Alabama Governor Says it Is ‘Unacceptable’ to Disallow Teacher From Wearing ‘Just Pray’ Shirt

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The governor of Alabama has weighed on a recent situation in Mobile in which a public school teacher had to go home to change out her “Just Pray” t-shirt, and says that it is “unacceptable” to disallow the teacher from wearing the message on her clothing just because it encourages prayer.

“Religious liberty is a cornerstone of the freedoms we enjoy in our country. For a teacher to be disallowed from wearing a shirt that exhorts others to pray, especially for a child suffering from terminal cancer, is simply unacceptable,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a statement.

“The right to express one’s religious beliefs, including prayer which was often invoked by George Washington himself, is not lost when one enters the schoolhouse door,” she declared. “I am committed to protecting religious freedom for everyone, including our teachers and school children.”As previously reported, Chris Burrell, a third grade teacher at Pearl Haskew Elementary School in Irvington, says that she wore the shirt on April 23 not thinking that it would pose an issue. She had purchased it last year in a fundraiser for 11-year-old Aubreigh Nicholas, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in September.

“I purchased this shirt to raise money for #AubreighsArmy. I thought it was fitting to wear today since my kids were testing,” she said in a social media post. “I didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t trying to promote religion; it was just my Monday feel good shirt.”

However, when the principal saw Burrell wearing a shirt with the word “pray” on it, she asked the teacher if she could put a sweater on to cover the wording.

“[T]he principal said, ‘Can you put on a sweater or something,’ knowing that there are other people who object to that,” Mobile County Public School Superintendent Martha Peek told WALA-TV. “We have to be cognizant of everyone’s beliefs or everyone’s thoughts [in a public school].”

She said that the principal was following district policy, which states that teachers should refrain from wearing clothing that promotes any particular religion.

Burrell took to social media over the matter, posting a photo of herself and writing, “Getting sent home from work today to change my Just Pray shirt. … In my 15 years of teaching, this has never been an issue. My heart hurts.”

As noted by Yahoo News, the Mobile County Public Schools policy handbook makes no mention of religious sayings or symbols on clothing. It rather prohibits “[c]lothing which promotes alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or the use of controlled substances by words or symbols” and “[c]lothing that contains profanity or nudity, depicts violence, or is sexual in nature by words or symbols.”

It also bans “any item of clothing or jewelry that creates a disruption of the school environment/learning activities or that poses a threat to the safety and well-being of students or staff.”

As previously reported, throughout America’s early history, a number of the Founding Fathers issued proclamations calling inhabitants to prayer, including in 1798, when President John Adams proclaimed a national day of humiliation, prayer and fasting.

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him,” he wrote, “…this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger, when existing or threatening calamities—the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity—are a loud call to repentance and reformation.”

President Abraham Lincoln also proclaimed a National Fast Day in 1863.

“[I]t is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord,” his proclamation read.

“[I]nsomuch we know that by His Divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people,” Lincoln said.

Conviction, Sentencing of Christian in Algeria ‘Ridiculous,’ Attorney Says

Dar El Baida Court outside of Algiers, Algeria. (Wikipedia)

TIZI-OUZOUAlgeria (Morning Star News) – A court in Algeria yesterday withdrew a six-month prison sentence but upheld a fine on a convert from Islam for carrying Christian literature and some crucifix-shaped keychains into the country, sources said.

Idir Hamdad was fined 20,000 Algerian dinars (US$172) plus customs expenses after a judge at the court in Dar el Beida, on the outskirts of Algiers, ruled he was guilty of importing unauthorized items without a license, his attorney said. Notice of a six-month prison sentence and fine had been delivered to his home on March 4 stating that he had been convicted and sentenced en absentia on Sept. 28, 2017, the lawyer said.

“To condemn a Christian…with about 20 keychains, including four or five bearing crucifixes, and six scarves, to be sentenced by the justice of our Algeria following a seizure at customs, is ridiculous in view of Article 365 of the Code of Customs,” attorney Sadek Nadjib told Morning Star News, adding that carrying the items did not violate Algerian customs law.

Hamdad’s attorney, a Muslim, said he had expected complete acquittal since there was no basis for the charges.

Hamdad and witnesses who attended a court hearing on April 12 said the judge, a woman without head covering (hijab), appeared very surprised at how little the facts of the case supported the charges. Hence he and his defense attorney were surprised when the charges were not thrown out entirely yesterday, they said.

