VIDEO Alabama abortion ban means ‘Roe is far from settled law’

‘The time is coming for the Supreme Court’ to act

 

 

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

Lawmakers in Alabama have adopted a law that makes conducting an abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

The governor signed it late Wednesday.

And lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union or Planned Parenthood are likely, rulings that inevitably would be appealed.

All of a sudden the fight is before the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion business operators see the possibility of Roe v. Wade vanishing in a 5-4 or even 6-3 vote, with yes votes from the two justices appointed by President Trump.

Supporters of the Alabama bill should thank John Rogers.

He’s the Democratic Alabama state representative who drew national attention when he stated publicly regarding abortion, “You kill them now or you kill them later.’

Rogers then came out, and instead of backtracking, announced that U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, another Democrat, agrees.

It’s just one incident that will factor into the debate as pro-lifers see a growing opportunity to overturn Roe.

Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, which has fought in court from sea to sea on behalf of life, commended Alabama lawmakers for their work.

“Roe v. Wade has already ended the lives of more than 62 million children. While we cannot undo the horrendous damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill is a significant step toward making the womb a safe place in Alabama again,” he said.

“From conception to natural death, every single human life deserves to be protected by law,” said Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster.

“The violence of abortion is never the answer to the violence of rape. Like other states that have passed laws concerning when life begins, Alabama has relied upon scientific and medical facts. It has also created the opportunity to implement new, comprehensive policies to ensure the most life-affirming outcomes for both the mother and the child throughout life. Alabama has renewed the essential conversation about the meaning of justice and morality, one that starts with recognizing what abortion is: The extinguishing of a unique human life.”

And Marjorie Dannensfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said, “The passage of this pro-life law is a landmark victory for the people of Alabama who, like most Americans, overwhelmingly reject the extreme status quo of abortion on demand imposed nationwide by Roe v. Wade.

“Alabamians have made known their will to protect the unborn, first with last year’s successful ballot initiative to recognize the sanctity and right to life of unborn children, and now through the bold action of the legislature to reject abortion,” she said.

“Across the nation there is growing momentum, informed by science and compassion, and spurred on in reaction to abortion extremism in New York and Virginia, to recognize the humanity of the unborn child in the law. It is clearer than ever that Roe is far from being settled law in the eyes and hearts of the American people, and this is increasingly reflected in state legislatures. The American people want a fresh debate and a new direction, achieved by consensus and built on love for both mothers and babies. The time is coming for the Supreme Court to let that debate go forward.”

It was those comments from Rogers that sparked outrage across the nation.

He was advocating for abortion.

“You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, then you send them to the electric chair. So you kill them now or you kill them later,” he said.

Even pro-abortion businesses and their leaders, like Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood Southeast, gasped in horror.

“Not only were his remarks reprehensible, they are a complete distraction from the real work still left to be done in this state,” she said.

His comments came just weeks after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat, sparked a firestorm when he appeared to advocate infanticide.

Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh explained, “What do you expect to happen when the Democrat Party gives standing ovations to legislation permitting the killing of babies who have been born? What do you expect to happen? What does anybody expect? This country has not gone over to the dark side of liberalism, in toto. We haven’t gotten anywhere close to that.”

He said Americans are not in line with the pro-abortion agenda as much as some leftists want.

“So it was only a matter of time and for everybody that thinks what’s going on in Alabama, ‘Well, this is a little over the top, though, Rush. Come on, now. This reaction, this is a little overboard.’ What do you mean, over the top? Where were you when they were giving a standing ovation in the New York state senate, when they passed legislation permitting the killing of babies that had been born?”

Alabama’s HB 314, the Human Life Protection Act,” classifies abortion as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 99 years in jail. It exempts women who receive abortions.

The bills authors and supporters have explained that they want the plan to trigger a court fight that would end up with the revocation of Roe. That would leave decisions about the limits on abortion to the various states.

