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Fines for Worship, Prison for Bible Study in China

Persecuted Chinese Christians

The Persecution of Believers in China

Amid increasing attempts to suppress religious activities, Chinese authorities have detained, fined, and imprisoned Christians for public worship, buying and selling devotionals, and group Bible study.

In late April, a court in Xinjiang convicted five Protestants who attended a Bible study in 2016, charging them with “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order,” Asia News reported. The verdict came with five-year prison sentences for two pastors, and four- and three-year sentences for three others. They plan to appeal.

Earlier in April, authorities raided a Christian concert and arrested those attending. Taiwanese Pastor Xu Rongzhang was singing “Jesus Loves You” when the raid took place, China Aid reported. Before releasing them, officials forced the Christians to say they would not organize large gatherings again and told Xu not to hold any meetings of more than 10 people.

A Chinese court also recently convicted prominent Christian human rights lawyer Li Heping on charges of subverting state power. Judges sentenced Li to three years in prison but suspended the sentence for four years. If he does not reoffend during that time, Li will stay out of prison.

Since 1997, Li has defended dissidents, victims of forced evictions, and members of the banned Falun Gong religious group. Officials detained him and nearly 250 others in 2015, in what Amnesty International condemned as a nationwide crackdown against human rights lawyers and activists. Amnesty said the Communist Party’s official newspaper described it as an attempt to destroy a “major criminal gang.”

Several of those lawyers and activists remain in detention, even though Western governments urged Beijing to release them.

Earlier this year, officials in Xinjiang targeted a network of Christian house churches and arrested more than 80 people. They fined and later released them, according to China Aid.

All these incidents illustrate the worsening persecution of Christians under President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on religious activity and human rights. Critics say he wants to eradicate any potential opposition to the ruling Communist Party.

Because religious freedom in China continued to erode in 2016, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called on the U.S. State Department to keep China listed as a country of particular concern in its recently released 2017 report.

USCIRF reported China’s government revised regulations to more tightly control religious groups, increased penalties against “illegal” Christian churches and activities, and formally prohibited any religion from harming “national security” concerns.

A campaign to remove crosses from churches has continued, and officials targeted and imprisoned Christians who spoke out against it, including Pastor Bao Guohua and his wife, Xing Wenxiang. Not even members of state-sponsored churches were safe from persecution.

China also continues to suppress other religious groups, including Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong, while continuing to forcibly repatriate North Korean refugees, according to USCIRF.

“It is crucial that the U.S. government not only integrate human rights messaging—including on freedom of religion or belief—across its interactions with China, but also consistently make clear that it opposes Beijing’s overt violations of international human rights standards,” USCIRF said in its report.

 

 

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The Forgotten Genocide: Why It Matters Today


A still frame from the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, which portrayed eye witnessed events from the Armenian Genocide, including crucified Christian girls.

 

April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the Armenian genocide that took place under Turkey’s Islamic Ottoman Empire, during and after WWI.

Out of an approximate population of two million, some 1.5 million Armenians died. If early 20th century Turkey had the apparatuses and technology to execute in mass—such as 1940s Germany’s gas chambers—the entire Armenian population may well have been annihilated.  Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide:

More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse.  A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey” lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century.  At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

 

Indeed, evidence has been overwhelming.  U.S. Senate Resolution 359 from 1920 heard testimony that included evidence of “mutilation, violation, torture, and death which have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.”  In her memoir, Ravished ArmeniaAurora Mardiganiandescribed being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

What do Americans know of the Armenian Genocide?  To be sure, some American high school textbooks acknowledge it.  However, one of the primary causes for it—perhaps the fundamental cause—is completely unacknowledged: religion.  The genocide is always articulated through a singularly secular paradigm, one that deems valid only those factors that are intelligible from a modern, secular, Western point of view, such as identity politics, nationalism, and territorial disputes. As can be imagined, such an approach does little more than project Western perspectives onto vastly different civilizations of different eras, thus anachronizing history.

War, of course, is another factor that clouds the true face of the Armenian genocide.  Because these atrocities occurred during WWI, so the argument goes, they are ultimately a reflection of just that—war, in all its chaos and destruction, and nothing more.  Yet Winston Churchill, who described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust,” correctly observed that “The opportunity [WWI] presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race.”  Even Adolf Hitler had pointed out that “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

It is the same today throughout the Muslim world, wherever there is war: after the U.S. toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the nation’s Christian minority were first to be targeted for systematic persecution resulting in more than half of Iraq’s indigenous Christian population fleeing their homeland.  [In recent years that war came] to Syria—with the U.S. supporting the jihadis and terrorists—the Christians there are on the run for their lives.

