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Sudanese Christian Mother Meriam Ibrahim to Arrive in New Hampshire This Week

Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim (center) and her family meets Pope Francis after escaping death in Sudan on Thursday.

After arriving in the United States, Ibrahim’s family is likely to visit Washington, D.C. first to thank those who contributed to their release, The Associated Press reports, quoting her brother-in-law, Gabriel Wani, who lives in Manchester with his wife and their three daughters.

Ibrahim and her family — her husband, Daniel Wani, their son, Martin, and their daughter, Maya, who was born in prison in Sudan just two months ago — will settle in Manchester, which is home to a Sudanese Christian community and church.

Ibrahim and her family flew from Sudan to Italy last Thursday, and Gabriel has spoken with her family by phone several times since then.

Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. “His plan all along was to bring his family to New Hampshire,” Gabriel told KSAT 12. “I was crying. He said they were coming to New Hampshire. This is his place now,” Gabriel said of a phone call he received from his brother.

Members of the southern Sudanese community in Manchester plan to receive Ibrahim’s family at the airport, and the Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church is preparing to host a welcome reception for them.

Since Ibrahim’s release, southern Sudanese people have been visiting Gabriel’s home. “A lot of people have been waiting for them,” Gabriel was quoted as saying. “The whole community wants to welcome them.”

The two brothers and their sister, Mary, were among the first southern Sudanese refugees to resettle in Manchester. Daniel is board chairman of the South Sudan Community of New Hampshire, a nonprofit that provides translators, English classes, tuition for children and outreach services.

While Ibrahim’s death sentence was overturned by a court a few weeks ago, she was arrested again on June 24 while she and her family were trying to leave Sudan to go to the United States. She was eventually released and allowed to leave the country.

Ibrahim was convicted on April 30, and was given three days to recant her Christian faith on May 11. “The court has sentenced you to be hanged until you are dead,” Judge Abaas Al Khalifa told her on May 15 after she refused to forsake Christianity.

Ibrahim was accused by her Muslim relatives, and sent to jail on Feb. 17. She was kept at the Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison in North Khartoum with her son.

Ibrahim’s father was a Sudanese Muslim who left her when she was just 6 years old. She was raised by her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox. However, Sudan’s Islamic law recognized her as a Muslim because her father was one. It also considered her relationship with her Christian husband as “illicit.”

After her release and departure from Sudan, Ibrahim met with Pope Francis in the Casa Santa Marta, accompanied by her husband and two children, according to the Official Vatican Network, NEWS.VA. Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lapo Pistelli, who helped arrange her flight from Sudan and traveled with her to Italy, was also present at the meeting.

Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, head of the Vatican Press Office, said the meeting happened in a “very serene and affectionate” environment. Pope Francis praised Ibrahim for her “courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith.”

APN Leaders Return from Ukraine Summit

PHILADELPHIA—The crisis in Ukraine turned even more deadly last week with the downing of a passenger jetliner and killing of the nearly 300 on board. Initial reports point to the plane’s being shot by a surface-to-air missile coming from Ukraine territory held by pro-Russian separatists.

As the turmoil in Ukraine intensifies, the American Pastors Network (APN, recently returned from an International Leadership Summit in that country, where they taught Ukrainian pastoral and elected leaders the principles that made America a great nation. At the summit were approximately 15 key government officials from the Executive and Legislative branches, including top advisors to the office of Speaker and President as well as heads of government agencies and departments.

Also present were key pastors representing over 10,000 churches in Ukraine – some of whom are the lead officials of the largest denominations in the country.

“The American Pastors Network was invited to Ukraine because leaders in that nation understand that America became a great nation because America was built on a Biblical foundation, and they want that foundation for their own nation,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “At the summit, APN and its speakers presented the Biblical principles of authority, government, law, jurisdiction, ethics, integrity, and what it means to have a righteous government. These principles refer heavily to the American experience, to the view of our founders, and to the principles that drove the writing of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.”

Rohrer added that the Ukrainian leaders who spoke at the summit confirmed their desire to establish a righteous government free of corruption and bribery and one that would recognize and protect the basic and inalienable rights granted by God.

“The leaders we spoke with made it clear that they want what made America great, not what is currently motivating and directing our nation, which is anything but a firm adherence to Biblical or constitutional principles in government or in life,” he said.

APN was invited to the summit by Presiding Bishop Valery Reshetinsky, who also serves as the Chairman of the Ukrainian Interchurch Council that represents 20 different evangelical denominations. Among the summit organizers were Ukrainian elected officials and government staff members, some of whom are directly involved in the writing of new laws, some of whom are involved in the enforcement of the laws and some of whom are in key advisory positions.

