Churches in Jordan have offered their prayers and condolences to the Muslim family of the fighter pilot burned alive by ISIS earlier this week, and have urged for peace, religious harmony and unity. King Abdullah II has promised, however, that there will be a "relentless" war against ISIS in retaliation for the murder.
Father Rifat Bader of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Amman said on Wednesday that "as the churches denounce this heinous crime against humanity, they ask all citizens to reinforce their national unity under the Hashemite leadership, led by King Abdullah II."
Bader added, according to Catholic News Service, that Christians are holding prayer vigils for religious harmony "so that religions will constitute a factor conducive for peace, harmony and unity among people, rather than a factor leading to division, killing, oppression and dispute." more >>
Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill revealed that over 60 churches were recently damaged by heavy fighting in the Donetsk and Horlivka dioceses in Ukraine. The patriarch called for an end to the bloodshed between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels, which he said has led to suffering and persecution of Christians.
"The whole civilian population of Donbas is suffering from the humanitarian disaster and armed conflict there together with the devout members of our church, whose parishes and cloisters make up a majority of religious communities in the region," Kirill told senior clergy, as translated by Interfax-Religion.
Western leaders have blamed Russia for directly supporting the rebels who've taken over a number of cities in eastern Ukraine, which has lead to the deaths of over 5,000 people. Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, has denied all accusations of involvement in the conflict. more >>
Truth matters. That's why during the lunch hour at a northern Israeli kibbutz, I skipped a group event to set the record straight about the first few days of my headline-making trip in Israel. It seems that those vilifying it are misinformed.
I've been traveling with people who represent many faiths, ethnicities, ages, and even have friends and relatives whose lifestyles and/or political beliefs are quite different than theirs. And we are witnessing first-hand the reality of Israeli daily life that most Americans cannot comprehend.
Imagine the state of New Jersey, approximately the same size in square miles as Israel, under constant threat of attack by all of North America. Next imagine not only being blamed for being attacked but also having no one come to its aid. That is Israel's situation. more >>
Notable preacher and retired pastor John Piper has recently stated that racism is a "human issue" and cannot be merely divided into a "North-South kind of thing."
The chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary recently preached to the congregation of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
In a sermon titled "The Plundering of Your Property and the Power of Hope", Piper spoke about the suffering Christians endure for their beliefs and practices. more >>
As the anniversary of 9/11 has once more been observed with solemnity and promises of eternal remembrance, the question of how the West should understand the religion of the terrorists who then and now swear destruction for America remains a disquieting issue.
What has become the stock response – that Islam is a religion of peace – contains, however, a serious flaw. Even Islamic scholars, like Sahar Aziz of Texas A&M, argue that "these terrorists are not related to religion" and that terrorism is instead "a complex political problem." This is echoed in official foreign policy statements, such as the keystone speech on September 10, when President Obama stated that ISIL is not "Islamic" and that "no religion condones the killing of innocents." Other authors take a slightly more balanced view, calling terrorism a "complex problem" in which religion is a "symptom" rather than a cause.
These various explanations center on a premise that religion is not and even cannot be the motivation behind terrorist attacks. However, these arguments appear far less credible when examined in the light of Islamic history, Quranic scripture, and, perhaps most clearly of all, the statements of the terrorists themselves regarding their own actions. The evidence points not only to a logical association between Islamic religious teaching and terrorist violence, but also to a unique relationship between Islam and violent conquest which is not associated with any other religion (as key differences are present, though usually ignored, between past Islamic wars and the Crusades or the European Wars of Religion). While acknowledging the complexity of the problem of terrorism, it is thus essential to question realistically the premise of peace that is currently guiding our foreign policy and which, if not corrected with a more balanced view, may have long-lasting consequences for the West. History provides us with a "two-eyed" perspective. more >>
U.S. officials are considering sending lethal aid such as defensive weapons to the government of Ukraine in its ongoing battle against pro-Russian rebels, as the clashes have been intensifying in recent weeks. The rebels, who are attacking a number of cities in the eastern parts of the country, are looking to build an army of 100,000 fighters.
"Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
Several media outlets, including The New York Times, noted an independent report on Monday that was issued by eight former senior American officials which urges President Barack Obama to send $3 billion in defensive arms and equipment to Ukraine. This aid would include weapons such as anti-armor missiles and armored Humvees. more >>