe state. There have been at least three suicide bombs there in recent months. In one, on Feb. 24, a man killed 15 and injured 53. Two days earlier, six people in a phone market were killed by a young girl suicide bomber. Her identity is unknown but she is a reminder to the world that Boko Haram still holds captive the majority of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in April 2014.

Pastor Daniel Awayi of Potiskum visited the U.K. in January. His church has been attacked five times by the Islamic terrorist group, the most recent in January when yet another young female suicide bomber detonated a bomb at his church gates. No one died that time, though several were injured. 

Awayi does his best to support victims of the attacks. In this video he talks about two families that became casualties of Boko Haram terrorism in November 2012. Both were confronted, asked to abandon their Christian faith and convert to Islam. Both were shot in the head for refusing to deny their faith and convert. One, Habila Adamu, made a miraculous recovery. He later went on to give evidence that encouraged the U.S. State Department to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organisation.

]]>
World Watch Monitor Featured World News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:00:00 -0400
The Constant Defense Against All Forms of Tyranny http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48915-the-constant-defense-against-all-forms-of-tyranny http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48915-the-constant-defense-against-all-forms-of-tyranny

An ever-growing federal government seeks to control the populace. That is the nature of the beast. Those in power want more power. They want no opposition. As Thomas Jefferson stated, "History has informed us that bodies of men, as well as individuals, are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny." And we all know that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In light of the Founding Fathers' personal experience living under tyranny, they carefully designed the Constitution to divide power among the branches of the federal government, the state governments and the people themselves in order to minimize the risk that one person, or one small group, could gain too much power.

One of the foundations of opposition to tyranny is our belief, set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that certain unalienable rights come from a Creator and that "governments are instituted among men" not to create or take away rights, but to "secure" them. This American belief was reasserted by John F. Kennedy when he stated in his inaugural address "that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God."

One way to undermine this basic American belief is to undermine the church. A way to undermine the church is to undermine its ability to govern itself internally, including the selection of ministers. The Obama Administration attempted to do just that.

For years, courts had deferred to religious groups in the hiring and firing of their ministers. Religious groups relied on a legal doctrine known as the "ministerial exception" to exempt them from employment discrimination laws. This legal doctrine is based on a religious group's First Amendment right to shape its own faith and mission through ministerial appointments.

Without such a legal doctrine, the federal government could dictate to a religious organization the appropriate qualifications for its ministers and deprive that organization of control over the selection of those who advance its beliefs.

In 2012, the United States Supreme Court decided a case where the "ministerial exception" was at issue. The Obama Administration argued that the First Amendment has "nothing to say about a religious organization's freedom to select its own ministers" and urged the Court to disregard the "ministerial exception" outright and to allow courts to decide any dispute between a church and its minister.

Fortunately, the Obama Administration's position was soundly rejected. The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the First Amendment prevents the federal government from interfering with the freedom of religious groups to select their own ministers.

That Supreme Court decision helped the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) achieve a significant victory last month. We secured a religious organization's First Amendment right to select its ministers and spiritual leaders free from government interference and obtained, for the first time since the Supreme Court's 9-0 decision, a declaration that this right can never be waived to allow government interference because the First Amendment strictly forbids it. If the Obama Administration had had its way, that religious organization would not have had that freedom.

It is with your generous support and prayers that we are able to continue to fight against the many attempts by the federal government to take away our rights, whether it be the IRS's targeting of conservative groups to silence their message, the HHS abortion-pill mandate used to force employers to violate their religious beliefs, or President Obama's executive order in which he bypassed Congress and unilaterally changed our nation's immigration laws.

]]>
Edward White/ACLJ Featured Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:30:00 -0400
Woman Throws Flaming 'Molotov Cocktail' at Pro-Life Prayer Group http://www.charismanews.com/us/48911-woman-throws-flaming-molotov-cocktail-at-pro-life-prayer-group http://www.charismanews.com/us/48911-woman-throws-flaming-molotov-cocktail-at-pro-life-prayer-group

A woman was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after reportedly throwing a "molotov cocktail" at a prayer group.  

Pro-life activists were praying around a Planned Parenthood clinic when witnesses reported a woman throwing a "flaming object" out of her car window and at the intercessors.

"Yesterday evening toward the end of the daily prayer vigil, a passerby threw a flaming object at the prayer volunteers. Fortunately no one was injured and the flames were put out quickly," the Central Texas Coalition for Life tells Life News. "This is not the first time people have thrown objects at pro-lifers but clearly this instance was a more direct threat, and we always want to exercise caution."

Police have identified and arrested Melanie Toney as the attacker. 

Ruth Allwein, a pro-life protester, told local Austin, Texas, TV station KVUE the details of the attack. 

"It looked like some sort of bottle, and it had an ignited wick in it, so my first instinct was backing away," she says.

The news station reports, "Toney admitted to throwing a bottle out the window with some paper in it and said it 'might' have been smoldering when she threw it."

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Arizona Lawmakers Send Abortion Bill to Governor http://www.charismanews.com/us/48914-arizona-lawmakers-send-abortion-bill-to-governor http://www.charismanews.com/us/48914-arizona-lawmakers-send-abortion-bill-to-governor

Arizona lawmakers on Wednesday passed a controversial measure blocking women from buying insurance that includes abortion coverage through the federal health care exchange. 

The fiercely-debated bill also requires doctors to tell women they could possibly reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, a claim that critics called "junk science." 

The legislation was approved by an 18-11 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, with two Democrats voting for it. House lawmakers on Mondayapproved the bill by a 33-24 margin. 

It now goes to Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the bill. He has said he is opposed to abortion. 

A governor's spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday. 

Supporters said the bill would prevent taxpayer money from paying for abortion services, as many individuals insured through the federally-run exchange receive government subsidies. 

The measure exempts cases of incest, rape and life-saving situations from the coverage ban. 

Opponents countered, saying there was no proof that public dollars had been used for the elective procedures and calling the law an overreach. 

The Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting the right to abortion whose reports are cited by both sides in the debate, says abortion coverage for those eligible for federal subsidies is limited to cases of rape, incest and life-endangerment. 

During debate on the Senate floor, the most heated topic was the bill's requirement that patients be told the effects of abortion pills may be undone by using high doses of a hormone. 

"This is junk science, this is quack medicine," said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, a Phoenix Democrat. "There is absolutely no evidence anywhere... that supports this as a valid medical procedure." 

Backers say there is ample evidence that the reversal is possible if acted upon quickly, though they provided no peer-reviewed studies to support that claim. 

"This is a great day for woman in Arizona who are considering getting an abortion to get all the facts they need and a great day for Arizona taxpayers," said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group that pushed for the measure. 

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Arizona from enforcing a state law that restricts access to abortion-inducing drugs by prohibiting off-label uses of RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill."

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
David Schwartz/Reuters Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 08:45:00 -0400
Woman in Transgender Flap Files Lawsuit Against Planet Fitness http://www.charismanews.com/us/48910-woman-in-transgender-flap-files-lawsuit-against-planet-fitness http://www.charismanews.com/us/48910-woman-in-transgender-flap-files-lawsuit-against-planet-fitness

A woman is suing Planet Fitness for invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, breach of contract, retaliation and emotional distress.  

Yvette Cormier made international headlines when Planet Fitness canceled her membership after she complained about a transgender man in the women's locker room.  

The gym claimed her complaint violated their "judgment-free zone." Court documents reportedly indicate there were no signs posted permitting use of locker rooms based on chosen gender, nor was there any specific language in the contract of the transgender man, who goes by Carlotta Sklodowska, to use the women's locker room.  

"Mrs. Cormier has filed this lawsuit to protect Michigan women and children and to hold Planet Fitness accountable for its irresponsible policy and actions," Kallman Legal Group, her representatives, says.  

Cormier is not alone in her outrage.  

"Planet Fitness obviously should rethink its anti-woman, anti-reality policy," Michigan State Rep. Gary Glenn tells MLive. "If they don't, they shouldn't be surprised in a conservative, family-friendly community such as Midland if they lose more female members." 

Before her membership was canceled, Cormier offered other suggestions, such as a unisex restroom, but was told Sklodowska was allowed to use the gender locker room he identified with.

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 08:00:00 -0400
9 Signs of Poor Blood Circulation http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48899-9-signs-of-poor-blood-circulation http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48899-9-signs-of-poor-blood-circulation

Every 34 seconds, an individual in the United States suffers from a heart attack, and every minute someone dies from a cardiovascular-related disorder. Out of the 720,000 individuals who suffer from heart attacks annually, it is the second time for about 205,000 of them. One of the most common causes of this is poor blood circulation.

Poor Blood Circulation

Heart attacks often occur with no prior warning, unless the sufferer is aware of the signs. Plaque, scar tissue, fatty material, and calcium accumulate in the vital arteries, which are responsible for supplying the heart with blood. The inhibition of blood flow causes angina or chest pain. A complete block results in a heart attack.

Signs of Improper Blood Circulation

There are several signs and causes of poor circulation. It is extremely important to be aware of all of these. It is also essential to consult a medical professional if you experience any of them. Ignoring the signs, or simply brushing them off, could be the difference between life and death.

  • Constant extreme fatigue or lethargy
  • Edema or swelling of lower extremities
  • Tingling or numbness in any of the extremities
  • Cold extremities such as feet, toes, hands and/or fingers
  • Legs that feel achy or heavy
  • Sores that will not heal within the normal amount of time
  • Constant dizzy spells
  • Poor or declining memory
  • Muscle cramps or throbbing, shooting pains

Certain disorders can result in poor circulation such as Peripheral Artery Disease, varicose veins, Diabetes and obesity. Raynaud's Disease, which is another, causes the arteries of toes and hands to constrict. Two extremely prevalent causes of poor circulation are smoking and consistently consuming large amounts of fried, overly processed and fast foods.

Foods to Promote Healthy Blood Flow

There are a number of foods that can promote healthy blood flow. Certain foods react in the body similar to anti-coagulants. One of the best medicines for improper blood circulation are specific foods. Citruline is a compound found in watermelon and the body converts this into L-arginine, which is very helpful in enhancing blood flow. Consuming goji berries is excellent for blood circulation.

Both salmon and avocados contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They also promote healthy blood flow. Though keep in mind that there has been some concern of farm-raised salmon containing toxic levels of mercury. Garlic adds wonderful flavor to numerous dishes, and ingesting it strengthens arteries. It also inhibits the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Capsicum frutescens is found in Cayenne Pepper and reduces the stickiness of platelets. It contains vitamin C and E, which promotes circulation. Gingko biloba is rich in antioxidants, which assist in removing contaminants from the circulatory system.

Ginger Root is also said to promote healthy blood circulation. Sunflower seeds increase healthy blood flow, and sunflower oil is often recommended as a healthy alternative oil for heart patients. And for those chocolate lovers out there, there is a bit of great news. Dark chocolate has been shown to improve circulation.

There are a number of exercises that may be incorporated into weekly or daily routine to improve blood circulation. Swimming, biking, jogging and walking all enlarge heart muscles and increase its blood-pumping abilities. Exercises specifically geared toward cardio, such as kick boxing, skiing and running, are excellent exercises for circulation and the heart as well. Resistance and anaerobic routines may be the most helpful for improving blood circulation. This can be weight training, pull-ups and sit-ups.

A good daily exercise does not have to be high impact to help with strengthening the heart. Hiking is also wonderful and rewarding. Taking the kids and/or dog for a stroll in the park provides exercise as well as quality time.

If you feel you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or want to change your diet or lifestyle, please consult a physician before doing so.

Don Colbert, M.D., has been board certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti-aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books such as The Bible Cure Series, What Would Jesus Eat, Deadly Emotions, What You Don't Know May Be Killing You, and many more with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 50,000 patients.

Did you enjoy this health article? Click here to receive new health articles by email.

You'll also enjoy Dr. Don Colbert's book, The Seven Pillars of Health.

For the original article, visit drcolbert.com.

]]>
Don Colbert, M.D. Featured Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0400
Still Single? Ask These Questions Before You Say ‘I Do’ http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48897-still-single-ask-these-questions-before-you-say-i-do http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48897-still-single-ask-these-questions-before-you-say-i-do

Last month I had the privilege of performing the wedding of a Russian-speaking couple in Seattle. I met Roman when I was teaching at a ministry school two years ago, and he has traveled with me on a missionary trip to Peru. When he got engaged to his girlfriend, Ina, he asked me to do the honors—and I was thrilled to be a part of their big day. The celebration ended with a Ukrainian feast for 300 people!

Like many Slavic Christian immigrants, Roman and Ina got married young. Roman turned 21 only a week after his wedding, and Ina is only 18. Yet they are incredibly mature and responsible for their age. When I did premarital counseling with them (I have a conviction that I won't marry anyone without doing basic counseling) I was amazed to see how ready they were to embrace a lifelong marriage covenant.

But not every Christian who is old enough to get married is actually ready to tie the knot. And if you aren't ready, the worst thing you can do is rush to the altar. When I talk to singles about their desire to get married, I always ask if they have gone through this simple checklist. You can also share this with single friends who are eager to tie the knot:

Have you fully surrendered your life to Jesus? You can't build a strong marriage on romance, sexual passion or feelings alone. Your marriage will be weak if you are weak spiritually—and the same is true if your partner is not wholeheartedly sold out to God. You are taking a huge risk if you get married when your spiritual life is not healthy.

Do you get along with others? If you have a history of broken relationships and continual drama, don't expect marriage to be any different. You need to get control of your anger, jealousy, pouting sessions and pity parties now, not after you commit to live the rest of your life with your spouse.

