Town changes rules to ban church from civic center

Rules and regulations

A church of only a few dozen people in Edisto Beach, South Carolina, was growing and needed a space bigger than a garage beneath a stilt home, so it rented a room in the local Civic Center a couple of times.

Finding it worked well, church leaders asked for an ongoing rental agreement.

But town attorney Bert Duffie was worried about violating the Constitution’s establishment clause, so he convinced the council to reject the request and amend the center’s use guidelines to ban church worship services.

Now the town is being sued by Redeemer Fellowship for depriving members of the same opportunities other organizations are given.

“Churches shouldn’t be treated less favorably than other groups that want to rent facilities,” said Christiana Holcomb, a legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending the church.

The small church had rented the Edisto Beach Civic Center for Sunday worship on two occasions, but after the church proposed another rental agreement, the town council first turned down the request.
Then the officials changed their rules to ban the church.

The lawsuit notes that another religious organization, an Episcopal church, has been renting a multi-purpose room for approximately five years. That church “uses the Civic Center room for church office space, Vestry meetings, Bible studies, and theological training.”

The lawsuit charges the town with viewpoint discrimination, because it allows groups “to engage in singing, teaching, social interaction, and similar expressive activities” but then bans those doing the same things “from a religious viewpoint.”

“Redeemer Fellowship is being told they are unwelcome – in the same civic center where secular groups may meet and where another church already rents a room for Bible studies, vestry meetings, and theological training,” said ADF’s Erik Stanley, “The town is constitutionally required to treat religious organizations equally and fix its policy barring Redeemer Fellowship from worship.”

The complaint, in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, explains: “The town’s amended guidelines permit virtually all community groups to rent the center for all expressive activities, with the sole exception of religious worship services . The town’s determinations and amended guidelines violate Redeemer Fellowship’s rights under the Religion and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The decision left the church members meeting underneath the stilt house, with their meeting space “exposed to the elements and changing weather conditions,” the lawsuit says.

“There is no compelling government interest sufficient to justify prohibiting religious worship services in the Civic Center,” it continues.

The case seeks injunctions against the restrictions, as well as declarations that the town engaged both in content-based and viewpoint-based discrimination.

Pastor says witchcraft is working against Donald Trump

A self-styled Assemblies of God prophet in Alabama warned his congregation Sunday that President Donald Trump is being attacked by strong forces of witchcraft and he doesn’t see him surviving.

“I don’t know if you know this. And I don’t know if you gon’ believe me when I tell you this, but what’s happening right now in America is witchcraft trying to take this country over. It’s witchcraft,” the Rev. John A. Kilpatrick told his congregation at Church of His Presence in Daphne, Alabama, on Sunday. “It’s trying to take America back over. And I want to tell you something else. I am not being political but I don’t see how President Trump bears up under it.”

In his revelations to his congregation on Sunday, Kilpatrick urged them repeatedly to “keep your eye on the news” and make sure he didn’t have to call them to tell them to pray for the president.

“He’s as strong as I have ever seen a man be. But here’s what the Holy Spirit said to me last night and here’s what He said for me to tell you. He said tell the Church that so far Trump has been dealing with Ahab but Jezebel is fixing to step out from the shadows. That’s what the Lord said to me,” Kilpatrick explained.

“Last night when the Lord gave me this about the witchcraft, the Lord said He’s been dealing with this but He said pray for him now, because He said there’s about to be a shift and the deep state is about to manifest and it’s going to be a showdown like you can’t believe. So I’m coming to you as a prophet. As a man of God and I’m telling you it’s time to pray for the president,” he said to applause.

As he began explaining how witchcraft took Elijah out of power, Kilpatrick said he heard from the Lord during the sermon.

“Oh my God! I heard the Lord say there is gonna be an attempt to take him out of power,” he said of the president.

He then told the church to stand and pray and began praying in tongues.

“We gotta pray for this man,” he said. “God make him bold, make him strong. … Flush out every witchcraft spirit, flush it out Lord, flush it out. Flush it out in the open. Let’s see who it is. … Lord we pray for his wife. We pray for Melania. We pray for his children. We pray for all of his family. There is a lot in the balance Lord. Make this man like a Moses. Unintimidated.”

Kilpatrick told his congregation that his revelations about the president has nothing to do with politics but a “battle for the soul of America.”

