Thursday, September 21, 2017

Joel Osteen Opens Church to Jews for Holy Days; Atones for His Delays in Housing Harvey Victims

Joel and Victoria Osteen, popular televangelists and leaders of  Houston, Texas' Lakewood Church, are offering that Hebrew "happy new year" greeting to a displaced Jewish congregation, the Religion News website reports today (September 21, 2017).

"Congregation Beth Yeshurun experienced devastating flooding," the church's website announced.

It added, "This came at an especially bad time for Beth Yeshurun as the Jewish High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) are this week... Pastors Joel and Victoria offered to help."

The Osteens came under fire recently when they failed to open their church to many people with flooded homes during the first few days of hurricane Harvey. They did open their 16,800-seat church as a shelter a few days later, and described the delayed opening as a "mix-up."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pax Christi:Time for Israeli Occupation to End; Israel Must Return Seized Land to Palestinians

The World Week for Peace for Palestine and Israel is underway, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (September 20, 2017).

Pax Christi (Peace of Christ) International issued the following statement this summer: "In this month [June] of the commemoration of 50 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, Pax Christi International in collaboration with its members urges the international community to call for the immediate end of the 50-year Israeli occupation and for the parties to reengage in a peace process in compliance with international law.

"Beginning with the Six-Day War, 5-10 June, 1967, five decades of military occupation in disregard of international laws and U.N. resolutions and the willful expansion of settlements has led to dire conditions on the ground that systematically violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.

"Pax Christi International calls for governments, civil society and all people of good will to exercise their influence, through any means available -- political, economic, public and private advocacy -- to seek an end to the occupation."

Iraqi Kurds to Vote for an Ind. State on Sept. 25; Angry Turkey Says Kurdish State Can Cause War

Turkey today (September 20, 2017) escalated its opposition to a Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq by placing tanks and rocket launchers across its southern border and saying the break-up of its neighbor could lead to global conflict, according to the Yahoo News website.

Defense Minister Nurettin Caniki said in Ankara that the September 25 vote in Iraq posed a major risk and Turkey would take "every step" needed to thwart any similar steps in its mainly Kurdish southeast.

Iraqi Kurdish authorities have defied growing international pressure to call off the vote.

Kurds in northern Syria -- like those in Iraq -- have capitalized on the turmoil in both countries to consolidate a degree of autonomy. The U.S. has supported Kurdish fighters with military equipment and troop advisers in battling the Islamic State (IS) terror group, despite Turkish protests.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pope Praises First Ever Multi-Rel. Marathon; Jews,Muslims,Others Run in Rome for Unity

Pope Francis has praised the first ever "multi-religious" half-marathon which saw nuns, refugees, and others run through Rome and was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Christian Today website reports today (September 19, 2017).

"I hope that this cultural and athletic initiative fosters dialogue, coexistence, and peace," the pope said.

Some 2,000 people took part in the race and its 13-mile course.

Around 200 members of Rome's grand mosque participated, as well as members of the Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Bahai communities.

Trump to UN: US Is Ready to Destroy N. Korea; May Need to Destroy It to Defend US and Allies

President Donald Trump's first address to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday made it very clear that the US may soon need to destroy North Korea, the UPI website reports today (September 19, 2017).

"If the United States is forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," he said.

He added that North Korea's nuclear program "threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life," as a result of its nuclear weapons program.

He also said he believes that "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un is "on a suicide mission."

Monday, September 18, 2017

US Sending Over 3,000 Troops to Afghanistan; Will Have Over 14K Troops in Its Longest War

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today (September 18, 2017) that the U.S. is sending another 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, an increase of over 25 percent in the number of American forces there, according to the VOA News website.

Mattis told reporters today at the Pentagon that the boost in U.S. troop strength would be "over 3,000," but he declined to name a specific number.

"Most of them are on their way or under orders now," Mattis said, "and I'd prefer not to give any more information that helps the enemy."

The new deployment will raise the number of U.S. forces in the South Asian country to more than 14,000, as the 16th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan -- sparked by the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States -- approaches in America's longest war ever.

Study: Rel. Liberty Attacks Up by 133% in 5 Yrs.; Rel. Attacks Surging in All Areas of Society in US

Attacks on religious liberty have increased by 133 percent in the last five years, according to a new report by the First Liberty Institute, the Christian Headlines website reports today (September 18, 2017).

The First Liberty Institute -- a conservative legal group -- said in its annual report, "the total number of documented incidents in this report increased by over 15 percent over the past year and now includes more than 1,400 religious liberty incidents.

In 2011, the group reported that there were 600 cases of attacks on religious liberty.

"It's school cases, it's military cases, it's open public places cases, employment cases. Unfortunately, it is not [just] one particular area [of society], it's across the board," said First Liberty CEO and Chief Counsel Kelly Shackelford.