How have you and your partner handled conflict? All couples have arguments. But if you are having shouting matches and continual disagreements before your wedding, you are asking for trouble. And if there has been any form of physical or verbal abuse, call things off immediately and get counseling.

Have you been open about your past? Marriage is about intimacy. But you will never experience this gift if you can't be transparent about your faults and struggles. If you hide your pain behind a mask, you will bring that pain into the marriage and it will eventually hurt your spouse. Whether you deal with depression, addiction or some form of sexual brokenness, get as much healing as you can before marriage.

Do you trust your partner's past? Don't rush into a marriage if you feel unsure about your partner's history—especially if he or she has been married before. It's OK to ask lots of questions. Get all the cards on the table. You don't want to wake up after the honeymoon and learn that your Dr. Jekyll has become a Mr. Hyde.

Are you planning a life together, or just a wedding ceremony? Too many couples today are in love with the idea of marriage, but they haven't thought beyond the honeymoon. If you are obsessing over cakes, flowers and the guest list, get your priorities straight. You don't want to spend $25,000 on a wedding and then watch it disintegrate after one year.

Are you financially responsible? You don't have to have boatloads of money to be a happy couple. But if you have not planned how to pay your bills, financial stress will choke your marriage. Be wise. Many couples today have not even learned how to manage a bank account, create a budget or save money. Find a mentor if your parents didn't teach you the basics of life management.

How does your family and your partner's family feel about this marriage? There's no guarantee that all parents will be happy with your choices. But if there are major conflicts in the extended family, you may need to assess whether this is a wise decision. Romeo and Juliet loved each other, but their story ended in tragedy because of their parents' attitudes. Seek pastoral support if family members are trying to stir up conflict.

Do you and your partner have similar goals and dreams? You don't have to like the same movies or prefer the same kinds of foods. But when God puts two people together, they support each other's dreams. This is especially true when it comes to expectations about children. If your spouse doesn't want kids, and you do, don't assume this will just "work out." If you are a woman who wants a career and your fiancée prefers you to stay home, it's time to reevaluate.

Do you and your partner pray together? This is a perfect way to tell if you are spiritually compatible with your partner. If you feel a deep level of spiritual intimacy when you pray with your fiancée, that's a good sign God is putting you together. But if your partner isn't interested in growing spiritually with you, take that as a hint to look elsewhere. When God brings a man and woman together, they should become one in every way.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter @leegrady. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at themordecaiproject.org. His work to protect women from abuse was featured in the March issue of Charisma.

Please consider donating to The Mordecai Project, India, and help put a stop to the horrific atrocities women in India face daily. To donate, visit christianlifemissions.org.

]]>
J. Lee Grady Featured Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0400
Passover Also Holds a Special Meaning for Christians http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/48908-passover-also-holds-a-special-meaning-for-christians http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/48908-passover-also-holds-a-special-meaning-for-christians

On April 3-4, Jewish families in Israel and around the world will gather to recount the ancient, but never old, story of Passover. Younger generations will hear from their elders the miracle-packed narrative which, they will be told, should be heard as if they personally lived through those historical events. But Passover is not an exclusively Jewish holiday. God invites "whosoever" to join in His story of deliverance and redemption. It is a story to help steady you if you follow Messiah today—and if, like observant Jews, you hear it as if you yourself personally experienced it. Because in many ways, you have.

Passover is one of seven Levitical Feasts or "appointed times," according to the Hebrew meaning of "feast." The feasts are dates God has calendared to meet with His people according to seasons He has set. Passover was never meant to be mere ritual, but an encounter with the Eternal One. After celebrating well over 50 Passover feasts, I've learned that through them God revives faith and releases grace for protection, purity, power and prophecy.

Protection

Passover commemorates God's deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Recall that centuries earlier, Jacob and his sons had left the Promised Land and gone to live with Joseph in Egypt. There they prospered until a ruling pharaoh, fearful of their distinctiveness, enslaved them. God commanded the Hebrews' release, but not until He sent 10 increasingly dreadful plagues to the land would the pharaoh let them go. The night of the 10th plague God caused every first born son of every household in Egypt to be slain. But He "passed over" the households of all the Israelites. After that, the pharaoh let God's people go.

The Hebrew for Passover is Pesach. The word implies the spreading of one's wings or shawl over something to cover and protect it. The night of the tenth plague, God covered and protected the Hebrews by having them apply the blood of a slain lamb to the doorposts of their homes. On a future Passover, the exact same calendar day of the Hebrew year, a greater Lamb of God would be slain on Israel's behalf. His blood applied to the doorposts of human hearts anywhere and everywhere would likewise cover "whosoever" from death.

When the Hebrews lived in Egypt they inhabited a certain area called Goshen. During the plagues God supernaturally and quite visibly protected Goshen. For example, while thick, palpable darkness descended on Egypt, light shone brightly in Goshen. Perhaps from witnessing this protection, many of the Egyptians joined the Hebrews in their exodus and aligned with YHVH (Ex. 12:38-39). Be encouraged that God will cause the same to happen in your life, however He chooses to protect you, as His glory and light shine through you.

Purity

"On the first day [of Passover] you shall remove leaven from your homes" (Ex. 12:15). In the Scriptures leaven symbolizes sin, and in God's sovereignty, the Israelites had to hurriedly leave Egypt the night of the exodus. They did not have time to add the usual leaven to the bread they took with them into the desert (Ex. 12:31-34). Symbolically, sin had been removed from their camp. To remove any trace of leaven (or yeast) during Passover, many Jewish families today meticulously scrub down and clean their homes.

Meanwhile, we who are delivered from sin and death by the Passover Lamb who is Yeshua (Jesus) are similarly told to purge the leaven from our lives (1 Cor. 5:7). At this season, might special grace for purity be available to God's people?

Power

The annual Passover story reminds Israel that our flesh and blood ancestors watched wide-eyed as plagues destroyed ancient Egypt, the Red Sea parted and Pharaoh's armies drowned. "With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt" (Ex.dus 13:14). But you have also watched God's mighty hand deliver you from bondage to your enemy's power.

As with Israel's deliverance from Egypt, God fights on your behalf. Sometimes the battle is greater than you expect only because the victory He intends is also going to be greater than you expect.

The original Passover event was intended to glorify God and make known His salvation not just to the Israelites, but to the Egyptians and other nations. He used the pharaoh's worsening resistance to His will to do it. Similarly, today's battles are to glorify God and make known His salvation not just to those already in relationship with Him. They are intended to help achieve the deliverance and exodus from bondage of whole people groups and nations on earth.

Prophecy

If you've experienced a traditional Passover meal and story telling, or seder (Hebrew for "order"), you know the feast brims with prophetic foreshadows of Messiah. The Last Supper was in fact a seder following much of the liturgy still used by Jewish families today. Yeshua said to His disciples (His family), "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you" (Luke 22:15).

During the meal He identified the unleavened bread and wine with His own body and blood. The church now calls this Holy Communion. Through other elements of the seder and Passover story, He was able to communicate symbolically what would occur over the next several hours on what is now called Good Friday. Prophecy would be fulfilled about His atonement for sin, the crucifixion and the Resurrection (Is. 53, Ps. 22).

I believe Yeshua still "eagerly desires" to share Passover with His disciples and family today. Now, I'm not suggesting a religious requirement. I'm merely reminding you that you're invited freely into all the blessings of salvation! For ultimately, the exodus/Passover story foreshadows a future deliverance and redemption of all nations.

The Bible teaches a period is coming when God will release judgments on the earth not unlike those that befell Egypt. Anti-God forces will resist Him in a manner reminiscent of the pharaoh. But during that time, many of His people will be protected in various ways (which may differ from our desired ways), as they were in Goshen. So between now and then, if our battles are greater than we expect, let's remember the victory God intends is greater, too. Meanwhile, He will be with us as He was with Israel in Egypt.

At the appointed time, Messiah will return and effect full victory. He will restore all the earth to the Kingdom of God. All nations will join in Israel's exodus song: "Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea" (Ex. 15: 21). Happy Passover.

Sandra Teplinsky has been in the Messianic Jewish ministry since 1979. She is president of Light of Zion, an outreach to Israel and the church based in Southern California and Jerusalem. She is an ordained minister and prophetic conference speaker, and has written several books and articles about Israel and the church.

]]>
Sandra Teplinsky Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0400
NBC Show Glamorizes One-Night Stands and Homosexuality http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48909-nbc-show-glamorizes-one-night-stands-and-homosexuality http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48909-nbc-show-glamorizes-one-night-stands-and-homosexuality

NBC has launched another program attempting to redefine what makes a family. "One Big Happy" is described as a show about best friends Lizzy and Luke who are like family. As kids, they saw each other's parents go through divorce and have ever since formed an inseparable bond. Now, all grown up and still single, they've decided to start a family of their own, but in a non-traditional way. Lizzy, who is a lesbian, wants to raise a child with Luke by her side. Then one night, Luke falls for Prudence, a free-spirited British girl who's due to go back to England in a matter of days. Then, just as Lizzy discovers that she's actually pregnant, Luke announces that he and Prudence have gotten married—and in an instant, a different kind of family is born. 

The season premiere aired Tuesday, March 17 at 9:30 ET/8:30 PM CT, which also happens to be the same timeslot the network chose to run "The New Normal" with an extremely similar theme. It is no surprise that openly gay Ellen DeGeneres is one of the executive producers of this new show where the three will attempt to live together as one big happy family under one roof. It also includes a good bit of pixelated nudity that leaves very little to the imagination. 

NBC's "One Big Happy" is attempting to desensitize America and our children. This new show is damaging to our culture and harmful to our society for a number of reasons. This program glamorizes one-night stands, nudity, homosexuality and foul language. 

1MM is prepared to contact sponsors of "One Big Happy" requesting they pull financial support from the program. It is proven this strategy works! It was not too long ago that NBC announced "The New Normal" had been canceled after only one season because of lack of advertisers! 

Please use the information we have provided to contact Synsodyne (GlaxoSmithKline) and ask they pull their financial support from "One Big Happy." 

Click on link to Take Action! onemillionmoms.com/current-campaigns/nbc-did-not-learn-their-lesson/ 

Monica Cole is the director of One Million Moms. 

]]>
Monica Cole/One Million Moms Featured Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Benny Hinn: 'Absolutely No Heart Attack' http://www.charismanews.com/us/48913-benny-hinn-strang-report http://www.charismanews.com/us/48913-benny-hinn-strang-report

Evangelist Benny Hinn will be fine after doctors shocked his heart to reset the rhythm at 8 a.m. PDT today. The procedure worked, doctors say, and his heart is strong.  In an exclusive interview from his hospital bed Hinn said he's "turned the corner" and is feeling much better. "Today is the first day the sun is shining again."

Hinn was rushed to the emergency room on March 20 after being exhausted from a huge crusade in Brazil. He was put into ICU and doctors said he had Afib.  Someone tipped me off and I called Hinn and talked to him Monday and wrote the article we put online.

However, The Christian Post later reported online that Hinn had a heart attack which his doctor told me is not true. The family told me they to set the record straight. That's why Hinn talked to me today and explained that while it wasn't a heart attack, it was serious and could have been deadly had not his oldest daughter Jessica Hinn-Koulianos insisted he go to a heart specialist to find out why he was so weak.

Jessica, whose 33rd birthday is today, said the good news about her dad's health is the best present she could have received.

One of Hinn's doctors confirmed to me there was no heart attack and that his heart is beating regularly. After many tests, it was discovered Hinn's heart is strong and free of plaque.

This resulted, Hinn said, in his body filling with fluids. He didn't know it, but his organs were beginning to shut down. The doctor took one look at him in his office and called an ambulance to rush him to a nearby hospital. There Hinn said he heard one of the nurses yelling to another nurse that she was trying to "save his life."

Thankfully he got to the hospital in time. The doctors were able to stabilize him, diagnose the problem and get his heart beating with the right rhythm again.

"So today's a good day. We turned a corner and even the doctor said we're out of the critical stage now," she told me by phone. "They're going to send him home to rest. Today was a good day. I told him God answered all our prayers."

To read more in their own words, click here for an edited transcript of the interview.

]]>
Steve Strang Featured U.S. News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:40:00 -0400
Street Preacher Ordered to Pay for 'Emotional Pain' to Gays http://www.charismanews.com/world/48907-street-preacher-ordered-to-pay-for-emotional-pain-to-gays http://www.charismanews.com/world/48907-street-preacher-ordered-to-pay-for-emotional-pain-to-gays

A Christian street preacher has been convicted of a Public Order offense for using the wrong Bible verse in a public conversation with a man who identifies as homosexual.

But the preacher was acquitted of two other Public Order charges. 

Unusual Judgment

In a highly unusual judgment, Michael Overd, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, was told by the Judge that he should not have referred to Leviticus 20 to make his point but clearly indicated that he could have used chapter 18 of the book.

District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi found that Mr. Overd could have pointed to Leviticus 18:22 which describes homosexual practice as an 'abomination' but that reference to Leviticus 20:13 was inappropriate because the chapter refers to the death penalty.

Mr. Overd points out that in his use of Leviticus 20 he never referred to the death penalty. "I am being punished for words that never passed my lips," he commented. 

Censorship

He went on to express his shock that a Judge should adopt the role of Biblical censor, effectively dictating which parts of the Bible are fit for public preaching.

"I am amazed that the Judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can't be preached. I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty but the Judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible. This is not free speech but censorship. The Judge is redacting the Bible.

