China: house pastor sentenced to one year in ‘re-education’ camp

Rock Church Pastor Dou ordered to serve time for ‘illegal religious activities’

HENAN, CHINA (ANS) — A Chinese House Church pastor and his wife have been sentenced to one year of re-education through labor for “engaging in illegal religious activities,” according to ChinaAid.

Pastor Dou and Feng Lu are being represented by attorney Li Dunyong, who has traveled to Zhengzhou city to make an appeal, according to ChinaAid, which is a Christian human rights ministry.

In a media release ChinaAid stated:

“While Pastor Dou Shaowen is imprisoned at the labor camp, officials released Feng Lu on the evening of June 25. Authorities have permitted Feng Lu to serve her sentence at home, in order to care for their 12- year-old daughter. She is required to report to the Public Security Bureau regularly, and could be sent to labor camp again if she is found ‘engaging in illegal religious activities’ again.”

Pastor Dou Shaowen and his wife Feng Lu were arrested on June 14, when several dozen officials from Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of Religion and Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of State broke into the church’s Sunday worship service, according to ChinaAid.

The media release continues:

“Officials forcibly photographed and videotaped the more than 100 Christians present, cut off the electricity and forced the Christians to leave. Finally, the authorities posted sealing tape from the Bureau of Religion, sealing off all the worship areas of Rock Church. Five other Christians, Li Zhemin, Wei Jianhua, Zhang Julin, Ma Jianbo and Li Cuiying were arrested with Pastor Dou and Feng Lu. Each of the five were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention and were forced to pay a 800-900 yuan fine.”

Those concerned about this sentence are being asked to contact Zhengzhou city authorities to ask for the immediate release of Pastor Dou Shaowen and Feng Lu, and the five Christians sentenced to administrative detention.

Zhengzhou Mayor Tel +86-371-12345 Mayor’s E-mail: mayor(@)zhengzhou.gov.cn
Zhengzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau office to report phone +86-371-66228710
Zhengzhou City, People’s Procuratorate +86-371- 68985078
Zhengzhou Intermediate People’s Court reported Phone +86-371-68983950
Jin-shui County Government +86-371-3526200
Henan People’s Radio Station +86-371-65723998
Zhengzhou People’s Broadcasting Station +86-371- 68982487
Henan TV +86-371-65723657
Zhengzhou television +86-371-68982886

Please contact: Katherine(@)ChinaAid.org with questions or requests for further information.

Article originally published by ASSIST News Service. Reported by Michael Ireland.

CBS News Editors Appear to Support Marijuana Legalization

What happened to editorial judgment? Guest columnists have been around forever, but does that mean an editor has to publish every piece of garbage submitted?

CBS News online headline: “Make Marijuana Legal”

What other conclusion can be drawn from one of today’s CBS News online headlines? What other connection can we make from the opinion piece that leads with: “Marijuana should never have been made illegal in the first place.”

Should we just give the news giant a pass for publishing a column that advocates weed so strongly?

Now, I know it’s politically correct to include pro-pothead opinion in normal discourse. To openly talk about the legalization of the hippie lettuce is cool…and everything. Heck, what’s wrong with a little medicinal spleef? Right?

However, I’m asking the same question Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough asked on their radio show, “Why has the legalization of weed resurfaced to such a magnitude?”

Could it be….LIBERALS in power?

I don’t like to name-call, even if we are simply talking about the weed people, but let’s call our Mary Jane for what it really is…I mean, like they said in the nearly half-century old commerical, “Why do you think they call it dope?”

Now, you CBS editors who see nothing wrong with partaking in the bud, where are your journalistic skills and integrity? Lost in a haze of smoke and scattered potato chips?

You could have made it look as though you were simply throwing a bone to the weed people, instead you gave them a fatty headline…btw, did you see your URL tab tag? “Make Marijuana Legal – CBS News.”

Sorry, too late, you’ve already shown your true color…something along the line of Kona Gold.

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ADD: Perhaps I should have toned down my sensationalism in writing this piece yesterday. I’ve noticed today that CBSNews.com ran an anti-weed piece by Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough.

Common Sense Says, “No Thanks!”

However, the headline is not as clear and action orientated. (You weed people will get the “Sense” part). Nevertheless, to the CBS News editors credit…they ran the counterpoint piece! My apologies.

