Saturday, September 30, 2017

Swiss Solons Vote to Ban Foreign-Paid Mosques; Saudi Arabia Finances Fanatical Islam in Europe

The Swiss National Council, the parliament's lower house, has voted in favor of banning the financing of mosques from abroad, as well as forcing mosques to use local languages instead of Arabic or other foreign tongues, the Breitbart website reports today (September 30, 2017).

If the law passes the Senate, mosques will need to declare who they are backed by, as well as preach in one of Switzerland's major languages; namely, German, French, Italian, or Romansch.

The vote took place on September 26, with 94 members of parliament voting in favor, and 89 opposed.

Saudi Arabia is well known for funding the spread of its radical Wahhabist interpretation of Islam in Europe, which many believe could lead Muslims to perform terrorist attacks.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Judge:Cross on County Seal Is Unconstitutional; Orders Cross on Penn. County Seal Be Removed

A federal judge has ruled that a Pennsylvania county seal is unconstitutional for including a cross, handing a legal victory to a Wisconsin-based atheist organization, the Christian Post website reports today (September 29, 2017).

U.S. District Judge Edward Smith made the decision yesterday against Lehigh County's seal.

In August 2016, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) -- which is based in Wisconsin -- filed a lawsuit in behalf of several local residents against Lehigh County over its seal, because it includes a displayed Latin cross.

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor praised the court's decision, stating, "This welcome ruling should settle the matter and get the seal redesigned to be inclusive, to ensure that it does not continue to send a message that only Christian citizens are represented or welcome."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Construction Begins on Trump's Border Wall; Begins in San Diego Where Ground Is Dug Up

Homeland Security revealed it began construction on September 26 on the prototypes for President Trump's new border wall, the Washington Times website reports today (September 28, 2017).

In a short notice, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the building began in San Diego, California on eight prototypes.

The agency released a video showing equipment being unloaded and the ground being dug out at the site.

The prototypes are designed to test new approaches, materials, strategies, and technology, as Homeland Security pushes forward with Trump's goal of preventing terrorists from entering the country by building a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Yom Kippur Service to Be Held in Beer Garden; Orth.Rabbi Says Yom Kippur Needs Shaking Up

Yom Kippur -- the most solemn day of the Jewish year -- is going to be observed in a beer garden on September 30 by more than 100 Washington, D.C. area Jews, the Religion News website reports today (September 28, 2017).

Aaron Potek, an Orthodox rabbi of a 20- and 30-somethings Jewish group called GatherDC, thinks it's a fitting setting for a Yom Kippur service. Despite the fact that Orthodox Judaism is the strictest of the three major Jewish denominations -- Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism -- Potek, as an Orthodox rabbi, has no qualms on conducting  his Yom Kippur service in a beer garden.

For about two hours on Yom Kippur morning Saturday (September 30), Potek and former first lady Michelle Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz will co-host an "alternative Yom Kippur" service at Sauf Haus Bier Hall and Garten in Washington's hip Dupont Circle neighborhood.

The GatherDC service -- for which at least 110 people have already paid the $18 ticket fee -- is designed to shake things up, because fasting and prayer have been overemphasized on Yom Kippur, said Potek.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Taliban Tries to Kill Mattis during Afghan Visit; Fires Missiles to Hit His Plane at Kabul Airport

The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack at Kabul International Airport today (September 27, 2017) targeting the plane of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was making an unscheduled visit to Afghanistan, according to the Daily Caller website.

Mattis had left the airport by the time the attack started, and no casualties have been reported.

The airport said two missiles were fired toward the airport at around 11:00 a.m. local time.

Two unidentified Taliban commanders claimed informers in Afghanistan's security apparatus tipped them off to Mattis's unannounced visit.

Erdogan Warns Israel on Supporting Kurd Ind.; Turkey Pres.Says Support Mars Diplomatic Ties

Following a referendum vote in Iraq in which 92 percent of the voters called for an independent Kurdish state, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel should "review" its support for Iraqi Kurdish independence, the Times of Israel website reports today (September 27, 2017).

Warning Israel that its support for an Iraqi Kurdish state could negatively affect diplomatic relations between Ankara and Jerusalem, Erdogan indicated that Israel's failure to end its support would sabotage prospective agreements between Turkey and Israel.

