Enemies of Christianity declaring new war on religion

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Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun

CHRISTIANS, prepare for persecution. Open your eyes and choose stronger leaders for the dark days.

I am not a Christian, but I am amazed that your bishops and ministers are not warning you of what is already breaking over your heads.

How mad that Queensland’s Education Department can now warn schools against letting students praise Jesus in the playground.

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The department has put out reports telling state schools “to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in (religious instruction) are evangelising to students who do not participate”.

It gives examples of what students must not say in the playground — such as “knowing about Jesus is a very important thing”, or “God, please help us to use our knowledge to help others”.

Nor may students hand out Christmas cards or decorations.

What do these bureaucrats fear from children inspired by Christ?

Is it that stuff about loving your neighbour? Or that instruction to respect the dignity of every human life that makes Christians the enemy of totalitarians?

But this ban on playground talk of Jesus is only the most shocking salvo of the new war on Christians.

Pastor Campbell Markham is facing an anti-discrimination complaint arising from blog posts he wrote relating to the marriage debate. Picture: Peter Mathew

Last week, two Christian preachers were summoned to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for preaching their faith’s stand on traditional marriage and homosexuality.Hobart pastor Campbell Mark­ham and street preacher David Gee, from Hobart’s Cornerstone Church, were denounced by an atheist offended by, among other things, Markham quoting a verse from the Bible.We’ve seen this before. Hobart’s Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous, was two years ago ordered by this tribunal to tell by what right he spoke against same-sex marriage.

How cowed the churches have been before this looming persecution, now picking off vocal Christians, one by one.

Just this year, Sydney University’s Student Union threatened to deregister the university’s Evangelical Union unless it stopped insisting members declare their faith in Christ.

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage extremists bullied Coopers Brewery into taking down a video of a Christian MP Andrew Hastie debating same-sex marriage, and lobbied IBM, PwC and Sydney University to punish staff belonging to a Christian group opposed to gay marriage.

Last week, 70 pro-Safe Schools activists picketed a church to abuse people at an Australian Christian Lobby meeting as “bigots”.

A sign explaining why Coopers Beer is not being served at a hotel earlier this year. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Last year, an ACL meeting was cancelled after the hotel venue was bombarded with threats.The state-funded SBS joined in by banning an ad by Christians defending traditional marriage, yet ran one for an Ashley Madison dating service for adulterers.The Greens are the political wing of this attack on Christianity, and are demanding churches lose their legal freedom to hire only people who live by their faith.

The media, too, often cheer this war, using as their excuse the sexual abuse of children by some priests and ministers decades ago.

Rarely do they admit the average gap between the alleged offences by Catholic priests and the lodging of complaints is 33 years. That suggests the churches did crack down on paedophiles decades ago.

But this vilification has had its effect. The Census shows the proportion of Australians calling themselves Christian has dropped from 74 per cent in 1991 to 52 per cent now.

No wonder, when the weaker churches cower before the persecution.

Last week, some even licked the boots of the anti-Christian ABC when it launched yet another attack, smearing churches as the haven of wife-beaters.

Christians are more inclined to volunteer, donate and keep families together, surveys show. Picture: Brendan Radke.

This ABC series led off with a ludicrously false claim: “The men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically.”A week after I proved this untrue, the ABC edited its reports to replace that false claim with another: “Overall, the international studies indicate that intimate partner violence is just as serious a problem in Christian communities, as it is in the general community.”Wrong again. Professor Bradford Wilcox, author of the American study the ABC cited as proof, complained “the (ABC’s) story … does not square with the evidence that church­going couples, in America at least, appear to be less likely to suffer domestic violence”.

In fact, Christianity produce better citizens in many ways.

Surveys show Christians are more inclined to volunteer, donate and keep families together.

So what do the enemies of Christianity wish to achieve by smearing, silencing and destroying this civilising faith? What would they replace it with?

With the atheism that preaches every man for himself? With Islam?

Or with the green faith that has not inspired a single hospital, hospice, school, or even soup kitchen?

Yet the persecution is starting. Are the churches ready?

