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Nigerian Christians face brutal persecution: Bishop condemns deportation of religious freedom

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A Nigerian Catholic bishop recently offered a harrowing account of religious persecution in the country and called on the U.S. State Department to explain its decision for delisting the nation as one that merited “particular concern” on religious freedom.

“Since the United States has delisted Nigeria from countries of particular concern, what we would like to hear from the United States now is for them to explain to us, give us the data,’ said Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza of the Yola Diocese.

“How is it that Nigeria is different from Nigeria of two years ago? Because we that are living in Nigeria – when it comes to discrimination, when it comes to persecution of Christians, we are still feeling it. And we are still experiencing it. How is it that the Secretary of State [Antony Blinken] that lives outside – he doesn’t live in Nigeria, and he has not had any contact with us.

“He has not met us and asked us questions. We have not interacted and just of a sudden we hear that Nigeria has been delisted. I think that this is really disheartening and all Christians in Nigeria are feeling very bad about it so we want to know … they can’t just delist without explaining. If they have statistics … we want to hear. But as far as we are concerned here now in Nigeria, the persecution is more intense now than ever.”

His comments were aired during an event with the Religious Freedom Institute but were initially made in November, according to the organization.

“It is difficult to find any family that has not lost at least one person,” Mamza said.

Last year, former President Trump’s State Department designated Nigeria as a country of “particular concern” as it encountered rampant violence from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.

Last month, the Biden administration removed the “particular concern” designation just before Secretary Blinken made a diplomatic visit to the African nation.

A State Department official told Tuesday Blinken had “determined that the state of religious freedom in Nigeria did not meet the legal threshold to justify Nigeria’s continued designation as a country of particular concern.”

The department pointed to provisions within the International Religious Freedom Act, but declined to specify how it no longer met that legal threshold.

“Pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, as amended (IRF Act), the secretary designates countries that have engaged in or tolerated ‘particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ as ‘countries of particular concern’ (CPCs).”

“The IRF Act defines particularly severe violations as ‘systematic, ongoing egregious violations of religious freedom,’ including violations such as: (1) torture; (2) prolonged detention without charges; (3) forced disappearance; or (4) other flagrant denial of life, liberty or security of persons.”

However, on Thursday, a State Department spokesperson said, “We continue to have genuine concerns about the state of religious freedom in Nigeria, which are well documented in the annual IRF Report, and we will continue to press the government to address these.”

On Tuesday, a group of GOP senators called on Blinken to reverse the decision and asked the secretary for more information on his reasoning.

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Hope on Capitol Hill: ‘There Are a Great Number’ in Congress ‘Who Want to Bring Honor to God’

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I stood in awe at what a wonderful opportunity the Reverend Billy Graham statue unveiling event proved to be in terms of sharing the Gospel message. This month, within the walls of the elegant Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, a prominent and faithful preacher was remembered and honored. Several speakers took the time to preach the good news, calling for those listening to put their faith in Jesus, “the Lord of lords and the King of kings,” as Senate Chaplain Barry Black proclaimed.

Looking at the world around us, especially when surrounded by contentious politics, it can feel utterly overwhelming and chaotic. Division appears to be the norm, and hope for a better society or government often feels scarce. But two weeks ago, I was struck with the beauty of hearing the Gospel proclaimed not once, not twice, but at least three or four times in the heart of our nation. It gave me hope. It was encouraging to listen as members of Congress, the Speaker of the House, and other authoritative figures represent Christ boldly. Who knows what seeds were planted? Perhaps their boldness will inspire other influential figures to be bold as well.

However, the question that lingered in my mind following the event was: How many faithful Believers do we have in our government? The short answer is that I don’t know exactly. But clearly, there are more than meets the eye. It would also seem there’s far more being done within the walls of the Capitol to edify, encourage, and equip Believers in government to stand firm.

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture through Faith & Law (FL). If you’re unfamiliar, FL met for the first time on Capitol Hill in 1983 with pastor and theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul as their guest speaker. Other prominent FL speakers include Carl F.H. Henry, Os Guinness, and Nancy Pearcey. According to their website, FL’s “mission is to encourage and equip Christian policymakers to more fully understand the Biblical worldview and its implication in their calling to the public square.” The FL event I attended featured Ligonier Ministries’ CEO Chris Larson and Chairman Robert Godfrey to discuss the current challenges Christians face in society.

“Christians, along with a lot of other people in our society, are confused these days,” Godfrey said. “Things have changed a lot” in recent years, and “the source of our confusion,” Godfrey added, “is that a major shift has occurred in western history” in that we have dramatically shifted away from Christendom—the state of having a Christian-majority. That was Godfrey’s argument, but it’s not unique to him. A variety of scholars and experts refer to our day as a post-Christian society. But, as Godfrey emphasized, Christianity is not the same as Christendom. And so, to say we have moved away from Christendom in no ways means Christianity is of the past.

