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-UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim Now Charged with ‘Forging’ Exit Documents

by Dr. D ~ June 27th, 2014
Seal of the United States Department of State.

              (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPDATE on the UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim and her family are now safe inside the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum while the charges against them are being addressed by their lawyer and U.S. diplomats.


Meriam Ibrahim, who was released from a death sentence, and her family including her husband who is a US citizen are now in Jail in Khartoum facing charges of forging the exit papers and visas that the US diplomats provided to them from South Sudan and the US.

Her Muslim relatives on her father’s side including a half brother lodged a complaint against her which resulted in her arrest at the Khartoum airport.

US State Department diplomats subsequently insisted that the Sudanese officials reveal the current charges that she was being held under. Apparently the family is now being detained under the dubious charge of ‘forging’ the very papers given to them by US officials. Read about this latest development in the World Watch Monitor.

*Top

-California Baptist Pastor Who Now Accepts Homosexuality Gets Invite to White House

by Dr. D ~ June 26th, 2014
911: White House Grounds, 09/14/2001.

                          (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

The California Southern Baptist pastor who lead his congregation to accept Homosexuality and reject his denomination’s traditional view has now been rewarded with a trip to the White House and a congratulatory reception with the President.

Here’s the story from The Christian Post:

Danny Cortez, who leads New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California, and his 15-year-old son Drew, who came out as a gay earlier this year, received an invitation to a reception with President Barack Obama at the White House on June 30…

The California pastor, a graduate of Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, told his congregation in February that he had recently informed the church’s elders that he now personally affirmed same-sex relationships.

…the church voted in May not to dismiss Cortez and instead become a "Third Way" church.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Just a few short years ago when he was running for president, Barack Obama claimed that he supported traditional marriage but now supports the same-sex redefinition. With his invite of pastor Cortez, the President is going out of his way to be an actual cheerleader for change in the Christian community.

In some ways this could be viewed as an ‘in your face’ response to the hundreds of black Christian pastors who condemned his change of heart and have asked him to continue to support traditional Christian view. Recently over 100 Black pastors in Detroit came out against the current progressive push to identify and compare homosexual rights and same-sex marriage with the struggle for racial civil rights. An approach the president and his administration seems to be supporting.

As we have stated on a number of different occasions, every church in America will soon be forced to make a choice when it comes to homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the Bible. With this invite to the White House, President Obama appears to be leading the charge and encouraging pastors and American churches to leave behind traditional Christian teaching and accept a progressive view of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.            *Top

-UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim and Family Still Being Detained in Sudan

by Dr. D ~ June 25th, 2014
Farewell bidders at Khartoum Int'l Airport

                    (Khartoum Int’l Airport-Photo credit: simsimt)

According to the latest sources that I could find this morning, Meriam Ibrahim and her family including her husband who is a US citizen and her two young children are still being detained by authorities in Sudan.

Yesterday there were a couple of reports that they had been released but the story was not confirmed and apparently that was not the case. A news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide claims that they are currently being held by Khartoum police:

Mrs Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their children Martin Wani and Maya Wani were initially detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) on 24 June at Khartoum Airport and taken to the NISS offices near Khartoum Airport, before being transferred to a police station in Khartoum.

The police have refused to release the family on bail and have stated they require 24 hours to conclude their investigation. Mrs Ibrahim has not been charged with any offence; however the police are investigating alleged irregularities with her travel documents.

<Read the whole article>

An interesting winkle to this case was provided by ASSIST News Service. According to their report, the family was protected and driven to the airport and provided with papers and visas by US diplomats who argued with Sudanese officials on their behalf to no avail. On the other side, Mariam’s older bother who brought the charges against her in the first place claims that she was ‘kidnapped’ by her husband and US diplomats and insisted that the police arrest her husband and not allow her to leave the country.

According to State Department officials, the Sudanese government has given them assurances that the family is safe and will be protected even though there have been numerous death threats issued against them.

We will keep on following this case and please keep on praying.              *Top

Here are links to our earlier posts concerning this family and their saga:

-Sudanese Christian Woman Under Death Sentence Released by Appeals Court Then Arrested Again

-More On Christian Pregnant Woman Facing Death in Sudan

-Sudan: Pregnant Christian Woman Facing Death For Conversion

-Sudanese Christian Woman Under Death Sentence Released by Appeals Court Then Arrested Again

by Dr. D ~ June 24th, 2014
Panorama of Khartoum

                                  (Panorama of Khartoum, Sudan: Wikipedia)

Yesterday came the happy news that Meriam Yahia Ibrahim and her children had been released from a Sudanese prison and her death sentence for ‘conversion’ annulled by an Appeals Court. Now today comes the unhappy report that her and her entire family including her husband who is a US citizen have been arrested in an airport as they tried to leave the country.

