Why school shootings: Not enough God, not enough guns

Image result for school prayer images

We have spent the last 60 years telling God to get lost from our public schools. It should come as no surprise that He’s not around when we need Him.

There was a man who was living in a neighborhood when a salesman came door to door selling home security systems. He told the salesman he already had one. “What’s your security system?” he asked. The man replied, “God and a loaded gun.”

 We have spent the last 60 years telling God to get lost from our public schools. It should come as no surprise that He’s not around when we need Him.

I know a man who was living in a neighborhood when a salesman came door to door selling home security systems. He told the salesman he already had one. “What’s your security system?” he asked. The man replied, “God and a loaded gun.”

Who failed Douglas High students the most and deserves the bulk of blame?

It wasn’t a matter of either/or but both/and. I suggest we have mass school shootings because we don’t have enough God on our campuses and we don’t have enough guns.

When tragic school shootings happen, like the one in Florida, everyone sends their “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims. But why don’t we pray before these shootings happen instead of waiting until somebody’s dead? Everyone understands that prayer in school is appropriate in the wake of a tragedy like this. But if it’s appropriate after, there’s no reason it’s not appropriate before.

Everyone understands that prayer in school is appropriate in the wake of a tragedy like this. But if it’s appropriate after, there’s no reason it’s not appropriate before.

Contrary to what the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and activist judges believe, there is absolutely NO constitutional prohibition against prayer in schools. Schools routinely incorporated prayer into their school days from the Founding until 1963, when activist judges mangled the Constitution and mysteriously materialized a prohibition out of the judicial ether, a prohibition that had remained completely undetected since 1791 when the Bill of Rights was first enacted.

The First Amendment only restricts the federal government: “CONGRESS shall make no law…” The First Amendment was never intended by the Founders to serve as a restraint on states or schools. In fact, the federal government is prohibited by the Founders’ Constitution from messing with prayer at all. The central government and all three of its branches – including the judiciary – is flatly forbidden from “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion in any way. So if a federal court – even the Supreme one – bans religious exercise in public schools, it is prohibiting something the Constitution protects, which means it is the COURT which is violating the Constitution, and not the schools.

In fact, properly speaking, it is impossible for a school, or an administrator, or a teacher, or a student to violate the First Amendment by offering public prayer on campus, for the simple reason that it was not written to restrain them. The Founders intended to leave all matters of religious regulation in the hands of the states.

As Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, wrote (emphasis mine):

“Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions.”

Bottom line, according to the Founders’ Constitution, if a state wants to allow prayer in schools, it is absolutely free to do so. It is time for state governments to start reclaiming that constitutional right whether a federal court likes it or not since federal courts have no jurisdiction in the matter.

We have spent the last 60 years telling God to get lost from our public schools. It should come as no surprise that He’s not around when we need Him.

It’s instructive to compare the number of school shootings prior to 1963 when prayer was permitted in schools and the number after when it wasn’t. According to Wikipedia, the number of school shootings by decade from 1900 until 1970 looks like this: 15, 19, 10, 9, 8, 17 (in the 1960s).

The increase by decade after prayer was removed from schools is almost geometric: 30 (in the 1970s), 39, 62, 60, and 145 (from 2010 to 2018, with the number growing virtually by the month).

The number of deaths from school shootings follows a similarly grisly progression. In the six decades prior to the removal of prayer from schools (1900-1960), there were 62 deaths from school shootings, an average of just over 10 per year. In the six decades since (1960-2017), the number has ratcheted up astronomically to 419 (from 28 in the 1960s to 124 so far in this decade), an average of just under 70 per year.

It has always been a matter of obvious and demonstrable fact that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all in these school shootings is that when a shooter comes on campus, there is rarely anyone – a teacher or an administrator – who is armed and able to stop him.

Armed school resource officers are simply not enough. There were two of them present on the Florida campus, but the shooter easily evaded them. Who knows how many adults were in a position to stop the shooter but, unarmed, couldn’t do anything but throw their own bodies over students to protect them, as one of the football coaches heroically did in Parkland.