"I have been ordered to pay compensation for causing 'emotional pain' to someone who approached me aggressively demanding to debate the issue. There was no harm, injury or theft, just a simple disagreement over theology which I have now been fined for.

"My motivation for preaching the gospel is my love for Jesus Christ and my deep concern for people who do not know His great love and are heading towards an eternity separated from God."

'Unable to Recall'

In another highly unusual aspect of the case, a Somerset newspaper reported the Police accusing Mr. Overd of "being hostile" to people and encouraged members of the public to record Mr. Overd if they felt that he was making "offensive remarks."

However, a number of the witnesses interviewed in connection with Mr. Overd's case said they cannot remember what was said or when it was said. One of the eyewitnesses, Nigel Marley, said in a statement that he was "unable to recall exactly what phrases he was using, but it was clear to me that it was homophobic." 

Fine, Compensation and Costs

Judge Qureshi imposed a fine of £200 on Mr Overd and told him to pay a total of £1,200 in costs and compensation.

Mr. Overd is supported by the Christian Legal Centre and was represented in Court by Paul Diamond and Michael Phillips. 

'Defending the Freedom to Preach'

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, commented:

"Mike is clear that he is motivated by love, not hate. Indeed, this is in line with the message of the Bible.

"It's clear from the evidence that he has consistently dealt with people's objections in a balanced and reasonable way. He has explained his beliefs. He hasn't been aggressive or targeted anybody in particular. The evidence bears all this out.

"Mike's boldness and his witness to Jesus is remarkably similar to that of the apostles in the early years of the church.

"They were also hauled before the courts to defend themselves for preaching a message of love and truth. They also faced trumped up accusations in an attempt to portray them as 'disruptive.'

"Now, as then, the disruptive ones appear to be the people who bring accusations, on the flimsiest of evidence, against a man who loves Jesus and loves people. This is why Mike gets up and preaches in Taunton town centre.

"There will always be those who disagree with the Bible's teaching. But we should defend to the hilt the freedom to proclaim it in a loving way, which is what Mike Overd always seeks to do."

]]>
Christian Concern Featured World News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Fox Reviving 'X-Files' http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48906-fox-reviving-x-files http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48906-fox-reviving-x-files

Cult television thriller "The X-Files" will return for a limited series with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprising their FBI agent roles, Fox Broadcasting network said on Tuesday. 

"The X-Files," which premiered on Fox in 1993, followed FBI special agents Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) as they investigated cases of the unexplained, UFOs and often paranormal phenomenon. 

Scully was the logical, practical partner of Mulder, who believed that alien worlds could exist within the universe and constantly searched for the truth in government cover-ups and conspiracy theories. 

The show created by Chris Carter became the longest-running sci-fi series in U.S. network TV history with nine seasons, concluding in 2002. 

The new series will comprise six episodes, due to start production this summer. An air date has not yet been announced. 

"I think of it as a 13-year commercial break," Carter said in a statement. "The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories." 

"The X-Files" revival comes on the heels of Fox's recent programming hits with Batman prequel "Gotham" and hip hop drama "Empire."

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. 

]]>
Reuters Featured Culture Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:30:00 -0400
WATCH: Touching 'I Waited for You' Video Goes Massively Viral http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48905-watch-touching-i-waited-for-you-video-goes-massively-viral http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48905-watch-touching-i-waited-for-you-video-goes-massively-viral

While some women pine away for a man, this woman gave her heart to God, broken pieces and everything.  

When God allowed her to find her perfect match, it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. Instead, it was two beautifully broken humans coming together as the bride of Christ.  

She explains it all in her wedding vow spoken word. You've got to see this. 

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Darren Wilson Gearing Up for Epic 'Heavenquest' Film http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48898-darren-wilson-gearing-up-for-epic-heavenquest-film http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48898-darren-wilson-gearing-up-for-epic-heavenquest-film

WP Films, the independent film studio behind the cult hit trilogy Finger of God, Furious Love and Father of Lights, is attempting again to set crowdfunding milestones for Christian films with the debut of its Kickstarter campaign for a new film project called Heavenquest: A Prilgrim's Progress.

Heavenquest is based on the original work of John Bunyan and his 1678 allegorical masterpiece, The Pilgrim's Progress. The movie, directed by Matt Bilen, written and produced by Darren Wilson and the team at WP Films, will be a highly stylistic, fantastical and beautiful story with themes of hope, sacrifice and ultimately salvation. Although reimagined, Heavenquest will still focus on the story of a man, desperate to escape his dark past, who undertakes a dangerous journey filled with peril in hope of finding his freedom.

WP Films currently holds the title for the most funded Christian film on Kickstarter of all time, with Holy Ghost, and aims to shatter their previous record of $357,655 with their current goal of $1.2 million. The campaign runs for 30 days and will end at 9:00 PM EST on April 21, 2015. Exciting parts of the campaign page include a sneak peek concept trailer for Heavenquest, and a similarly epic list of rewards, including the chance to play a role in the movie. 

Go To The Kickstarter Campaign: http://hqpr.wpfilm.com

]]>
Charisma News Staff Featured Culture Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0400
WATCH: John Piper on Why Theologians Fall Into Adultery http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48896-watch-john-piper-on-why-theologians-fall-into-adultery http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48896-watch-john-piper-on-why-theologians-fall-into-adultery

Why is it that people who have Ph.D.s in theology are fighting "graduate-level sins" with "grammar-school knowledge" of God? 

For Pastor and Theologian John Piper, it boils down to one succinct item: They don't know God.  

If someone was truly in love with the Creator of the universe and not focused on satisfying his or her own needs, he or she wouldn't commit adultery.  

"You can read theology 10 hours a day, 40 years long and not know God is beautiful, all-satisfying, highest treasure of your life. Who cares about knowing God the way the devil knows about God?" he says.  

Watch the video and let us know what you think of his argument. 

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:00 -0400
WATCH: Hillsong 'Let Hope Rise' Trailer Will Inspire Your Heart http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48894-watch-hillsong-let-hope-rise-trailer-will-inspire-your-heart http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48894-watch-hillsong-let-hope-rise-trailer-will-inspire-your-heart

I've been privileged to be an Executive Producer on the feature film Let Hope Rise, that tells the story of the world's most popular worship band—Hillsong United, based at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. The picture is finally locked, and as Deadline Hollywood reports, Relativity Media will be releasing the movie to theaters nationwide starting May 29. We're proud of the band and the movie, and thrilled that a global audience will see the story of a church worship band that's sold out venues like The Hollywood BowlRed RocksMadison Square Garden and other world-class venues. The film gets to the heart of what motivates them to do it and the challenges they face in the process.

My wife, Kathleen, and I watched the latest cut a couple of nights ago with the movie's producer, Jonathan Bock, and Hillsong Founder and Pastor Brian Houston. It's a great experience, and it's being released in Surround Sound so you'll experience the music as if you were right in the venue. Mark your calendar, load up your friends and start sharing this post.

]]>
Phil Cooke Featured Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:30:00 -0400
Woman Raised by Two Lesbians: Two Mommies Cannot Replace Daddy http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48893-woman-raised-by-two-lesbians-two-mommies-cannot-replace-daddy http://www.charismanews.com/culture/48893-woman-raised-by-two-lesbians-two-mommies-cannot-replace-daddy

Heather Barwick, who was raised by two lesbians, shared her compelling story and why she opposes same-sex marriage. Married to a man and raising four children, Heather has come to realize why same-sex marriage is wrong and why it harms children.

In her powerful story, Heather wrote in The Federalist: "Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It's only with some time and distance from my childhood that I'm able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it's only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting."

Heather, who was raised by lesbian mothers, writes what Liberty Counsel has been saying for years: Same-sex marriage denies a child either a mom or a dad. "A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting," Heather wrote. She went on to say, "My father's absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom's partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost." Heather's story is a must-read, but her story is not unique. It is repeated over and over again.

"I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn't need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy," Heather wrote. "It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary."

"Heather Barwick's story about how she and other children raised by same-sex parents are harmed by the lack of the opposite-gender parent is just one of many reasons why same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption are wrong," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "We should pass laws that strengthen the family, not tear it down by dooming children to a single-gender set of parents. The policy of same-sex unions says that moms and dads are irrelevant to the well-being of children. The social experiment of same-sex unions is hurting children," Staver concluded.

]]>
Liberty Counsel Featured Culture Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Christian Musicians Charged With Attempted Homicide in Wal-Mart Brawl http://www.charismanews.com/us/48892-christian-musicians-charged-with-attempted-homicide-in-wal-mart-brawl http://www.charismanews.com/us/48892-christian-musicians-charged-with-attempted-homicide-in-wal-mart-brawl

The suspects in a fatal brawl with police outside an Arizona Wal-Mart have been identified as a family from Idaho who had apparently been living in a vehicle in the store's parking lot for days before the melee, authorities said on Tuesday. 

Five adults and one juvenile were booked on multiple charges stemming from the fight that erupted late on Saturday in Cottonwood after police responded to a report that a female Wal-Mart employee was assaulted by multiple suspects. 

Police said the officers were immediately attacked by the suspects in the parking lot and that during the fracas, 21-year-old Enoch Gaver was shot and killed, while his brother David Gaver, 28, was shot in the abdomen. 

One police officer, 31-year-old Sergeant Jeremy Daniels, was also shot and remains in a hospital in Flagstaff, about 45 miles away. Daniels, a 10-year veteran of the Cottonwood Police Department, is expected to make a full recovery. 

Seven other officers suffered minor injuries, police said. 

Those arrested on charges including aggravated assault and attempted homicide were Peter Gaver, 55, and Ruth Gaver, 52, and their children Nathan Gaver, 27, Jeremiah Gaver, 29, and David Gaver, as well as a juvenile whose identity was not released. 

State police spokesman Bart Graves said three shots were fired during the brawl, but that there had been a struggle for one of the officers' guns and it was not clear who fired. 

"It looks like it's going to take us weeks to sort this out," Graves said. "I think we're going to find that this was a very unusual family." 

A television station in Boise, Idaho, reported that several of the Gavers were sidewalk musicians who perform in a Christian band called Matthew 24 Now. 

"Matthew 24 Now is our band that has been in the works for many years!" reads a Facebook page apparently set up by the band in June 2013 but not updated since last December.

"We are also known as Busking in The Son; as we have been busking on the streets of Boise Idaho for the last 3 years," the page read, listing the band members as Peter Green (Gaver), and sons Jeremiah and Nathan.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
David Schwartz/Reuters Featured U.S. News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:30:00 -0400
Amanda Knox's Fate to Be Determined by Italy's Top Court http://www.charismanews.com/world/48895-amanda-knox-s-fate-to-be-determined-by-italy-s-top-court http://www.charismanews.com/world/48895-amanda-knox-s-fate-to-be-determined-by-italy-s-top-court

Italy's highest court was expected to rule on Wednesday on whether to uphold the conviction of American Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend for the 2007 killing of British student Meredith Kercher. 

The case, which has inspired books and films, has riveted media attention in Italy and the United States for eight years and the court's decision could trigger a legal battle between the two allies. 

Knox, 27, and Raffaele Sollecito, 30, were convicted for the second time last year in the murder of 21-year-old Kercher, who was found stabbed to death in a house the women shared in Perugia, a university city in central Italy. 

A confirmation of those convictions could trigger a complicated and drawn-out battle to try and extradite Knox from the United States. Sollecito, whose passport has been withdrawn pending the decision and who attended Wednesday's hearing, could be arrested. 

The Court of Cassation's, which began its hearing on the case on Wednesday, could also overturn the conviction, and then either order yet another trial or effectively acquit the two—though legal experts said that last option was unlikely. 

Both Knox and Sollecito have maintained their innocence throughout. 

Washington has refused to send military personnel to serve sentences in Italy in the past, but sparing a private citizen like Knox from extradition would be an "anomaly", said Pier Luigi Petrillo, Professor of Comparative Law at Rome's LUISS university. 

"If an American citizen has been found guilty of a crime and in particular a serious crime such as murder on Italian soil, there is an obligation by the United States to extradite the American citizen," Petrillo said. 

Some experts say a "double jeopardy" U.S. constitutional ban on retrial for the same offense after acquittal and the fact Knox was tried in absentia could count in her favor. 

Knox has come to be seen in her home country as the victim of a botched investigation and an unwieldy legal system. 

She and Sollecito were convicted at the first trial in 2009. That ruling was overturned in an appeal in 2011 and both were freed from prison. Knox left Italy for her hometown, Seattle. 

The Court of Cassation later found faults with the previous trials and ordered a new one. The couple were re-convicted last year by a court in Florence, handing Knox a 28 1/2 year sentence and Sollecito 25 years. 

The prosecution originally portrayed Knox as a fast-living party goer who killing Kercher when a sex game went wrong. The Florence verdict said the killing was more likely due to an argument between the roommates. 

Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede is serving a 16-year jail sentence for the crime after a separate trial. Judges ruled he did not act alone.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
Isla Binnie and Massimiliano Di Giorgio/Reuters Featured World News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:15:00 -0400
Presbyterian Minister Doesn’t Believe in God Yet Defends His Christianity http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/watchman-on-the-wall/48891-presbyterian-minister-doesn-t-believe-in-god-yet-defends-his-christianity http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/watchman-on-the-wall/48891-presbyterian-minister-doesn-t-believe-in-god-yet-defends-his-christianity

John Shuck is a Presbyterian minister—but he doesn't believe in God and has the audacity to declare that "Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about Him is in the form of legend" and "God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force" and "the Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being" and "human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there's no afterlife."