Pastor Dale Armstrong of Church of the Word in Lancaster, Pa, orchestrated APN’s on-the-ground involvement in the summit, and he emphasized the significance of the summit happening at this particular time.

“Every day in the news, we are seeing, hearing and reading reports of crisis in Ukraine,” Armstrong said. “Yet, in the middle of that crisis there are men and women who understand that the only way to establish a truly free and prosperous nation is not simply through building a nation based on military victory but through building a nation based on the foundation of God’s Word and His eternal truth. It was sobering to see that even as many in America reject this truth, many in Ukraine are sacrificing in pursuit of it.”

APN speakers discussed the Biblical and constitutional principles needed to establish sound public policies, and various Q&A sessions allowed for discussion on implementing those principles.

“The people of Ukraine have demonstrated that they long for freedom, and they recognize that freedom is not the default condition in life,” Rohrer added. “America became a free and great nation not by accident but because we acknowledged God, recognized our dependence on Him, sought His guidance and built our government on Biblical principles. The people of Ukraine want this Biblically based freedom, and APN is honored to help them understand what’s required to achieve it.  Our desire now is to see our own American politicians and pastors encouraged to fight to keep the freedoms we have here, rather than allowing them to be dismantled by government officials who have rejected the principles of freedom that made America the beacon of hope for all the world.”

Whose Fault Is the Gaza Bloodshed? A Liberal Host and a Conservative Journalist Are Surprisingly In-Sync on the Answer.

It’s the question that brought a conservative journalist and a far-left TV host to agreement: who is to blame for the civilian deaths in Gaza?

“I see on the news every night lots of reports, and it’s very sad, we all feel horrible about them, of Palestinian civilians who are dying, including children,” said Bill Maher on his HBO show “Real Time” on Friday. ”Nobody seems to ask, ‘Whose fault is that mostly?’”

Maher laid the blame at the feet of Hamas.

“I feel terrible for a Palestinian child who dies,” Maher said, “but if it’s your father, your brother, your uncle who’s firing those rockets into Israel, who’s fault is it really? Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?”

“I don’t think you can understand the conflict without reading Hamas’ charter,” chimed in Daily Caller senior editor Jamie Weinstein. “[The charter] calls for not only the destruction of Israel, but the murder of Jews generally.”

At multiple points, the audience cheered suggestions that Hamas was in the wrong, including when one panelist quoted conservative Charles Krauthammer’s piece which noted that the Israelis use missiles to protect their civilians, while Hamas uses civilians to protect their missiles.

“If the Hamas people had the opportunity, they would kill the maximum number of Israelis, which would be all [of them], and Israel has the opportunity to kill way more [Palestinians] and they do not,” Maher said.

“There’s no question that if Hamas, as you said, could, they would wipe Israel off the map,” Weinstein agreed.

Maher took things a step further, saying that the Israelis consistently triumph over Muslim adversaries because of a Jewish belief in science.

“Jews have, I think, 155 Nobel Prizes, Muslims have two,” he said. “That seems like kind of a big advantage for team Hebrew.”

US Border Crisis: Caring for Children Is Top Priority, Says Faith Leader Who Met With Obama, Perry in Dallas

One faith-based leader who met with President Barack Obama and Governor Rick Perry in Dallas Wednesday says the 10-person private meeting among local officials and faith leaders was productive in homing in on solutions that will meet the state’s most immediate needs in dealing with the border crisis.

Despite appeals from members of his own party to accept Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s invitation to tour the U.S,-Mexico border where the humanitarian and national security crisis is unfolding, Obama declined, opting instead to meet in Dallas before attending one of three Democratic fundraisers in the state.

“The purpose of the meeting was to find solutions in dealing with the border crisis in Texas,” Chris Liebrum, director of disaster recovery for the Texas Baptist Convention told The Christian Post Wednesday night.

“Our message and focus is on the children,” Liebrum added. “We need to care for the children who are here now — that was my message to the president. We have a big immigration problem that needs to be solved; and it’s the lack of a good immigration policy as to why this crisis, this disaster, has come about.”

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Obama held a brief news conference and suggested that there wouldn’t have been a border crisis had the House passed immigration reform last year.

“Why aren’t we passing comprehensive immigration reform which would put an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents and give us a lot of additional authorities to deal with some of these problems?” Obama asked. “That should’ve been done a year ago; it should’ve been done two years ago. It’s gotten caught up in politics.”

Obama emphasized, many times, that he’s asking Gov. Perry to pressure the “Texas delegation” and other border-state Republicans in Congress to approve $3.7 billion in supplemental emergency funding to help resolve the border crisis.

