Former President Barack Obama sparked a liberal backlash by praising Rev. Billy Graham, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 99.
“Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many – and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans,” Obama wrote on Twitter, shortly after news of Graham’s death became public.
Liberals lashed out at Obama for not trashing Graham after death for the preacher’s Christian beliefs about gay marriage. (Obama, it’s worth noting, also opposed gay marriage when he first ran for president in 2008.)
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Klaus-Juergen Schmid, a judge in the Bavarian town of Miesbach, has ordered a crucifix to be removed from the courtroom during the trial of a 21-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker accused of making death threats to another Afghan who converted to Christianity.
Initially reported last week, the story received wider coverage later with people on social media weighing in. Shortly after the case was made public, Schmid began receiving “angry emails” accusing him of removing a symbol of Germany’s “cultural and religious sovereignty.”
“The blood shed by the hands of the defendant will be partly due to you,” the judge quoted one of the comments as saying. This is despite the judge’s claim that he imposed the maximum penalty on the defendant.
“I can’t believe it,” one Facebook user, Otti Friedrich, wrote. “The judge just has to realize where he lives, in a Christian country? Or did I miss something?”
Another person said: “Sorry, but this judge is dishonorable… There are laws in Germany and judges should adhere to them. Poor Germany, everyone is only thinking of our government in the first place. We are foreigners in our own country.”
Explaining his move, Schmid said that there is no law that requires having a crucifix in the courtroom in the first place. He also said he wanted to show the Afghan man that his decision is not a reflection or a sign of conflict between Christians and Muslims.
“So I did not think it would be proper to convict him under the cross – that was the issue,” he said, as quoted by Bayerischer Rundfunk.
The judge said that he does not want to have the crucifix in the courtroom anymore. “After Bavarian Judicial Law was changed so that neither crosses nor headscarves should be worn by judges during trials, I do not believe it is right that religious symbols should hang in the courtroom,” he said.
The Afghan defendant, meanwhile, said he did not mind being tried under the crucifix. “I don’t care if there’s a cross hanging in the courtroom,” he told Bild newspaper, as cited by Rosenheim24.
The man, who claims to have fled Afghanistan because the Taliban threatened his father, added: “I’m a normal person, I’m not a [Muslim] believer, I have Christian friends.”
WASHINGTON, DC — North Korea stands at the top of a list of 50 countries where at least 215 million Christians faced the most severe persecution in 2017, resulting in 3,066 deaths and 1,020 rapes mainly targeting women, revealed Open Doors, an organization that monitors ill-treated Christians worldwide.
At the National Press Club on Wednesday, David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors, unveiled the 2018 World Wide List (WWL) of the top 50 “most dangerous” countries to worship Jesus. Referring to North Korea, he declared:
Imagine in your mind a leader that thinks he’s god but acts like an animal — devouring his own people with his teeth where people are forced to worship at the statute of Kim Jung Un and bow down and lay flowers at his feet as if he was a god.
Yet, [Kim] sets up controls mechanisms, neighborhood watches that surround communities rewarding citizens for spying on each other giving them more food if they find somebody who has a Bible and who purports to a be a Christian and that makes Christians the number one enemy of the state in North Korea and that’s why it is the number one on the world’s watchlist.
Open Doors pointed out that thousands of Christians are facing death worldwide for practicing their faith, particularly in North Korea.
According to the monitor group’s 2018 World Watch List (WWL), “215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution in the  countries on the World Watch List,” with the majority of them in North Korea, considered “the worst place for Christians” for 16 consecutive years since 2002.
Open Doors reported:
The primary driver of persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country focused on idolizing the leading [Kim Jung Un] family. Christians are seen as hostile elements in society that have to be eradicated.
Due to the constant indoctrination permeating the whole country, neighbors and even family members are highly watchful and report any suspicious religious activity to the authorities…The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.
There are many Christians languishing, starving, and enduring hard labor in North Korea prisons for merely owning a Bible and having faith in Jesus Christ.
Since the U.S.-led war that started in Afghanistan soon after September 11, 2001, the United States has spent at least $877 billion on the war-devastated country, including on the promotion of religious freedoms.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan came in second place in the list of the top 50 worst countries in terms of persecution — where the cost of being a Christian can quickly turn into a nightmare and the last breath one ever takes.
During the 2017 reporting period covered by the latest World Watch List, persecutors killed 3,066 Christians, kidnapped 1,252, raped 1,020, and attacked 793 churches, noted Open Doors.
Of the top ten countries, eight are tormented by “Islamic Oppression,” which mainly refers to hostility against Christians. Eritrea and North Korea are the exceptions.
Meanwhile, persecution against Christians at the hands of “Hindu extremists” in India is on the rise, resulting in deaths and rape of Christian women.
“A shocking trend in the world watchlist I want to highlight for you today is the increase in persecution of Christian women,” stated Curry. “The data seems to prove that Christian women are the most vulnerable population today with sexual harassment and rape and forced marriage being prime tactics from extremists against the world against Christians.”
Pakistan, India’s regional enemy, has accused Hindu extremists of persecuting Christians and Muslims and forcing them to convert to their religion.
