Friday, April 13, 2012

12 Christians in Iran await verdicts after Easter Sunday apostasy trial

By Lisa Daftari, April 11, 2012, Foxnews

Twelve Christians stood trial Easter Sunday in Iran, where they were called "apostates" in a courtroom and tried on multiple charges, according to sources close to Iran's Christian community. The Christians had been acquitted on the same charges, including "crimes against the order," a year ago in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea. The group was first arrested when authorities found them drinking wine while taking communion, according to sources. "It ultimately illustrates that being a Christian is illegal in Iran. No matter how clear or how open a pastor and a church may be, Christians are being brought to trial just for being Christian," said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advocacy group who is in daily contact with the Evangelical Christian community in Iran. No verdict has yet been issued in the case. The attorney for the group, prominent human rights advocate Mohammad Ali Dadkhah -- who also represents Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor charged with apostasy and sentenced to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity -- was not able to attend Sunday's court appearance, according to sources who said his flight from Tehran was fogged in. The 12 represented themselves to the judge. "Their defense was that they were performing religious rituals that are protected by law," DeMars said. Though the Iranian constitution grants protection to religious minorities born into religions, such as Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews, over the last year and a half individuals in these minority communities have reported increased pressure and clashes with government officials and Revolutionary Guards as their influence continues to mount throughout the country. But converting, or more specifically, the act of turning from Islam, can be punishable by death. To leave the Islamic faith or to attempt to convert others away from the faith warrants capital punishment under Shariah Law. Among the 12 are community leader the Rev. Matthias Haghnejad and his wife, Anahita Khadeimi. The others are Mahmoud Khosh-Hal and his wife, Hava Saadetmend, Amir Goldoust, Mina Goldoust, Zhaina Bahremand, Fatemah Modir-Nouri, Mehrdad Habibzade, Milad Radef, Behzad Taalipasand and Amin Pishkar. They stood trial in a court in Rasht, the same province where Nadarkhani was charged and has been held for more than two years. This latest crackdown comes as a surprise since Iran's regime had scaled back after coming under international pressure regarding the case of Nadarkhani over the last few months. Nadarkhani, now 34, converted to Christianity at 19 and came under the regime's radar a few times as a result of his participation in his church and Christian community. He was arrested once and released and then arrested again in 2009 and found guilty of apostasy. The court gave Nadarkhani a chance to recant and return to Islam, but he refused. In February, he was sentenced to death, and the news of this verdict brought about heavy international backlash against the regime. As advocacy groups across the globe continue to petition for his release, Nadarkhani is being held in prison and the execution order still remains. This most recent probe on Iran's Christian community and subsequent trial on the Easter holiday come as the Christian community, particularly those converted from Islam, reports a surge in government retaliation coinciding with a growing popularity in conversions to Christianity. "There are a lot of people who are disgruntled with the government and many for comfort and peace in their lives are turning to Christianity. That's a threat to the regime," DeMars said. "The more people who turn from Islam, the fewer people the regime has on its side." Presently, there are more than 100,000 Evangelical Christians in Iran, according to conservative estimates. Many believe that number is significantly higher, as there is no accurate way to account for underground churches. Read more:

Persian Christians

Persians are not Semitic. They are actually related to the Romans and Germans-and not the Arabs. The word Iran is derived from Aryan, which originally meant the "Indo-European" stock, before Hitler tainted the meaning of this word. It is interesting that the new book on the history of the Aramaic Church of the East includes information about the Persian Christians. The Church of the East is Aramaic speaking, however many of its members spoke many languages. An important cross found in India has a Pahlavi inscription. (Pahlavi writing system, as adopted to render various Middle Iranian languages.) The history of the Persian Church (a part of the so-called "Nestorian") ancient Church of the East is explored in "The Martyred Church" and "Church of the East" a coffee-table book by Christoph Baumer. I have included a picture of the Pahlavi Cross on the cover of this newsletter. I recently did a presentation on the Jewish festival of Purim (it is on You Tube). Because of the evil Mullah regime certain people want to demonize all of Persia. I said look at the Bible-the Persians are portrayed as the good guys overall in the Bible. The book of Isaiah calls the Persian king Cyrus a "Messiah." The Great Courses now has "The Persian Empire" by Professor John W. I. Lee available. I have studied the Babylonians and the ancient Assyrians to a lesser degree. Hopefully, they will have classes available on the Assyrians and Babylonians soon. The Persians were a great civilization. I think they should not have fought with the Greeks-but you shouldn't demonize and entire great civilization for one error.