Pressure to Renounce Christ

Customs officials had stopped Hamdad, a 29-year-old convert who put his faith in Christ in 2002, upon his arrival to Houari Boumedienne Airport in Algiers from Jordan on April 29, 2016; the items in question had been donated to him by a church in Amman, Jordan.

“After they opened my luggage, suddenly I found myself surrounded by multitudes of police and customs officers,” Hamdad told Morning Star News. “The customs officer began to gesticulate in all directions to attract attention. And I, still in astonishment, still did not understand what was happening to me.”

One after another, sometimes at the same time, the officials peppered him with questions, he said.

“It fell on me like a rain: ‘Are you a Christian? Where do you come from? Who gave you these objects? And those Christian books, who gave them to you? Who is it for?’” he said.

Two police officers grabbed him and forced him to follow them out of the international terminal to the national terminal, where they held him for eight hours without food or water, he said.

“In this quarantine, the representatives of the law did not fail to abuse their authority to insult me,” he said. “They had repeatedly tried to persuade me to renounce my Christian faith and returnto Islam: ‘If you renounce now your Christianity and you do the chahada [Islamic conversion creed], we will let you leave right away, and there will be no prosecution against you.’”

At the end of this interrogation, they confiscated the items and released Hamdad early in the evening, he said.

Pastor Salah Chalah, head of Protestant Church of the Full Gospel of Tizi-Ouzou (EPPETO), saw the influence of Algeria’s controversial Law 03/2006, commonly known as Law 06/03, in the case. The 2006 law stipulates prison terms of up to five years for anyone who uses any means to “intended to undermine the faith of a Muslim.”

“We can see again the sword of Damocles [Law 06/03] come down on us in this verdict today,” he told Morning Star News. “We must work for its amendment by all possible legal means that the Algerian law offers us, while hoping for the goodwill of the authorities of our country as well as common sense. The amendment of this law will contribute to the emancipation and the realization of the individual freedoms enshrined by the Algerian constitution.”

Another Christian, Nourredine Belabed, was sentenced on March 8 to a fine of 100,000 dinars (US$868) and a suspended three-month prison sentence under the 06/03 law and awaits appeal in Tiaret.

Algeria ranked 42nd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Tributes Paid to Indian Pastor Beheaded by Suspected Maoists

(World Watch Monitor) — The body of a pastor was found beheaded on the shore of a reservoir in eastern India on May 2, hours after he was abducted by around 25 masked men whom police believe to be Maoists.

Residents of Kubasal village, in the Tamar area of Jharkhand state, identified the body lying on the shore of Surangi reservoir as Pastor Abraham Topno and alerted police. He is believed to have been murdered in the late hours of May 1.

The 46-year-old pastor was last seen by villagers traveling in a jeep with a local taxi driver named Ranga Singh Munda.

“It was late in the evening, as they entered the thick forests surrounding the state capital, Ranchi,” Inspector Gimal Kumar told World Watch Monitor. “They pulled the pastor and the driver out, blindfolded them and tied their hands with a stiff rope. Then they cut his throat.”

Continue reading this story >>

Conviction, Sentencing of Christian in Algeria ‘Ridiculous,’ Attorney Says

Dar El Baida Court outside of Algiers, Algeria. (Wikipedia)

TIZI-OUZOUAlgeria (Morning Star News) – A court in Algeria yesterday withdrew a six-month prison sentence but upheld a fine on a convert from Islam for carrying Christian literature and some crucifix-shaped keychains into the country, sources said.

Idir Hamdad was fined 20,000 Algerian dinars (US$172) plus customs expenses after a judge at the court in Dar el Beida, on the outskirts of Algiers, ruled he was guilty of importing unauthorized items without a license, his attorney said. Notice of a six-month prison sentence and fine had been delivered to his home on March 4 stating that he had been convicted and sentenced en absentia on Sept. 28, 2017, the lawyer said.

“To condemn a Christian…with about 20 keychains, including four or five bearing crucifixes, and six scarves, to be sentenced by the justice of our Algeria following a seizure at customs, is ridiculous in view of Article 365 of the Code of Customs,” attorney Sadek Nadjib told Morning Star News, adding that carrying the items did not violate Algerian customs law.

Hamdad’s attorney, a Muslim, said he had expected complete acquittal since there was no basis for the charges.