First the news of her release from the Baptist Press:

A Sudanese appeals court has rescinded the death sentence of a Christian woman who refused to renounce her faith and has freed her two small children and her from prison.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, 27, gained her freedom Monday (June 23) after the court overturned rulings issued by a Khartoum judge, Bloomberg News reported. Ibrahim, whose conviction and death sentence were greeted by international protests, was convicted under Sharia law for "apostasy" (leaving Islam) and sentenced to death by hanging. She also received a sentence of 100 lashes for adultery on the basis of her marriage to a Christian, Daniel Wani, a South Sudanese-born citizen of the United States.

<Read the whole article>

Now today the update of their arrest at the airport while trying to leave the country. From World Watch monitor:

One day after being released from prison, Meriam Ibrahim has been arrested again, according to several news sources.

Citing unnamed sources, the BBC reported: "About 40 security agents detained Mrs Ibrahim – along with her husband Daniel Wani and two sons – at the airport, the sources said."

Bloomberg reported that Ibrahim and her family were attempting to take a flight out of the country. …

"The (U.S.) State Dept said that they were held reportedly for not having the proper documentation to leave the country," Ramirez wrote in an email to World Watch Monitor. "State and the embassy are working on it to get her on a plane to South Sudan where they will complete the paperwork for the family to travel to the US."

<Read the whole article>

Response: We have previously written about the injustices of this case and just when it appears that international pressures and mercy have prevailed the family is  thrown back into the midst of a chaotic situation with their two small children. Really, 40 security agents does seem to be an overkill. Obviously some very important people in Sudan are not happy with the court’s decision to release this Christian mother and her children. The excuse is not having the proper papers to leave the country. But that results in an entire family including a US citizen and his young children being arrested by 40 armed security agents like they are some kind of dangerous criminals?

Fortunately the State Department has finally responded to Congressional pressure in this case and is trying to help this father who is actually a naturalized US citizen and his family. Hopefully it will be resolved and the family will be able to leave and come to America. Keep on praying.            *Top

-Palestinian Professor Cites the Real Motivation Behind Terrorism -The Muslim Faith

by Dr. D ~ June 23rd, 2014

The Western media and members of the American government continue to blame terrorism and Islamic extremism on poverty and ignorance and certainly they may be contributing factors for some. But the 9/11 terrorists were middle class professionals and others like Nidal Hasan and Ayman al-Zawahiri are highly educated doctors. Occasionally I drive by a beautiful mosque in a very nice middle-class neighborhood in San Diego where two of the 9/11 perpetrators lived and worshiped for a couple of years. So it probably will not be solved by doing away with poverty. Besides, some terrorists like Osama Bin laden was are actually wealthy.

Other ‘scholars’ claim that the rise of Islamic terrorism is the result of tyrannical regimes that offer very few freedoms to their citizens. Yet when Middle-Eastern and North African tyrants were over-thrown in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ they were replaced through free ‘democratic’ elections with even more oppressive leaders installing radical sharia law.   

The terrorist leaders themselves continue to claim that their real motivations come from their Muslim religion but educators, government officials, and media news jockeys refuse to go there for the sake of Islamophobia which is supposedly a problem in America. When it comes to terrorism, Islam continues to be the unnamed ‘elephant in the room’ particularly in the USA where diversity is a major PC cultural value.

From my perspective the truth is the real problem since it makes us all a bit uncomfortable to consider that the traditional teachings of a major world religion may be behind so mush of the strife, terrorism, and on-going wars in today’s world. Especially problematic for those of us who support freedom of religion and would like to extend it to American Muslims without it being a death sentence for our nation and our freedoms.

Nevertheless, here is a Palestinian professor from the Islamic University in Gaza who is aware of how the Western media would like to portray terrorism and yet he claims that it is the normal result of faithful adherence to the Muslim religion and not at all radical.  From The Blaze:

…Dr. Subhi Al-Yazji … decried “biased media outlets” for promoting the brainwashing and poverty explanations for the terrorism phenomenon.

Al-Yazji referred to attacks against Israelis as “martyrdom operations” not terrorism.

“We must realize that the Islamic concept of sacrifice motivates many of our youth to carry out martyrdom operations,” said Al-Yazji. “Contrary to how they are portrayed by the West and some biased media outlets, which claim that they are youths of 18-20 years who have been brainwashed, most of the people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah were engineers and had office jobs. They were all mature and rational.”