Some Turkish nationalists have claimed the Kurdish independence vote is meant to create a "second Israel."

Also, Turkish media has claimed that Israel was planning to repatriate Israeli Jews of Kurdistan origin to Kurdistan after the referendum.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Iraqi Kurds Vote "Yes" to Set Up an Ind. State; Some 92% of Voters Seek a Kurd State in Iraq

The leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, told international reporters late today (September 26, 2017) that the referendum on independence from Iraq yielded a "yes" vote of nearly 92 percent, according to the Jewish Press website.

More than three million eligible voters from the three provinces that comprise the KRG voted in the referendum, as did millions of other Kurds from disputed areas around Iraq, including the oil-rich city of Kirkurk.

The Baghdad government fought hard against the referendum -- which is non-binding -- as did neighboring Turkey and Iran.

Following the referendum vote, Barzani urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to move ahead with talks on how to peacefully implement the process to set up a Kurdistan state.

Saudi Arabia Lets Women Have Driver's License; King Salman's Decree to Grant Women Licenses

Saudi Arabia's Kong Salman today (September 26, 2017) issued a historic royal decree granting driving licenses for women in the kingdom as of next June, according to the Al Arabiya website.

"This is a great victory for many Saudi women. This was the one file and issue which Saudi women have fought not just for years but decades for..." Latifa Shaalan, a Saudi female member of  Saudi Arabia's Shoura Council told Al Arabiya.

Currently, there are some 800,000 men -- mostly from South Asia -- who work solely as drivers to Saudi women, who are not allowed to drive motor vehicles.

Many Saudi families are not able to afford paying a driver a monthly salary. The new royal decree will help ease this financial burden.

Arab Gunman Kills 3 Israeli Security Officers; Occurred at Har Adar Colony, Gunman Killed

A border police officer and two Israeli security guards were killed and another man seriously injured today (September 26, 2017) in a terror attack at the entrance to a settlement near Jerusalem, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

The shooting took place this morning as the security officers were opening the back entrance of the Har Adar settlement to Palestinian workers.

Israeli police identified the injured man as the community security officer for Har Adar.

The gunman was identified by the Israeli Security Agency as Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, 37. He was shot and killed by Israeli security forces.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Vermont Teacher Fired for Teaching Nazi Salute; Elementary School Kids Did "Heil Hitler" Salute

A Vermont substitute teacher was fired after she taught children how to make the Nazi salute, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (September 25, 2017).

Ned Kirsch, the school superintendent of the Georgia Elementary School in Georgia, Vermont, said the teacher was fired after admitting she taught the students the "Heil Hitler" salute.

The teacher has substituted for several years.

A guidance counselor will visit the children in the classroom to talk to the students and make sure they feel safe, according to a report.

Trump's New Travel Ban Is Set to Begin Oct.18; Adds N. Korea, Venezuela, Chad; Drops Sudan

President Donald Trump today (September 25, 2017) ordered a revised travel ban which adds three countries -- North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad -- and removes one from the list first introduced months ago, according to the UPI website.

Sudan was dropped from the list, and the end of its restrictions is effective immediately.

The new restrictions on Chad and North Korea ban all citizens from those countries. Restrictions against Venezuela apply only to government officials and their immediate families.

Enforcement of the changes is scheduled to begin October 18, 2017. Trump may have added North Korea and Venezuela -- countries that are not primarily Islamic -- to the travel ban, in order to make it more difficult to prove in the courts that the travel ban is anti-Muslim and therefore is unconstitutional.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Conservative Catholics Accuse Pope of Heresy; Say His "Joy of Love" Document Backs Heresy

More than 60 Roman Catholic theologians, priests, and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy after the pontiff opened the door last year to allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, the Fox News website reports today (September 24, 2017).

In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month, the 62 signatories issued a "filial correction" to the pope -- a measure they said had not been used since the 14th century.

The letter accused Pope Francis of propagating seven heretical positions concerning marriage, moral life, and sacraments with his 2016 document titled "The Joy of Love" and subsequent "acts, words, and omissions."

Pope Francis has not responded to the accusation.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Erdogan Protesters Beaten during NY Speech; Many Shouted "Terrorist" at Turkey's Dictator

Violence erupted at a New York hotel after protesters heckled a speech by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with chants of "terrorist," the Yahoo News website reports today (September 23, 2017).