The 2nd Amendment quite conspicuously protects the “right of the PEOPLE” (not just the military or law enforcement) “to keep and bear arms.” It’s there for self-defense, and for the protection of vulnerable people who look to us for protection – our families and our students.

Eighteen states now allow concealed carry on their college campuses or in cars in their parking lots, and an organization called Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) is now training teachers and administrators how to carry safely on high school campuses. According to FASTER, there are a total of 23,000 schools – nearly a third of all public schools – who have armed security on staff. May their tribe rapidly increase.

I remember hearing a story about a guy who was sitting on the roof of his house as the flood waters rose. A neighbor in a motorboat came by and asked him if wanted a ride. He said, “No, I’m trusting in God to save me.” Then a Coast Guard helicopter came by and asked if he wanted them to carry him to safety. “No,” he said, “I’m trusting in God to save me.” Shortly after that, a police boat came by and asked him if he wanted to jump in. He said, “No, I’m trusting in God to save me.”

Well, about that time the flood waters reached the roof and he drowned. When he reached heaven, he complained to God: “I trusted you to save me and you didn’t do it.” God’s reply: “What do you mean I didn’t save you? I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

We can’t very well blame God for not coming to our aid if we fail to use the tools (prayer and the Second Amendment) He has graciously given to us.


Trump at Prayer Breakfast Says US ‘Strengthened by the Power of Prayer’

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is second appearance at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump steered clear of partisan politics and focused on his belief in the country’s dependence on God.

“America’s a nation of believers and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer,” the president said in his 14-minute speech that emphasized connections between religion and government.

The 66th annual event, which drew more than 3,600 people to the Washington Hilton on Thursday (Feb. 8), was a time for prayer, speeches and networking between religious and political leaders from scores of countries. Guests at the breakfast of quiche, bagels and fruit salad included the presidents of Guatemala, Kosovo and Latvia.

Trump cited mentions of God in the Declaration of Independence, the words “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency and the etching of “Praise Be to God” atop the Washington Monument.

“Each year this event reminds us that faith is central to American life and to liberty,” he said. “Our rights are not given to us by man. Our rights come from our creator. No matter what, no earthly force can take those rights away.”

Trump’s speech, which also honored first responders, tireless teachers and hard-working parents, was a shift from his first speech to the annual event last year, in which he promised to “totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” a 1954 legislative measure that prohibits tax-exempt houses of worship from involvement in partisan politics.

He also garnered headlines last year for using the prayer breakfast to bash Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took over as host after Trump left the reality show “The Apprentice.”

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who spoke after Trump and described the “miracles” of his and others’ surviving a June shooting at a congressional baseball practice, expressed his appreciation for Trump’s challenge last year. He noted the House passed a measure to repeal the Johnson Amendment. But the Senate later removed it from the final tax bill.

Both Scalise, who declared “You can’t separate church from state,” and the president emphasized the importance of Americans’ right to express religious views.

“We see the power of God’s love at work in our souls and the power of God’s will to answer all of our prayers,” Trump said. “When Americans are able to live by their convictions, to speak openly of their faith and to teach their children what is right, our families thrive, our communities flourish and our nation can achieve anything at all.”

At times, the prayer breakfast almost resembled a celebration of faith healing, with an appearance by a military veteran who bounced back from serious injury in a car bomb attack in Iraq, and the president giving a shoutout to a 9-year-old girl who has a disabling illness but whose doctor said she was able to walk again because “this little girl has God on her side.”

Held in early February each year, the breakfast is sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation, a secretive Christian organization also known as the International Foundation. It is co-hosted by Democratic and Republican members of House and Senate weekly prayer groups. The breakfast is a predominantly evangelical Christian event, but Orthodox, Catholic and other Christians also take part, as do some non-Christians.

