Prestigious American university Harvard has suspended a Christian student group that asked one of its leaders to step down after she started a lesbian relationship.
The group, Harvard College Faith and Action (HCFA), informed the unnamed woman—an assistant Bible course leader—that her relationship went against the group’s character standards.
HCFA has now been placed on probation for a year—the first time this has been done to any student group.
Harvard claimed the group’s decision violated its guidelines stipulating that campus student groups cannot discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation.”
Co-presidents of HCFA, Scott Ely and Molly L Richmond, released a statement about the controversy to explain that the group includes “sexual purity” in its character standards.
“Our theological view is that—for professing Christians who are in leadership—celibacy is the only option outside the bounds of marriage. We have applied and do apply this policy regardless of sexual orientation.”
In an email released by The Harvard Crimson student newspaper, the woman said that she and her partner felt “extremely at peace” about their relationship.
Whilst the group is under probation, it will be barred from student fairs, lose free access to meeting rooms, no longer be allowed to advertise on campus and lose some university funding.
The American Bible Society (ABS) is being criticized for applying restrictive policies on the use of its recently acquired .bible top-level domain name.
The .bible domain has been managed by ABS since 2016 and at least 1,190 groups have acquired the domain name.
Some scholars, however, have raised concerns about how the ABS is running the domain name, with some complaining that the organization had applied restrictive policies that limit a wide range of faiths and essentially exclude any group with a scholarly or secular orientation.
Religion News Service reported that ABS had recently enacted a policy prohibiting registrants from posting any material that “espouses or promotes a religious, secular, or other worldview that is antithetical to New Testament principles, including but not limited to the promotion of a non-Christian religion or set of religious beliefs.”
After scholars with the Society of Biblical Literature, as well as some Jewish organizations, raised their objections, the ABS backtracked and modified the policy to include the participation of Jews.
However, some scholars have complained that the policy reversal did not go far enough. The revised policies reportedly forbid content that “advocates belief in any religious or faith tradition other than orthodox Christianity or Judaism.” It also does not allow “any content that communicates disrespect for God as He is revealed in the Bible” as well as “[a]ny content that communicates disrespect for the Bible.”
“The policy remains at its core insufficient,” said John Kutsko, executive director of the Society of Biblical Literature. “The ABS excludes those critical of religious traditions or views considered unorthodox by ABS, which is basically a good deal of scholarship,” he continued.
ABS said in a short statement that it had met with “complaining parties,” but insisted that it is “complete compliance” with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages internet resources and coordinates its domain name system.
In 2013, ABS had stated that it intends “to make .BIBLE domain names available to individuals and groups who have a healthy respect for the Bible.” The group also noted in its ICANN application that it intends to protect the .bible domain from “inappropriate use.”
The Saudi Arabia’s Communication and Information Technology Commission had objected to the application at that time saying, it believes that there is no clear consensus on who or what defines the “bible.”
The commission argued that allowing the domain to be registered would be “offensive to many people and societies on religious grounds.”
ABS said in a statement that its advisory council will review the criteria for membership on the dispute panel at its next meeting, but declined to provide further details.
“They wanted us to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, but it wasn’t No. 1. It wasn’t the most important thing,” Tebow said of his parents. “They wanted to instill love in our hearts, love for God, love for one another. They wanted us to be able to learn a work ethic, a dedication.”
Tebow, 30, did not attend public school until he attended the University of Florida, a college with about 50,000 students.
“I still have such a heart to encourage the homeschool kid,” Tebow told an ESPN analyst. “To let them know that they are loved, and they are special, and they might feel different, and sometimes might feel alone, sometimes might feel afraid. There might be those times where you go through that.”
He said he first had chores on his family’s farm, Bible study, and then academic work.
“I did a lot of different projects on Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens … because I was so interested in it,” he said. “I also remember doing science projects on why my parents needed to let me take protein because they didn’t understand that protein was a good thing and I needed to take shakes.”
