CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT REQUEST PRAYER AFTER SERIES OF ATTACKS
On 20th May several Christian homes were attacked in al-Karam village in Minya province, as a result of a rumour about a relationship between a Muslim woman and a Christian man. During the attack the man’s mother was attacked and publicly stripped of her clothes. The woman is around 70 years of age. Of the 16 people arrested for the assault, 11 were recently released on bail. On 9th June in Damshir village in Minya province four Muslims armed with knives attacked a Coptic man and his family. They alleged that construction work he was doing was intended to build a church and they threatened him and told him to leave the village. After he filed a complaint the four men were detained, but the authorities told him to stop the construction work.
On 10th June a man attacked a nun at a medical centre run by the Coptic Orthodox Church in the town of Biba in Beni Suef province. When a guard tried to help the nun he was also attacked. Later the same day the attacker returned, armed with a knife. The guard managed to lock the man out of the centre. A complaint was filed with the police, but no action has been taken so far. On 17th June a mob of a few thousand people gathered at the house of a Copt in al-Bayda village near Alexandria, after prayers had been held at the mosque. They shouted that they would not allow a church in the village and accused him of turning the building which contains his apartment into a church. Several Coptic homes were attacked, two were seriously damaged and at least ten were looted.
On 29th June in Kom al-Loufy village in Minya province four houses belonging to Copts were set on fire after a rumour spread that two brothers were constructing a church. After the rumour started the police asked the brothers to sign a statement saying that the building they were constructing on their land was for residential purposes, however their homes and the homes of others were attacked nevertheless. On 30th June Father Raphael Moussa was killed in Arish in Northern Sinai. Father Raphael was the parish priest of St George’s church. He was shot by several perpetrators on his way back from a church service. The Egyptian branch of the so-called “Islamic State” movement has claimed responsibility for the murder, and has threatened to carry out more killings.
In addition to these events there are currently four debates in the Egyptian parliament that could have a great impact on Christian communities. These discussions include:
* possible amendments to legislation on blasphemy
* draft legislation to regulate personal status law for Christian communities
* draft legislation to regulate church construction
* two draft bills on equal citizenship for all and countering discrimination (including discrimination on the grounds of religion)
Egyptian Christians request prayer that:
a. the victims of the above-mentioned attacks and their families will experience the comfort and peace of the Lord
b. Christian and other communities will be protected from attacks of this kind
c. the victims will not be forced to take part in “reconciliation meetings” where they have to forego any right to seek legal redress, and that the authorities will apply the law and prosecute the perpetrators
d. the debates in parliament will lead to the adoption of legislation that will grant all Egyptians equality before the law and protection against discrimination on the grounds of religion
Source: Ministry partners personally known to the APN
TOP PSYCHIATRIST SAYS DEMON POSSESSION IS VERY REAL AND ON THE RISE
Although many scientists say demonic possession is a myth, one psychiatrist says it is very real and may be on the rise. Dr. Richard Gallagher is a leading psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College. Unlike most of his colleagues in the scientific arena, he believes there is a spiritual world with a very dark side that goes beyond just our physical world. Gallagher’s work with the demonic world began decades ago when he had one client who was a self-proclaimed witch.“She called herself a witch and dressed the part, with flowing dark clothes and black eye shadow around to her temples,” Gallagher describes in an article in The Washington Post. As a man of science, he was sceptical about her claims until he experienced the unexplainable.
“My subject’s behaviour exceeded what I could explain with my training,” he recalls. “She could tell some people their secret weaknesses, such as undue pride. She knew how individuals she’d never known had died, including my mother and her fatal case of ovarian cancer.” But that was not the only thing that convinced Gallagher this was more than just a hoax. “Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances,” he said. “This was not psychosis; it was what I can only describe as paranormal ability. I concluded that she was possessed.” From then on Gallagher began working with priests to help distinguish which clients were possessed from those who suffered from serious mental illness.
“For the past two-and-a-half decades and over several hundred consultations, I’ve helped clergy from multiple denominations and faiths to filter episodes of mental illness – which represent the overwhelming majority of cases – from, literally, the devil’s work,” he explained. Looking back on more than 20 years of experience in identifying demonic possession, Gallagher suggests demonic possession is more frequent than what many believe. “The Vatican does not track global or countrywide exorcism, but in my experience and according to the priests I meet, the demand is rising,” he said. “The United States is home to about 50 ‘stable’ exorcists – those who have been designated by bishops to combat demonic activity on a semi-regular basis – up from just 12 a decade ago,” Gallagher added.
