VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Christianity in Peril in Turkish Cyprus

Global Persecution

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Violence  against Christians has become all too frequent in recent years, with attacks on them in a wide variety of countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Repression and intolerance have been displayed against the Christian community in Nigeria; against the Coptic Christians in Alexandria, Egypt ; by bombing in a chapel in Sulu, Philippines; by bomb arracks against Assyrian Christians in Iraq; by discrimination against them in the Islamic Republic of Iraq; by prosecution under the blasphemy laws in Pakistan and elsewhere.

It  was the interruption and disruption by force of the celebration of Christian Mass in the villages of Rizokarpaso and Ayia Triada in northern Cyprus that led  the European Parliament in a resolution on January 19, 2011 to comment on the situation of Christians in the context of freedom of religion. Since the  “Arab Spring,” thousands of Christians have fled the countries of the Middle East except Israel.  Christian communities have existed for two thousand years in the Middle East, though they are now declining as a result of low birth rates and emigration caused by discrimination and persecution in most of the  Arab and Muslim countries in the area. The case of northern Cyprus is a recent example of that discrimination and intolerance towards a Christian  community.

The  disruption of the Christian liturgy in the two villages was, as admitted by the World Council of Churches at the time, a flagrant violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights, the freedom of religion and belief, as guaranteed in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other international declarations, including the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion and Belief.

The  area of Cyprus had been ruled administratively as a protectorate by Britain from 1878 until August 1960, when it become an independent country. An  international treaty guaranteed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus. But political crises and violence between the Greek and Turkish  communities continued. As a result, the U.N. Security Council set up in March 1964 the U.N. Peacekeeping Force (UNFICYP), originally to prevent further  fighting between the two communities. In the absence of a political  solution of the Cyprus problem, the force, now consisting of 925 uniformed personnel, and 140 international and local staff, has remained in existence to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone between the two sides, and undertake humanitarian activities.

Despite  the presence of UNFICYP in 1974, the Turkish army invaded the island, ostensibly to restore “constitutional order,” after the Greek military had attempted a coup to unite Cyprus with Greece. Though there was a de facto ceasefire in August 1974, the Turkish aggression remained. The Turks never withdrew and occupied about a third of the island. In November 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established under the leadership of Rauf  Denktash, who remained president until 2005. It had a population of 180,000, of whom about 100,000 came as colonialists from Anatolia, the Turkish mainland. The U.N. condemned the Republic as “legally invalid” and called  on states not to recognize it. None has done so except Turkey. The  town of Nicosia is still divided, with a “Green Line,” into two parts, each being the capital of one of the two regimes. It is the only divided capital in the world.

With  the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the 200,000 Greek Christian Cypriots in the north escaped or were deported to the south. The village of Rizokarpaso, where the Christian Mass was prevented, once had a population of 3,000; now it has few Christians. The Turkish Republic has epitomized qualities of ethnic cleansing, disproportionate use of force, vandalism, religious intolerance, repression, and persecution. The  Christian community in the north has dwindled to about 450.

Restrictions have been put on Christian practices, as has access to religious sites and places of worship. In spite of international calls for the Turks to stop  desecrating and destroying Christian properties, demolitions of churches have occurred, including in May 2011 the 200-year-old one in the village of Vokolida. In all, at least 530 churches have been damaged, vandalized, or destroyed. Some have been converted to military storage facilities, stables, casinos, or nightclubs; 78 have been transformed into mosques.

The  Orthodox Church has been refused permission to restore Christian monuments. One calculation estimates that 60,000 relics, icons, and mosaics from  ancient Byzantine have been stolen. Some were found in the Getty Museum in Malibu before a U.S. court ruled that they belonged to the Christian Church. Only since 2003 have the Greek Christians been allowed to cross the border into the north and see the destruction of their heritage.

crowdOne wonders if Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan and the leaders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by their intolerant persecution of the Greek Christians are pursuing a policy of revenge. After all, it was from the town of Seleucia, on the Tigris, later burned by the Roman military, that Paul sailed to Cyprus on his first journey to convert the population to Christianity  (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13), and it was from Cyprus that the early Christians set out to proselytize the Greeks of Antioch.

