The courage and sacrifice of today's Christian martyrs should not go unnoticed and unappreciated. One such heroic figure, the 94-year-old Roman Catholic bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang, has recently died in Chinese custody, according to an official government statement, reported on February 2 by an independent Catholic news service focusing on Asia. His generation felt the brunt of Chinese Communist cruelty, but his death as a religious prisoner reminds us that religious repression in China is far from over.
Altogether, since 1954, Bishop Shi was held captive for over 40 years by the Communist government for his religion, making him one of the longest serving political prisoners of our age. (I intend in no way to minimize the suffering of Nelson Mandela and Alexander Solzhenitsyn by pointing out that Mandela was imprisoned by South Africa's apartheid government for 27 years, and that Solzhenitsyn was forced to spend eleven years in the Soviet gulag.)
He was incarcerated for refusing to submit to government religious oversight — oversight that precludes, for example, preaching against abortion and female infanticide. His final detention, at a secret location, lasted 14 years and nothing is known about it. His first prison term spanned 23 years, from 1957 to 1980, and was mostly spent doing hard labor, first at a labor camp in Heilongjiang province, then in coal mines in Shanxi province. He was rearrested in 1989 and released in 1993. Though his health was ruined, he continued to serve as bishop in the years in between. more >>
Like so many others, I find it impossible to believe Brian Williams simply "made a mistake." At the risk of indulging in armchair pop psychology, I'd say it's far more likely that a titanic ego collided with reality, and reality lost.
In my own experience, there are few things more humbling than getting downrange and realizing that — no matter your accomplishments back home — you're not really a big deal. It's especially humbling when your accomplishments are all in the civilian world, with the "bragging rights" consisting of degrees from fancy schools, cool media appearances, and writing opportunities — all things that mean exactly jack and squat when you come face-to-face with young guys who know what it's like to look death in the eye and do their job with courage and honor. Even an NBC News anchor can feel small next to a guy who just kicked down a door and went in with no knowledge of what was waiting for him on the other side, or just rolled back into the gate after a six-hour firefight. That's not to say that it's not a real accomplishment to become a news anchor. It is. But it's not one that requires the depth of courage and fortitude a person sees at war. And the contrast can be humbling — or humiliating, if one is given over to arrogance and envy.
I served with heroes. I've told many stories from my deployment, of guys who did things I'll never do. It was an honor to serve with them, and to do what little I could to facilitate and empower their work. But I'm not them. My story will never be their story. And that's okay. more >>
A pro-Israel group says "shame" should be on any member of Congress who decides to skip next month's address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Last month, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress regarding the possible removal of economic sanctions against Iran.
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes the case for renewed Iran sanctions with greater expertise and insight than any other leader on the world stage today," David Brog, executive director of Christians United For Israel, told The Christian Post. more >>
President Barack Obama said he rejects the notion that the war on terrorism is any kind of "religious war" against radical Islam, and that the U.S. should align itself with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are also looking for peace and prosperity.
"There is an element growing out of Muslim communities, in certain parts of the world, that have perverted the religion, have embraced an annihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam," Obama said Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."
The president acknowledged that they are doing damage in a lot of countries around the world. more >>
The United States may need to send its ground troops back into Iraq to push the Islamic State terror group out of that country, outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. He also admitted that some White House officials were not happy with his cautious approach in releasing Guantanamo detainees.
"I think it [driving out Islamic State terrorists] may require a forward deployment of some of our troops, not doing the fighting, not doing the combat work that we did at one time for six years in Iraq and we did for many, many years in Afghanistan, but to help air strike," Hagel said in an interview with CNN aired Friday.
"I would say that we're not there yet," said Hagel, who announced his resignation allegedly under pressure in November. "Whether we get there or not, I don't know. Whether that's something that our military commanders would recommend into the future, I don't know." more >>
Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State terrorist group have a nearly identical justice system in their interpretation of Shariah law and the use of capital punishment, according to a Middle Eastern news site.
Known as Middle East Eye, the news site posted a chart on Twitter Tuesday noting the similarities between the legal code of the Saudi Kingdom and ISIS.