“It’s almost like a stupor has come over America. It’s like no matter what’s reported on the news, no matter what’s discussed on panels, it’s just not sinking in. It’s not sinking in. Lord remove the veil. Lift the veil. Let it begin to soak into this nation. There’s a battle for the soul of America. Lord I ask in Jesus name expose those shadow spirits. Expose who the shadow government is. Snatch the curtain up Lord. Then America will really be free. Then the church will not be contained anymore. … Lord snatch the curtain up in the name of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“I’m not being political don’t get me wrong because I see good and bad in all of it trust me. But it’s almost like Trump is going in and trying to take America by the hand and say, ‘we can be great again’ and they’re trying to trip him every time he moves. God help this man,” he said closing his eyes and stretching his hand in faith.”

‘Abortion ice-cream’ stunt branded ‘disgusting’

Abortion campaigners in Oregon, USA have launched a fundraising initiative which sees abortion-themed ice cream sold at a local parlour.

The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and ice cream shop ‘What’s the Scoop’ are selling a limited edition ice cream called ‘Rocky Roe v. Wade’.

Sales of the ice cream, which refers to the legal case that decriminalised abortion across America, will help fund NARAL in their attempt to “defend reproductive freedom”.

Campaign

Half of the proceeds from three other flavours of ice cream will also be given to NARAL under a campaign dubbed #SaveRoe on social media.

NARAL is concerned that the appointment of another conservative judge to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump could lead to abortion being restricted or criminalised.

The move by NARAL has received heavy criticism from both pro-abortion figures and pro-life groups.

’Embarrassed to be pro-choice’

Jonathan Lockwood, a political consultant who describes himself as “pro-choice”, said he felt ‘disgusted’ by the stunt:

“What have we come to when aborting eight month pre-born babies or aborting babies because they’re little girls, is one acceptable, but worse, two is celebrated!

“I thought I was pro-choice when I came to Oregon, but after seeing first-hand how insidious this far-left agenda has become I am embarrassed to call myself pro-choice.”

’Distasteful’

A Twitter user known as Jai commented: “Doesn’t matter where your stance on abortion is, it’s still a surgical, invasive procedure to terminate a pregnancy – & you’ve made a flavor of ice cream dedicated to it. That’s psychotic.”

UK group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) also spoke out saying:

“The gimmick this time perhaps reveals a little too much of how distasteful the whole abortion industry really is.

Coptic boy who saw father killed wants to join police ‘to protect Christians’

Marco (l) and Mina (r) standing next to the car that their father drove when he was killed. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

A young Christian boy from a small village in Egypt’s Minya region, who saw his father killed by Islamic militants, dreams of becoming a police officer so he can prevent similar attacks.

Mina was only ten years old when he and his brother Marco, aged 14, saw their father murdered, as a group of armed men ambushed their car on a desert road in rural southern Egyptin May last year.

They were following a bus full of pilgrims that was attacked first. All the Coptic men who would not accept Islam were shot. Then the gunmen heard Ayad’s pick-up truck approach.

Marco recalls how the attackers shot the men in the head, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest).

“After killing my father and all the workers, one of the terrorists wanted to kill us but another one of them said to him: ‘Leave them alive to tell people what we did’,” he told World Watch Monitor last year. Their father died in Marco’s arms.

Shortly after the incident, Mina was interviewed by Reuters, recounting the horror of the experience.

Now, only in big pictures in the house is their father still with the boys and their two sisters, though the street where they live has also been named after him: Ayed Habib Tawadros Street.

Earlier this year, their mother, Hanaa, expressed concerned about the boys, Mina in particular, but now she says he is “doing better”.

However, in the absence of their father, she says they now feel very responsible. During his school holidays, Marco has continued his father’s work, making church bells, but Mina no longer joins him. “They always want to make sure that at least one man is in the house with me and their sisters,” Hanaa explained.

The emotional impact of what they went through has affected the boys’ lives in other ways too. In school they struggle to focus and have started to lag behind. But their mother says that, 15 months on, they have at least begun to dream again. Marco wants to become an engineer, while Mina says he hopes to become a police officer so “I can protect the Christians, and prevent attacks like what happened to my father”.

