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CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 9:26 am

Sir Cliff Richard: "I have a faith and therefore I don't think anything happens by accident"
Thu 20 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
Sir Cliff Richard has been paying tribute to Cilla Black at her funeral while talking about his own personal faith.

Introducing the song at the service at St Mary's Church, Woolton, he said: "I have a faith and therefore I don't think anything happens by accident"
"I don't think the miracle we are as human beings could just be an accident. There has to be something else. I know there is something else.
"I know all of our souls will be united together. Cilla - this is just a hiccup in our relationship.
"We'll see you again and I'm looking forward to that time."
VIDEO (Jesus) Faithful One 

Black died aged 72 earlier this month after falling at her home in Spain.

An inquest into the death of the Blind Date and Surprise Surprise star heard that she died accidentally after falling and hitting her head at her villa on the Costa del Sol.
The funeral was led by Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool Rt Revd Thomas Williams and heard tributes from celebrity friends Paul O'Grady and Jimmy Tarback.
While the shock of her sudden death on August 1 left many still raw, O'Grady had guests in tears of laughter as he regaled them with stories of the fun they got up to during their decades-long friendship.


He told the congregation: "It is so right that she has come home today, because she was a true daughter of London, I mean Liverpool - sorry Cilla - and Scottie Road was never far away...

"She was a great friend. She was full of fun. She was a wonderful woman. She was talented. She was so witty. She adored family. She loved her sons. She loved her grandchildren. She was so proud that she came from Scottie Road."
There was chuckles as he said: "I am just so grateful that she allowed me into her whirlwind of a life and we spend nearly two decades together hellraising - if you pardon the expression."
Finishing his tribute to her, O'Grady said: "I loved her dearly. She was just such a great friend. I do not know what I am going to do really - the light went off a couple of weeks ago and it has not gone back on yet. I am just going to miss her so much.
"Cilla I would just like to say 'thanks for all the fun, thanks for all the laughs - ta-ra girl, I will see you on life's highway'."
Cilla's coffin was carried into the church to the sound of Debussy's Clair de Lune and placed carefully at the front of the aisle.
VIDEO SHORT
The congregation then sang the opening hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Sir Cliff Richard described Cilla as "the greatest TV presenter of all time" and praised "all the fabulous things about her".
"I'm not sure what to say because I can't think of Cilla in a past tense," he said.
"Being driven here was a fantastic experience, you forget how much people loved her."
Cilla Black's son Robert Willis

Her son Robert Willis said Cilla was a "wonderful lady who had touched all our lives and brought joy and laughter" to those she knew.
"Her pure enthusiasm, self-belief and wonderful sense of humour made being with her a joy and a pleasure," he added.
He said she was a "trailblazer in the fields of music and television" and "set the bar high and it's still there".
"Those who knew her saw her vulnerability but we loved her all the more for it," Mr Willis continued.
"She treated everyone just as she saw them, no matter their background."
Carol Vorderman and Lorraine Chase

Carol Vorderman described Cilla as a "good friend" and said they "used to have some hairy, scary lunches together".
"Cilla was the woman I looked up to and I thought she was the most professional woman presenter certainly we've ever had," she told BBC after the service.
"As a friend she was always giving me advice about men.
"We just always had a laugh, if you were going out with Cilla what are you going to do - you're going to laugh."
Cilla's hit Anyone Who Had A Heart was played as the congregation received Communion.
Fans and mourners also filled the streets to pay tribute to a young woman who found fame in the halcyon days of British pop in the 1960s and went on to become one of the nation's favourite TV presenters.

Hundreds lined the route of her cortege as it made its way through the streets of Liverpool.
About the Author
Antony Bushfield
Antony works as a multimedia journalist at Premier.

PA Wire
Hundreds expected at church funeral for Cilla
The funeral of singer and TV presenter Cilla Black will take place at a Liverpool church later. MORE CLICK HERE
http://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Hundreds-expected-at-church-funeral-for-Cilla

"God bless her": Cliff's tribute to Cilla Black
Cilla Black was "full of heart" and "always so upbeat", her friend and Christian Sir Cliff Richard has said, after her death was announced.
READ MORE
http://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/God-bless-her-Cliff-s-tribute-to-Cilla-Black


Archbishop of Wales attacks Government for using fake people to highlight benefit sanctions
Thu 20 Aug 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Several leaders from some of the UK's major Christian denominations have launched a scathing attack on the government over its 'astonishing' use of made-up stories to demonstrate the positive impact of benefit sanctions.

The Archbishop of Wales, Most Revd Barry Morgan and the President of the Methodist Conference, Revd Steve Wild have among others, described the campaign by the Department for Work and Pensions as 'deeply disappointing' and called for full review of the benefit sanction system, using real evidence from real people.
"They [the government] did recognise that there had been a lot of complaints and a lot of issues about it. Now, this was promised before the last election and nothing has happened since, so we want to see that review taking place as soon as possible, and looking at real people with real examples," said Canon Carole Wardman, Bishops' adviser to the Church in Wales on Premier's News Hour.
The DWP leaflet featured one welfare claimant, "Sarah", who said she was "really pleased" a cut to her benefits had encouraged her to improve her CV.
READ MORE

Dramatic drop in numbers taking short GCSE Religious Studies
Thu 20 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The number of pupils in England taking GCSE Religious Studies short course has fallen by 67.3% in the past three years, official figures have shown.

Religious Studies 'short' version, covers half the subjects and counts as half a GCSE, but has been removed from Department for Education performance tables.
The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) said that was having a "serious and negative impact" on the number of pupils choosing to take the short course.
GCSEs 2015
- 26.8% drop in RS short course entries
- 5.3% rise in RS full course entries
- 29.6% of entries for full course awarded A or an A*
It said there was an increasing number of schools having no pupils at all taking the subject.
Take up in England of the GCSE RS short course has fallen from 211,269 in 2012 to 68,890 in 2015, a drop of 67.3%.
But the number of teenagers taking the full subject was up by 5.4% to 271,917.
This echoes the increase in A Level entries in England and Wales, which are up 6.5% this year compared with 2014.
READ MORE

Islamic State "wants to get you", Trump tells Pope
Thu 20 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
United States presidential hopeful Donald Trump would tell Pope Francis that Islamic State wants to "get you" if he ever met him.
Trump told an interview he was protestant but had "great respect" for the pontiff and would be keen to meet him during his visit to America next month.
Asked by CNN how he would respond to the Pope's view that capitalism can cause social injustice and climate change he replied: "I'd say, 'Isil [Islamic State] wants to get you'".
VIDEO
He added: "You know that Isis [Islamic State] wants to go in and take over the Vatican... I'm going to have to scare the Pope because it's the only thing.
"The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God.
READ MORE

Islamic State bulldoze biblical Christian monastery in Syria
Islamic State militants have demolished an ancient Christian monastery and biblical church in central Syria.
The extremist group posted photos on social media showing bulldozers destroying the Saint Eliane Monastery on Friday near the town of Qaryatain, which IS captured in early August.

A Christian clergyman in Damascus said that IS militants also wrecked a church inside the monastery that dates back to the first Christian centuries. The priest said the monastery included an Assyrian Catholic church.
"The church itself is built on the spot where [Saint Eliane's] father, who was a Roman officer some 1500 years ago, tried to force his son to renounce his Christian faith," said Christian Middle East commentator Dr Harry Hagopian on Premier's News Hour.
"His son refused so he was killed, and on the spot where he was killed was built this monastery some fifteen, sixteen hundred years ago which is known as Saint Eliane," he added.
Mr Hagopian also said he had heard reports that IS militants had opened up the tomb inside the monastery before they destroyed the building.
 "They've also gone in there and taken out the body of the saint from the sarcoagus from the tomb in order to completely destroy the monastery and any relevance it has to the Christian faith." said Hagopian.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks Syria's conflict, also reported the destruction of the monastery.

Since capturing parts of Syria and Iraq, IS fighters have destroyed mosques, churches and archaeological sites.
On Tuesday the Islamic State group beheaded the 82-year-old retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, after he refused to leave the ancient city.

Khaled al-Assaad was murdered execution-style on Tuesday afternoon in Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins
Assaad was a leading expert on the ancient history of the city, which grew from a caravan oasis first mentioned in the second millennium BC
Palmyra was seized from government forces in May, fuelling fears the IS jihadists might destroy its priceless heritage as it had done in other parts of Syria and Iraq.

Listen to Middle East commentator Harry Hagopian speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour:
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO'S AND SHORT VIDEO

More than 'regrets' needed by Labour over Iraq, says Christian anti-war campaigner as Jeremy Corbyn plans to say sorry
Fri 21 Aug 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Jeremy Corbyn has said if he is elected Labour leader he'll apologise on behalf of the party for taking Britain into war in Iraq.
The unlikely frontrunner said if he wins the contest he will issue a formal apology on behalf of Labour which led the country into the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent conflict under Tony Blair.
Mr Corbyn, who fiercely opposed the war at the time, said Mr Blair had taken Britain into the conflict "on the basis of deception" and that his decision to support then-US president George W Bush in a joint invasion had cost Labour millions of voters.
In a statement to the Guardian, Mr Corbyn said: "It is past time that Labour apologised to the British people for taking them into the Iraq war on the basis of deception and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause. Under our Labour, we will make this apology."
"If a major country like ours does something which is really out of order, then it's more than regrets, it should be an apology and I think that is what Corbyn has done. I think it's quite a positive thing to do," Bruce Kent, Christian peace campaigner and vice-president of the Movement for the Abolition of War said on Premier's News Hour.
CLICK HERE MORE LISTEN

 Listen to Bruce Kent, Christian peace campaigner and vice-president of the Movement for the Abolition of War speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour:

Christians join multi faith service for Bangkok terror bomb dead
Fri 21 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
Prayers have been said at the site of the Bangkok terror attack as police continue to hunt the group responsible for Monday's bomb.
Doves were released into the sky at the shrine, after a multi-religious prayer ceremony attended by Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim representatives.
Government officials and diplomats laid floral bouquets at the shrine, an open-air Hindu temple popular with Chinese tourists.
READ MORE SEE PHOTO'S CLICK HERE

Pastors flee Sudan
Fri 21 Aug 2015
By Marcus Jones
Two church leaders from South Sudan who've been facing accusations of waging war against the state in neighbouring Sudan have fled the country.