While he was homeschooled, Tebow did play sports with other public school students.
“I went to work on it, and eventually we became friends,” he said. “But people are going to view you as different, and that’s OK. And sometimes I think it’s pretty good to view yourself as different, and that’s OK.”
Tebow’s parents, Bob and Pam Tebow, were his homeschool teachers.
“The amazing thing about homeschooling is that you get to love on your kids, you get to embrace them, you get to believe in them, you get to share that with them over, and over, and over and over again,” Tebow said. “And the chances of them believing it are so much higher, and that’s what we want our kids to be … not be afraid of the world.”
Salvation Plan by George Duke
Salvation could be divided into two categories? The first would be with you accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour without following the plan that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about. This first category takes the chance that even though Jesus Christ did not give me the new birth he has still saved you? This plan takes you to the Judgement of God to find out if your plan was enough. The second category assures you of your salvation as long as you continue with him. This is the one spoken by Jesus Christ in St. John chapter 3 and fulfilled in Acts chapter 2. You need to read both of these chapters and understand that all of the early disciples were recipients of this salvation. So my question to you is: Do you want to be saved in the way Jesus spoke of or in the way the modern church tells you.
As a result of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, students are no longer permitted to read the Lord’s Prayer during morning announcements at a Louisiana high school. The prayer was presented voluntarily by students and came under scrutiny when an agnostic student raised the issue with her mother. Reactions to the decision have been mixed, but many local Christians have expressed their support for the student-led practice.
Students at a public high school in Louisiana are no longer reading The Lord’s Prayer over the loudspeaker each morning following a lawsuit filed by a woman who professes to be a Christian and her agnostic daughter.
Christy Cole and her 17-year-old daughter Kaylee recently told CNN that no one has presented the prayer at Lakeside Junior/High School in Minde since students returned from the holiday break. The Lord’s Prayer had customarily been read over the loudspeaker each morning during the daily announcements, along with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Students had asked their classmates to stand to their feet, but Cole declined to as she identifies as agnostic and doesn’t like messages about God appearing in various forms throughout the school day.
As previously reported, Cole’s mother professes to be a Christian, but still objects to Christianity being promoted in public schools and believes that “praying in public is a sin.” With the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), she filed suit against the Webster Parish School District in December in an effort to put an end to what the legal challenge called “pervasive religious indoctrination.”
“Christy Cole believes her daughter and all students should be able to attend public school without exposure to government-sponsored religious practices and messages, and without harassment for their religious beliefs,” the complaint outlined.
“K.C. has felt and feels coerced, both directly and indirectly, to participate in religious activities and expression that did not and do not comport with her personal beliefs,” it stated. “She feels that she has been subjected to unwelcome indoctrination.”
During a recent London Bridges Jesus Film Mission Trip™, one mission team had a welcome encounter while praying about whom to approach with the good news.
The team leader shares:
Our team was enjoying the beauty of Hyde Park. While we walked, prayed and chatted about past mission trips, a team member asked me about my favorite people group. I mentioned a people living in a certain [closed] country on the Arab Peninsula. “Oh, maybe we’ll meet somebody from there,” the team member said. To which I insisted, “No, not here. I’ve never met anybody from [country] here.”
We turned a corner and saw a group of young Middle Eastern women, traditionally dressed, sitting on a park bench. Scooting over, they patted the seat, signaling us to sit. So our group joined theirs—squeezed onto the same park bench together.
We asked them where they were from, and I was surprised and delighted to be able to tell them I had visited their country. It was the very one I had just shared with the team! One of the women exclaimed, “You know my country! You come with us; you stay with us for the day!”
We quickly bonded and enjoyed great conversation with them until they eventually looked at their watches and indicated it was time to go. They were hungry and it was time to eat.
I knew, of course, that it was Ramadan—a special time of fasting. So I asked them if they were Muslim and they said they were. I told them I was a Christian but that I hadn’t been raised a Christian. They expressed surprise and indicated that they thought everyone in America was raised a Christian.
