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The Cross, deemed illegal by IS, returns to Iraq’s Nineveh Plain

cross

Fr. Ammar, another priest and two soldiers stand by a newly erected cross on the roof of Tahira church (church of the Immaculate, Syriac Catholic) in Qaraqosh, a Christian village liberated from IS. World Watch Monitor

(World Watch Monitor) There were tears, soldiers praying, priests singing. This was the moment thousands of Iraqi Christians had been waiting for: the Cross, symbol of Christ’s victory over evil, deemed illegal by IS, had returned to the Christian villages in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain.

This came as news continues to emerge of more villages reclaimed from the Islamic State (IS), and more signs of destruction become apparent.

As soon as it was remotely safe, the priests got into a car and were escorted back to their villages. In Christian villages like Karamles and Qaraqosh – half an hour’s drive east of Mosul – they were among the first non-combatants to return now the villages have been liberated from IS occupation.

Father Thabet, who lives with his congregation in a complex for internally displaced people in Erbil, brought a Cross, the size of a man, covered with flowers, with him when he returned to his home village of Karamles.

“I am so happy I can do this. I’m smiling from cheek to cheek and I weep tears of joy at the same time. This is the trip I have been praying for, for two years now,” he said.

He climbed Barbara Hill, next to his village, and planted the Cross firmly in the ground overlooking Karamles.

“My dream is to bring all the Christians back to this village. Then we will worship outside on Barbara Hill; we will have the Eucharist in the open air. Everybody will see that this is the Church; this is the Body of Christ; this is Christian land. That is my dream – to give a testimony to the world,” he said.

When he arrived in Karamles, Fr. Thabet found his church had been heavily damaged by IS but was still standing. The Cross has been taken off and thrown to the ground. The inside of the church was a mess, but it’s not beyond repair. Fears that the Christian village would be completely uninhabitable have proven to be unfounded.

‘What counts is that we can pray here again’

The same goes for the village of Qaraqosh, visited by Father Ammar. He reinstated the Cross on his church, helped by Christian soldiers guarding the village after it had been liberated.

Muslims Attack Christian Village Celebrating Easter, Stab Priest, Destroy Bibles and Crosses in Bangladesh

bangladesh-wikicommons

During last Easter, a Catholic Christian village made up of tribal Khasia people living in Bangladesh was attacked by Muslims.

Syed Ara Begum, a Muslim owner of a tea plantation, along with a Muslim mob,  attacked the Christian village as its population was celebrating Mass for Easter Monday.   The plantation owner reportedly seeks to seize the Christians’ land.  Hearing the cries of his flock, Fr. James Kiron Rozario ran to the site of the attack.  Once there, the crowd of Muslims attacked him with a knife, seriously wounding him and threatening to kill him.

The Muslim mob went on to steal items worth 33,900 taka (4,134 EUR).  They also destroyed Bibles, crosses, holy pictures, musical instruments and homes — and slaughtered goats and chickens.

According to Msgr. Bejoy N. D’Cruze OMI, Bishop of Syleht, “We live in fear….  We want justice and security for our priests and our faithful. We hope that the government will find a peaceful solution and that our people can live free from tensions…. They [Catholic Khasia] are a very peaceful community but often fall victims of the Bengali [Muslim] majority.”

Raymond Ibrahim

Video: Chinese Christians Try To Stop Demolition Of Church Cross

International Christian Concern (ICC) obtained a video of Chinese Christians trying to stop the forcible demolition of a church cross.

Chinese Christians are facing much opposition with the exponential growth of Christianity in the nation.  If this rapid growth continues, they may one day exceed the percentage of Christians living in America. Please pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters and the nation of China. May they remain strong in faith, filled with the Holy Spirit and live without fear as they share the Gospel bringing many to Christ.  All for HIS glory!

Source: ICC

Attacks on Memorial Crosses Multiply

cross-at-sunset

Last week a “humanist” group filed a lawsuit in Prince George’s County, Md., demanding the removal from public land of a 40-foot cross memorializing the 49 local soldiers who gave their lives in the First World War. Across the country in Lake Elsinore, Calif., a judge ruled against a proposed monument that would have depicted a soldier kneeling before a small cross marking the grave of a fallen comrade (something soldiers actually do, by the way).