Pastor Michael Yat (49) and Pastor Peter Yen Reith (36) had been banned from leaving the country despite their release after they were imprisoned in the capital Khartoum.
The ban was revoked on Thursday but according to charity Middle East Concern (MEC), the National Intelligence and Security Service appealed the decision delaying their escape.
However it's reported that as the process dragged on, the pastors sought other ways of leaving the country. MEC says they succeeded in departing Sudan yesterday, travelling first to their home country and then onwards from there.
The charity's calling on Christians to pray for the pastors that they and their families "know the Lord's clear guidance and provision. That there will be no repercussions for others arising out of the pastors' departure from Sudan. For the lawyer, who is facing charges in a related case. That church leaders in Sudan will know the Lord's wisdom in the face of increasing pressures against them. That all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him."
The pastors,from the Presbyterian Evangelical Church, had been accused of undermining the constitutional system of the Sudanese Penal Code; waging war against the state; disclosure and receipt of official information or documents; arousing feelings of discontent among regular forces; breach of public peace; and offences relating to insulting religious beliefs.
READ MORE

Study reveals NHS staff 'lack knowledge' on trafficked patients
Fri 21 Aug 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Around one in eight NHS hospital staff has treated victims of people trafficking, according to new research by King's College London.
The study published in the online journal BMJ Open questioned almost 800 NHS staff, with few saying they felt adequately prepared to respond appropriately, with maternity services most likely to be presented with trafficked individuals.
Over half said they lacked the confidence to make appropriate referrals, with referrals for men vexing the most staff (71%).
Campaigners say that men are often overlooked because they don't realise they have been trafficked into the UK.
READ MORE
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Thu 20 Aug 2015, 10:00 pm

Husband of Anne Graham Lotz dies aged 78
Danny Lotz, the son-in-law of evangelist Billy Graham, has died at the age of 78.
He was taken to intensive care after being found unresponsive in his pool at the family home in North Carolina on Monday but never recovered.
Mr Lotz, a dentist by trade, had been significantly ill for years. He suffered from type 1 diabetes, heart disease which required five stents in his arteries, and renal failure which required five hours of dialysis a week.
Danny Lotz and his wife Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham an internationally recognised Christian speaker, had been married for 49 years.
She announced at Premier's Woman to Woman conference last year, where she was speaking, that she would no longer be engaging in public ministry so she could take care of her husband.
Tens of thousands of people have showed their gratitude and respect for Danny Lotz on social media.
He planted several churches and started and led various Bible studies.


Christians clash over politicians' report calling for drugs to be decriminalised
Wed 19 Aug 2015
By Desmond Busteed
An influential group of MPs and peers have called for drug use to be decriminalised, because they say it's a human right.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform report has claimed a new global approach on drugs is needed, including the testing of legal cannabis markets.
The report claims that blanket bans and the so-called "war on drugs" have failed, and points to similar decriminalisation for possession policies in Europe, particularly Portugal.
"You will never get rid of drugs; human beings have always taken mind altering substances. They always will. We have to accept we need a safer policy, we cannot eliminate the use of drugs and the key message I think that we all have to accept," said co-author Baroness Molly Meacher, a Quaker, who also co-chairs the APPG on drugs reform on Premier's News Hour.
The report says the right to a private and family life could be used to back decriminalising possession or the purchase of small quantities of drugs.
But critics argue that decriminalisation would result in the proliferation of drugs use across society, similar to alcohol and tobacco.
"The evidence from alcohol and tobacco, which are legal drugs; and this, is turning the argument around, is that drug use would become more prevalent and more widespread if they were decriminalised" said Marilyn Watson from Christian anti-drugs charity, Hope UK to Premier.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, has criticised the committee's decision to link human rights laws to decriminalising drugs for personal use.
"This is a novel approach as far as decriminalisation is concerned. One exemption, even though minor, could open the floodgates. Human rights legislation is not designed to be used in this way."
A Home Office spokesman said: "This government has no intention of decriminalising or legalising drugs."
Listen to the News Hour debate between Baroness Molly Meacher and Hope UK's Marilyn Watson here:
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Tue 18 Aug 2015, 6:15 pm

Images of missing Syrian Christian women abducted by Islamic State appear online
Sun 16 Aug 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Images of what are believed to be three Assyrian Christian women abducted by Islamic State in February have surfaced online.
The 'leaked' images shared on social media show the women hold pieces of paper on which their names and a date - July 27, 2015 - are written.

It is feared this means they will be sold to IS fighters if their families or charities do not pay ransom for their release, although no figure appears on the signs they hold.
A source at The Assyrian Federation of Sweden told MailOnline: "The names resemble the family names of people in a nearby village - Tel Jazire - so it is possible that these women could be from Assyrian villages but we cannot confirm that the women's surnames resemble those of families who lived in the region, although they cannot completely verify they are Christians. These names are names you find in Assyrian villages."
On Tuesday, ISIS released 22 of more than 220 Christians who were abducted from several Assyrian farming communities it raided in Iraq's north-eastern Hassakeh province, Syria, earlier this year.
Last week, IS militants kidnapped 230 Christians and Muslims in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. At least 60 of them are thought to be Christian and could face the prospect of a life of slavery.
Meanwhile, Syrian government warplanes have attacked a busy market in a rebel-held suburb of the capital Damascus, killing at least 67 people and wounding more than 200.
The attack is one of the deadliest incidents involving government air strikes since the crisis began nearly five years ago.
Syrian government air raids on rebel-held areas throughout the country have killed thousands over the past few years.
The air raids on the market in Douma occurred during rush hour when people were out shopping on the first working day of the week in Syria, the activists said.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said four missiles were fired at the market, killing 70 and wounding more than 200. He said the death toll is expected to rise because many of the wounded are in critical condition.
The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said the air raids killed 67 and wounded 200, adding that rescue workers are digging through the rubble in search of survivors.
"The situation is catastrophic," a Douma-based activist called Mazen al-Shami said, adding clinics in the area are full and many of the wounded are being rushed in civilian cars to other medical facilities since ambulances are overwhelmed.
Al-Shami said mosque loudspeakers are issuing calls for residents to donate all types of blood, and hundreds of people were in the busy market when the first missile struck the area, inflicting heavy casualties.
Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed more than 250,000 people and wounded at least a million.

Manchester councillor: Street preachers shouldn't talk about morality
A Manchester City Councillor says he wants to put an end to loud street preachers and those who talk about morality in the city centre.
A Manchester City Councillor says he wants to put an end to loud street preachers and those who talk about morality in the city centre.

Pat Karney, who oversees the city centre, wants to crack down on those who are seen as a 'nuisance' to shoppers. These also include noisy musicians and those who illegally sell items on the street.
Manchester City Council
Speaking to Manchester Evening News, he said: "Preachers do have a right to be out on the streets but I do not think it right if they are talking about morality.

"Some talk about race or sexual orientation and that is not proper at all.
"They also sometimes appear in large groups making lots of noise, or have very loud PA systems.
"They're perfectly entitled to talk about the Jesus and the word of God, but not to make anyone feel insecure or threatened."
His comments have been questioned by the Christian Institute. It has written a letter to Councillor Kearney asking him to clarify what he means. A spokesman said: "We are still no clearer about whether restrictions will be applied to street preachers in Manchester and remain concerned about potential police action.
"Councillor Karney has not provided any legal grounds for this crackdown, and runs the risk of legal action being taken if the free speech rights of street preachers are interfered with."
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Sat 15 Aug 2015, 9:59 am

Islamic State releases 22 captured Christians
Wed 12 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
A group of Christians has been released by Islamic State more than six months since they were kidnapped by the militants.

Dozens of Assyrian Christians were abducted from villages in north-eastern Syria in February.
The head of a Syrian Assyrian group in Sweden confirmed the release to Reuters and said all of the freed captives were elderly men and women.
In total 22 were released but it's thought they continue to hold more than 150 Christians taken at the same time.
More than 200 Christians were captured by the group when it overran the Hasaka region.
The head of a Syrian Assyrian group in Sweden, Afram Yakoub, told Reuters: "Some have health issues, so we believe they released them because of health issues and because they are old.
"The release is a small sign of hope. It gives us some hope that someday those remaining will be released."
It's not known is a ransom was paid.
Syrian priest Revd Nadim Nassar told Premier's News Hour it wasn't a sign the terrorists were becoming more compassionate.
"What compassion?," he questioned. "After beheading thousands of people? So because they released 20 Christians it means they are showing compassion?"
He added: "It could be a political deal, an economic deal so that they released them and they got money from the other hand.
"I don't see any compassion, I see monsters leashing their evil in my country."
Revd Nadim Nassar speaking to Antony Bushfield on Premier's News Hour:
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Tue 11 Aug 2015, 2:35 pm

Concern increases for captured Syrian Christians
There are increasing fears for the safety of around 60 Christians kidnapped by Islamic State in Syria on Friday.
The believers were captured from the central town of Qaryatain, when IS militants seized the area.
Their whereabouts or wellbeing is still unknown and there has been no demands from the jihadists.
Around 230 residents were taken in total, all accused of working with the Syrian regime.
It's thought the majority were Sunni Muslim.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syria-based activist Bebars al-Talawy said they have no information where the militants took the residents after overrunning the heavily populated town.
READ MORE

Catholic bishop "deeply concerned" with migrant situation
Sat 08 Aug 2015
By Aaron James
The Catholic Bishop for Migrants has said he is "deeply concerned" with the migrant crisis in Calais.
Rt Revd Patrick Lynch's comments come just days after he praised the Home Secretary Theresa May and the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve for what he called their "commitment" to helping genuine asylum seekers.
They also come on the day Eurotunnel operators threatened to sue the government for 200 million pounds if the route is closed overnight, because of the loss money it will incur.
READ MORE

Pope thanks Jordan for welcoming persecuted Christians
Sat 08 Aug 2015
By Aaron James
Pope Francis has thanked Jordan for bringing displaced Christians and other refugees from Iraq into its country, a year since the exodus began.
It was this time last year that at least hundreds of thousands of Christians began fleeing from Islamic State in Iraq to neighbouring countries.
It's thought Islamic State has forced 2.5 million people in all to leave their homes in Iraq, since it increased military action in the country last year.
Jordan and Lebanon have taken in significant numbers of Christian and other refugees.
According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis said: "Many times I have wanted to give voice to the atrocious, inhumane and inexplicable persecution of those who in many parts of the world – and especially among Christians - are victims of fanaticism and intolerance - often under the eyes and silence of all.
"They are the martyrs of today, humiliated and discriminated against because of their fidelity to the Gospel.
READ MORE

Extending Sunday trading will have "dramatic effect on family life"
Sun 09 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The Church of England has said government proposals to extend the trading hours of large stores on Sundays would have a "dramatic effect on family life".
In an open letter to the Sunday Telegraph the Church joins forces with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) and small businesses to reject the plans.
The government said it would write to the Church of England urging it to support proposals to relax Sunday trading laws restricting the opening hours of large stores.
Currently shops in England and Wales with over 280 sq m (3,000 sq ft) floorspace are limited to opening for six hours on Sundays.
Ministers want to give councils the choice on their own local laws which they say would be worth up to £1.4 billion a year to the economy while ensuring high streets remain the "heartbeat of our communities".
READ MORE

Bishop reported to police for anti-gay comments
Sun 09 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
A gay rights group in Switzerland has made a complaint to police after a bishop in the country appeared to suggest homosexuals should be punished with death.
Rt Revd Vitus Huonder, the Catholic bishop of Chur, quoted a passage from the Bible which said homosexuals should be punished by death at an event.
At the 'Joy in Faith' forum in the German city of Fulda, he quoted two verses from the book of Leviticus, including Leviticus 20:13.
He told the gathered: "Both of these passages alone suffice to clarify unambiguously the church's position on homosexuality".
The bishop has since released a statement saying it "wasn't my intention" to suggest gay people should be killed.
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Thu 06 Aug 2015, 8:21 pm

Pastor who said Islam was Satanic says his prosecution is a "waste of money"
James McConnell from Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast is appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday. He's accused of offensive comments under the 2003 Communications Act.
Wed 05 Aug 2015
By Marcus Jones
A Northern Irish pastor who branded Islam "satanic" says the prosecution over his comments is a waste of public money.
James McConnell from Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast was due before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday, but the case has been postponed until September. He's accused of offensive comments under the 2003 Communications Act.
Belfast
His case came to light last year after he said, in a sermon "a new evil had arisen" and "there are cells of Muslims right throughout Britain.
"Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell," he said.
After the sermon was posted online, a number of complaints were made, which led to an apology from Mr McConnell.
The prosecution came after he refused to accept a lesser punishment which meant the case would not have gone to court.
PASTOR JMES McCONNELL INTERVIEW
Listen
Speaking ahead of his court appearence, he said: "I think it is a waste of money. A waste of thousands."
"I am not nervous in the least. I am not even afraid if they put me in prison. I will go for the sake of the Gospel."
Large crowds of Christian supporters are also expected to protest at the Laganside court complex on Thursday.
Mr McConnell's church attracts weekly crowds of 3,500 and large crowds are expected to protest outside the Laganside court complex on Thursday.
While he has apologised for any distress, he's described the legal action as an attack on freedom of expression.