Perry, however, asserted on Fox News’ “Hannity” that less than 2 percent of those funds would go toward border security; and he continues to ask the president for 1,000 National Guard troops to patrol the border temporarily until 3,000 new Border Patrol agents are trained.

Perry testified before members of the U.S. Homeland Security Committee last Thursday in McAllen and explained that Texas only has seven Border Patrol agents per mile for its 1,200-mile border with Mexico; unlike California, New Mexico and Arizona, which have 17 agents per mile patrolling their southern border.

While politicians continue to debate solutions for resolving the border crisis, Liebrum told CP that the federal government has the responsibility to take care of the physical needs of the children who’ve entered the country illegally.

“The federal government has the responsibility, through a private contractor, to take care of the physical needs of these children — food, clothing, shelter, security, medical, all of that will be contracted out,” he said. “What they will want from nonprofits and NGOs is help with other activities.”

The terminology that the government is using regarding assistance faith-based organizations are providing is “socialization resources,” according to Liebrum, who said this includes sports and other physical activities, and non-sectarian, ecumenical services.

Christian nonprofit volunteers won’t be proselytizing to the children, Liebrum asserted, adding that many of the children “come from religious backgrounds.”

“Some of the shelters are being told that they’re responding to those kinds of (religious) activities,” he continued. “There can be other things, too, that faith-based organizations can do, depending on what the contractor needs.”

When asked by CP if the faith-based communities represented at the meeting had formed a consensus on whether or not the children should be deported or allowed to stay in the U.S., he said they had not.

Other issues discussed in the meeting dealt with solutions to “shortcut the processing of the children, because it’s taking too long,” Liebrum said.

“There was a discussion about how to handle children who have physical and medical needs. And suggestions about what we could do in these countries to keep them from coming — in a positive way. Instead of spending billions of dollars here, what could happen if we spent that kind of money and created an atmosphere that would keep them from coming, in the sense that they would have what they need there. Those are some of the discussion points. But a lot of it was about the problem at hand in Texas and what we do now,” Liebrum explained.

Liebrum added that the meeting was cordial; and while there were political differences among the group, “they were dealt with by both parties with great respect.” He also noted that Obama and Perry had the opportunity to meet privately for 15 minutes and talk in a separate room before meeting with faith leaders and local officials.

Those who attend the border crisis meeting at Love Field Airport in Dallas include: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (R-Texas); Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen; Chris Liebrum of the Baptist General Convention; Arne Nelson of Catholic Charities; Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia; Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins; Texas Health and Human Services Director Kyle Janek; Texas Public Safety Director Steven McCraw; and the director of Baptist Child and Family services who has contracted with the shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Gov. Perry has requested the following actions from President Obama:

Visit the Texas-Mexico border to witness firsthand the impact of the border crisis;

Deploy an additional 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to immediately enhance border security operations;

Direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the National Guard to utilize Predator drones along the Texas-Mexico border for identifying and tracking human and drug trafficking;

Medically screen all illegal immigrants to ensure their health and the health of our citizens;

Direct the Centers for Disease Control or another appropriate federal agency outside the Department of Homeland Security to conduct, in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services inspections of facilities in which illegal immigrants, including UACs, are being housed to ensure accepted international and national emergency sheltering standards are met;

Modify or rescind policies that serve as a magnet to encourage illegal immigration, including:

DHS Catch and Release policies by which DHS issues an illegal immigrant an NTA before an immigration judge and releases them. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 33 percent of those released on their own recognizance failed to appear in FY 2013.

Deportation policies and procedures that prohibit UACs from countries other than Mexico and Canada from being immediately repatriated back to their country of origin. After DHS processes these UACs, they are issued an NTA and delivered to a sponsor or relative in the United States, regardless of the relative’s immigration status.

The Second Mark of God’s Judgment on America

Immediately following the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed for God’s intervention in seven circumstances of future national need. In each case, he implored God for His commitment that if the people were to repent, God would hear from heaven and forgive their sin.

As Solomon continued his prayer (in II Chronicles 6:22-23), he asked God to intervene during judicial hearings to ensure that the guilty party was punished and that the innocent was rewarded. Solomon anticipated a time – due to national sin – that government would sanction injustice rather than justice. Just as Solomon anticipated this disregard for justice in a nation that turned its back on God, Isaiah also prophesied, “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street and equity or justice cannot enter.”(Isaiah 59:14).

In our nation, the subverting of truth and justice is becoming more prevalent.

Our country was founded on the belief that the primary purpose of government (as stated in Romans 13) is to enact God’s justice by praising those who do right and punishing those who do evil.

