Brunei's teachers and principals are reportedly threatened with prison time and punishment if they teach or speak to Muslim children about religions others than Islam, due to the country's upcoming implementation of Sharia law, which will also apply to Muslim children who attend Christian schools.
Fides News Agency noted on Thursday that starting April, it will be a crime to "persuade, influence, incite, encourage a child with non-Islamic teaching," as well as to "expose the child to any ceremony or act of worship which is not Islamic or allow the child to participate in activities for the benefit of other religions," with offending teachers facing five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
The local Catholic Church said the restrictions will also be applied to Christians schools attended by Muslim students. more >>
Leonard Ravenhill once wrote, "Five minutes inside eternity and we will wish that we had sacrificed more, wept more, grieved more, loved and prayed more, and given more."
Yes, the moment we step into eternity and see the unveiled glory of God, the fullness of the beauty of Jesus, the immensity of the grace that was poured out on us, the massive debt that was paid on our behalf, the endless splendor of the world to come, and the horrors of judgment that we have escaped – yes, at that very moment, just "five minutes inside eternity," we will wish that we had been more devoted to the Lord.
Who among us will not wish that we had told more people about the Savior? more >>
[Teaser: Why the Koran and the Sword are inextricably linked…]
While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Koran is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts that occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Koran, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari'a worldview-the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad's career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Koran's verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa'l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).
But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view is that in the early years of Islam, since Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by their infidel competitors while living next to them in Mecca, a message of peace and coexistence was in order. However, after the Muslims migrated to Medina in 622 and grew in military strength, verses inciting them to go on the offensive were slowly "revealed"-in principle, sent down from God-always commensurate with Islam's growing capabilities. In juridical texts, these are categorized in stages: passivity vis-á-vis aggression; permission to fight back against aggressors; commands to fight aggressors; commands to fight all non-Muslims, whether the latter begin aggressions or not. Growing Muslim might is the only variable that explains this progressive change in policy. more >>
A former Tenn. judge who previously ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin has been found guilty of five counts of bias.
On Monday, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel censured former judge Lu Anne Ballew, saying she disobeyed her obligations of impartiality when she ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin in 2013. The state's board of judicial conduct said censuring Ballew was the harshest form of punishment they could administer, as the judge already lost her job over the incident that took place in May last year.
According to WBIR-TV, a "public censure" means that Balew's violation of conduct will be put on record, and she may be required to "follow a specified course of corrective action." The news outlet adds that a censure is considered to be a stronger punishment than a public reprimand. more >>
As I lead a church and Christian daycare with multiple employees, I am looking carefully at the health benefits we should provide, including the impact of Obamacare. Most people are now willing to admit that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not a perfect law. Maybe any law with well over 11 million words is bound to have some problems. But while most of the attention has understandably gone to the millions of Americans who are losing their health coverage or their doctors, the problem of the ACA's assault on religious liberty still looms large.
From the very beginning, Catholic leaders raised concerns about the regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), charged with implementing the healthcare law. These require employers to pay for contraceptive services, including drugs that can potentially induce abortion. There is currently debate over whether both the birth control pill and the so-called "morning-after pill" should be classified as abortifacients. Some claim they merely prevent ovulation and/or fertilization, while others note that they also make the endometrial lining of the uterus hostile to a fertilized ovum.
Regardless, all contraceptive drugs are a violation of Catholic conscience. Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, written in 1968, clarified the Catholic view that children are a blessing and should be welcomed by married couples. Catholic leaders are not asking the federal government to ban contraception; they are simply asking to be exempt from paying for it or being complicit in its distribution. more >>
Out of fear of losing their lives or religion, a tiny group of Christians who still remain in the northern Syrian city of Rakka have agreed to pay off Islamists with a "Tribute Tax" so they won't be killed.
Earlier this year, Rakka's Christian leaders and representatives from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an Islamist branch of Al-Qaeda, signed a dhimma or protection agreement, under which members of the church must now pay for their own physical protection, reported Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.
Under the dhimma, wealthy Christians must pay the ISIS $500 twice a year per person or four gold dinars. Middle class and poor Christians will pay half and a quarter of the fine respectively, "on condition they do not conceal their true financial situation." more >>