MAN BECOMES FIRST TRANSGENDERED STATE REPRESENTATIVE IN U.S.HISTORY
A transgender political candidate has won a seat in Virginia’s legislature, making history for LGBT and left-wing activists and defeating one of the commonwealth’s staunchest social conservative delegates. Incumbent Del. Bob Marshall, a Republican, lost to Democrat Daniel “Danica” Roem, a man who purports to be a woman. Roem will represent Virginia’s 13th district, making him the first-ever transgender state legislator. “This is what happens when the radical transgender lobby pours more than $600,000 into a small state race and conservative donors largely sit the race out. Democrats cruise to victory and claim a mandate on an issue they were too afraid to outwardly campaign on,” said Terry Schilling, Executive Director of American Principles Project.
“Delegate Marshall ran an incredible race and did the best he could, but ultimately, with the news media cheering hard for Danica Roem and the transgender lobby purchasing a small state race for the absurd price of $60 per vote, defeat was inevitable” Schilling said. Political pundits called this the “race of the year.” Marshall had an impressive record of defending life and marriage and the laws protecting them. Roem stressed during his campaign that “it’s time for us to take out those parts of our state code that still make us a regressive place.” Roem won the Democratic primary and launched an aggressive campaign against Marshall, who for 25 years represented Virginia’s 13th district.
As Northern Virginia has become more liberal over the past few years, Marshall has had to fight to keep his seat. Marshall’s Prince William County and Manassas City Park district, usually more conservative than closer-in D.C. suburbs, has also swung more “blue.” Hillary Clinton won Virginia’s 13th district in 2016. Roem campaigned on a platform of transgender sex education for kindergarten children. He released a campaign video about how his “identity shouldn’t be a big deal.” In this ad, Roem takes female sex hormones and puts on makeup while his voiceover says “this is just who I am. There are millions of transgender people and we all deserve representation in government.”
Roem said his election would inspire “LGBTQ kids everywhere knowing they can succeed because of who they are, not despite it.” Marshall is a seasoned social conservative who has defended life, family, and religious freedom in the Virginia legislature. Marshall refused to incorrectly call Roem a “woman” during the campaign, saying, “You can change appearances, but your DNA fixes your bodily structures for your entire life.” Roem legally changed his name from Daniel to “Danica.” Virginia legally classifies him as a woman. Roem fundraised five times as much as Marshall. The national LGBT lobby threw its support behind him. Groups like the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign supported Roem.
Throughout his time in the legislature, Marshall has defended pro-life laws, supported bathroom privacy rather than sexless shared bathrooms in schools, and opposed allowing gender-confused individuals in the military. He proposed an anti-porn resolution declaring pornography a health crisis. Marshall also sponsored a bill that apparently would have forbidden judges in Virginia from applying Islamic Shariah law rather than U.S. law.
ATTEMPT TO STOP CANADIAN CHRISTIANS FROM BEING LAWYERS IF NOT PRO-HOMOSEXUAL
A Christian university in Canada is being told not to go ahead with creating a law school because if they do, the graduates won’t be considered real attorneys due to the school’s Christian standards. Although the case sounds ridiculous to most people, it is going to Canada’s Supreme Court for adjudication. With an enrolment of more than 4,000 students, Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia is Canada’s largest and fastest growing Christian college. For 55 years, they’ve been attracting students from all over the world. In 2012, the university decided it was time to add a law school. But two Canadian law societies objected, arguing that the university’s Christian covenant discriminates against the LGBTQ community and therefore the school’s future law school should be denied accreditation.
University President Bob Khun says those claims are false. “The reality is, gay students and lesbian students have been coming to Trinity. So suggesting that we’re precluding people from having this experience who self-identify as same-sex attracted or gay or lesbian is just not accurate,” Khun said. “Basically, the fight comes down to this, a community covenant that students are required to sign that states they are committed to the person and work of Jesus Christ and that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he explained. The covenant also asks students to refrain from sexual activity outside of traditional marriage. Same-sex advocacy groups claim this means LGBTQ persons, including those who are married, can never be their authentic selves while attending TWU. They say no one should be forced to renounce their dignity and self-respect in order to obtain an education.
Attorney Earl Phillips says the case pits religious freedoms against equal rights. “I think it’s a big important case and it’s really about what kind of society are we going to have in Canada,” said Phillips, the future executive director of the law school. “I’m hoping that the court will say we have a society here that is open to a lot of different ideas,” he said. Some Trinity Western students call the charges of discrimination ridiculous, including Muslim student Haya Fadda of Jordan. Fadda, 24, came to the university specifically for its highly acclaimed linguistics programs. She says she did not face discrimination over her Muslim beliefs, and when they discovered she wasn’t eating the school’s regular chicken, the school took action. “The second week they got me Halal chicken and they started cooking me Halal meals, just for me, just for one person, so actually they care for you. They put your needs first,” Fadda said.
