September 11th, 2009 by M. French

A pro-life activist affiliated with Operation Save America was shot and killed while holding up a “life” sign outside a Michigan high school. According to MLive.com:

An anti-abortion activist gunned down Friday morning in front of Owosso High School has been identified as James Lawrence Pouillon, 63, of Owosso.Pouillon was a longtime abortion protester, known for his highly vocal and visible public demonstrations around the community and even outside the state.

Longtime friend and fellow activist Judy Climer, president of Flint Right to Life, described Pouillon as “just a nice, elderly gentleman who was disabled, used an oxygen tank and wore leg braces.”

Climer said Pouillon had a regular weekly schedule of visits to abortion clinics in Flint and Saginaw, where he would park across the street and pray when abortions were allegedly being conducted.

“I knew him very well. He told me one time God put in his heart a passion for the little babies that have the right to be born and they were being denied that right,” said Climer, who said Pouillon often stopped at her office for coffee breaks as he drove from one location to another to demonstrate.

“He even told me once he’d be willing to die for that belief. That’s what I hear him saying right now.”

It occurred at 7:30am this morning (September 11th). A suspect is in custody (read more here).

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

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May 9th, 2009 by M. French

Interesting perspective on Tiananmen Square from some of the leaders involved, reprinted from China Aid:

Tiananmen Square Leaders Issue Declaration of Repentance and Reconciliation on 20th Anniversary

June 4, 1989 — Tiananmen Square

May 6, 2009

USA — An unprecedented statement regarding the June 4, 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square was released today by more than 80 Chinese Christian leaders calling for forgiveness, repentance, truth, justice and reconciliation. The majority of the signatories were directly involved with the students’ movement, and suffered severe repercussions at the hands of authorities for their participation. In the aftermath of the massacre, the failure of the movement and in their search for truth, these leaders found reality and hope in Jesus Christ.

In their statement, the Christian leaders articulate how the massacre “awakened our sense of social justice as intellectuals… and shattered our dreams of utopia on earth.” Through this crisis, they saw they were not “entirely innocent bystanders of the sins and tragedy.”  The manifesto declares, “in terms of this sinful nature, we are not fundamentally different from the decision makers, commanders or transactors of the massacre,” except for encountering the grace and forgiveness of God. The declaration calls on all Chinese Christians to seek reconciliation on the basis that truth must be revealed and justice done. The declaration lists specific actions including confessing the sins of silence and hypocrisy; revealing the truth; helping those still suffering as a result of this tragedy and praying for Chinese authorities. The signatories also urge Chinese authorities to investigate the massacre; fully disclose the truth; find the perpetrators; commemorate the massacre and compensate and care for the victims’ families.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre, known in China as the “June 4th Incident,” was the tragic end to a movement of students and intellectuals calling for free media and formal dialogue between authorities and student-elected representatives. Between April 15 and June 4, approximately 100,000 Chinese citizens, the majority of whom were university students, led peaceful protests in Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square. On June 4, the Chinese government sent in armored tanks and, as the world watched, killed hundreds of the demonstrators. According to the Chinese government, the official death toll was 200-300. However, the Chinese Red Cross estimated that the actual deaths were between 2,000 and 3,000. More than 10,000 Chinese citizens from all over China who were involved in the movement were sentenced to death by the government as retribution. June 4, 2009 will mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre.

Bob Fu, president and founder of ChinaAid, was one of the student leaders in the Tiananmen Square movement. “The fact that this tragic massacre happened 20 years ago and is still not allowed to be commemorated in China by the Chinese government, should remind the international community that the road toward true freedom for the Chinese people is not an easy one,” Bob Fu stated. “We are encouraged that the persecuted Chinese church and church leaders are awakened to repent for their silence regarding the massacre and to move forward toward true justice and reconciliation.”

The declaration also issues a call to all Chinese Christian churches, within China and overseas, to pray between May 12 – the anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake and June 4 – the anniversary of the massacre. They urge churches to make May 12 and June 4 “Pray for China” days and to hold special prayer meetings during that time.

