This is an abridged edition of International News prepared whilst the office of the Australian Prayer Network is closed to allow editorial staff to undertake overseas travel. Full editions of International News will resume onMonday 23rd March 2015.
U.S. PASTOR FACING ‘HATE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY’ FOR OPPOSING HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA
The First Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed a lawsuit to proceed against U.S. pastor Scott Lively accusing him of “crimes against humanity” for his overseas activism opposing the homosexual agenda. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages “to be determined at trial” and a declaration that he violated “the laws of nations” by speaking against homosexual “rights.” Pastor Scott Lively, who recently completed an unsuccessful bid for governor of Massachusetts, was sued in 2012 by the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of “Sexual Minorities Uganda.”
The Ugandan homosexual activist group claims Lively’s speeches and sermons warning Ugandan leaders not to follow the liberal West’s lead on homosexuality incited murders, violence, and persecution of homosexuals in the African nation. The lawsuit is seeking redress under the Alien Tort Statute—a controversial law that has occasionally allowed foreign nationals to sue U.S. citizens in American courts for crimes committed overseas, regardless of whether the law supposedly broken was a U.S. law, or a law in the country where the alleged crime occurred.
Lively asked Judge Michael Ponsor to throw the case out, arguing that his right to free speech is protected under the U.S. Constitution, and nothing he did or said violated Ugandan law. But Ponsor refused in a vitriolic 79-page ruling on August 14, 2013 that called Lively’s opposition to homosexual behaviour “ludicrous.” The judge blamed Lively’s speeches for everything from isolated incidences of police brutality against homosexuals in Uganda to the introduction of a controversial bill that would have made homosexual behaviour punishable by death. The penalty was later amended to life in prison, but the bill failed anyway.
Lively expressed support in Uganda for laws banning pro-homosexual propaganda, however he strongly opposed the harsh penalties in the Ugandan bill. The lawsuit claims that by sharing his views with influential people in Uganda, Lively set off a chain reaction of violence and persecution against homosexuals that continues to this day. Lively appealed to the First Circuit Court to overrule Ponsor’s judgment and dismiss the case. He pointed out that he had not broken any U.S. or Ugandan laws, and said he could not be held responsible for the actions of an entire foreign society, nor its individual members, because he made some speeches in 2009.
A 3-judge panel on the First Circuit denied Lively’s request. In 2002 and 2009, Lively was invited to speak to a group of Ugandan pastors who were concerned about the rise of pornography and homosexuality in their culture. He shared with them the history of how American culture “had been brought low” by homosexual activists in the U.S., and warned them that unless they took action to prevent it from happening in their country, they could expect similar results. He drew connections between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, and encouraged Ugandans to protect their children from indoctrination or recruitment by gays and lesbians.
Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, who works closely with Lively on pro-family issues, told LifeSiteNews that he found the First Circuit’s decision “outrageous.” “The charges are ridiculous, and in fact false,” he said. Camenker added that Judge Posner “should have recused himself becauseof his background—going back years—of supporting the homosexual movement and its goals.” He provided a link to an investigatory piece he wrote, which says in part: “Ponsor is openly liberal and a protégé of pro-homosexual Judge Joseph Tauro. But that’s just his more visible profile.”
SHARP RISE IN ATTACKS ON CHRISTIAN GIRLS IN PAKISTAN
Release partners report a sharp rise in the number of Christian girls being raped – as they support two families in Punjab whose daughters have been attacked. In the most recent assault, two Christian sisters, aged 14 and 16, were attacked as they went out into the fields to go to the toilet in a village in Jaranwala district. The girls’ family allege that three males assaulted them repeatedly. The girls’ family say they have been threatened and warned not to press charges. They also allege the police have obstructed attempts to gather medical evidence. Release partners are ensuring the girls get the medical care and legal assistance they need.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Punjab, other Release partners are supporting the family of a 14-year-old girl believed to have been abducted and forcibly converted to Islam before being married to her kidnapper. Local Christians and Muslims in Thatha Gondal have been involved in negotiations to return the girl to her family. Release partners say Christians who are forcibly converted to Islam are at high risk of extremist attack – if they are seen not to adhere to Islamic codes.
* that God will heal, restore and comfort these three girls. Pray that they will know they are precious in His sight.
* for justice for the girls and more widely for the poor and vulnerable Christian families in Pakistan whose rights are trampled on, because of their faith.
* that communities will unite against exploitation and extremism and stand up for religious tolerance.