Then one of them asked, “How does a person become a Christian?”
Well, our team stood flabbergasted at this perfect opportunity to share the gospel. So I told them my story:
“I didn’t know either but I tried to be a good person. I always thought religions were like ice cream—different flavors but all involving praying, fasting, reading a holy book, and treating others as we want to be treated.
“But at the end of the day, my heart was still ‘black.’ Why would a God who created so much beauty [I gestured to the rose garden around us] accept me with my black heart?
“Well, I didn’t know what to do so I turned to a friend of mine who always talks about God as if He were a friend… not stern and scary. I asked him how his life was different after he accepted the Lord and became a Christian. That’s when he told me that God wanted to be my friend, too, and that I could know Him personally.”
At this point, I explained the gospel to the women. They were sincerely tracking with me through my personal story and about the good news. The entire conversation was the textbook setup. And then the time came to ask them if they would like to accept Jesus.
“We can’t,” they all said, expressing their religious affiliation without hesitation. I was shocked by how abruptly our “perfect opportunity” had become a dead end.
“We have to go,” they continued, and then they mentioned a church they enjoyed visiting, called Mary Magdalene.
Boom! I suddenly remembered I had a “Magdalena” DVD in my purse!
“Oh gosh,” I said, “It’s the weirdest thing… I have this DVD that’s about the person the church is named for and it’s in your language!”
The young women, pleasantly surprised, accepted the DVD; we exchanged email addresses, took pictures and promised each other we’d keep in touch. I knew I would be visiting their country in four months so I wanted to stay connected.
Four months later, I visited the Arab Peninsula and was able to visit with one of the women. I thought surely by now she’d want to become a Christian. This’ll be easy! But every attempt I made to start a spiritual conversation with her was stonewalled.
The night before my flight home, the young woman (along with her father and sister as chaperones) took me to one of the finest restaurants and still I could not get into one conversation about Jesus. I prayed, “Lord, You know I’m leaving tomorrow. Please give me a divine appointment to invite this woman to become a follower of Christ.”
We finished dinner and all of us went for a walk toward the beach. As we approached the sand, she and I kept walking but the others stopped as if God had put up a wall. When we reached the water, she confessed, “I love the water; I wish I could swim.”
I said, “Well, why can’t you?” “Because of this,” and she picked up a wad of her traditional dress.
“You’re not allowed to?” I asked. “No, I’m trapped—literally. My whole generation is trapped. We don’t believe any of this. It’s my parents’ generation. The religion…? All that, it’s theirs.”
I said, “Have you thought about our conversation from this summer?” (I was trembling.)
“I think about it every day,” she replied.
“I brought you a gift,” I said. “It’s a Bible in Arabic and English. Will you read it?”
“I have searched for one ever since we spoke!” And she grabbed the Bible and kissed it and then kissed me.
Looking outward toward the Gulf, we cried and she said, “I knew God brought you here for a reason.”
Since that evening, we have kept in touch. I plan to go back to that region and spend a few days with my new sister in Christ.
This experience was a great reminder that God is always at work… With the help of the Holy Spirit, we plant seeds and He brings them to fruition.
Here are some pages from the book which can be purchased on www.Amazom.com/ or Kendle.comThere have been so many Missionaries that have done so much for the work of God in reaching the souls of mankind throughout the world. I want to share with you some of the Missionaries that I met while I was a Missionary in the UK. Many Missionaries pay a high price in order to obey God and their calling. Remember that a Pastor, Preacher, or even a Missionary is human just like you and I. Also many times their children suffer because of the parents calling. We should recognize that when one becomes a missionary it is a decision that they make but their children do not always have a choice. They must go where their parents take them and many times they become the often unrecognized missionary in the family. They suffer much for that calling of God placed upon their lives because of their parents. Many times I have had to listen to my children speak about persecution in the school by teachers or other children just because they were American or a Christian. I would like to dedicate this book to my children and thank them for all the work that they did to help Carol and I to be successful Missionaries. My heart reaches out to them for their suffering and pain because God called me to be just a Missionary. God bless each of you Mark Clifford Duke, Debra Ann Duke Dominguez, Susan Lorraine Duke Goodhall, and Rebecca Elizabeth Duke Schadt.