Just a day ago, James Dobson, president of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk and the James Dobson Family Institute, said he’s praying that the Georgia law which is part of the campaign would play a role in overturning the abortion law

However, Fox News reported Pat Robertson, who long has opposed abortion, said Alabama’s move is too “extreme.”

“I think Alabama has gone too far,” Robertson said Wednesday on his long-running TV program, “The 700 Club.” “It’s an extreme law, and they want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose.”

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision created a right to abortion, allowing business operations through which Planned Parenthood gets tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.

The author of the majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun, acknowledged that the concept of personhood for the unborn was the key to the decision.

At that time, science was unclear about the personhood of the unborn.

Blackmun wrote, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, [the pro-abortion] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

WND reported Rogers’ statement:

 

Mindy Robinson reacted on Twitter: “My adopted friends would bet to differ. Last I checked they were more than happy to be alive and adopted into loving families … and not cut up into pieces and left in a trash can. Explain to me again why Democrats think they’re so morally superior over the rest of us?”

Mitch Fewell credited Rogers with making him feel good about his decision to leave Alabama and move to California, where state officials are prosecuting two pro-life advocates who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of the body parts of unborn babies.

“I left Alabama 11 years ago and relocated to California. I want to thank this j—— for making me finally feel like I made the right move,” he tweeted.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/05/alabama-abortion-ban-means-roe-is-far-from-settled-law/


Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Proverbs 32:8 NKJ


 

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Over 25,000 Sign Petition Demanding Brian Sims Resign After Bullying and Doxxing Pro-Life Women

May 9, 2019 by STEVEN ERTELT

Over 25,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by LifeNews demanding that Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims resign after he filmed himself twice bullying and harassing pro-life women and teenagers.

His conduct has sparked a national outrage — including a rally planned for Friday with national pro-life leaders in Philadelphia at the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic where Sims harassed pro-life people.

Thousands of people have directed their condemnation of Sims and his actions to an online petition demanding that he resign. Many of the people signing the petition are calling for much more — they want a criminal investigation of Sims for potentially violating state laws against cyberbullying and doxxing. Other signers hope the Pennsylvania state legislature will impeach Sims and remove him from his position as a state representative.

But many of the people signing believe, at minimum, Sims ought to resign because his bullying and harassment behavior was completely inappropriate and inconsistent with the kind of behavior they expect from elected officials.

And while Sims has received wide-spread media attention and condemnation from Republicans across the country, his fellow Democrats have been silent. Most of the national mainstream media has been silent, too.

As far as LifeNews can tell, no Democratic leaders have condemned Sims’ behavior thus far. One group, the Temple University Democrats club, tweeted that it was “proud” of Sims. It later deleted the tweet, but several other tweets posted this week on its pagesupport Sims with the hashtag #IstandWithSims.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania sent a letter to U.S. Attorney William McSwain, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner urging that Sims be investigated.

SIGN THE PETITION: Rep. Brian Sims Should Resign for Harassing Pro-Life Women

The pro-abortion Democrat politician has been condemned repeatedly since he posted a video of himself berating a pro-life sidewalk counselor last week in Philadelphia. A second video that he posted earlier in April showed him offering $100 for the identities of three pro-life teenage girls who were praying peacefully outside the abortion facility with their mother.

His requests suggest that Sims, a state representative, may have been trying to intimidate the 13- and 15-year-old girls through doxxing, a practice where a person’s name and contact information are posted publicly online usually to encourage harassment.

In the first video, Sims also appeared to be attempting to doxx another pro-life woman – he called her an “old white lady” – by asking his viewers for her name and address.

“Shame on you!” Sims said as the woman asked him to get his camera out of her face. “You have a problem protesting in public? Don’t protest in public!

“If you know who this woman is and you can give me her address, we’ll protest out in front of her home. Let’s go protest out of her house and tell her what’s right for her body,” he continued.

For most of the video, the woman silently bore Sims’ bullying. The exception was when he got his camera close to her face and she told him not to.

Sims also repeatedly exerted his power and privilege by mentioning that he is a state representative, including when the woman appeared to be calling police.