So, basically, this Presbyterian minister is an atheist. In fact, he made these declarations on The Friendly Atheist's blog. Despite these beliefs he still describes himself as a "proud minister" and says he doesn't appreciate "being told I'm not truly a Christian."

Go ahead, read that again. Actually, I'll summarize it for you: Shuck essentially denies the divinity of Christ, characterizes the Father as a myth-maker, repudiates the veracity of the Bible, denies any existence of an afterlife and gets offended when people suggest that maybe he needs to reclassify his faith—or lack thereof? Yes, that about sums it up. About the only thing he didn't do was directly blaspheme the Holy Spirit. 

Promoting 'Belief-Less' Christianity

"I believe one of the newer religious paths could be a 'belief-less' Christianity. In this 'sect,' one is not required to believe things. One learns and draws upon practices and products of our cultural tradition to create meaning in the present," Shuck writes, acknowledging his support for congregations that make huge commitments to LGTBQ people.

"Belief-less Christianity is thriving right now, even as other forms of the faith are falling away rapidly. Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go or de-emphasized belief in heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity."

That might be what they call Christianity, but that's not Christianity. Christianity is a religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus, the Christ.

Let's be clear: Christianity teaches the Bible is the inspired Word of God (see 2 Tim. 3:15). Christianity teaches that God exists in three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit (see Matt 3:16-17). Christianity teaches that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, resurrected and seated at the right hand of the Father (see Rom. 4:25). Christianity teaches that mankind was created in God's image to live in relationship with Him (see Gen. 1:27). Christianity teaches that in order to be saved, one must believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord (see Rom. 10:9). Christianity teaches that there is an afterlife—heaven for those who believe and hell for those who don't (see 2 Cor. 5:8; Matt. 5:22;30).

Perverting God's Word

Yesterday, I released a prophetic word about a tsunami of perversion rising. Shuck's belief system is part of that perversion. The root of the perversion I see coming is actually the perversion of God's Word itself.

We're seeing prominent pastors and entire denominations perverting God's Word, twisting it to defend and justify perversion itself and suggesting the rest of us are legalistic or unenlightened about the truth. It may have started with the gay marriage doctrine but it won't end there. Shuck, a Presbyterian minister who doesn't believe in God, is one more proof point.

"Someone quipped that my congregation is BYOG: Bring Your Own God. I use that and invite people to 'bring their own God'—or none at all," Shuck concludes. "While the symbol 'God' is part of our cultural tradition, you can take it or leave it or redefine it to your liking. That permission to be theological do-it-yourselfers is at the heart of belief-less Christianity."

It's also a perversion of the truth that could send people to hell and the blood of those who buy into Shuck's false gospel will be on his hands. Thankfully, God is merciful and forgiving. I pray that a spirit of repentance would fall on Shuck and all those like him who are perverting or denying the Word of God. I pray that church leaders and parishioners alike would receive fresh wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Jesus. I pray that the truth would prevail in churches across the world. I pray for a Third Great Awakening with signs, wonders and miracles that will make it very evident that God is real and Jesus is alive. Amen.

Pockets of true revival are breaking out across the nation. Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.

Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual AwakeningMornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still Small Voice of God, The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

]]>
Jennifer LeClaire Featured Watchman on the Wall Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Fully Naked Man Irks Neighbors by Passing Out Bible Fliers About Sin http://www.charismanews.com/us/48890-fully-naked-man-irks-neighbors-by-passing-out-bible-fliers-about-sin http://www.charismanews.com/us/48890-fully-naked-man-irks-neighbors-by-passing-out-bible-fliers-about-sin

A North Carolina man who repeatedly stands naked at his front door, drawing national attention and the ire of his neighbors, has prompted local authorities to consider asking lawmakers to strengthen the state's indecent exposure law. 

Residents on the quiet street of modest two-story homes in Charlotte where the man lives say that for at least a decade he has periodically appeared nude inside and outside his glass front door, in his open garage while lifting weights and at the back of his house—in full view of his neighbors and their children. 

"The kids know him as 'the Wee-Wee Man,'" said Xavier Hodges, president of the community's homeowners' association who lives three doors down from the man. "He doesn't care who sees him. When you talk to him, the first thing he says is, 'This is my property.' For real?" 

Neighbors have called the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police multiple times over the years. But police have not charged Gerard Leeper with a crime because North Carolina law is fuzzy on whether someone can be accused of indecent exposure on private property. 

About two weeks ago, a fed-up neighbor took a photo of Leeper standing au naturel inside his front door while talking on a cellphone. 

After a local television station produced a report, police said they might be able to charge Leeper if he is photographed again and they can establish that he intends for people to see him nude. 

Police said they may approach North Carolina lawmakers about passing a stronger indecent exposure law. 

Leeper did not answer a reporter's knock at his home on Tuesday. But he did attend an emergency neighborhood meeting about him at a local Baptist church Monday night and complained in a TV interview that his privacy has been breached. 

"I'm saying that you cannot legally take a photo of someone in their house. I keep crying that," Leeper said. "They think that I am intentionally trying to agitate them. That's the way they feel, and I can't change the way people feel." 

Hodges said neighbors have asked Leeper to seek professional help. Two days before the meeting, she said, Leeper passed out fliers with Bible verses extolling nakedness as a way to cleanse oneself of sin. 

"Well, then, walk around your house and have church," Hodges said. "I know you weren't out there with your cellphone talking to Jesus."

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
Greg Lacour/Reuters Featured U.S. News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 09:30:00 -0400
5 Points of Tension in the Obama-Netanyahu Relationship http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/48859-5-points-of-tension-in-the-obama-netanyahu-relationship http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/48859-5-points-of-tension-in-the-obama-netanyahu-relationship

When the champion of the U.S.-Israel alliance sounds the alarm, something about the steadfast allies' relationship is more contentious than usual.

Last week, the staunchly bipartisan American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—which does not frequently issue public statements, let alone criticize a sitting American president—urged the Obama administration to "recommit to improving" U.S.-Israel ties. AIPAC's March 19 statement came after White House and State Department spokespeople dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reaffirmation of his support for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

"Unfortunately, administration spokespersons rebuffed the prime minister's efforts to improve the understandings between Israel and the U.S.," AIPAC said. "In contrast to their comments, we urge the administration to further strengthen ties with America's most reliable and only truly democratic ally in the Middle East."

Josh Block, CEO and president of The Israel Project and a former AIPAC spokesman, told The Washington Post's Right Turn blog, "It is quite rare for AIPAC to directly and publicly criticize the White House, and clearly there is a feeling that the president's staff is acting in an irresponsible way that undermines America's interests and vital relationship with our only reliable democratic ally in the region."

Tension between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama is nothing new, but seems to have escalated to an even higher level. Here are five current sources of bitterness in the leaders' relationship:

1. Iran. Much of the debate surrounding Netanyahu's March 3 speech to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat centered on "protocol," with the White House opposing the speech—and Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as president of the U.S. Senate, skipping the address—on the grounds that House Speaker John Boehner did not consult Obama about inviting Netanyahu. But the broader disagreement is about the emerging deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers, a group that includes the U.S., ahead of a March 31 deadline for a "political framework agreement" in the nuclear negotiations.

"This deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program, and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. ... That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, it paves Iran's path to the bomb," Netanyahu told Congress.

Given Iran's repeated threats to annihilate Israel and sponsorship of anti-Jewish terrorism around the world, Netanyahu considers the outcome of the nuclear negotiations a matter of survival for the Jewish state. But the Islamic Republic doesn't limit its genocidal rhetoric to Israel. On Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei affirmed a Tehran crowd's chants of "death to America."

"Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure," Khamenei said, referring to economic sanctions against Iran.

2. A two-state solution. A day before the March 17 Israeli election, Netanyahu said that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch. But on March 19, the prime minister told NBC News that he supports "a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution."

"I haven't changed my policy," Netanyahu said. "I never retracted my speech at Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state."

Obama, however, wasn't sold.

"We take [Netanyahu] at his word when he said that [a Palestinian state] wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region," Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview published Saturday.

3. The U.N. Reports citing anonymous U.S. sources have indicated that the Obama administration, within the context of its "reassessment" of relations with Israel, might break from longstanding American policy to defend Israel against United Nations resolutions that single out the Jewish state for criticism or promote the unilateral establishment of a Palestinian state. The U.S. has veto power in the U.N. Security Council.

4. Israeli Arabs. On Election Day, Netanyahu—whose Likud party had been trailing the Zionist Union party in the polls before Likud's eventual decisive victory—warned, "The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are going en masse to the polls. Left-wing NGOs are bringing them on buses."

After White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. "is deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens," Obama followed suit by issuing his own criticism of Netanyahu's election-day remarks on Arab voters.

"We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel's traditions," Obama told The Huffington Post. "That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. And I think that that is what's best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country."

5. Alleged U.S. funding of anti-Netanyahu campaign efforts. One specter that hung over the Israeli election was alleged U.S. State Department funding of efforts to unseat Netanyahu—and although the election has passed and Netanyahu will remain in power, an ongoing U.S. Senate probe means the issue is not going away.

The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations recently launched a bipartisan probe into the Washington, D.C.-based OneVoice Movement's funding of efforts to defeat Netanyahu, Fox News reported. According to the report, OneVoice received $350,000 in recent tax-payer funded grants from the State Department. Ahead of the election, a subsidiary of OneVoice, the V15 group, campaigned in Israel against Netanyahu with a message of "simply replace the government."

A source familiar with the matter told Fox News, "It's confirmed that there is a bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee inquiry into OneVoice's funding of V15." The probe is looking into whether OneVoice, a registered non-profit in the U.S., violated its tax-exempt status by financing V15's electioneering activities in Israel. Jeremy Bird, who was Obama's national field director in the 2012 presidential election, has assisted V15 through his consulting firm, 270 Strategies. Among the 45 staffers at 270 Strategies, 16 have worked directly for Obama's campaigns.

For the original article, visit jns.org.

]]>
Jacob Kamaras/JNS.org Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0400
Navy Bans Chaplain From Ministering to Family of Dead Sailor http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/48889-navy-bans-chaplain-from-ministering-to-family-of-dead-sailor http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/48889-navy-bans-chaplain-from-ministering-to-family-of-dead-sailor

It really takes a special kind of lowlife to stop a chaplain from ministering to the family and colleagues of a dead sailor.

But that's exactly what happened last week at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, South Carolina, according to attorneys representing Chaplain Wes Modder.

"For this Navy to bar a chaplain from comforting and ministering to sailors and families is a reprehensible violation of religious freedom and common human decency," said Kelly Shackelford, the president of Liberty Institute, a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.

Some quick background before I explain what happened: 

Chaplain Modder is facing the end of a stellar, 19-year-career in the Navy because he expressed his faith-based views on marriage and human sexuality during private counseling sessions with sailors. 

Last December, a gay officer took offense at Christian chaplain's take on homosexuality. Modder, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, was accused of discrimination and failing to show tolerance and respect, among other things.

Just a few months earlier, Modder's commander had called him the "best of the best" and a "consummate professional leader." But now he's on the verge of being kicked out of the military.

Modder was relieved of his duties and temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation. The Navy has since denied the chaplain's request to be reinstated for religious accommodation.

So that brings us to an incident that occurred last week, when a sailor in Modder's previous unit unexpectedly died.

Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry tells me Modder was about to reach out to the sailor's grieving family when he was stopped by a member of the command. 

He was slapped with a "no contact" order—the Navy's version of a restraining order—banning him from providing counsel or ministering to any members of his unit.

"This Navy official is using the 'no contact' order as a weapon to punish and humiliate a decorated military chaplain," Berry said. "To deny Chaplain Modder of the ability to minister to a grieving family and other sailors is deplorable."

The Navy went so far as to banish Modder from the base on the day of the sailor's memorial service. The chaplain said that was adding "insult to injury."

"One of the most important things chaplains do is to provide comfort and care after a tragic death," Modder said. "I am heartbroken for the family, and yet the Navy won't allow me to do my job of helping them grieve and mourn."

It's beyond me why the Navy would treat a Marine and highly decorated chaplain with such derision. This is a man who was deployed multiple times during the War on Terror. This is a man who once led chaplains who ministered to Navy SEALs.

Tens of thousands of Americans have petitioned the Pentagon to reinstate Modder, and a number of high-profile political and religious figures—including Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, Franklin Graham and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins—have offered their support.

I reached out to the Chief of Chaplains' office for comment, but they did not return my call. I can only hope the reason is because they are just as speechless as I am.

It's become clear to me that Navy leadership cannot be trusted to protect religious liberty within the ranks. It's time for our elected officials to intervene, before Chaplain Modder's commander brings more embarrassment and shame to the Armed Forces. 

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.

]]>
Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Franklin Graham: History Shows That When Nations Do This, Their End Is Near http://www.charismanews.com/us/48888-franklin-graham-history-shows-that-when-nations-do-this-their-end-is-near http://www.charismanews.com/us/48888-franklin-graham-history-shows-that-when-nations-do-this-their-end-is-near

Franklin Graham doesn't seem to bothered by the rebuke he received from a group of pastors. Indeed, he's still speaking out as boldly as ever.

This time, he's speaking out about America's future.

"One of the greatest threats to America is the progressives (a new name for liberals) led by President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder, who are trying to impose a new morality—which is really no morality at all—jamming it down the throats of the American people," Graham wrote on his Facebook page.

