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Cardinal Burke: Obama’s policies are ‘progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization’

U.S. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

U.S. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

ROME, March 20, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – President Obama’s policies “have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization,” said American Cardinal Raymond Burke in an interview published in English exclusively by LifeSiteNews today.

Burke did not mince words in responding to a question about the Catholic reaction to President Obama’s attack on religious freedom, especially through policies such as the controversial HHS mandate.

“He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” said Burke.

“Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions.”

The wide-ranging interview, published originally by Polonia Christiana magazine, covers everything from sex-education, in vitro fertilization, abortion, and euthanasia to annulments, politicians who are Catholic in name only, gender ideology, and same-sex “marriage.”

Obama ran his 2008 presidential election campaign on a promise to transform America by what he called “change we can believe in.” Since taking office in 2009, he has done more than any other president to promote contraception, abortion, and homosexuality, what critics say amounts to an outright assault on life, marriage, and family.

Obama declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional in 2011, setting the stage for its demise at the Supreme Court in 2013. Now with the HHS mandate in place, American business owners must pay for the contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs of their employees or face crippling fines.

Burke lamented the slide into what he called a “loss of freedom.”

“Such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago. It is true that many faithful Catholics, with strong and clear leadership from their Bishops and priests, are reacting against the ever-growing religious persecution in the U.S.”

“Sadly, one has the impression that a large part of the population is not fully aware of what is taking place. In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly. It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect,” he said.

“It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation,” he added.

Find the full interview with Cardinal Burke here.

BY PETER BAKLINSKI

Let Us Not Forget Our Brother’s Pastor Saeed Abedini & Kenneth Bae

Crown-Thorns

We’ve been reviewing commentaries about the recent Prayer Breakfast attended by the President. While we remain extremely grateful that President Obama acknowledged our brother’s, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Kenneth Bae, we wonder what current action the administration is taking to procure their release.

Pastor Saeed’s wife, and Kenneth Bae’s family were jubilant about the acknowledgement from the president and rightly so, but we remain cautiously optimistic. We believe God is working through both men to bring light into the darkness they are currently in. And pray for their families who are and have been inspirations to many Christians and non-believers alike. There also is evidence that Pastor Saeed has brought the Gospel to new believers in prison, when they may have never had an opportunity to hear the Word. God has a plan and is in control in the lives of these faithful men and their families.

kenneth-bae-detained-american-in-north-koreaMany were disheartened when President Obama didn’t officially mention Saeed or Kenneth in the last State of the Union Address. Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) had invited Bae’s mother, Myunghee Bae, and sister, Terri Chung, to hear the president speak in the House chamber, so they both were present. Secretary of State John F. Kerry even met with Bae’s family ahead of the speech.

Thousands were extremely disappointed that Pastor Saeed’s release wasn’t made as a pre-condition to the recent nuclear talks with the government of Iran. At Davos, politicians started the talks with handshakes and smiles, followed by deals with the Islamic nation. But Pastor Saeed sat in a dark prison, suffering with internal injuries caused by beatings for nothing more than his faith in Jesus Christ. Pressuring him to deny his Christian faith, the Iranian authorities have caused him to endure much physical and psychological torture. A prison doctor now says he will need to undergo surgery for the internal bleeding he has been suffering for the past year. The Islamic regime has used Saeed as a pawn to further oppress Christian converts and the people of Iran. These two Americans have been denied their human/religious rights. And we will never accept the despicable treatment inflicted on our fellow Americans and family members in Christ.

In an interview with Steve Malzberg, former Ambassador John Bolton made some interesting statements regarding the president’s comments at the Prayer Breakfast. Bolton said he believes President Barack Obama’s mention of American Pastor Saeed Abedini — serving eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his Christian beliefs — at the prayer breakfast may have been made to placate his family.

“He’s probably trying … to get them off his back and to get the American public off his back for not raising the issue enough. I don’t think it’s going to succeed,” he said.

“It wasn’t an official statement; it was just in the prayer breakfast because he hopes that with a bunch of religious fanatics in Tehran he can kind of pass it off as his obligatory religious gesture in this country.

“I mean really, it is a demonstration that the president is determined to have a deal with Iran on the nuclear program almost no matter what the cost.”