Phillips says the case has implications beyond the Christian community in Canada, as if the University is denied it’s right to have a law school, fundamental freedom has been reduced,” he explained. The school’s slogan this year is “For Such a Time as This,” and many say that’s not a coincidence as the future of the university’s law school is now in the hands of the Canadian Supreme Court. Trinity Western’s law school was originally set to open in 2016, but that date has since been pushed back to the fall of 2018. The university fought nearly the same exact case in 2001 when it had to fight for accreditation for its teachers’ college. The case was argued before the Supreme Court and the school won. However, the Ontario Court of Appeals said that ruling should not be seen as binding in the high court’s current case, as public attitudes have shifted since that time and should also be taken into account as well.
FORMER RADICAL MUSLIM ISSUES URGENT PRAYER FOR IRANIAN PEOPLE
Iranian-American Pastor Reza Safa, a former radical Muslim and founder of the Farsi-language Christian network TBN Nejat Television, has issued an urgent request for Christians to pray for Iran and its people as political unrest rages in the Muslim controlled nation. Since December 28th tens of thousands of Iranian citizens have taken to the streets of the northern city of Mashhad and elsewhere to protest political oppression, with at least 20 individuals killed in violence. Safa, whose TBN affiliate network reaches deep into Iran with the Gospel message, noted that the protests mark the second time in less than ten years the people of Iran have risen up against the nation’s oppressive Islamic government, which first gained control with the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979.
“For the past 39 years the Islamic regime has done nothing but oppress the people of Iran,” said Safa. “The Iranian people are fed up with the government’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism.” The economy is in shambles, with an unemployment rate of 60% in some areas of the country. Safa said young people under 30, who make up more than half of Iran’s population, are particularly affected, which has helped fuel the anger against the government. “In Iran today people have virtually no freedom,” said Safa. “Even the way they dress publicly is controlled by the government. So for the second time since 2009, the people have taken to the streets across Iran to protest against economic hardship and political repression.”
However, there is a major difference this time around. “Today the Gospel is going forward in Iran as never before,” said Safa. “Through Christian Television, the message of salvation is impacting every major population centre in the nation, despite efforts by Iran’s government to stop it. Over past years countless thousands of Iranians have come to faith in Christ, so today Iran is poised for positive change.” Safa emphasized “It is important to think in terms of the Church and salvation of souls when we read historical events and political changes,” he said. “I believe that God is preparing an army of ex-Muslims to evangelize the Islamic world in the days ahead. If this is the time for political change in Iran, our prayers need to be that a proper and right government is established.
EGYPTIAN COPTS FORCED TO CONTINUE LIVING UNDER SIEGE
The Egyptian authorities continue to fail in offering protection to Coptic Christians in Egypt despite the Emergency Laws. Gunman opened fire on the St Mina and St Kirollos Coptic Orthodox Church in Helwan (Cairo) on Friday 29 December 2017. Coptic shop owners in Helwan were also targeted with at least 2 killed. A video posted on Facebook shows one of the gunmen casually roaming the streets of Cairo’s Helwan carefully picking his prey! In total, 12 were killed. The civilian casualties were all Coptic Orthodox Christians at two different locations. It is high time that the Egyptian Government along with the official religious institutions and Egyptian media stop denying the fact that Coptic Christians are not only persecuted but literally living under siege in their own country.
2017 has been the worst year in modern Egyptian history. Unfortunately 2018 looks like being just as bad with two more Coptic Orthodox Christians gunned downed in the Omrania suburb of Giza. A week earlier, hundreds attacked the Coptic Orthodox Church in Atfih, Giza and completely destroyed the church whilst chanting ‘We will bring the church down’. The Government is clearly not doing enough to protect Egypt’s Copts and these attacks will escalate due to the government’s ongoing inaction. The authorities have failed to prosecute those responsible for attacks against Christians elsewhere in Egypt, resorting instead to state-sponsored reconciliation agreements which, at times, have involved the forced eviction of Christian families from their homes.
The Egyptian government must also end the prevailing impunity for attacks against Christians elsewhere around the country and end its reliance on customary reconciliation deals which further fuel a cycle of violence against Coptic Orthodox Christians. Successive Egyptian governments have failed to tackle a longstanding pattern of discrimination against Copts and rising incidences of sectarian violence, by bringing those responsible for sectarian crimes to justice. Instead of prosecuting those behind such violent attacks the Egyptian government continues to rely on state-sponsored reconciliation agreements, which in some cases have involved forcibly evicting Coptic Christians from areas where they are under threat.
