The last time he saw his dad, Jacob Abedini was four years old. Today, he turns seven.
An American citizen and father of two children, Saeed Abedini has been held prisoner in Iran since 2012. He was visiting Iran to assist in the launch of a government-approved orphanage.
Inexplicably, and without due process, Abedini received an eight-year prison sentence that (if carried out) is considered a "virtual death sentence" by his legal advocates at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). more >>
It seems that every day is met with a new atrocity stemming from the Islamic State. We've lost track of the executions, the crimes against women and children are incalculable and unconscionable, and it seems that every drop of innocent blood feeds a thirst for more.
Their particular taste for Christian blood is most alarming to many of us who've watched from afar at their unrelenting advance on ancient Christian communities that have –until now- thrived in Iraq and Syria for nearly two thousand years.
ISIS has displaced tens-of-thousands and burned their churches, targeted their pastors, sold their children as slaves, and murdered countless among them. One particular account I've documented in my book Defying ISIS describes how the terror group arrived in one Christian town along the Nineveh Plain waving daggers and swords as they screamed, "shall we start beheading women and children or start with the old and the disabled? … we will behead all of you unless you convert." more >>
Actor Michael Douglas penned an op-ed on Sunday, speaking out about an experience dealing with anti-Semitism his son faced and how religious bias may be obliterated by speaking and building bridges across religions.
"Speaking up is the responsibility of our political leaders," Douglas wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "Speaking up is the responsibility of our religious leaders, and Pope Francis has used his powerful voice to make his position and that of the Catholic Church clear, saying: 'It's a contradiction that a Christian is anti-Semitic. His roots are Jewish. Let anti-Semitism be banished from the heart of life and of every man and every woman.'"
Douglas also cited Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan for helping build relations between Jewish and Catholic communities. He noted that the challenge is to "stand up to hatred of the Jewish people." But different religious factions have to come together in order to do so. Christians and Jews are not enemies but are born from the same Abrahamic traditions, as his own father, Kirk Douglas, once stated. more >>
Thousands of Christians clashed with police and rioted on the streets in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday, following suicide bombing attacks that killed 17 people in two churches on Sunday. Reports have said that two men suspected to have aided the attackers were beaten to death and burned in the riots.
The Associated Press reported that Christians, who make up only 2 percent of Pakistan's population, clashed with police forces, blocked the highway and ransacked bus terminals, demanding the government start taking serious action to protect the persecuted minority.
Today marks nine years since I did something that profoundly changed my life. On March 16, 2006, as college students at Georgia Tech, Orit Sklar and I filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against our school for free speech and religious liberty. It was a significant decision, but after much prayer, consideration, and counsel, our love of liberty and our love for Georgia Tech compelled us to take this stand so that every student's First Amendment rights would be respected.
Specifically, the goals of our suit – filed by Alliance Defending Freedom – were: 1) to hold GT accountable for selective enforcement of its speech codes, which resulted in mainstream conservative speech often being considered "hate speech" and "intolerant," while politically-charged, far-out-of-the-mainstream Leftist speech was considered part of the "intellectual diversity" purportedly valued by the Institute; 2) to challenge GT's unlawful discrimination against religious and political groups by refusing to fund them with the Student Activity Fee; and 3) to confront GT's endorsement of certain religious views and ridicule of others through the Institute-run "Safe Space" program. In other words, we wanted free speech for all students, we wanted equal rights for all organizations, and we wanted the Institute to abide by the U.S. Constitution by ceasing to promote certain religions over others.
Orit and I – along with other like-minded students – had endured literally years of censorship and condemnation of our actions and beliefs from Institute officials whenever our views were not in line with the extreme agenda they were desperately trying to promote in the name of tolerance. This was especially apparent when it came to matters of morality and sexuality; for example, on one occasion Institute officials forced us to take down a display confronting radical feminism, and another time administrators pressured us to participate in Coming Out Week, to name just two incidents from our litany of run-ins with campus authorities. more >>
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins argued that limiting religious freedom to "freedom of worship" in the United States has hurt efforts to advocate for religious freedom abroad.
"I think the lack of priority on religious freedom that we have placed here domestically on our policies does send a message internationally. I think there is a correlation between the growing intolerance of religious freedom, not freedom of worship, but the growing intolerance toward religious freedom, like in the marketplace, is giving rise to persecution abroad," Perkins asserted before the U.S. Senate's State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing on protecting international religious freedom Wednesday. "We no longer make it a priority here domestically, that sends a message to bad actors abroad that 'America no longer puts a high priority on religious freedoms so we don't have to worry about them moving against us based on that.'
Perkins noted how the Obamacare HHS mandate on birth control health care coverage has forced private businesses, like Hobby Lobby, to go to court to fight for their religious freedom. more >>