There is no denying that religion—or in this context, the age-old specter of Muslim persecution of Christian minorities—was fundamental to the Armenian Genocide.  Even the most cited factor, ethnic identity conflict, while legitimate, must be understood in light of the fact that, historically, religion—creed—accounted more for a person’s identity than language or heritage.   This is daily demonstrated throughout the Islamic world today, where Muslim governments and Muslim mobs persecute Christian minorities—minorities who share the same ethnicity, language, and culture, who are indistinguishable from the majority, except, of course, for being non-Muslims.

If Christians are thus being singled out today—in our modern, globalized, “humanitarian” age—are we to suppose that they weren’t singled out a century ago by Turks?

Similarly, often forgotten is the fact that non-Armenians under Turkish hegemony, Assyrians and Greeks for example, were also targeted for cleansing.   The only thing that distinguished  Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks from Turks was that they were all Christian.  As one Armenian studies professor asks, “If it [the Armenian Genocide] was a feud between Turks and Armenians, what explains the genocide carried out by Turkey against the Christian Assyrians at the same time?”

Today, as Turkey continues moving back to reclaiming its Islamic heritage, so too has Christian persecution returned.  If Turks taunted their crucified Armenian victims by saying things like “Now let your Christ come and help you,” [A few years back], an 85-year-old Christian Armenian woman was repeatedly stabbed to death in her apartment, and a crucifix carved onto her naked corpse.   Another elderly Armenian woman was punched in the head and, after collapsing to the floor, repeatedly kicked by a masked man.   According to the report, “the attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women,” one of whom lost an eye.  Elsewhere, pastors of church congregations with as little as 20 people are targeted for killing and spat upon in the streets.  A 12-year-old Christian boy was beaten by his teacher and harassed by students for wearing a cross around his neck, and three Christians were “satanically tortured” before having their throats slit for publishing Bibles.

Outside of Turkey, what is happening to the Christians of today from one end of the Muslim world to the other is a reflection of what happened to the Armenian Christians of yesterday.   We can learn about the past by looking at the present.  From Indonesia in the east to Morocco in the west, from Central Asia in the north, to sub-Sahara Africa—that is, throughout the entire Islamic world—Muslims are, to varying degrees, persecuting, killing, raping, enslaving, torturing and dislocating Christians.  See the book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for a comprehensive account of one of the greatest—yet, like the Armenian Genocide, little known—atrocities of our times.

Here is one relevant example to help appreciate the patterns and parallels: in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, Muslims, led by the Islamic organization, Boko Haram (“Western Education is Forbidden”) are waging a bloody jihad on the Christian minorities in their midst.  These two groups—black Nigerian Muslims and black Nigerian Christians—are identical in all ways except, of course, for being Muslims and Christians.  And what is Boko Haram’s objective in all this carnage?  To cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christians—a goal rather reminiscent of Ottoman policies of cleansing Turkey of all Christians, whether Armenian, Assyrian, or Greek.

How does one explain this similar pattern of Christian persecution—this desire to be cleansed of Christians—in lands so different from one another as Nigeria and Turkey, lands which share neither race, language, nor culture, which share only Islam?  Meanwhile, the modern Islamic world’s response to the persecution of Christians is identical to Turkey’s response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial.

Finally, to understand how the historic Armenian Genocide is representative of the modern day plight of Christians under Islam, one need only read the following words written in 1918 by President Theodore Roosevelt—but read “Armenian” as “Christian” and “Turkish” as  “Islamic”:

the Armenian [Christian] massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey [the Islamic world] is to condone it… the failure to deal radically with the Turkish [Islamic] horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.

Indeed, if we “fail to deal radically” with the “horror” currently being visited upon millions of Christians around the Islamic world—which in some areas has reached genocidal proportions—we “condone it” and had better cease talking “mischievous nonsense” of a utopian world of peace and tolerance.

Put differently, silence is always the ally of those who would commit genocide.  In 1915, Adolf Hitler rationalized his genocidal plans, which he implemented some three decades later, when he rhetorically asked: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

And who speaks today of the annihilation of Christians under Islam?

 

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Inspiring Insight from United Airlines Firestorm

Twisted United

The daughter and attorney of Dr. David Dao held a news conference yesterday morning. The attorney told reporters that when his client was forcibly evicted from the United flight last Sunday, he suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two front teeth. Dr. Dao’s daughter stated, “What happened to my dad should’ve never happened to any human being.”