Hamdad and witnesses who attended a court hearing on April 12 said the judge, a woman without head covering (hijab), appeared very surprised at how little the facts of the case supported the charges. Hence he and his defense attorney were surprised when the charges were not thrown out entirely yesterday, they said.

Pressure to Renounce Christ

Customs officials had stopped Hamdad, a 29-year-old convert who put his faith in Christ in 2002, upon his arrival to Houari Boumedienne Airport in Algiers from Jordan on April 29, 2016; the items in question had been donated to him by a church in Amman, Jordan.

“After they opened my luggage, suddenly I found myself surrounded by multitudes of police and customs officers,” Hamdad told Morning Star News. “The customs officer began to gesticulate in all directions to attract attention. And I, still in astonishment, still did not understand what was happening to me.”

One after another, sometimes at the same time, the officials peppered him with questions, he said.

“It fell on me like a rain: ‘Are you a Christian? Where do you come from? Who gave you these objects? And those Christian books, who gave them to you? Who is it for?’” he said.

Two police officers grabbed him and forced him to follow them out of the international terminal to the national terminal, where they held him for eight hours without food or water, he said.

“In this quarantine, the representatives of the law did not fail to abuse their authority to insult me,” he said. “They had repeatedly tried to persuade me to renounce my Christian faith and returnto Islam: ‘If you renounce now your Christianity and you do the chahada [Islamic conversion creed], we will let you leave right away, and there will be no prosecution against you.’”

At the end of this interrogation, they confiscated the items and released Hamdad early in the evening, he said.

Pastor Salah Chalah, head of Protestant Church of the Full Gospel of Tizi-Ouzou (EPPETO), saw the influence of Algeria’s controversial Law 03/2006, commonly known as Law 06/03, in the case. The 2006 law stipulates prison terms of up to five years for anyone who uses any means to “intended to undermine the faith of a Muslim.”

“We can see again the sword of Damocles [Law 06/03] come down on us in this verdict today,” he told Morning Star News. “We must work for its amendment by all possible legal means that the Algerian law offers us, while hoping for the goodwill of the authorities of our country as well as common sense. The amendment of this law will contribute to the emancipation and the realization of the individual freedoms enshrined by the Algerian constitution.”

Another Christian, Nourredine Belabed, was sentenced on March 8 to a fine of 100,000 dinars (US$868) and a suspended three-month prison sentence under the 06/03 law and awaits appeal in Tiaret.

Algeria ranked 42nd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Muslims in Eastern Uganda Desecrate Body of Slain Christian, Sources Say

The body of Muluuta Kuzaifa, likely killed by Muslim villagers. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBIKenya (Morning Star News) – Muslim villagers in eastern Uganda mutilated the corpse of a convert from Islam likely killed for his faith last month, his widow said.

Fatuma Muluuta told Morning Star News that Muslims in Kachomo village, Budaka District cut and stuck pins into her husband’s body before burying it and have since threatened to kill her.

When her husband, Muluuta Kuzaifa, put his faith in Christ two years ago, his family immediately ostracized him, she said. The couple and their two children found refuge with a church pastor whose name is withheld for security reasons.

After two years, Kuzaifa decided to return home with his wife and children, but relatives chased them away, and they left for Kampala, the Ugandan capital 126 miles (204 kilometers) away. He found menial work on the outskirts of the city.

Within a few weeks, Kuzaifa began receiving threatening messages, Fatuma Muluuta told Morning Star News by phone.

“You think you are safe in Kampala,” one text message read. “We shall soon come for your neck.”

On April 1, while returning from work in Kampala, unknown assailants attacked him near their home, she said.

“I heard him shouting for help, and immediately some neighbors rushed to the scene, and we found him bleeding with head injuries,” she said.

Kuzaifa was taken to a nearby clinic for treatment, but he died the next day.

After his wife and others transported his body to a Kachomo funeral home, they went to his family to inform them of his death.

She said her father in-law, Mukongo Jamada Muluuta Mubaraka, gave them a cold reception, and those who accompanied her gave him 400,000 Uganda shillings (US$107) for funeral preparations.

Kuzaifa’s father, she added, had called Muzaifa in Kampala several times.

“I think that is why the attackers managed to get hold of him,” Fatuma Muluuta said. Before the indecent burial of Muzaifa, she added, his father had said, “My son thought that he can run away from Allah, but he could not.”