Baptism of Billy Graham
One Sunday night we arrived at the Conservative club Hall and found a family waiting for us to have service. It always is a thrill to have new people to attend a service. When I introduced myself to them, they told me that they were the Graham family. The man was Billy Graham and his wife and family. Later when I gave the altar call the whole family came forward and sought the Lord and after the end of the prayer at the altar, Billy asked me if he could come over and meet with me at my home. We agreed on a time and when they arrived, Billy had a note book full of questions that he wanted to speak to me about. Most of these involved Baptism in Jesus name and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He then spoke and asked me about our teaching on who Jesus Christ really was? I must have answered all his questions proper because before he left he asked me to baptize him and his family in Jesus name for the remission of their sins. On Saturday afternoon they came to our home and I was thrilled as I baptized each one of them in the name above all names.
Denzel: Missing dads, not prisons, to blame for black crime
Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington asserts that the failure and breakdown of black families are responsible for the prevalence of crime in their communities – not the criminal justice system.
“It starts in the home,” Washington told theGrio in an interview during the screening of his latest film, Roman J. Israel, Esq., at New York’s Henry R. Luce Auditorium. “If the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets. I saw it in my generation and every generation before me – and every one since.”
Don’t blame the prison system
He also explained to a New York daily that the prison system is not a problem for the African American community.
The Christian actor was emphatic that the biggest solution for the black community is for African-American moms and dads to stay together and raise their children properly – if they want to see true change.
“Actor Denzel Washington stressed that the influence of family in the black community is the most important factor in keeping children out of crime,” Townhall reported regarding his comments about the new movie.
He maintained that the absence of the father in the home literally turns children’s lives upside down – for the worst.
“If the streets raise you, then the judge becomes your mother and prison becomes your home,” the 62-year-old African American icon impressed to theGrio.
Undying inspiration from within
Washington, who stars as a criminal defense attorney, Roman J. Israel, partners with young civil rights activists and lawyers to fight against social injustice in the movie, where he finds his ideas and values constantly challenged. His continued motivation to seek change was inspired by African-American youth who he encountered in the 1990s.
“I remember when I was doing the movie, Malcolm X, and we were doing a speech up at Columbia, [and] we had a bunch of students from Columbia University,” Washington recounted. “In between takes, we were talking about things and how tough the world is, and I was like ‘With everything, we’re talking about, does it make you want to give up?’”
He was impressed at their optimistic view on life.
“And they’re like, ‘Oh, no, no, we’re gonna change it,’” the iconic actor continued. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m the cynic.’”
The longtime Hollywood star is encouraged that there are still many in the African-American community who have not given up hope that positive change is within their grasp.
“So, I pray that young people never lose that fire,” Washington shared. “I don’t think they will. And needless to say, there’s a lot for them to work on.”
Making an impact
Washington’s latest films have worked to enlighten America about the ongoing struggles within the black community – an effort that has been funded by an influential African-American figure.
“The Roman J. Israel, Esq. was funded in part by MACRO, a black-owned production company founded by media mogul Charles D. King,” theGrio’s Natasha S. Alford informed. “King recently raised $150 million in funding, and helped produced the Netflix film, Mudbound and Fences, which featured an Oscar-worth[y] performance from Washington.”
The outspoken actor maintained that he is not worried about what kind of reaction his fans will have after seeing his latest film.
“I just do what I do,” Washington responded to a question the New York Daily News asked regarding the controversial topics addressed in the movie. “I can’t be concerned. I don’t know what they’re going to think, so that’s not something that comes into my head … If it’s something I’m interested in, then I do it if I can, and we’ll find out what they think about it.”