ChinaAid calls on the international community to stand with the signatories of the declaration by joining them in prayer and action for true reconciliation.

Read the full text of the “Declaration of Chinese Christians on the 20th Anniversary of the June 4 Incident” in Madarin and in English.

The signatories of the declaration invite other Chinese Christians and church leaders to sign the declaration. Those interested in signing please e-mail info@64church.org.

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January 29th, 2009 by Bethany French

On Thursday January 22, 2009 from 11:30-12:30, approximately one to two hundred people from different churches and pro-life organizations gathered at the intersection of Trade and Tryon in Charlotte, NC for a church service as a memorial for the unborn children who have been and continue to be killed under the guise of “a woman’s right to choose.” As part of the event, participants held up signs and passed out fliers educating the public on the reality of abortion. The signs included pictures of Malachi, an aborted baby of 21 weeks, and multiple children that were rescued from abortion due to the consistent efforts of those who minister weekly in front of the abortion clinics in Charlotte.

The square was full of mothers and fathers with their children, and many children were able to hand out fliers to those passing by. Everyone joined in the heartfelt prayer and worship, and listened as the speakers shared from their hearts about abortion, its impact on society, and the need to speak on behalf of those in the womb, who have no voice of their own.

The highlight of the service was the moving testimony of a woman who had recently decided to keep her baby because of the efforts and presence of OSA’s Flip Benham at the abortion clinic on Hebron St. in Charlotte. She had previously had 3 different abortions, and was on her way to have another baby killed after struggling for weeks with the decision, when she came under conviction by the words of Mr. Benham, and changed her mind. She is now going to the church of another passionate pro-life pastor in the city, Pastor Ronnie Wallace.  Following her story, Mr. Benham prayed for her to experience the love and goodness of Christ, and many who were present contributed funds to help her through this time, including a Charlotte businessman who was moved to stop, contributed to the fund, and stayed to talk with her and others afterward.  Hearing her story brought a response of compassion and rejoicing from the participants, and great encouragement to those who minister as sidewalk counselors in front of the abortion clinics in Charlotte.

In an interview following the memorial service, this woman said that after her third abortion, she had promised herself and God that she would never have another one.  She was filled with regret about the decision she had made to abort twins the last time, whom she called “a gift of God” that she should have treasured.  When she found herself pregnant for the fourth time, she was afraid of going through the pregnancy without the father or a support system of friends or family, and she made the heartbreaking decision to have another abortion.  However, right as she was walking into the doors of the abortion clinic on Hebron St, she heard the words of Flip Benham as he was ministering outside, later recalling that it was as if “he was speaking right to me.”  In response to his words, she started crying and turned back to talk with him.  Mr. Benham met her halfway, talked and prayed with her, and she changed her mind about having the abortion.  She said she felt like God had sent the sidewalk counselors there to the abortion clinic just for her.  Mr. Benham then introduced her to Pastor Wallace so she could get connected to a support system within the community.

What is the best thing that pro-life supporters can do to help the women who have chosen life, and are now facing difficult circumstances?  This woman said that what would help her most would be having people alongside her to listen, support her, and minister comfort, since she doesn’t have any support to speak of from the father, family or her friends.  Many of these women who have changed their minds about having an abortion are afraid and alone, and need the support of those who will get to know them, and care about them AND their child; friends, we can reach out in love and make a difference to these women who have chosen life!  We can support and bless those who out of a place of faith make the wonderful decision to keep their children, and be friends and family to those without them, simply by making ourselves available!  Let us join with our brothers and sisters who labor to be a voice for the unborn children, and friends and family to those who are being saved!