On April 4, family members and other Muslims took the body from the mortuary and buried it in an indecent manner, she said.

“Word went around that Kuzaifa’s body was mutilated and not properly buried,” Fatuma Muuluta said. “His body was not washed, several pins were inserted into his body, they dug a very small grave for the body, and several cuts were made on his corpse.”

Enraged Christians in Kachomo Sub-County mobilized in large numbers and stormed the burial site to exhume Kuzaifa’s body. They washed it and provided a decent burial service, his widow said.

Kuzaifa’s pastor said many Muslims put their faith in Christ at his funeral.

“But tension has been mounting up between the Christians and the Muslims after the burial of Kuzaifa,” the pastor said. “The family of Kuzaifa needs prayers for God to comfort the young family left behind and for financial assistance.”

Muluuta Mubaraka said she is now being threatened.

“If you continue with Christianity,” read one text message, “you will go the same way of your husband,” she said.

The crime was the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in Eastern Uganda. On March 10, a week after a young Muslim in eastern Uganda put his faith in Christ, relatives attacked him with hot cooking oil, sources said. Gobera Bashir, 27, suffered burns on 40 percent of his body after the attack.

Bashir, from Kakoli village, Naboa Sub-County in Budaka District, had received Christ as Lord and Savior the previous Sunday (March 4) when he accompanied a friend to a church in another village (undisclosed for security reasons), he said.

In January another Christian in eastern Uganda, Munabi Abudallah, lost his wife and seven children less than a day after putting his faith in Christ. In another village in eastern Uganda, a widowed mother of five was poisoned on Christmas Day for converting to Christianity.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with many concentrated in the eastern part of the country.

‘If Ashers lose, we all lose’, pro-gay marriage columnist says

Family-run Ashers Baking Company should not be forced to promote a cause with which its owners profoundly disagree with, a columnist says.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Fionola Meredith said Ashers’ situation was “not a case of anti-gay discrimination” because the row is over a message – not an individual.

She made the comments ahead of the UK Supreme Court hearing arguments in the Christian Institute-backed legal case in Belfast this week.

No obligation

Meredith explained that she supports same-sex marriage but disagrees with earlier court rulings against the Christian bakers.

She reiterated her comments from the time that: “No company should be under any obligation to facilitate the dissemination of beliefs that are antithetical to the ethos of that business.”

And Meredith stressed: “The message itself – not the customer requesting it – has always been the issue for Ashers.”

Not tolerance

The columnist described the long-running legal case brought by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland as “costly, vexatious and divisive”.

She said it was not equality to force everyone to “disseminate political beliefs that they fundamentally disagree with”.

“It is not tolerance. It is not freedom. If Ashers lose this week, we all lose”.

Totalitarian

Meredith’s comments came as Laura Perrins, co-editor of The Conservative Woman, said “compelled speech: endorse my view or else” is at the heart of the case.

She pointed out that Ashers is a small business and “to make them write this slogan is to force them to endorse something, a political idea, against their conscience”.

“Perhaps the courts cannot understand how personal this is to the McArthurs, and how it does indeed involve compelled speech”, Perrins said, adding: “Therefore, to compel the McArthurs to endorse a view against their conscience is totalitarian”.

She concluded by warning that if Ashers lost, other businesses would also be negatively affected.

Serious

Ahead of the case, Daniel McArthur – General Manager of Ashers – said the fact that the Supreme Court is hearing the arguments “shows they recognise the seriousness of the issues at stake”.

The Christian Institute is supporting the McArthur family, and is running a petition to enable others to show their support.

Find out more about the case

Alabama Teacher Goes Home to Change After Principal Asks Her to Cover Up ‘Just Pray’ T-Shirt

Photo Credit: WALA screenshot

MOBILE, Ala. — An elementary school teacher in Alabama says that she was sent home last week to change after she arrived in a t-shirt that read “Just Pray,” which she had purchased in support of a young girl with an inoperable brain tumor.

Chris Burrell, a third grade teacher at Pearl Haskew Elementary School in Irvington, says that she wore the shirt on April 23 not thinking that it would pose an issue. She had purchased it last year in a fundraiser for 11-year-old Aubreigh Nicholas, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in September.

“I purchased this shirt to raise money for #AubreighsArmy. I thought it was fitting to wear today since my kids were testing,” she said in a social media post. “I didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t trying to promote religion; it was just my Monday feel good shirt.”