In the same town, a mother recently removed a roadside cross honoring her son — killed in an accident — after secularists raised objections even to a small roadside memorial. Heartbreaking video of the mother removing the cross here.

Of course these are not the only cross cases. In fact, just last week the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the American Atheists’ attempt to remove the famed Ground Zero Cross from a museum exhibit, claiming that its inclusion in the September 11 Museum and Memorial violated the Constitution. What’s next? Lawsuits against religious-themed paintings in public art galleries?

All of my adult life I’ve heard Christians mocked as too sensitive, how we just need to turn the channel or look away when confronted with even the most vile blasphemies. While I disagree that Christians are any more sensitive than other communities (in fact, I think we have thicker skins than most), it is correct that the response to bad speech isn’t censorship but to either ignore the bad speech or answer with a better argument. I have zero desire to censor speech I don’t like, even public speech I don’t like. Unless a government official or action is directly violating my rights (and I don’t have a right not be offended), my response to his or her bad actions is to use my own voice to protest and my own voice to advocate that fellow citizens vote them out of office. That’s constitutional democracy in action.

Unless, of course, you’re an offended atheist. Then, the same pop culture that mocks Christian sensibilities will treat seriously your utterly vile outrage at a mourning mother’s expression of love for her fallen son. Then, that means the same federal courts that have consistently held that outrage alone does not constitute a recognizable injury will grant “offended observers” special status to challenge displays of perceived religious symbols on public land. In other words, an atheist’s subjective discomfort is sufficient grounds for a federal lawsuit.

This is a travesty. And it’s a symbol of the reality that our culture is steadily abandoning the idea of the law as a neutral arbiter and instead fully embracing the idea that the law exists for the purpose of making sure that just the right sort of people win their cases.

And in 2014, the right sort of person is an angry atheist. Let the Christian mothers weep. Their tears are meaningless.

ACLJ

This War Memorial May “Shock” & “Upset” Angry Atheists, But to Tear It Down Would Dishonor Heroes

Bladensburg_Cross_2

For nearly 90 years, a war memorial has stood proudly honoring American heroes who fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our great nation in World War I.

Last month, the American Humanist Association sued to have this war memorial torn down.  Why?  Because the memorial is in the shape of a cross.

In 1925, the people of Prince George County, Maryland, erected a memorial to honor the 49 brave residents of their town who fought and died to preserve our freedom.  The Bladensburg Cross, or “Peace Cross” as it became known, has stood since that day as a testament to the heroism, the sacrifice, that these brave young men displayed fighting for America – fighting for our freedom.

That is until one angry atheist, literally riding his bike around town, discovered the cross.  He was “shocked” at the sight of the cross and “upset” that the cross could possibly be displayed to honor our nation’s veterans.

Yet, he and a couple of other angry atheists, along with the American Humanist Association, after the shock had subsided a bit I supposed (it took them since 1982 to finally do something about it), filed a federal lawsuit a couple weeks ago, calling the cross a constitutional violation and demanding that the cross be torn down.

The lawsuit actually alleges that because the war memorial is located on what they claim is public property near a busy intersection that at least one of the plaintiffs passes “about once a month” driving around town or on his bike, it “associates a Christian religious symbol with the State and gives the impression that the State supports and approves of Christianity, as opposed to other religions, and that the state may even prefer Christians and Christianity over other religions.”  One of the plaintiffs actually says that he is “personally offended and feels excluded” because the cross honors our nation’s veterans.

In fact, the lawsuit states that he was “shocked when he first saw the cross and it upsets him whenever he passes it.”

Each of the plaintiffs complains of “unwelcome contact” with the WWI memorial cross and tell the court they “do[] not wish to encounter the Bladensburg Cross in the future.”  In other words, they want it torn down.

It’s just one more example of angry atheists who become so easily offended by the very sight or even the existence of something they supposedly don’t believe in.

Of course the cross has long been a symbol of sacrifice and has stood in honor of war heroes for centuries.  Imagine their “shock” if they ever visited Arlington National Cemetery a few miles away in Virginia.

In fact, the Supreme Court has recognized that “a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people.”

This could not be more true than in the case of this nearly 90-year-old WWI memorial, meant to honor 49 specific men of valor who gave their last full measure for a grateful nation.

