If I were to ask you why Tom Cruise has a reputation for being a bit … eccentric, what would you say?
You'd probably say that it is because of his religion of choice: Scientology.
I would then say you are a racist. Yes, anyone who would say something like that is clearly bigoted against rich, white, Scientologist Hollywood action-hero types. Next think you'll be telling me that John Travolta is also a weirdo and … more >>
WASHINGTON – Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe insinuated that ISIS' systemic abductions of religious minorities in Iraq last summer were inspired by Boko Haram's kidnapping of over 276 Chibok schoolgirls last April.
Ogebe, who became the youngest law graduate in Nigeria and was exiled to the United States as a political detainee, explained at an event hosted by the Hudson Institute on Monday, that after Boko Haram abducted the schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in April 2014, the terrorist organization Al Qaeda issued a statement condemning the group's kidnappings. He further explained that although Al Qaeda decried Boko Haram's abduction of the girls, the Al Qaeda offshoot, ISIS, responded in the opposite manner.
"What was ISIS response?" Ogebe asked. "ISIS' response to the Chibok schoolgirls was to begin abducting Yazidis and Christians in Iraq. That seemed to be the point of where ISIS said, 'You know what, if these guys are getting this kind of condemnation from Al Qaeda, let's [relate] with them. They are good guys to get into bed with.'" more >>
Speaking to a congregation about the ugly conflicts that plague our world is a challenging task for any pastor. But he is called to search the Scriptures and guide the flock entrusted to him by God in all matters of life.
One such challenging topic was addressed in a recent article by Criswell College adjunct professor of theology Brandon D. Smith: the Islamic State. Smith demonstrated well the classic struggle that every pastor experiences on Sunday morning when preaching about the justice and mercy of God. How does one find a balance? How does a Christian know when to be just and when to be merciful? In the case of ISIS, how should a pastor instruct his flock?
Unfortunately, Smith's advice to pastors about this question turned out to be just as inconclusive and unhelpful as a non-answer would have been. His final analysis: "Non-violence might be the right action, but it might not. War might be the right action, but it might not. Preach that." more >>
Lately, conservative pundits like Glenn Beck and Hugh Hewitt have been questioning why America seems so apathetic about ISIS. Beck says Americans don't realize how serious Islamic terrorism has become; we are on the verge of World War III. ISIS has expanded under Obama, even though, as I pointed out in my last column, he is one of the most warmongering presidents ever.
We see the horrifying images of prisoners in orange jumpsuits about to be beheaded everywhere now in the news, but not much seems to happen in response. These images have worsened into chilling photos of Christians burned alive, yet nothing changes. Ancient relics are being destroyed by these barbarians, erasing centuries-old treasured records of Biblical days. Thousands are slaughtered every month by the 30,000 to 50,000 jihadists now fighting with ISIS, and young boys are recruited into the army and girls kidnapped and sold into sex slavery.
Meanwhile, Americans continue to go about their daily lives as if there is no war going on, centered on their smartphones and Starbucks coffee, mostly oblivious to the increase in the most depraved mass murders taking place during most of our lifetimes. more >>
Martyrdom was not new to them or their people. For nearly two thousand years, their Church had prided itself as being the Church of the Martyrs. If martyrdom was a central feature of the early church, it had become the hallmark of its identity in Egypt. Even as early as the third century a quote attributed to Tertullian declared: "If the martyrs of the whole world were put on one arm of the balance and the martyrs of Egypt on the other, the balance would tilt in favor of the Egyptians". From the blood of Saint Mark the Evangelist shed in Alexandria in 68 AD the river continued to flow, each century adding its martyrs. The names of the persecutors had changed; Romans and Byzantines and Arabs, Emperors and Caliphs and Kings. Each had contributed his share, each had attempted to end their faith, and each in turn had failed.
The horrific murder of twenty Copts and a Ghanaian Christian at the hands of ISIS in Libya in February 2015 was followed by swift condemnations from around the world. Most world leaders described the victims the way they identified themselves, as Coptic Christians. Pope Francis recognized that they had been "killed simply for the fact that they were Christians", and that "their blood confesses Christ". Their murderers certainly concurred. ISIS had searched the workers' compound looking for Copts. "People of the cross" they named them in the video. Their beheading was in revenge for Kamilia Shehata; a wife of a Coptic priest, who had briefly disappeared in July 2010 before returning to her family. Soon her cause became a rallying cry for Egyptian Salafis convinced that she had been prevented from converting to Islam and held against her will by the church. Demonstrations by Salafis soon gave way to action by jihadis. Iraqi Christians were the first victims, with the horrific attack later that year on the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad leaving 58 dead. Even then, the predecessors of ISIS had championed Kamilia's cause. The Two Saints Church bombing in Alexandria that left twenty-three Copts dead on New Year's Eve was probably related.
The White House dissented against the Coptic identity of those killed by ISIS, with a statement describing the victims as " Egyptian citizens". Even in their deaths, their identity was to be buried. For unbeknownst to the White House, they were merely echoing a deep Egyptian tradition that sought to bury any trace of the Coptic identity, despite paradoxically never ceasing from viewing Copts as such. more >>
President Barack Obama indirectly blamed the foreign policy of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, for the rise of the barbaric and brutal Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq.
In an interview with Vice News founder Shane Smith released on Tuesday, Obama was asked how the ISIS terrorist group, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, which has seized large chunks of Syria and Iraq, was able to become "so popular so fast."
Obama responded saying that the group's rise was aided by the U.S. invasion of Iraq that began in 2003 during Bush's presidency. more >>