"You're a terrorist, get out of my country," one protester shouted at Erdogan before he was punched and dragged away. Erdogan is viewed as a dictator who has ended freedom of the press in Turkey and has jailed thousands of his opponents without a trial.

In New York City to attend United Nations meetings, Erdogan was addressing supporters in Turkish at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square when he was interrupted by several demonstrators.

It is not clear if the men in suits doing the pushing and punching were pro-Erdogan attendees or his bodyguards.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Half Million Gather in Ukraine to Praise Jesus; Glorify God,Observe 500th Anniv.of Reformation

The streets of Kiev, Ukraine today became filled with songs of praise and thanks, as some 500,000 evangelical Christians gathered to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, according to the Worthy News website.

"Many traveled from all four provinces there just to be part of the celebration, to thank God for the freedom of worship, to thank God for the freedom to preach the Gospel in the country, and to celebrate God's faithfulness," Sergey Rakhuba with Mission Eurasia said.

The gathering came after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed an order recognizing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Protestant Reformation began in 1517, and was sparked by Catholic cleric Martin Luther's criticism of the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church, in order to hasten the time a deceased loved one would enter heaven.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Russia Warns US on Attacking Syrian Troops; Attacks to Be Met by Ruining US Firing Areas

Russia today (September 21, 2017) issued a stern warning to U.S. forces and their allies in Syria, saying it has deployed Russian special forces alongside Syrian government troops in the battle for the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province and that Moscow would retaliate if the Russians come under fire, according to the Yahoo News website.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have already shelled Syrian government positions outside of Deir el-Zour twice in recent days.

This Russian threat raises the specter of a direct confrontation on the ground between Russian forces and pro-Syrian troops they back on one side, and the U.S.-supported Kurdish-led Syrian forces on the other.

Russian Defense Minister spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, "Attempts to open fire from SDF-controlled areas would be immediately met with retaliation. The firing positions in those areas will be immediately destroyed with all the arsenal at our disposal."

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

In an expression of atonement for an unnecessary delay in opening their Texas church to hurricane flood victims recently, Joel and Victoria Osteen, popular televangelists and leaders of  Houston's 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 -- for no valid reason --  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.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Northeastern Univ.,Hillel International in Feud; NU Branch,International Hdqtrs. in Power Fight

As board chairman of the Northeastern University Hillel, Sheldon Goldman is witnessing what he terms an administrative "inquisition" by Hillel International against his chapter, programs, and staff, the Jewish Press website reports today (September 17, 2017).

Northeastern relations with Hillel International began deteriorating, says Goldman, after Northeastern's Hillel Israel Fellow, who was slated to receive a prestigious award at the Hillel International General Assembly held in Orlando, Florida in December 2016, saw the honor mysteriously withdrawn.

Goldman's replacement of the Israel Fellow with a well-qualified individual was not approved by Hillel International, and without a valid reason.

The nearly year-long conflagration conflict between Hillel International and its Northeastern University chapter continues today, with no sign of a rapprochement.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tunisia Lets Muslim Women Marry Non-Muslims; Spouse Is No Longer Required to Convert to Islam

Tunisia has abolished a decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the Times of Israel website reports today (September 16, 2017).

The announcement comes a month after President Beji Caid Essebsi called for the government to scrap the ban that began in 1973.

Until now, a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.

Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women's rights, but still discriminates against women -- especially in matters of inheritance.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Some 2500 Christians Revere Return to Nineveh; IS Defeated, Christians Chant Hymns in Aramaic

About 500 Christian families -- up to 2,500 people -- celebrated their long-awaited homecoming to Iraq's Nineveh Plains with ceremonies marking a fresh start in their old towns and villages, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (September 15, 2017).

In Qaraqosh, the largest of Nineveh's Christian towns, priests and others holding olive branches processed through the streets chanting hymns in Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

Protected by security personnel in armored vehicles, the procession was headed by priests holding crucifixes.

A service was held at the Immaculate Conception Syriac Catholic Church in the town center in a building desecrated and burnt by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Bomb Explodes in London Train, 22 Injured; Police Investigating Incident as Terror Attack

At least 22 people were injured today (September 15, 2017) after a bomb exploded in a West London Underground station during rush hour, causing a fire inside a train and a stampede of panicking commuters, according to the Huffington Post website.