US Rejects UN Court Jurisdiction on Iran Suit Over Nuke Deal Withdrawal, Sanctions

Photo Credit: Lybil BER via Wikimedia
The International Court of Justice

Iran, on Monday, asked the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order President Donald Trump to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Islamic Republic, and to reverse his unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, and suspend his accusations about Iran’s spreading terrorism in Middle Eastern countries.

Iran argues Trump’s moves violated a decades-old Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations signed between Iran and the US in 1955. Of course, in 1979, Iran violated every possible aspect of the same treaty, when it invaded the American embassy in Tehran and kept embassy staff hostage for more than a year.

The American delegation was given three hours to present its initial response on Tuesday.

The response the U.S. gave to the U.N. judges a short time later was that they have no jurisdiction to rule on Iran’s demand.

U.S. State Department lawyer Jennifer Newstead told the International Court of Justice in The Hague that it “lacks prima facie jurisdiction to hear Iran’s claims,” according to an AFP report. She argued that the U.S. has the right to protect its national security interests.

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial body of the United Nations. It settles legal disputes between member states and gives advisory opinions to authorized UN organs and specialized agencies. The court comprises a panel of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. It is seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

In contentious cases, the ICJ produces a binding ruling between states that agree to submit to the ruling of the court.

Encounter with Jesus on the moon left astronaut changed

James Irwin on the moon

In the rounded gray Apennine mountains of the moon, Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin had an encounter with God he would never forget. Irwin was the eighth man to walk on the moon and the first to ride in the Lunar Rover. Apollo 15 was a ‘J-Mission,’ which meant he and fellow astronaut David Scott spent an extended period on the lunar surface – almost three days, where they collected 170 pounds of geologic material including the famous “Genesis Rock.”

Scientists believe the rock dates back to the time the original lunar crust was formed, which they estimate at 4.5 billion years. “It was remarkable,” Irwin commented later. “It was sitting on a pedestal rock almost free from dust. It seemed to be saying, ‘Here I am, take me.’”

Irwin and Scott worked for an extended period with little rest prior to their liftoff. “Apparently, when Jim was suiting up his water tube kinked so he wasn’t able to get any water,” recalls Mary Irwin, his wife.

Outside their spacesuits, the temperature on the lunar surface was 150 degrees. “He perspired like crazy,” Mary says. “He was losing his electrolyte balance. An imbalance of sodium and potassium can trigger a heart attack,” she notes.

While Irwin did not suffer a heart attack, flight surgeons on earth who monitored the men were alarmed when they saw both astronauts develop irregular heart rhythms.

Irwin’s situation was more severe, with abnormal heartbeats every other beat. Neither man was told about their condition by Mission Control. Flight surgeons reasoned they were already getting 100 percent oxygen, they had continuous monitoring of their vital signs, and they were at zero gravity – conditions that partially replicated or even exceeded an ICU unit back on earth.

NASA also had concerns about wider dissemination of this sensitive health information. “If doctors said something and it was on the loop, who knows who would have leaked that to the press,” Mary notes. “They didn’t need that kind of situation terrifying people.”

As Irwin moved about the lunar surface, apparently unaware of his precarious health situation, he was struck by the size of the earth – about the size of his thumbnail.

“I was just amazed to see the earth,” he said. “It reminded me of a Christmas tree ornament – a very fragile one, hanging majestically in space. It was very touching to see earth from that perspective.”

At one point, Irwin had trouble with a planned experiment. “He was erecting an experiment that wouldn’t erect, due to a cotter pin or something of that nature,” Mary recalls.

Frustrated in his attempts to get the experiment to work, Irwin decided he would pray.

While raised in a Christian home – and a believer and churchgoer since age 10, he was a nominal Christian at this stage of his life. “Maybe he walked away from his walk with the Lord a little,” Mary suggests. “He described himself as a ‘bump on a log Christian.’”

But he really needed wisdom due to this problem and he said, “God I need your help right now.”

Suddenly Irwin experienced the presence of Jesus Christ in a remarkable way, unlike anything he ever felt on earth. “The Lord showed him the solution to the problem and the experiment erected before him like a little altar,” Mary says.

“He was so overwhelmed at seeing and feeling God’s presence so close,” she says. “At one point he turned around and looked over his shoulder as if He was standing there.”

This unusual encounter with Jesus – some 238,000 miles from earth, changed Irwin’s life forever.