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December 6th, 2008 by M. French

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty released a full page ad in the New York Times today entitled No Mob Veto. It calls for an end to violence toward religious institutions that supported Proposition 8, and is signed by leaders representing various faiths. The letter is reprinted below (click on it to enable zoom):

For those that would like to show their support for the ad, you can add your name to the letter on their website NoMobVeto.org.  Be aware however, that it calls for one questionable commitment that may prevent some of you from adding your name, specifically.: “Furthermore, beginning today, we commit ourselves to exposing and publicly shaming anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry – against any faith, on any side of any cause, for any reason.” Is this really a commitment that authentic believers in the Messiah should promise to undertake? Why would we “commit” ourselves to “publicly shame” everyone that commits a certain act, let alone something as open-ended and all-inclusive as committing “anti-religious bigotry” (whatever that may mean) towards “any faith, on any side of any cause, for any reason.” Is Satanism included?  How about death-crazed Islam? Are people like Joel Richardson of Joel’s Trumpet, who are rightfully (and non-violently) exposing this demonic manifestation of Islam guilty of “anti-religious bigotry”?

Overall, however, the Becket Fund ad should be commended for its clear and uncompromising call to end religious intimidation and violence. (For those who have signed the letter, I encourage you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.)

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT lobbying group and political action committee, posted a response to the ad on their website, reprinted below:

Demand the Truth

HRC’s Religion and Faith program launches response to untruthful NY Times ad.

Today, members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council responded forcefully to a full-page ad in the New York Times that implies there is an organized attempt to foment mob intimidation and violence toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to its actions dehumanizing lesbian and gay people in the recent election campaign, particularly in California around passage of Proposition 8, which stripped gay families of the right to a civil marriage.  The ad was sponsored by NoMobVeto.org, a project of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

When did the LDS Church become the victim?  It’s hard to believe, but that is exactly what it is trying to convince the public of.  It is continuing to spend an excess of dollars in an attempt to mislead the public and transform its image.  But the truth is that this is the same church that conducted a national broadcast to every temple, calling on members to organize and write checks to the Prop 8 campaign.  The same church that donated more than half of the $40 million behind Prop 8, even though California Mormons represent just 2 percent of the state’s population.  Yes, it’s the same church.

Don’t allow them to replace the truth with their own version of the truth. Use our Religion Council’s message today to take action and demand the truth:

  • Click here to write a letter to the New York Times
  • Click here to send an email to the Becket Fund, the organization that paid for the misleading New York Times ad
  • Click here to share your personal story with NoMobVeto.org and let them know how the passage of Prop 8 affected your life

What HRC’s Religion Council had to say:

  • “Several signatories to the ad are generals in the culture wars,” said Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Church (Epsicopal), Pasadena, Calif.  “They lied about gay people in the campaign, and now they are lying again when they say we are in favor of mob intimidation and violence.  I personally talked legitimately angry demonstrators in California out of such action and every credible LGBT organization called for peaceful resistance to the Prop 8 travesty.  Many of the leaders cited in this ad preach hate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, then look the other way when LGBT people are the victims of hate crimes.  This ad is an act of individual and corporate hypocrisy.”
  • Bishop John Selders of Amistad United Church of Christ in Hartford, Conn. commented, “As an African-American, I’ve heard this before.  A few frustrated members of a minority group respond in anger to a new indignity and the oppressor calls them anarchists.  Satan, sometimes called the Father of Lies, is at work when powerful people seek to dehumanize those who are less powerful.”
  • Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre of Iliff School of Theology in Denver agreed, “I am always struck that those in power, those who manipulate the truth to maintain oppressive structures, present themselves to the public as the ones being persecuted.  Make no mistake, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a powerful organization with an agenda of imposing a narrow religious view upon the rest of America.  As we Hispanics say, ‘que vergüenza’ (what a shameful act).”
  • “Calls for tolerance of certain religious viewpoints rings hollow in a world where religion often stands by tolerating violence perpetrated on God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children,” was Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson’s reply.  Dr. Swenson is a Presbyterian minister and psychotherapist in Atlanta.
  • Rev. Dr. Ken Stone of Chicago Theological Seminary said, “While I agree that violence and anti-religious bigotry need to be combated, we must also demand an end to the violence undertaken by those religious institutions that not only encourage but also fund bigotry against lesbians and gay men. Where will the Becket Fund be when we call for endorsements of hate crimes and employment protection legislation for LGBT people?”
  • Here’s what Rev. Dr. Mary A. Tolbert of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Pacific School of Religion had to say: “The ‘No Mob Veto’ ad would be more convincing as a statement of concern for civil debate over the well-organized and well-funded participation of the LDS church in the passage of Prop 8 had it not itself ended with a clear threat of intimidation toward anyone criticizing that church’s role in the election.  As the Christian gospels demonstrate in Jesus’ action of overturning the tables of money-lenders in the temple, sometimes speaking the truth to entrenched and wealthy religious leaders requires a dramatic stroke. To protest the enormous financial involvement of a religious body in stripping equal rights from California LGBT people, their families, and their children is in no way anti-religious bigotry; it is instead, like the example of Jesus in the temple, an attempt to speak the truth to those rooted in power and wealth whose actions serve to deprive other human beings of the equal respect and dignity all of God’s children deserve.”
  • Rev. Rebecca Voelkel of the Institute for Welcoming Resources of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force summed up: “As a Christian, I was taught not to ‘bear false witness.’  One of the deepest tragedies of the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California was its bearing false witness– more plainly stated, its lies– about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.  This ad is one more example.  In response to the passage of Proposition 8, faithful, honorable, patriotic Americans from every walk of life and of many sexual orientations and gender identities gathered to say no to lies and yes to love, truth and the American way.  To name these overwhelmingly peaceful gatherings as mobs dishonors me, my family, members of my church and so many others who participated in them.  As a Christian, my religious tradition also admonishes me to speak the truth in love.  Therefore, I prayerfully ask those who have run this ad and others like it, to stop your false witness.  Instead, and especially in these times, our country and our world need all of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans and all people of faith, to work on behalf of the dignity of all human beings.”