The blast at the Parsons Green Tube stop was caused by an improvised explosive device, Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said. Police said they were investigating the incident as terrorism. No arrests have been made.

London residents shared photos of the area, with one post showing a bag on fire inside a train car. Several witnesses reported seeing injuries, and a Metro reporter said some people were badly burned.

A BBC journalist said she saw a woman taken in an ambulance with burns "top to toe."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Latin Mass Fans Celebrate 10th Anniv. in Rome; Pope Away,Says 1960s Vernacular Reforms Rule

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome today (September 14, 2017) for their annual pilgrimage facing indifference to their cause -- if not outright resistance -- from none other than Pope Francis, according to the America Magazine website.

Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of the Latin Mass, Francis seems to be doing everything possible to roll that back or simply pretend it never happened.

In recent weeks, he has affirmed with "magisterial authority" that the reforms of the 1960s allowing for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin were "irreversible."

More recently, he gave local bishops conferences authority to oversee those translations, rather than the Vatican.

Boko Haram Frees 100 Kidnapped Chibok Girls; Kidnapped 270 in 2014,Most Became Sex Slaves

More than 100 high school girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram Islamist militants are finally preparing to return home to the northern Nigerian town of Chibok, the Euro News website reports today (September 14, 2017).

The women have been staying at a government-owned facility in the capital of Abuja where they have been undergoing psychological and medical care.

Some 270 girls were abducted in 2014 by the Islamist group -- which used most of them as sex slaves -- but 82 were freed in May this year after mediation with the Nigerian government, adding to 24 who were released or escaped last year.

The Boko Haram militant group has killed more than 15,000 people and displaced at least two million others in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

IS Calls on Jihadis to Join Group in Philippines; Asks Terrorists to Fight for Caliphate in Marawi

A recent Islamic State (IS) video calls on would-be jihadis to join the terrorist group in the Philippines, rather than its crippled core caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the Daily Caller website reveals today (September 13, 2017).

The video specifically instructs any would-be travelers in the Asia-Pacific region to go to the Philippines instead of trying to travel to the core caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

"Come forth to the land of jihad. Perform hijrah. Come forth to ... Marawi," a militant instructs in the video.

IS fighters remain besieged in the southern Filipino city of Marawi, where they have mounted a months-long surprisingly robust insurgency. The IS terror group also has active affiliates in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya, each of which commands the loyalty of hundreds, if not thousands, of fighters.

Court: Trump Can Bar Muslim Nation Refugees; Will Hear Arguments against Trump Ban Oct. 10

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed with the Trump administration and issued an order effectively allowing the White House to bar about 24,000 refugees from entering the U.S., The Daily Beast website reports today (September 13, 2017).

The court granted a request to put on hold an earlier federal appeals court ruling that prevented the White House from applying President Trump's travel order to several thousand refugees who already signed contracts with resettlement agencies.

The travel ban -- which has sparked several lawsuits as it attempts to prevent Muslim terrorists from migrating to the U.S. -- imposed a 90-day ban on people entering the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim countries and a 120-day ban on refugees.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments against the ban on October 10.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sweden Cops OK Neo-Nazi March by Synagogue; March Is Scheduled for Same Day as Yom Kippur

Sweden's main organization for Jews is appealing a police decision to grant the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) permission to stage a march near a synagogue in Gothenburg on September 30, according to the Christian Today website.

The march is set to fall on the same day as the major holy Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

"It's the day of the year when many Jews who normally don't go to the synagogue will gather there," Jewish leaders wrote in an opinion piece in the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

They added, "Aside from our fear for our own security, it evokes uncomfortable associations for us Jews."

Female Educated Americans Tend to Heed Rel.; 70 Percent of American Adults Remain Christian

Educated, female Americans are more likely to identify with religion, according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), which sampled more than 101,000 U.S. adults between January 2016 and January 2017, the Mercator Net website reports today (September 12, 2017).

The findings show that overall Christianity still dominates the country's religious landscape, with about 70 percent of American adults identifying as Christian.

However, white Christians -- once predominant -- now comprise only 43 percent of the population.

