TODD STARNES Franklin Graham: Christians martyred, Obama silent

Barack Obama is a “mystery,” the evangelist tells Todd Starnes. “I don’t understand the president,” he continues. “Christians were martyred [in Oregon] …. We’re seeing it not only in the Middle East but we’re beginning to see it in the United States – and the president is silent.”

The complete story can be read here.

Christians wonder: Why won’t President Obama acknowledge Christian persecution in light of Oregon shooting?

Christians wonder: Why won’t President Obama acknowledge Christian persecution in light of Oregon shooting?

Reuters
US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the shootings in Oregon from the White House in Washington on Oct. 1, 2015.

The Christian community is wondering why US President Barack Obama—nearly a week after the massacre at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon—still has not acknowledged that the nine individuals gunned down by the lone assailant were Christians targeted because of their faith.

On Oct. 1, a gunman entered a classroom and started firing shots. The survivors recalled that the killer, who was reportedly a student in the class, first asked his fellow students one at a time if they were Christians. Those who answered “yes” were reportedly shot in the head, killing them instantly, while those who answered “no” or offered no answer were shot in the legs, leaving them wounded but still alive.

The Christian community is wondering if Obama would have responded differently if homosexuals or Muslims were the targets of that attack instead of Christians, according to Charisma News.

Christian community leaders have been calling on government leaders, particularly Obama, to publicly condemn the brutal act. But so far, there is only silence.

It is in this light that Christian activists will be laying “I Am Christian” signs outside the White House at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“Any person singled out to be executed because of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or ANY other factor should be unequivocally condemned by our leaders and institutions. That is why it is so troubling that President Obama and the establishment press have been virtually silent on Christians being singled out for execution during the mass shooting in Oregon,” said Reverend Patrick Mahoney, Pastor of the Church on the Hill and Director of Church on the Hill in Washington, D.C.

“It is difficult to believe that several days after the shooting, with the facts fully known, the White House has not addressed and condemned this targeting of Christians for execution because of their faith,” he further said. “The Christian community is left to wonder what the response of President Obama would have been if a person had been asked if they were gay or Muslim and then shot in the head. Our sense is, if President Obama could call Michael Sam and Jason Collins and publicly congratulate them for being openly gay and professional athletes then he should at least publicly condemn the violent targeting of Christians for execution.”

‘Every 5 Minutes a Christian Is Martyred for Their Faith,’

 Persecution Watchdog Group Warns

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
September 16, 2015|8:08 am
Egyptian Coptic Christian (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)

Christians attend Sunday service in the Virgin Mary Church at Samalout Diocese in Al-Our village, in Minya governorate, south of Cairo, May 3, 2015. Copts have long complained of discrimination under successive Egyptian leaders and Sisi’s actions suggested he would deliver on promises of being an inclusive president who could unite the country after years of political turmoil. However, striking out at extremists abroad might prove easier than reining in radicals at home. Orthodox Copts, the Middle East’s biggest Christian community, are a test of Sisi’s commitment to tolerance, a theme he often stresses in calling for an ideological assault on Islamist militants threatening Egypt’s security.

A persecution watchdog group is warning believers that statistics suggest a Christian is martyred for their faith every five minutes somewhere around the world.

As part of this year’s International Day of Prayer, which falls on Nov. 8, Christian Freedom International is encouraging all Christian churches to join them in praying for the safety of those who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

“I encourage you to pray for Persecuted Believers,” CFI president Jim Jacobson said in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday.

“They are your Christian family throughout the world. Pray for their safety; that they would be emboldened to continue sharing the Gospel even in the face of persecution; that their persecutors would also come to know Christ as they observe the courageous witness of these believers.”

CFI is preparing for the prayer event by offering a free resource kit for churches, which includes posters and bulletin inserts, Sunday school curriculum suggestions, Bible verses speaking about persecution, and other materials.

A number of persecution watchdog groups and activists have used the estimate that a Christian is martyred for their faith every five minutes, including sociologist Massimo Introvigne of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Introvigne said back in June 2011 that every year at least 105,000 people are killed simply because of their faith as Christians — though that number is likely to have grown in the past year with the rise of the Islamic State terror group.