“Some people claim that they did this for the money. Take, for example, someone like brother Sa’d, who was an engineer, had an office job, owned a home and a car, and was married – what made him embark on Jihad? He believed that the Muslim faith requires us to make sacrifices.”

View Dr. Al-Yazii’s interview in the video above.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The professor’s words will probably not change anyone’s mind or approach in the American government or media. They are far too committed to erroneous and far more comfortable and convenient explanations.

To admit that the problem may lie at the foundation of Islam presents us with a major dilemma of how Islam should be treated in America. Even though the vast majority of American Muslims are loyal citizens and moderate should American mosques be spied upon by government agents in order to prevent the rise of home-grown terrorism in this country? The current administration does not think so. But does the First Amendment really extend freedom to Muslim radicals to organize in are very midst?

One is tempted to support government supervision and yet it could provide a precedent that might backfire on conservative Christians. A future administration could consider ‘evangelicals’ to be the real enemy.            *Top

-Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Votes to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

by Dr. D ~ June 20th, 2014

pcusa-ga

(Photo: Facebook/PCUSA)


The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Thursday to redefine the denominational understanding of marriage and allow its clergy to perform same-sex marriages. Here is the story from the Christian Post:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s highest governing body voted Thursday to allow ministers to perform same-sex marriages.

Presbyterian clergy can now marry gay and lesbian couples wherever same-sex marriage is legal. …

The PCUSA’s 221st General Assembly, which is meeting in Detroit this week, also approved an amendment to its Book of Order that would change the definition of marriage from one man and one woman to "two persons." The amendment must be ratified by a majority of the denomination’s presbyteries, or district governing bodies. …

The same-sex marriage votes come three years after the PCUSA voted to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The 2014 General Assembly of the PCUSA, which is the largest Presbyterian denomination in America, has made a clear decision where their church will stand on homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and the Bible. The conference voted to abandon traditional Biblical teaching on marriage, accept a more liberal view of scripture, and go along with the American cultural flow.

Like I have written before, every American church will sooner or later be forced to make a decision about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Yesterday the PCUSA made their choice.             *Top

-‘United’ Methodists No Longer When It Comes to Homosexuality?

by Dr. D ~ June 19th, 2014
English:

(UMC logo: Wikipedia)

For years members of the United Methodist Church have been battling over homosexuality at their annual denominational conference. Now there is a serious proposal being considered by the Methodists to allow their area conferences and local congregations to choose for themselves their own individual stances on homosexuality.

Many believe that it would be the end of the denomination if it should go that direction. Nevertheless they are at the crossroads on this issue one way or another.

Here’s the story from OneNewsNow:

The idea of allowing United Methodist congregations to choose their individual stance on homosexuality continues to draw both support and opposition. 

The proposal to let churches decide on homosexuality comes from Revs. Adam Hamilton, Michael Slaughter and other United Methodists. It also calls for letting annual conferences decide to depart from the Book of Discipline by ordaining open and practicing homosexual pastors. …

A group of clergy, theologians and laity wrote a letter to Hamilton and Slaughter stating their opposition. Hamilton has since responded, saying the proposal would not end Methodism, as some have warned. Hamilton adds that he wants to hold the denomination together.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The United Methodist Church is an interesting case when it comes to the issue of homosexuality and the Bible. The UMC congregations in New England and on the West Coast are far more liberal than those in the South and Midwest and have been pushing for the acceptance of gay clergy and lately same-sex marriage. However,their efforts to change the denominational stance has been frustrated by the more conservative and evangelical oriented congregations in the South where the denomination is still the strongest in numbers.

Lately there have been several controversies surrounding ministers who have officiated at same-sex ceremonies regardless of the denominational rules. When those in question received little more than a hand slapping if that from their Bishops it caused quite a stir among the more conservative leaders in the church.

The denomination is in real danger of fracturing over the issue and this is a last ditch effort to allow the more liberal members to do what they want without leaving the church. However, if the local congregations and conferences were allowed to decide for themselves on this issue then there would be a major division in the church and clergy from one conference in the denomination might not be recognized by another particularly if the minister in question was gay.

Recently we wrote that every church in America would soon be forced to openly declare their stance when it comes to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  Can a whole denomination dodge this issue by letting the local church declare their own stand and remain a viable organization? I really don’t think so.

It would be particularly problematic with the traditional Methodist polity that invests a great deal of power and authority in the area Bishops.  What if a local Methodist congregation decides on a stance which is different than their own Bishop’s declared position? How would that play out? I suspect that the ‘United’ Methodists will not be so united in the future.            *Top