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||FIRST, THE NEWS:
HUNGARIAN PM WARNS EUROPE BEING DELIBERATELY DE-CHRISTIANIZED
from: Church Militant
(4 Aug.) The leader of Hungary is warning that an effort to de-Christianize Europe is underway. Speaking in Romania in July, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke of a deliberate plan to transform Europe into a "mixed, Islamicized" society. "In Brussels," he warned, "an alliance has been forged against the opinion of the people."
Orbán said Europe is being prepared to surrender its heritage and identity: "We are observing the conscious, step-by-step implementation of this policy. In order for this to happen, for the territory to be ready to be handed over, it is necessary to continue the de-Christianisation of Europe - and we can see these attempts. Priority must be given to group identities rather than national identities, and political governance must be replaced with the rule of bureaucracy. This is the aim of Brussels' continuous and stealthy withdrawal of powers from the nation states. This is the situation in Europe today."
The prime minister described the effort as the product of a collusion between E.U. political elite and Hungarian-American financier George Soros.
According to the "Soros plan," as he termed it, migrants are to be brought into the European Union from the Muslim world by the hundreds of thousands annually and "distributed among the countries of Europe as part of a mandatory and permanent mechanism."
To facilitate this endeavor, the prime minister indicated E.U. officials will siphon "all the decision-making powers related to migrant affairs away from the nation states and raise them to the level of Brussels." [read more...]
RUSSIA: ONE YEAR OF "ANTI-MISSIONARY" PUNISHMENTS
by Victoria Arnold: Forum 18 News Service
(8 Aug.) In the first year of "anti-missionary" punishments, Forum 18 found 181 cases under Administrative Code Article 5.26, Parts 3, 4 and 5. Of these 133 resulted in initial convictions (130 fines). In 11 cases religious literature was confiscated. Five foreigners were ordered deported (one overturned on appeal). Prosecutions under Russia's "anti-missionary" legal changes have gathered pace in the year since they came into force on 20 July 2016, with an average of six cases a week reaching court between April and June 2017, Forum 18 has found.
Activities as diverse as holding prayer meetings in homes, posting worship times on a religious community's website, and giving a lecture on yoga have all been interpreted by police and prosecutors as "missionary activity", thanks to the broad definition now enshrined in the Religion Law. Despite a clear predominance of those whose beliefs require them to share their faith in public, such as Evangelical Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses, adherents of at least fifteen different religious traditions have faced charges.
Forum 18 found 181 administrative cases against 129 individuals and 52 religious communities under the "anti-missionary" punishments between 20 July 2016 and 20 July 2017. Of these, 133 resulted in initial convictions, with 130 fines being imposed. Of the foreigners prosecuted, 5 were ordered deported (though one of these had the deportation order overturned on appeal). More than half the regions in Russia have seen at least one prosecution [read more...]
POROSHENKO ASKS CONSTANTINOPLE TO RECOGNIZE AUTOCEPHALY OF THE UKRAINIAN CHURCH
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(28 Jul.) President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko expects the Constantinople Patriarchate to recognize the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church. The President wrote about this today on Facebook on the occasion of the Day of Baptism of Rus-Ukraine:
"1029 years ago Volodymyr the Great made a great decision to baptize Rus-Ukraine, and he accepted the Christian faith from the Church of Constantinople, which for us is still the Mother Church, and it is this church that we expect to recognize the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church - equal to other local Orthodox Churches, and, of course, spiritually and administratively independent from Moscow, from the aggressor state," the Head of State emphasized.
According to him, the choice of Christian faith by Prince Volodymyr was also a European choice. Note that July 28 marks the Day of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus - Ukraine. This day the tribute is paid to memory of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr - who baptized Rus in 988. [read more...]
UZBEKISTAN: SHORT PRISON TERMS, FINES AFTER "SHOW TRIAL"
by Mushfig Bayram: Forum 18 News Service
() Two Baptists were each given five-day prison terms and three more fined in Karshi to punish them for organising Sunday worship raided by police. A Russian Orthodox priest was forced to attend what Baptists call a "show trial", which was also shown on television.
Authorities in the southern Kashkadarya Region held what local Baptists complain was a "show trial" of five of their members. On 21 July Karshi [Qarshi] City Administrative Court handed down five-day prison terms to two church members and fined three others. The two arrested men were then taken to the detention prison in handcuffs. The judge pressured a Russian Orthodox priest to attend the trial and questioned him on religious freedoms in Uzbekistan. Local television filmed the trial and later broadcast it in the region.
According to amendments to the Law on Courts, cases of administrative violations are now tried in Administrative Courts. The amendments were adopted by Parliament on 28 March, signed by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on 12 April and entered into force on 1 June. Previously, administrative cases had been heard in Criminal Courts.
Armed with automatic weapons, Urganch City Police in the north-western Khorezm Region raided the worship service of local Protestants. All those present were forced onto a bus and taken to the Police Station, where the female believers were stripped to their underwear and searched. Police are believed to be preparing administrative charges against the hosts of the meeting. [read more...]
