||FIRST, THE NEWS:
ROMANIA DEBATES REFERENDUM TO BAN GAY MARRIAGE
(04 Nov) Two Romanian senators submitted a draft bill on Thursday calling for a referendum on changing the constitution to specify that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, after a petition signed by almost 3 million people, but the party leader is asking them to stand down.
The leader of Romania's biggest party on Friday asked two colleagues to withdraw a bill calling for a referendum on amending the constitution to ban gay marriage to be held on the same day as parliamentary elections, a measure backed by the country's influential Orthodox Church.
Two Social Democratic Party senators submitted a draft bill on Thursday, calling for a referendum on changing the constitution to specify that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The initiative is backed by a petition signed by almost 3 million people. The constitution now defines marriage as a union between two people, with no reference to gender.
Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the Social Democrats, said, the issue should not be combined with the election. If Parliament approves the bill in two weeks, there would be a referendum on Dec. 11, the date of parliamentary elections. [read more...]
KYRGYZSTAN: STATE PERMISSION FOR PROTESTANTS TO EXIST STILL DENIED
by Mushfig Bayram: Forum 18 News Service
(11 Nov) Kyrgyzstan continues to deny state registration - and so state permission to exist - to many belief communities which apply for it, and to ban groups of people from exercising freedom of religion and belief without state permission. Protestant pastors state that they "live and exercise freedom of religion and belief with constant fear." Control continues to be exercised over the Muslim Board and Russian Orthodox Church, as well as biased decisions being made in their favour, Almaz Esengeldiyev of Open Viewpoint noting that "the state acts as if it is their mentor."
Since the 2009 Religion Law came into force, one Jewish Community, up to four Russian Orthodox communities, and about 140 Islamic organisations including mosques, madrassahs, and foundations, mainly under the state-controlled Muslim Board, have been registered. But no Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witness or Ahmadi Muslim communities have been registered.
Under the 2009 Religion Law all unregistered exercise of freedom of religion and belief is banned. Registration demands among other things 200 founder members of a community to give their personal details to the authorities, which many people are afraid to do for fear of state reprisals. Among the Law's many other demands are details of a community's beliefs. Many communities which may want to apply for registration do not have 200 members, and the authorities take full advantage of the many arbitrary reasons the Law allows for registration to be refused. These demands flagrantly break Kyrgyzstan's international human rights obligations, which are outlined in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities. [read more...]
(01 Nov) Caritas Lviv, a UGCC charity fund, with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine launched the socio-educational project "Complex educational program of advisory assistance to IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) veterans." The program provides access free of charge to quality legal, financial, economic and psychological assistance (in the form of training and consulting).
Highly qualified practitioners (lawyers, psychologists, business trainers and scholars) were involved in helping internally displaced persons, veterans ATO and their families find solutions to difficult situations today. Major project partners are the Department of Social Protection Department of Humanitarian Policy of Lviv City Council, the Western Ukrainian Audit Company, and the Center for personal development "Unicum."
The "Integrated education and counseling program for assistance to IDPs and ATO veterans based at Caritas Lviv" is being implemented in the following areas:
- "Know your rights" - training seminars on legal issues, individual primary legal counseling to the selected target audience;
- "Financial and economic literacy - the key to personal success" - training seminars on personal finance and economic education, self-management and creating own business;
- "Get back your peace" - training seminars on psychological topics, individual psychological counseling. [read more...]
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH WELCOMES TRUMP VICTORY, BLASTS OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY
from: Christian Today
(10 Nov) The Russian Orthodox Church's foreign affairs spokesman has said that the election of Donald Trump as US president "gives hope for improvement of the entire system of international relations." Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said in an interview with Interfax-Religion yesterday: "I don't think we should fall into euphoria about the Republican candidate's victory. Time will show what kind of president he will be, whether he will fulfill the promises that he gave during the election campaign. But his election gives hope for improvement of the entire system of international relations, for the creation of a unified global coalition against terrorism."
He added that the rhetoric of Hillary Clinton failed to convince American voters "and even active support from incumbent President Obama did not give her more votes." Alfeyev portrayed the result as a vote against the status quo, saying: "The choice was not only between two persons. Essentially, the Americans were asked the following question: do you want everything to stay as it was or do you want changes? And the American people voted for changes." [read more...]
WORLD ENTERING STATE OF LAWLESSNESS PREDICTED BY ST. PAUL - HEAD OF RUSSIA'S HIGHEST COURT
(01 Nov) The chairman of the Russian Constitutional Court, Judge Valery Zorkin, said the legal system once approved in the humanistic society is now falling apart, as was predicted by Paul the Apostle. "We are living at a time when the law we've grown accustomed to count upon lately is losing its regulatory potential and the legal constructs are losing erstwhile strength and reliability. There is an increasing danger of lawlessness, bringing back to memory the words of Saint Paul the Apostle who at the dawn of our era warned that the secret of lawlessness is already at work," Zorkin said at the opening of the 20th World Russian People's Council in Moscow on Tuesday. The danger of lawlessness today is most manifest in the sphere of international law relations, with the 1945 Yalta agreements, observed until recently, now being violated, the judge said.