The breakfast also paid tribute to one of its longtime organizers, Doug Coe, who died last yearin late February.

President Trump described Coe as someone “who everybody loved” and added: “For 60 years Doug devoted his time and passion to this prayer breakfast and to many other wonderful causes.”

Coe had emphasized the foundation’s focus on people-to-people relationships. The breakfast is known not just for its big-ticket main event but the ancillary gatherings that give leaders a chance to meet and talk.

This year, there were a significant number of Russian attendees at a time when congressional leaders have been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.

Speaking in the corridor afterward, Konstantin Bendas of the Pentecostal Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith said that a delegation of about 55 Russians attended the breakfast.

“When politicians cannot agree with each other, that’s the time when mere humans, mere people, should step in and start negotiating,” he said, speaking through an interpreter. “And believing people will kneel in prayer. And I think partially we have managed to do that today.”

Other attendees said they appreciated the multiday opportunity to connect with other people of faith.

“A lot of people focus on just the breakfast,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of Enough Is Enough: Making the Internet Safer for Children and Families. “But it really is about three days of events and people coming together from all over the world and coming together in the spirit of Jesus.”


The Price of Kicking God Out of the Schools

The Price of Kicking God Out of the Schools

Tragically, there have been more school shootings in America. Our prayers are with the survivors and with the families of the victims. Reports even indicate that one coach in the Parkland, Florida shooting used his own body to shield others. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Many people are clamoring for gun control as if that would solve the problem. Of course, there used to be guns at school—long before there were school shootings.

Rev. Paul Blair, a Baptist minister in Oklahoma of the organization Reclaiming America for Christ, wrote an article recently talking about guns in his own public school background.

Says Blair, “In the school parking lot, every fourth car was a pickup truck, most of which had a rifle rack in the back window, a deer rifle hung on the rack and the windows rolled down. We never heard of such a thing as a school shooting. We knew right from wrong. We knew morality. Most of the students went to church as did most of our teachers.”

Of course, guns in the wrong hands can cause many problems. But the real issue gets back to the sinful heart of people.

I have interviewed Christian radio host and author Janet Parshall a few times through the years. One time, in a television interview for our program, “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?” (based on the book I wrote with Dr. D. James Kennedy), Parshall made this insightful observation: “I can’t quite frankly imagine a world where there hasn’t been a Christian influence because one has to ask themselves the question, if we extrapolate out of the human experience Christianity, what’s left? Well, I think that the answer to that question has to be the basic sin nature of man.”

Dr. Kennedy and I wrote a follow-up book called, What If The Bible Had Never Been Written? In this 1998 book, we noted, “Many of the humanists’ goals have been realized in the public school arena. They have managed to throw the Bible out of the schools. But the result has not been what they imagined.  By every conceivable criterion, our public schools are a mess, and the banishing of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage in the schools has everything to do with it.”

That was before the school shootings began, in the late 1990s.

Others have said we need heart control, as opposed to gun control. One man, E. Keith Easter, wrote: “Take the guns, planes, subways, knives, cars, trucks, hammers, axes and drugs away and unless we as a people have a heart change, more and more people will find something to use as a weapon.”

Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor emeritus of the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, wrote  Exploding the Myths That Could Destroy America. Note what he said on the absence of religion and its impact on morality: “An atheist’s logic tells him that he is of no more value than a baboon or a grain of sand, yet his life contradicts such a conclusion. He may provide for his wife and family, and if you were to steal his car he would want you to be punished—all this because he is created in the image of God.”

 Then Lutzer makes a chilling prediction in this 1986 book: “We have not yet seen the full result of humanism in the United States. We are still coasting on the values derived from our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.” Unfortunately, more and more people are following that atheistic logic out to its conclusion—and we are seeing the tragic results.

William McGuffey, the 19th century author of the best-selling McGuffey Readers, predicted: “Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man….Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling; and man would become, in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be—a companion for brutes.”