PRIEST DETAINED IN VITEBSK BROTHEL TO BE TEMPORARY BANNED FROM MINISTRY - RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
(8 Aug.) Priest Nikolay Kireyev from the Leningrad Region, detained in a brothel in Belarus last weekend, will be banned from ministry during the period of investigation. "As in other such cases, the ruling bishop of the Vyborg diocese will ban this clergyman from ministry for the period of investigation and trial," Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy head of the Synodal Department for Church Relations with Society and Media, said. The Church is considering all circumstances of the charges brought against the clergyman, "despite their unprecedented nature," Kipshidze said.
He also did not exclude the possibility of Kireyev's extradition to Russia in accordance with the procedure established by the Minsk Convention on Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Domestic and Criminal Cases to conduct investigative activities. "The Russian Orthodox Church is open for cooperation on this issue with law enforcement structures of both Belarus and Russia," Kipshidze said. The Belarusian Investigative Committee said on Sunday, that a priest from Russia had been detained during a raid in a brothel in Vitebsk, and he is suspected of an attempt of trafficking women to St. Petersburg.
"The Investigative Committee's department for the city of Vitebsk is investigating a criminal case in accordance with the Part 1 of the Article 14 and the Part 2 of the Article 171 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (an attempt of organizing or using prostitution or creating conditions for prostitution involving trafficking a person outside the country for prostitution) against a Russian citizen, aged 39," Svetlana Sakharova, the spokesperson for the Belarusian Investigative Committee's Vitebsk department, said on Facebook. [read more...]
VATICAN'S SECRETARY OF STATE TO COME TO RUSSIA TO CHANGE COURSE OF HISTORY?
(11 Aug.) For centuries, the Vatican has been an inspiration for crusades against Muslims and Orthodox Christians. The first meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow took place only on February 12, 2016 on a neutral territory, in the capital of Cuba. Now the world is getting ready for a new sensation: the Pope may come to Russia already this year.
In the second half of the 16th century, Catholicism that had reached the peak of its power by that time, saw the Russian Orthodox Church as its prime enemy. In the Time of Troubles, at the beginning of the 17th century, the Vatican tried to use the Polish-Lithuanian invasion of Russia to subordinate the country to its will. Yet, Russia defended itself courageously.
In the 20th century, the Vatican's struggle against Orthodoxy resumed with greater vigor. The struggle was conducted under the pretext of opposing the danger of atheism that was emanating from the USSR. Yet, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the world communist movement, the Vatican could not fend off its misfits in the Russian Orthodox Church.
The situation changed dramatically on March 13, 2013, when Francis became the 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis became the first ever pope from the New World and the first pope of non-European origin in more than 1200 years (after Gregory III of Syria, who ruled from 731 to 741). Immediately after his election, Pope Francis called for the elimination of age-old dogmas, including negative stereotypes against Orthodox believers. The great reconciliation of the two churches started soon afterwards. The epoch-making meeting of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Pope Francis was held on February 12, 2016 in the building of the Jose Marti International Airport in the capital of Cuba, Havana.
Eighteen months later, the world is likely to witness a new sensation: on August 20-24, 2017, the State Secretary of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin will visit Moscow. It is expected that the head of the Roman Curia will hold meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill. This visit is intended to pave the way for the visit of the head of the Vatican to Russia. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
KAZAKHSTAN: SIX FINES, ONE DEPORTATION FOR BAPTISM
from Forum 18 News Service
KYIV PATRIARCHATE IS DE FACTO THE STATE CHURCH TODAY, SAYS UOC-MP METROPOLITAN OLEKSANDR DRABYNKO
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA COULD HARM MINISTRIES
from Mission Network News
PROTESTANT PASTOR JAILED FOR 3 YEARS FOR EXTREMISM IN TAJIKISTAN
32-YEAR-OLD MAN FINED FOR CARICATURES OF CHRIST ON SOCIAL NETWORK
PRIMATE OF RUSSIAN CHURCH LEADS CELEBRATIONS IN ST. PETERSBURG ON BAPTISM OF KYIVAN RUS FEAST DAY
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
ARTIOM'S STORY: MINISTRY INSPIRATION FROM SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS
from Mission Eurasia
MOSCOW TO HOST "FOR LIFE" FAMILY VALUES FESTIVAL
SECULAR VOICES IN THE BALKAN STATES OPPOSE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
from Global Voices
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This article recounts how people often think we should avoid talking about religion and politics at the dinner table. Some people - including good friends - have urged me to stay away from political issues. A few have even unsubscribed from this newsletter. But if we as Christians were all to abstain from political issues, we would be abdicating the social sphere to the Devil. We need to have civil but robust debate among Christians as well as between Christians and secularists about social issues that involve the political process because most social issues also have a moral and/or a spiritual aspect.