"America has been blessed by God more than any nation on the face of this earth. When our country was birthed, its foundations and laws were based on biblical laws and principles. We used to be 'one nation under God,' now we're a nation that has turned its back on God. History shows that when nations do this, their end is near."

Beyond the politicians, Graham is also concerned about the state of the church. He bemoaned the Presbyterian Church USA's decision to redefine marriage and recently pointed to clear signs of the end times.

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:00:00 -0400
Billy Graham Lamented Over God's Judgment Over America in 1973 —What Now? http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48887-billy-graham-lamented-over-god-s-judgment-over-america-in-1973-what-now http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48887-billy-graham-lamented-over-god-s-judgment-over-america-in-1973-what-now

In 1973, the Rev. Billy Graham preached to tens of thousands in St. Louis, Missouri, lamenting that America as a nation was under God's judgment for the U.S. Supreme Court decision made earlier that year legalizing the mass murder of children. He warned that unless believers sought repentance to reverse this atrocity, our nation would be taken away from us as was the case of the Babylonian Achaemenid Empire circa 500 B.C.

Mr. Graham paraphrased Daniel's conversation with King Belshazzar recorded in Daniel 5. Belshazzar's empire's military might was unparralled and its cultural and social influences spanned from modern-day Iran to Greece, Egypt and Libya. Yet he was frightened by handwriting that appeared on his palace wall: "Mene, mene, Tekel, Parsin." Daniel interpreted it, explaining his kingdom was being destroyed at that very moment and it was too late to do anything about it. The Medes and Persians were invading. Belshazzar was killed that night and his country fell to King Darius, the Persian Empire's third ruler.

Mr. Graham remarked that the leaders of one of the greatest nations on earth chose rebellion—and hell—because they rejected God. He said such leaders are "like a mouse still nibbling on cheese after being caught in a trap. They're already dead!"

Mr. Graham admonished Christians to repent then, and now 42 years later Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has done the same. Not only did he invited Americans to join him Jan. 24 at The Response: Louisiana: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, but he wrote to his 49 gubernatorial colleagues asking them to attend and/or extend a similar invitation to citizens in their states.

Citing 2 Chron. 7:14, Mr. Jindal wrote: "The Lord makes this promise to us: 'If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land'." Mr. Jindal also referenced Joel, who circa 800 B.C. told people living in a war-torn, divided nation "to call a solemn assembly" and "cry out to the Lord."

Mr. Jindal admonishes that "now is the time for us to have a similar posture of humility, honesty and honor before the Lord on behalf of our nation." He asks others to join him, appealing to God for intervention, mercy and deliverance, and ignite a spiritual renewal in America.

Graham and Jindal are not alone in their call for repentance. One minister told me every person experiences broken relationships and is in need of healing, not just with God, but with each other. In Exodus 9, he points to Egyptian pharaoh Ramses of Egypt's 18th dynasty. Moses confronted him saying that because his "qualified repentance" wasn't authentic, his iniquity would be passed on to the next generation; and his firstborn died.

However, Ramses wasn't alone. God's people have repeatedly failed to trust, obey and repent. Despite having vast biblical knowledge, His people still cause harm to themselves and others (Ps. 78:32-39). Wrong decisions by leaders, parents, family members and colleagues cause generational suffering, extending consequences that reach far beyond the offender. Such unfaithfulness creates extended suffering that can only be resolved by divine intervention (Ps. 80:14, 15; Is. 63:17).

Part of repentance requires accountability for self-governance. As another minister told me, "If you can't govern yourself, you can't govern your own family, or even society." The cultural victimhood mentality expressed by many, the attitude that "it's not my fault; I can do whatever I want because of 'what has happened to me,'" demands correction to teach individual and corporate responsibility.

First, the family is primarily responsible to teach right moral behavior. As radio commentator Dennis Prager recently remarked, "The task of education used to be character development. America doesn't make 'good people' anymore." He says he consistently asks parents the same question: "Would you rather your children smoke or cheat?" Their consistent response he says, is: "cheat ... It shows you what's at stake in America. There's no cure for bad character."

Mr. Prager adds, "The greatest source of evil isn't sado-masochism, but those who succumb to the lie of victimhood."

Next, responsibility falls to societal and political leaders, exposing corruption among those who cry "peace" when their goal is deception (Micah 3:5-6, 19). Mr. Prager argues that victimhood creates a license to behave badly, and secularism enabled the Holocaust of 6 million Jews. "For over 2,000 years," he said, "anti-Semitism existed. But no one ever called for the extermination of all Jews. But secularism did."

Another minister reminded me of what John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1814. He said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Remove God, and government won't work.

As Mike Huckabee has repeatedly argued, "the greatest danger our country faces is moral collapse. We cannot expect corrupt or ambitious leaders to [restrain evil or promote good]. America exists solely because of God's providence."

He adds, "America is on the precipice of extraordinary trouble because we have a government that won't define right from wrong. But naming and fighting evil constitutes an authoritative imperative."

While many are pessimistic about America's future, Graham, Huckabee, Jindal and many others assert spiritual renewal is the only action that will lead to a different outcome than that about which Mr. Graham forewarned—because only Jesus saves, redeems, restores and reconciles people and nations.

Pockets of true revival are breaking out all over the nation. Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.

Bethany Blankley worked in politics for over 10 years, on Capitol Hill for four U.S. Senators and one U.S. Congressman, and in New York for a former governor. She also previously taught at the New York School of the Bible and worked with several nonprofits. She earned her master's degree in theology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and her bachelor's degree in politics from the University of Maryland. She is a political analyst for "Fox News Radio," and she has appeared on television and radio programs nationwide. Follow her: @BethanyBlankley, bethanyblankley.com.

]]>
Bethany Blankley Featured Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0400
Blacks Are in Denial About President Barack Obama http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48886-blacks-are-in-denial-about-president-barack-obama http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48886-blacks-are-in-denial-about-president-barack-obama

Last week I couldn't help but watch with sadness the National Urban League's annual "State of Black America" report being released at a press conference.  This was their 39th annual report. According to their press release, "it has become the most highly anticipated benchmarks and sources for thought leadership around racial equality in America across economics (including employment, income and housing), education, health, social justice and civic engagement. Each edition of the State of Black America contains thoughtful commentary and insightful analysis from leading figures and thought leaders in politics, the corporate arena, NGOs, academia and popular culture.

The theme of the 2015 State of Black America, "Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs + Justice," conveys the urgency of focus around each of these areas and their interconnectedness in our ongoing quest for full equality in America.

So, what is the state of black America in 2015? In short, on many fronts, black America remains in crisis—and we see justice challenged at every turn."

As you might guess, I have a different point of view.

The state of black America in 2015 is not in crisis; but rather the state of the "media-appointed black leadership" is in crisis. This includes organizations and people like the National Urban League (headed by Marc Morial), National Action Network (headed by Al Sharpton), the NAACP (headed by Cornell Brooks) and the Congressional Black Caucus (headed by Democratic Congressman G.K Butterfield of North Carolina).

All of the above groups and their "media-appointed leaders" have one thing in common: They all are vestiges of the Democratic Party. They are all card-carrying members of the Democratic Party and all of their proposed solutions to what ails the black community come straight out of Democratic talking points.

The interesting thing is that these groups and their leadership are totally out of step with the grassroots within the black community.

Blacks consistently support marriage between a man and a woman; and school choice and vouchers more than any other group. But this group's "leadership" has been willingly hijacked by the fringe left at the expense of the very people they claim to represent.

The saddest part of watching Morial's press conference last week was that he refused to state the obvious—that the past six years under Obama, America's first black president, has been an unmitigated disaster for blacks.

Mr. Obama's campaign theme in 2008 was "Hope and Change." Now, after six years, people, especially blacks, are saying they have no hope that he changes. Mr. Obama is the first president in the history of the U.S. to deliberately ignore his largest voting bloc—the black community.

We are 13 percent of the population and gave Mr. Obama 96 percent and 94 percent of our vote in 2008 and 2012, respectively. In 2012, the black voter participation rate (66.2 percent) was higher than overall turnout (58 percent) and, for the first time in the history of the U.S., higher than the white rate (64.1 percent). So, where is the "voter suppression" that liberals keep talking about?

If Mr. Obama was a corporation, his largest shareholders would be: blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians. In capital markets, dividend payouts are distributed according to percentage of ownership, from the highest to the lowest. On this principle, blacks should be the largest recipient of Mr. Obama's largesse. But in typical Democratic fashion, blacks don't even get crumbs from the table.

The biggest beneficiaries of Mr. Obama's presidency are: homosexuals (an estimated 2 percent of the population), illegal immigrants, Hispanics and whites. I challenge my readers to name one thing Mr. Obama has done "specifically" to benefit the black community—the largest shareholder in "Obama Inc." If black voters were shareholders in "Obama Inc.," they could have gone to court and sued for fraud and breach of contract—and prevailed. 

The black community had every expectation that Mr. Obama would provide "targeted" remedies to address seemingly intractably high unemployment within our community. Instead, the black unemployment rate rose from 10.3 percent in January of this year to 10.4 percent last month; yet the national rate fell from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent during the same period—and not a word from this president.

Blacks had every right to expect Mr. Obama to be supportive of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Instead, the HBCU community and its students have been devastated under this president; but yet they continue to swear their allegiance to Obama's presidency.

According to the Urban League's own numbers, "the median African-American household income was $34,815, or only 60 percent of the $57,684 for white households. Blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to live in poverty.

The median black wealth is $6,314 compared with $110,500 for whites, meaning the median black household has only 6 cents for every dollar the median white household possesses."

These negative indices didn't begin under Obama, but there is no denying that they have accelerated during the past six years. If we had a white president presiding over these types of economic numbers, Democrat or Republican, blacks would be screaming to the high heavens about the state of the black community.  

The first thing blacks must do is to accept the fact that Obama is the problem, but we all know that will not happen. The state of black America is denial.

Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC is an internationally recognized political consulting, government affairs and PR firm based in Washington, D.C. Jackson is an internationally recognized radio talk show host and TV commentator. He has coined the phrase "straticist." As a straticist, he has merged strategic planning with public relations. Call RJA to discuss how they can get you to the next level of your career.

]]>
Raynard Jackson Featured Opinion Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0400
WATCH: Was This Really a Miracle? Pope Francis Turns Vial of Blood Into Liquid http://www.charismanews.com/world/48885-watch-was-this-really-a-miracle-pope-francis-turns-vile-of-blood-into-liquid http://www.charismanews.com/world/48885-watch-was-this-really-a-miracle-pope-francis-turns-vile-of-blood-into-liquid

Reports are flooding in across the globe, claiming Pope Francis has performed a miracle.  

The Cardinal of Naples called it a miracle when a vial of blood suddenly became liquid in the pope's presence.  

Is this deserving of "miracle" status? Watch the video and sound off. 

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:00:00 -0400
WATCH: With Tempers Flaring, Texas Mayor Stands Up to Muslims Pushing Shariah Law http://www.charismanews.com/us/48883-watch-with-tempers-flaring-texas-mayor-stands-up-to-muslims-pushing-shariah-law http://www.charismanews.com/us/48883-watch-with-tempers-flaring-texas-mayor-stands-up-to-muslims-pushing-shariah-law

The application of foreign law, particularly Shariah law, will not stand in this Texas city if the mayor has anything to say about it. 

The Irving, Texas, Mayor Beth Van Duyne and the City Council resolved to uphold House Bill 562, which would prohibit foreign law from being practiced in American courts. 

"Specifically, approval of this resolution will show support for amending the Texas Family Code to prevent the application of foreign law that would violate a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Texas in matters involving marriage or the parent–child relationship," she posted on Facebook.

"Our nation and, indeed, our City are enriched by other cultures. We value their heritage, contributions to our society and diverse experiences which add to the intricate fabric of America. Van Duyne came under fire for being "anti-Islamic" when she spoke against the Shariah Law tribunal, which was never approved by the City Council."It fuels anti-Islamic hysteria," Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving, told the Dallas Morning News. "Her whole point was to rile up her supporters. ... The problem is we become the whipping boys." But for Van Duyne, it isn't about preventing Islam from infiltrating American courts; rather, the bill will focus on returning to America's national roots and guaranteed liberties. "However, the fundamental principles that formed our nation, protect our rights and guarantee liberties unmatched anywhere must not be sacrificed as our nation embraces other cultures. Reaffirming that our courts will consider matters based on AMERICAN laws and statutes is, therefore, necessary," she wrote on Facebook. According to Breitbart News, Van Duyne told the Council, "This bill does not mention, at all, Muslims, Sharia Law, Islam, even religion. It specifically talks about foreign laws not taking precedent over U.S. laws and those of the state of Texas." 

]]>
Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Company Purposely Hides Why Journalist Was Fired http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48884-company-purposely-hides-why-journalist-was-fired http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48884-company-purposely-hides-why-journalist-was-fired

Can you be fired for the peaceful expression of your religious beliefs outside your office in your private life? That's what happened to Liberty Institute client Bob Eschliman, an award-winning journalist. But in firing Bob, his employer broke federal law—and is now trying to justify its religious discrimination by distorting, and even omitting, key facts to a federal agency. This week, Liberty Institute set the record straight.

On March 16, 2015, Liberty Institute, along with volunteer attorney Matthew Whitaker—a former United States Attorney and partner in the Des Moines law firm of Whitaker, Hagenow & Gustoff, LLP—sent a rebuttal to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The 12-page letter rebuts B.F. Shaw Printing Co. Inc.'s ("Shaw Media") response to Liberty Institute's charge of religious discrimination after the media company fired Bob Eschliman for religious opinions expressed in one private blog post. 