"It is a battle of free speech," he said. "If I am put in jail people will immediately respond and say 'this is not right, this is terrible, this is evil'. And I think the jurisprudence of this land will be in big trouble.
"If I am successful, I will just praise God and get on my way and still preach the Gospel."
Mr McConnell, who is paying his own legal fees, has sent out a message to Muslims across the country.
"I am no racist, sure I have (former) Muslims in my congregation," he said. "I have all sorts of people in my congregation. I have never been a racist. I have never hated anybody in my life. I wouldn't know how to hate anybody."
He later added: "To every ordinary Muslim out there, I want to say to them that I love them, that I pray for them and if they are in need or in any bother, I am there for them. They are welcome to my church and welcome to hear God's word."
The Public Prosecution Service says it was right that this ended in the courts.
A spokeswoman said: "After the evidential test for prosecution was met, it was concluded that public interest would be best served by affording the individual the option of disposal by means of a diversionary informed warning. However, the defendant turned down this option, leaving no choice but to refer the matter for prosecution.
"We consider that this matter is now most properly left to the courts to decide."


Government pleads with Church to back Sunday trading
The government is to write to the Church of England urging bishops not to oppose plans to relax Sunday trading laws restricting the opening hours of large stores.
Wed 05 Aug 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The government is to write to the Church of England urging bishops not to oppose plans to relax Sunday trading laws restricting the opening hours of large stores.
Currently shops in England and Wales with over 280 sq m (3,000 sq ft) floorspace are limited to opening for six hours on Sundays.
Ministers want to give councils the choice on their own local laws which they say would be worth up to £1.4 billion a year to the economy while ensuring high streets remain the "heartbeat of our communities".
Under the plans, set out in a Government consultation paper, authorities would have the discretion to decide whether to apply the new conditions throughout the whole of their area or limit them to specific zones where they want to encourage business.
Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Communities minister Brandon Lewis said: "This Government is determined to devolve powers previously held in Whitehall to local people.
"We have already taken a range of measures to boost the Great British high street and now we are giving local areas another tool to encourage shoppers to the town centre and get shops to grow and thrive."
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Hillsong reiterates stance on homosexuality and gay marriage
Wed 05 Aug 2015
By Marcus Jones
Brian Houston, the senior pastor of Hillsong Church has rejected reports which suggest the church group has softened its stance on homosexuality.
He was responding to a blog which suggested its church in New York had an openly gay couple leading the choir. The post by Geoffrey Grider on nowtheendbegins.com stated: "When it comes to the topic of same-sex marriage, however, their official position is shrouded in half-answers and obfuscation.
"But one thing is quite clear: they allow an openly and unrepentantly gay couple to lead their choir."
The post was shared (at the time of writing) almost 70,000 times.
In a statement released on Brian Houston's website, he said: "I wish to correct reports that Hillsong church has "an openly gay couple directing a choir" at our New York City campus. Hillsong's position on homosexuality and gay marriage has not changed and is consistent with Scripture.
"As I have stated previously, I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject. Several months ago when one of our choir directors made an unexpected public statement regarding his engagement to a man who sometimes sang in the choir, it was a complete surprise to us as well. It is my understanding that they have not been involved in an active leadership or ministry role since.
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Post  Admin on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 7:31 pm

[url=http://muslihttp//www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Muslim-schools-accused-of-anti-Christian-chanting-in-assemblies?utm_source=Premier+Christian+Media&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=5992449_Daily+news+31st+July&utm_content=muslim&dm_i=16DQ,3KFSX,619BHX,CSVQN,1m schools accused of anti-Christian chanting in assemblies]Some Muslim schools "include anti-Christian chanting in assemblies" which is being ignored by the schools watchdog, it has been claimed.[/url]
Muslim schools accused of anti-Christian chanting in assemblies
Thu 30 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
Some Muslim schools "include anti-Christian chanting in assemblies" which is being ignored by the schools watchdog, it has been claimed.

The Christian Institute has said Ofsted and the Department for Education are not taking proper action to deal with some Islamic schools accused of bullying Christian pupils.
In a letter to Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary and a Christian, the Institute's director Colin Hart said "inadequate attention" had been given to the way Christian pupils were being taught.
He said it was "striking" that several official reports outlining examples of Muslim "intolerance" to Christians had gone ignored by Ofsted.
"You will see they include anti-Christian chanting in assemblies, GCSE pupils who opted to learn Christianity being left to teach themselves, and Christians being called 'ignorant' or 'liars' by teachers," he wrote.
It was "disturbing" that there had been a "complete lack of any specific plans of action to tackle anti-Christian intolerance", he added.
Mr Hart also accused the school's inspector of being part of the problem and said its methods for detecting bullying against Christians were "clearly inadequate".
"Ofsted may be part of the problem", he said.
"Whilst guidance from your department says there is no obligation on schools to promote gay marriage, there have been Ofsted inspections in several parts of the country where Ofsted inspectors have implied, via questioning of pupils, that they ought to accept gay marriage there have been Ofsted inspections in several parts of the country where Ofsted inspectors have implied, via questioning of pupils, that they ought to accept gay marriage.
"We are aware of several cases of this approach being taken with primary age pupils, some as young as six."
In a statement, Ofsted said: "Ofsted deplores bullying in all its forms. We expect schools to promote British values including mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
"However, it is nonsense to suggest that an Ofsted inspector would expect a school to have taught six year old pupils about same sex marriage."
A DfE spokesman said: "Bullying of any kind is unacceptable and all schools should take an active role in tackling it. We expect all schools to actively promote fundamental British values, which include mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
"Ofsted plays a key part in ensuring this takes place.
"Heads, teachers, governors and trustees are working tirelessly to resolve deep seated issues at these Birmingham schools which developed over a long period of time."

Christian mother-of-three kidnapped in Pakistan
Thu 30 Jul 2015
By Aaron James
An anti-persecution charity says a Christian mother-of-three in Pakistan has been kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage.
The British Pakistani Christian Association says Fouzia Sadiq was abducted from a field, where she and her family work as bonded labourers, by her landlord Muhammad Nazir a week ago.
The charity says they are effectively modern day slaves, being paid very little for their work and forced to live in sub-standard conditions.
It's claimed when Fouzia Sadiq's family visited the landlord's house to find out where she was, Muhammad Nazir's brother threatened them with violence and told them he had married her after she allegedly converted to Islam, and that she would not be coming back.
Fouzia is yet to return. After initially refusing, police have officially logged the incident. A Muslim lawyer is working on behalf of Fouzia for her release, because Christian lawyers allowed to stand in Sharia courts, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association.
READ MORE

More than 50 priests defrocked for abuse since 2001
Thu 30 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The Catholic Church has said it defrocked 55 priests for clerical sex abuse since 2001.
In new figures released today the Church said they had been removed from the priesthood after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults.
The CHurch said in addition it has received many more complaints about sexual misconduct by members of the clergy.
Officials said there had been a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be found, meaning the actual number of victims was hard to know.
The number of "covenants of care" orders, withdrawing people from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, increased from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.
The official report highlighted 79 allegations of abuse against children during the last year involving 97 different forms of abuse against 118 victims, abused by 83 suspects.
Acting chairman of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Christopher Pearson said: "This report highlights in full the work of the Commission and this announcement is just a snapshot of some of that work and findings over the last year.
"We are moving towards a much more consistent and sensitive approach in response to the victims and survivors of abuse."
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Not Dead Yet: How two Anglican churches came back to life
By: Justin Brierley | Jul 2015
The statistics tell us that St Peter's Brighton and St Swithun's Bournemouth should be carpet warehouses or gastropubs by now. Justin Brierley finds out why they are welcoming hundreds of parishioners through their doors again

'Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated'. So said writer Mark Twain after a 19th century newspaper mistakenly published his obituary.
The same could be said of the dear old Church of England. Some parts of the press just seem to be awaiting its inevitable demise after a long, drawn out illness. After all, the buildings are empty, the vicars are demoralised and normal people prefer to go to M&S on a Sunday now, don't they?
But, despite the tide of assumed decline, there are plenty of stories bucking the stereotype. When I recently spoke to Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) leader Nicky Gumbel about his strategy for the revitalisation of CofE churches, he described a 'hidden revival' taking place.
That revival isn't so hidden in the case of some of the churches who are now bursting at the seams after HTB planted into historic Anglican church buildings on the verge of closure
Here, in the words of their vicars, are two stories to remind us that there's life in the Church of England yet:
Rev Archie Coates, vicar of St Peter’s, Brighton, describes how a team from HTB rescued the city’s ‘unofficial cathedral’ in 2005. They now welcome over 1000 people into the church for weekend worship services.
'St Peter’s is one of Brighton’s iconic buildings, so when it was due to close there was a huge public outcry and 6,500 people signed the petition to keep it open.
The building is incredible, but it’s also a nightmare because it’s crumbling. I remember giving sermons wearing hard hats. We didn’t have any heating for four winters, so people used to come to church in a hat carrying a hot-water bottle.
I think this is a visual aid for the wider work. The local churches all said that when the building looks like it’s closed and dying on its feet, that sends out the message to Brighton that that’s what God is like as well. But equally if you could do the opposite – open it up, fix it up – then that would send out the message: ‘Wow, the Church is alive and God is on the move.’
When we began, we were about 30, including children: our family and about three other families. If you’re going to attract other people to come, there needs to be a certain group for them to come into, and it’s quite hard to do that with less than 30. Also, in terms of establishing a DNA, if you’ve got people with you who already carry that from where you’ve planted from (in our case HTB), that really helps when others come in.
Now, as it’s grown, it has become more systematised, but at the heart I think it was: ‘Archie and Sam and their kids are going to go and live by the sea and see what we can do, and you’re welcome to join us.’'
Rev Tim Matthews, vicar of St Swithun’s in Bournemouth, whose HTB team planted into the empty church in September 2014, has seen rapid growth with over 500 now in regular attendance.
'Eleven adults and four children came down here last summer and we partnered with a small number of local people: one or two churches in Bournemouth. We didn’t go asking other churches, the people in their churches came to us and said: ‘We feel the Lord prompting us to get involved in this.’
As a general rule we don’t want anyone to leave the churches that they’re already in. I think it’s important to make clear that there’s only one Church in Bournemouth: Jesus has only got one Church.
In terms of the growth, there have been a lot of unchurched and de-churched people coming, and that’s primarily through Alpha and Sunday services, and people simply inviting their friends. I think the other big factor is new people moving to Bournemouth. We were told not to bother with student ministry because students don’t turn up to anything, but it’s been quite the contrary.
We are now nearing capacity and so we will have to plant new services. Over the period where it was all planned, we talked to a lot of people and there was a lot of prayer. I was convinced something exciting was going to happen, but the pace of it has outstripped that expectation.
My team joke with me when I say, ‘I really would rather less people were coming.’ They say: ‘You must be the only church planter in the country who wants less people!’ But it’s true, because actually there are a lot of problems that come with fast growth. But I think that’s what God’s doing, because the future for Bournemouth demands a lot of new experiments. There’s a huge work to be done here.'
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Mugged pensioner Alan Barnes moves after "calling from God"
Wed 29 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
Disabled pensioner and committed Christian, Alan Barnes, who was mugged in Gateshead is moving home after a "calling from God".

