Billboard that says ‘Jesus is Muslim’ upsets some groups

A group plans to protest near a North Side billboard carrying messages about the Islamic faith.  Protesters are specifically opposed to the message “Jesus is Muslim” that some recently saw on the billboard on Cleveland Avenue. The message did not appear on the billboard this afternoon, however.  The messages placed by the Ask a Muslim organization also list the group’s website.

Continue reading.

Pope says ‘no Middle East without Christians’

AFP – Pope Francis on Thursday said the Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, who often find themselves forced to flee areas of conflict and unrest in the region.  “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” he said after meeting with patriarchs from Syria, Iran and Iraq, before calling for “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practise one’s own faith to be respected.”  The political upheaval that has swept the Arab world over the past three years has led to a rise of radical Islam, leaving minority Christians feeling threatened and sometimes forcing them to emigrate.  Francis said he had spoken to the patriarchs about “those who live in the Middle East, often in small flocks, in environments marked by hostility and conflicts” and “the size of the diaspora, which is notably growing.”  He said he was concerned by “the situation of Christians, who suffer in a particularly severe way the consequences of tensions and conflicts in many parts of the Middle East.”  “Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land sometimes overflow with tears,” he said.

Continue reading.

Christian Israeli-Arab wants to build Rio-style Jesus statue near Nazareth

Bishara Shlayan, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, is hoping to build a huge statue of Jesus on Mount Precipice, near his home city.  Shlayan told The Jerusalem Post in an interview that he has already begun fund-raising for the project and that he is getting positive feedback from the Israeli Arab Christian community as well as some Jews.  He sees the statue as being similar to but larger than the huge Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Shlayan is also looking to found a Christian Arab political party, which he says is still being sorted out, but has settled on the name “Bnei Habrit [Allies of the Covenant], the Christian party of Israel.”  The party would support Israel as a Jewish state and national or army service for Arabs.  “I created the Bnei Habrit party and now I have created the Diglei Habrit [Flags of the Covenant] organization,” in order to carry out the statue project, he said.  Mount Precipice, also known as Mount Kedumim, is believed by some to be the place where the people of Nazareth attempted to push Jesus off the mountain after rejecting him as the messiah. In the end he was able to jump off and disappeared, according to Christian tradition.

Continue reading.

Was Jesus’ Brother’s Burial Box Vandalized?

A limestone box said to have once held the bones of the brother of Jesus was at the center of the most controversial forgery case in decades — and it was allegedly vandalized by the Israeli government before being returned to its owner.  Called the James ossuary, it is a small stone box with an inscription that reads, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”  That Jesus had a sibling at all is a controversial idea disputed by the Roman Catholic Church. If the box itself were authentic, it would be considered the first physical link to Jesus.  A three-judge panel of Israeli Supreme Court justices ordered the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) to return the box and several other artifacts to antiquities collector Oded Golan last month, after the agency spent 10 years accusing Golan of forging the items.  The box will soon go on display for the public to view for the first time since 2002. There’s just one problem: Reddish stains now appear over the inscription, remnants of a silicon substance applied by the Israel Police Forensics Laboratory to help determine the authenticity of the James ossuary.

Continue reading.

Suicide bomb attack kills 75 at Pakistan church

Pak Church Bombed

 

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Two explosions outside a crowded church in northwest Pakistan just as Sunday services ended killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 100, authorities said, one of Pakistan’s worst attacks against Christians in years.  While officials placed the death toll at more than 60, humanitarian organizations reported handling at least 75 corpses. [Updated, 7:35 a.m. PDT Sept. 22: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Home Secretary Akhtar Ali Shah now said in his latest statement that the official death toll had reached 75.The dead and injured, including women, children and police officers, overwhelmed the emergency ward of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, the city’s largest hospital, where television footage showed hallways filled with corpses, badly wounded patients and women and children crying over the charred bodies of relatives. Many bodies were in such bad shape they could not be easily identified, doctors said.

Continue reading.

The Disastrous Campaign to Rid the Middle East of Christianity

Egyptian Coptic Christian holds cross during a demonstration outside Egyptian embassy in AthensAs I write, the city of Maaloula in Syria has become a ghost town after being briefly occupied by members of the al Qaeda–linked jihadist group al-Nusra Front. Conflicting reports claim that al-Nusra fighters have desecrated churches and statues in what may be one of the oldest Christian cities in the world, a place where residents still speak Aramaic, the language presumably spoken by Jesus.

Sadly, the experience of Maaloula’s residents is becoming all too common in the Middle East, where examples of brutality against Christians have been mounting in recent weeks. In Egypt, the coup against President Mohamed Morsi was followed by a wave of Islamist pogroms against Christians in which 42 churches were attacked, 37 were burned or looted, and an untold number of Christians were assaulted or killed.

Continue reading.

All Over America Evangelical Christians Are Being Labeled As “Extremists” And “Hate Groups”

Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?  Once upon a time such a notion would have been unthinkable, but these days things are changing dramatically.  All over the United States, evangelical Christians are being called “extremists” and evangelical Christian organizations are being labeled as “hate groups”.  In fact, as I will detail later on in this article, a U.S. Army Reserve training presentation recently specifically identified evangelical Christians as “religious extremists”.

Continue reading.