The HRC’s response to the ad is fascinating because it accuses the LDS Church of conducting “a national broadcast to every temple, calling on members to organize and write checks to the Prop 8 campaign” and donating “more than half of the $40 million behind Prop 8, even though California Mormons represent just 2 percent of the state’s population.” Has encouraging people to make a difference for the cause of righteousness and authentic love now become illegal or immoral?

In addition, the HRC has somehow convinced themselves that it is virtually impossible for Mormons to ever be victims, asking: “When did the LDS Church become the victim?  It’s hard to believe, but that is exactly what it is trying to convince the public of.” The HRC needs to wake up and realize that it is indeed possible for other groups to be mistreated in this country, even organizations they believe to be “oppressors.”

As if these strange accusations and perceptions weren’t enough, next to the article on the HRC’s website, the link to the Becket Fund’s letter states “Click on the image below to read the untruthful ad”.  One wonders how the ad was untruthful, since the HRC article never makes that clear. The only direct accusation made concerning what the ad allegedly “lied about” was not found in the main HRC article but in a quote from Rev. Susan Russell who said, “They lied about gay people in the campaign, and now they are lying again when they say we are in favor of mob intimidation and violence.” Her comments, however, are highly inaccurate.  The ad never stated that the LGBT community was in favor of mob intimidation and violence – in fact, gays and lesbians were never even mentioned in the Becket Fund ad. The point they were making was that the LGBT community (without mentioning them by name) had either turned a blind eye toward or made excuses for the behavior of those who engaged in mob intimidation. Rather than accusing the writers of this ad of being “untruthful” without backing up their claims in the slightest, perhaps the HRC should consider taking the ad’s rebuke seriously and start leading the charge against religious violence and intimidation in their community.

It’s encouraging to see organizations such as the Becket Fund stand up for religious liberty and call for an end to religious violence and intimidation.  Mormons, believing Christians, and people of other faiths (or even non-faiths) have the right to let their voices be heard and to affect positive change in society.  They should not be punished for their success.

For more on the subject of the LDS Church, check out Dr. Brown’s Line of Fire show Should Evangelicals and Mormons Work Together?.

Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , , ,

November 18th, 2008 by M. French

Editor’s Note: More information concerning our sources for this story can be found here: Kingdoms in Conflict Followup

A group of homosexual protesters turned violent on Friday, Nov. 14th when an outreach team from the Justice House of Prayer gathered together to worship on the streets of the Castro District in San Francisco. These young Christians had been meeting to worship and reach out to the Castro community on Friday nights for months, with this being their first time in the community since the passing of Proposition 8 in California, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and has sparked nationwide protests from the GLBT community.

While the outreach team sang worship songs, the homosexual protesters became erroneously convinced that the group from JHOP was there to protest the “No on 8” Campaign that the GLBT community has been promoting throughout the country. A crowd gathered around the JHOP team as they sang “Amazing Grace”, and as tensions mounted, the crowd began shouting vulgarities and taunts at the Christians, eventually throwing hot coffee, alcohol, and soda at the group, and according to some at the scene, even spitting on them, all the while blowing whistles inches from their ears. As the scene progressed, the team was also shoved, had their personal belongings stolen, and were hit and kicked, requiring them to call the police. Eventually, a riot team was called in to protect the victims as they worshiped. One victim said that when one of the homosexuals was confronted by a young woman for stealing her Bible, “he responded by hitting her on the head with the Bible, shoving her to the ground, and kicking her.” When asked by the police if she wanted to press charges, she declined, choosing to extend forgiveness to her attacker instead.

Violence and verbal abuse weren’t the only things they had to endure however, as perverse acts of molestation also took place. According to one of the victims, individuals in the crowd touched and grabbed them, tried to remove their pants, and even made attempts to penetrate them anally with foreign objects.  Following this, the police had to surround the outreach team to protect them from the mob, and confront a man who threatened the team leader with death. The police asked the outreach group to leave for their protection due to the violence of the crowd, despite the police presence. They escorted the group during the long walk back to their van, followed by the mob who continued to shout, chant and blow whistles. The press only arrived in time to capture some of their walk back to the van, and you can view the raw footage of this here (YouTube version posted below).

Incredibly, the article published by the news team from KTVU in San Francisco has many of the facts of the event wrong, but with the only interviews performed being from the homosexual community, rather than representatives from both sides or even the police who were called to protect the victims, who should be surprised? The group who went from JHOP to the Castro area was not “marching” to support Proposition 8, nor did they blatantly “confront” anyone from the homosexual community on Friday night. And despite the aggressive nature of the mob, KTVU fails to mention it in the least, and even quotes a homosexual man who says “Their rights were respected…They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood.” (emphasis mine) They also quote another homosexual man saying “It’s not religious. It’s not a racial thing. It’s about hate. We’re trying to send a message across the world that we’re standing up and we don’t want this to go on anymore.” But they print not a word from a police officer or one of the victims of the attack.

“Their rights were respected?” As hot coffee and other things are thrown on them, their belongings are stolen, and they are physically and sexually assaulted? “It’s about hate?” Since when is praying and singing hymns classifiable as hatred? Emotions are running very high within the GLBT community, but the actions of some of the protesters have overstepped the laws of the nation as well as the “tolerance” and “equality” that they themselves demand of those who believe in God’s design of marriage between a man and a woman. The victims from JHOP attacked in the Castro district would have been well within their rights to press charges, but instead they chose to love and forgive instead of meeting hatred with hatred, or even seeking justice from the laws which protect members of both sides of the issue.

The heart of the group who was chased out of the Castro district is this:

We don’t want to convert gays to straight people. We want them to know the Love of Jesus Christ. Even if someone never becomes attracted to the other sex, they can still love Jesus Christ with all their heart, mind, and soul. As the mob raged, all I could pray was “God have mercy.”

Every one of us stands in need of the mercy of God, without exception. Let us pray for God to have mercy on the GLBT community, that they would have a true encounter with the Spirit of God who is the very embodiment of love, holiness, and truth, and that we may be able to reach out to them with a heart of compassion for the heavy struggle facing those who deal with this issue which lies at the very core of the way they identify themselves. Which one among us has not needed God to redefine core beliefs about who we are/were? The transformation must be accomplished by the Spirit, not the strength of men. We must cry out to Messiah Jesus to have mercy!

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