However, when the principal saw Burrell wearing a shirt with the word “pray” on it, she asked the teacher if she could put a sweater on to cover the wording.

She said that the principal was following district policy, which states that teachers should refrain from wearing clothing that promotes any particular religion.

Burrell took to social media over the matter, posting a photo of herself and writing, “Getting sent home from work today to change my Just Pray shirt. … In my 15 years of teaching, this has never been an issue. My heart hurts.”

The post has now either been deleted or privatized, but hundreds have shown their support for Burrell and/or shared her story.

The teacher will not face any disciplinary action.

“We’re totally supporting [Aubrey],” Peek said, referring to the child whose cancer sparked the shirt fundraiser. “I think that this was just an unfortunate connection there, but still the principal would have had to exercise her judgment.”

As previously reported, in 1828, just 52 years after the nation’s founding, Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Scholarship and Education, wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

‘Anti-Conversion’ Bill Becomes Law in Uttarakhand State, India

Uttarakhand state, India. (Wikipedia)

Northern state becomes seventh to put into effect legislation routinely used to jail Christians with baseless accusations.

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Uttarakhand has become the seventh state in India to put “anti-conversion” legislation in force.

Gov. Krishna Kant Paul on April 18 signed the “Freedom of Religion” bill (Dharma Swatantrata Adhiniyam), which the state Legislative Assembly passed.

“The bill has been signed by the governor,” Ravi Bijarniya, assistant director for information in the governor’s office, told Morning Star News.

Despite confirmation from the governor’s office, sources at the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) denied receipt of the signed bill.

“We confirm the receipt of 10 bills, which do not include the anti-conversion bill,” Officer on Special Duty R.B. Pant told Morning Star News. “We had sent the anti-conversion bill for approval on April 17, and if it has been signed, we might receive it soon.”

While staff members of the concerned office deny receiving the signed bill, local media and Jagran, a national newspaper, have reported the news of the governor’s approval of the bill and enforcement of the act.

Uttarakhand now joins Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand as states that have adopted anti-conversion bills, which Hindu extremists routinely use to falsely accuse Christians of forcible or fraudulent conversion.

Dr. John Dayal, spokesman for the United Christian Forum and the All India Catholic Union, told Morning Star News that enacting the anti-conversion law was driven by the ruling group’s communal agenda.

“It fails the very basic test of explaining to the world the need for having such a law,” he said. “There is no forcible or fraudulent conversion in the state to the Christian or Muslim or Sikh faiths shown either by the Census data or by the police statistics. In the absence of such reality, the only explanation can be that it is to threaten the minority communities or to curb the freedom of religion of the Dalit and backward communities whose rights are being crushed by the upper castes which exercise political power in the state.”

The ruling party came to power on a “rabid communal platform,” he added.

“We will challenge such a law, in the court of law and the court of public opinion,” Dayal said.

Regulating the Holy Spirit

The new law makes forced conversions a non-bailable offense punishable by a jail term of between one and five years. If a victim of “forced conversion” is a minor, woman or person belonging to either a Scheduled Caste (Dalit) or a Scheduled Tribe (Tribal), the minimum jail term is two years.

The law also makes it mandatory to obtain permission from the state government prior to religious conversion. An affidavit has to be submitted with the respective District Magistrate at least one month prior to conversion. Persons converting for the purposes of marriage also must submit the same affidavit one month prior to marrying.

If this procedure is not followed and conversion is discovered, it will be invalidated and considered illegal by the state government.

The law also requires the clergy performing the conversion ceremony to give a month’s advance notice to the district magistrate. After receiving such information, a police enquiry will be conducted “with regard to the real intention, purpose and the cause of that proposed religion conversion,” according reports.

The law stipulates that any marriage solemnized for the sole purpose of conversion by a man belonging to one religion with a woman of another religion may be declared null and void by the family court, according to reports. The law also allows immediate family members of a person who has been converted to register a case to nullify the marriage.

Swift Passage

The entire process of introducing, passing and signing the bill took less than six months in a state where Christians are just 0.37 percent of the population, according to the 2011 Census. The state is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The government of Uttarakhand, headed by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, prepared a draft bill after the Uttarakhand High Court in November 2017 suggested the state legislate a “Freedom of Religion Act” to keep a check on “sham” conversions, which in some cases were “only to facilitate the process of marriage,” according to the court.