 

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TAJIKISTAN: Young Convert Suffers Severe Persecution

 

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Tajikistan: Nadia,  a recent Christian convert in Tajikistan, is experiencing severe  persecution at the hands of her Muslim family members. Nadia converted  from Islam to Christianity in 2011 and was then baptized. After her  mother found out, she beat Nadia, burned her Bible, and tore her  clothing. Nadia tried to run away, but her brothers found her. They  shaved her head, gave her a public beating, and then locked her in the  house. When she ran away a second time, they unfortunately caught her  again.

Nadia called a Voice of the Martyrs contact on June 9th, sobbing,  saying that her family had beaten her again, this time for hours, and  forced her to say the Muslim statement of faith. The VOM contact has  since been unable to reach Nadia by phone as her family most likely had  it disconnected. (For other reports on persecution in Tajikistan, check  the Tajikistan Country Report.)

Pray  for the Lord’s protection upon Nadia, asking Him to direct her to a  safe place of refuge and provision so she can receive necessary help and  healing (2 Corinthians 1:10). May Nadia sense His loving presence with  her wherever she goes, encouraging her to remain strong in the Christian  faith. Please also intercede for her family members who clearly need to  be delivered from spiritual darkness…and brought into the light of  God’s truth and salvation.

 

After the Soviet collapse in 1991, civil war broke out with various regional warlords fighting for power until 1997. Secular national forces prevailed, and they continue to shape political and religious policy.

Freedom of religion exists in Tajikistan, but barely. Religious teaching, publishing and proselytism are very difficult if not illegal. Registering churches is also very difficult.

In April 2009, a restrictive new Religion Law was implemented. Among other items, the law imposes limitations on where and how many mosques can be opened, imposes state censorship of religious literature and enforces state restrictions and control on religious education. However, government officials say these limitations do not restrict religious activity.

The Christian population has been massively reduced by emigration. It was and remains largely Russian Orthodox. The civil war and its aftermath drove out the majority; most of the remainder are cultural/nominal Christians with little desire to share the gospel with indigenous peoples.

Although Islam is the religion of 94 percent of the population, only a small fraction practices “pure” Islam. Most are influenced by folk superstitions and Zoroastrian beliefs. Mosques sprouted up everywhere in the years following independence, but now the government places severe restrictions on mosque building, as independent non-state controlled Islam is a target for a government hostile to everything outside state control. Tajikistan’s proximity to Iran and Afghanistan makes it vulnerable to Islamism.

Naghmeh Abedini: ‘God, Not Iran, Will Free Saeed’ #savesaeed

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Naghmeh Abedini was at the 700 Club on Thursday morning. (see interview below ) and got to meet with Mr. Pat Robinson. She thanks CBN for their continued coverage of Saeed’s imprisonment in Iran and for their prayers.

Russian pastor chooses greater joy when faced with persecution

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by Berit Kjos  

Baptist leader Mikhail (Misha) Khorev was a lawbreaker. As a young Russian pastor in the Communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, he faced two options: spiritual compromise or persecution and prison. He chose the latter and continued his secret and illegal ministry to Christians eager to know God, even while incarcerated. Khorev followed Acts 5:29 well: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Khorev’s stay in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison began May 20, 1966. For the crime of sharing God’s forbidden truths with Christian families, he faced a two-and-a-half-year sentence. God would use it for good.

His fellow prisoners had many questions for him. They wanted to know about God, His forgiveness and His saving love. Their dialogue exposed their hunger for hope in their hopeless world:

“What do you say, holy man?” one asked Khorev.

They all grew quiet, waiting for his answer.

“I think,” Khorev began, “the most important thing in life is to know God through Jesus Christ.”

“Why are you in here?”

Khorev explained that his arrest was probably because of his work preaching and teaching the gospel throughout Russia. They understood. When he mentioned that people in the “registered church” were responsible for his arrest, many nodded their heads. They were all too familiar with the government’s devious ways.

“Attention!” called the guard. “If I call your name, get ready for transport.”

Khorev rose to get his bag, prepared for the end of his sentence, when he heard his name.

“No,” the other prisoners protested. “Sit down. You have 15 more minutes. We need to talk some more.”

“I want you to pray for my wife, Natasha,” insisted one man.

A chorus of other requests rained on Khorev’s ears. As he knelt beside his chair, he tried to memorize all the prayer requests.

The time passed swiftly until the sound of the officer unlocking the door filled the room. Khorev shook hands with the men surrounding him.