After his return from the moon, Irwin rode in a ticker tape parade through the streets of New York. “There were thousands of people lining the street and he was trying to see all their faces,” Mary recalls. “God dropped it in his heart that he had a responsibility to mankind to share Jesus with everyone after that.”

Like other men in church history who have experienced dramatic encounters with God, the result was an increased power to witness for Jesus Christ, a confidence and boldness that fueled his passion to become an emissary for Jesus Christ to the nations.

Within a year of Irwin’s return from space, he resigned from NASA and formed High Flight Foundation, which is on a quest to reach the world as “goodwill ambassadors for the Prince of Peace.”

“God decided that He would send His Son Jesus Christ to the blue planet,” Irwin said, “and it’s through faith in Jesus Christ that we can relate to God. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes unto the Father except through me.’

“As I travel around I tell people the answer is Jesus Christ, that Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.”

For two decades, Irwin traveled the world and presented small flags he carried from the moon to the leaders of various countries. “These flags were so powerful,” says Bill Dodder, a close friend to Irwin. “He took flags to each country as a means to witness for Jesus Christ.”

Dodder traveled with Irwin on several expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark. “We ran the Great Wall of China together,” Dodder recalls.

Irwin continued to suffer heart problems after he left the space program. On the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission, he spoke in Aspen, Colorado. The next day he took a long bicycle ride to the Maroon Bells near Aspen. After the ride, he collapsed due to a massive heart attack and went to live forever with the God he loved – the same one he encountered on the surface of the moon.

It is ironic, perhaps, that his heavenly homecoming was within hours of the 20th anniversary of his earthly homecoming from the moon.

Dodder was with Irwin on the day he passed away. “The day before he died he said, ‘All I want to do is be faithful.’”

Third of teens haven’t read book in year

(STUDY FINDS) — SAN DIEGO — Bookworm teens have always been few and far between, but now they seem like a dying breed. A new study puts some weight behind this notion by revealing just how American teenagers choose to spend their time (hint: it’s not with books). A third of adolescents haven’t even opened a dustjacket — or touched a Kindle for that matter — in the past year.

Researchers from San Diego State University recently analyzed four decades’ worth of data from an ongoing, nationally-based lifestyle survey studying teens. The data, which provides insight into the daily habits of over a million adolescents, shows the enormous impact of digital media over time.

Russia Deploys Fleet Off Syria While Claiming U.S. Preparing for Possible Strike

breaking world news russia syria

(Worthy News) – The Russian Ministry of Defence said on Monday it had noticed Washington was building up its military forces in the Middle East in preparation for what Moscow feared was a possible strike on Syrian government forces, Russian news agencies reported.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov was quoted by agencies as saying that the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer, had entered the Mediterranean on Aug. 25 armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting any target in Syria.

Up to 13 Russian warships have crossed the Bosphorus toward Syria so far this week as tensions between the U.S. and Syria continue to rise, according to ship spotters based in the Bosphorus Strait. [ Source: Ha’aretz (Read More…) ]

 

Christian Loses Sight in One Eye in Attack by Muslim Neighbors

Vikram John was beaten by Muslim neighbors in Karachi, Pakistan. (Morning Star News)

Vikram John. (Morning Star News)

LAHOREPakistan (Morning Star News) – A young Christian man in Karachi, Pakistan lost sight in one eye when armed, Muslim neighbors attacked his family, his father said.

Vikram John, 25, lost sight in his left eye after Muslim neighbors who had pressured his family to leave the neighborhood with months of harassment beat him and other family members on the night of Aug. 18, his father Alvin John told Morning Star News by phone.

“After exchanging a few hot words with the Muslim youths led by a political activist named Ihsan, Vikram came inside the house,” Alvin John said. “Moments later, bricks and stones came smashing through our window glass and hitting our gate. The attackers threatened us, saying to move out of the neighborhood if we wanted to stay alive as they hurled curses and abuses on us.”

Earlier in the evening, Vikram John was involved in a minor altercation with Muslim neighbors who had teased his 18-year-old sister, said his father, who 10 months ago moved the family to Karachi’s Mehmoodabad No-II neighborhood from Sahiwal District in Punjab Province.