In the rebuttal, Liberty Institute asserts: 

"[Shaw Media] admits that Bob was fired for the opinions—uniquely religious opinions based upon his sincerely held religious beliefs—expressed in one private blog post, then obscures the true reason for Bob's termination." 

Bob Eschliman, a soft-spoken Navy veteran and father of two young children, was an award-winning journalist and the former editor-in-chief of Newton Daily News, which is owned by Shaw Media in Newton, Iowa. On his off hours, and prior to his employment at Newton Daily News, Bob maintained a private blog where he published his occasional personal thoughts and sometimes his personal religious beliefs. 

The media company knew about—and approved of—Bob's personal blogging activities during his off hours. In fact, multiple employees of the media company engaged in the expression of opinions through blogging and other forms of social media. But they were treated differently than Bob. 

Why? 

Because the private blog post in question included Bob Eschliman's defense of sacred Scripture. 

In his post, Bob defended the Book that is most holy to his faith against attempts to rewrite it. He quoted both chapter and verse (literally) to demonstrate the significant differences between what is known as the Queen James Bible and sacred Scripture commonly accepted by millions of Christians worldwide for over two millennia. 

Only a handful of close friends and Bob's family would have read this blog post, hosted on an obscure corner of the Internet. But a former reporter decided to deliberately excerpt the post out of context in order to create controversy and harm Bob. 

A Private Blog About the Bible Leads to a Concocted Controversy 

This disgruntled employee remained at the media company for almost a year despite open misconduct, insubordination and the authoring of a false story in one of Shaw Media's weekly newspapers—a false story that led to threats of legal action, a public retraction and the publication of a corrected article. After this reporter avoided termination by resigning the day before he was to be terminated, he concocted the controversy against Bob in his attempt to smear both Newton Daily News and Bob. 

This information is highly germane to the case—yet was conveniently omitted in Shaw Media's attempted defense of its actions to the EEOC. 

After the disgruntled employee's smear of Bob and the newspaper, a handful of media sources also became interested in the story about Bob's private blog post. Bob—who was not yet suspended or terminated at this point—understood the sensitive nature of the issue and sought direction from his publisher. Bob followed the media company's request to forward any inquiries from media directly to his publisher—and Bob continued to follow this directive while he was placed on indefinite suspension for the expression of this sincerely held beliefs. He did not discuss the case with the media until, accompanied by his attorneys, he announced the filing of the complaint with the EEOC after he had been fired by Shaw Media. 

The newspaper president then took to the Newton Daily News' own editorial page to publicly condemn Bob's expressed sincerely held religious beliefs in print. In a statement published (see Exhibit 2), following the announcement of Bob's termination, the president of the media company said: 

"He expressed an opinion on his personal blog that in no way reflects the opinion of the Newton Daily News or Shaw Media. While he is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it. ... He has a right to voice his opinion. And we have a right to select an editor who we believe best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers." 

But this argument that Bob should be terminated for the expression of his distinctly religious opinion violates Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964. As, Liberty Institute asserts: 

"The Media Company cannot fire someone for religious expression any more than it can fire an African-American for being a member of the NAACP, or a Muslim reporter who expresses personal offense on his own blog when he learns that United States government personnel flush Korans down the toilet." 

Fact-Checking the Media Company's "Response" 

Additionally in our rebuttal, Liberty Institute and our volunteer attorney exposed Shaw Media for inaccuracies in its response to the EEOC charge ... and made four key points questioning the employer's blatant discrimination against Bob Eschliman's expression of his religious beliefs:

  1. Shaw Media omits and misconstrues the facts. 
  2. In addition to omitting the fact about the disgruntled former employee, Shaw Media also says it was unaware of Bob's personal blog—even though Bob informed his supervisor on numerous occasions (including during his initial interview with the company). Also, the overwhelming substance of Bob's blog entry explains the differences, alterations and changes that some have made to the text of the Bible—the book by which Bob orders his entire life. Shaw Media attempts to caricature Bob's religious opinions in an attempt to justify to the EEOC their unlawful termination of him.
  3. Media companies must comply with Title VII. The requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are as binding upon media companies as any other employer. Employers, including newspaper employers, may not make employment decisions based upon an employee's religious beliefs or the expression of those beliefs. Shaw Media tries to exempt itself from Title VII, admitting multiple times that not only could it terminate Bob for the expression of a religious belief with which it disagreed, but that its policies and principles underlying the industry required it do to so because of its special journalistic industry. That inexcusably violates Title VII.
  4. Shaw Media intentionally discriminated against Bob Eschliman. Bob engaged in the private expression of his sincerely held religious beliefs during hours in which his employer had no supervisory control of him, in the privacy of his own home. Shaw Media suspended and then terminated his employment, without any hearing or discussion, because of it. That is illegal! To excuse its unlawful behavior, Shaw Media had to offer a reason to support their public shaming of Bob's religious beliefs and opinions. Not able to question his work ethic or work product, they chose to scapegoat the religious beliefs he expressed on his personal blog and on his personal time.
  5. Bob Eschliman's case is about discrimination. It is undisputed that Bob is a member of the Christian faith and, as such, falls within the protected category of a "religion." His accolades and awards during his tenure with the media company establish the reality that he was meeting, if not exceeding, his employer's expectations. Bob's suspension and subsequent termination because of what he wrote about his religion on his personal blog, while at home, demonstrate that Shaw Media discriminated against Bob on the basis of his religious beliefs by taking an illegal adverse employment action in clear violation of Title VII's prohibition on religious discrimination. 

Defending Americans' Religious Liberty in the Workplace 

As the EEOC continues its investigation of workplace discrimination against Bob, we believe the evidence should compel them to decide on behalf of Bob Eschliman. But sadly, Bob's story is not an isolated incident, and Liberty Institute is also defending other everyday, God-fearing Americans like him against religious discrimination in the workplace

With our volunteer attorneys, we also represent:

  • Chaplain Wes Modder, a highly-decorated Navy chaplain who the U.S. Navy is threatening with career-ending punishment for sharing his religious beliefs and moral convictions during private counseling sessions.
  • Craig James, a TV sports analyst who was terminated when his employer, Fox Sports, learned he had publicly expressed commonly-held religious beliefs concerning marriage prior to his employment during a political campaign.
  • Dr. Eric Walsh, a respected public health official who was terminated by the Georgia Department of Public Health, after he had accepted a senior position, because of the religious beliefs he expressed as a lay minister.
  • Chaplain Joe Lawhorn, an Army chaplain punished by the Army because during a suicide prevention training, he shared his own personal testimony of how his Christian faith helped him counter depression.

Please pray as we work to restore the rights of those like Bob Eschliman, Chaplain Wes Modder, Craig James, Dr. Eric Walsh, and Chaplain Joe Lawhorn, who face discrimination for religious expression. These are all-too-real reminders that there is a direct attempt at "religious cleansing" in the workplace for both employers and employees in our nation today. 

]]>
Liberty Institute Featured Opinion Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:30:00 -0400
Ted Cruz Is First Top-Tier Movement Conservative Candidate Since Reagan http://www.charismanews.com/politics/48882-ted-cruz-is-first-top-tier-movement-conservative-candidate-since-reagan http://www.charismanews.com/politics/48882-ted-cruz-is-first-top-tier-movement-conservative-candidate-since-reagan

The official announcement that Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is running for president changes everything in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Ted Cruz isn't running for vice president or secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Jeb Bush administration.

Every Republican candidate for president will have to move to significantly to the right, starting with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and define their position on amnesty for illegal aliens, on fighting and winning the war radical Islam has declared on America, on spending, the deficit and the debt, and on repealing Obamacare, against the positions Ted Cruz will talk about and campaign on in the coming months.

They will all have to move right to respond to Cruz, or be left behind by a grassroots conservative electorate fed up with Republican candidates who are merely principle-free messengers for an out of touch Washington elite.

Ted Cruz's base is the conservative movement, and although other Republican presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan, such as Gary Bauer and Michelle Bachmann, looked to movement conservatives for their support, they were never able to expand beyond their starting base of support into the top-tier of candidates.

Ted Cruz is the first top-tier movement conservative candidate since Reagan for three reasons that separate him immediately from the rest of the Republican pack.

First, is his ability to unite all three elements of the old Reagan coalition; national defense conservatives, economic conservatives and social conservatives with the new fourth leg of the 21st century's winning conservative coalition—the constitutional conservatives of the Tea Party movement.

Others, such as Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rand Paul may have some appeal to elements of that coalition, but no one unites it the way Ted Cruz does.

Second is Ted Cruz's understanding of and almost spiritual bond with America's country class—the voters outside the Beltway who have looked with alarm at Obama's fundamental transformation of America and seen not a spending bill to be negotiated or a deal to be cut, as the Republican establishment does, but an existential threat to American exceptionalism and the future of constitutional government that must be resisted at every turn.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, are Ted Cruz's zest for the battle of ideas between conservatives and progressives in both political parties and his intellectual gifts for fighting it.

The Ted Cruz campaign is planned as a great conservative crusade to, as he put it in his compelling announcement speech at Liberty University, reignite the promise of America.

And this means with Ted Cruz in the race voters will have a clear choice between policy grounded in the thought of the modern conservative movement and the Washington deal-making that has often corrupted Republican campaigns of the recent past.

Today, everything in American politics changed, and that tremor you felt at midday was the shiver in the D.C. establishment as millions of conservatives across America responded to Ted Cruz and said in unison, we've found our leader and "We demand our Liberty."

]]>
Richard A. Viguerie Featured Politics Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Pro-Life Sit-In Planned for Boehner's Office http://www.charismanews.com/us/48881-pro-life-sit-in-planned-for-boehner-s-office http://www.charismanews.com/us/48881-pro-life-sit-in-planned-for-boehner-s-office

The purpose of the demonstration will be to protest the delay in a promised vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation would ban horrific late-term abortions after 20 weeks in every state.

The event, known as #FreeTheBan, will take place on Wednesday, March 25, at 11:00 AM at Sen. Boehner's office located in the Longworth House Office Building in Room 1011.

The sit-in will be led by Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition; blogger Jill Stanek of jillstanek.com; and Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.

Last week, Mahoney, Stanek and Newman sent a letter to Speaker Boehner expressing disappointment that a promised a vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act did not take place on Jan. 22, 2015, as planned. Assurances were given that the legislation would be slightly revised and a vote rescheduled "immediately."

Now, two months later, there is still no scheduled vote on this landmark law that will protect women from traumatic late-term abortions and save the lives of thousands of babies each year from a barbaric and painful death.

Jill Stanek, a noted pro-life speaker and blogger and former registered nurse, noted her reasons for risking arrest to force this late-term abortion ban to a speedy vote; "My entry into the pro-life movement was prompted by the fact I held a 21-week abortion survivor until he died. He would have been saved by this 20-week ban," said Stanek. "I have determined now is a fitting time to leverage my experience—to refocus attention on the baby and to continue to memorialize his senseless death the best I know how."

Rev. Mahoney states, "We are coming to Speaker Boehner's office to be a voice for the innocent children who die every day in America from the violence of abortion and call upon him to schedule a vote on banning ALL abortions after 20 weeks. As we pray and peacefully risk arrest, we are saying that Republican leadership should cease all business in the House until this legislation has been passed."

Troy Newman agrees. "With the vast majority of Americans in opposition to late-term abortions, it is the duty of Congress to act immediately to protect these innocent human beings from a tortuous and grisly death," he said. "It is time to relegate all abortions to the ash heap of history along with other forms of human rights abuses, such as slavery and human sacrifice. Banning late-term abortions performed on babies (who) can feel pain is a good place to start. It is a barbaric, outdated practice that has no place in civilized society."

]]>
Patrick Mahoney Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:30:00 -0400
Arizona Judges Told They Must Perform Same-Sex Marriages If They Do Any Weddings http://www.charismanews.com/us/48880-arizona-judges-told-they-must-perform-same-sex-marriages-if-they-do-any-weddings http://www.charismanews.com/us/48880-arizona-judges-told-they-must-perform-same-sex-marriages-if-they-do-any-weddings

A recent ruling in Arizona may have set a frightening precedent, as judges there were ordered to perform same-sex weddings if they do any weddings at all—regardless of whether doing so violates their faith.

According to a report last week by the Associated Press, a recently issued opinion by a state judiciary ethics advisory committee in Arizona says "turning away same-sex couples would violate a state judicial-conduct rule against bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation."

Therefore, judges must perform same-sex weddings, even if their morals and beliefs contradict the practice. The opinion also said that "a judge's religious or other personal beliefs don't make a difference nor does it matter if the judge performs weddings at non-court locations."

American Family Association (AFA) says the ruling could have devastating effects on the American judicial system and the types of judges who are drawn to the bench.

"This is a scary idea to contemplate," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "If judges are forced by this edict to choose between their faith and performing marriage ceremonies, what will they be asked to do next? Will we increasingly see only secular judges on the bench, with fewer and fewer judges who uphold natural law issuing rulings regarding law? Decisions like this amount to a litmus test for judges, as this opinion effectively says that Christian judges are prohibited from performing marriages if they wish to abide by their faith. The fact that the opinion blatantly says that religious beliefs don't make a difference is frightening, indeed. This is an attempt to limit the pool of judges to secular judges who are in favor of normalizing homosexuality, and this will have far-reaching effects in judicial rulings."