The 67-year-old six-stone OAP was knocked to the floor outside his old home in Gateshead by a mugger, breaking his collar bone in January.
Following the attack an online fund set up for him reached £330,000 within days allowing him to buy a new home.
Now he has announced plans to move to Shetland and work for the Church.
He said: "I am a Christian and I am open to the Holy Spirit.
"I have had a calling from God to move to the Shetlands."
He added that he would have liked to have been a church minister had he not been partially sighted.
His role will not to try to make people go to church, but to talk to them about his faith, he said.
The pensioner added that he had never been to Shetland before, but that is where God is calling him to.
Mr Barnes is pictured above with Katie Cutler, the woman who started the campaign to raise money for him.


Syrian priest still missing after two years
Wed 29 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
Two years have now passed since the disappearance of Fr Paolo Dall'Oglio.

The Jesuit priest was kidnapped by Islamic State militants on 29 July 2013 in Raqqa.
On the anniversary of his disappearance, a friend of his Fr Fadi Daou has told Premier he still holds a hope that he is still alive but believes he has probably been killed.
Fr Fadi, who runs the interfaith organisation Adyan Foundation, said: "We don't have other information from that time, for two years now.
"We know that ISIS are crazy men and it is totally possible that they have killed him.
Father Paulo was a controversial figure in Syria because of his humanitarian work. He was expelled from the country the year before his kidnapping for helping victims of President Bashar al-Assad's military crackdown.
His disappearance came after two bishops were kidnapped on the Turkish border. Their whereabouts are also unknown.
Fr Fadi's calling on Christians to keep the men, and others who've gone missing, in their prayers.
"We have the bishops of Allepo and also peace builders, Christians and Muslims who have disappeared in Syria," he said
"We have to, every day, pray and hope that they are safe.
Pope Francis made an appeal last week for the international community to do more to secure the release of the clergymen. Hetold crowds in St Peter's Square he wanted "a renewed commitment" from Syrian and international authorities, "so these brothers of ours can regain their freedom soon".
A call to not forget the men has also been made by Nigel Baker, the UK ambassador to the Vatican. Writing on his blog, he said: "It is right that we do not forget. And we should continue to use every opportunity to call for the release of the kidnapped, alongside all others of any faith held captive in Syria because of who they are, what they believe and what they do.
"It is their example of dedication to the other, not that of the extremists, which will build the new Syria from the ashes of the old."
The UK Government has also called for the release of Fr Paolo. Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood tweeted that all people imprisoned for their faith or belief should be released.
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Young Nepalese Boy Slain in Human Sacrifice Ritual
July 28, 2015 | Filed under: Life & Society,Top Stories,World | By: Editor 
Photo Credit: Abhishek Dutta/Wikipedia
(CNN) — A Nepalese man has confessed to the murder of a young boy after saying a local priest advised him that a human sacrifice would heal his ailing son, local police said.

The body of 10-year-old Jivan Kohar was found on July 24 on the outskirts of Kudiya village in southwest Nepal. The child had gone missing three days earlier.
Police superintendent Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, who headed the investigation, told CNN on Monday that Kodai Harijan admitted committing the gruesome crime with his relatives after consulting the priest. In some cultures, priests are believed to have magical or spiritual powers to cure the sick.
According to testimony given to police, Harijan and his relatives found the child playing with friends in the village and lured him away by giving him a pack of biscuits and promising him 50 rupees (49 cents).
Continue reading this story > http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/27/asia/nepal-human-sacrifice/index.html
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Baphomet Statue Unveiled in Detroit to Shouts of ‘Hail Satan,’ Satanist Men Kissing
July 27, 2015 | Filed under: Life & Society,Top Stories | By: Heather Clark 
 5142 18  7 5228
SatanDETROIT — At least 100 people attended the unveiling of a Satanic statue depicting Baphomet being flanked by children on Saturday—a statue that was originally intended to be placed at the Oklahoma state capitol and now may be the subject of an effort to erect it next to a Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas.
As previously reported, the New York-based Satanic Temple had scheduled the unveiling for July 25th in Detroit, Michigan. The group says that it chose Detroit because it has a “good community” of followers, with over 200 members, billing the event as “a night of chaos, noise, and debauchery.”
“Come dance with the Devil and experience history in the making,” its invitation read.
But a group of pastors decided to rally against the event, and also contacted the owner of the event venue, Bert’s Warehouse, to request that the Baphomet unveiling be canceled. Owner Bert Dearing told the Associated Press that when he realized who had booked the event and what his facility would be used for, he gave the Satanic Temple their money back.
Additionally, due to opposition, the Satanic Temple moved the event to secret venue in the city and ticketed attendance to keep opponents out. On Saturday, some attendees wore black or donned devil’s horns as they stood outside waiting to enter a warehouse in downtown Detroit.
However, according to reports, once attendees entered the building, they were sent to a second location—just to throw off opponents as to the event’s whereabouts.
But some still found the venue and protested against the event as they drove by. Online video also captured the unveiling, which took place at approximately 11:30 p.m. Attendees shouted “Hail Satan” as two shirtless men pulled off the cloth that covered the Baphomet and then embraced and kissed each other in front of the statue.
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In the meantime, approximately 50 people stood outside of the original venue, Bert’s Warehouse, to pray against Satanism in Detroit.

“We’re fighting for the soul of America. We’re fighting for the soul of the City of Detroit,” David Bullock, pastor of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park, told those gathered. “The last thing we should do in Detroit is have a welcome party for the Devil.”
“Satan has no place in this city, or any other city,” James Bluford of Rochester Hills likewise prayed out as attendees joined together to pray as the event took place.
As previously reported, the Satanic Temple had raised funds in 2013 to have the statue created in its effort to make a statement about the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma state capitol, and sought to have the Baphomet monument placed next to the Ten Commandments display.
It issued a news release about its intentions following the filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which asserted that the presence of the Ten Commandments display on government property violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The Satanic Temple said that it offered to to donate a statue of Baphomet to be placed near the Ten Commandments display in order to “appease the ACLU’s concerns.”
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves explained in his application to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
Last May, it was announced that the statue was nearing completion, which features the goat-headed figure Baphomet making the sign for the occult as he sits upon a throne with a pentagram overhead. Children fixate their eyes upon him on both sides.
In September, Seventh District Court Judge Thomas Prince concluded that the Ten Commandments monument serves a historical purpose and is not solely the presentment of a religious message as it sits on a plot of land that contains 51 other expressive monuments.
But the case was then appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled last month that the monument violates the state Constitution’s prohibition on using government property to support a religion. The case is now on appeal.
Although the Oklahoma decision consequently resulted in the group nixing its plans to place the monument next to the Ten Commandments display, the Satanic Temple now says that it will seek to erect the monument adjacent to a similar Decalogue display in Arkansas.
The Satanic Temple asserts that they are neither Devil worshipers or atheists.
“We consider ourselves non-theistic Satanists,” Detroit spokesperson Jex Blackmore told the Metro Times. “Just as much as we get people who think that we’re into the biblical concept of Satan, we get people who think that we’re just posing as Satanists, and not truly Satanists or whatever you would say. Non-theistic Satanism is part of modern Satanism.”
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Christian charity backs calls to ban smacking
Fri 24 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The Christian charity Family Matters Institute has told Premier it would support a change in the law to make smacking children at home illegal.

CEO Chris Muwanguzi said he backed a called from the United Nations to ban hitting children in all circumstances.
The UN Human Rights Committee has published a wide-ranging assessment of legal and cultural issues in the UK.
It raised concerns that corporal punishment is not fully outlawed.
"The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings, including the home, throughout (the) United Kingdom," it said.
"It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment, and conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects."
Currently parents are not explicitly banned from striking their children. The law allows for "reasonable chastisement" to control a child's behaviour, but parents can be prosecuted if their actions result in injuries such as bruises, cuts or scratches.
Mr Muwanguzi said: "Some children, yes there's an issue, parents struggle, but it's not necessarily important to go straight to smacking".
He said there were ten steps parents should go through before considering smacking.
"Time out is one of them, there's something called 1,2,3 magic, where you talk to you child about taking away something is good that they like.
"Some children are bored and they choose to get into aggressive behaviour and so are we letting them out often? Are we taking them to the park? Are we giving them other things to get involved in?"
A Government spokeswoman said: "Our policy on smacking is clear. We do not condone violence towards children.
"However, we do not wish to criminalise parents for issuing a mild smack."
Chris Muwanguzi speaking to Antony Bushfield on Premier's News Hour:

Why I've used busking to share the love of Jesus
By: Peter Nevland | Jul 2015
On National Busking Day, Peter Nevland shares lessons from a busk-off with an atheist.