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Taken from: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/andrew-bolt/enemies-of-christianity-declaring-new-war-on-religion/news-story/043ebd5d04cf40934e983d391d5658bd

Gunmen kill 28 Coptic Christians on buses bound for Egyptian monastery

Three bodies lie covered in the desert in front of ambulances and bystanders.

Related Story: Egypt declares state of emergency after church bombings kill 44

Related Story: Who are Egypt’s Coptic Christians and why are they persecuted?
Related Story: Trump welcomes Egypt’s Sisi despite human rights concerns
 
Masked gunmen have attacked a group of Coptic Christians in southern Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others as they were driving to a monastery, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Key points:

  • 26 killed, 25 wounded as militants attacked buses
  • Group of Coptic Christians was travelling to a monastery
  • Muslim leaders including Hamas have condemned the attacks

The group was travelling in two buses and a small truck on Friday in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority, medical sources and eyewitnesses said.

Eyewitnesses said the Copts were attacked as they were going to pray at the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in the western part of the province.
They said masked men stopped the vehicles on a road leading to the monastery and opened fire.
One of the vehicles attacked was taking men to carry out maintenance work at the monastery while another was carrying children, officials said.
The Health Ministry said among those injured were two children aged two.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
However it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State, which has been spearheading an insurgency that has carried out deadly attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and, increasingly, on the country’s mainland.

Egypt launches airstrikes

Egypt responded by launching airstrikes against what it said were militant training bases in Libya.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced the retaliatory action hours after the bus was riddled with machine-gun fire on a remote desert road by suspected Islamic State militants riding in three SUVs.
“What you’ve seen today will not go unpunished. An extremely painful strike has been dealt to the bases. Egypt will never hesitate to strike terror bases anywhere,” Mr el-Sissi said.
He also appealed to US President Donald Trump to lead the global war against terror.
Muslim leaders, including the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which is seeking to improve relations with neighbouring Egypt, condemned the attack.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in a statement called the shooting “an ugly crime,” of which “the enemies of Egypt” were the only beneficiaries.
The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old centre of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilise the country.

Targeting of Coptic Christians continues

The Coptic church said it had received news of the killing of its “martyrs” with pain and sorrow.
Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, have been the subject of a series of deadly attacks in recent months.
About 70 have been killed in bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta since December.
Those attacks were claimed by Islamic State.

Reuters/AP


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Taken from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-26/gunmen-kill-26-coptic-christians-in-egypt/8564934

Pope Francis arrives in Egypt on historic visit

A man rides a bicycle past a billboard with an image of Pope Francis April 26 ahead of the pontiff's April 28-29 visit to Cairo. (CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)

Catholic pontiff’s two-day visit is aimed at fostering peace between the Muslim and Christian-minority community.

28 Apr 2017 16:04 GMT

Pope Francis said violence cannot be committed in the name of God, in a speech at a Muslim-Christian conference in Egypt.
The 80-year-old touched down at Cairo airport on Friday before he was ushered in a car to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Francis is in Egypt on a 27-hour visit to push for dialogue with Muslims and support the country’s embattled Christian minority that has suffered a series of attacks.
“Peace alone … is holy and no act of violence can be perpetrated in the name of God, for it would profane his name,” the Catholic pontiff said.

Pope Francis stands next to Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar [Andreas Solaro/AFP]
Pope Francis stands next to Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar [Andreas Solaro/AFP]
He also warned against rising populism.
“Demagogic forms of populism are on the rise. These certainly do not help to consolidate peace and stability,” he told the conference, organised by al-Azhar, the world’s foremost Sunni Islamic centre of learning.
“It is essential that we spare no effort in eliminating situations of poverty and exploitation, where extremism more easily takes root, and in blocking the flow of money and weapons destined to those who provoke violence.”
Acts that do not promote peace are “a gift to the proponents of radicalism and violence”, the pope said.
Amid high security, the pontiff is meeting with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Imam of the government-run Al-Azhar mosque and an Islamic philosophy professor, before meeting with Sisi and Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church.
Egypt has been under a state of emergency since two bombings in Coptic churches earlier this month that killed 45 people.
All of the country’s churches have been placed under additional protection because of the risk of another assault timed to coincide with Francis being in the country.
The most recent attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, which has warned of further attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christians and on the Vatican.
Armoured cars have been stationed in front of the presidential palace and security men have been posted every hundred yards along a 20km stretch between the airport and central Cairo.
The Pope is also going to meet Coptic Pope Tawadros II.
Egypt’s Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s population of 92 million, are the Middle East’s largest Christian minority and one of the oldest.
The two men are due to walk together to the Coptic church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the heart of Cairo, which was hit by a bomb attack in December claimed by ISIL that killed 29 people.
The attack was the deadliest targeting the Coptic community since the 2011 suicide bombing that killed 23 people in Alexandria.