Still, many in Gallagher’s field do not believe doctors can reconcile their work with belief in the spiritual world. But Gallagher says he has a simple answer to that objection. “I’ve been asked and I have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence,” he said. “As I see it, the evidence for possession is like the evidence for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. In both cases, written historical accounts with numerous sound witnesses testify to their accuracy.” Gallagher also says it is more illogical to outright reject the existence of a spiritual world. “As a psychoanalyst, a blanket rejection of the possibility of demonic attacks seems less logical, and often wishful in nature, than a careful appraisal of the facts.”
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULES SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS NOT A HUMAN RIGHT
The European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex “marriages” are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman. The ruling was announced June 9in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and closed out a discussion dating to 2004. The court’s decision was in response to an unlawful same-sex “wedding” conducted June 5, 2004, by Noël Mamère, mayor of the French city Bègles and a member of the Green Party. At the time, Mamère explained the decision by saying, “Marriage is a social construct and procreation is no condition of its validity, otherwise we would need to render unions without children null.”
Mamère had advocated same-sex “marriage” since 2002 and chose to approve the 2004 “wedding” despite 4,000 letters sent to him. The “marriage” was cancelled shortly after and the mayor suspended from office for one month. Yet his effort sparked discussions in France and helped lead to the country’s approval of same-sex “marriages” in May 2013. This month, 12 years after the incident, the European Court put an end to the matter. The ruling bars people with same-sex attraction from launching lawsuits to obtain a same-sex “marriage.” The decision is in direct opposition to lobbying by various groups who fight for “equal marriage” rights and adoption rights for homosexual couples on an international scale and receive two-thirds of their financing from the EU Commission.
The decision of the European Court for Human Rights should bring to a halt pressure exerted by such groups, especially in Eastern European countries who fight for legislation that recognizes the uniqueness of a marriage between one man and one woman. In the aftermath of Brexit, even many non-Europeans wonder just how much power the EU has over the legislation of member states. In many instances, past EU rulings can be criticized. But this time the European Court for Human Rights made a historic step in the support of traditional marriage. No EU member state is therefore obliged to grant the possibility of a “marriage” to people with same-sex attraction based on their human rights.
While this ruling seems to be a step in the right direction, at the same time the EU Commission recently laid out a six-point plan showing how rights for people with same-sex attraction will be implemented in all member states, the German newspaper “Freie Welt” reported. In order to stop the EU influence in legislation of this kind, the last few years were marked by referenda against EU policies in Lithuania (2009), Slovenia (2012), Croatia (2013), and Romania and Slovakia (2015). The EU answered the referenda, which was intended to safeguard the national sovereignty especially in family rights issues, with the establishment of political mechanisms of coercion and monitoring. Does the ruling thus remain a drop in the ocean? Maybe Brexit set an example that others will follow.
First it was atheist bloggers, then religious minorities and gay activists targeted by machete-wielding attackers. Now it is foreigners dining in an upscale restaurant in Dhaka, a site frequented by diplomats, students, and international business people. The recent attack on the popular establishment killed at least 28 patrons and injured 30 more. Early in the standoff, the gunmen sent photos to the Islamic State (IS) of patrons “ferociously” hacked to death. IS responded that the attack targeted citizens of “crusader” states. After 11 hours, Bangladeshi army commandos stormed the building, rescuing 13 hostages and killing 6 attackers in the raid. A seventh attacker was arrested.
The escalation of this assault along with recent attacks in other countries leads Western intelligence officials to conclude that as Daesh (ISIS) loses territory in Iraq and Syria, it is redirecting and inspiring terrorist attacks elsewhere. A kitchen-worker who was not harmed, said that attackers entered with guns, explosives, and machetes. Pointing to the slain on the floor, one militant speaking in Bengali said, “This same thing is going to happen to us now,” suggesting he knew it would be their end. Through questioning, attackers determined non-Muslims, singling them out for torture and death. The nation of Bangladesh is number 35 on the 2016 Open Doors World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world.
Let’s pray for:
* terrorized Christian Believers who have been attacked before and tremble at this escalation of violence. Pray for God’s divine protection over them.
* terrorists to fall into the pit that they have dug for the innocent.
* counter-terror officials to have the increased ability to hear, detect, and thwart terrorist activities.
A UK report reveals that two athletes born male may compete as females at the Rio Olympics. Under new rules announced by the International Olympic Committee men can now compete in women’s events by declaring they are female and maintaining low testosterone levels for at least 12 months before competition. They do not need to have had sex reassignment surgery. FamilyVoice Australia research officer Ros Phillips said the new developments are disturbing news for those who seek a level playing field for sport. “In general, there are significant differences between the bodies of men and women. “Men have 50% more body strength, longer legs and bigger hearts and lungs than women. They have more oxygen-carrying red cells in their blood. It gives men a distinct advantage when competing with women.”
