In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called a nation divided by war to join together in a time of corporate thanksgiving and repentance when he proclaimed that Americans "set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."
Lincoln went on to recommend they offer up "the ascriptions justly due" to God "for such singular deliverances and blessings…with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience…and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."
And a national Thanksgiving Day was birthed, wherein those having much, little, or in-between, gather around the table with loved ones, friends, and maybe even Fido (hopefully underneath), to carry on this great American tradition. more >>
An 85-year-old Veteran on vacation in Asia has been detained by North Korea government officials since late October, according to his son who resides in California. The veteran's family and friends are calling his detention a terrible misunderstanding.
Merrill Newman, a tourist from Palo Alto, California, was just ending his nine-day visit to North Korea on October 26 when a uniformed North Korean soldier reportedly boarded Newman's departing flight and asked him to step off the plane. Newman's travel companion, Bob Hamrdla, said that's the last time the 85-year-old veteran of the Korean War was seen.
Newman's son, Jeffrey Newman, told the San Jose Mercury News that the day before his father was detained, the war veteran reportedly had a sit-down talk with North Korean officials regarding his service in the Korean War. Newman was reportedly unnerved by the conversation, but went along with his travel plans until the next day when he was escorted off the plane. The war took place from 1950 to 1953 between North and South Korea and ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, so technically the two countries are still at war. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has launched a global petition to urge the United Nations and the world's leaders to step in the Syrian civil war and help the suffering people, many of whom are in Christian communities that have been caught in the crossfire.
"For nearly three years, the people of war-torn Syria have experienced terrible suffering and enormous challenges," Open Doors said in a statement on Thursday. The group is seeking 500,000 signatures.
"In particular, the Christian community, around 8 percent of the population, is paying a high price for living in a country where the civil war has caused over 100,000 deaths and left 4.2 million homeless inside the country." more >>
The family of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran has finally been allowed to visit him in Rajai Shahr Prison, where he was abruptly transferred to earlier this month. But the U.S. citizen is still being denied the medication that he needs.
"Pastor Saeed's situation remains dire. However, we are encouraged that his Iranian family was allowed visitation – and that his Iranian family was able to see him face-to-face and communicate with him. Pastor Saeed, however, has yet to receive the medication he has been prescribed for internal injuries suffered at the hands of his captors," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reported in an update on the pastor's condition on Monday.
The update served as the first physical confirmation of Pastor Saeed's condition and life since he was taken out of Evin Prison earlier this month and transferred to Rajai Shahr. The law group, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., noted that the pastor is being kept inside the violent criminal ward and is sharing a cell with other prisoners. more >>
An evangelistic event, "Count it Right," began last night in Egypt where thousands of Christians are expected to attend over the course of three-days despite the very real possibility of facing persecution.
The event is being held 70 miles north of Cairo, and although 26,000 people are anticipated to appear, event organizers fear that Islamic extremists may have also purchased tickets for the conference to carry out acts of violence.
"Because the organizers do not know how many Muslims may have purchased tickets for the rally, please pray for them that their lives may be changed to know Jesus as their Savior by the love they will feel from the staff and by the life changing-messages," wrote Open Doors, a California-based ministry that aids Christians in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, on its website. more >>
The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution, written by John L. Allen, Jr., the senior Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, makes it its mission to "shatter the silence" on the topic and expose the intense suffering and injustice believers around the world are subjected to.
Allen's research examines the world's most troublesome regions, including the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, and shatters a number of myths about Christian persecution, such as it only exists in places where Christians are the minority.
Below is a transcript of Allen's interview with The Christian Post, the author and journalist takes a look at the biggest threats for Christians around the world today, and the measures that can be taken to tackle this widespread persecution. more >>