Also, there is now an increased Latino presence within the Catholic Church, especially among the young (52 percent of Catholics under 30 are Hispanic).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pope: Man Is Stupid to Deny Climate Change; "When You Don't Want to See, You Don't See"

Pope Francis said yesterday that climate change denials amid catastrophic hurricanes are a reminder that humans are not a particularly smart species, the Huffington Post website reports today (September 11, 2017).

"Man is stupid," he said, referring to a passage in the Old Testament. "When you don't want to see, you don't see."

The pope added that the scientific community has been "clear and precise" in linking human activities to the ongoing crisis and that "each [person] has a moral responsibility, bigger or smaller."

Pope Francis' comments came during a flight from Colombia to Rome, which passed over areas of the Caribbean Sea left devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Tufts Students: Israel a White Supremacist State; Print Guide Saying Hillel Lacks Campus Diversity

An alternative students' guide published by student activists at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts labels Israel a white supremacist state, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (September 11, 2017).

The so-called "disorientation guide" also reduced the university's Hillel to a "Zionist" organization that offers nothing of value to the private campus's diversity or culture.

The guide also takes at face value complaints from an African-American organization that a Hillel-sponsored event about gun control was meant to "exploit" black people "for their own pro-Israel agenda."

The conflation of "Jewish" and "Zionist" is not a new phenomenon on the left, although the guide was a pretty stark example of an entire minority group on campus being erased or devalued with a few taps of a keyboard by those who purport to stand up for religious and ethnic minorities.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Anti-Semitic Thugs Beat, Rob Family Near Paris; Tell 3 Victims: "You Are Jews, You Have Money"

A Jewish family was beaten, held hostage, and robbed in their home near Paris because of their religion, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (September 10, 2017).

Three attackers burst into the house in the Paris suburb of Livry-Gargan on September 4, beat three members of a Jewish family, and threatened to kill them.

The assailants told the three victims: "You are Jews, you have money. We take money from Jews to give to the poor."

The assailants made off with jewelry, cash, and credit cards.

Hungary PM Hits European Union Court Ruling; Says Hungary to Keep Rejecting Migrant Quotas

Hungary's prime minister said his country will not change its stance on immigration, the Euro News website reports today (September 10, 2017).

Viktor Orban's comments come after the top court of the European Union (EU) dismissed a challenge by Hungary and Slovakia last week against migrant quotas. The EU could fine Hungary heavily -- and take other punitive action against it -- if it fails to abide by the court ruling.

"This court ruling is no reason to change our policy which rejects migration," Orban said.

He added that creating a link between immigration and EU cohesion funding was against EU's rules, and was "immoral."

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Study: US White Christians Fading Fast; Being Replaced by Younger Non-White Races

A new study by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that white Christians in America are giving way to younger members who tend to be of different races, the Religion News website reports today (September 8, 2017).

Also, American evangelicals are quickly losing members.

Americans are also continuing to move away from organized religion, as atheists, agnostics, and those who say they do not identify with any particular religion -- the group known as "nones" -- hold steady at 24 percent of the population.

White Christians -- 81 percent of the U.S. population in 1976 -- now account for only 43 percent of Americans.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Kosovo Names Church for St. Teresa of Calcutta; Church in Pristina Is Called St. Teresa Cathedral

The Catholic cathedral in Kosovo's capital has been consecrated to the saint formerly known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Catholic Herald website reports today (September 7, 2017).

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and religious leaders from Kosovo as well as Albania -- where Mother Teresa was born -- were among the hundreds of people in Pristina who attended a consecration ceremony on September 5 for the landmark, now named St. Teresa Cathedral.

The Italian-style cathedral with two 230-foot towers opened on 2010.

September 5 was the 20th anniversary of Mother Teresa's death. Pope Francis canonized her in 2016.

Pope Urges Colombia Bishops to Unite for Peace; "Christ Is Word of Reconciliation in Your Hearts"

"I have come to proclaim Christ to undertake a journey of peace and reconciliation in His name," Pope Francis said today (September 7, 2017) in a powerful keynote speech to Colombia's 130 bishops, according to the America Magazine website.

The pope knows that the bishops are divided over Colombia's peace process.