"I don't need no God…" Thom, "The World Poet", shouted.
I smiled, standing on a street corner in Austin, Texas on a sweaty summer night. 
I’d been busking in the hope of drawing people closer to Jesus. But I'd just lost my voice! Now my atheist poet friend, Thom was helping me out by anti-evangelizing.  “Perfect,” I thought, smiling more.
I chugged a water bottle and downed pizza, my vocal capabilities revived. Once Thom's poem concluded, I launched into "Funk Infection", another of my "Spoken Groove" pieces. It starts with scatting. Then comes lots of funky white boy dancing. Pretty soon people were clapping their hands with the chorus, blissfully shouting "get down with the funky sound!" The second verse happened to compare King David's dance moves to James Brown's...
Thom seized on the reference and fired off an anti-Bible rant for his next piece. 
On we went, trading poems into the night. Me, the Christian. He, the atheist. I never preached. I just offered stories of hope and silly comedy. He denounced all religion at every opportunity.
We finished. The crowd applauded. Several thanked me. One man asked how I felt hearing howitzers launched at God.
"Shoot, I'm so glad he saved me when my voice went out," I grinned.
"Yeah, but didn't you want to shoot something back?"
"Didn't need to. Joy is way more attractive than invective. When they're side by side, it's easy to see the difference.” 
"I like that," he smiled.
"Besides," I continued.  "If Jesus really is the Truth, I don't have to worry about proving it. That's all on Him."
He grinned wider. We talked more. No conversion. But a big dose of love received, instead of rejected.
It’s sad seeing truth hurled like stones at passersby
Before Thom left, I hugged him, thanking him for performing, and rescuing me. He encouraged me back, loving my daring to perform poetry on the street corner with no stage or promotion. That was more than a decade ago. We're still friends. 

So often Christians reduce their busking to street preaching, or an obvious evangelistic message. It’s sad seeing truth hurled like stones at passersby. What about the truth that God meets us with mercy in our most broken state? What about the Messiah having ‘more joy than all His companions?’ What about the time when He washed the disciples feet, just because they were dirty? 
See for yourself. I challenge you to find the people in the Bible that Jesus preached angrily at. I see way more compassion than correction. The only people who got the fire were religious leaders who thought they were more right than anyone else. 
I've busked on the streets of Austin, New York City, Edinburgh, lots of English streets...  I’ve prayed for witches, agnostics, atheists and Christians (backslidden, nominal and passionate). I may have been mocked for my crazy, funky white boy dancing. But I’ve never been mocked for loving Jesus.
Real busking is entertainment that people like. And everyone loves being served and encouraged, whether they believe they need a God, or not.
Peter Nevland is a poet and performer SpokenGroove.com

Channel Four, John Humphreys and the new thought police
By: David Robertson | Jul 2015
Recent interviews with Tim Farron demonstrate how 'intolerant, authoritarian and anti-Christian' British society is becoming, says David Robertson

Did you hear that amazing interview that John Humphreys did on the Today programme? The one where he badgered Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader, about the impact his atheism would have on his decision-making? 
No…you missed it?
Well, what about the extraordinary interview with the former Lib Dem leader on Channel 4 where he was challenged repeatedly about his personal moral views and the fact that he had boasted of having 'no more than 30 notches' on his bed?
You missed that one as well? 
Well so did all of us. Because they don’t exist. No reporter or news programme would ask questions based on such premises. Except when it comes to the crazy idea that a self-describing Evangelical Christian could actually become a leader of a mainstream political party. Then all the gloves are off.
Last week, Channel Four News presenter Cathy Newman asked the new Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, three times whether he thought gay sex was a sin.  John Humphreys on the Today programme also repeatedly badgered the leader on whether he asks God for advice when making big decisions.  
What’s wrong with these approaches? Aren't journalists just doing their job in asking the questions their audiences want answered? 
Lets begin with Mr Humphreys. He was asking, as he well knew, a loaded question. Media commentators, comedians and politicians are all too aware of George Bush’s alleged faux pas claiming that God told him to invade Iraq and Alastair Campbell’s terse response when asked if Tony Blair and George Bush prayed together - ‘we don’t do God’.
Asking Tim Farron whether he asked God for advice was a not so subtle way of mocking his faith. The question would have been more honestly phrased, 'are you a religious nutter who speaks to an invisible man in the sky, rather than rely on the common sense and knowledge that all really intelligent [ie non-religious] people have?’
The problem is that John Humphreys never asks other politicians about how their beliefs affect their decision-making.
Why should it be considered disturbing that a Christian prays for wisdom and guidance to God? Is it not more disturbing that an atheist politician thinks that all wisdom lies within themselves, so they do not need any outside guidance?
And what about asking about your views about sin? 
In the context of modern society it is of course the ultimate sin, the blasphemy against the Holy State, to even question whether any sexual activity, but especially homosexuality, can be considered sinful.
The question was not asked to elicit information. It was asked to accuse and mock. If you have doubts that this was the intention, just have a glance into the murky world of the new atheist/secularist websites where this particular interview has been posted repeatedly, together with the subsequent ignorant and arrogant mocking comments.
What these interviews demonstrate is how intolerant, authoritarian and anti-Christian our society is becoming – at least at its elite levels. 
The danger is that Christian politicians and leaders will be pressured into compromise, and that the mockery narrative will be the background against which many ordinary Christians live their lives.
We need the church to pray for those who are in authority, recognising them as the servants of God. We need Christian leaders who will be prophetic, proclaiming and living the Word of God in a culture that despises it. Only then will we see the world turned upside down!  

Verdict date set for Sudanese pastors
Fri 24 Jul 2015
By Aaron James
A Christian advocacy charity has said two South Sudanese facing the death penalty in Sudan will receive a judge's verdict on August 5th.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide also confirmed that the defence team for Revd Yat Michael and Revd Peter Reith has given the judge a final closing written statement. It challenged the prosecution's evidence, and asked the court to uphold the right to a free trial, which is in the Sudanese constitution.
It also highlighted the fact the pastors were both held without being allowed to communicate to others, something which should not normally happen, the confiscation of their laptops and electronic devices, and the way in which the prosecution built up its case against the pastors.
The Sudanese state has charged Revd Yat Michael and Revd Peter Reith with at least six offences, including undermining the Sudanese constitution and espionage. Both crimes can carry the death penalty.
The two pastors deny all the charges against them, and have been detained since Dcember 2014 and January 2015 respectively.
They were moved to a maximum security prison in June, and denied access to their lawyers and family despite appealing numerous times.
Andy Dipper, Chief Operating Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: "We renew our calls for the unwarranted and extreme charges against Revd Yat Michael and Revd Peter Reith to be dropped and for them to be released unconditionally and without further delay.
"That Sudan continues to prosecute these men, and without even allowing them free access to their legal team, makes a mockery of the judicial process and is a clear violation of fair trial principles, as articulated in Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is a party.
"In addition, the ongoing denial of family visits compounds the mental and emotional distress of the men and their families.
"We urge the African Union and the wider international community, to challenge Sudan on its treatment of the pastors and its failure to protect and promote freedom of religion or belief and the right to a fair trial."
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Post  Admin on Fri 24 Jul 2015, 11:39 am

Vicar 'on the run' after being convicted of theft
Thu 23 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
A man hunt has been launched for a former vicar from Barnsley who disappeared from court after he was found guilty of stealing £24,000 in church fees.
Revd Simon Reynolds, 50, worked at All Saint's church in Darton but now lives in Surrey.
He was convicted of four offences by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court earlier but didn't return for the verdict.
South Yorkshire Police said: "A warrant has been issued for his arrest and officers are now actively searching for Reynolds."
Sheffield Crown Court was told that he should have given the money to the diocese and the parochial church council.
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Secularists challenged to start own foodbank after Christian only job ad complaint
Thu 23 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The Free Church of Scotland Moderator has said the Scottish Secularist Society should set up its own foodbank after it complained about a 'Christian only' job advert for the Trussell Trust.
Dundee Foodbank, which is affiliated to the Christian charity, said the position was only available to "a committed Christian and church member".
Revd David Robertson described the SSS' complaint as "petty and vindictive".
He said: "If the Scottish Secular Society object to Christians running food banks they are perfectly free to start one of their own.
"But this of course they refuse to do preferring instead to go to the media and complain.
"This seems to be the pattern - Christians set up a trust to feed the poor in accordance with what our faith instructs us to do, and the militant secularists attack the Christians for daring to express our faith in this practical way.
"It is petty and vindictive and indicates precisely the difference between the Christian churches, who act upon their faith, and the secular faith, which spends all its time attacking others."
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Church leaders face 'significant strain' on marriages
Fri 24 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
More than half of church leaders say their role places a 'significant strain' on their marriages, according to a new survey.
The report, based on the responses of 200 vicars, pastors, ministers and leaders from across the UK, found 65% had problems in their relationship caused by the job.
Oasis UK, which carried out the research, said it exposed the enormous pressures faced by church leaders, the extent to which they are overworked, and how many are regularly subjected to verbal abuse from members of their congregation.
According to the research, 71% of church leaders find their role either 'quite stressful' or 'very stressful'.
Sixty-four percent feel incredibly pushed for time and struggle to get everything done, a figure that rises to 73% amongst female respondents.
Church leaders also fear that their congregations are almost oblivious to their struggles, with 43% reporting that their church members have little or no understanding of the pressures they are under.
But despite the stress and pressures, 52% described their ministry as 'very rewarding' with a further 34% thinking it 'quite rewarding.'
Church leaders estimate that on average 62% of the feedback they receive from the congregation is positive and encouraging, compared to just 38% that is negative or critical.
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83% of Christian teenagers think sex is for marriage
Fri 24 Jul 2015
By Aaron James
The vast majority of churchgoing young people hold onto the traditional Christian value that sex should be saved for marriage.

Despite general attitudes suggesting teenagers are becoming more sexualised, eight out of ten churchgoers hold the belief.
 
New research published by Premier Youthwork Magazine also found a more liberal stance on homosexuality, with only 36% believing it to be a sin.

Writing in this month's edition Rachel Gardner, founder of the Romance Academy, expressed her suprise in the findings on sex. She said: "Let's not pass over how radical this is.
 
"We're hearing how peer-on-peer sexual violence is more widespread that we think and being a teen virgin denotes that something is profoundly wrong with you.
 
"So to say that you think sex is best understood and expressed in marriage, and then to try and live out the implications of this is to go against the tsunami of peer opinion and affirmation; it just doesn't easily happen, unless young people involved have a grabbed a greater vision than the one on offer."
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Bishop of London: "The Christian voice in cyber space is too often absent"
Thu 23 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
The Bishop of London has told supporters of Premier that the Christian message needs to find a louder voice on the internet and on social media.
Rt Revd Richard Chartres was speaking to the more than 2,000 specially invited guests at St Paul's Cathedral who were celebating Premier Christian Radio's 20th anniversary.
He explained how, often the Christian voice in Britain seems faint and does not always reflect contemporary reality.
"The Christian voice in cyber space is too often absent, leaving far too much room for shrill and judgemental voices," he said.
"It's a cliché to say, but true, that the young are communicating in a different way and the allocation of Christian effort and resources reflects a communications culture of a previous age."
Broadcast live on Premier Christian Radio and via a webcast, the Bishop went on to say that Christianity is not in decline worldwide or in London but that it sometimes seemed to lack confidence.
"Change is indeed possible and Premier has led the way in imagining new ways, appropriate to our time, of singing the Lord's song in the spirit of the word made flesh."
The Bishop of London was joined at the event by the Riding Lights Theatre Company, worship leader Graham Kendrick and the All Souls Orchastra.

Listen to Bishop Richard's sermon here:
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Jul 2015, 8:26 pm

What? Evangelicals Come Against Franklin Graham's Views on Islam
2:00PM EDT 7/22/2015    JENNIFER LECLAIRE
Franklin Graham is receiving pushback for the comments he made about Muslim immigrants. (YouTube)
Connect with the newsmakers and storytellers who are impacting our world. Listen to Charisma Connection at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

After five members of our military were killed in cold blood—and two others wounded—on our own soil in an act of domestic terrorism in Chattanooga, evangelist Franklin Graham dared to say what many in America were thinking:
"We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim who comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized—and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad," Graham said.
"During World War II, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we've got to put a stop to this and close the floodgates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them."
The elder Graham stayed out of politics, but the once-prodigal son is known for his bold commentary. Some of his fellow evangelicals are up in arms over these comments from Billy Graham's son.
"Harsh" and "unhelpful" were the words Carl Medearis, an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations, used to describe Graham's words.
Meanwhile, Helen Lee, associate editor at InterVarsity Press, had one question for him: "This is Christian witness?" Lee's colleague, vice president and director of Campus Engagement for InterVarsity USA Greg Jao, said he "strongly" rejects Graham's idea.
And Brian Zahnd, an author and pastor of Word Life Church, said Graham's remarks were nothing short of "xenophobia." Even Chick-fil-A's general manager for leadership development, Tim Sweetman, came against Graham, saying his remarks were "despicable" and the opposite of Christian love and American freedom.
"Franklin Graham said really awful things about Muslims," Lynne Hybels, of Willow Creek Community Church, tweeted. "If he knew the Muslim men and women I know, he would never say such things."
Yet, many Americans are likely to agree with Graham. Americans view Islam as a threat to their own nation's religious liberty almost as strongly as they consider it a danger to religious freedom internationally, new research shows.
Although most persecution occurs overseas, 39 percent of American adults say Islam threatens religious freedom in the United States—almost as many as the 40 percent who see Islam as a global threat, a survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research finds.
"Most recent headlines regarding Islam don't paint a picture of religious freedom—so we should not be surprised by the strong minority that considers Islam a threat to religious freedom," said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research.
The Charisma Podcast Network is now live. Featuring a variety of programs including news, leadership, inspiring stories, women's topics, sports, and even more.
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Did you like this article? You'll enjoy Jennifer LeClaire's book, The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Jul 2015, 11:43 am

Half of Christian teenagers don't read Bible more than once a month
Wed 22 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
Fifty per cent of young people who identify as Christians don't read their Bible more than once a month.

New research published by Premier Youthwork Magazine has found just one in three read it a couple of times a week or more.
What was also revealed was that teenagers pray far more regularly than they read the Bible.
Writing in this month's edition, London youth worker Mark Walley looked at other stats which show young people overwhelming see having a regular experience of God an important part of their faith.
He wrote: "When held together with the fact that young people expressed a strong desire to experience God in their churches, something seems amiss.
"Because the thing is, there is a link between the discipline of Bible reading and the experience of God. One of the main day to day ways you experience God is through reading the Bible."

He suggests youth workers need to rethink how they're encouraging their young people to read the Bible.

Speaking to Premier, he said: "One thing to avoid is the sense of guilt. It's so easy to lay on young people 'Why aren't you reading your Bible? You should do it more often. It's like brushing your teeth you should do it if you like it or not'.
"That's not the Christian message. The Christian message is 'Isn't this a glorious thing that we can do?'. That every day and every time we need to we can pick up our Bible and hear God speaking to us."
Listen to Mark Walley speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones here:

Justin Welby meets with RCCG leaders
Wed 22 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The Archbishop of Canterbury has met and prayed with the leaders of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, widely seen as the fast growing Church in the UK.

Most Revd Justin Welby welcomed the General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to Lambeth Palace today for what was described as "a morning of prayer and conversation".
Pastor Adeboye is visiting the UK from Nigeria and his Chief Overseer of the RCCG in the UK Pastor Agu Irukwu also attended the meeting.
Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace said the group discussed the possibility of collaboration between the Anglican and RCCG churches nationally and internationally.
Afterwards Archbishop Justin and Pastor Adeboye spoke privately and prayed together.
During the visit he was shown a selection of precious items from the Lambeth Palace Library, including works relating to the first black Anglican bishop, Samuel Ajayi Crowther.
In October last year Archbishop Justin was invited to address 40,000 people at the RCCG's Festival of Light in London, where he called for Christians of different denominations to be reconciled in Christ and to be reconcilers in their communities and nations.

Top woman bishop consecrated
Wed 22 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
The Church of England's most senior woman bishop has been consecrated.

Venerable Rachel Treweek was appointed the new Bishop of Gloucester and will be the first woman to take a seat in the House of Lords.
Revd Canon Dame Sarah Mullally was also consecrated as the Bishop of Crediton during the service at Canterbury Cathedral.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led the service whilst the 22-strong Canterbury Cathedral Girls' Choir led the singing.
Former speech and language therapist Ms Treweek, who was Archdeacon of Hackney, officially becomes the Church's first female diocesan bishop.
The 52-year-old, who describes herself in her Twitter profile as "more vulnerable than venerable", is the first woman to run a diocese and is one rank below archbishop.
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Wed 22 Jul 2015, 9:26 pm

[url=http://www.premier.org.uk/News/World/Asia-Bibi-death-sentence-temporarily-suspended? of daily news email 21july Christian Media]Asia Bibi death sentence temporarily suspended[/url]
Wed 22 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
Pakistan's Supreme Court as has reportedly ordered a temporary stay of execution against Asia Bibi's death sentence.

According to local media outlets, a three-member bench in Lahore has accepted the Christian woman's appeal and has ordered all records pertaining to the case to be presented before it.
In her petition, the 50-year-old woman has claimed that she had not made any blasphemous remarks, and rather residents of her neighbourhood had leveled the blasphemy allegations against her based on a personal feud.
Mother of five children, Asia Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after being convicted of committing blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water in 2009.
Despite denying the charge, she was arrested and imprisoned before she was sentenced to death a year later.
If the sentence is carried out she'd be the first women to be lawfully killed for blasphemy in Pakistan.
 
Despite widespread calls from the international community for her release, she remains in prison with claims she's suffered abuse by fellow prisoners.

Asia Bibi's family are being supported by the British Pakistani Christian Association.
Ashiq Masih at Geneva Summit 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Mvpc2SQcI
Ashiq Masih, husband of Asia Bibi, on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy addresses the opening U.N. Session of the 2015 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.


Judge: Believing prayer can ward off evil is not a mental health issue
Tue 21 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
A family court judge has said there is "nothing concerning" about the beliefs of a man who believes prayer can ward off evil.

Carol Atkinson's been ruling on a case regarding the care of a baby. The family, who are based in Bexley, London cannot be named.
She claimed police and social workers had raised concerns over the father's views with some claiming they were a "mental health issue". The judge dismissed that opinion, stating: "He (the man) has been brought up by a mother whose religious beliefs might be considered by some to border on 'superstition'.
"However, when you peel it back and give him the opportunity to explain I have found nothing concerning in his views.
"I am quite satisfied that what he was seeking to explain in his police interview and in his evidence before me was a strongly-held belief that something other worldly and possibly disruptive, evil if you like, bringing bad luck could be warded off through prayer. There is nothing unusual in such a belief.
"Many mainstream Christian faiths have their homes blessed by a priest before occupying. Other faiths have prayers written on paper rolled up into a container and nailed above the door to keep their home safe. The crucifix over the entry to the home. The blessing of a baby by a practising Catholic before christening lest anything untoward might happen. Crossing your fingers. In my judgment these are all examples of the same thing."
The case is determining the future of the boy who is approaching his first birthday.
Social services currently has responsibility for his welfare. Judge Atkinson said he had been taken to hospital with a fractured leg when a few weeks old. Social workers had become involved and had asked for a ruling on the cause of the baby's injuries.
The judge said there was a "real possibility" that either the baby's mother or father had "harmed" him, but she said she could not identify one parent as the "sole perpetrator".

Priest 'torture' claims in Eastern Ukraine
Tue 21 Jul 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Concern is growing for over 40 church ministers currently held in captivity in Eastern Ukraine amid reports of torture, according to a Christian charity working in the region.

UK charity Mission Without Borders (MWB) claims seven priests have been murdered since the start of unrest in Donetsk and Luhansk, which evolved into a war between the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government and pro-Russian insurgents in 2014.
"Around 10 churches have been ruined or set fire to because they are only letting the Russian Orthodox Church to be permitted for people to worship there, and other Christian denominations are actually being quite heavily targeted and persecuted," said Carly Jones, national manager, Mission Without Borders.
The charity says the local Christian community has responded by demonstrating increased faith; gathering to worship in neighbours' homes and abandoned buildings.
The UN's latest figures show 1.3 million Ukrainians are internally displaced and more than 5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.
Mission Without Borders says its locally staffed office in Ukraine has sent several truckloads of aid to communities affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The charity has also provided key assistance to Luhansk Regional Hospital, delivering much needed medical beds, mattresses and hygiene items.
MWB is also working in partnership with local churches, government agencies and partner NGOs across Ukraine to help refugees meet their basic needs. The charity says it has also made special provisions for rehabilitation and counselling services for children experiencing trauma.
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Tue 21 Jul 2015, 3:11 pm


Dr Michael Youssef // Are we living in 'end times'?
Founder and President of Leading the Way, Dr Michael Youssef brings his ministry to more than 190 countries around the world, in 24 languages, every day. He spoke to Inspirational Breakfast about the 'end times': are we witnessing them in the tragedy around us or is it simply a cycle of unrest that has been continuing since Jesus’ prophecy? John Pantry started by asking Michael about our world and the state of faith in our nation.

3.36min Video
Autism doesn't stop me believing in a God I can't see
Alex Lowery was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. Having made remarkable progress, the 21-year-old is now on a mission to help others understand the condition.
Sylvia Lowery remembers the moment she discovered that her four-year-old son had autism.

‘When Alex was diagnosed, all I could see was a black hole. I felt that God was far away from me and wasn’t hearing my prayers.’
As he grew up, Alex’s heightened senses meant that he found the world a ‘really terrifying place’.
‘A lot of things most people wouldn’t find loud, I found to be exceedingly loud,’ he says. ‘Even something as simple as going into a shop was a really scary experience for me because of the music played in the shops, all the people and how crowded it was. The dummies in the shops were scary. The lights were scary. The world was a really terrifying place.’
Now 21-years-old, Alex has made remarkable progress. He recently published his autobiography Thinking Club and regularly speaks to audiences across the UK about his battle with autism.
GROWING UP WITH AUTISM
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Sat 18 Jul 2015, 12:23 pm


Pastors Plan to Protest Unveiling of Satanic Statue in Detroit
DETROIT, Mich. — A group of pastors in Detroit plan to protest the unveiling of a Satanic statue later this month, which was sought to be placed next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building.
As previously reported, the New York-based Satanic Temple issued a news release about its intentions in 2013 following the filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which asserted that the presence of the Ten Commandments display on government property violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
The Satanic Temple said that it offered to to donate a statue of Baphomet to be placed near the Ten Commandments display in order to “appease the ACLU’s concerns.”
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves explained in his application to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
Last May, it was announced that the statue was nearing completion, which features the goat-headed figure Baphomet making the sign for the occult as he sits upon a throne with a pentagram overhead. Children fixate their eyes upon him on both sides.
In September, Seventh District Court Judge Thomas Prince concluded that the Ten Commandments monument serves a historical purpose and is not solely the presentment of a religious message as it sits on a plot of land that contains 51 other expressive monuments.
But the case was then appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled last week that the monument violates the state Constitution’s prohibition on using government property to support a religion.
Prior to the ruling, the Satanic Temple announced that it would unveil its proposed “homage to Satan” in Detroit. Although the Oklahoma decision consequently resulted in the group nixing its plans to place the monument next to the Ten Commandments display, the unveiling is moving forward. The Satanic Temple now says that it might seek to erect the monument adjacent to a similar Decalogue display in Arkansas.
As the event is scheduled for July 25 at Bert’s Warehouse, a number of pastors in Detroit are rallying together to speak out against the devilish statue.
David Bullock, pastor of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, is one of the organizers of a counter event to be held on the same day.
“This is not even a real religion in my estimation,” Bullock told local television station WWJ. “They’re bringing a Baphomet statue to the city of Detroit valorizing, elevating Satan.”
“The last thing we need—in a city where we’re fighting against violence and fighting against economic problems and unemployment and the water crisis—is a statue dedicated to Satan right downtown,” he said.
Bullock invites other Christians to join him for the counter protest. The pastor has also contacted the owners of Bert’s Warehouse to request that the Baphomet event be canceled.
The Satanic Temple likewise raised concerns last December when it was granted permission to erect its “snaketivity scene” near a nativity scene on the Michigan capitol grounds. The statue featured a snake wrapped around a Satanic cross, with the snake offering the book “Revolt of the Angels” as a gift.
According to the Metro Times, while some have thought the Satanic Temple to actually espouse atheism, the group says that characterization is incorrect.
“We consider ourselves non-theistic Satanists,” spokesperson Jex Blackmore told the outlet. “Atheists don’t consider themselves part of a religion. Non-theists have a religion, but without God. That’s the difference.”
“Just as much as we get people who think that we’re into the biblical concept of Satan, we get people who think that we’re just posing as Satanists, and not truly Satanists or whatever you would say. Non-theistic Satanism is part of modern Satanism. It’s a misconception that we fight a lot that we’re trying to dispel.”
MORE http://christiannews.net/2015/06/27/proposed-homage-to-satan-near-ten-commandments-monument-to-be-unveiled/ 


Oklahoma Governor Refuses to Remove Ten Commandments Monument Following Ruling
July 9, 2015 | Filed under: Highlights,Law & Government,Life & Society,Top Stories | By: Heather Clark 
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Oklahoma Capitol Building pdOKLAHOMA CITY — The governor of Oklahoma is standing her ground and refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument following a ruling by the state Supreme Court declaring that the display must go because it infringed the state Constitution.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced on Tuesday that the monument will stay in place while the state files an appeal in the matter, asserting that “the court God it wrong.”
“The Ten Commandments monument was built to recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state’s and nation’s systems of laws,” she wrote in a statement.
“The monument was built and maintained with private dollars. It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible,” Fallin continued. “It is a privately funded tribute to historical events, not a taxpayer funded endorsement of any religion, as some have alleged.”
As previously reported, the display had been proposed by Rep. Mike Ritze in 2009, and was soon after approved by the largely Republican-run state legislature. Ritze paid over $1000 for the display, and no taxpayer funds were utilized in its creation.
“[T]he Ten Commandments are an important component of the foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma,” the 2009 bill authorizing the monument acknowledged. “[T]he courts of the United States of America and of various states frequently cite the Ten Commandments in published decisions, and acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America.”
In August 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma filed suit against the display, asserting that its erection on the grounds of the state capitol building was unconstitutional.
The lead plaintiff was liberal minister Bruce Prescott, the director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. Prescott said that mixing the sacred with the secular in such a manner cheapens the display, and asserted that it violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
In the meantime, a New York-based Satanist group sought to erect an “homage to Satan” near the monument, and other groups chimed in to seek permission to place statues at the location as well.
But last September, Seventh District Court Judge Thomas Prince concluded that the monument served a historical purpose and not solely the presentment of a religious message as it sits on a plot of land that contains 51 other expressive monuments.
The case was then refiled with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled 7-2 last week that the monument must be removed because it violates Article 2, Section 5, of the Oklahoma Constitution, which states that property cannot be used to promote a “church denomination or system of religion.”
“No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such,” the section reads.
Concurring justices were Chief Justice John F. Reif; Justice Yvonne Kauger; Justice Joseph M. Watt; Justice James R. Winchester; Justice James E. Edmondson; Justice Steve W. Taylor; and Justice Noma D. Gurich. Vice Chief Justice Douglas L. Combs and Justice Tom Colbert dissented.
But Gov. Fallin says that the court got it wrong and is refusing to remove the monument while the state appeals the decision.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” she wrote in her statement this week. “However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.”
“At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the Ten Commandments case. Additionally, our legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible,” Fallin added. “If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on the issue.”
The ACLU is now claiming that Fallin could be in contempt of court.
“The Supreme Court did not give any leeway in their opinion. The bipartisan, seven-member majority did not say remove the monument except if you look into your crystal ball and think the law might allow it at some point in the future and go ahead and keep it,” Executive Director Ryan Kiesel told Tulsa World. “The court said remove the monument.”
“Frankly, I would be astonished if we get to a point where the governor outright defies an order of our state’s highest court,” he said. “That said, if she does, there is a word for it. It is called contempt.”
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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Jul 2015, 1:50 pm

Iranian charity praying nuclear deal leads to freedom for Christians
Tue 14 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
A charity which reaches out to Iranian Christians says it's praying and hoping that Iran's nuclear programme deal will allow the West to have more influence on Iran and the right to freedom of worship.

As part of the agreement the country will get rid of 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium. In turn sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted allowing Iran to return to the global oil market.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said the deal marked "a new chapter" in relations with the world and the Islamic republic.
Speaking in Tehran, Mr Rouhani said: "The sanctions regime was never successful, but at the same time it had affected people's lives."
President Obama gave an address moments after the deal was made. Addressing critics he said: "This deal is not built on trust. It is built on verification."
Revd Lazarus Yeghnazar, President of 222 Ministries said: "Once again Iran and its leadership has been given a unique opportunity.
"Many are apprehensive both Iranians and non for its past track record over three decades.
"I'm praying and hoping they will seize this opportunity....to do something accountably and respectively both for the Iranian citizens and the international community.
"In a pragmatic sense I exercise a cautious optimism and in a spiritual sense I prayerfully look forward, praying for all the leaders in the country.
"All of the Christian leaders around the world are praying for this, that God will soften their hearts...that the Government will have bigger issues to pursue and leave the Christian community alone to worship their God as they want."
Announcing the deal, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, appearing on stage in Vienna alongside Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said: "Today is an historic day.
"We are creating the conditions for building trust. No-one ever thought it would be easy...Despite twists and turns in the talks, hope and determination enabled us to overcome all the difficult moments."
The deal's been labelled a 'bad mistake' by the Israeli Government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would lead to Iran getting a "cash bonanza" which will enable it to "continue to purse aggression and terror in the region and the world".
Listen to Revd Lazarus Yeghnazar speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield:
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Jul 2015, 3:39 pm

Fears increase of IS attack on Jerusalem's Christians
Tue 14 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield
Christians in Jerusalem are growing increasingly concerned about the threat of Islamic State.

Believers in the Holy Land are worried after a leaflet threatening attacks from Muslim jihadists was handed out in the Israeli capital.
The document has been found in the east of Jerusalem and appears to threaten "revenge" on Christians.
It is signed by a group calling itself "ISIS [Islamic State] Palestine".
"Vengeance" will be brought upon followers of Christ, the leaflet said.
Nashat Filmon, from the Palestinian Bible Society, said the threat was real.
He said: "Everything is expected from ISIS [Islamic State], as we saw in the Middle East many Christians have been killed, been displaced as a result of the presence of ISIS, you know in Mosul more than 150,000 people had to leave this historical Christian place and city and go and be scattered all over.
"So we know that Isis does kill, does threaten and does have an extended hand, I mean this could be very real."
Recent figures suggest there are 12,000 Christian residents in Jerusalem, and many more Christian tourists every year.
It's thought a large number of Palestinians have left the area to go and fight for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, although there is no way to verify this.
IS has made vocal attacks on the Christian faith in the past, with one its magazines even showing the group's black flag flying above the Vatican.
Nashat Filmon added that he thought Islamic State was active in Jerusalem.
He said: "There have been calls for prayer, there have been calls to stand against these threats and to fight it back by every peaceful means.
"The church is also addressing the issue by encouraging its people to stay strong in the faith and of course to be thankful, to praise God.
"Just around us people have been killed, people have been displaced not far away from us, two hours drive people have been and continue to be killed so we are in a much better position.
"We need to remember God's grace and God's protection, not to take anything for granted but to trust the Lord will keep us safe in these difficult moments."
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Sat 11 Jul 2015, 5:51 pm

Pope left stony faced over communist crucifix gift from Bolivia's president
Fri 10 Jul 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Images of a bemused looking Pope have been beamed around the globe after Francis was presented with a communist crucifix depicting Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle by Bolivia's president Evo Morales.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi appears to have tried to avert the gathered media from depicting the incident as a failure in international diplomacy, saying the pope was likely to have uttered "eso no sabía bien" (I didn't know that) in confusion at the origins of the present, and not "eso no está bien" ("this is not right"), as some outlets have reported.
Bolivian officials said the gift was a replica of a crucifix made by the late Father Luis Espinal, who was gunned down by a paramilitary death squad in 1980.
Mr Morales, who once referred to the Catholic faith as his "main enemy," had a tenuous relationship with the Church prior to Pope Francis's arrival.
Despite the awkward encounter in Bolivia, history's first Latin American pope "humbly" begged forgiveness during a meeting with indigenous groups and other activists and in the presence of Bolivia's first-ever indigenous president, Morales.
Francis noted that Latin American church leaders in the past had acknowledged that "grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God".
St John Paul II, for his part, apologised to the continent's indigenous for the "pain and suffering" caused during the 500 years of the church's presence in the Americas during a 1992 visit to the Dominican Republic.
But Francis went farther, and said he was doing so with "regret".
"I would also say, and here I wish to be quite clear, as was St John Paul II: I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offences of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America," he said to applause from the crowd.
Then deviating from his prepared script, he added: "I also want for us to remember the thousands and thousands of priests who strongly opposed the logic of the sword with the power of the cross. There was sin, and it was plentiful.
"But we never apologised, so I now ask for forgiveness. But where there was sin, and there was plenty of sin, there was also an abundant grace increased by the men who defended indigenous peoples."
Francis' apology was met with wild applause from the indigenous and other grass-roots groups gathered for a world summit of popular movements whose fight against injustice and social inequality has been championed by the pope.
The apology was significant given the controversy that has erupted in the United States over Francis' planned canonisation of the 18th century Spanish priest Junipero Serra, who set up missions across California.
Native Americans contend the priest brutally converted indigenous people to Christianity, wiping out villages in the process, and have opposed his canonisation. The Vatican insists he defended natives from colonial abuses.