The Hunger Games: An Attack on the War Effort

The media has been telling people to go watch "The Hunger Games." At the same time, the media has told people not the go watch the movie "John Carter." The Hunger Games is a mediocre movie. John Carter was a good movie, much better than the anti-war, anti-American "Avatar." The Hunger Games has made a lot of money-John Carter was not a hit but did okay (But lost money-because of its huge budget.) I have a problem with "The Hunger Games." It is based on a children's book. The author, Suzanne Collins, wrote it as an attack on the Iraq War and the media promoting and sensationalizing the war. It was first published on September 14, 2008, by Scholastic, in hardcover. It is written in the voice of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, holds hegemony over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive. Collins says that the inspiration to write The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the invasion of Iraq. The two "began to blur in this very unsettling way" and the idea for the book was formed. The Greek myth of Theseus served as the basis for the story, with Collins describing Katniss as a futuristic Theseus, and that Roman gladiatorial games formed the framework. The images of children killing each other-and bashing brains out with bricks for instance, can be seen in the movie and are very disturbing and unsuitable viewing for children-but the media is really pushing the Hunger Games hard. (I don't know why they had it out for "John Carter." They want every one to watch a movie showing children brutally killing each other, but don't want people to see the entertaining movie John Carter, that has a good story and amazing special effects.) The idea of the War on Terror as children dying senselessly is absurd. There is a real threat from Islamist terror and our soldiers are gallant heroes protecting us and making the world a safer place. This is a necessary war. Collins would have us believe that the Government is sending children to die needlessly. (The idea is that there is no real enemy. The true enemy is the government which is sending children to their deaths for no real reason.) The "Hunger Games" is ridiculous and viciously anti-American, anti-Military heroes propaganda. Also, the News Media and Hollywood have done everything in their power to undermine the war effort and turn the public against the war. Hollywood made many crappy anti-war movies-during the war-in my opinion sedition and treason. I think that during the war-the government has the right to stop such sedition. Movies such as Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Stop Loss, the Green Zone, on and on, all flops but Hollywood kept on churning them out. Collins premise that the media is behind the war and promoting it is also ridiculous. This woman has a weak grasp on reality and is brainwashing children with anti-war propaganda and entertaining children with images of small children stabbing and hacking each other to death. It is troubling and disturbing. Especially the scene of children using bricks to bash each others brains out-which is shown in the film. The media did want us to go to Somalia and into Bosnia and to Kosovo (in Bosnia and Kosovo-driving Christians from their land and giving Christian territory to Islamic control). But the media doesn't want us fighting against Islamic terror. Collins is part of the Media-Government Complex. As a veteran who served in Iraq twice-I find Collins transparent mischaracterization of the war effort and her distortions of the historical reality (although she does it in fiction) deeply offensive.

North Korea

North Korea is launching an inter-continental ballistic missile ostensibly to launch a satellite. Experts say that the missile could reach the United States. North Korea says that its missile program is for peaceful purposes and not military. I saw the newscaster say that "we will have to wait and see." Wait and see for what-a mushroom cloud over the United States? Obviously, MacArthur was right and Truman was wrong. Let us pray for peace. (The missile exploded two minutes after the launch, praise God.)

The Agenda: Grinding America Down

When Idaho Legislator Curtis Bowers wrote a "letter to the editor" about the drastic changes in America's culture, it became the feature story on the evening news, people protested at the Capitol, and for weeks the local newspapers were filled with responses. He realized then... he'd hit on something. Ask almost anyone and you'll hear, "Communism is dead! The Berlin Wall came down." Thought the word communism isn't used anymore, this film will show the ideas behind it are alive and well. Join Bowers for a fascinating look at the people and groups that have successfully targeted America's morality and freedom in their effort to grind America down. It's a well documented AGENDA.
This film shows how the left has worked to undermine traditional American values and our culture by taking control of our education system and dumbing down our children. They're taught a false history of our country and combined with a sewer culture and a lying, left dominated media, when they reach voting age, they're primed for a malignant megalomaniac narcissist like O to step into their lives. Their first objective is to take GOD out of our lives and the movie clearly shows how it has been done. This is a movie every American needs to see. The country is clearly at a fork in the road. Do we continue down the 1960's road or go back to what the Founding Fathers were trying to do.

