Afghan Christians Face Threat of Severe Persecution (UCN 9.9.21)

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According to CBN News, As President Biden plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, some religious freedom watchdogs are sounding a warning about how Christians will face severe persecution once the U.S. military leaves the country, especially if the withdrawal is anything like the fiasco in Afghanistan. Rev. Johnnie Moore, the president of the Congress of Christian Leaders and a former commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, along with conservative host Glenn Beck are sending a warning to Christians in the Middle East. Beck shared part of Moore’s interview on Twitter where he asked Moore, “Should we be trying to convince those people…get out right now. Is this a time for a clarion call for all Christians in the Middle East?” Moore explained, “I’m always hesitant to say ‘Get out right now.’ But these are decisions for these people to make. But I’m telling you, if I were sitting there in northern Iraq, watching the exact same people in Washington, D.C. do the exact same thing with another country. And Glenn, everyone seems to have forgotten that Joe Biden said on July 27… just a few weeks ago that he wants all of the U.S. soldiers out of Iraq too, by the end of the year. So if I’m a Christian or Yazidi or another threatened community sitting in Iraq, yeah I would be getting out of there as quickly as I could. The fact of the matter is we could see it all over again,” Moore added. “But once this genie is out of the bottle, you thought ISIS was bad five or six years ago, you haven’t seen anything yet.”

According to PEOPLE magazine, A Detroit couple died within hours of each other earlier this week after contracting COVID-19. Their health issues began in mid-August, when Troy Green, 44, felt too unwell to go on a family trip to Florida, according to Fox 2 News. Two days after arriving in Florida, his wife Charletta, also 44, was hospitalized with COVID-19 — and Troy was hospitalized back home the following day. Troy’s sister, Tiki Green, told the outlet that the pair were unvaccinated, but had been considering getting the shot before they fell ill. While Troy’s health eventually seemed to improve, things took a turn after he learned of his wife’s worsening condition. “Her lungs were severely damaged and … they just couldn’t do any more for her,” Green told Fox 2 News. “When he realized that his wife, you know, maybe [was] not getting better, after he hears she’s on a ventilator and she’s on it 100 percent constantly, he just basically couldn’t take that. He just started having chest pains and eventually a couple of hours later he passed.” Troy died from a heart attack on Tuesday, hours after his wife died in Florida. The pair, childhood sweethearts who had been married for 22 years, leave behind seven children, the youngest of whom is 10 years old. A GoFundMe created to help cover funeral expenses has raised over $5,000 as of Friday.

According to CNN, Florida’s 1st District Court on Friday reinstated a stay on mask mandates in schools, blocking local school requirements for now, court documents show. Lawyers for Gov. Ron DeSantis filed the emergency appeal after a judge ruled on Wednesday that the state must stop its enforcement of a mask ban. The latest court ruling comes amid a showdown between the state and some local school districts that have insisted on requiring students to wear masks as Covid-19 infections surge. On August 27, Second Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled against DeSantis, allowing Florida schools to institute mask mandates while the case was appealed at a higher level. Cooper ruled that DeSantis had overreached when he issued an executive order in late July directing the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health to issue emergency rules giving parents a choice on whether their children should wear masks in class. The state threatened to withhold funding from districts that violated the order and required masks, but 13 Florida school districts have implemented mask mandates without a parental opt-out, in defiance of the governor. DeSantis tweeted he was not surprised by Friday’s ruling. “The 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children. I will continue to fight for parents’ rights,” he added.

According to Mission Network News, Persecution is taking a toll in northern Nigeria. Pastors in Plateau state tell Morningstar News they’re burying church members on a near-daily basis. Twelve children were burned beyond recognition in the latest attack on a Christian village. Last month, Fulani herdsmen killed 36 believers between August 4 and August 28. “I’ve talked to leaders and they say, ‘We used to go out for a meeting and if we had to travel across the country, we would be fearing for our safety,'” Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada says. “Now they’re saying, ‘We’re fearful even in our own homes.'” Attacks like this often leave believers without food or shelter. Believers have suffered tremendously in the past 15 years. Islamic militant groups Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen are working together to purge Nigeria of Christians. According to persecution watchdog Open Doors, “more Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country.” Nonetheless, hope remains. “It’s a difficult situation each and every day. They’re living under constant fear and threat. But it doesn’t stop believers from sharing the message of Jesus with their Muslim neighbors,” Musselman says. “They (Christians) feel so vulnerable, but in many cases, [believers say], ‘We’ve got nowhere else to go, our family is here. Their only hope is God, and [that He will] protect them. That’s how we need to be praying for them – that they don’t get overcome by fear, and they would be able to live peaceful lives.”

According to NBC News, Two teenagers were arrested Thursday after authorities said they plotted to commit a mass shooting at a Florida middle school. The 13- and 14-year-old boys were charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting after a student told a teacher that one of them had a gun in his backpack Wednesday at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres, about 15 miles east of Fort Myers, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said during a press conference. “This could have been the next Parkland massacre, but we stopped them in the planning stages,” Marceno said, referring to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. Marceno continued: “We were one second away from a Columbine here. I’m certain that my team of dedicated deputies and detectives acted promptly, investigated thoroughly and prevented a very violent and dangerous act from being carried out.” Investigators searched an eighth grader’s bag after they were tipped off, but did not find a gun, the sheriff’s office said. Instead deputies found a map of where the school’s security cameras were located. An investigation determined that the teens were allegedly studying the April 20, 1999, Columbine massacre that was planned by two troubled students who murdered a dozen classmates and a teacher before they killed themselves, Marceno said. Authorities also accused the teens of trying to learn how to construct pipe bombs and how to buy firearms off the black market. Deputies executed search warrants at both students’ homes and found a gun and several knives, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Over 100 students walked out of their Friday morning classes at Colleyville Heritage High School to show their support of James Whitfield, the high school’s first Black principal who was placed on paid administrative leave last month. They want answers from school administrators as to why Whitfield is on leave. Students carried signs and wrote “We stand with Dr. Whitfield” in chalk on the sidewalks at the high school. They also marched around the school chanting, “Dr. Whitfield’s here to stay.” Sunehra Chowdhury, a senior at Colleyville Heritage who helped organize the walkout, said she and other students are not backing down or giving up on supporting Whitfield. She said the school board has contributed to the criticism and hostility toward Whitfield and his family. At issue are claims that Whitfield introduced critical race theory to Colleyville Heritage, which Whitfield has denied. Whitfield could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. However, Whitfield retweeted his attorney David Henderson who told WFAA that the superintendent will recommend during Monday’s board meeting that the principal’s contract should not be renewed.

According to the New York Daily News, An initial cause of death has been determined for the 6-year-old girl who died Sunday night at a Glenwood Springs, Colo., adventure park. The girl, identified Wednesday as Wongel Estifano, suffered “multiple blunt force injuries” on the Haunted Mine Drop ride at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, according to the Garfield County Coroner’s Office. Officials have still not revealed how the girl sustained the injuries or what happened on the ride. Glenwood Caverns employees performed first aid until paramedics from the Glenwood Springs Fire Department arrived at the park and pronounced the girl, who had been on vacation with her family from Colorado Springs, dead. A family friend wrote on a GoFundMe page, “Wongel was a beautiful, caring, and cheerful girl who loves Jesus so much for a 6 year old girl. Her life was cut short in this tragic accident.” The park, which was originally supposed to reopen Wednesday, will now be closed until at least Friday.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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