We hear the growing call for more and more laws, as though a thicker book of regulations could solve the problem. Yet we’ve seen that even the current laws and protocols are not properly enforced. John Adams noted that a free society must be a virtuous society, writing, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

We have a toxic stew in our society, where our schools have so often been turned into zones where Judeo-Christian morality is generally not allowed. I pray for a true national spiritual awakening. I believe it is America’s only real hope. Meanwhile, we are reaping what we have sown by essentially disallowing God in the schools.


Suspected Al Shabaab Militants Kill Three Christians in Northeast Kenya, Sources Say

Wajir County, Kenya. (Wikipedia)

NAIROBIKenya (Morning Star News) – Suspected members of Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab shot three Christians to death in northeastern Kenya at 1 a.m. on Friday (Feb. 16), sources said.

Targeting Kenyans who came from other areas to work in predominantly Somali Wajir, some 100 miles from the Somali border, the suspected terrorists from the Somali rebel group entered the sleeping quarters of personnel at Qarsa Primary School and killed two Christian teachers and the wife of one of them, sources told Morning Star News.

After killing Seth Oluoch Odada, his wife Caroline and teacher Kevin Shari, one of the assailants said in the Somali language, “These infidels [non-Muslims] should be wiped out,” a teacher who survived the attack told a worker at Wajir Referral Hospital, the worker told Morning Star News.

The pastor of an area church, undisclosed for security reasons, told Morning Star News that Odada and his wife attended his church.

“We are very concerned about this selective kind of attack on non-locals who are also Christians in this region,” the pastor said. “Our other church members are not safe. Many of the church members, including teachers, have started fleeing the area to their home villages, and some did not attend the church for the Sunday service.”

It was not known if Shari belonged to a church. The bodies of those killed have been transferred to Chiromo Mortuary in Nairobi.

The hospital worker said that after shooting the couple, one of the assailants entered the house Shari shared with the surviving teacher. The gunman shot at Shari, and the same bullet struck the hand of the survivor, who fell down and pretended to be dead, the hospital source said, adding that the injured man said the shooter wore a mask typical of Al Shabaab militants.

The area pastor said local people believe area residents have joined Al Shabaab.

“I think these are the people who killed the three Christians,” he said.

Wajir is becoming increasingly dangerous for Christians since Al Shabaab militants appear to have shifted from Mandera, where they have carried out attacks in the past few years before the government recently erected a 10-kilometer wall on the border there, the pastor said.

Fear has shaken Christians in Wajir, he said. In Garissa, about 200 miles south of Wajir also near the Somali border, Al Shabaab has also been active. The pastors fellowship in Garissa reported several members did not appear for Sunday services.

“We as the pastors fellowship do register our concern to the government to protect Christians living in this volatile northeastern country,” the chairman of the pastor’s fellowship said.

The Wajir branch of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers called for the withdrawal of all non-local teachers in Wajir County if the government fails to increase security.

“We cannot close our eyes as non-local teachers are being butchered,” a union official told Morning Star News.

Education along Kenya’s border with Somalia has been hobbled after non-Muslim teachers inn 2014 began refusing to work in the region following frequent attacks by Al Shabaab and its sympathizers on non-Muslims.

A Wajir police official reportedly said Al Shabaab also set an Improvised Explosive Device on the route to the school, which detonated and hit a security vehicle responding to the attack. No one was injured.

Rebels from Al Shabaab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, have launched several attacks in northeast Kenya since Kenyan forces led an African coalition into Somalia against the rebels in October 2011 in response to terrorist attacks on tourists and others on Kenya’s coast.

The Islamic extremist militants have also recently attacked in Kenya’s coastal area, killing four Christians on Sept. 6, 2017.


Christian in Pakistan Arrested for ‘Blasphemy’ to Appease Islamist Throng, Sources Say

Patras Masih in police custody after Islamists threatened to burn Christian homes. (Morning Star News)

LAHOREPakistan (Morning Star News) – Hundreds of Christian families fled their homes in a village near Lahore, Pakistan yesterday after Muslim protestors called for the death of a young Christian accused of blasphemy, sources said.