Church of England General Synod gets underway in York
Fri 10 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
The Church of England's governing body is set to meet for the final time in its five year cycle.
The General Synod in York will be the last before a new group is elected in later this year.
Top of the agenda will be the subject of how the church handles abuse cases. Members will discuss how the Church can get tougher to stop abuse happening within its parishes.
Synod members will debate potential new powers including introducing checks similar to those for staff working in schools or hospitals.
Also set to be discussed is the environment and the idea of encouraging ministers to train in 'eco-theology'. It comes just weeks after Pope Francis released his encyclical on the issue.
Synod member Jonathan Ford told Premier: "We're going to be giving our backing to withdrawing all our investments in fossil fuels but the other thing is we'll have a huge debate on climate change and we're going to look at ways at how we can help others do this.
"We're fully behind what the Pope is doing and we have a unique opportunity to say more and resource people."
READ MORE
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jul 2015, 12:55 pm

Leaked document shows Saudi Arabia asked Vatican for help in bringing down Syrian Government
Thu 09 Jul 2015
By Marcus Jones
A secret document sent by Saudi Arabia to the Vatican, asking for help in bringing down the Syrian Government has been revealed through Wikileaks.

The letter thought to be from the start of the uprisings in 2011 asks for a meeting with the Foreign Minister at the Vatican, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, explaining that Christians in Syria shouldn't fear a change in leadership.
Many Christians in Syria had supported the Assad regime claiming their rights had always been respected and that they received the freedom to worship. Some feared a new government would stop that.
However the letter, attempted to calm those fears.
It said: "We affirm we are friends of the Syrian people and declare our commitment to the rights and freedoms of all the Syrian people of all different backgrounds.
"We will not accept the exclusion or marginalisation of any groups."
The Vatican has consistently called for peaceful negotiations over the future of Syria and spoken out against military action.
Pope Francis held a worldwide day or prayer for peace for the situation.
The letter suggests Saudi Arabia supported the Vatican's stance. It said: "We support a political solution and peaceful transition of power, but that requires placing utmost pressure on the regime to stop the killings and accept that it is impossible to accomplish a military victory.
The Vatican's response to the letter has not been revealed.
Over 200,000 people have been killed since the uprising in 2011. Around eight million have been either internally displaced or have fled to neighbouring countries.

Another Syrian priest kidnapped
Thu 09 Jul 2015
By Aaron James
A Christian anti-persecution charity has called on Christians to pray after the kidnap of another Syrian priest.

Fr Diyaa Aziz, 40, is one of six priests in total known to have been captured in Syria since 2012. The priest is from the predominantly Christian village of Jacoobiya, in the north western province of Idlib.
Aid to the Church in the Need has said the Al-Nusra Front extremist group asked Fr Aziz to meet with its leader, and that when the priest obliged, he was never seen again.
The advocacy group has said the other captured priests are: Archbishops Boulos Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim of Aleppo; Fr Paolo Dall'Oglio; Fr Hanna Jallouf, and; Father Jacques Mourad.
The whereabouts and state of health of all the prisoners, including Fr Aziz, are currently unknown.
Two others priests have been killed since 2012: Fr Frans van der Lugt and Fr Hadi Haddad. Fr Lugt was caught in fighting between government and rebel fighters and
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need UK, said: "We plead for prayers and mercy - for young Fr Aziz, for Fr Jacques Mourad and all the priests and bishops who have been kidnapped and for their people.
"It is as though Daesh (IS) and other fanatical groups want to cut off the heads of the Christian communities to kill the body - the Church - and they should know that this will not work."
"Having been in northern Iraq recently and knowing the terror that Christian communities and others face in great parts of Syria and Iraq, the people need the support, solidarity and resolve of the West to stand up to this contagion of evil."
"If anybody wishes to rebuild the Middle East we need the leaders of different communities to be respected and allowed to work with all people."


Civil war plaguing Christian South Sudan
Thu 09 Jul 2015
By Desmond Busteed
Charity World Vision is raising concerns that South Sudan is descending in to civil war.

The predominantly Christian South Sudanese were so full of hope four years ago when the country celebrated independence from the majority Muslim population of Sudan after 21 years of turmoil, but renewed fighting in Upper Nile and Unity states has left thousands of other people without homes.
Peace negotiations collapsed in March after President Kiir and rebel leader Machar failed to agree on a power sharing deal.
"We're not seeing direct conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. What we're really, really focussed on is the internal conflict, the fighting between the opposition and the Government, that's what is having the primary effect on the people we're trying to serve," said Perry Mansfield, World Vision South Sudan's National Director to Premier.
It's claimed South Sudan's economy is also dangerously on the verge of collapse. The government has denied this but oil production, the only foreign exchange earner for the country has dropped by nearly a third.
That, the conflict and a drop in global oil prices has escalated the already fragile fledgling state.
The UN mission in South Sudan has also published a report condemning the government offensive. UNMISS accused government forces and their allies of burning people alive in their homes, raping women and killing civilians.
The rebels too and their militia - the white army - have been accused of human rights abuses.
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Sun 28 Jun 2015, 11:42 pm

Proposed ‘Homage to Satan’ Near Ten Commandments Monument to Be Unveiled
June 27, 2015 | Filed under: Law & Government,Life & Society,Top Stories | By: Heather Clark 
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Satanic TempleDETROIT, Mich. — A New York-based Satanist group has announced the unveiling of its sculpted ‘homage to Satan,’ which it seeks to place next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building.

As previously reported, the Satanic Temple issued a news release about its intentions in 2013 following the filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which asserted that the presence of the Ten Commandments display on government property violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
The Satanic Temple said that it offered to to donate a statue of Baphomet to be placed near the Ten Commandments display in order to “appease the ACLU’s concerns.”
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves explained in his application to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
The organization proceeded to launch an indiegogo fundraising campaign, which raised over $28,000 for the creation of the monument.
“A Satanic monument erected in contrast to a Ten Commandments monument will send a clear and distinct message to the world that pluralism is alive and well in the United States,” it asserted.
Last May, it was announced that the statue was nearing completion, which features the goat-headed figure Baphomet making the sign for the occult as he sits upon a throne with a pentagram overhead. Children fixate their eyes upon him on both sides.
In September, Seventh District Court Judge Thomas Prince concluded that the Ten Commandments monument serves a historical purpose and is not solely the presentment of a religious message as it sits on a plot of land that contains 51 other expressive monuments.

However, despite the monument being upheld as constitutional, the Satanic Temple forged ahead with its plans to place the Baphomet statue on the capitol grounds. Now, the organization has announced that it will be hosting an official unveiling ceremony next month in Detroit.
“As a ‘homage’ to Satan, the incredible statue is intended to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on Oklahoma State Capitol grounds,” it recently wrote on its website. “The event will serve as a call-to-arms from which The Satanic Temple will kick off our largest fight to date in the name of individual rights to free exercise against self-serving theocrats.”
The group invited supporters to “dress to impress the Devil” and “come dance with [him] and experience history in the making.”
It is not clear whether the Satanic Temple has obtained permission to place the monument on the capitol grounds as it wishes. Some have expressed that the proposed “homage to Satan” is offensive to Oklahoma residents.
“I think you’ve got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland,” Representative Don Armes told the Associated Press. “I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma, and that’s not going to fly here.”
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:27 am

Government condemns 'appalling atrocities' against Christians in Nigeria
Wed 24 Jun 2015
By Marcus Jones
Christians in Nigeria are being subjected to 'appalling atrocities' by extremist group Boko Haram, according to the UK Government.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Foreign Office Minister James Duddridge responded to a question asked by Christian DUP MP Jim Shannon, who questioned: "What discussions he has had with the new Prime Minister of Nigeria on the situation of the Christian minority in the north of that country".
In his response Mr Duddridge said the Prime Minster and Foreign Secretary had held talks with President Buhari to underline their concerns.
He said: "Boko Haram's attacks are often indiscriminate and they commit appalling atrocities against all those, both Christian and Muslim, who do not follow their extremist and intolerant views.
"We condemn their actions unreservedly. As the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) informed colleagues on 10 June, we have equally underlined to the President our commitment to helping him tackle the threat.
"The UK is providing a substantial and increasing package of intelligence, military and development support, including programmes working with religious leaders to directly address conflict in northern Nigeria and training and advice to Nigerian units deploying against Boko Haram.#
Boko Haram has been behind many attacks on churches and Christian communities in Nigeria. It's claimed its leaders want to create a fully Islamic State. Currently the country is made up of 51% Christians and 46% Muslims. Christians tend to preside in the south of the country while Muslims tend to live in the north

Westboro threatens to picket Charleston funerals
Wed 24 Jun 2015
By Antony Bushfield
Extremists from the Westboro Baptist Church have threatened to protest at the funerals of the nine people killed in last week's mass shooting in Charleston.

The organisation has described the dead at Emanuel AME Church as "Satan's boyz" and warned on social networking site Twitter it would attempt to picket the funerals.
It claimed online that God sent shooter Dylann Roof, who killed the pastor Revd Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, 54, Revd Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, Tywanza Sanders, 26, Ethel Lance, 70, Revd Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, Susie Jackson, 87, Revd Daniel Simmons Sr, 74 and Myra Thompson, 59.
The White House has confirmed US President Barack Obama will attend the funeral of Revd Pinckney on Friday.
A number of people have also promised on social media to form a 'human barrier' around the funerals to prevent Westboro getting close to the events.
Elsewhere the hacking group Anonymous has pledged to take down the computer systems of Westboro in response to the threat.
In a statement the activists said they would "entirely" destroy the organisations online presence.
Westboro Baptist Church is based in Kansas and has around 50 members. It has found fame through picketing the funerals of soldiers or other notable people.
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Re: CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK

Post  Admin on Fri 19 Jun 2015, 4:08 pm

Pastor to face prosecution over Islam comments
Thu 18 Jun 2015
By Marcus Jones
A pastor from Northern Ireland is to be prosecuted after describing Islam as "satanic" and "heathen".

James McConnell made the comments while preaching at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle church in Belfast.
After the sermon was posted online, a number of complaints were made, which led to an apology from Mr McConnell.
However after police questioning, the 78 year old is reported to have refused to accept a lesser punishment which meant the case would not have gone to court.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service said: "I can confirm that following consideration of a complaint in relation to an internet broadcast of a sermon in May 2014, a decision was taken to offer an individual an informed warning for an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003.
"That offence was one of sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive. The offer of an informed warning was refused by the defendant and accordingly the matter is now proceeding by way of a summary prosecution in the Magistrates Court."
Shortly after the incident, Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson also had to apologise after appearing to defend the pastor.
He had said he would not trust Muslims for spiritual guidance but would trust them to "go down to the shops" for him.
It has not been revealed when Pastor McConnell's case will go to court.
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