A court ruling last October made same-sex marriage legal in Arizona. The judicial ethics advisory committee is appointed by the state Supreme Court and consists of seven judges and two attorneys who aren't judges. Their names are kept confidential.

]]>
Deborah Hamilton Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0400
A Fair Warning to the Republican Establishment http://www.charismanews.com/us/48879-a-fair-warning-to-the-republican-establishment http://www.charismanews.com/us/48879-a-fair-warning-to-the-republican-establishment

One of this year's Des Moines Register "50 most sought-after Republican influencers ... in the lead-off presidential voting state" and a former Sioux City Journal Newsmaker of the Year sends an early fair warning to the Republican establishment!

Sioux City's Rev. Cary Gordon may have just published a book, but that hasn't stopped the executive pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach, in Northwestern Iowa's conservative stronghold, from rushing to make the book's message free to the public in a series of professionally developed, animated videos. 

The "5 Steps to a Political Epiphany" free presentation touts more solutions than commentary on the problems, and the narrator says the timing ahead of the 2016 presidential elections is for a very specific reason. Though focused upon Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, it will be released publicly by church groups in more than 21 states across America, Tuesday, March 24 at 12:00 CST across all social networking platforms. 

"This movement puts the onus on the candidates, which is where the burden of proof always should have been. Rather than candidates and their proxies browbeating their base into submission and 'guilting' them into their votes, candidates moving through Iowa, in particular, must prove their values are more than a campaign slogan," said Rev. Gordon. "Iowans have seen and heard it all before, and frankly, we are tired of 'party first' stump speeches. It's high time for candidates to lower themselves from the stage long enough to hear from us as Americans who still believe in Americanism." 

Rev. Gordon says the uniqueness of this trumpet call is that it's already sounding out from a nationwide network of pastors—pastors who demand Christians stop being a part of the problem. "Let's be frank. Politics killed Jesus Christ, and religious leaders allowed it. Political parties spouting political correctness are killing the most innocent among us right now. Every election we demand our political parties 'clean their own house,' but they don't, so we'll clean it for them. No group of patriots can be more open to cleaning its own house than those who fear God over man." 

A frequent contributor to statewide and nationwide press interviews, Rev. Gordon says the "5 Steps" pulls no punches. "My critics may be giddy to know that the videos outline my personal sins, but if they keep watching they'll be forced to examine their own and ask themselves which member of the genocidal yet 'pragmatic' Judenraete their political worldview may tend towards." 

The Iowa pastor made waves when he publicly challenged the IRS to sue his church for putting too much God into politics. Groups like the ACLU rallied others in desperate hopes the IRS would put the Sioux City pastor in his place. They never have. Now, the pastor who dares fear God more than man is just as open in sharing his motive for producing the political epiphany videos. "We live in an age where government has taken dominion over virtually every area of our lives, and that's due in part to selfies and trivial videos taking over social media. The lesser of two evils has taken dominion for so long that calling someone a 'purist' or 'fundamentalist' is actually an insult. Imagine a political epiphany that led to voters politically elevating such people rather than killing them. Imagine social media users sharing that." 

Based on the book A Storm, a Message, a Bottle: A Road Map to American Redemption, a book endorsed by a host of influencers in several leading Christian denominations, the "5 Steps" says childish group-think produces childish political parties that require discipline. "5 Steps" also asks hard-hitting questions like: "What sin must a candidate commit before you will refuse to reward them with your vote?" 

Says Rev. Gordon, "Political parties ignore that question like a child ignores the call to eat vegetables. But we're adults. We're asking the questions, presenting a political epiphany, and we believe those with the courage and humility to respond will purge neophytes and deceivers from the line-up before they become office-holders."

]]>
Charisma News Staff Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0400
The 'Dirty Dozen' List of Foods You Should Only Buy Organic http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48878-the-dirty-dozen-list-of-foods-you-should-only-buy-organic http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48878-the-dirty-dozen-list-of-foods-you-should-only-buy-organic

You should never buy apples that aren't organic. For the fifth year in a row, apples topped the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list as the fruit with the highest levels of pesticides.

Peaches, nectarines and grapes took second, third and fourth place. But the EWG found that two types of produce, green leafy greens and hot peppers, were so contaminated with pesticides that they deserved a category of their own, the "Dirty Dozen Plus."

One of the main reasons people eat organic is to avoid pesticides, which are used liberally in growing many foods. A study published in February in Environmental Health Perspectives found that they are doing their bodies a favor. Researchers reported that people who ate organic fruits and vegetables had significantly lower amounts of organophosphates (OPs) in their bodies than those who ate conventionally grown produce.

OPs are components of many insecticides and herbicides, and they have been linked to numerous health problems. A 2010 study found a link between OPs and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Another study the same year found a dramatic increase in the risk of ADHD in children with high levels of OP residues in their urine.

Almost two-thirds of the produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture contained pesticide residues, and the Environmental Working Group (EWG)'s "Dirty Dozen" list  contains the most. With apples as the "dirtiest," the rest of the list is as follows: peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.

The EWG considers the "Dirty Dozen Plus"—green leafy greens and hot peppers—particularly toxic to human health.

The "Clean 15" list, on the other hand, includes fruits and vegetables found to have the least amount of pesticides. Avocados topped the list, with only 1 percent showing pesticide residue. Other items on the clean list include sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas (frozen), onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower.

"Know which ones have the highest amounts of pesticides so you can opt for the organic versions, if available and affordable, or grab a snack off the 'Clean Fifteen,'" said EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder.

The EWG estimates that people can lower their pesticide exposure 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead.

"The bottom line is people do not want to eat pesticides with their fruits and vegetables," said EWG's president and co-founder Ken Cook. "That's why we will continue to tell shoppers about agricultural chemicals that turn up on their produce, and we hope we will inform, and ultimately, empower them to eat cleaner."

For the original article, visit newsmaxhealth.com.

]]>
Sylvia Booth Hubbard/Newsmax Health Featured Opinion Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:00:00 -0400
AFA Places Full-Page Newspaper Message to Supreme Court in WashPo http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48877-afa-places-full-page-newspaper-message-to-supreme-court-in-washpo http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48877-afa-places-full-page-newspaper-message-to-supreme-court-in-washpo

Today, the American Family Association placed a full-page newspaper message to the Supreme Court in the Washington Post.

Our nation is at its most critical crossroad in the history of America, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear the case, and then deliver their opinion, on the biblical sanctity of marriage.

Our message is one of truth, yet very simple:

God, in His great wisdom, profoundly established the institution of marriage as only between one man and one woman.

We urge the Court to adjudicate rightly that which is God's alone to decide.

Click here to see the ad.

]]>
Tim Wildmon/AFA Featured Opinion Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:30:00 -0400
In Spirit of Revolutionary War, Students Win Right to Hold 'American Pride' Dance http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/48876-in-spirit-of-revolutionary-war-students-win-right-to-hold-american-pride-dance http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/48876-in-spirit-of-revolutionary-war-students-win-right-to-hold-american-pride-dance

Patriotic teenagers in the birthplace of the American Revolution held their ground and fought back attempts by school administrators to cancel an "American Pride" dance on April 10 and replace it with a more inclusive event.

Students at Lexington High School in Massachusetts said the administration had canceled their plans for a red, white and blue dance because it excluded other nationalities. Instead, the administration suggested a more inclusive "National Pride" dance.

"It was suggested by the advisers that the students come in—maybe (a) National Pride theme so that they could represent their individual nationalities," Asst. Supt. Carol Pilarski told television station WHDH. "Maybe it should be more inclusive and it should be 'National Pride.'" 

Word of the administration's objections to an American-themed dance spread across town like the shot heard round the world. 

"(It's) a lot of hypersensitivity to being politically correct," one student told the television station.

"People consider America to be a melting pot," said another student. "So the fact that it was even considered offensive is what people are a little surprised about."

Principal Laura Lasa told me the April 10 dance had never been canceled. They merely wanted to "dialogue" with students about inclusivity.

"We were in a conversation with the kids about how the theme would be presented so that we could make sure that it was inclusive to all students," Lasa said. "they took that as being told they could not."

In other words, the grownups in the room tried to talk the kids out of paying homage to the red, white and blue.

"We want to make sure kids do not feel they can't go to a dance because of whatever the theme is," she said.

Over the weekend, Lasa said administrators listened carefully to the feedback they received and on Monday, March 23, they decided to let the kids stick with the "American Pride" theme.

"We're supporting that student decision," the principal told me.

Notice how she phrased that—the "student" decision?

"We're going forward with supporting their theme of American Pride," she added.

Again, notice the emphasis on "their" theme? It's not the school's theme. It's the students' theme. Heaven forbid the administrators be caught trying to promote American patriotism.

"We're being mindful of the fact that we want kids to have pride in America, and also the fact we have students from all over the world that move to Lexington," she said.

First it was the Red Coats—and now the good people of Lexington have to fight off an invading horde of un-American educators.

Where's Paul Revere when you need him—riding through the countryside shouting: "The liberals are coming. The liberals are coming"?

Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.

]]>
Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Chuck Pierce Answers Critics of Glenn Beck Mantling http://www.charismanews.com/us/48875-chuck-pierce-answers-critics-of-glenn-beck-mantling http://www.charismanews.com/us/48875-chuck-pierce-answers-critics-of-glenn-beck-mantling

Chuck Pierce offered Glenn Beck a "new mantle for the future" at a ceremony at the Global Spheres Center on Sunday morning in Corinth, Texas.

Although most supported the move, critical voices are rising up against Pierce for mantling a Mormon. Now, Pierce is responding to those voices:

"I know many of you have concerns about Glenn Beck being a guest at Global Spheres, while others thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened. Falma Rufus asked me to host her family, including her new son in the Lord, Glenn Beck. Because of my love and honor for Falma, I was very blessed to do so. I would do the same for any of you. At Global Spheres, we are called to host revival.

"Concerning Glenn Beck and his family, I enjoyed being with and hosting them. Jesus would have done the same. Glenn is a Mormon. However, many prophets have prophesied that those in the Mormon religion will have revival. How would that ever happen without someone like Falma praying and someone like me opening my heart to embrace the opportunity? I honestly know that it is "not by might nor by power but by the Spirit" that any of this can change.

"Glenn Beck, like Cyrus, has a voice to change this nation. Cyrus had God's mantle to do so. Mr. Beck also has a mantle now that can be used to spread a new fire in this land. He has a heart to see our nation continue to embrace Israel. That is our common ground. If he continues to embrace the God of Israel, then he will eventually know His fullness. Yesterday, we also had visitors that were Catholic, carnal and lost. They are all searching. They are all welcome! Romans says, 'How can they know without a preacher?' So be blessed today as you pray!"

]]>
Jennifer LeClaire Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:29:13 -0400
Former Muslim Makes Bold Call for Islamic Reformation http://www.charismanews.com/world/48874-former-muslim-makes-bold-call-for-islamic-reformation http://www.charismanews.com/world/48874-former-muslim-makes-bold-call-for-islamic-reformation

For more than 10 years, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been a fierce critic of Islam. As a result, she's also been the target of constant death threats.

Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim in Somalia, where she saw and experienced the brutal treatment of women and girls under fundamentalist Islam.

As a young woman, she escaped from an arranged marriage and sought asylum in The Netherlands. She became involved in politics and eventually was elected to the Dutch parliament, where she was an outspoken critic of Islam.

Today, Hirsi Ali lives in Washington, D.C., and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She continues to risk her life to expose Islam, a religion she says subjugates Muslim women to lives of slavery, suffering and submission.

Her latest book is called Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. In it, she makes the powerful case that a religious reformation is the only way to end the terrorism, sectarian warfare, and repression of women and minorities that each year claim thousands of lives throughout the Muslim world.

]]>
Andrea Garrett/CBN Featured World News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:30:00 -0400
British Tycoon Rolls Out 21st-Century Digital Gospel Tracts http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48873-british-tycoon-rolls-out-21st-century-digital-gospel-tracts http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48873-british-tycoon-rolls-out-21st-century-digital-gospel-tracts

Imagine nearly everyone in the world holding a "gospel tract" that they check several times a day.

That's what technology provides for believers who want to share their faith. With most of the modern world referring to their mobile devices, there's an app that tells about Jesus in a fresh, winsome way—often using the testimonies of celebrities.

It's a website and an app called "yesHeis," the brainchild of a wealthy British businessman with a heart for ministry.

Lord Robert Edmiston has done charitable work since the late 1980s through an amazing ministry called Christian Vision, now called CV. To spread the gospel, CV utilizes many means, including shortwave radio, which was especially effective for many years in areas that have little to no religious freedom like that in Muslim-dominated countries.

I first heard about this at an international networking meeting of business and ministry leaders. I was so impressed that I downloaded the free app and later interviewed Lord Edmiston about it.  

New content is posted daily on yesHEis.com. It's easy to find videos from celebrities like Bono who give a very clear Christian witness. Material is arranged by topic for people who have a particular interest or who is grappling with a big problem.

Every video I watched was gripping and contained high production values. It's the kind of content you will want to see if you are going through something, or repost on your own social media.  

When I interviewed Lord Edmiston, he explained that often sincere Christians find it awkward to share their faith. yesHeis.com overcomes that obstacle by sharing videos of celebrities sharing their faith. If the person is interested, it's easy for them to get more information and to be connected to a church or someone who can counsel them.

And if you send a video to someone you know, they are more apt to watch it and won't consider it spam. That's a far cry from handing a stranger a printed "tract" that most throw on the ground and never read.