His bullying continued for more than eight minutes, the length of the video.

In the second video that Sims posted several weeks ago, he made a similar request. He offered his viewers $100 to identify three teenage girls who were peacefully praying outside the same Planned Parenthood.

“What we’ve got here is a bunch of … pseudo Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here. So, here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood,” Sims said in the video.

His actions may have violated consent and cyberbullying lawsThe Philadelphia police and district attorney’s office said they are looking into the incident.

Sims released a statement late Tuesday where he did not apologize for his behavior. Instead, he chose to attack pro-life advocates even more by claiming they “slur” and “attack” Planned Parenthood patients – without providing any evidence to support his claims.

Several leading pro-life groups are planning a rally on Friday at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Philadelphia where Sims filmed himself twice harassing and bullying pro-life women.

A LifeNews petition calling for Sims’ resignation amassed more than 24,000 signatures this week. And a fundraiser started by the family of the teenage girls has raised more than $95,000 for a charity that helps mothers and babies in the city.

The Planned Parenthood abortion clinic where Sims harassed the women has failed 13 of its 23 safety inspections.

Original here

VIDEO Pastor Slams Those Who Say, “We Shouldn’t be Political… Just Preach the Gospel”

May 9, 2019 By Shane Idleman

God has given us a wonderful gift known as America. The government isn’t bad or good; her people determine success or failure. Why would God ordain our government and then not want us to steward His gift? Many have been guilty of not getting involved by saying:

“We shouldn’t say or do anything political. All we need to do is preach the gospel.”

Be careful . . . although the gospel is our primary focus, this shouldn’t be an excuse against action. Listen to my thoughts on this by fast forwarding to the 25 minute mark here.

James A. Garfield, an ordained minister and twentieth President of the United States, said:

“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.”

We are actually voting for principles, not people—all candidates are sinners. “In what direction will they lead our country?” is the question we should be asking. Even more importantly, what country will we leave for our children?

We don’t have to abandon our ethics or compromise our principles to be involved in politics—what good is salt left in the shaker, or a light that is hidden? Contextually, when Jesus referred to being the “salt and light,” He was referring to holy living at the individual level, but the overlapping principle applies to all areas of life. “Politics” is not a bad word. In simple terms, politics refers to governing or leading a group of people. Again, politics won’t save America, but in order to implement change and help others, we must take action; hence the political process. Would you have remained silent in the 1800s over slavery? Of course not.

Politics that once focused largely on the economy, national security, and the deficit, now tackles important moral issues. These major issues have enormous implications; to remain silent actually makes a statement that we are not concerned enough. This is not just about the loss of jobs; it’s about the loss of morality. We’re not just talking about adding millions of dollars to the national deficit; we’re talking about aborting millions of babies. We’re not only talking about fluctuations in the housing market; we’re talking about creating life simply to destroy it. This shift requires us to stay closely involved. Topics that are “too controversial” are often critically important; we can no longer ignore them.

Interestingly enough, the stability of America is one of the top concerns on the minds of many today. There was a time in recent history when America felt secure knowing that the most formidable enemies were abroad. Not so today. While we are concerned with terrorist attacks, and rightly so, there is a greater threat from corruption within. We, like the mighty Roman Empire that collapsed centuries ago, are crumbling from within. There are people and groups who are strongly committed to the destruction of anything rooted in our nation’s Christian heritage. They attempt to be “one nation ‘above’ God,” rather than “one nation ‘under’ God.” Scripture identifies this as foolishness, self-exaltation, and arrogance—the downfall of nations.

There is a saying that one generation plants trees for the next generation. I’m concerned that instead of planting, we are removing and destroying the very covering that protects us. As a result, our legacy as a great and noble nation has all but been forgotten. For instance, most schools no longer teach students about the spiritual foundation that has guided America throughout her history. Consequently, America’s moral and religious heritage is often deleted, grossly distorted, or revised altogether. As stated earlier: Students often miss the critical connection between America’s unparalleled greatness, her rise to world leadership, and the spiritual foundation that made it possible. This should concern us. The ideas of the classroom in one generation will create the ideas of government within the next.