One said, “I was sentenced to six months for my crime. Now I am glad that in these six months I have met you.”

Khorev never saw those men again, but he prayed that God would continue His work in their hearts.

Between lengthy prison terms, Khorev traveled through Russia to share the Gospel and bring encouragement to Christians who dared to attend the . The fact that Joseph Stalin’s Ministry of Religious Affairs had banned any biblical teaching in the presence of children didn’t stop families from bringing them. God’s comforting words meant more to them than the world’s transient safety.

The plight of the Russian people under Communist tyranny may seem totally contrary to our “land of the free,” yet we seem to be headed in a similar direction. Are we prepared to stand firm in our faith as our leaders purge Christian beliefs and values from schools, colleges, business and government?

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Los Altos Hills resident Berit Kjos is a researcher and author in the study of education systems and global changes.

Secret Believers Share Faith under Fire

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BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — One-hundred-thousand Christians are murdered because of their faith each year. In many cases, governments are to blame because they pass laws that restrict religious freedom.

Recently, CBN News gained exclusive access to a gathering of secret believers inside a former Soviet Republic to get a close-up look at what life is like for Christians who face daily persecution.

Secret Strategy

The setting in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan could not have been more ideal.

“This is a beautiful location,” Vitaly, a secret believer, said. “Seventy percent of the country is mountainous. Locals call it the second Switzerland of Asia. Our goal was to find a safe place away from the city to not draw attention of the authorities.”

For a few days Vitaly and a handful of Christians gathered in a secluded villa tucked away in the mountains about a two-hour drive outside the capital city Bishkek.

We worship, pray, and strategize how to effectively share the love of Christ in our countries,” Vitaly said.

CBN News cannot show you their faces or reveal their real names for security reasons, but in a room inside a secret getaway are underground believers from Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. All are former Soviet Republics in Central Asia experiencing a rising tide of hostilities against believers.

They are members of a Christian ministry that’s reaching young people in the former Soviet Union.

“It’s practically impossible to openly share about Jesus Christ. Doing so will get you beaten, arrested, or killed,” Vitaly warned.

Youth Not Allowed

But that has not stopped Marat, a youth leader from Uzbekistan, who said last year was a difficult year for him.

“Fortunately I wasn’t arrested,” Marat said. “But I was repeatedly interrogated by secret police accused of gathering people in my house. They said what I am doing is illegal.”

Marat runs an informal Christian school training Uzbek leaders. He told CBN News that “the pressure is unrelenting.”

“You can’t relax. You are constantly under stress,” he said. “You cannot trust anyone because you don’t know if they’ll turn you in or accuse you of proselytizing.”

Doud is from Kazakhstan, the largest of the five Central Asian countries. There were no Kazakh Christians in 1990. Today there are about 15,000. But strict religious laws make it difficult for churches to register.

“According to our law you cannot attend church until you are 18 years old. That means we cannot hold youth meetings, discipleship classes or Bible study,” Doud said.

One Life at a Time

Firuz is from Tajikistan. He gave CBN News exclusive access to home video of his secret house church that was smuggled out of the country. The meetings are small and typically held in a believer’s home.

“The people in this video know exactly what’s at stake,” Firuz told CBN News in an undisclosed location.

“Our parents taught us from childhood that one day we may have to sacrifice our lives.”

Seven million people live in Tajikistan and only 1,000 are Christian.

“Each life counts,” Firuz said. “God says, ‘Be thankful every day, rejoice in every soul that comes into heaven.’ That’s what keeps us going: one life at a time.”

Radical Islam On the Rise

Religious freedom exists in all five countries under the constitution, but barely. While Islam is the dominant religion, a more radical expression is taking root in Central Asia.

Dmitry Kabak is a human rights lawyer in Bishkek. He said fear of radicalism has led governments to adopt laws controlling all religions, including Islam and Christianity.

“Groups from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and elsewhere come in with a different interpretation and practice of Islam. That worries the authorities. Some of the radical groups have engaged in terrorist activities,” Kabak told CBN News.

Oleg works in remote villages of Kyrgyzstan. He remembers what it was like spiritually after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“There was a lot of freedom in the 90s. People could openly share the gospel. But eventually, Islam started to make a move and gain influence,” he said.