“If these numbers are not cried out to the world, if this slaughter is not stopped, if it is not acknowledged that the persecution of Christians is the first worldwide emergency in the matter of violence and religious discrimination, the dialogue between religions will only produce beautiful conferences but no concrete results,” he said in 2011 at a conference on Christian-Jewish-Muslim interfaith dialogue, according to Zenit.org.

Similar statistics from Caritas Italiana, a charity helping persecuted Christians throughout the world, notes that there are as many as 100 million followers of Christ, along with other religious minorities, who are being targeted for their beliefs.

Beside the widespread persecution throughout the Middle East and Africa, somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians are also being held in detention camps in North Korea, where Christianity is illegal, the charity said.

Persecution watchdog group Open Doors CEO and President David Curry told CP back in October 2014 that it is important for Christians to prepare for and get together on the annual International Day of Prayer.

“I think it’s important considering all that has happened in the last year, from Iraq to Syria, to the issues of persecution in North Korea; that we have a time here in America to come together and pray as one body of believers for the people who are part of our family, who are persecuted.”

Is Putin’s Next Step to Intervene in Iraq?

Syndicated News
Is Putin’s Next Step to Intervene in Iraq?
By Rob Garver

Russian officials on Tuesday agreed to restart meetings with the U.S. military in an effort to establish a system that will prevent the two countries’ forces currently fighting in Syria from coming into accidental conflict.

However, the comments of a top Russian political figure, made during a trip to Jordan on Tuesday, suggest that establishing lines of communication between U.S. forces in the area fighting ISIS and Russian forces apparently supporting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad may not be enough.

The Kremlin has, in the past week, made several suggestive comments about its willingness to extend its involvement in the Middle East beyond Syrian and into Iraq. On Tuesday, the speaker of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko became the latest to suggest Russia might intervene in Iraq as well.

“In case of an official address from Iraq to the Russian Federation, the leaders of our country would study the political and military expediency of our Air Force’s participation in an air operation. Presently we have not received such an address,” Matviyenko said Tuesday, according to the government-run TASS news agency.

“I want to emphasize that Russia has no other political objectives and no interests other than the defeat of ISIS and that differs us from other nations that participate in another coalition.”

Matviyenko’s comment was not precisely true, as Iraqi officials have publicly said that they would welcome Russian involvement in the fight against ISIS, which could put the Kremlin officials in a bit of a bind if they decide that opening a second front in a new war is more than they want to take on at present.

Her comments Tuesday weren’t the only discordant note struck by Russian politicians on the topic of Syria recently. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in particular, has insisted that the objective of Russian forces in Syria is to fight ISIS — even as multiple sources have reported that the target of most of Russia’s attacks has been rebels fighting Assad rather than ISIS fighters.

In addition, it was only Monday when Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, of the Russian parliament’s Defense Committee, said that Russian volunteers would likely be fighting in Syria soon. In an article covering Komoyedov’s remarks, state-controlled media even noted the pay being offered Russians willing to fight for Assad — the equivalent of $50 a day.

On Tuesday, though, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the idea that Russian volunteers might be fighting in Syria was wrong.

“There is no information on that matter. I can repeat it officially once again: there are no official campaigns on participation in ground operations,” she said, according to Russian news media. “No one officially recruits any volunteers. I think it is just about somebody saying something in improper terms or somebody misinterpreting something.”

She continued, “Of course, there are a lot of public figures, politicians and lawmakers in Russia who have their own opinion and who have the right to express it. We provide comments on our official position and it has just one interpretation: there are no and can be no ground operations, there are no and can be no land troops. And the Russia leaders have said it officially.”

What sounds like a definitive statement that Russia will not commit ground troops to Syria was, however, directly challenged by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

“So we have seen a substantial military buildup by Russia in Syria, both in the air with the combat planes and air defense systems, but also an increasing number of ground troops,” he said. “In addition to that, they have deployed naval assets, a large number of naval assets close to the Syrian shores. And they continue to do so.”

More than a few foreign policy analysts have suggested that Putin doesn’t actually have much of a long-term plan in the Middle East and that he’s making things up as he goes along. The conflicting messages coming out of the Kremlin and Parliament suggest that might actually be the case.