From the beginning of Saeed’s wrongful detention, many have pleaded for the president to speak out on the behalf of the imprisoned American pastor in Iran. He has remained virtually silent. Voice of the Persecuted joined thousands worldwide in holding a Protest/Prayer Vigil for Pastor Saeed on September 26, 2013— the one year anniversary of his imprisonment. The next day, it was reported that a senior Obama Administration official confirmed that President Obama had called for the release of American Pastor Saeed Abedini in a phone conversation with the new Iranian President Rouhani.

Saeed-ObamaIt was stated that President Obama raised Pastor Saeed’s case along with two other Americans directly with the Iranian President. According to the report, President Obama raised concerns about the imprisonment of Saeed and expressed our country’s interest in seeing the American pastor returned to his family.

While Secretary of State Kerry had already called on Iran to release Pastor Saeed, the call with Rouhani was the first time that Obama had himself spoken out about the wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen. Between that call and the mention at the prayer breakfast, he has been silent.

As Bolton claimed, were his statements only an appeasement? Does this administration believe Saeed’s supporters will stop pressuring our government leaders to do more for his release? If so, they’ve underestimated the unity and love we have for one another. When one suffers, we all suffer and his wrongful imprisonment by the nation of Iran is completely unacceptable. And our stance on North Korea’s detainment of our brother, Kenneth Bae is the same. Both men must be released.

As Christians, we are banding together in prayer and support for these brothers and their families. We want to remain positive and encouraging, wrapping them in love and the power that comes with a blanket of prayer and the Name of Jesus.

We encourage everyone to not give up or get lax. We must step up the efforts and keep the emails, letters and petitions going to the President and our elected officials. Let him, our government and the world know that we as Christians and Americans, will not forget while one of us is left behind. Be their VOICE, too many are still unaware. Encourage others to join in the campaign to save their lives. Keep the fires going and keep the light shining, so all may find their way. And most importantly PRAY!

HOW TO GET INVOLVED! Note: CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED

(Links have been removed, campaigns have ended)

Share this mission, every VOICE counts!

SAEED ABEDINI

Sign the petition to help free Saeed

We encourage you to write a personal letter of encouragement to Pastor Saeed. You can personalize a card or letter by sending a family photo. Younger children may participate by sending a drawing, also encouraging him in this time of trial. Learn how HERE

KENNETH BAE

Sign the petition to bring Kenneth back home.

A letter-writing campaign for Kenneth was launched by the two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, previously imprisoned in North Korea, because letters were what sustained them during their detainment.

Please send words of hope, strength, and news. Learn how HERE

persecutionprisonersdreamstime

Kenneth Bae returned to labor camp, sister pleads for his release #BringBackBae

Bae-Chung

Kenneth Bae, the 45-year-old American held in North Korea since 2012 leaves hospital and is sent back to labor camp. The US Department of State has expressed concern for him and his serious health condition with this latest development.

Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said,

“The Department of State has learned that the DPRK (North Korea) transferred Mr. Bae from a hospital to a labor camp, a development with which we are deeply concerned.”

“We continue to urge DPRK authorities to grant Mr. Bae special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds,” she added.

Kenneth Bae’s sister pleads for his release.

“Our family was delighted to hear President Obama advocate for the release of Kenneth Bae during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning:

“And finally, as we build the future we seek, let us never forget those who are persecuted today, among them Americans of faith. We pray for Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who has been held in North Korea for 15 months. Sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, his family wants him home and the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.”

Tears sprung to our eyes as we heard the President affirm our family’s pleas and said he would do everything possible to secure my brother’s release. We are grateful to have the commitment of our nation’s highest leader to bringing Kenneth home, which is great reassurance to our weary spirits, now 15 months into Kenneth’s imprisonment in DPRK (North Korea).

We are so encouraged by the President’s remarks. President Obama joins a growing chorus of people from around the world who have advocated for Kenneth publicly or have reached out to us personally with a supportive word.

Yesterday the last surviving members of the U.S. Congress to have served in the Korean War—Rep. Charles Rangel from New York, Rep. John Conyers Jr. from Michigan, Rep. Sam Johnson from Texas and Rep Howard Coble from North Carolina—sent a letter to DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, asking him to release Kenneth. We thank them as well, as this movement to bring Kenneth home grows even stronger.

Every day, we receive heart-warming messages of encouragement and prayers from concerned citizens across the country. It is clear that many Americans are invested in this cause to see this fellow American come home to his family, and it gives us hope to continue our advocacy for Kenneth’s freedom.

We hope that President Obama’s remarks help spark further dialogue between the US and the DPRK toward a peaceful resolution for Kenneth’s case. We reiterate our plea to DPRK leaders to grant Kenneth amnesty and allow him to return home to his family. He has admitted his crimes in violation of DPRK laws, has served more than a year in detainment, and continues to struggle with his health. We ask for your mercy to allow Kenneth to come home.”

Terri Chung
Sister of Kenneth Bae
February 6, 2014

FreeKenNow (site no longer owned by the campaign)
Victories come by the tens of thousands of supporter signatures. Help our voice be heard to advocate for Kenneth’s release and implore our government to take direct, urgent action to bring him home. Sign the petition to bring Kenneth back home.

A letter-writing campaign for Kenneth was launched by the two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, previously imprisoned in North Korea, because letters were what sustained them during their detainment.

Please send words of hope, strength, and news to: campaign has ended

Please avoid including anything in the letters that could potentially anger the North Koreans or put Kenneth in further jeopardy. To protect your identity (email address) from the North Korea, the letters are compiled and sent to the U.S. State Department. Letters may also be signed with your first name only. The screened letters are passed to Kenneth through the Swedish ambassador to North Korea, who handles relations with the DPRK on behalf of the United States. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Please keep our brother, Kenneth Bae in your prayers!

An Appalling Betrayal of American Pastor Saeed Abedini

SaeedAbedini
The ACLJ reports that on the night of November 23, 2013, the President of the United States left an American pastor, Saeed Abedini, behind.

The “deal” with Iran announced tonight by President Obama, which allegedly halts “part” of Iran’s nuclear program, allows Iran to enrich uranium and allows it to maintain a nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions and humanitarian relief.

It is outrageous that the Obama Administration commenced these negotiations and concluded them without the release of Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen.  In fact, the Administration has just confirmed that he was not even part of the negotiations, stating that “The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”

The Obama Administration did not volunteer this information; it was revealed only after a specific inquiry from Fox News.

For more than a year, Pastor Saeed has undergone torture at the hands of his Iranian captors, most recently being transferred to one of the most deadly prisons in the world.  Yet instead of demanding the release of this innocent U.S. citizen as a precondition to any negotiations with Iran, the Obama Administration is relaxing sanctions and providing humanitarian relief, while getting nothing but more meaningless promises in return.

Humanitarian relief?

Iran has been in a state of armed conflict against the U.S. since 1979. It has taken American hostages, killed Americans directly through terror attacks, and has been a principal supplier of arms to our jihadist enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In other words, Iran has American blood on its hands.

Iran has been our enemy since the jihadist takeover in 1979, and it remains our enemy. It holds an American pastor — torturing him in horrific prison conditions — merely because it hates his Christian faith.

Pastor Saeed entered Iran with the permission of the Iranian government to help construct an orphanage, a mission to help the most vulnerable in Iranian society.  Once there, he was arrested, tried without even being allowed to be present for his entire trial, convicted of nothing more than his Christian faith, and held in appalling conditions.

And we’re giving Iran humanitarian relief?

It is difficult to comprehend the level of betrayal.  We have made “deals” with tyrants before.  One of former President Bill Clinton’s gifts to the world was the 1994 “agreed framework” that provided U.S. aid in exchange for an alleged halt in North Korea’s nuclear program.  The result? North Korea is now not only a nuclear power but also a nuclear proliferator that has worked with Iran.

We have left Pastor Saeed behind in the vain hope that we can trust Iran.

It is a dark, cold night in America.

ACLJ

Arab Spring Egypt’s ‘Legal’ Persecution of Christians

egypt map

Source

Post “Arab Spring” Egypt continues exposing its true nature, including now legal persecution of Christians. Earlier this month, according to Fox News,  Dimyana Abdel-Nour a “pale, young Christian woman sat handcuffed in the courtroom, accused of insulting Islam while teaching history of  religions to fourth-graders.” Her accusers are 10-year-old Muslim children who say she “showed disgust when she spoke of Islam in class.”