“This wasn’t the first time they had harassed her,” he said. “For months we had been requesting the boys’ families to stop the hooliganism, but it seems that they had found this to be an effective tool to intimidate us, so the harassment continued unabated.”

The Muslims have been harassing and intimidating the family, who belong to an Assemblies of God church, since they moved into the rented house, he said – teasing his children when they stepped out the doorway and mocking them for being Christian.

Although there is a sizeable Christian population in the Mehmoodabad area, the John family is the only one on their street of 15 to 20 Muslim families, he said, adding that the neighbors tried various antics to force them out.

“Soon after the Muslims started harassing us, I had made up my mind that I would not let my children suffer in this environment,” he said. “I was waiting for the 12-month rental agreement to finish so that we could relocate to some other area or even go to Lahore and start afresh. I wish I had the financial means to leave that neighborhood earlier.”

Alvin John said that when a group of Muslims started pelting their home with stones the evening of Aug. 18, they broke window panes and damaged the gate.

He said that the Muslim leading the assailants, Ihsan, was affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based political party notorious for supporting gangs of assassins and extortionists in the financial hub of the country.

“After the attackers left the scene, I told some neighbors who had gathered there that we were going to launch legal action and sought their assistance in the matter,” he said. “However, around 11 p.m., some 30 armed Muslims attacked our house again, this time forcing their way into our home. Someone had informed them about our intention to approach the police, so they had come to ‘teach us a lesson.’”

He said that the assailants beat him and his two sons as his wife and daughter screamed in panic.

“They beat Vikram mercilessly while my younger [22-year-old] son Sunil and I made frantic efforts to save him,” he said. “The Muslims beat us too, but our injuries are not serious. The attackers also broke the furniture and ransacked our other belongings.”

Police and other security officers eventually arrived and took them to Jinnah Hospital, where they learned that Vikram John, a chemical engineering student, had lost sight in his left eye, besides serious injuries to other parts of his body, he said.

Alvin John said he suspects police have made no arrests because of the Muslim gang’s political backing.

“I was contacted by the brother of a senator belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, who assured us of support in registering the case and bringing the assailants to justice, but so far there has been no progress in the arrests,” he said.

Mehmoodabad Police Inspector Muhammad Sarwar told Morning Star News that police were making efforts to arrest the accused persons.

“No one, including MQM or any other political or religious group, can go scot-free after committing such crimes,” he said.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Sen. Saeed Ghani told Morning Star News by phone from Karachi that he had been informed about the incident by PPP Christian lawmaker Anthony Naveed.

“My brother Farhan Ghani, who is the chairman of the local municipality in Mehmoodabad, is already extending full cooperation to Naveed in helping the Christian family seek justice,” Ghani said. “It is against Islam’s preaching to target people belonging to minority communities, and PPP has always condemned religious extremism and persecution.”

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

Hebron Arab Smuggled Knife into Jerusalem to Kill a Yarmulke Wearing Jew

he Jerusalem District Court on Thursday indicted Saliman Kapisha, 26, a resident of Hebron, for preparing for a deadly stabbing and for possession of a knife.

According to the indictment, Kapisha decided to carry out a suicide attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, where he intended to kill a Jew wearing a yarmulke. To this end, he acquired a folding knife with a fixed blade about 4 inches long, and a pepper spray can.

His plan was to locate a suitable victim, pepper-spray him, then stab him in the neck or back when he couldn’t defend himself.

On August 8, Kepisha left Hebron for Jerusalem carrying a bag containing a change of clothes, the knife and the pepper spray can.

Before leaving, he returned to his brother the mobile phone he had borrowed from him, and threw the SIM card into the trash so that he could not be located.

Kapisha traveled from Hebron to the village of az-Za’ayyem, about 2 miles east of Jerusalem, where he entered Israel through a breach in the fence. He then took a taxi to the Old City of Jerusalem.

He arrived at the Old City around 9 PM, and wandered for about two hours, holding the plastic bag in his hand and looking for a suitable victim and a proper location in which to carry out his plan.

After about two hours of walking through the streets of the Old City, Kapisha decided to postpone the attack for the following day, and started searching for a spot where he could sleep until morning.

At approximately 12:15 AM, police noticed him near the Damascus Gate. When a policeman was searching his bag, the defendant fled the scene, but was caught after a brief chase.