While the judges admitted that “it is not the role of the court to give suggestions to the state government to legislate,” nevertheless it justified the suggestion, “due to fast changing social milieu.”

The state cabinet, in a meeting led by the chief minister, cleared a draft of the bill on March 12, and it was subsequently introduced in the State Legislative Assembly and passed on March 22. The BJP enjoys a three-fourths majority in the 70-member House.

According to Pant, the bill was sent for the governor’s approval on April 17. Local media on April 19 reported that the governor gave his approval on April 18.

The swiftness of the Uttarakhand government to comply with a mere suggestion by the High Court has led many to believe the process was a mere formality.

Before passage, Dr. Indira Hridayesh, leader of the Opposition in the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly, was quoted in media as saying, “There was no need to come up with this piece of legislation; they know they cannot win the elections solely on their own work and are now going back to the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] agenda of Ram Mandir [temple] and religious conversions.”

She had highlighted that the bill would violate the provisions of religious freedom that allows individuals to practice religion of their choice without interference.

The Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, told Morning Star News that the law empowers the government to trespass on private life.

“It is a complete encroachment on the private life of a person,” Mascarenhas said. “Religion and faith is something very private; it cannot be taken into public domain and controlled from the outside. These are personal decisions.”

Dr. Satish John, vice president of the Minority Commission of Uttarakhand, saw the law as very serious matter.

“This could be misused against minorities,” he told Morning Star News. “We must safeguard ourselves by approaching the Minority Commission if discrepancy is noticed in any individual case. The commission is established to make sure that such laws are not abused.”

Passed v. Enforced

Anti-conversion laws are currently in force in Odisha (formerly Orissa), Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and now Uttarakhand. Arunachal Pradesh passed legislation but has not framed corresponding rules, and a bill passed in Rajasthan was not signed by the then-governor of the state.

The Gujarat, Jharkhand and now Uttarakhand laws necessitate prior permission in order to convert while the other six laws require notification.

Uttarakhand is the tenth state to pass anti-conversion legislation and the seventh since 2000. Orissa (now Odisha), Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand have passed similar laws, with Tamil Nadu passing a law in 2002 and repealing it in 2004.

Though attempts to enact anti-conversion laws happened even before India’s independence in 1947, Orissa (now Odisha) was the first state to enact an anti-conversion law in 1967, ironically titling it a “Freedom of Religion” law.

Uttarakhand’s BJP-ruled government, led by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, completed one year in power on March 18. Rawat is a known RSS worker who has worked his way up the organization, serving as the Organizing Secretary for the RSS in the Uttarakhand region, and later the state before he entered politics through the BJP in 2002.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist BJP, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution.

California pro-homosexual bill will ban the Bible

Image result for bible images

It would be nice to think we could all get along, but the reality is we can’t. You and I might be prepared to let them live their lives as they choose, but they are not about to return the favor. The homosexual lobby will not rest until they have silenced the last voice of sexual normalcy and punished the last surviving Christian.

Their aim is the same as that of the Roman emperor Diocletian, who struck a medal that celebrated “The name of Christians being extinguished.” Not content with that, he erected a pillar in Spain to congratulate himself “for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ.”

Lest you think I exaggerate the contemporary dangers posed by the gay movement, I point you to California as Exhibit A. California has a Democratic supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, and all of its statewide offices are held by Democrats. In other words, there is literally nothing conservatives can do to stop the regressive agenda in the Golden State. California is a picture of what the left wants the entire United States of America to become. If they have their way, we all one day will look just like it.

California is showing us the end game of modern liberalism, and it’s not pretty. We as Christian conservatives believe that God has designed sex to be exclusively a matter between a husband and wife. We believe there are just two genders, or sexes, and that gender is assigned by God at the moment of conception. We believe that man is a free moral agent and that therefore sexual expression is a matter of choice. Our adversaries on the other side of the battle lines believe none of those things.

Bible CENSOREDThe California Assembly has passed a new bill, Assembly Bill 2943, which will ban the sale of the Bible. Yes, you read that exactly right. The sale of the Bible is about to be made illegal in the state of California. And the vote wasn’t even close – the bill passed 50-18. It heads to the Senate next, where it will certainly be approved, and then to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, where he is certain to sign it.

This bill would make it illegal to engage in “a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that “advertise, offer to engage in, or do engage in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

These “change efforts” are then defined as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” (Emphasis added throughout.)