Today, our culture promotes relativism, and man does what is right in his own eyes. Again, according to Scripture, to his own destruction. God’s Word says to confront, confess, and turn from our sins; relativism encourages us to ignore, overlook, and continue in them. Although this position may seem radical or extreme, we are living in extremely critical times. Make no mistake about it: We are witnessing the rapid deterioration of a nation right before our eyes. But there is hope: 2 Chronicles 7:14 calls out from the past with resounding clarity to America today: If My people will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.

There are times to encourage, motivate, and uplift, but there are also times to confront, challenge, and contend for what is right—that time is now. Let it not be said of us today: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD (Judges 2:10). The day of the silent pastor who is more concerned about nickels and noses must end . . . are we pleasing God or men . . . are we cowards or watchmen?

Again, fast forward to the 25 minute mark here to hear more.

Free copies of pastor Shane’s book, One Nation Above God can also be found here:  https://shaneidleman.com/books/

Read pastor Shane’s last op-ed, Pastor Speaks Out on Trump Bashing – Enough is Enough!

Original here

VIDEO Godly Christian Living in Evil Times

June 14, 2016 BY AMERICAN COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

 

Few will deny that we are living in evil times. The enemy has “come in like a flood.” Every perversion imaginable to sinful man is now promoted as “good” or “normal.” Basic standards of morality and decency, which once prevailed in the United States, now have been largely abandoned. Sadly, as our society’s culture has sunk further into the swamp of moral degeneracy, a love for the world has eroded the standards of many Christians, which were once grounded upon the teachings of God’s Word. Selections of music, entertainment, clothing, and other choices necessary to godly living have become more similar to and less distinct from those of the lusts of the world.  Many of God’s people lack a zeal for putting a cultural difference between the clean and the unclean (Lev. 20:22-26).

The true child of God must reject and resist such worldliness.  The Bible warns that the world in which we live is in an important sense the domain of the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). What God has ordained for life in this world, Satan has sought to corrupt.  For this reason, Paul warns in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

1 John 2:15-17 commands us to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”  To love the world in this sense is to fail to love the Father.  To conform to the cultural norms produced by this lack of love for the Father is to communicate a similar lack of love for Him.

Some justify a greater conformity to the world by divorcing what is in the heart of a Christian from his outward appearance and actions. God indeed told Samuel: “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). However, what is in the heart will always manifest itself outwardly. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil” (Luke 6:45). Paul is concerned with both the transformation of the mind and the consecration of the body to holiness (Rom. 12:2).  Matthew Henry, in commenting on the holy behavior of older Christian women in Titus 2:3, says that Christians should have “an inward principle and habit of holiness, influencing and ordering the outward conduct at all times.”

God has commanded us: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). The Scripture is clear about the fruit of true holiness in the child of God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). This fruitful holiness produced by God’s Spirit is antithetical to worldliness, the works of a flesh that produces both sinful desires and a wicked walk (Gal. 5:16-21).  Cultural choices are included among the works of the flesh.  Any music, clothing, entertainment, speech, or other cultural choice promoting fruitful holiness must not be conformed to styles developed to promote the worldliness of 1 John 2:15-17. This mandate applies equally to our personal lives and our corporate worship.  Our love for the Father provides powerful motivation for careful conservatism that draws a clear line well-removed from the gray of compromise in this regard.

Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its 71st Annual Convention, October 23-25, 2012, in the Cedar View Independent Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, affirms the need for all Bible-believing churches and individual Christians to separate from conformity to the cultural norms produced by this world’s love for possessions, pleasures, and pride.  As children determined to love our heavenly Father faithfully, we commit ourselves to the promotion and practice of consistently conservative, godly Christian living, regulated by cultural standards that demonstrate the distinctiveness of our calling as pilgrims and strangers in a world ruled by “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.”  It is our desire that in every area of our lives, the change that has called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” would be seen plainly by others in a way that will “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:9-12).