Objection to mural sparks political correctness debate School censors students "objectionable" art

The theme of the offensive painting was the journey of a man's life from elementary school to graduation to marriage to a woman and fatherhood. The mural was offensive because it depicted the man married. The seventeen year old artist (Liz Bierenday at Pilgrim High School LA) was forced to paint over the offensive images. (Actually the janitor painted over the image.) What the school found particularly offensive was the religious overtones. (Seen in the"Wedding Rings"!) The "traditional family" was determined to be offensive. The offensive theme was the wedding ring implying wedding in the Christian or Catholic tradition. Democrats force Christians to pay for art depicting the Virgin Mary made up of pornographic images and covered with manure, Jesus being eaten by ants on the cross, Jesus engaging in homosexual sex acts with his Twelve Apostles, and a crucifix submerged in urine (all supported by the tax payer financed National Endowment of the Arts) and accuse Christians of "censorship" when they complain about being forced to pay for such "art"-but they censor an "offensive" image of the traditional "nuclear" family. The Liberal's Attack on Christianity Marines fight to protect crosses at Camp Pendleton as atheist groups seek removal By Adam Housley
Published April 12, 2012

Planted atop a remote hill in the middle of California's Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base rests two 13-foot crosses. Originally erected back in 2003 by seven Marines grieving over lives lost in the war on terror, this site originally established for reflection has now become grounds for controversy. "It's not a religious spot at all, it's a place for the Marines to grieve and to grow to let go of their burdens of what they had in their soul, so they can go back down that hill and back into battle and put their own lives on the line," says Marine widow Karen Mendoza. Her husband Ray was one of those original seven who climbed the hill that day, three of whom have since been killed in action, including Ray. "It's a symbol of sacrifice regardless of what you think, pray, like or don't like," says Karen. Over time the site has become a bit more permanent. A wildfire destroyed the original cross a few years back, so Marines and widows carried these two new versions up the hill. Now two symbols are at the end of a brutal 3,000-foot hike that begins at an area of the base called Camp Horno and ends at the top of a ridge line that overlooks vast openness in one direction and the glistening Pacific Ocean in the other. Here the crosses are blanketed in symbols of valor, sorrow and festivity. You'll see Purple Heart medals, pictures, books, messages, mementos from deployments around the globe and even a bottle or can of the fallen's favorite liquor...all left in remembrance. But the area has become controversial and more known after a newspaper report last fall detailed the location and posted a picture. In response, several groups filed complaints with Marines arguing the site violated the Constitutional mandate of separation of church and state, including the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers or MAAF. They want the crosses moved to a church on private land and flags or some other symbol used instead to mark the site. Read more: I have no doubt that, unless we have a change of administration this year-we will see a full scale attack on Christianity by the United States Government. It has already begun. We have already seen it at the Veteran's Cemetery in Houston. Obama appointee Arleen Ocasio reportedly told volunteers with the National Memorial Ladies that they had to stop telling families "God bless you" at funerals and that they had to remove the words "God bless" from condolence cards. Ocasio ordered Pastor Rainey who was officiating at a private funeral from using the words "Jesus Christ" in his invocation. At the VA cemetery the Obama administration censors sermons and tells people how they can pray and tells them that it is forbidden to use "religious language." So much for religious freedom! Sadly, this is what is going on in America now…Liberals declare war on motherhood and the home Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen attacked Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for her choice to be a stay-at-home mother. " Rosen sparked a firestorm of criticism by suggesting Wednesday evening on CNN that Romney was not qualified to help her husband on the campaign trail address women's issues. "Guess what, (Romney's) wife has actually never worked a day in her life," said Rosen, who has twins with ex-partner Elizabeth Birch. "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys," tweeted Romney, a 64-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 16. "Believe me, it was hard work." While raising her children, Mrs. Romney battled her breast cancer and her being afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis. I DO NOT endorse Romney for President of the United States. I think he is a left-wing extremist. However, I believe it is deplorable to see spokespeople for the Democrat Party attacking the family and the home. Once the radical Democrats oppress American Christians, especially Evangelicals, there will be no one to help defend the persecuted Christians around the world. Where are the moderate Democrats? Why don't they fight for their party to take it back from the Left Wing Extremists who now run it? I am not a Republican. The Republican Party has become a worthless and pathetic political party. The two party system is failing America. I love my country and I feel that it is so sad to see what this country is coming to. I want to leave this country. I may go to Malta which is a devout Semitic Christian nation. I don't want to have any part in what this country is becoming. The choice for America this year seems to be between a Left-winger and a Marxist. It is sad that we don't really have any good choices and are stuck with supporting the lesser of two evils.

Juliana the Assyrian faces criticism!

