The parents of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, an aide worker beheaded by ISIS, issued a statement on Monday calling for forgiveness and prayers for their family.
"Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end," Paula Kassig, mother of Peter Abdul-Rahman Kassig, told the public in a press conference at her church in Indianapolis. "And good will prevail as the one God of many names will prevail."
The younger Kassig, 26, was captured by the terrorist organization in 2013 while on his way to Syria. During his captivity, he converted to Islam and took on the name Abdul-Rahman. He reportedly helped those in the area before being taken hostage. After leaving the army in 2007 due to medical reasons, he realized he wanted to do more. more >>
In the book, Sacred Thirst, the author writes, "The bride and groom are standing in front of everyone, looking better than they are ever going to look again, getting so much attention and affirmation. Everybody even stands when they walk in so it's easy to think this marriage, at least, is about them. It's not. Just look at the worn-out parents sitting in the first pew—they understand this. The only reason these parents are still married is because long ago they learned how to handle the hurt they caused each other. They know that the last thing you ever want to do with hurt is to let it define you."
This last statement offers one of the most profound points that I've read on brokenness. Those who do not allow hurt to entrap them can turn brokenness into an unbreakable force, but those shackled by past pain are truly imprisoned by it. The walls we build to protect may eventually imprison.
How can we undo the emotional pain that we experience from failed relationships? First, we must understand that our mind is where battles are won or lost. Those who do not forgive or release bitterness, anger, and hurt, never experience freedom, happiness, or 'true' restoration. It all starts here. more >>
Now that the mid-term elections are over, the political class is pivoting its attention to 2016. Most Americans aren't yet focused on electing our next president, but make no mistake: the potential candidates are already heavily engaged in running for that job.
One sign of the early activity is that the "Evangelical Primary" is already in full swing. According to network exit polls in 2012, self-identified evangelical Christians comprised 51 percent of all the votes cast in Republican presidential preference primaries and caucuses. So no one seeking the GOP nomination in 2016 can afford to ignore this vital and dynamic constituency. There is simply no viable road to the presidency for a Republican candidate who fails to win strong support from voters of faith.
The 2014-midterm elections confirmed the persistent and enduring potency of the evangelical constituency in American politics. According to a post-election survey by Public Opinion Strategies, Christian conservatives and Evangelicals comprised 32 percent of the electorate, voting 86 percent Republican and 12 percent for Democratic candidates. They were the largest and most vibrant single voting bloc in the midterm electorate, larger than the African-American vote, Hispanic vote, union vote, and "gay" vote combined. more >>
The head of the Roman Catholic Church declared during a conference on Monday that marriage is by definition a union of man and woman, defying past claims by some that the Church was considering a change in its views on same-sex unions and sexuality.
Pope Francis remarks came during an address before a Church group known as a Colloquium in which he spoke about the need for strong families and to recognize "man and woman" as the "root of marriage and family."
"It is fitting that you have gathered here in this international colloquium to explore the complementarity of man and woman," stated the pontiff. "This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others' gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of living together." more >>
A lawsuit accusing a South Carolina public elementary school of proselytizing Christianity by hosting its fifth grade graduation ceremonies in a Christian chapel and encouraging student speakers to include prayer in graduation speeches, will be reheard in U.S. District Court after an appeals court remanded an earlier district court ruling that sided with the school district.
The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction against the Greenville County School District in 2013 after Mountain View Elementary School allegedly violated students' first amendment rights at the school's graduation ceremony, which was held at at a local Baptist university's chapel auditorium.
The association's lawsuit additionally claimed that school officials also encouraged students that were picked to give a speech during the ceremony to write out prayers that were to be recited during their individual graduation speeches. more >>
Pope Francis plans to make his first visit to the United States next September, and his itinerary will include traveling to Philadelphia for the upcoming World Meeting of Families congress. The discussion topics for the meeting are set to focus on contentious issues such as premarital sex, homosexuality, infertility and celibacy, according to the congress' meeting notes.
"I would like to confirm that, God willing, in September 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families," the pope said during his opening speech at the interreligious conference on traditional marriage at the Vatican.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told Catholic News Service that he was surprised at the early announcement. "You know usually they don't make these announcements. Four months out is the typical and here we are 10 months away, and the Holy Father said he is coming to Philadelphia," Chaput said. more >>