The societal turning point Godfrey emphasized was the legalization of same-sex marriage. Interestingly, he wasn’t arguing that the legalization marked the degradation of Christendom, but rather, that the public reaction did. Christendom served as a way of “establishing Christianity in law in some sense,” Godfrey said, and in many ways, it was a “unifying factor of civilization.” But in 2015, when the Obergefell decision legalized same-sex marriage, we saw that unity slip farther away. As Godfrey noted, a serious, vehement, and organized effort to overturn that decision did not seem to occur. Were there many against it? Surely.

But it stands to reason many lawmakers, such as former President Barrack Obama, who once claimed to oppose homosexual marriage, now champion the ideology. The same is true as we investigate society. Today, the push for LGBT ideology feels inescapable—and with pride month just around the corner, it will soon make that cultural domination painfully blatant. This sweeping secularism seems most obvious in the Pride mayhem, but it’s also seen in the rampant push for killing the unborn, the increased justification (and perhaps encouragement) of crime, and the list continues.

So, what’s there to glean from these observations? Well, according to Godfrey, the most important takeaway from this breakdown of moral impact on society, at least for Christians, is to recognize God’s sovereignty over all things. This is the first step towards garnering peace in a world of confusion and calamity. Regardless of the current cultural climate, we serve a God who’s in control of all. Hebrews 13:8 says our Lord “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” So, really, there’s no failure in store for the one with faith, because our God is a God of victory, and He’s secured His kingdom from now into eternity. “I will build My Church,” Jesus proclaimed, “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

But the second step in securing peace during a time of frustration would be to pay attention to how the Lord is working in government. In my short time in DC, I’ve seen groups such as Faith & Law, the Word on the Hill, and others faithfully raise up Gospel truth within our Capitol. There are also plenty of congressional members who carry the armor of God into their political battles, and they need our prayers and support. In a conversation with Representative Michael Guest (R-MS), I got a glimpse into what it means to be a Christian lawmaker.

“You know,” Guest said, “I think we’re all challenged at certain times in life, whether you serve in a public capacity or whether you have a job in the private sector.” But a particular challenge Guest highlighted is how much time he must spend away from his family. Community is crucial, especially for the Believer, and it’s taxing to be away from home so frequently. The congressman explained how he’ll often be traveling Monday through Friday for four to five weeks in a row, with little time for his family on the weekends. In this regard, Guest makes sure to have a strong Christian community in his personal life, as they’re what “keep us grounded and … on track,” he told The Washington Stand.

Reflecting on when he first came to Congress, he emphasized, “it was important … for me to find fellow Believers.” And by God’s grace, he did. Guest shared there are multiple ways in which the word of God is alive and active on the Hill. “There’s a group of Believers … that meet every Wednesday morning when we’re in session, and we spend time in God’s word and time in prayer.”

He continued, “[W]e have the prayer caucus that meets between votes,” which he noted provides “the opportunity to be with those Believers and to pray about the things that we’re going to be doing that week in Congress.” And in addition to praying about their work, Guest said the prayer caucus also serves “to bring forward individual prayer requests of people in our district who may be suffering from some sort of bad diagnosis, or [may have just] lost loved ones.” Ultimately, “[T]here are a number of ways in which members can be plugged in with other members of similar faith and belief. And I think in this environment, it is so important to find those fellow Believers you can associate with.”

When it comes to having faith and being in government, Guest urged that both in words and in action, Christians are called to be a witness to the light of the Gospel. “Being able to share your faith and being able to talk about the things that God has done in your life is important,” he said, “but I [think], as a Believer, people are watching how we act. Do we act as the world acts, or do we act different? Do people see something different about us than they do non-Believers?”

Guest concluded, “I think it’s important for people to know that there are a great number of Believers here on Capitol Hill. … [P]eople who want to bring honor and glory to God” and “see our nation turn from our sinful ways and want to see God continue to bless this land that we’ve been so proud to call home for so long. … God is not done with America,” he insisted. “We have great days ahead, and … there are men and women of faith in Washington, DC and in our state capitals and in our local government who God will use to continue to see that we prosper.” S
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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അറ്റ്ലാൻ്റ ചർച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ്, എവരി ഹോം ബൈബിൾ സ്കൂൾ സംഘടിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ബൈബിൾ ക്ലാസ്