Juliana Taimoorazy of Iraqi Christian Relief put together a good presentation about the history of the Aramaic Christians and the persecution that they now endure. Please watch:

Here is some criticism she received for her passionate video: "Ok, I'm less than 5 minutes into her tape and already having huge problems. None of the stuff she's holding up as admirable actually is. Hammurabi's laws were totally unjust. Ninevah had a world-wide reputation for evil and that's why Jonah really didn't want to go there. Mosul, it's current name, is still incredibly evil. The first nation who accepted Christ? Come on! What kind of fantasy is that? God established his people by calling Abram OUT OF Ur. The image on the flag is one I've seen on Ancient Aliens (part of my stupid tv watching) as evidence of their theory which is really just early demonic visitations. Jesus sent the king of Odessa a face cloth and a letter? In which gospel is that recorded? She may be a really nice lady and a totally sincere Christian, but this is just way too many red flags for me."
My response for Juliana> Hmmm, I don't know how she gets off saying Mosul is evil. Very odd-as is her condemnation of Hammurabi's law code. I don't agree with her-but I think we should consider some of her concerns. I can see her problem with the god on the flag-you probably shouldn't point that out. Certain religious people could be offended by it. Perhaps in a lecture-you can say that the Ninevites repented from their sins and that Jesus praised the Ninevites for their faith. That way, in attacking the Ninevites she is going against what Jesus said-that would cause her to pause. As far as first Christians and the face cloth-you could say "Eusebius, who is called "the Father of Church history" and wrote in 325 AD mentions how the Assyrians first received the gospel from Thaddeus and Thomas..." That way it comes from a reputable source and she can look it up herself. We have to consider our audience. There are problems with the Assyrian community-and their are also some problems with the Evangelical and "church people" audience too-some can be quick to judge and can be close-minded. You can say that the Garden of Eden was in Iraq-and that God sent his prophets-to Iraq-Daniel, Ezekiel and others. So, God brought people to Iraq-instead of jut sending them out. It was God's will for the people to come to Iraq. Ur was an advanced civilization. Knowing about Ur helps us to understand the world of Abraham. Her comment is too dismissive. We have to preservere-sometimes criticism is totally wrong and should be ignored. Sometimes criticism can be wrong but a distraction to our goals-and we should tailor our presentation to avoid un-necessary arguments. How can we focus on what is essential-create interest and not be put off focus needlessly? What we do is do our best-consider criticism and refine our delivery. I thought her presentation was fantastic. I have a habit sometimes of going on the attack when I am unfairly attacked or criticized-as you have been here. But sometimes we need to consider the motivation. Her motivation is wrong. BUT other Christians may think in similar manners and could be put off as she was. We should be aware of the mentality-and try to win them over anyway. We need to find how we can speak to them in their language. I probably offend people by discussing the decline of the United States. I don't care-the issue is too important. And I am not ashamed that I believe in Jesus Christ, freedom of religion and speech and traditional morality. I am not ashamed that I oppose the Islamic persecution of Christians around the world-and I am not afraid to discuss it. The radical left is polarizing the country. Battle-lines are being drawn. Everyone will have to choose soon-if they oppose Christianity, as the left does, or if they will choose to follow Christ. Soon, the leftists who control this country will create the environment here in America in which Christians in the Roman Empire found themselves and the situation that Coptic Christians and Aramaic Christians face in their homelands now. Persecution. The only way it can be stopped is if we fight back-which means talking about what is now (but shouldn't be) controversial. (Such as whether or not it is offensive to get married and have children, which certain Democrats DO find offensive-see above.)

I want to continue some of my observations about culture studies

As continued from last edition. The idea is that we cannot really understand a culture unless we are born into it. This seems to me to be in actuality an attempt to shield Muslims from criticism. What westerners have problems with is Coptic and Aramaic Christians being slaughtered, women being stoned to death and people being killed for questioning Islam. Now, people read fantasy such as Star Trek. In it there are Romulans, Klingons and Vulcans. These are fictional species. However, people understand and admire these artificial cultures. Certain people learn the Klingon language and dress in Klingon attire. The same is true with Middle Earth. People understand hobbits and elves-which don't really exist. We can also understand people of the past and their literature-such as the Odyssey and the Iliad and Greek myths. British culture is different from American culture and yet many Americans love the British soap opera Downton Abbey. Why is it that people can understand ancient civilizations, other civilizations such as European civilization, and people can understand fictional civilizations and fantasy civilizations-but we cannot understand Islamic civilization unless we are born into it? However, when a person converts to Islam they will be instructed in certain important beliefs-to ensure that the former Christian no longer believes in the trinity for instance. This betrays the fact that the beliefs of Islam can be studied and understood and learned by someone from a non-Muslim culture. So, the idea that someone cannot understand a different culture is obviously untrue. Besides that, Muslims often criticize Western Civilization. Shouldn't it work both ways-I mean if a westerner cannot understand Muslim culture because their culture is so different and therefore shouldn't judge it-then wouldn't it be true that someone from a Muslim culture cannot truly understand Christian civilization-and therefore shouldn't judge it either? We should study different cultures, endeavor to understand them and then analyze them-what are their strengths and weaknesses-and we should look at our own culture as well and do the same. Killing Assyrians is unjust and must be stopped. At the same time, in American culture, abortion and the attack on marriage and the family coming from Democrats is also unjust and both must be stopped.

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