Hindu nationalist groups are reportedly affiliated with Indian President Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Pro-Hindu nationalism “President Modi only wants one religion,” proclaimed Curry.
Every day, Christian women reportedly face sexual harassment, rape, and forced marriage, all common in India, which is ranked 11 on the persecution list.
The justice for Christians in India is “poor,” determined Curry, noting that 635 Jesus followers were held and detained in the nation without trial last year alone, often called one of the largest democracies in the world.
Of the 50 nations on the Open Doors World Watch list, at least two Western Hemisphere countries made the cut joining the very few predominantly Christian nations on the list — Latin America’s Mexico (39th place) and Colombia (49th) where persecution is reportedly driven by “organized crime and corruption.”
The monitor group identifies North Korea’s communist and post-communist oppression as the primary source of persecution against Christians, which make up a little over 1 percent (300,000) of the 25.4 million population.
The assessment deems more than 60 percent of the persecution tactics employed by Kim as violent.
Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney joined SiriusXM host Rebecca Mansour on a special Friday night edition of Breitbart News Tonight to discuss a recent court ruling that the military must accept transgender recruits and what President Trump’s administration should do about it.
“The issue that really is at the heart of this matter as far as I’m concerned is, does the president have the unquestioned authority under the Constitution of the United States Article II, which vests exclusively in him, the role of Commander-in-Chief of the United States’ armed forces, or does that authority now get subjected to the whim of any federal judge in the United States judiciary?”
Gaffney said the issue is of immediate significance for the administration as it does not appear that the Department of Justice is going to ask the Supreme Court to stay the judge’s order to compel the Department of Defense to begin enlisting more transgender individuals at the beginning of the new year.
Gaffney said he believes that makes this “nothing short of a constitutional crisis” and opens the door for a federal judge to intercede in military decisions going forward, perhaps even to the extent of countermanding a presidential order to go to war.
“That could be fatal to our republic,” said Gaffney, adding, “I think the predicate, the precedent for it is being set as we speak.”
Gaffney urged the administration “to fight this effort by the judiciary to essentially intrude upon and eviscerate his authority as commander-in-chief.”
He said the first order of business for the White House should be to order the Justice Department to seek an emergency stay by the Supreme Court, allowing for the decision to be properly adjudicated.
Added Gaffney, “I would hope that the president would try to establish through another order to the Defense Department – and by the way the Homeland Security Department because it’s responsible for the Coast Guard – that anybody who is brought in under these existing court rulings if they are not stayed – is done on a conditional basis. It seems to me that’s the bare minimum that can be done here.”
Gaffney indicated that then, if the Supreme Court does overturn current rulings, transgender individuals admitted into the military under the rulings would not be allowed to remain in the armed services.
“I believe that’s a safety valve on this and it seems to me to be a sensible one,” Gaffney said.
Swarthmore College, founded by Quakers, is offering courses in “queering the Bible” and “queering God.” The courses were first reported by Campus Reform.
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“Queering the Bible” is a one-credit class that surveys “queer and trans readings of biblical texts.”
“By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans theoretical approaches, this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the Bible – and religion – says about gender and sexuality,” the course description reads.
The school’s religion department is also teaching a class that questions the sexuality of the Almighty called, “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology.”
“The God of the Bible and later Jewish and Christian literature is distinctively masculine, definitely male. Or is He?” the course description reads. “If we can point out places in traditional writings where God is nurturing, forgiving, and loving, does that mean that God is feminine, or female?”
Key themes of that particular class include exploring the “tensions between feminist and queer theology” and examines “feminist and queer writings about God.”
Critics blasted the college’s religion courses and suggested they were meant to undermine Christianity.
“This is about sanitizing and neutralizing the prohibitions on homosexual acts that Scripture unequivocally condemns,” one observer noted online.
The president of Truett-McConnell University, a conservative Christian school in Georgia, accused Swarthmore of prostituting the Bible.
“If there were a list entitled, “Best Snowflake Colleges in America,” I am quite certain that Swarthmore College would be near the top of the list,” Dr. Emir Caner told the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “Keep in mind, this is an institution of higher learning that has produced such ‘accomplished’ politicians as failed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.”
“While I am not surprised that lost people would so prostitute Scripture, perhaps there is a rainbow at the end of the storm when the student comes across John 3:16 and recognizes God’s unconditional love for them through Jesus Christ,” Caner said. “Perhaps such an open-minded student will recognize the conviction of the Holy Spirit over the noise of liberal indoctrination, bow their knee to the One True Living God and be transformed.”
Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas and a spiritual advisor to President Trump, warned about the spiritual dangers of twisting God’s word.
“In suggesting that God is ‘queer’ Swarthmore College is guilty of nothing short of modern day idolatry,” Jeffress told the Todd Starnes Radio Show.
“When you read the Bible you will discover that God reserved His harshest condemnation for individuals and nations that practiced idolatry – creating an imaginary god who conformed to a culture’s immorality,” Jeffress said.
Swarthmore College did not return my calls seeking comment. Nor did they respond to a question about whether they had read the Book of Revelation, Chapter 22, Verse 19.
I also inquired about whether the religion department will be offering courses on “Queering Mohammed” or “Queering the Koran.”
Something tells me they won’t be respond to that query either.