Patras Masih, an 18-year-old resident of Dher village in Shahdara Town area of Lahore, was taken into police custody late Monday night (Feb. 19) after a day of protests led by the Muslim extremist Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and other Islamist parties. The protestors threatened to burn down the homes of at least 700 poor Christian families, area residents said.

Several hundred protestors blocked a main highway, burned tires and chanted slogans calling for Masih’s death, they said. Telling police they would burn down Christians’ homes if Masih were not arrested, the protestors dispersed only after the local police chief assured them that the accused had been arrested and charged with blasphemy, sources said.

The accused’s father, Indreyas Masih, told Morning Star News by phone from an undisclosed location that he was at his job as a driver with the Water and Sanitation Agency when he heard about the protests.

“I was on duty when I received a phone call from my family that announcements are being made from mosque loudspeakers that my son Patras has committed blasphemy and should be punished for his crime,” he said. “I was shocked to hear this news and immediately asked my family members to leave the village.”

Indreyas Masih said he was unable to connect with other village Christians as most of them had turned off their phones and fled, fearing an attack by the protestors.

“We handed Patras to the police late on Monday after a provincial Christian lawmaker, Tariq Gill, told us that the protestors won’t back down until we surrender my son,” he said, adding that he has not seen his son since.

Patras Masih was accused of posting a blasphemous image on a group Facebook page from his phone on Jan. 16, but his father said his son’s cell phone has been in a repair shop since December.

His son told him that a friend had posted a sacrilegious photograph on a Facebook group from his ID a month ago, and that he had no intention of hurting religious sentiments, he said. Under Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws, intent must be shown for conviction.

“My son is illiterate and works as sweeper at a private bank,” Masih said. “He has never been involved in any religious dispute with any Muslim in the village. I’m unable to understand why he has been trapped in this case.”

A member along with his family of Bethania Church, Masih said most of the Christian villagers had fled the area soon after the protests began. Police reported restoring calm by last night and urged residents to return home.

Accusation

According to the First Information Report (FIR No. 174/18) registered by Shahdara Town Police on a complaint by Hafiz Muhammad Awais under Section 295-C of the blasphemy statutes, Patras Masih allegedly posted a sacrilegious photo on a Facebook group called Paaglon Ki Basti, which is administered by Muslims.

Awais alleged that he learned of the photo from a friend, Muhammad Siddique. Awais told police he and Siddique telephoned Patras Masih and asked him to remove the objectionable post but that he refused, prompting the complainant to reach out to Muslim leaders.

Aneeqa Maria, an attorney at The Voice Society, told Morning Star News that the group will provide legal assistance to the family.

“The complainant has alleged in the FIR that Patras had uploaded the sacrilegious photograph from his mobile phone, whereas his father claims that the accused’s cell phone broke down two months ago and is still at the repair shop,” she said.

Maria said police had wrongly charged Patras under the harshest part of the blasphemy law, Section 295-C, which prohibits only derogatory remarks – spoken or written, directly or indirectly – defaming Muhammad the prophet of Islam. It carries a mandatory death penalty.

“Although it’s too early to comment on the case, I believe the police jumped the gun due to the pressure exerted by the religious parties and charged Patras under Section 295-C to placate the mobs,” she said.

Maria added that delay of over one month in the registration of the FIR also points to the complainant’s mala fide, “which the police has ignored.”

Superintendent of Police City Division Ali Raza declined to tell Morning Star News why Masih had been charged under Section 295-C for derogatory comments about Muhammad.

“The boy’s family helped us in arresting him, as they believe he has committed a grave mistake,’” he claimed, also asserting that Patras Masih had admitted to blasphemy.

“We have deployed some 400 police personnel in Dher village to protect the local Christian community,” he said. “The situation was brought under control late on Monday night when we informed the protest leaders that the accused boy has been arrested and charged with blasphemy.”