The Bible is a book, or a “good” to use the language of the bill, that clearly teaches that with God’s help homosexual behavior can be changed, and sexual energy can be re-oriented, or re-directed, toward biblically sanctioned relationships. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-13, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Mount another Slaughter of Christians in Benue State, Nigeria

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JOSNigeria (Morning Star News) – Still shocked over a deadly attack on a Catholic congregation on Tuesday (April 24), Christians in Nigeria’s Benue state yesterday suffered another onslaught by Muslim Fulani herdsmen that reportedly left at least 39 people dead.

More than 160 houses also were reported to have been set ablaze in heavily armed attacks that began late Tuesday night in the Guma area on predominantly Christian Tse-Umenge, Mbakpase and Tse-Ali villages. Dozens of Christians were wounded, and at this writing the total number of those killed was not confirmed.

The area is about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Gwer East area attacks that took place the day before.

A resident of Mbakpase, Alice Terwase, told Morning Star News that the herdsmen who invaded her community were dressed in military camouflage and armed with AK-47 weapons.

“The herdsmen destroyed more than 60 houses in our village, and three members of my community were also killed during the attack,” Terwase said by phone. “At Tse-Ali village, more than 70 houses were set ablaze and 21 Christians killed. All affected victims are members of NKST [Universal Reformed Christian Church, or Nongu u Kristu u i Ser u sha Tar] church, and the Roman Catholic Church in the affected communities.”

John Umenge, of Tse-Umenge village, told Morning Star News that more than 50 houses were burned down by the herdsmen in his community.

“More than 15 Christians were killed and 50 houses destroyed by the herdsmen,” Umenge said. “The attacks began around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night and lasted to the early hours of today [Wednesday].”

The attacks by the herdsmen have led to protests in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

Pastors and church leaders could not be reached for comment as Benue state is engulfed in a state of emergency.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Wednesday (April 25) suspended session and invited President Muhammadu Buhari to explain why the attacks have persisted.

Akpen Leva, chairman of the Benue state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), last month said the herdsmen had destroyed 500 church buildings since 2011 with attacks that have displaced 170,000 people.

Assault on Displaced

Seven Christians among several hundred taking refuge in a church building were killed shortly after midnight last night by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, a local official said.

The attack on the displaced Christians took place at the African Church in Mbamondo village, in the Logo area of Benue state.

“The attack carried out by the herdsmen in the church premises of the African Church in Mbamondo took place at about 12:20 a.m.,” Richard Nyajo, council chairman of Logo Local Government Area told Morning Star News by phone. “Seven Christian villagers who were displaced in previous attacks and were taking refuge in the church premises were killed.”

The assailants set houses on fire and were armed with deadly weapons, he said. The wounded have been transferred to a hospital Makurdi.

Protests Planned

Christians in Nigeria plan a nationwide protest on Sunday (April 29) against attacks on Christian communities.

CAN leaders directed all churches in the country to hold peaceful protests following the attack on the Catholic church in Benue state that killed two priests and 17 parishioners. The protests also are planned to object to the continued captivity of the only Christian girl kidnapped by Boko Haram from Dapchi School, Leah Nathan Sharibu, and the remaining Christians girls abducted from a Chibok high school four years ago.

“CAN urges Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protests on the set aside date in the premises of their churches, asking the Federal government and the security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country,” the Rev. Supo Ayokunle, president of CAN, said in a statement. “Christians are to carry placards with inscriptions meant to address issues about sustained killings, attacks and destruction of their property in Nigeria.”

The government should be called upon to perform its constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens now, Ayokunle said.

“No excuse should be given for this wicked act again, and perpetrators must be brought to book now,” he said. “CAN seizes this medium to appeal to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to mount different effective plans aimed towards disarming herdsmen across the northern states and in communities where they have been wreaking havoc across the country in national interest.”

The failure of the government to stop the killings by herdsmen is the reason they have continued to kill, he said.

“The association also calls on the heads of the security agencies to wake up to their constitutional role of protecting lives and property across the federation while preventing Nigeria from descending into chaos and a lawless country,” he said. “CAN recalls with pains, disappointments, and worries how Nigerians in the North East, Middle Belt and southern parts of Nigeria become visibly endangered with sustained attacks from Boko Haram, herders and armed bandits.”

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.