Source: Press frelease by the Australian CVoptic Movement
At this moment the television series Hope for Tomorrow can be watched online and is broadcast on satellite TV in the Arab World. The interest in this series is overwhelming. Issues discussed include domestic violence, trafficking of women, child marriage and incest. The episode about incest reached more than nine million people on Facebook. Half of them actually watched the video online. About 75.000 people responded via social media. The stories are based on real life situations, but because of the sensitive nature of the subjects professional actors were used. During the filming the crew, some of them Muslims, were very impressed that this taboo issue is discussed and openly broadcast on Christian TV channels in the Arab World. In the Middle-East the follow-up team of Arab Vision is extremely busy dealing with all the questions.
Farid (a member of the follow-up team) is working extra hours: “We hadn’t expected that this program about incest would trigger such a response. At this moment many women are sending us private messages via Facebook and they share heartbreaking stories with us. We listen and advise and if possible refer them to counsellors and pastoral teams of churches in the various countries of the region. I knew that the subject of incest was taboo in the Arab culture, but that so many people would respond, we are really impressed.” The television series Hope for Tomorrow has been produced by Arab Vision, a community of mainly Arab Christians who proclaim the gospel in the Arab World by producing and distributing TV programs.
THOUSANDS BECOME CHRISTIANS THROUGH THE INTERNET DURING CHRISTMAS
Nearly 4,000 people across the UK accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour during Christmas, through strategically-placed internet messages. Adverts targeting web users who entered terms such as ‘prayer’ into the Google search engine were directed to a website inviting them to make a commitment to Christ. Director of Ministry in the UK for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is behind the PeaceWithGod website, Lee Searle said “There is this fantastic drip-feed of some of these 4,000 getting into church. Let’s pray and make sure they all keep getting in there and actually start to be grown, nurtured and, most importantly discipled.”
‘Prayer for help’, ‘prayer for forgiveness’ and ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ were the most popular searches made by users of the search engine who went on to respond to the adverts. The lead to the PeaceWithGod website also includes a series of videos. Eighty-thousand people in the UK have made professions of faith after using the PeaceWithGod website since it launched in August 2014, while, internationally, the figure stands at eleven million. Explaining how the new believers are supported in their spiritual journey, Mr Searle explained: “As you say ‘I want to give this commitment’, one of our wonderful volunteers will look to put you in touch with a church, and look to provide you with discipleship material.”
JESUS BROUGHT A BLANKET TO IMPRISONED FORMER MUSLIM
A Muslim man named Hamid found Jesus through his brother’s witness. When Hamid heard the Gospel, he accepted Jesus with his mind, but his heart was slow to experience the fullness of God’s love. Timid about his faith, Hamid had no desire to risk sharing his new faith with others. He and his brother began to meet with a Frontiers worker named Dennis, who helped them to grow in their understanding of Jesus. “Dennis challenged each of the men to spend quiet time with the Lord and to listen to what He might say to them through the Word. They had never learned anything like this in Islam, and they were slow to warm up to the spiritual practice,” according to Frontiers.
“For many months, Hamid and the others felt they were hearing nothing from God.” One day, Hamid sat in a park reading the Bible. Police officers spotted him and began to reprimand him, then they hauled him off to jail. Hamid was petrified. “He felt miserable as he lay shivering on the cold, bare floor of the cell. Throughout the night, he slept fitfully,” according to Frontiers. Then something remarkable happened. He had a dream that Jesus approached him in the middle of the night, embraced him, and placed a blanket over him. Hamid awakened the next morning feeling an uncommon sense of peace in the depths of his soul. For the first time in his life, he felt God’s love had touched him personally.
Then he was startled by something that defied all reason. He was covered by a blanket, the same one Jesus put on him in his dream! There was no blanket in the cell when he fell asleep. When the guards found him with the blanket they were stunned and frightened. They released Hamid and he returned home.
The following night, Hamid had another dream. This time, Jesus told him to share the Gospel with the first two people he saw at work the next morning. “In the past, this would have filled Hamid with fear. He had never shared Jesus’ message with anyone before. But that morning he woke up feeling confident that he could do it. He knew he had nothing to lose. His night in prison had shown him that Christ is always with him and His perfect love casts out fear.”
Even if sharing the Good News caused Hamid any further persecution, he believed that the Lord’s personal presence would be more than enough to sustain him. Hamid obeyed the Lord’s command and shared the Gospel and his story with two co-workers, who immediately believed his report. In the following weeks, Hamid began studying the Bible with them and teaching them how to be disciples of Jesus. The experience encouraged Hamid and the other believers. They’ve begun sharing the Gospel more boldly. “Hamid has since started 7 new Bible study groups,” Dennis says. “Nearly 40 men and women have become followers of Christ in the past year.” Through persecution and the miraculous provision of the blanket, the Lord changed Hamid into a bold witness for Christ.