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7/25/2014

Displaced Palestinian Civilians Find Shelter in Christian Church

About 1,000 displaced Muslim Palestinians have packed inside a Christian church in Gaza, in hopes that it will not be targeted with Israeli rocket fire.

About 1,000 displaced Muslim Palestinians have packed inside a Christian church in Gaza, in hopes that it will not be targeted with Israeli rocket fire. Saint Porphyrios Church of Gaza City is providing food and shelter for the refugees while fighting between Gaza and Israel rages on.    The Daily Beast reports that 50 mosques have been bombed since the start of the conflict; Israelis reportedly believe that Hamas’ weapons are stored inside the mosques. The families who are crammed inside Saint Porphyrios hope that where they are staying will be safer.    “It’s for Christians so it won’t be targeted,” said Etadil al Saerky, who has found refuge in the church along with 11 family members.    Archbishop Alexios has remained positive despite the terrible circumstance in Gaza City. He reported that one woman gave birth to a healthy baby in the sanctuary on Monday. “You see, in Gaza there is also life, not only death,” Alexios said.      Publication date: July 25, 2014 read more
7/25/2014

Pro-Life Leaders Skeptical of Proposed Obamacare Compromise

Skepticism has greeted the White House’s announcement that it is changing Obamacare rules requiring religious groups to give employees free birth control.

Skepticism has greeted the White House’s announcement that it is changing Obamacare rules requiring religious groups to give employees free birth control.   Under the compromise, the government would work directly with employees wanting contraception included in their health care.    “The change, announced by administration officials late Tuesday night, would allow nonprofit groups to opt out of the mandate simply by writing a letter to the federal government,” reports Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times. “Until now, nonprofit religious groups such as charities and universities had to file paperwork with health insurance companies allowing those companies to offer birth control directly to employees.”   That paperwork was objectionable to Christian organizations who called it a form of “permission giving” that they viewed as complicity with evil.   Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that Wheaton College, a private Christian school in Illinois, cannot be forced to help employees seek free birth control. Earlier, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision had freed companies from providing contraception if the owners have moral and religious objections.   With Tuesday night’s announcement, “the Obama administration claims it will create a new option for religious nonprofits,” writes Stephen Ertelt for LifeNews.  The announcement came in a court brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.    However, the head of a pro-life group suing the White House said fears remain that Obama officials are merely circumventing the Supreme Court. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told ... read more
7/25/2014

A Ban on New Church Construction Angers Sudanese Christians

Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But this month, conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches.

Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But this month, conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches.   Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made the announcement on July 12, sparking criticism from top Christian clerics who warned of shrinking worship space in the mainly Muslim and Arab north.   After South Sudan’s independence in 2011, many Christians moved to the newly formed country, which has a large Christian population. But a sizable number remained.   Abdullah argued there is no need to grant plots of land for new churches since the existing ones were enough for the remaining Christians.   The Rev. Kori Elramla Kori Kuku, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, said the government’s intentions were shocking and misleading.   “We (Christians) have the right to have new plots of land and building of new churches,” he said. “We need the churches for the growing of Sudanese Christians.”   The human rights organization, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which works on behalf of persecuted Christians, issued a statement, saying the continued practice of demolishing and confiscating church land constitutes a violation of the right of freedom of religion or belief.   Sudanese religious freedom became a rallying cry after the sentencing to death of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, a Christian woman who was charged with apostasy. Although Ibrahim, who is married to an American citizen from South Sudan, was freed, she has been unable to ... read more
7/25/2014

John Kerry Presents New Hamas Ceasefire Proposal as Fighting Threatens West Bank

The violence in Gaza and Israel has continued for 18 days and again, the conflicting regions have been presented with a ceasefire proposal.

The violence in Gaza and Israel has continued for 18 days and again, the conflicting regions have been presented with a ceasefire proposal. The new proposal comes as the violence could be spreading to West Bank and Jerusalem.    Secretary of State John Kerry offered Israelis and Hamas the new ceasefire that calls for seven days of halted rocket fire in hopes that a permanent truce could be reached during that time. According to the Washington Post, the ceasefire may not require Israel’s ground invasion to retreat, nor would the proposal ban the continued destruction of Hamas tunnels.    Those conditions leads many to believe that Hamas will reject the new ceasefire proposal, as the group did with Egypt’s proposed truce. The proposal does likely hold small incentives for Hamas as well, such as the release of some Palestinian soldiers; specific incentives have not been released.     Israel has said that it will not respond to the ceasefire proposal until Hamas does, but Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States said that he does not believe Israel will be interested in the deal. “If the ceasefire proposal calls for a five or a seven-day ceasefire that enables Hamas to regroup, reestablish its communication systems and replenish its ammunition, then I don’t think Israel will accept that.”   Over 800 people have now been killed in the conflict; the majority of those killed were Palestinian civilians, including many children.      Publication date: July 25, 2014 read more
7/25/2014

11 Parents of Nigerian Kidnapped Schoolgirls Dead

During an attack of Kautakari village earlier this month, 51 people were killed; locals have now confirmed that seven of those killed were parents of the girls who were kidnapped from a Chibok school on April 14.

During an attack of Kautakari village earlier this month, 51 people were killed; locals have now confirmed that seven of those killed were parents of the girls who were kidnapped from a Chibok school on April 14. Four more parents of the girls have died from illness induced by stress, including heart failure and high blood pressure.    Community leader Pogu Bitrus said that one father “went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him.”    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with 177 parents of the girls on July 22, ensuring the beleaguered parents that the government was determined to bring their daughters home.    Reuban Abati, a spokesman for Jonathan said, “Mr. President reassured them [the parents] of the federal government determination and his personal determination to ensure that the girls that are still in captivity are brought out alive. He made it clear that is the main objective of the government.”    Jonathan has been harshly criticized for failing to act quickly with the kidnapping, allowing time for the militants to possibly move some of the girls to Cameroon and Chad. 219 girls are still missing; many girls are believed to be held in the Sambisa Forest.     Publication date: July 25, 2014 read more