Ros Phillips said that transgender females may have taken female hormones, but their fundamental bone structure, blood cell count and heart and lung size will remain male. “You can change outward appearance, but you cannot change the sex chromosomes in every cell of your body,” she said. “New tough rules seek to abolish performance-enhancing drug use in sport – but what about performance-enhancing gender change?” Mrs Phillips said the huge increase in Australian young people seeking risky hormone treatment and surgery for what is essentially a mind disorder (gender dysphoria) is also disturbing. “Ideology promoted by the so-called ‘Safe Schools’ program has a lot to answer for,” she said.
MEXICAN SUPREME COURT REJECTS LEGALISATION OF ABORTION NATIONWIDE
The Mexican Supreme Court has rejected a proposal to impose abortion-on-demand during the earliest stages of pregnancy throughout the country. The Supreme Court voted 3-1 against the draft decision, which cites Roe v. Wade to justify requiring all of Mexico’s 31 states to adopt the legal regime currently in use in Mexico City. The Mexican capital allows abortion-on-demand during the first trimester of pregnancy while applying restrictions in later stages of pregnancy. The decision, had it gone the other way, would have required the states to provide “accessible and affordable” abortion services by establishing clinics to carry out the killing of the unborn. Prosecutors of the case claimed that abortion-on-demand must be legalized by the states to protect women’s rights.”
The case related to a woman who attempted to obtain an abortion in a federal government clinic in Mexico City in 2013, after discovering that her unborn child had Klinefelter Syndrome, a non-life-threatening condition that can cause underdeveloped genitalia. Federal clinic workers refused to kill the woman’s unborn child, citing articles 332 and 334 of the Federal Penal Code, which prohibits abortion except in cases of danger to the life of the mother or the unborn child. Although the woman later obtained an abortion at a private clinic in Mexico City, she sued the government for violating her “human rights,” although abortion has never been recognized as a human right in any international treaty.
UN COMMITTEE SAYS TAKING CHILDREN TO CHURCH VIOLATES THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS
Making your child attend church could be a human rights violation, according the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. The report issued by the U.N. panel shows concern about children being legally bound to attend church and worship services. They recommended the government “repeal legal provisions for compulsory attendance at collective worship.” The committee wants children to be able to act independently of their parents. But David Burrowes, a conservative British Member of Parliament, says the report and those like it can be thrown in the bin where they belong. “The collective act of worship is not an indoctrination exercise. It is recognizing and respecting the Christian heritage of the country and giving people an opportunity to reflect,” Burrowes said.
“The U.N. should spend more time doing its main job of preventing war and genocide rather than poking its nose in other countries’ classrooms,” he added. The report contains 150 recommendations where Britain could be violating the U.N.’s charter on the Rights of the Child, which includes the freedom of parents to reasonably chastise their children. While the U.N. is concerned about children going to church, the number of people displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution last year was over 60 million for the first time in United Nations’ history, according to a U.N. News Centre report.
CATHOLIC NURSING HOME PUNISHED FOR REFUSING EUTHANASIA
A Catholic nursing home in Belgium is being fined for refusing to help a terminally ill patient end her life. The patient asked to be put to death by lethal injection but the nursing home declined her request by blocking the doctor who would administer the injection from seeing her. After the patient died days later, her family sued the nursing home for causing their mother “unnecessary mental and physical suffering.” A federal court in Belgium then fined the home more than $6,000 for their actions. The judges said “the nursing home had no right to refuse euthanasia on the basis of conscientious objection.” The family’s lawyer claimed “Only a physician can invoke a conscientious objection. This is an important precedent for the entire industry,” he told a Belgian newspaper.
Many believe this case is not about preserving the private relationship between doctor and patient, but about protecting life. “It shows yet again that life is held in low regard in Belgium,” said Robet Flello, a Labor MP. “It is an absolute tragedy that euthanasia is now seen to be a right. Anywhere assisted suicide has been introduced around the world there is a constant erosion of any safeguards put in place. This is a further leap down the slippery path warned about time and time again and it shows that those warnings were true,” he added. Belgium legalized euthanasia is 2003 and has one of the most permissive euthanasia laws in the world. The Journal of Medial Ethics reported last year that a majority of euthanasia cases in Belgium were patients who were illegally “put to death” by doctors without first giving consent.