An Oasis from Persecution

All throughout the mountain areas of Kyrgyzstan the horse is another popular mode of transportation, especially to get around some of the tough terrain and step hills.

For the believers, the mountains are a spiritual oasis because it is an opportunity to get away from the almost daily routine, harassment, and persecution from the authorities and to come together in a safe place, a beautiful place, and to get spiritually energized.

“The beauty, the backdrop, (and) the scenery (are) wonderful distractions from (their) daily challenges,” Marat said.

“To see Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Tajik believers in the same place at one time is so encouraging,” Firuz said.

“We draw strength from each other. We know we are not in this spiritual battle alone.”

After being encouraged, refreshed, and re-energized, the believers must travel back home to the uncertainty of the days ahead.

Yet they stand boldly, convinced of a calling to make the name of Jesus Christ known — no matter the cost.

SYRIA – Priest killed by Islamic militants

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Gassanieh (Agenzia Fides) – On Sunday, June 23 the Syrian priest François Murad was killed in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land where he had taken refuge. This is confirmed by a statement of the Custos of the Holy Land sent to Fides Agency. The circumstances of the death are not fully understood. According to local sources, the monastery where Fr. Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra.

Father François, 49, had taken the first steps in the religious life with the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, and with them he continued to share close bonds of spiritual friendship. After being ordained a priest he had started the construction of a coenobitic monastery dedicated to St. Simon Stylites in the village of Gassanieh.

After the start of the Civil War, the monastery of St. Simon had been bombed and Fr. Murad had moved to the convent of the Custody for safety reasons and to give support to the remaining few, along with another religious and nuns of the Rosary.

“Let us pray,” writes the Custos of the Holy Land Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM ” so that this absurd and shameful war ends soon and that the people of Syria can go back to living a normal life.” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, titular of the Syrian Catholic archeparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis reports to Fides: “The whole story of Christians in the Middle East is marked and made fruitful by the blood of the martyrs of many persecutions.

Lately, father Murad sent me some messages that clearly showed how conscious he was of living in a dangerous situation, and offered his life for peace in Syria and around the world.”

Please pray for our Syrian brothers and sisters!

Spain: “Soon the Muslims Will Be the Kings of the World”

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(Gatestone Institute) While Spanish Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse…The requirement which will be enshrined in Spain’s legal code law, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence.

Spanish police have arrested a Muslim immigrant in Mallorca after he claimed to have been sent by Allah to “kill all the Spanish.”

The arrest follows a series of other Islam-related incidents in recent weeks and months which reflect the mounting challenge that radical Islam is posing to Spain.

In the latest incident, police on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca arrested a German national of Tunisian descent on June 13 after he repeatedly threatened to carry out terror attacks in the name of Allah.

According to Spanish authorities, the man made “constant threats of death and references to being a Muslim” and warned,

“I do not mind dying; if I have to die, I will die, but I will take plenty of others with me.”

The man threatened to blow up a hairdressing academy in the Mallorcan capital of Palma and “kill everyone.”

The man said he had “terrorist friends who could plant bombs” and warned that “soon the Muslims will be kings of the world.”

Spanish police said the man — who had previously been arrested on February 15 for threatening to kill a local policeman — became radicalized after visiting Tunisia in 2012.

On June 12, police in Barcelona arrested five Tunisian jihadists for “inciting Islamist terrorism” after they shared more than 400 videos on social networks of speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as footage of summary executions, terrorist attacks and tutorials on bomb-making.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said the individuals had undergone “strong processes of self-radicalization which led them to embrace the thesis of Salafist jihad.”

The arrests were part of Operation Carthage (Operación Kartago), a nationwide, year-long effort to “neutralize” so-called lone-wolf jihadists as well as Islamists with combat experience returning from conflict zones in Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

Shortly after the arrests, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz announced that the government would seek to amend the Penal Code to make it a crime of terrorism 1) to give or receive “passive training” by means of “proselytization in prisons” for those serving sentences for crimes of jihadist terrorism, and 2) for imams to “indoctrinate” in mosques or on the Internet or by travelling to Islamist training camps abroad.

Díaz said the legal change is necessary because although Spanish law already makes it a crime of terrorism to “indoctrinate,” prosecutors have found it difficult to prove that those who are involved in terrorism-related training are personally committed to carrying out actual attacks.