Picture: https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960106/

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A Call for Godly Christian Living in Evil Times
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Psalm 91:1-66

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …


Derek Prince – Evil Forces At the End Time


VIDEO Father Launches Fundraiser After PA State Rep. Harasses His Pro-Life Wife, Daughters

May 7, 2019  By Alex Madajian

State Rep. Brian Sims (D)
(Facebook)

(CNSNews.com) — After [hate filled]  openly gay Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims (D-District 182) publicly filmed, harassed, and sought to “dox” a mother and three daughters who were praying outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility, the father of the three girls launched a GoFundMe page to support the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia.

The gofundme.com page reads, “State Rep. Brian Sims tried to Harass and Dox my Daughters. He Offered $100. Let’s Donate $100,000 to the Pro-Life Movement Instead.”

“On Holy Thursday (April 18, 2019) my wife, two teenage daughters, and their friend were peacefully praying outside of a Planned Parenthood in Center City Philadelphia when a man started yelling at them,” reads the fundraiser. “[A]fter ranting at them for several minutes, he left, and returned with his cell phone to record the above video.

“It turns out that the man is an elected official,” states the page. “Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims. In his video, later posted on Twitter, Rep. Sims not only attempts to shame them for praying for the unborn babies facing abortion, but offers viewers $100 if they will identify the teen girls in the video.”

“It’s bad enough that a grown man would be trying to dox three teenage girls,” reads the page. “It’s even worse that he is an elected official. I’ve got two responses to these despicable actions by ‘Representative’ Sims:

“First, Brian, if you have a problem with my wife and daughters praying outside of an abortion clinic, you can come and see me.

“It seems like you like to pick on women, teenagers, and senior citizens (see him harass a senior citizen who was praying by clicking here ). That’s shameful, and unacceptable.”

(Twitter.)

“Second, I have a challenge for the pro-life community,” reads the fundraising page. “Rep. Sims offered $100 to anyone who would identify these teenage girls for him. Instead of $100, let’s join together to donate $100,000 to the pro-life movement.”

So far, in a little over 11 hours, the fundraiser has generated more than $5,500.

During the video made by Sims, he says to the mother and the teenage girls, “Hi everyone! Representative Brian Sims here. And I am outside the Planned Parenthood in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Oh no, they’re leaving now. What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters. Bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who have been out here shaming young girls for being here. And so here’s the deal. I’ve got a $100 to anyone who will identify any of these three [teen girls].”

(Twitter.)

The mother then interjects, “Hi — we’re actually just praying for babies, and we believe women deserve more.”

Talking over the mother, Sims says, “But I’m going to donate to Planned Parenthood. So look, a bunch of white people standing out in front of a Planned Parenthood shaming people.”

“There’s nothing Christian about what you’re doing,” says Sims. “Nothing Christian at all about what you’re doing. Nothing Christian, or loving, or godly about what you’re doing. So I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify who this [is].”

Sims then points his phone at a young man who is standing on the sidewalk and says, “See if you’ve got some friends out here, a $100, it would be easy if you gave me your name an address.”

The man responded with his name and address. Sims shot back without giving him the $100: “What makes you think that it’s your job to tell women what’s right for their bodies? And the truth is I’m not really asking ’cause I don’t care. Shame on you.”

Pennsylvania’s State Rep. Brian Sims (D) sends a visual
message to Vice President Mike Pence. (Twitter)

Sims apparently did not pay the young man the $100 as promised.

Sims then walked away from the man and towards the clinic. “Guys, Planned Parenthood out here faces attacks daily from people like this, from pseudo-Christians saying that they are here to somehow protect their own version of Christianity,” he states. “Do me a favor, if you’ve watched this, please consider giving $100 to Planned Parenthood, I’m going to do the same.”