He appealed to them to be united so that the church in Colombia can throw its full weight behind peace-building and creating a culture that promotes reconciliation.

He added, "Many people can help with the challenges facing this nation, but your mission is unique. You are not mechanics or politicians but pastors. Christ is the word of reconciliation written on your hearts."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Iowa High Students in KKK Hoods Burn Cross; Five Males Disciplined,Photo Posted on Twitter

Five male students at Creston (Iowa) Community High School have been disciplined after a photo showing the five wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods circulated on the Internet today (September 6, 2017), according to the Omaha website.

The photo -- posted on Twitter and Facebook -- shows the students in front of a burning cross. One of the students is holding a rifle with a scope on it, while another is holding a Confederate flag.

Principal Bill Messerole said the five in the photo are students. He called the issue a "student discipline issue that has been dealt with."

He would not specify how the students were disciplined. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

EU Court Rules Hungary Must Accept Migrants; Hungary Calls Ruling "Appalling, Irresponsible"

The highest court of the European Union (EU) rejected a legal challenge today (September 6, 2017) from Hungary and Slovakia against a mandatory quota to accept migrants from Greece and Italy, according to the Euro News website.

EU leaders agreed to the policy to relocate 160,000 people from the Mediterranean countries back in September 2015 as Europe struggled to find ways to deal with an influx of migrants.

Hungary and Slovakia wanted to have the scheme canceled, but the judges dismissed their argument.

Although the EU court's decision is final, the Hungarian government warned the "real battle" was about to begin. Hungary also called today's ruling "appalling and irresponsible."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Survey Finds Strong Drop in UK Anglicans; More Than Half of UK People Have No Religion

Figures released today (September 5, 2017) reveal that the number of Anglicans in Britain has dropped by 50 percent in less than two decades, according to the Christian Today website.

The British Social Attitudes survey's data on religion show that the number of people in Britain who describe themselves as having no religion at all is at its highest level ever.

More than half, or 53 percent, of the British public now describe themselves as having "no religion."

This is up from 48 percent in 2015.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Study: Anti-Semitism Rising in Poland; Upleap Seen Due to Anti-Migrant Sentiment

A new study reveals that Poland has seen a rise in anti-Semitism over the last two years, the AFP website reports today (September 2, 2017).

The University of Warsaw's Center for Research on Prejudice found acceptance for anti-Semitic hate speech rose significantly from 2014 to 2016 compared to previous years.

Researchers attribute the increase to a spike in Islamophobia and anti-migrant sentiment.

Around 11 percent of adults and 24 percent of younger Poles admitted to making frequent anti-Semitic remarks.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Joel Osteen Has Lost Respect of Most Americans; Rebuke Excuses for Delay in Opening His Church

Being viewed as a coldhearted person by millions of Americans for his lack of brotherly love and empathy required of a pastor in a crisis, Houston's famous megachurch pastor Joel Osteen kept the doors of his church closed during Hurricane Harvey because he was never asked by the city to open its doors, the AOL website reports today (September 1, 2017).

At first, Osteen used the excuse that his 16,500-seat church was closed due to "safety issues" caused by the flooding.

Osteen's excuses for failing to open his church have been rejected by millions of Americans, in view of the fact that scores of other places -- including Islamic mosques -- took immediate action to open their buildings to flood victims.

Osteen did open his church to flood victims three days after Hurricane Harvey began to strike Houston, but most Americans feel that decision was "too little, too late," and now lack the respect they once had for the megachurch pastor.

Pope,Patriarch Appeal for Care of Environment; Issue Joint Message to Heal Wounded Creation

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew "urgently appeal" to all those "in positions of responsibility" in the social, economic, political, and cultural fields "to support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation," the American Magazine website reports today (September 1, 2017).

They do so in a joint message for the third World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, on September 1, in which they urge people to pray for the care of the human and natural environment, which "are deteriorating together" and affecting especially the planet's most vulnerable people, the poor.

The fact that the pope, the leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, and the patriarch, the first among equals in the leadership of the Orthodox Church with its 280 million members, decided to issue a joint message is the clearest indicator that they consider this as an issue of the utmost gravity and importance for humanity today.

They implore these leaders "to hear the cry of the earth" and "to attend to the needs of the marginalized" and "above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation."