Pastor Saeed Abedini has just passed a thousand and one nights in Iranian captivity. This U.S. citizen now has the unenviable distinction of having suffered more than twice as long as the 52 hostages held by Iran for 444 days in 1979-81. What is his "crime?" He is accused of activities against the regime.
Our colleague, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has continued to speak out to advocate the release of Pastor Abedini. Tony has made the broader case for religious freedom as a centerpiece for U.S. foreign policy. This, because we see that nations where people murder their neighbors who worship differently are economically backward and are seedbeds for international terrorism. A prestigious academic journal confirms this. This was, tragically, the missing component in our policy toward Afghanistan and Iraq.
Advocates for Pastor Abedini's release appreciate President Obama's visit to the imprisoned Christian's family in Idaho. And Pastor Abedini and his family have publicly thanked Mr. Obama. more >>
At least 27 people have been killed in a mass shooting at a Tunisian beachside hotel in the popular resort of Sousse on Friday, just hours following news that a man was decapitated by suspected Islamic terrorists in France, and news of a separate bombing in Kuwait. British Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the "atrocities," warning that terror attacks across the world are on the rise.
"This is a threat that faces all of us. These events have taken place in Tunisia and in France but they can take place anywhere. We all face this threat," Cameron added, according to The Guardian.
Reuters reported that foreign tourists are among the 27 people killed at the Imperial Marhaba hotel, when at least one gunman opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. The shooter was apparently killed in an exchange of gunfire with police, who are searching the area for other suspects. more >>
The pastor of a North Carolina church that the Charlotte Fire Department says was intentionally set ablaze in an arson attack on Wednesday, said his congregation has forgiven whoever is responsible, even though police say it could be a hate crime.
Pastor Mannix Kinsey of Briar Creek Road Baptist Church, a primarily black church in East Charlotte, helplessly watched part of his church burn down early Wednesday as 75 local firefighters struggled for an hour to get it under control.
After last Wednesday night's Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston ended with nine people losing their lives in a violent act of racial hatred, over 100 worshipers gathered in the very same room just one week later to continue the church's Wednesday night tradition.
Interim pastor Norvel Goff Sr., who's standing in for slain Rev. Clementa Pinckney, said that while Wednesday night Bible studies would never be the same for members of the church, he believed that faith had brought the 100-strong crowd to the same basement room only a week later to continue worshipping the Lord.
"This territory belongs to God," Goff told the crowd at the Bible study, as quoted by CNN. "Bible study will continue. But because of what happened, we will never be the same." more >>
The nine Bible study attenders murdered in Charleston were targeted for their race but they can rightly be honored as Christian martyrs, slain in their church while examining God's Word and offering hospitality to the disturbed visitor who became their killer.
Martyrs are typically pictured by Americans as only fearless, exotic people overseas, or long ago, targeted by powerful rulers or invaders, like ISIS, Stalin, Mao, or in ancient Rome by depraved emperors. But the Charleston martyrs were ordinary people, meeting routinely in their church, in supposed relative safety, doubtless never anticipating they would die violently, much less together, on a quiet evening in their beautiful city.
Likely their witness and example, broadcast globally, amplified further by the amazing worship at their reopened church, will contribute to many, many over the years and decades heeding the Gospel and meeting the Charleston martyrs in Heaven. Perhaps some redeemed souls already have. more >>
Former and founding pastor of the Richmond Outreach Center megachurch in Richmond, Virginia, Geronimo "Pastor G" Aguilar, who a prosecutor said ran a "tax-free harem," was convicted Wednesday of sexually assaulting two sisters in Fort Worth and Grapevine, Texas, nearly 20 years ago when they were both younger than 14 years old.
A report from the Star-Telegram said a jury in Tarrant County spent less than four hours deliberating before convicting Aguilar, 45, on all seven counts of an indictment that included two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Aguilar was also convicted of three counts of sexual assault of a child younger than 17, and two counts of indecency with a child, according to WTVR. Each of these second-degree felonies, carry a maximum sentences of 20 years. more >>