Spanish judges have long been accused of using the ambiguous legal framework to justify the lenient treatment of suspected terrorists. For example, four of the five individuals arrested in Barcelona were released from jail on June 14 after a judge decided that keeping them in preventative detention constituted “excessive” punishment.

On June 5, police in Barcelona arrested a Pakistani immigrant after he attacked the bodyguard of local politician with a metal rod. The politician in question was Alberto Fernández Díaz, the leader of the center-right Popular Party in Barcelona who also happens to be the brother of Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz. The Pakistani, whom police describe as being a “radical Islamist,” was shouting chants of “for Allah!” while carrying out the attack.

On May 24, police in the Basque city of Bilbao arrested a 44-year-old Muslim immigrant from North Africa after he raped and cut the toe off a 25-year-old female social worker. According to local police, the man tied the woman to a chair and gagged her with a curtain after she told him he would be evicted from an apartment building for violating the housing rules.

On May 10, police in Gibraltar deported to Spain a Turkish member of Al-Qaeda who entered the British territory illegally. Cengiz Yalcin had been arrested in Spain in August 2012 along with two Chechens for plotting to drop explosives from remote-controlled airplanes onto a shopping mall in Gibraltar during the 2012 London Olympics.

A police raid of Yalcin’s apartment in 2012 yielded enough explosives “to blow up a bus.” The raid also yielded three motorized para-gliders and a video in which Yalcin is filmed flying a large remote-controlled model airplane.

Spanish investigators said they suspected the cell was testing a remote-controlled airplane as a potential bomber. The video footage showed the aircraft — about three meters, or nine feet, long — being maneuvered into a descent during which two packages were dropped from both of its wings.

The three suspects , however, were quietly released on bail in March 2013 after a judge in Madrid ruled that there was insufficient evidence to keep them in custody.

In April, it was revealed that up to 60% of Moroccan immigrants in Spain are unemployed and living off the Spanish social welfare state. According to the Barcelona-based Friends of Morocco Association (ITRAN), many Moroccans in Spain do not know the language “despite having lived here for many years…they are uneducated and qualified only to work in construction, farming and restaurants. The ghettos are becoming larger, the various government administrations are guilty of a remarkable neglect and now the excuse is that there are insufficient financial resources.”

Also in April, an Islamist group known as the Moroccan Ghosts [fantasmas marroquíes] hacked a local government website in Huelva, a town in southern Spanish region of Andalusia.

The hackers uploaded an apocalyptic image showing the Spanish flag in flames with the words: “By attacking your websites we are going to destroy your economy.” The text continued, “You have always believed that our silence in relation to your continual mortal errors towards the kingdom of Morocco and the great Moroccan people is due to fear.” The message continued with a call for Islamic terrorism, and warned Europe and Spain that they will be the targets of a series of attacks that will turn into their “worst nightmare.”

The message also included innumberable references to Al-Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.

Many Muslims believe that the territories they lost during the Christian Reconquista of Spain still belong to them, and that they have every right to return and establish their rule there.

While radical Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse.

In May, the Socialist government running the northern Spanish region of Asturias passed a new law that prohibits schools from using “religious terms” when referring to the Christmas and Easter holidays.

In an effort to “avoid offending the sensibilities” of Muslims students, teachers and pupils in Asturias classrooms will now have to refer to Christmas as “winter holidays” and Easter as “second term holidays.”

In February, Spain acceded to the demands of the Islamist government in Morocco by agreeing that Moroccan children adopted by Spanish families must remain culturally and religiously Muslim.

The agreement obliges the Spanish government to establish a “control mechanism” that would enable Moroccan religious authorities to monitor the children until they reach the age of 18 to ensure they have not converted to Christianity.

The requirement, which will be enshrined in Spain’s legal code, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence. The move also represents a frontal assault on the freedom of religion or belief, which is protected by Article 16 of the Spanish Constitution.

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón’s decision to make Spanish law comply with Islamic Sharia law has generated considerable controversy. But it remains to be seen if any lawsuits emerge to challenge what some are calling the “Islamization” of Spanish jurisprudence.

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.

Christians should be concerned. This very well may lead to further persecution.

Video: Christian Teacher probed over her gay marriage views

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(Christian Institute) A Christian teacher from London is under investigation because she refused to give a lesson telling children that all opponents of gay marriage are homophobes.

