I was shocked when I read that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa because it was too expensive to travel there. Seriously?
To be perfectly clear, I write these words as someone who stands with Israel and who thinks well of Mr. Netanyahu. But truth is truth, and there's a good reason that the prime minister's excuse for not attending the funeral has caused quite an uproar.
As reported by Christa Case Bryant in the Christian Science Monitor, the simple fact that Mr. Netanyahu did not attend the funeral was serious in itself: "While the Israeli leader's absence may have gone relatively unnoticed in South Africa, it has caused consternation in Israel. Detractors argue that missing the memorial of a man who championed freedom and brought down apartheid gives fresh fodder to critics who say Israel, too, has constructed an apartheid system and is insincere about reconciling with Palestinians after decades of conflict." more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
Highlighting escalation of attacks on Egypt's Copts, speakers at a congressional hearing this week expressed concerns over the Muslim Brotherhood making Christians the scapegoat for the Islamist group's political downfall.
"An unprecedented wave of violence erupted against Christians" after security forces' violent crackdown on Brotherhood protesters following the removal of President Mohammed Morsi in July, noted Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.
"They [Copts] alone were set as scapegoats and erroneously blamed and accused of instigating or contributing to the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi demonstrators," added Bishop Angaelos at a joint hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday. more >>
A Bible translator working in the violently unstable country of the Central African Republic was gunned down and killed last week while attempting to transport his family to safety. The Central African Republic has been in a state of upheaval since the March 2013 coup led by Islamic rebel groups known as the Seleka.
Elisée Zama, a translator working for ACATBA, a partner organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Central African country, was reportedly shot in the city of Bangui while attempting to transport relatives to safety at a hospital compound amid growing violence between locals and members of the Seleka. The unpaid Islamic militia group overthrew President François Bozizé in March 2013, and since this overthrow the rebel group has continued to inflict violence in the form of looting and surprise attacks on locals, especially Christians in the towns of Bangui and Bossangoa. The violence has heightened in recent months as the Seleka attempt to stave off a counter-coup by Christian residents who have formed small fighting groups of their own in response to the rebel violence.
The Seleka have been especially targeting Christians, often times attacking villages in the middle of the night and looting homes while murdering residents with machetes. As the Telegraph notes, members of the Seleka can be seen throughout Bangui riding around on stolen motorbikes, which usually take about four years of savings to purchase. more >>
It is hard to imagine putting Pope Francis and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the same race for the same honor. However, the two very different public figures are both finalists in TIME Magazine's 2013 "Person of the Year" award.
Begun in 1927 and originally labeled "Man of the Year," the annual honor goes to an individual – good or bad – whom TIME's editorial board believes most impacted the news for the previous year.
Pope Francis, consecrated the new head of the Roman Catholic Church back in March after his predecessor resigned, has garnered much attention for his approach to the position. Known for his humility and frequent shunning of high status before and during his reign as the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has become the talk of many circles for his seemingly unorthodox rhetoric and style. His comments on atheism, gay priests, social issues, and other matters coupled with viral images of him washing the feet of female Muslim prisoners and embracing severely deformed individuals have led many to feel Francis is taking the Roman Catholic Church in a new direction. more >>
Various conservative and evangelical leaders who commended Nelson Mandela's work to end racism in South Africa have stated that these compliments come in spite of his views on other issues.
In addition to his highly publicized efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa, Mandela expressed opinions on other views. These included opinions on abortion, Israel, and Communism that were at odds with what most conservative and evangelical Christians believe.