Methodist Bishops Table Policy Change on Homosexuality United Methodist bishops have tabled a proposal that would have loosened restrictions in the church's mostly conservative policies on homosexuality. --by Kevin Eckstrom of Religion News Service at the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website 5.10.07
The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), has just been informed that on July 20, 7 Muslim leaders (clerics) brutally attacked 50 or more Christians in Henno, Ethiopia. This latest attack is just one example of the increasing violence against Christians in Ethiopia. In fact, Islamic leaders are urging Muslims in the area to kill full-time Christian evangelists. The situation has reached such intensity that Christian leaders are in fear and moving in pairs to ward off attacks. Local Muslim authorities failed to take action against the Muslim attackers.
Henno is located in the district of Kokosa of the Oromia region, 404 kilometers South of Addis Ababa.
In 2005, two prominent Muslims in Henno converted to Christianity: “H,” a well known Muslim leader, and “M,” the son of a well-respected Muslim tribal leader. The two conversions angered Muslim leaders in the surrounding region. On July 20, 2006, “M” hosted a worship service for the other Christians in Henno and invited a choir from the Sidama region.
The worship service gained the attention of the whole village, including Muslim leaders who responded violently by instigating a riot, using gangs in the area. The gangs were carrying local weapons such as knives, stones, and metal rods.
The Muslim leaders demanded the expulsion of the choir from the area. The new believer and former Muslim leader, “H,” refused to stop the service despite their pressure. Consequently, the crowd began to beat “H” and other Christians in the house with their weapons.
“H” was beaten badly, receiving five deep wounds to his head. Because he was beaten with an iron rod, he was also missing teeth. He suffered deep lacerations to his legs, where several ligaments protruded from the skin. “H’s” daughter-in-law was pregnant at the time but lost her baby because she was also severely beaten.
In total, twelve people were seriously injured; five others were found to have lacerations on their body and received medical treatment in Shashamene Kuyera Hospital. “H” also received care and has recovered from the attack. –excerpted from a Christian Newswire article dated 10.19.06 as submitted by Muriel McConnon
To Be Married Means to Be Outnumbered
Married couples, whose numbers have been declining for decades as a proportion of American households, have finally slipped into a minority, according to an analysis of new census figures by The New York Times.
The American Community Survey, released this month by the Census Bureau, found that 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation’s 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples – with and without children – just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier.
The numbers by no means suggests marriage is dead or necessarily that a tipping point has been reached. The total number of married couples is higher than ever, and most Americans eventually marry. But marriage has been facing more competition. A growing number of adults are spending more of their lives single or living unmarried with partners, and the potential social and economic implications are profound… –excerpted from an article by Sam Roberts, in The New York Times, 10.15.06 as submitted by Mark Zaveson.
Scalia Gives ACLU an Earful
The Court’s top conservative confronts the American Civil Liberties Union face to face – not that his insights changed any minds.
Delegates to the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) annual conference in Washington, D.C., heard from a conservative icon Sunday night – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Speaking to an audience of 1,500 civil libertarians during an hour-long debate with ACLU President Nadine Strossen, Scalia spoke out about abortion, same-sex marriage and religious freedom.
The conservative justice told the left – leaning lawyers group there is no basis in the U.S. Constitution for abortion or homosexual rights – and that controversial issues should be settled through the democratic process, not through the courts.
“What democracy means,” he said, “is that, on controversial issues – even stuff like homosexual rights, abortion, whatever – we debate with each other and persuade each other and vote on it.”
Scalia said America decides such questions by majority rule – either through legislatures or constitutional amendments in the states. “(The) Bill of Rights was adopted by the majority,” he said, “which is why it is proper in a democracy to have a Bill of Rights, because the majority adopted it.”
Scalia said our forefathers never included abortion or homosexual activism in the Bill of Rights. “Nobody ever thought that they had been included in the rights contained in the Bill of Rights,” he said, “which is why abortion and homosexual sodomy were criminal for 200 years.”
Scalia said it isn’t the job of a judge – or the court – to decide if abortion or homosexual activism is a good idea or a bad idea. “It is my job to say whether the Bill of Rights have taken it out of the realm of democratic debate,” the justice said. “Just because you feel strongly about it, it isn’t necessarily in the Bill of Rights.” –excerpted from an article by Pete Winn, associate editor of CitizenLink at the Focus on the Family website, 10.16.06, as submitted by Muriel McConnon.
(It is much the same with biblical interpretations. We have no express right to read into the Bible things that simply are not there or to include in our observances or practices things specifically enjoined against, on the notion that we might find some popular reason to approve of them one day or the next. If this principle is sound, and it certainly is, then such things are abridgements and adjuncts that have no validity in principal, logic or reason. Such is the crux of the issue with civil law, and such is the reasonable argument with religion. With religion however, to further obfuscate, there is no appeals court, council and no state, i.e. denomination, before which we may make appeal or offer a defense or vote, to seek to illegitimately alter what has first been sanctioned or to add what has been expressly prohibited of God. For no sanction of these organizations exists expressly or otherwise within God’s word.
“He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life… John 12:48-50
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4—6.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. Ed.)
Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers
Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.
At an unusual series of leadership meetings in 44 cities this fall, more than 6,000 pastors are hearing dire forecasts from some of the biggest names in the conservative evangelical movement.
Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.
While some critics say the statistics are greatly exaggerated (one evangelical magazine for youth ministers dubbed it “the 4 percent panic attack”), there is widespread consensus among evangelical leaders that they risk losing their teenagers… –excerpted from an article by Laurie Goodstein in The New York Times, 10.06.06
(Perhaps some are starting to figure out that these “religious” organizations are empty of both Bible and spiritual instruction? Ed.)
We Americans are blessed in so many ways. We’re a nation under God, a living and loving God. But Thomas Jefferson warned us, ‘I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.’ We cannot expect Him to protect us in crisis if we turn away from Him in our everyday living. But you know, He told us what to do in II Chronicles. Let us reach out to Him. He said, ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land’. –Ronald Reagan, as found at The Patriot Post 06-42, 10.16.06
Rice Affirms Appointee’s Gay Partner
Secretary of state refers to mother of new ambassador’s same-sex partner as his “mother in law.”
America ‘s new deputy global AIDS coordinator was sworn in this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – while his same-sex partner held the Bible used in the ceremony.
Not only that, but Rice referred to the mother of Ambassador Mark Dybul’s gay partner as his “mother in law.”
Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy for Focus on Family, called Rice’s comments “astonishing.”
“This is very provocative,” he said, “and very disappointing.” –excerpted from staff reports at Focus on the Family’s website 10.19.06, as submitted by Mark Zaveson.