He said police had not asked Christians to leave the village.

“They should return to their homes now as the situation is under control,” Raza said. “I can assure all residents that the police will not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands.”

On Sept. 14, 2017 a Christian father of two in Pakistan was sentenced to death for blaspheming Islam’s prophet in a phone text even though he is illiterate.

Christian mother of five Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging in 2010 after an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water. Although international attorneys note that lower courts did not consider which of three statements attributed to her were “blasphemous” nor prove the intent to blaspheme necessary for conviction, the courts upheld her conviction. She is awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on an appeal.

Pakistan ranked fifth on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Call to Return

Emmanuel Masih, a Christian resident of Dher village whose family is among the few who chose not to leave their homes, told Morning Star News that this was the first time local Christians had faced such a threat.

“Patras is an illiterate boy, and I’ve never seen him engage in any religious discussion with anyone,” he said, adding that the situation deteriorated after clerics began making announcements from mosque loudspeakers on Monday morning (Feb. 19) calling on all Muslims to gather at Shahdara Chowk to protest against the alleged sacrilege.

“A large number of Muslims from our village and nearby areas gathered on the main highway and blocked it by burning tires,” Emmanuel Masih said. “A majority of Christian families fled their homes amid reports that the protestors were planning to march towards our village and burn down our homes. There are reports that the protestors also threw bricks and stones at some Christian houses in the village, but the situation was brought under control as a large police contingent was deployed in the village to prevent further violence.”

Dilawar Bhatti, another village resident, said today that his family had left their home on Monday afternoon (Feb. 19).

“I’ve come today to see if the situation is safe for my family’s return,” he said. “I think we will stay a couple of days with our relatives until the police are able to fully restore law and order in the area.”

Announcements were reportedly made from village mosques today calling on Christians to return to their homes, as the “blasphemer” had been arrested, and they need not fear reprisals from Muslims.

Emmanuel Masih confirmed this information, telling Morning Star News that Muslim neighbors had assured them that no Christian would be hurt, because “they could not be blamed for the wrong done by an individual.”

“I just hope that the issue settles soon, so that all Christians can return to their homes,” he said.


Nikolas Cruz Says ‘Demons’ Told Him to Open Fire in Douglas High School

The Devil made him do it

Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale.

Accused school shooter Nikolas Cruz reportedly told authorities “demons” made him open fire in his alma mater.

ABC news reports Cruz told investigators that voices in his head told him how to conduct the attack where he allegedly murdered 17 students in teachers in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

One source who knew the suspect say he was “depressed” after his adoptive mother’s death, while another described him as a weapons enthusiast and “psycho.”

“I know she had been having some issues with them, especially the older one. He was being a problem. I know he did have some issues, and he may have been taking medication. [He] did have some kind of emotional problems or difficulties,” family member Barbara Kumbatovich told the Sun Sentinel. “[Lynda] kept a really close handle on both boys. They were not major issues, as far as I know, just things teenagers do like not coming home on time, maybe being disrespectful.”

Cruz’s public defender told Local News 10 the defendant will plead guilty immediately in exchange for a state promise to not seek the death penalty.

Among the deceased are several heroes who shielded students and fellow classmates from the spray of bullets.

Assistant football coach Aaron Feis reportedly covered students with his own body, absorbing the shots meant for them.

“It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard,” Marjory Stoneman football said on Twitter. “He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero, and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

Geography teacher Scott Beigel let students into his classroom while Cruz was in the hallway.

“He unlocked the door and let us in. I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t,” student Kelsey Friend says of Beigel. “When he opened the door, he had to relock it so that we could stay safe, but he didn’t get the chance.”

One janitor stopped students from running toward the shooter.

“Thank God for a janitor that stopped us,” student David Hogg says. “She saved my life and she saved, easily, 40 others there.”

For more heroes, click here and here.