The fact of the matter is that a war memorial, symbolized by a cross, does not constitute a constitutional crisis.

Every time an angry atheist sees a symbol with which he or she disagrees, their first step is to rush to court.  They conflate their feelings with the Constitution.  As I’ve said before, the Constitution is not an atheist manifesto.

To tear this war memorial cross to the ground because the idea of it hurts some atheist’s feelings does a disservice to the very ones who gave their lives for this nation.  They gave their lives so that everyone could be free – so that anyone would be free to believe or disbelieve as they so choose.  To tear down their memorial, dishonors their memory.

At the ACLJ, we will be filing an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in this case, defending the cross and honoring those for whom it stands.

In a bit of disturbing irony, when the angry atheists first demanded the cross be torn down, they wrote a letter to the managing authorities asserting, “When considering this matter, you will likely hear from a loud and self-righteous portion of the populace that seeks to see its particular religious symbols preferred by the state.”

It is in fact a small but loud and self-righteous portion of the populace who wish to eradicate any religious symbol in our society with which they disagree, regardless of who it hurts or dishonors, because they have deemed it “offensive.”

But if they want to hear a loud voice, I think it’s time they and their 24,800 members hear from the American people.

The veterans of WWI are no longer here to defend their memorial, yet the price they paid gives us the freedom to defend it for them.  If you don’t want this WWI memorial torn down, sign onto our brief today.

ACLJ

Norwegian Newscaster Banned From Wearing Cross On Air

Siv Kristin Saellmann

OSLO, Norway, Nov. 4 (UPI) — A newscaster on Norwegian state television said she was told she can no longer wear a small gold cross on the air because of complaints from viewers.

“What I don’t like is that people out there can just call in and tell my boss what I should and I shouldn’t wear,” Siv Kristin Saellmann told The Local.

Saellmann began wearing the cross last month on a program broadcast by NRK’s regional news for southern Norway, The Local.no reported.

Viewers immediately began to call in and complain to regional editor Anders  Sarheim, demanding that Saellmann not be allowed to wear the cross.

Saellmann said her husband recently bought the cross.

“I didn’t wear the cross because I wanted to be provocative,” she said. “I am a Christian but right now I see the cross everywhere. It’s part of the catwalk.  It’s part of fashion. It’s not something only Christians wear. I didn’t  think that people would react.”

Sarheim told Saellmann she could no longer wear the cross on the air because there is a “clear policy that news anchors should be dressed neutrally and we encourage them to avoid the use of jewelry with religious and political significance.”

Saellmann said she will comply with the policy.

“I wouldn’t like it if people that watched me read the news on TV considered me as being apart in some way. I want to be as neutral as possible,” she  said.

Source

R.It reports, some viewers — especially members of the local Islamic community-protested claiming that catenin “with the cross offends Islam,” and “this symbol does not guarantee the impartiality of the channel”.

Recalling the case of Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in attendant who was sent home from work for wearing a crucifix. The case has been widely reported in the UK media because various groups have argued that it shows either anti-Christian prejudice in the UK,or alternatively, favoritism towards people of faith.

In the case of Coptic Christian Eweida, the judgment of Strasbourg had highlighted “the importance of freedom of religion, an essential element of the identity of believers and Foundation, among others, democratic pluralist societies”. At the same time, however, the Court had warned by cases in which “the religious practice of an individual trespasses on the rights of others”. In those cases, it may be “restricted”. Who knows the necklace of Kristin in which case falls.

____________

Nadia Eweida

VOP: When Nadia Eweida took her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the court said BA had not struck a fair balance between Ms. Eweida’s religious beliefs and the company’s wish to “project a certain corporate image”. The ECHR ruled she suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs.
A professional journalist should be able to report on any subject no matter their religious belief, or how much they may personally disagree with a point of view. Reporting, or discussing a subject is not agreeing with it, but enlightening others to bring knowledge and a level of understanding about the topic. Being that she is a well known, respected journalist in the nation, her choice of jewelry should not be irrelevant.
As a Christian interested in upholding religious freedom and expression, it is disappointing that she would be concerned that others might consider her as ‘being apart’ in some way. In my opinion it would have been better for her to explain that her religious belief, or a cross around her neck would not affect her ability to report the news. No one should be forced to hide their Christianity to please others.
What’s your opinion?

 

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