The Constitutional Court chairman is worried by trends in Western European law, which seems to be in disagreement with the moral principles rooted in the Christian traditions. "I mean the novel laws which declare untraditional models of behavior of the sexual and gender minorities as being within the law, trying to equate men and women while ignoring their natural biological differences, sanctioning the invasion by state authorities and government organizations of quite happy families," he said. Such contradictions between law and the traditional family foundations put the survival of the human race at risk, Zorkin said. [read more...]
MOLOTOV COCKTAILS HURLED AT CHURCH OF MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE IN UKRAINE
from: Russia Beyond the Headlines
(07 Nov) Unknown persons have thrown Molotov cocktails at a church of the Moscow patriarchate in Pavlograd, in central Ukraine's Dnepropetrovsk region, the press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said on Nov. 7. "Unknown persons set on fire the St. Cyril and Methodius church in Pavlograd of the Dnepropetrovsk eparchy. The attackers hurled three Molotov cocktails at the church premises - two at the church and another one at the altar," the statement said.
The fire destroyed the choir area with prayer books and also damaged the central part of the church, which sustained significant damage. Law enforcement has launched a criminal investigation into the incident. Buildings of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the self-governing church of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, have been subjected to arson attacks several times. In February, unknown persons set on fire a church in the Lvov region, in western Ukraine. The building's central part was significantly damaged. Another arson attack in May damaged the Church of Transfiguration in Kiev. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
RUSSIAN PENTECOSTALS HOLD THEIR ANNUAL MOSCOW CONFERENCE
from Russian Evangelical Alliance
UOC KP CHURCH BURNED DOWN IN MARIUPOL
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
RUSSIA: MINISTRY RESPONSE INCLUDES CAESAR, GOD AND PRAYER
from Mission Network News
RUSSIA TO GIVE FUNDS FOR RENOVATION OF BETHLEHEM'S HISTORIC CENTER - MEDVEDEV
RUSSIAN CHURCH STRESSES ITS DIFFERENCES WITH WESTERN PROTESTANTS REGARDING CHRISTIAN MORALITY
from RIA Novosti
SHARING CHRIST IN THE UNIVERSITY IN KYRGYZSTAN
from Mission Eurasia
PATRIARCH PHILARET DISCUSSES ISSUE OF RECOGNITION OF UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALY WITH HIERARCHS OF PATRIARCHATE OF CONSTANTINOPLE
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(11 Nov) Read the article Romanian Orthodox Church supports constitutional amendment to protect marriage for another take on this issue, along with today's first news article. We began reporting on it in our 05 June issue of Hosken-News.
God created us as male and female in order to "be fruitful and multiply." Any society that promotes homosexual relations soon learns that the birth rate falls below 2.1 babies per adult woman, and the population begins to shrink. This is why heterosexual marriage is promoted and homosexuality is discouraged by nearly all civilizations throughout human history. As nation-states have grown larger, it may take longer for this process of the population shrinking to develop, but eventually it will catch up and bite us.
Whether the newly-elected U.S. president will follow through on his campaign promise to protect innocent human life from conception to natural death is an open question: too often pledges are made on the campaign trail that are later forgotten - we'll wait and see. The Russian Orthodox Church's foreign affairs spokesman has expressed hope that U.S.-Russia relations will improve.
Our news article WORLD ENTERING STATE OF LAWLESSNESS PREDICTED BY ST. PAUL - HEAD OF RUSSIA'S HIGHEST COURT warns against "trends in Western European law, which seems to be in disagreement with the moral principles rooted in the Christian traditions." St. Paul wrote, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor. 6:12-13). Although some things may be legal, such as smoking tobacco (and marijuana in some states), drinking alcohol, and homosexual relations, these things are not helpful because can bring us under the power of harmful compulsive-addictive behaviors.
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Are Perfect People Possible?
We've heard - "Nobody's perfect" so many times, that we finally begin to believe it. We believe that it's impossible for people to be perfect. And when someone says - "you're just perfect!" like in this photo, we think they're just blowing smoke.
But what did Christ teach us? "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). How should we understand this command of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God? Some translations render the word "perfect" as "mature" in other New Testament texts, but that doesn't make sense here: our heavenly Father isn't merely mature, He's perfect. And that is what we're supposed to strive for, by God's grace. Humanly speaking, without Divine help, perfection is impossible, and perfectionism - striving for perfection by our own efforts - can cause serious psychological problems. But with the Holy Spirit working in us and sanctifying us, making us holy, perfection is possible.
Romans 5:12 is the key verse: "Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, in that all sinned." When St. Jerome translated the original Greek New Testament into the Latin Vulgate, this verse became: "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death: and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" (1899 Douay-Rhiems Catholic Bible). Note "in whom" (masculine pronoun) vs. the Greek - "in that" (neuter pronoun).
The neuter pronoun is just one letter in Greek, but either Jerome's knowledge of Greek wasn't that great, or he held a prior belief that it should refer to Adam, but in any case, he rendered it as "him," and This One Letter has changed the West's whole theological system! Based mainly on this verse in the Latin Vulgate, St. Augustine developed his doctrine of original sin and guilt passing on from Adam to all men. And even though most modern Bible translations including the modern Catholic Bible have corrected this translation error, the Western doctrine of original sin has remained.
Are the universe and mankind essentially good, or inherently evil? This is the so-called liberal vs. conservative argument, but there are actually two sides to the conservative viewpoint. What are they?
CONTINUE READING in our Hosken-News Blog, and write your COMMENTS there!
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.