People of faith responded with both prayers and actions.

Cindy Jacobs charged intercessors to wage spiritual warfare against the principalities taking roots in schools, and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed chaplains to the scene immediately following the shooting.

“Our hearts break for the parents who sent their children to school, and are now with them in the hospital, or living a parent’s worst nightmare,” says Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “So many lives have been forever changed by this evil act. As we pray for the students, faculty and families, we know God can bring hope and comfort, in Jesus Christ, in the darkest hours.”

The Parkland response is the fifth deployment of the year for the crisis-trained chaplains. Every one of the deployments in 2018 has been gun-related. The team responded to Benton, Ky., in January after a shooter killed two students and injured 18 more in a school shooting.


Christian rights activist in Cuba arrested after his Bibles are confiscated

(PHOTO: TWITTER/ARTE6MISA)

Misael Diaz Paseiro, a Christian rights activist, was arrested last year on charges of “pre-criminal social dangerousness” by the Cuban government. He is a member of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance Front.

Authorities forced their way into Misael’s home where they confiscated two Bibles, crucifixes and rosaries. He was badly beaten by Cuba’s political police on November 4, 2017.

Watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that Misael was told by the police:

“Misael, in addition to being a counter-revolutionary, you are also a Christian,” the police said.

“You should look at us, we are revolutionaries and we don’t believe in your God. Our god is Fidel Castro.”

Upon his arrest, Misael was reportedly denied basic rights in prison, including the right to see a priest and to have a Bible. Because of his mistreatment in prison, his wife Ariana López Roque went on a 19-day hunger strike.

According to CSW, Cuban authorities also prevented a pastor from visiting Misael’s wife during her 19-day hunger strike. She only ended the hunger strike when she was assured that her husband’s rights would be respected while he was in prison.

Mario Barroso, a Cuban pastor and rights activist told the Christian Post that it was not uncommon for people in Cuba to invoke the name of Fidel Castro.

“Invoking Fidel Castro in Cuba helps cover acts of corruption and even crimes. This proves that the followers of [Castro as a God] are not really so adept as Fidel himself but rather at the benefits that are covered by invoking him,” Barroso said.

“Deep down they are imitating Fidel with this behavior since Fidel Castro was like that too: an opportunist, a blackmailer.

“So the believers in Fidel Castro act in the image and likeness of their god, Fidel. They are faithful followers of the evil example of their god.”

The Cuban regime is oppressive toward people who subscribe to organized religion. Cuban Christians are especially vulnerable, as the government has launched a nationwide crackdown against churches and has either seized or demolished 1,400 church buildings. According to the government, the religious structures have not been registered and are therefore illegal.

The war of the Cuban state against religious institutions intensified palpably in 2017 and continues today in various guises. The seizure of Bibles and imprisonment of local pastors and rights activists are but two instances of the religious crackdown in Cuba. There have even been reports of Christians being dragged away as they arrive or leave church.


The World Seems Unconcerned with the Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria

Why Don’t We Care About the Slaughter of Nigerian Christians?

Thousands of Christians are being butchered in Nigeria and whole villages being destroyed. Why are we so unconcerned? Why don’t we care? I believe the biggest reason is that we simply don’t know about what’s happening there. Well, now you know. Here are the facts.

For the last several months, one of my good friends, a Christian missionary serving the poorest of the poor in Nigeria, has been sending me emails with terrifying news. Fulani tribesmen raping and killing villagers. Children being used as Islamic suicide bombers, resulting in scores of casualties. One horrible report after another.

 Yet with each email I received, as I scoured the major news agencies in the West, I found nothing reported. Not a word.

At the same time, Nigerian news sources were ablaze with reports of the latest atrocities.

Today, I saw this shocking headline on Jihad Watch: “Nigeria: Muslims wipe out 15 villages in mass slaughter of Christians, government does nothing.”