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അറ്റ്ലാൻ്റ ചർച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ്, എവരി ഹോം ബൈബിൾ സ്കൂൾ സംഘടിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ബൈബിൾ സ്റ്റഡി മെയ് 28 മുതൽ 31 വരെ നടക്കും. ഇന്ത്യൻ സമയം രാവിലെ 5.30 മുതൽ ഓൺലൈനിലാണ് ക്ലാസ് നടക്കുന്നത്. പ്രഭാഷകനും വേദാധ്യാപകനും ചർച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് കേരളാ സ്റ്റേറ്റ് അപ്പോളജറ്റിക്സ് ഡയറക്ടർ പാസ്റ്റർ ജെയ്സ് പാണ്ടനാട് ഉണർവ്വ് ബൈബിൾ അടിസ്ഥാനത്തിൽ എന്ന വിഷയത്തെ അധികരിച്ച് വിഷയാവതരണം നടത്തും. പാസ്റ്റർ സി വി ആൻഡ്രൂസ്( പേട്രൺ.പാസ്റ്റർ) പാസ്റ്റർ എബി മാമൻ(സീനിയർ പാസ്റ്റർ) എന്നിവർ നേതൃത്വം നൽകും.
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Sources:christianlive

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ടെക്സസ്, ഒക്ലഹോമ, അർക്കൻസാസ്, കെൻ്റക്കി ചുഴലിക്കാറ്റിൽ 15 പേർ മരിച്ചു

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ടെക്സാസ് :ഞായറാഴ്ച രാജ്യത്തിൻ്റെ മധ്യഭാഗത്തുടനീളമുള്ള ശക്തമായ കൊടുങ്കാറ്റും ചുഴലിക്കാറ്റും ടെക്സസ്, ഒക്ലഹോമ, അർക്കൻസാസ്, കെൻ്റക്കി എന്നിവിടങ്ങളിൽ 15 പേരെങ്കിലും കൊല്ലപ്പെടുകയും നിരവധി പേർക്ക് പരിക്കേൽക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു മേഖലയിലുടനീളമുള്ള ലക്ഷക്കണക്കിന് വീടുകളിലും ബിസിനസ്സുകളിലും വൈദ്യുതി തടസ്സപ്പെടുകയും ചെയ്തു. .

ഒക്ലഹോമ അതിർത്തിക്ക് സമീപം ഡാളസിൽ നിന്ന് 60 മൈൽ വടക്ക് വാലി വ്യൂവിനടുത്തുള്ള ഒരു ചുഴലിക്കാറ്റ് വീശിയടിച്ചപ്പോൾ കുറഞ്ഞത് ഏഴ് പേരെങ്കിലും മരിച്ചു – അവരിൽ നാല് കുട്ടികൾ -. ഞായറാഴ്ച പുലർച്ചെ 60-ലധികം താമസക്കാർ അഭയം തേടിയ സമീപത്തെ ട്രാവൽ സെൻ്ററിലും ഗ്യാസ് സ്റ്റേഷൻ സമുച്ചയത്തിലും കൊടുങ്കാറ്റ് ആഞ്ഞടിച്ചപ്പോൾ “നിരവധി” ആളുകൾക്ക് പരിക്കേറ്റതായി അദ്ദേഹം പറഞ്ഞു.

കടപുഴകിവീണ മരങ്ങളും വൈദ്യുതി ലൈനുകളും റോഡുകളിലേക്കുള്ള പ്രവേശനം തടഞ്ഞതിനാൽ തിരച്ചിലും രക്ഷാപ്രവർത്തനവും സങ്കീർണ്ണമായതായി സാപ്പിംഗ്ടൺ പറഞ്ഞു.

ഞങ്ങൾ പുനർനിർമ്മിക്കും, ഇത് ടെക്സാസാണ്,” അദ്ദേഹം പറഞ്ഞു. “നമുക്ക് വസ്തുവകകൾ പുനർനിർമ്മിക്കാം, എന്നാൽ ജീവൻ നഷ്ടമായത് ദാരുണമാണ്.”

അയോവയിൽ ചുഴലിക്കാറ്റിൽ അഞ്ച് പേർ കൊല്ലപ്പെടുകയും ഡസൻ പേർക്ക് പരിക്കേൽക്കുകയും ചെയ്തതിന് അഞ്ച് ദിവസത്തിന് ശേഷമാണ് ഈ ദുരന്തം. രണ്ടാഴ്ച മുമ്പ് ഹൂസ്റ്റണിൽ കൊടുങ്കാറ്റ് വീശിയടിച്ചപ്പോൾ കുറഞ്ഞത് എട്ട് പേർ മരിച്ചിരുന്നു
Sources:nerkazhcha

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