"The main idea is that they do repost it," Lord Edmiston told me. "So if you know your friend is depressed, put in the word "depression" and you'll find material on depression. Find the one that you think suits them best and post it. They then will have a chance to say, 'Hey that really spoke to me. I'd like to know more.' It's a way of evangelizing."

He added that if someone is suicidal, there is a lot of information on the web on how someone can take their own life. But yesHEis.com has information in one place on why suicide is not the answer. More than 100,000 people a day are coming to the site looking for answers to many more of life's issues.

In the three years it has been available in other countries, more than 100,000 people with access to the app have made professions of faith in Christ.

I was fascinated with the story of how it began. For many years, Christian Vision had been using various media to spread the gospel. One of the main ones was shortwave, which went into areas like the Muslim-dominated world or communist nations where the gospel couldn't be preached publicly. However, when they noticed that listenership was going down, Edmiston said he prayed for a solution.

"I felt the Lord say, 'I've already given you the answer.' Actually, when you think about it, nearly everybody in the world is carrying a mobile phone, and so they are carrying the answer in their hand," Edmiston said. "They're carrying a tract, a Bible, an information source and a means of learning about Jesus in their hand. There are no boundaries to this, there are no geographic boundaries. We are already in nine different languages—in Chinese, in Spanish, English obviously, Russian and others.

"This is universal, so you can be a missionary to China from your front room in America and that's the exciting bit about it." I believe God's given into our hands to our generation the capability of reaching the world for Jesus."

There is one more advantage to using social media. If a ministry sends out something about the gospel, most people would consider it spam and delete it.  

"If this is a message coming from your friends—and that's the key—it's the people themselves who are sharing," Lord Edmiston said. "It's the church doing what it was always designed to do. When I get a message from my friend, I'll listen. But if I get spam, I'll delete it. We can advertise, we can promote, we can do everything, but 99 percent of it would be wasted. This has a much higher traction rate."

I encourage you to check it out and to help get the word out by sharing this commentary on social media. Then, leave your comments here. Are you as impressed by the content as I am?

Steve Strang is the founding editor and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

]]>
Steve Strang Featured Opinion Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Up to 150 Feared Dead in Germanwings Plane Crash http://www.charismanews.com/world/48872-up-to-150-feared-dead-in-germanwings-plane-crash http://www.charismanews.com/world/48872-up-to-150-feared-dead-in-germanwings-plane-crash

An Airbus plane operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline crashed in southern France on Tuesday en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, police and aviation officials said. 

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he understood between 142 and 150 people were on board and feared dead. 

"The cause is at present unknown," he told reporters. 

A spokesman for the DGAC aviation authority said the airplane crashed near the town of Barcelonnette about 100 km (65 miles) north of the French Riviera city of Nice. 

Lufthansa's Germanwings unit said it was as yet unable to verify reports of the crash. 

The crashed A320 is 24 years old and has been with the parent Lufthansa group since 1991, according to online database airfleets.net.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
Jean-Francois Rosnoblet/Reuters Featured World News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:15:00 -0400
This Religious Freedom Bill Could Protect Christian Business Owners From Gay Rights Backlash http://www.charismanews.com/us/48871-this-religious-freedom-bill-could-protect-christian-business-owners-from-gay-rights-backlash http://www.charismanews.com/us/48871-this-religious-freedom-bill-could-protect-christian-business-owners-from-gay-rights-backlash

A controversial Indiana bill that could protect business owners who don't want to provide services for same-sex couples moved closer to law on Monday, after passage by the state's House. 

Senate Bill 101, known as the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," was approved by the Republican-controlled House by 63-31. A version was previously passed by the Republican-controlled Senate, and Republican Governor Mike Pence said he will sign it. 

"The legislation, SB 101, is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact," Pence said in a statement. The bill will now go back to the Senate and if that chamber concurs with the House version, it will go to Pence for being signed into law. 

Supporters of the law say it will keep government entities from forcing business owners - such as bakeries and florists who don't want to provide services to gay couples - from acting in ways contrary to strongly held religious beliefs. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year following an appellate court ruling. 

Supporter Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, tweeted after its passage in the House on Monday that the bill was a "good, tested, protective shield for all faiths." 

Opponents called it a "religious discrimination bill" which would allow private businesses, individuals and organizations to discriminate against gays and others on religious grounds. 

Social conservatives have pushed for such laws following court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage, and in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this year on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. 

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]>
Mary Wisniewski/Reuters Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:45:00 -0400
Why We Should Stop Trying to ‘Win’ the Gay Argument http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48868-why-we-should-stop-trying-to-win-the-gay-argument http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48868-why-we-should-stop-trying-to-win-the-gay-argument

The message can't be any clearer than in John 3:3: "John 3:3 -- "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God.'"

If indeed the Bible is the true, infallible Word of God--and it is--then one must believe upon and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. Pastor Jack Hayford says that "being newborn, or "born again," means that your inner spirit has been brought into a new relationship with God through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ."

If we believe that the Bible is without error—and it is—there is no denying that; nobody can refute that. But consider this: Is it necessary for believers, or "so-called believers," to shove that down the throats of non-believers and those drowning in sin? Isn't there a better way—a more compassionate way to reach the lost WITHOUT compromising the truth of the gospel?

Certainly there must be. Whether it be the deceived homosexual, the atheist, the Jew or the Muslim, believers in Jesus Christ MUST find a way to communicate the message of the Truth without condemnation. With the direction our society and our world is headed, there doesn't seem to be a lot of that going around. We must make them want to have what Jesus wants for them. I Timothy 2:3-4 says, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our savior, who desires ALL men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

That includes the woman from John 8 who was caught in adultery. The Pharisees and scribes brought this woman to Jesus, saying that the law commanded her to be stoned for her sin. They asked Jesus what he would do.

"If you look at Jesus and boiled it down to theological position, you might say that this lined up pretty well with those of the Pharisees," says Adam Barr, the co-author of Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth. "He didn't disagree with the people's opinions about her sin. What he took them to task with is their absolute lack of compassion, their spiritual blindness to their own need for grace. We're not political activists and we're not moral philosophers. First and foremost, we are people of the gospel. For believers to have a real voice of real world people, we have to begin with the gospel. It's about guilt, grace and gratitude."

Jesus' answer about the woman caught in adultery? He said, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7, MEV). When the angry mob had laid down their stones and walked away, Jesus asked her, "Woman, where your accusers? Did no one condemn you? ... Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." (John 8:10, 12, MEV).

Jesus didn't condemn the woman, but neither did he ignore or condone her sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. Jesus stands ready to forgive any sin in your life, but confession and repentance mean a change of heart. With God's help, we can accept Christ's forgiveness and stop our wrongdoing. We need to recognize our own sinful nature and look for ways to help others rather than hurt them.

It's God's role to judge, not ours. It's our role to show forgiveness and to share the gospel with compassion. If you have done that—if you have shown them kindness without compromise and continue to pray for them—then you have done what God asks. When you have done your job, then allow the Holy Spirit to do its job, and that's to convict the person's heart of his or her sin.

If they continue in their sin without repentance, then that situation is between themselves and God, and they will have to answer for it. As will we all.

A Charisma reader recently said it well: "We need to tell people the truth of God's Word, and the Holy Spirit will do His work to convict them of their sin, leading them to repentance."

Are we taking the log out of our own eye, or are we simply pointing fingers? Let's be clear: There is a difference between speaking the truth in love and pointing the finger of scorn.

"If so-called Christians are doing that, I would remind them of the grace that Jesus has shown them," said Ron Citlau, a pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and a former member of the gay community who also co-authored Compassion Without Compromise. "They should honestly reflect upon the sins that they are ashamed of—or that they're not ashamed of--that nobody knows about. God is gracious to everyone. Don't these people deserve the same grace as you?"

Great point. Pretty simple, isn't it?

So what can we do to show compassion without compromising the truth of God's Word? Citlau says we, as believers, need to stop being so angry and defensive, reactions that are sure to repel those who might be willing to listen to the truth.

"One of the first things we can do is to stop worrying about being right in the sense of winning an argument," Citlau says. "What we need to be concerned about in the cultural debate is being winsome in the telling of the story of the gospel of Jesus to anyone who wants it. We have to be in the public debate, but we really need to love the people whom we are discussing the subject with. We need to embody the kindness and gentleness that Jesus did, but in a confident manner. Jesus said to love your enemies, didn't he?"

For part one of this two-part series, click here.

Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor of Charisma Media.

]]>
Shawn A. Akers Featured Opinion Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0400
Bob Jones Apologizes for 'Stone the Gays' Remarks http://www.charismanews.com/us/48870-bob-jones-apologizes-for-stone-the-gays-remarks http://www.charismanews.com/us/48870-bob-jones-apologizes-for-stone-the-gays-remarks

The former president of Bob Jones University, one of the nation's bastions of Christian fundamentalism, has apologized for comments he made in 1980 that gays and lesbians should be stoned to death. 

Bob Jones III, who stepped down as BJU president in 2005, made the original remarks while visiting Jimmy Carter's White House, delivering a petition with 70,000 signatures opposing greater legal protections for gays and lesbians. 

"I'm sure this will be greatly misquoted," Jones said at the time. "But it would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel's day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands." 

In a statement issued by the university on Saturday (March 21), Jones called his earlier comments "inflammatory" and "reckless." 

"Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger—were my name not attached," he wrote. "I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners." 

Jones led the Greenville, South Carolina, university founded by his grandfather from 1971 to 2005. He remains chancellor as leadership of the school's presidency has been assumed for the first time outside the Jones family. For many, Jones was the unrepentant public face of a strict interpretation of Christianity that denounced homosexuality and defended a ban on interracial dating all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Yet he remained a leading figure in conservative politics. During the 2000 presidential campaign, then-candidate George W. Bush was roundly criticized for a campaign stop at the campus. The school dropped its ban on interracial dating later that year. 

Jones' apology was prompted by another petition, this time delivered by a group called BJUnity, an informal network of LGBT university alumni and their supporters. The petition on change.org asked Jones to recant his 1980 comments, and received nearly 2,000 signatures. 

"The Bible I love, preach and try to practice, does not present today the stoning of sinners as God's way. Its message is the good news that Christ Jesus was condemned on behalf of sinners to rescue all of us from condemnation and judgment by His willing sacrifice, for He was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him," Jones said. 

"I apologize for the reflection those remarks bring upon Jesus Christ, whom I love; Bob Jones University, which I have loved and served; and my own personal testimony." 

In a statement, BJUnity accepted Jones' apology. 

"We are grateful that Bob Jones III has taken responsibility for these words; words that have caused deep harm for many more people than any of us knows," the group said. "This means a lot to us because it represents the beginning of a change in the rhetoric and conversation."

Copyright 2015 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.

]]>
Kevin Eckstrom/RNS Featured U.S. News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Jonathan Cahn, Brigitte Gabriel Zero in on Christian Persecution http://www.charismanews.com/world/48869-jonathan-cahn-brigitte-gabriel-zero-in-on-christian-persecution http://www.charismanews.com/world/48869-jonathan-cahn-brigitte-gabriel-zero-in-on-christian-persecution

The rise of Christian persecution is making headlines around the world. Now, a conference at the United Nations aims to come up with viable solutions to the enemy's murderous agenda.

"Not Peace but a Sword—The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East: A Threat to International Peace & Security" will set out to prove how persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a threat to international peace and security.

The Engr. Aja Eze Foundation is hosting the event on April 17. Speakers include Jonathan Cahn, Rick Scarborough, Bill Federer, Brigitte Gabriel, Lt. General (Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin, Mario Bramnick and Kevin Jessip.

With the rise of ISIS, opposition to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection, and a civil war in Syria, all eyes are on the Middle East. Indeed, a wave of conflicts in the Arab world could have far-reaching consequences on Christianity.

The fate of the regions religious minorities is of grave concern. The mass exodus of Christians who have been an integral part of the Middle Eastern mosaic for centuries, is especially troubling.

"A century ago, Middle Eastern Christians represented about 20 percent of the population. Now they represent about 4 percent. In Iraq there were about 1.4 million Christians in 1990. Now there are about 200,000," says Chris Mitchell, Middle East Bureau Chief for CBN and author of Destination Jerusalem. "The head of the Catholic Chaldean Church in Kurdistan said Iraqi Christians have 'little time left.' The personal stories are heart wrenching."

In his letter to Christians of the Middle East, Pope Francis asked a pointed question: "How much longer must the Middle East suffer from the lack of peace?"

Francis went on to say: "We must not resign ourselves to conflicts as if changes were not possible. May the entire church and the International Community become ever more conscious of the importance of your presence in the region."

The bottom line: Christians must address the persecution of fellow believers in the Middle East. Conference organizers believe today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity—and silence is not an option.

"We stand in solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East," the Engr. Aja Eze Foundation said in a statement. "The aims and objectives of this panel discussion are to discuss the emergence of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and related intolerances as a threat to international peace and security; to highlight the mass genocide of Christians that is taking place in the Middle East; to bring it to the attention of the United Nations and to highlight the security implications of the emergence of ISIS to International Peace and Security and the role that education can play in building bridges of peace between the faiths."

Of course, aims are one thing. Outcomes are another.

The Engr. Aja Eze Foundation expects this conference will lead to: the initiation of a resolutions by the United Nations Security Council; General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Protection of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East; the investigation by OSCE of the "Christianophobia" in the Middle East; the appointment by the president of the United States of America of a Special Envoy for the protection of Religious Minorities in the Middle East and an International Day of Prayer in solidarity with Christians of the Middle East. 

]]>
Jennifer LeClaire Featured World News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 08:00:00 -0400