The article began with this quote, “Despite several calls to the governor and his deputy, and other security apparatus, the government remained silent as the atrocities continued. The Fulani were able to carry out their deadly attack. They stayed for hours in the vicinity, moving at will, unchallenged.”

How could this be? According to Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch, it’s because “Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari clearly has no sympathy for the victims. He shares the world view of the jihadi attackers.”

When I emailed my friend in Nigeria to ask if this was true, she wrote back immediately:

“This article doesn’t state which villages, so I am not sure. It is happening every day. The worst this year was the New Year’s Day massacre, followed by a mass burial of 73 victims. There have been many attacks since then. Villages razed, girls and women raped, men butchered. Cutlasses have been replaced by AK-47’s. The military has, at times, seemed complicit.

“The president only gets upset when there are reprisal killings of Fulani. He himself is a Fulani man and a cattle-rearer. The stated reason is grazing rights. If you object to cows eating your crops, you, your village and maybe surrounding ones will be attacked. It is in every paper, every day. The nation is smoldering. Only Jesus.” (Her closing sentence meant, “Jesus is our nation’s only hope.”)

She also sent me this YouTube link, viewed over 180,000 times at present, in which a Nigerian social commentator who lives in the States blasts the president’s alleged inaction (and, worse still, alleged wrong actions).

The video begins with a clip from a pastor, boldly denouncing wickedness in the government and stating plainly that, “The killing, the killing that is going on in Nigeria shows the irresponsibility of the president called Buhari.”


Russian Official Warns Iran Not to Use ‘De-escalation Zones’ for Military Expansion

Photo Credit: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A man carrying his child during an Iranian-supported Assad-regime attack on a de-escalation zone in Eastern Ghouta, February 18, 2018 

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Monday told reporters that the “de-escalation zones” his country set up in Syria with in collaboration with Iran and Turkey should not be turned into “zones of other countries’ influence,” TASS reported.

Back in September, Russia, Turkey and Iran convened in the Kazakh capital, Astana, and agreed to set up de-escalation zones in Syria for six months, where the rebel forces, in whose territory said zones are located, would rely on guarantees by the three invading countries that no harm would come to them. Israel, which, obviously, was not included in the agreement, warned against the creation of one of those “peaceful” zones at its door, in the Quneitra area, in southern Syria.

Naturally, the first thing the Iranians have done following the agreement, was to try to dominate the de-escalation zones, free from Russian interference, and last Feb. 10 used one of its military bases, acquired from the Syrian regime, to send a drone into Israeli airspace, starting a local war.

That day, the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying, “Our special concern is the threat of escalation of tension inside and around the zones of de-escalation in Syria, the creation of which became an important factor for reduction of violence on the Syrian soil.”

No such reduction of violence has been recorded, in fact, those de-escalation zones have become battlefields between rebel forces and the invaders, with high civilian casualties just a day ago in Eastern Ghouta.

Which is why Deputy FM Bogdanov said that “the zones are necessary from the point of view of ending warfare, but at the same time it is impermissible to see the de-escalation zones turning into zones of influence of foreign states.”

Seeing as only three foreign states are involved, and one of them Bogdanov probably wasn’t criticizing, it stands to reason his warning was directed at Iran, with whose support the Syrian regime just massacred 71, including civilians and children in Eastern Ghouta.

The de-escalation zones are obviously not working as intended, and their title should be replaced with the more apt “killing fields.”

At the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif poked fun in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation of a piece of the Iranian drone, with a threat to “act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us but also against Iran itself.” The Iranian FM told the conference, “You were the audience for a cartoonish circus just this morning, which does not even deserve the dignity of a response.”

Clearly, what gave the security conference a “cartoonish” flavor was the fact that a senior official of the world’s largest exporter of terrorism had been invited to speak there, as was articulated by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who told the conference that Iran is busy training a number of terrorist armies and conducts terrorist operations against the entire civilized world.


Iran vows to ‘level Tel Aviv to the ground’ if attacked