The horror in Libya could have come from a Hieronymus Bosch painting of hell: 21 knife-wielding figures hacking the heads off 21 young men in orange jumpsuits along the shoreline, blood staining the surf red. But this was no imagined scene — it was the mass execution of Egyptian Copts who had been kidnapped by Islamic State terrorists.
The killers may have aimed to exploit sectarian hostilities — as they have in Iraq and Syria — and splinter Egyptian society. Paradoxically, however, this blatantly anti-Christian attack may finally lead to the easing of Christian-Muslim tensions in Egypt.
This week, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Sisi responded to the beheadings with acts that unequivocally recognized the Copts as "innocent victims" and true sons of Egypt. He declared a week of national mourning, dispatched envoys to appeal to the United Nations and ordered air force bombers to "deliver swift justice in retribution." more >>
Friday night I received an email from the founder of a self-described Christian event planning organization, who wrote, "Over the last 48 hours we have focused our creativity and resources on supporting an appropriate response to the 21 Egyptian Christian martyrs." He goes on to explain that his team created a website, asked thousands of churches to have a "Moment of Silence" on Sunday, February 22, and is encouraging people to pray every morning during Lent at 7:03 a.m. for "solidarity."
This email highlights two enormous problems associated with self-described American Christians. First, either they are entirely ignorant or blatantly hypocritical or both, when it comes to which "crisis" to pray about, why, and when.
Why ask now for prayer—because 21 Christians were killed on a video? more >>
The father of Christian aid worker Kayla Mueller has accused the Obama administration of putting its policy of refusing to pay ransoms ahead of saving American lives. Carl Mueller revealed that ISIS had asked for a ransom for his daughter, but the money was never paid.
"We understand the policy about not paying ransom," Muller told NBC's "Today" show. "But on the other hand, any parents out there would understand that you would want anything and everything done to bring your child home. And we tried. And we asked. But they put policy in front of American citizens' lives."
U.S. officials confirmed the death of 26-year-old Kayla Mueller last week at the hands of ISIS. The terror group had claimed that the aid worker, who was captured in Syria in 2013, died during a Jordanian airstrike, though the U.S. hasn't established the cause of her death. more >>
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has said that he's ashamed of America, President Barack Obama, and himself, for failing to seriously help the people of Ukraine who are caught in a war against pro-Russian separatists.
"I'm ashamed of my country, I'm ashamed of my president and I'm ashamed of myself that I haven't done more to help these people," McCain said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The latest attempt at a peace agreement in eastern Ukraine has fallen apart after heavy fighting continued last week, and the eastern town of Debaltseve was captured by pro-Russian rebels. A ceasefire agreement had earlier this month been reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko and major European leaders, but the conflict, which has led to the deaths of over 5,600 people, continues. more >>
"More than 90 percent of Americans who express a religious preference identify themselves as Christians." So said a December 2014 Gallup survey after interviewing 173,490 U.S. citizens.
Furthermore, "Eight in 10 Americans attend religious services at least occasionally, while more than half attend monthly or more frequently." The pollsters concluded that, contrary to the view of America as no longer predominantly Christian but a conglomerate of many opinions, "the U.S. remains a largely Christian nation."
If these figures are accurate, why are the Christian faith and followers of Christ under such relentless attack? In an interview that aired recently on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, well-known evangelist Franklin Graham articulated what more and more believers across America are thinking: more >>
If you haven't paid close attention to the school choice movement over the past 10 years, you might not realize how much it has changed. Due to lawsuits and other limitations, innovators have figured out that tuition scholarships, also known as education savings accounts, are more effective than vouchers for giving families a choice of schools. The difference is parents are given much broader control over how to use the money. Instead of just transferring the public school money that would have been spent on a child to a few select schools, parents can choose to spend it in many ways, including for school books, tutoring, or P.E. at a traditional school.
Arizona is the leading state in the country for school choice. But a court in Arizona ruled that directing vouchers to religious (parochial) schools is unconstitutional. Undaunted, proponents of school choice found a way around it by setting up ESAs, where parents direct the money instead of the state. Now other states around the country are scrambling to pass similar legislation.
Last weekend, I attended a school choice conference in Phoenix put on by the Franklin Center. It is one small group taking on powerful teachers unions through the spread of knowledge. The establishment uses fear mongering and false information to retain the status quo. The threat that schools will run out of funding? That's not accurate, The Goldwater Institute's Education Director Jonathan Butcher explained at the conference. The establishment waits for an event that sort of looks like funding might have been cut, then sends out an alarming message. In reality, money for education in Arizona has never been cut and now takes up an incredible 45 percent of the state's budget. Butcher contrasts it with the cost of Sears catalog products years ago versus today – unlike typical commodities, the cost of education has gone in the opposite direction and we now pay more for less. more >>