The failure to rule justly, and even worse to officially sanction what God calls evil, is defiance to Almighty God. Although, the subversion of justice is an indication of the withdrawal of God’s blessing, it is also one of God’s warning signs to call us back to Him before final judgment comes.

Truth has indeed fallen in the street and justice stands far off – when the killing of the unborn is declared a woman’s right, when God’s definition of marriage is ruled unconstitutional, when Christian businesses are penalized because they follow God’s law, when Christian organizations are labelled as ‘threats’ to our nation, and when, in general, the rule of law is rejected. Solomon knew the progression of a nation’s sin would produce a distortion of justice where good would be declared evil, and evil declared to be good. Have you considered that governmentally sanctioned injustice is a ‘warning sign’ of God’s judgment? The next 5 marks of national judgment are progressively more obvious. When will we open our eyes and ears to God’s shouts of warning to our nation?

This is the third in an eight part series, “Can We Know if God’s Judgment is on America? – The Background to Understanding God’s Promise in II Chronicles 7:14”.

Homeland Security Allows German Homeschoolers to Stay

Less than 48 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case, sentencing them to almost certain deportation, the Romeike family has received a reprieve.

The Home School Legal Defense Association confirmed today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted the German homeschooling family “indefinite deferred status,” allowing them to remain in the United States as long as they want.

“This is an incredible victory that can only be credited to our Almighty God,” Michael Farris, the HSLDA attorney representing the family, wrote on the group’s Facebook page.  “We also want to thank those of [you] who spoke up on this issue – including that long ago White House petition.  We believe that the public outcry made this possible while God delivered the victory.”

Liberal Prof.: Obama Has Brought Us to ‘Constitutional Tipping Point’

During testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, liberal constitutional professor Jonathan Turley said that the growth of executive power is “accelerating” and that the growth of such power has brought us to a “constitutional tipping point”.

“I believe we are now at a constitutional tipping point in our system,” Turley, who teaches law at George Washington University, said.  “It’s a dangerous point for our system to be in, and I believe that your response has to begin before this president leaves office.  No one in our system goes it alone.”

Turley noted that while he agrees with the president on most of his policies, it still “does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing is wrong” and that the continued acceleration of executive power can be “a dangerous change in our system.”

Forum aims to educate about religion, homosexuality

HICKORY, N.C. — An internationally-known furniture designer from North Carolina, two ministers and a network news anchor talked faith with Hickory’s gay community, but not everyone in the audience was ready to agree with what the pastors on stage were saying.

The free forum at Lenoir-Rhyne University Saturday called “Politics, Religion, and LGBT Equality” was a chance to educate the community about religion and homosexuality, said forum sponsor Mitchell Gold.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer moderated.

“It’s important for people in the community, kids in particular, to hear that there are people who believe in them,” said Gold.

Gold is from Taylorsville, but co-owns a furniture design firm, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, that offers furniture in stores all over the world.

Gold said he struggled with his own feelings about being gay from age 11 until he “came out” at age 26. He said many young people are torn between what their churches tell them about homosexuality and their own feelings.

“I know from personal experience that this is why kids jump off bridges; this is why kids hang themselves in closets,” said Gold, “This is a very serious subject, and they deserve to hear a good word.”

Gold founded a group called “Faith in America” that wants people to put aside the notion that they have to choose between faith and supporting the LGBT community.

Two pastors, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman of Hickory and Rev. Dr. Jack McKinney of Raleigh, addressed how their own evangelical upbringings clashed with what they now believe.

Both believe the Bible lacks a definitive condemnation of homosexuality.

“The Bible says a lot about love,” said McKinney, “And I wish we, as Christians, were repeating that message more often.”

The audience cheered as one protester shouted out disagreement. He was escorted out by security; he was one of three protesters asked to leave during the 90-minute forum.

None were arrested.

After the forum, more than two dozen religious leaders from the American Pastors’ Network denounced what they had heard inside.

“Homosexuality is a forgivable sin, but it has to be repented of, like any sin has to be repented of,” said Dave Kistler, president of the North Carolina Pastors Network.

The pastors read several Bible passages that refer to God’s creation of men and women as part of the “natural order” of things.

“No person, church, pastor, government, or society has the right to change God’s definition of marriage because God established it first,” said Gary Dull of the APN.

Forum organizers shrugged off the protests, pointing out that the conservative pastors have a right to express their opinion, too.

The whole point of the forum is to start the conversation, said Christie Austin, president of Catawba Valley Pride, a local LGBT advocacy group.

“If we can make just one LGBT person feel like that they are okay, that who they are is who they are, then they are okay,” said Austin.

“We are the same as our heterosexual counterparts,” she said, “We put our pants on the same way and are basically the same.”