As the United firestorm continues, a dear friend shared an insight with me that I asked his permission to share with you. Dr. David Dykes is the longtime pastor of the amazing Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. Regarding the man pulled from the flight, his first thought was, “When they are dragging this bleeding man off the plane, why didn’t someone stand up and say, ‘Let him go. I’ll take his place. Take me instead’?

“I suppose all the passengers were shocked and stunned into silence. I’m just glad that 2,000 years ago when I should have been the one rejected and bloodied, Jesus stepped forward and said, ‘Let him go. I’ll take his place. Take me instead!’”

St. Melito, bishop of Sardis (died AD 180), described well what Jesus experienced on Good Friday: he “endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.”

How should we respond to such sacrificial grace?

In Psalm 101, David vowed: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (v. 3). After a long discussion of foods that are suitable for eating, the Lord concludes: “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). Paul encouraged us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). He added that “God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7). Job testified, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1).

When we make a covenant with ourselves to choose holiness, we experience the power of God that enables us to be holy. Oswald Chambers: “Eternal life is not a gift from God, eternal life is the gift of God. The energy and the power which was manifested in Jesus will be manifested in us by the sheer sovereign grace of God when once we have made the moral decision about sin.”

When we decide to die to sin, “the full life of God comes in.” If we keep choosing to be holy, “slowly and surely the great full life of God will invade us in every part, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.”

Just as Good Friday led to Resurrection Sunday for Jesus, it can be the same for us. If we decide today to die to sin, we will experience the resurrection life of the risen Christ. “In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,” we will “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). Others will see Christ in us and be drawn to him, and every day will be Easter.

 

 

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Former Abortionist Explains Why She Became Pro-Life

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March 20, 2017 · 9:30 am

‘Where’s Your Little Arm?’: Abortionists Can’t Hide Behind the ‘Clump of Cells’ Line Anymore

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Planned Parenthood’s abortion providers know full and well they’re not removing just a “clump of cells.” That’s the clear verdict from two former clinic managers in new video interviews posted last week.

Sue Thayer and Marianne Anderon shared their first-hand experience of watching abortion providers for Planned Parenthood dismember then reassemble the so-called “products of conception” following the procedure, to make sure they “got everything.” The women spoke with Live Action about what they witnessed, and how Planned Parenthood knows they’re killing babies.

Thayer described what happened to babies after the abortion — a gruesome process of rinsing and sorting baby body parts. After putting the parts in a glass jar on a shelf under a light, “You kind of piece it back together and try to see if you got all the parts” she explained. She recalled standing over the aborted baby and asking, “Why are there three arms? …The gal training me said, ‘Twins, it was twins.’” When Thayer asked whether they told moms about twins, her trainer said, “No, it usually just upsets them.”

Following the sorting, the aborted babies were “flushed” down a sink into the city’s septic system, Thayer said. “I just remember standing there thinking, ‘All those babies are in the Des Moines sewer system.’”

Talking to the Baby Parts

It is clear, when looking at the so-called “products of conception” after an abortion, that it is a human baby with arms, legs, a head and other recognizable parts — not a clump of cells. Nurse Marianne Anderson said she witnessed abortionists talking to the baby body parts and excitedly putting pieces of the baby back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

“There was one doctor that would sit there and he would sometimes talk to this,” said Anderson. “I’ll never forget him saying, ‘Now, where’s your little arm? I didn’t see your — I’m missing this arm,’ and he would sift through it trying to find the pieces. And then I remember him saying, ‘Oh there you are, now where’s the head?’”

Another abortionist asked for a special light to illuminate the body pieces, Anderson recalled, and he seemed particularly excited when he was able to put the baby back together. “He really seemed to get into it,” she said. “I’ll never forget the first day he was there. He goes, ‘Look at this! This is so cool!’” He would describe how he could see blood vessels and other intricate body parts.

Masking the Truth to Mothers

The line about the pregnancy being a “clump of cells” is a way for Planned Parenthood to mask the truth to the mother, much in the same way that preventing the mother from viewing the ultrasound prior to the abortion is a way to keep her from seeing life in her womb, said Abby Johnson, former executive director for a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Johnson told Mike Huckabee in an interview how she assisted an ultrasound-guided abortion and saw the profile of a baby — face, arms, legs, tummy —  and recognized life. The baby tried to get away from the doctor’s probe  — fighting for its life — before it crumbled in front of her eyes. She dropped the ultrasound probe in shock. It was the last abortion she attended and she quit shortly thereafter. “I can’t help but believe if [moms] saw that they might be running out of those clinics,” said Huckabee.