On Saturday, the pontiff will preside over a mass for the country’s small Catholic community, estimated to number around 272,000 spread across various rites.
Egypt has seen a wave of attacks against Christians since 2013, when the military led by Sisi overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.
For decades, Christians have complained of discrimination, saying they are denied top jobs in many fields, including academia and the security forces.
They have also accused the security forces of failing to do enough to protect them from “religious extremists”, a complaint that has persisted under Sisi’s rule.

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Taken from: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/pope-francis-arrives-egypt-historic-day-visit-170428113013811.html

Pope Francis goes to Egypt as a “messenger of peace”

Egyptian Coptic Christians protest attacks on Christians and churches, in front of the state television building in Cairo.

April 25, 2017

Pope Francis said he wants his visit to Egypt “to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world” in a video message to the Egyptian people released on Tuesday ahead of his April 28-29 visit to the country.

Pope Francis goes to Egypt as a “messenger of peace”

An altar boy holds a candle during a service at Saint Cyrill Greek Catholic Church, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt this week. (Credit: Amr Nabil/AP.)

ROME — Pope Francis has sent a video message to the people of Egypt ahead of this weekend’s two day visit to the country, saying he hopes his trip “will make a fruitful contribution to interreligious dialogue with the followers of Islam and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church.”

On Friday, April 28, the pope will participate in an international peace conference taking place at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which is the most prominent institution in the Sunni world.

Francis will join Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, and Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the worldwide Orthodox Communion (which does not include the Coptic Church), to present a united Christian front at the meeting, which Al-Azhar said was called to encourage “respect instead of rejecting each other, to live in peace instead of fighting, and to tolerate instead of being fanatical.”

On Saturday, April 29, Francis will celebrate Mass for the local Catholic community before flying home to Rome in the late afternoon.

In his video message, released on Tuesday, the pope said he was coming as “a friend, as a messenger of peace, and a pilgrim” to Egypt.

He noted Egypt was  “the land where Patriarchs and Prophets lived, and where God, Benevolent and Merciful, the Almighty and One God, made his voice heard,” and was the place which “gave refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family as they fled the threats of King Herod.

“I would like this visit to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place,” Francis said. “I would also hope that my visit will make a fruitful contribution to interreligious dialogue with the followers of Islam and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church.”

Francis also referenced a spate of violence which has left dozens of people dead over the past weeks in Egypt, including twin bombings at two churches in Tanta and Alexandria, which left at least 45 people dead.

Egyptian police later arrested 13 people who were planning attacks against Christians and public institutions in the country.

“Our world is torn by blind violence, a violence that has also struck the heart of your beloved land,” the pontiff said in his video message.

“Our world needs peace, love and mercy,” Francis continued, “it needs peacemakers, people who are free and who set others free, men and women of courage who can learn from the past in order to build the future, free of every form of prejudice.  Our world needs people who can build bridges of peace, dialogue, fraternity, justice and humanity.”

Pope Francis will show his solidarity with the victims of anti-Christian violence on Friday, when he and Tawadros will visit the church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which had been bombed during a  Mass in December 2016, leaving 24 people dead and dozens of others injured.

The Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, on Monday said that although heavy security is the “new normal,” Francis will not use an armored car during his visit to Egypt.

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Taken from: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/04/25/pope-francis-goes-egypt-messenger-peace/