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/alex-madajian/father-launches-fundraiser-after-pa-state-rep-harasses-his-pro-life-wife


Exodus 14:13,14
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever…

2 Chronicles 20:15

This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

US Report Bashes China’s Religious Freedom Violations

With its crackdown on Christians and other faiths, the communist country ranks as a top offender by USCIRF for 20 years in a row.

May 2, 2019 by GRIFFIN PAUL JACKSON

US Report Bashes China’s Religious Freedom Violations

Barely a week after the bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed nearly 300 on Easter Sunday, and a day after six Christians were killed at their church in Burkina Faso, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) made clear that the worst violators of religious freedom are gaining steam.

The findings are grim in 2019 report and echo the conclusions from this year’s Open Doors rankings, with China taking the brunt of the critique.

“As a Christian [living in China], your Bible may have been rewritten by the Chinese government, your church shuttered or demolished, and your pastor imprisoned,” the commission wrote. “As a human rights defender who works to protect people targeted for their faith, you may be arrested, or worse, disappeared.”

According to commissioner Johnnie Moore, this year’s report represents “the strongest stance against China in the history of the USCIRF.”

China was a primary focus of the first-ever USCIRF report released two decades ago, along with Russia and Sudan. The world’s most populous nation remains a Tier 1 “country of particular concern” (CPC) today, having made the list in each of the 20 annual releases. China also jumped to No. 27 on the 2019 World Watch List, which tracks the countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

Christians and adherents of other faiths in China have seen an uptick in persecution as President Xi Jinping has consolidated power and abolished term limits, easing the way for a harsh government crackdown on believers and advocates of religious freedom.

Ministry leaders have weighed whether the moves represent “a step toward tighter government control, an opportunity to further indigenize and contextualize the faith, or perhaps both.”

In the past year, China banned the online purchase of Bibles, shuttered hundreds of churches—including major Protestant gatherings like Shouwang ChurchEarly Rain Covenant Church, and Zion Church—and pressed hard for the “sinicization” of religious institutions across China. Just last month, Hong Kong pastor Chu Yiu-ming and eight other activists were convicted for crimes related to their participation in pro-democracy movements.

David Curry, president of Open Doors USA, told Mission Network News after the commission’s release, “It’s just stunning the levels to which China is now going to persecute and to hold down the expression of Christian faith.”

But Christians have not been the only ones to suffer. Tibetan Buddhists are forbidden from displaying photos of or expressing public devotion to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama; hundreds of Falun Gong adherents were arrested for their faith; and a million ethnic Uighur Muslims have been forced into concentration camps. Of the more than 1,400 prisoners of conscience imprisoned in China as of last October, approximately half of them were detained, at least partly, for participating in religious practices “unauthorized” by Beijing.

“If we were to rate the Tier 1 countries, China would be in a category all by itself,” saidUSCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer in a news conference in Washington, DC. “The level of persecution—they are an equal opportunity persecutor. They go after anybody, any sect that might compete with the communist, atheistic government of China.”

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan group tasked with making policy recommendations around religious freedom abroad. In this year’s report, the authors noted that China has faced “few, if any consequences” for its abuses of religious freedom, despite US condemnation.

“Policy and practice now must focus on holding the responsible parties accountable,” they said, “ceasing China’s myriad abuses against all faith communities, and documenting the evidence of the atrocities that have occurred.”

The 28 countries and five terror entities USCIRF identifies as the worst in the world in terms of their assaults on religious freedom are nearly identical to the 2018 list, though the commission has recommended additions to the State Department’s official list of CPCs, which is more limited.

According to the commission, the 16 worst countries for their abuses of freedom of religion and conscience are Burma, the Central African Republic, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

All but one of these countries—Russia—make the top 30 most dangerous places to be a Christian according to the World Watch List. The commission notes how faiths and denominations not aligned with Moscow are perceived as foreign, missionary activity can be prosecuted or blanketed as “extremism,” religious groups are readily intimated, and the 2016 Yarovaya Law effectively banned public evangelism.

Per the report’s analysis on Russia: “Religious and other communities can be financially blacklisted or liquidated, and individuals can be subjected to criminal prosecution for social media posts that are arbitrarily determined to offend the religious sensibilities of others.”