Here, here…for “America doesn’t want its pot… American potheads do!

To Brittany McComb, We Are Your Microphone!

The U.S. Supreme Court and government officials are about to find out that the result of a shut off microphone during high school valedictorian Brittany McComb’s speech and testimony to Jesus is a voice louder than anyone can imagine.

Rutherford Institute to Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of High School Valedictorian Censored, Silenced for Referencing Christ

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.
— (The Rutherford Institute) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed the First Amendment case of a high school valedictorian whose microphone was turned off after she began speaking about the importance of religion in her life during her graduation speech.

In issuing an unpublished decision in the case, the Court ruled that school officials did not violate the First Amendment rights of Brittany McComb when they cut off her microphone. McComb, who is currently studying at Oxford University, plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court with the help of The Rutherford Institute.
brittany censored

“This is a very important free speech case that will affect the rights of all persons across America,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “If government officials can extinguish speech by turning off microphones at public assemblies, then none of us will have any rights.”

In the spring of 2006, Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians chosen based on their grade-point averages to give a speech at Foothill High School’s annual commencement ceremony. Each valedictorian was provided with “suggestions” for crafting their speeches. However, school officials neither encouraged nor forbade the students to include or exclude religious content from their speeches. In her speech, Brittany reflected on past experiences and lessons learned at school and wrote about the emptiness she experienced from accomplishments, achievements, and failures in her early high school years. She then mentioned the fulfillment and satisfaction she later came to experience in something greater than herself, namely, in God’s love, and Christ.

Upon receiving a copy of Brittany’s draft speech, school administrators proceeded to censor her speech, deleting all three Bible references, several references to “the Lord” and the only mention of the word “Christ.” Believing that the district’s censorship of her speech amounted to a violation of her right to free speech, on June 15, 2006, Brittany attempted to deliver the original version of her speech in which she talked about the role that her Christian beliefs played in her success. The moment Brittany began to speak the words, school officials cut off her microphone. Despite extensive jeers from the audience over the school officials’ actions, McComb was not permitted to finish her valedictory speech.

With the assistance of The Rutherford Institute, Brittany McComb filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Foothill High School officials in July 2006. In June 2007, the U.S. District Court for Nevada rejected the school district’s second attempt to have the case dismissed and affirmed that the lawsuit raises substantial claims of infringement of McComb’s right of free speech. School officials subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeals to have the case dismissed.

source: The Rutherford Institute News

image source: The REBELution
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BLOGGERS FOR BRITTANY MCCOMB


Colorado Right: Liberal Free Speech Suppression

Sunlit Uplands: Christian Valedictorian Case Headed for Supreme Court
Rosemary’s Thoughts: Valedictorian’s Free Speech To Be Defended
Freedomthirst: Don’t Say That Name!

Related:
Free speech ‘gutted’ in valedictorian speech case, http://bit.ly/415kH

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Light Overcoming Dark in Congo, Africa

On the international news front, this story of the horrific violence in the Republic of Congo also includes the story of hope found in Camille and Esther Ntoto, field supervisors for Light of Africa Network.
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Camille and Esther Ntoto

In Democratic Republic of Congo, Rape Leaves Horrifying Trail Violence against women used as instrument of war

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA — (ASSIST News Service) Sifa fled from the fields near her village after she heard the sounds of the screaming and commotion. By the time she reached Kiwanja and her mother’s tearful embrace, she had already been raped by soldiers on a dirt road. Compounding the ordeal, her father died in the assault.

“We want women and girls to talk about the sexual violence,” says Esther Ntoto, who serves with her husband Camille as field coordinators for Light of Africa Network.

Over 5.4 million have died as a result of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which some have termed “Africa’s World War.” This makes it the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, with a death toll exceeding Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur in Sudan.

Beginning in 1998, the conflict has involved seven foreign armies. Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the mineral-rich eastern portion of the country. The prevalence and intensity of rape and other sexual violence in eastern Congo has been described as the worst in the world.

“One out of three women have been raped in the Eastern DRC,” according to Camille, citing figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some suffer from fistula, a medical condition resulting from a tear between the birth canal and anal cavity. “The soldiers finish their atrocious acts by shoving objects into their private parts, leaving these women in a very bad situation.” The shame resulting from their infertility or incontinence causes some to be shunned and cast out of their villages.