The unnamed teacher didn’t think that it was a “fair characterization of the debate”, she says, but is now under investigation at her school.

She is also under suspicion for being a member of a church, and a colleague is demanding to know whether it impacts her job.

Letter

The case was raised in the House of Lords during a debate about the Government’s controversial same-sex marriage bill.

Lord Dear told Peers: “I will quote from a letter that was sent to me at the end of last week by a firm of solicitors in Witney in Oxfordshire.

“It stated: ‘I am happy to confirm the attached letter, addressed to you by Mrs. X, in relation to an investigation against her in her school, which is an honest summary of a genuine incident. I am aware of the facts of the case. I am also aware that Mrs. X wishes to remain anonymous at this stage because an investigation is ongoing’.”

Problem

Lord Dear went on to quote directly from the teacher’s letter:

“‘I am a teacher at a … girls’ school in South London. I have been employed by the school for 17 years. During March … I was instructed to deliver a presentation, which included material stating, in effect, that any disagreement with same-sex marriage was de facto homophobia. I felt this was not a fair characterization of the debate and it was one that conflicted with my own deeply held religious beliefs. I raised my concerns with the teacher in charge.’”

Breaking off from the letter, Lord Dear said: “I will shorthand the next bit. She complained to the teacher in charge, who allowed her position and let her teach elsewhere. However, another colleague raised a complaint”.

Investigation

Quoting again from the teacher’s letter, Lord Dear said: “’The head teacher investigated the incident and concluded there was no case to answer.

‘Another colleague, who is also a union rep, then followed up the complaint, and has formally raised additional concerns about my Christian beliefs and my membership of a church.

‘The union rep has demanded an investigation of my beliefs and my membership of the church, and whether it had any negative impact on my job as a teacher.

‘That investigation process is currently underway, and at the time of writing I do not yet know the outcome”.

The Bible is very clear about homosexuality. When a Christian is against gay marriage, that does not mean they are homophobic. To teach that it is to young developing minds is irresponsible, deceitful and bigotry. Praying for this teacher and those under the same pressures.
God loves sinners, but condemns sin. The Biblical proclamation on homosexual behavior, as with all sexual immorality, is that it is sinful. For those who wish to learn what the Bible says about homosexuality, I’ve added the following Scriptures.

Homosexuality

Genesis 19:1-11

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

 

Leviticus 18:22

“‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13

“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Judges 19:16-24

16 That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”

18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord.[a] No one has taken me in for the night. 19 We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”

20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”

1 Kings 14:24

There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.

1 Kings 15:12

He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made.

2 Kings 23:7

He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the Lord, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.

Romans 1:18-32

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Timothy 1:8-11

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Jude 7

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Marriage

Marriage is an important subject in the Christian life. Many books, magazines and marriage counseling aids are devoted to marriage preparation and the betterment of marriage.  Search Amazon.com and you will find a plethora of books about overcoming marital problems and improving communication in marriage. 

But have you thought about what the Bible says about marriage? There are over 500 Old and New Testament references to the words marriage, married, husband, and wife.

Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Global Insight for Cultural and Family Renewal and Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family, reports that evangelical Christians who regularly attend church, divorce at a rate 35% lower than secular couples.  Similar trends are seen with active Catholics and active mainline Protestants. In contrast, nominal Christians, who seldom or never attend church, have higher divorce rates than secular couples.  

Stanton, who is also the author of Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society, reports, “Religious commitment, rather than mere religious affiliation, contributes to greater levels of marital success.”

If a genuine commitment to Christian faith will result in a stronger marriage, then perhaps the Bible really does have something important to say about the subject.

Let’s look at a few key passages. I hope you will read the selected verses with an open mind, consider the analysis, ask your own questions of the heart,  and then come to your own conclusions.

Gen. 2:18, 21-24

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh

Here we see the first wedding.  We can conclude from this account in Genesis that marriage is God’s idea, designed and instituted by the Creator.  In these verses we also discover that at the heart of God’s design for marriage is companionship and intimacy.

1 Corinthians 7:1-2

Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.

wedding

Source

Why God Created Marriage Between a Man and Woman

With divorce and remarriage rising, and the very definition of “marriage” being debated, it’s time we review matrimony’s biblical origins. Scripture reveals marriage two ways: God’s and man’s.

