Two Christian pastors and a deacon have each been given six-year sentences by an Iranian court. A persecution watchdog group has expressed concern over the development, noting that the prisons are isolated and will force the men's families to travel great distances to see them.
"We are deeply concerned by the six-year sentences given to pastors [Benham] Irani and [Matthias] Haghnejad and deacon Silas Rabbani, and the fact that they will serve these sentences so far from their families and home towns," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper.
"We are particularly appalled by the extra six years given to pastor Irani, who has already endured ill-treatment whilst in prison and now faces nearly a decade in prison on trumped-up charges. We urge the Iranian government to release without delay every person who is imprisoned for their faith. Their incarceration contravenes international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief, to which Iran is party." more >>
The recently launched #HoustonWeHaveAProblem Twitter campaign and petition that supports the Houston pastors who were subpoenaed to turn over their sermons dealing with topics on homosexuality, gender identity and the city's first lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, has reached 10,000 signatures.
The initiative launched by Faith Driven Consumer was initially blocked by the social media platform, but once the block was removed, the campaign was able to flourish tremendously.
"Thousands of concerned citizens are signing up in support of this important cause — harnessing the power of social media and keeping the pressure on Houston's governmental leaders. Faith Driven Consumers and people of conscience across the nation — including leaders at the local, state and national levels — are joining the call for the mayor and city officials to unequivocally reverse course and end their harassment of five respected area pastors and ultimately Christians throughout Houston," said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer. "We will continue to rally greater levels of grassroots support until tolerance and equality for people of faith are restored in the nation's fourth largest city." more >>
It started when Fox News broke the explosive story: "The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, or gender identity. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court."
The Houston Chronicle reported it began with Houston's new non-discrimination ordinance driven by Annise Parker, Houston's first openly lesbian mayor and approved by the city council in June.
A group of Houston pastors opposing the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot. But in a controversial turn the city unexpectedly tossed out the petition in August over alleged "irregularities." The opponents of the non-discrimination bill (which originally included among other things that men could use women's restrooms and visa-versa – but that point was pulled early over the criticism) filed a lawsuit, and the city attorney responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors. more >>
NEW YORK — Rich Wilkerson, Jr., the Miami pastor who earned instant celebrity status earlier this year when it was revealed that he had officiated Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's wedding, recently commented on some of the challenges he faces as a Millennial in Christian ministry and his concerns for today's youth.
Wilkerson, Jr. serves as an associate pastor at his father's Trinity Church in Miami and leads, along with his wife, DawnCheré, the young adult ministry called The Rendezvous (or The Vous). The Wilkersons reportedly serve upwards of 1,500 students and young adults through The Vous. According to Wilkerson, "young adult" might include anyone from age 18-35.
In addition to preparing to launch The Vous as a church of its own, Oxygen revealed in September an upcoming reality show revolving around the life and ministry of the Miami, Florida, pastors titled "The Wilkersons." more >>
Tranny tyranny. Strike that. "LGBT" tyranny. Lesbian, gay, bisexual tyranny. That, generally speaking, is what's on display in Houston right now. But trust me: Unlike Vegas, what happens in Houston will, most definitely, not stay in Houston – not if Democrats continue to have their way.
Houstonians elected themselves, as mayor, an extremist lesbian Democrat (but I repeat myself). She quickly, and quite naturally, took to doing what extremist lesbian Democrats do. Annise Parker is her name, and spreading political Ebola is her game. That and trampling the U.S. Constitution. As you've likely heard, Parker's office has illegally subpoenaed the sermons and privileged communications of a number of Christian pastors who vocally opposed the city's ironically branded "Equal Rights Ordinance" (aka, the Houston Bathroom Bill).
More on that later. First, let's scoot north-leftward for context. more >>
Two ordained Christian pastors in Idaho have filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for temporarily restraining Coeur d'Alene city officials from forcing them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or face prosecution for violating "non-discrimination" laws.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the lawsuit and the motion on behalf of Donald Knapp and his wife, Evelyn, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel and have been required by city officials to perform gay ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines.
The city says its non-discrimination ordinance requires them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies because the courts have overridden Idaho's voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. more >>