I've lived in a Muslim-dominated republic of Russia, I've witnessed medical personnel in Russia cause the death of an elderly woman, and I've been through the horrors of Russian society during and after the collapse of the Bolshevik experiment - in fact, one older Jewish couple in Moscow whose parents were co-revolutionaries with Lenin told me: "Communism is an experiment that should have been tried on animals first." We need to pay attention to people who've lived through such experiences.
The so-called "Johnson Amendment" of 50 years ago only limits clergy from advocating for a specific political candidate from the pulpit, but whether or not you believe that law is just and enforceable (there's never been a case in 50 years that has enforced this law), it does NOT limit public discussion by Christians about social issues. Every area of society - including religion - is political for secular humanists, so if we pull out of the public square, we allow secularists to pass laws that contradict our religious and moral positions.
To SHARE THE ESSAY BELOW with your friends, GO TO: Hosken-News Blog. You can also write your COMMENTS there!
The Mythical, Imaginary "They"
Like so many other mythical creatures such as unicorns, jackelopes, fairies and gnomes, the mythical, imaginary "They" persistently keeps popping up in popular political mythology: "They" should provide free medical care for the poor; "They" ought to give pensions to the elderly; "They" should provide free college education for everyone; "They" ought to build and staff hospices for the dying... the list could go on and on. I've heard these myths over and over during our 17 years in Russia and now I'm hearing almost identical myths in America.
As I've written in my "Daily News & Views," seven percent of American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, twenty percent of American high school graduates don't know how to make toast, and one-third of British high school graduates don't know how to boil an egg. This is the new "virtual reality."
People today have been raised in an environment so removed from basic physical reality that they think the mythical "Others" or "They" can and should magically provide all their needs, wants and wishes. Certainly, we don't need to know every detail of how an economy functions, but we ought to have a grasp on basic facts such as all cows give white milk and water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) with or without eggs.
As the article Religion and Politics at the Dinner Table: Challenging the Old Maxim explains, "family members bear natural affection toward each other" - or at least they should - and thus they bear responsibility to care for the young, the infirm and the elderly in the family circle.
As the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy - "But if anyone doesn’t provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. ...If any man or woman who believes has widows, let them relieve them, and don’t let the church be burdened; that it might relieve those who are widows indeed" (1 Tim. 5:8 & 16). The context is about how the church should care for widows in their midst, but the primary responsibility lies with the immediate family.
The Church Fathers Chrysostom, Theodore, and Theodoret wrote that "Special care is to be given to the supervision of the work of widows in the church. It is important to distinguish those widows who deserve appropriate support from those who do not and to monitor the widows who are being supported, lest their time turn to idleness and mischief. The true widow is chaste and patient, and if she is without children, she deserves the church’s support" (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture).
Note how St. Paul and these Church Fathers emphasize the need for the local church to monitor the behavior of widows. St. Paul wrote that younger widows should get married and bear children: "So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander" (verse 14).
Instead, what we have is "They," the modern secular welfare state, even giving young women financial incentives to not get married, to bear children out of wedlock. The article Why Are So Many Millennials Having Children Out of Wedlock? states - "57 percent of parents ages 26 to 31 were having kids outside of marriage."
Why has this happened? It's not simply due to income inequality, as the article implies. That's a result, not the cause of the problem. Rather, it's because Christians have not taken a firm stand in the public square on social matters; instead, we've allowed the state to pay unwed mothers to have babies. Children born out of wedlock have a very difficult life ahead of them. Morality in sexual conduct isn't a "private matter," it has a direct effect on society at large, on the economy, and on our taxes.
Not only are babies increasingly being born out of wedlock, fewer and fewer babies are being born. The post-war "baby boomers" born from 1945 to 1960 - seventy million Americans - are now reaching retirement age, and there are not enough young adults paying into the Social Security fund to support them. These 70,000,000 retirees also are no longer investing money in private retirement plans but instead taking their money out, while those same fewer young adults are putting less money into private retirement plans. This means less money for investment in the economy... thus a shrinking economy.
When the socialist notion takes root in our thinking that the mythical, imaginary "They," the state, will take care of us from the cradle to the grave, this begins to weaken the above Christian teaching about the immediate family's responsibility to take care of each other. Adult children begin to think that if they live far away from their parents or if they simply don't want to, they don't need to look after their elderly parents. We've witnessed first-hand in Russia how a divorced adult son beat up and forced his widowed and disabled mother out of her apartment so that he could live there with his girlfriend. Similar things are happening here too.
The answer to these problems isn't to simply continue singing our hymns and listening to warm-fuzzy pablum-sermons in church while we stick our heads in the sand and ignore society as it crumbles around us. The answer is to preach and practice the Scriptural texts on social responsibilities and sexual conduct, as well as to boldly express these teachings in the public square. We not only have the right to freely express our religious beliefs, as the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states, but also a civic duty to do so.
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Please remember to pray for Christians in Socialist countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.