Genesis unveils marriage God’s way. Perceiving man’s need of a loving companion, God decreed, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). So He pronounced His plan: “I will make him an help fit for him” (2:18). God first prepared the man for his wife, creating a deficiency only she could fill: “The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and…took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh” (2:21).

Then He prepared the wife for her man, carefully forming her to be “meet” (2:18), or “suitable” (NIV) and “just right” (NLT), for him in every way: “The rib…made he a woman” (2:22). Afterwards He presented the wife to her man: “And brought her unto the man” (2:22). Delighted, man proclaimed God’s provision perfect: “This is now [‘At last!’ NLT] bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (2:23). The first couple then adapted to their new living arrangement: “They were both naked…and were not ashamed” (2:25). Satisfaction and children followed. This was marriage God’s way.

It was heterosexual, not homosexual; monogamous, not polygamous; lifelong, not temporary. It was pure, without adultery; faithful, without abandonment; loving, without abuse. It was also fruitful, not futile, fulfilling God’s primary purpose: “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). Delighted, God proclaimed Adam’s union His prototype: “Therefore shall a man [henceforth] leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh [like Adam and Eve]” (2:24). The Bible then describes marriage man’s way.

Before the flood, men preferred polygamy (harems or unlimited successive marriages) to monogamy: “They took them wives of all they chose” (Gen. 6:2). This demonically inspired indulgence hastened society’s moral decay and divine judgment (6:3). The indiscriminate intermarriage of the godly and ungodly lines corrupted families and children.

Soon the world’s social fabric fell apart. Maliciousness, murder, and chaos ruled (6:5, 11-13). Why? “All flesh had corrupted his way…” (6:12). This reckless, ruinous “marrying and giving in marriage” continued till the flood (Matt. 24:38). Stunning as it was, God’s judgment didn’t change fallen man’s way.

In Jesus’ day, many Jewish men divorced their wives “for every cause” (Matt. 19:3), or frivolously, to take new wives “of all whom they chose.” Christians today are tragically similar. Despite God’s grace, gifts, and goodness, Christians divorce spouses invalidly (without biblical cause) and take new ones “of all whom we choose.” This has dishonored marriage, split families, confused children, and weakened our witness.

Consequently, our culture’s dizzying freefall into immorality has reached a new, dark low. We now take same-sex life partners “of all we choose!” Bizarre, confusing, corrupting, and fruitless, this is marriage modern man’s way. But God remains unchanged.

He still follows His way when “joining” Christians in marriage as He did Adam and Eve: “What…God hath joined together” (Matt. 19:6). We marvel at the Matchmaker.

Seeing single Christians’ needs, He quietly gives them hope He will meet them His way. He then prepares a man for his wife by making him willing to seek God’s wisdom, accept responsibility, and lovingly and faithfully provide for his soul mate.

He prepares a wife for her man by reshaping her thinking until she’s willing to graciously submit to a husband’s leadership, competently add whatever he lacks, and willingly work alongside him in their family and church. One fine day, when they least expect it, He arranges for them to meet. Soon they acknowledge His hand in their meeting, join their hands in marriage, and adapt to their new life together. And bear fruit!

They produce natural fruit—children born into families. Or spiritual fruit—sinners reborn into church families. Or both! If they abide near their Matchmaker, they yield Him the Christ-like “fruit of the Spirit” daily (Gal. 5:22-23).

Also, their joint prayers, obedience, and labors help churches and ministries plant, grow, and mature “the precious fruit of the earth” (James 5:7)—a priceless, End-Time “crop” of fully taught, trained, and tested Christians ready to be “harvested”, “married” to Christ, and prepared to return with Him to reign for a thousand years!

In these and other ways the divinely appointed “joining” of Christian couples will achieve God’s primary purpose in marriage: natural and spiritual fruit! This fruit will help save, not destroy families; redeem, not ruin, society; bless, not curse, nations. That’s marriage God’s way.

Anything less or other is marriage man’s way. Learn, live, and labor for marriage God’s way.

 

The Sacrament of Marriage- Created by God for man and woman, God’s way.

Civil Union- created by man, the world’s way.

civil union – a voluntary union for life (or until divorce) of adult parties of the same sex;

“parties to a civil union have all the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under Vermont law as spouses in a marriage”

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