The mission of Light of Africa Network is inspired by Psalm 82:

“Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the hand of the wicked.”

The Ntotos live among the rape victims and disaster survivors, conducting Bible studies, individual counseling and prayer sessions. “The hospitals take care of the medical needs and their psychological counseling, but I thought it is also good to do Bible study,” Esther says. “We meet every other day and we also have prayer,” she says. “We have seen drastic changes in their countenances.”

Recently, Esther led a woman to the Lord at the hospital, only to discover she was missing the next day.

“Where is the lady who was here yesterday?” Esther inquired.

“She passed away last night,” one of the patients reported.

Esther felt hurt. How could the Lord take her so soon?

“Why are you sad…she’s with the Lord,” another patient said. “We couldn’t sleep last night because she was praising the Lord and singing all night long.”

The Ntotos are helping to raise funds for an empowerment center, which will serve as transitional housing while the women are rehabilitated. “They will learn skills at the center until they are able to stand on their feet,” Esther says.

Light of Africa Network is also partnering with other organizations to bring micro loans and micro financing to help sustain families. They gave one young boy named Fikiri a five-dollar micro loan, which he used to buy candies and tissues for resale. “Now he has a little store,” Camille reports, “and he’s only 13. When he has to go to school, his mother sells for him.”

Despite the peace accords signed six years ago, some 45,000 continue to die each month – many from the starvation and disease that results from violence. The Ntotos want to see more women testify about the violence perpetrated against women.

“They must break the silence,” Esther says, noting that a few brave women have stepped forward. “They want the war to stop, the violence to stop, and the perpetrators to be arrested,” she says.

Source: ASSIST News Service

Moment of Silence Survives in Texas

It’s a given that the Christian faith is under attack in the U.S. on many fronts. Secularists, agnostics, and atheists emboldened by the false understanding of what America’s forefathers meant by the separation of church and state have filed lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.

Students praying

By ALEXANDER
TheScroogeReport.com

So paranoid of a “Christian influence” are some of these groups, that suits are now filed at the mere whiff of anything even remotely spiritual.

I had no idea that moments of silence were now found to be objectionable as well. That is until I read today’s story in the Christian Post, Court Upholds Texas Moment of Silence Law as Constitutional.

A federal appeals court upheld on Monday a Texas law allowing students to observe a moment of silence at the beginning of each school day.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling, rejecting a North Texas couple’s claim that the moment of silence law, which took effect in 2003, was unconstitutional.

The panel ruled that the statute is “facially neutral between religious and non-religious activities that students can choose to engage in during the moment of silence.”

After the ruling, David Cortman, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case last year, stated, “A moment of silence is not a government endorsement of religion just because someone might use the time for prayer.

“No student is compelled to pray under the Texas law. The 5th Circuit was right to uphold the district court’s determination that the law is not an establishment of religion.”

Afraid of silence…

In 2006, David and Shannon Croft sued on behalf of their three children, who attend school in the Carrolton-Farmers Branch Independent School District. They argued that the 2003 amendment that specified the moment of silence as a time for students to “reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student” was an endorsement of prayer.

Better than Ritalin…

Texas Attorney General Abbott who maintained that the 2003 statute was constitutional, commented, “The United States Constitution plainly protects young Texans’ right to observe a moment of silence before school each morning.”

“In an age where children are bombarded with distractions, beginning each school day with a moment of silence offers a welcome moment of quiet contemplation,” he added.

To be intolerant of a moment of silence is lunacy. Perhaps some of us Americans need to take the iPod earplugs out of our ears, turn off the cell phone, get away from the TV, enter a quiet place and listen…someone may be calling you. May you find Him now!
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Tracking…

“Fast Forward post-election, the dust has settled, ACORN’s man won, and guess who is being summoned to help in the 2010 Census? ACORN. Yes you heard it right.” – The Liberal Heretic: The Census Has Officially Been Hijacked by the Left

UC Hastings College of the Law can deny recognition and funding to a Christian student group because it excludes gays, lesbians and non-Christians, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. – San Francisco Chronicle: Christian law group loses fight with Hastings
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