According to Islamic law, the word of inferior Christians cannot  stand against that of superior Muslims—even if they are resentful or confused children.

Released on bail, Dimyana is unable to talk and “suffering a nervous breakdown.”

The report continues:

Criminalizing blasphemy was enshrined in the country’s Islamist-backed constitution that was adopted in December. Writers,  activists and even a famous television comedian have been accused of blasphemy since then. But Christians seem to be the favorite target of  Islamist prosecutors. Their fragile cases — the main basis of the case against Abdel-Nour’s case the testimony of children — are greeted with sympathy from courtroom judges with their own religious bias or who fear the wrath of Islamists, according to activists. The result is a growing number of Egyptians, including many Christians, who have been convicted and sent to prison for blasphemy…. Part of the Salafis’ antagonism toward Christians is rooted in the belief that they were a protected group under Mubarak’s regime while they, the Salafis, were persecuted. Now empowered, they may be out to exact revenge on the Christians….

Indeed, before President Obama threw Hosni Mubarak under the bus in the name of “freedom” and “democracy,” Christians were at least legally protected: Muslim mobs were limited to lawless attacks on Christian churches and persons. But now that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis are in charge, Egypt’s Christians are now also experiencing legal persecution in the courtrooms, especially in the context of blasphemy.

raymond-ibrahim-crucified-again-smThe following cases of blasphemy laws targeting Christians, some of  which were never reported in the West, represent a mere sampling of post  “Arab Spring” Egypt. For many more such cases, including all around the  Muslim world, see my new book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (April, 2013, published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute.

  • In November 2012, an Egyptian court decreed that eight Christians living in America—seven native Egyptians, and one American, Pastor Terry  Jones—be sent to Egypt and executed in connection with the 16-minute YouTube Muhammad video. The prosecution offered no real evidence against the Christians, most of whom deny any involvement, and instead relied on inciting Muslims against the accused by replaying the video in the  courtroom.
  • Last September, 27-year-old Copt Albert Saber was accused of posting clips of the Muhammad movie—which he had actually downloaded from a Muslim site, not YouTube. Muslims attacked and evicted him and his mother from their home; he was arrested and is currently awaiting a multi-year sentence.
  • In March 2012, Makram Diab, a 49-year-old Christian, was sentenced in a 10-minute show trial to six years in prison for “insulting  Muhammad.” He had gotten into a religious argument with a Muslim colleague, who went on to protest that Diab had offended the prophet. The judge doubled the sentence to appease an angry mob, 2,500 strong,  which had surrounded the courtroom demanding Diab’s death.
  • In August 2012, Bishoy Kamil, a Copt in his 20s who worked as a teacher, was arrested and given six years in prison for posting cartoons deemed insulting to Islam and its prophet on Facebook. Like Diab, he was given more than double the maximum penalty to appease mob calls for his death.
  • In April 2012, Gamal Abdu Massud, a teenage Christian student, was sentenced to three years on accusations that he had posted a Muhammad cartoon on his Facebook  account, which had only some 135 friends. Apparently the wrong “friend” saw it, for it was not long before local Muslims rioted, burning the  Coptic teenager’s house as well as the homes of five other Christians.
  • In June 2011, another Christian woman, Naima Wahib Habil, newly hired as director of a junior high school for girls, was sentenced to  two years imprisonment on the accusation that she had torn a copy of the Koran in front of her students. The rumor inspired mob riots and calls for her death.

 

blasphemyHuman rights activist Magdi Khalil of Coptic Solidarity told me that  in all these cases “Islamist prosecutors rely exclusively on circumstantial evidence. And the judges do not behave like impartial  judges, but rather as demagogues haranguing an already frenzied mob, and then sacrificing the Copts to satisfy them. Nor do they allow any representation for the accused. Judges just show up and pass their verdicts in very brief mock trials.”

Such is the new Egypt that Obama helped create—despite all the  glaring warning signs that it would develop just like this. Christian persecution in Egypt has gone from being a common, though technically illegal, phenomenon, to being widespread, and now legal.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.  A Middle East and Islam expert, he is a Shillman Fellow at the David  Horowitz Freedom Center and associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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