From false euphemisms to turning an ultrasound away from the mother (or fighting legislation requiring one prior to an abortion), Planned Parenthood goes to great lengths to keep women in the dark on what really happens during an abortion. But it’s clear they know exactly what they are doing — and it isn’t scraping cells.

See the Live Action interviews below:

 

 

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Previously untouched 600BC palace discovered under shrine demolished by Isil in Mosul

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Archaeologists documenting Isil’s destruction of the ruins of the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah say they have made an unexpected discovery which could help in our understanding of the world’s first empire.

The Nebi Yunus shrine – containing what Muslims and Christians believe to be the tomb of Jonah, as he was known in the Bible, or Yunus in the Koran – was blown up by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants soon after they seized huge swathes of northern Iraq in 2014.

The shrine is situated on top of a hill in eastern Mosul called Nebi Yunus – one of two mounds that form part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

The Iraqi army retook the area from Isil last month, revealing the extensive damage wrought by the jihadists.

But local archaeologists have told the Telegraph that Isil also dug tunnels deep under the demolished shrine and into a previously undiscovered and untouched 600BC palace.

Limited excavation was carried out by the Ottoman governor of Mosul in 1852, which was revisited by the Iraqi department of antiquities in the 1950s. But neither team reached as far as the palace.

“I can only imagine how much Daesh discovered down there before we got here” Archaeologist Layla Salih

It is the first evidence of Isil’s use of tunneling in ancient grounds in their hunt for artefacts to plunder.

Inside one of the tunnels, Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih discovered a marble cuneiform inscription of King Esarhaddon thought to date back to the Assyrian empire in 672BC.

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While the king’s name is not visible on the cuneiform slab, a historian who has seen photographs of it says phrases are legible which were used only to describe him, in particular his rebuilding of Babylon after his father Sennacherib had it destroyed.

The palace was built for Sennacherib, renovated and expanded by Esarhaddon (681-669 BC), and renovated again by Ashurbanipal (669-627). It was partly destroyed during the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BC.

There are only a handful of such cuneiforms recovered from the period, most of which from the second mound just north of Nebi Yunus in Kouyunjik.

In another part of the tunnel they discovered Assyrian stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, depicted sprinkling the “water of life” to protect humans in her care.

“I’ve never seen something like this in stone at this large size,” said Prof Eleanor Robson, chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, suggesting they may have been used to decorate the women’s quarter of the palace. “The objects don’t match descriptions of what we thought was down there, so Isil’s destruction has actually led us to a fantastic find.

“There’s a huge amount of history down there, not just ornamental stones. It is an opportunity to finally map the treasure-house of the world’s first great empire, from the period of its greatest success.”

Ms Salih, a former curator of the Mosul museum who is supervising a five-man team carrying out the emergency documentation, said she believes Isil looted hundreds of objects before Iraqi forces recaptured the eastern side of the city.

“I can only imagine how much Daesh discovered down there before we got here,” she told the Telegraph by phone from Mosul. “We believe they took many of the artefacts, such as pottery and smaller pieces, away to sell. But what they left will be studied and will add a lot to our knowledge of the period.”

She warned that the tunnels were not professionally built, however, and are at risk of collapsing “within weeks” – burying and potentially destroying the new finds.

Experts from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq – alongside other international teams – are bidding to help local archaeologists secure and document the site. Unesco is due to hold a meeting in Paris later this month to decide who will be sent.

The terror group destroyed several other key landmarks in Mosul and elsewhere because they considered the worshipping of shrines not to be in keeping with their Islamic traditions.  Isil militants believe giving special veneration to tombs and relics is against the teachings of Islam.

A report just released by the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government lists some 100 sacred buildings damaged or wiped off the map during Isil’s two-year reign.

They closed all of Mosul’s museums and cultural centres during their more than two-year reign over the city. Many of the city’s archaeologists and historians went into hiding.

“Many decided to stay in the city when Isil came, fearing what they might do to their families if they fled,” said Prof Robson. “They hid their books and lied about their expertise. Thankfully, most of them survived.”

 

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March 3, 2017 · 11:00 am

Street preachers convicted for quoting Bible in ‘modern day heresy trial’

    

Two street preachers have been convicted of public order offences, after a public prosecutor claimed that quoting parts of the King James Bible in the context of modern British society “must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter”.
The prosecutor had argued that free speech must yield to multicultural reality in modern Britain, and that there was a clear threat to violence due to the words of the preachers and the criticism of Islam.

Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were convicted today (28 FEB) at Bristol Magistrates’ Court. On Friday (25 FEB) the court dismissed the case against a third man, Adrian Clark, ruling that there was no case to answer.

During the four-day trial, prosecutor Ian Jackson, claimed:

“To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”

  
The men were found guilty under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, for using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and the offence was religiously aggravated.”

Michael Phillips, who represented the street preachers, said:

“This prosecution is nothing more than a modern-day heresy trial – dressed up under the public order act.”
Free to criticise Islam?

Mr Stockwell had quoted a Bible verse in which Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life” and that he is the only way to heaven.

Mr Stockwell said:

“If you are trying to come through Catholicism, through Jehovah Witness, through Mormonism, the Bible says you’re a thief and a liar and a thief comes to steal and destroy. But Christ came that we may have life.”

He also entered debate with a Muslim gentleman in which both individuals stated opposition to the other’s religious beliefs.

Mr Stockwell said: “Men should be able to proclaim the truth and have diverse differences in the public forum, agreeing to disagree without harm or repercussions. Truth today is the new hate.”

He continued: “I am an American and there is no free speech in England. You criticise Islam; and a group of individuals don’t like what you say and threaten violence to silence speech they disapprove of. The Police and Court shut down the ‘free speech’ to avoid public disorder. It is a green light to the Islamists and any other radical groups to silence speech. The Police should be protecting us.”

Mr Overd said: “You can’t have the threat of violence and public disorder to stop us criticising Islam and other lifestyles. Where is our freedom? If you don’t like what I said, just move on and let others heard the message, but they want to end the free speech.”

The court has awarded legal costs of £2016 against both Mr Overd and Mr Stockwell. A Criminal Behaviour Order is being pursued against Mr Overd, with the hearing delayed until May 2017.
‘Over the top’

Mr Overd and his three friends were preaching in Bristol’s Broadmead Shopping Centre last year (6 JUL 2016).

They took it in turns to preach, and as they did so, a crowd gathered. At points, the crowd was loud and aggressive, with some swearing and being abusive towards the men. There was also, however, debate between the preachers and members of the crowd, especially on the differences between Islam and Christian belief. Several hecklers appeared to be supportive of Islam.

Police did not arrive on the scene until about an hour into the preaching. A police officer approached Mr Clark, asking him to turn off his amplification, which he did.

Shortly afterwards a mounted police officer asked Mr Clark to stop preaching so that she could speak to him. Whilst Mr Clark spoke with the officer, Mr Overd took over the preaching.

Soon afterwards, another police officer approached Mr Overd and told him that he was “causing a disturbance” and “not welcome”.

The officer told Mr Overd that he was going to give him a Dispersal Notice. But instead of doing so, he forcibly removed Mr Overd from the scene, despite Mr Overd (who suffers from chronic back pain) crying out in pain.

The officer is later heard asking for advice on whether the men could be charged with offences, saying that Mr Overd has “gone over the top” and “he’s just wound up people”.
Public order offences

Mr Overd and his friends were eventually taken to Patchway Custody Centre, Bristol, held for several hours, and released on police bail to return for questioning.

They were charged under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 for using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and the offence was religiously aggravated.”

The charge against one of the men was subsequently dropped, however.

But the remaining three were additionally charged with offences under the Public Order Act 1986 and summonsed to appear in court in early 2017.
Freedoms at stake

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the preachers says that the case raises huge questions about the state of freedom of speech and freedom of religion in this country and will be appealed. People will be shocked that a court now considers the Bible itself to be a form of hate speech, she says.

Andrea Williams said: “The Bible and its teachings are the foundation of our society and provided many of the freedoms and protections that we still enjoy today. So it is extraordinary that the prosecution, speaking on behalf of the state, could say that the Bible contains abusive words which, when spoken in public, constitute a criminal offence. Today’s ruling, in effect, states that Bible is offensive and contains illegal speech which should not be shared in public. This is a very serious state of affairs and the men will be considering next steps to challenge this decision.

‘Offence’ is a very subjective thing and is easily manipulated to shut down viewpoints that people simply don’t like. Any suggestion that there is a right not to be offended must be strongly resisted. In today’s democracy, we need the freedom to debate, challenge and disagree.

“Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell were saying nothing that wouldn’t be heard at speakers’ corner in Hyde Park – presenting the claims of the Bible, answering the crowd’s questions and objections and responding calmly to abuse which was hurled at them. For a court to rule that this breaks the law is extraordinary.”
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The Things that Make for Peace

I love Adrian Rogers and his to-the-point teaching style. You’ll be blessed with his address to the church and how we need to be gracious one to another.

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France passes law imposing up to two years prison for running pro-life websites

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PARIS, France, February 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The French National Assembly has adopted legislation to make what it calls “spreading misleading information” about abortion punishable with up to a two-year prison sentence and a fine.

The law specifically targets “electronic” and “online” means of spreading information with the intention of dissuading women from ending their pregnancy, but its wording is not restrictive. By and large, any person or group aiming to call public attention to the dangers and risks of abortion will be potentially at risk of prosecution.

Thursday’s vote was the final stage of a lawmaking process that saw various versions of the text come alternately before the Assembly and the Senate. The upper house repeatedly tried to impose less severe wording without trying to scrap the law entirely. In the absence of an agreement between the two governing bodies, the National Assembly has the last word and so it achieved its aim of virtually outlawing pro-life speech.

The law was adopted by a show of hands – an indication that few lawmakers were present in the Chamber – during which all left-wing representatives present as well as a majority of the centrists voted for the measure. It is the latest in a series of pro-abortion laws that have made “voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” as the French euphemism goes, a purely elective and 100 percent publicly-funded “fundamental right” since socialist François Hollande came into power five years ago.

The criminalization of negative information on abortion is the result of a process that began when members of Hollande’s socialist government realized that Google searches were linking women to pro-life groups. These sites explain the risks and realities of the procedure and where to find assistance to help women keep their baby.

The Ministry of Health responded by putting up a government information site on abortion that is limited to providing details about access to the procedure. It also characterizes as “misconceptions’ the allegations that abortion can have negative side effects and cause health problems or psychological consequences. Included is a page on “misinformation about voluntary interruption of pregnancy” that claims there are pro-life sites masquerading as information sites. Women are urged to link to Planned Parenthood or sites that list abortion center addresses. There is no information on help and public subsidies for expectant mothers.

This initiative did not suffice to gag the pro-life sites the government wanted to relegate to insignificance. So it came up with a new law. It in effect expands an existing ban on “moral and psychological pressure searching to hinder abortion that was adopted in 2001 in order to stop peaceful pro-life activists from speaking to women planning an abortion or organizing demonstrations near abortion centers in clinics and public hospitals.”

The law was rarely used, but Dr. Xavier Dor, a well-known elderly and almost blind pro-lifer, was fined heavily for having given knitted baby boots to a woman he spoke to in the public stairway of the building where Planned Parenthood has its Paris offices.

The new law imposed the same punishment – a maximum of two years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine – on any manner of “spreading or transmitting allegations or indications liable to intentionally mislead, with the purpose of deterring (from abortion), on the characteristics or medical consequences of a voluntary interruption of abortion.”

The Republican (center right) party said the law was a deliberate infringement of freedom of expression and voted against. They also intend to submit the text to the Constitutional Council in the hope of having it declared contrary to the French Constitution.

But while the party was in power, it made no move to abrogate the existing law that already bans “moral and psychological pressure” aiming to dissuade a woman from having an abortion. This has become a pattern in France over the last 40 years since abortion was made legal. All aggravating texts, once voted into law by the left, have never been disputed by the right when it came back into power.

Marisol Touraine, the minister of health, said the law exclusively targets websites that do not present themselves as being pro-life while aiming to deter women from having abortions. Laurence Rossignol, minister for women’s rights, said opponents to abortion would still be free to voice their opinion “under the condition they openly state who they are, what they do and what they want.”

However, the wording of the law does not match this restriction. As it stands, it can be used to prosecute those with any “information” that presents abortion in an unfavorable light and pushes women not to choose abortion. The law does not define who has authority to judge whether information is officially “misleading.” That will be up to judges in principle and specifically to health and government officials.

If government information on abortion is anything to go by, misinformation is likely to run rampant. It calls surgical abortion an “aspiration of the egg” and asserts that “abortion is not the removing of a life,” as Rossignol said in the National Assembly.

Jean-Marie Le Méné, president of the Fondation Lejeune, commented: “That which dissuades from abortion is not false information, but correct information.”

During the parliamentary debate, Rossignol went on record as saying: “Freedom of expression does not signify a right to lying.” That is why pro-lifers in France are slamming a law that attempts to prevent expression of an inconvenient truth.

 

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