Russia earned a spot among the commission’s top-tier countries for the first time in 2017 after it banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremists and was found to persecute religious minorities in Crimea and Donbas.

“In 2018, both state and nonstate actors increasingly used religion as a tool of exclusion to isolate, marginalize, and punish the ‘other’ through discrimination and violence,” says USCIRF.

The commission proposes a variety of policy recommendations in response to what it calls “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” They include increased sanctions, aid programs that promote tolerance and respect for human rights, and increased funding to antiterrorism and defense programs.

Notably, of the 10 current CPCs listed by the State Department, four countries—Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan—are spared sanctions due to what the report calls the “important national interest of the United States.”

USCIRF’s list of Tier 2 countries, those that don’t meet all the qualifications of Tier 1 offenders but where the government engages in or permits significant religious freedom violations, includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, and Turkey.

The report’s five “entities of particular concern” are the Islamic State, the Taliban, Somalia’s al-Shabaab, and, newly added this year, Yemen’s Houthis and Syria’s Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

 

 

Original here

The church in Philadelphia is unique among the seven churches

Christ’s message to Philadelphia in Revelation 3 was quite different from the messages to the other churches.

This church in Philadelphia is unique among the seven churches because it is the only church the Lord registers no complaint against. This is the church that delights Christ!

The cornice from a building in ancient Philadelphia (photo by Joel Meeker).

The cornice from a building in ancient Philadelphia (photo by Joel Meeker)

Question: “What was Jesus’ message to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation?”

Answer: Revelation 3:7-13 records Christ’s message to the sixth of the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2–3. The Philadelphian church is the recipient of this letter. Philadelphia was a city in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) on the Imperial Post Road, an important trade route.

The message is from the Lord Jesus Christ through an angel or “messenger” (likely a reference to the pastor): “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write . . .” (Revelation 3:7). This was not John’s personal message to these believers; it was a message from the Lord, who identifies Himself as “him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” This description of Jesus emphasizes His holiness, His sovereignty, and His authority. The reference to the key of David is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 22:22. Jesus is the one who opens and shuts, and no one can say Him nay.

Jesus affirms the church’s positive actions: “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8). The church of Philadelphia was weak in some respects, yet they had remained faithful in the face of trial. Because of this, the Lord promises them an “open door” of blessing.

Jesus’ letter then condemns the enemies of the Philadelphian believers: “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9). Those who persecuted the believers (the persecutors were religious hypocrites in this case) would one day realize Christ loves His children. The church of Philadelphia would be victorious over its enemies.

Jesus encourages the Philadelphian believers regarding His future coming: “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:10-11). The church’s faithful endurance would serve as a blessing. Jesus would take them to be with Him before the coming tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He also exhorts them to remain faithful, because this would lead to rewards in the afterlife. Based on this and other passages, many Bible interpreters conclude that the rapture is an event distinct from the second coming of Christ. The fact that the Philadelphians are promised to be preserved from the time of the tribulation corresponds with the pretribulational view of the rapture.

Jesus provides a final promise to the believers in Philadelphia and to all believers: “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down from out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). Professor Thomas Constable notes, “God promised that He will not just honor overcomers by erecting a pillar in their name in heaven, as was the custom in Philadelphia. He will make them pillars in the spiritual temple of God, the New Jerusalem (21:22; cf. Gal. 2:91 Cor. 3:16-172 Cor. 6:16Eph. 2:19-221 Pet. 2:4-10).” (Source: Thomas Constable, Notes on Revelation at http://soniclight.org/constable/notes/pdf/revelation.pdf.)

So, those who struggled with weakness Jesus makes everlasting pillars in the house of God. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Jesus’ words of comfort certainly would have been a blessing to the Philadelphians who had faithfully stood for Christ in their pagan culture. His words continue to serve as an encouragement to faithful believers today.

https://www.gotquestions.org/church-in-Philadelphia.html