FaithWorld

Americans mark National Day of Prayer

Americans who are so inclined are marking their National Day of Prayer on Thursday — and, as with any event that evokes church and state in this country, it is not without controvesy.

President Barack Obama, who is a practicing Christian, signed a proclamation to declare the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, but unlike his predecessor George W. Bush did not hold an official service at the White House.

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This has predicatably angered and disappointed some of the country’s leading conservative Christians.

While there is a long history of Presidents praying and calling the nation to prayer (dating all the way back to George Washington), a de-emphasis on prayer in this administration should not come as a surprise. What can we expect of an administration whose policies cheapen human life, increase dependence upon government and threaten religious freedoms?” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an influential conservative advocacy group with strong evangelical ties.

Under Bush the White House event — held on the first Thursday of May — was seen among other things as a way to shore up the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base, whose ranks included some of his most ardent supporters.

Another day, another faith coalition

Is it my imagination, or are there lots of new faith coalitions and initiatives sprouting up these days?

The newest one, launched on Wednesday, is The Mobilization to End Poverty. Its main driver is Sojourners, which claims to be the biggest group of self-styled “progressive” Christians in the United States.

The coalition will hold a conference in Washington from April 26-29. The organizers describe it as a “a historic gathering where thousands of Christians and antipoverty leaders will engage in a transformative experience of education, worship, community, and activism in Washington, D.C. Together, this powerful group will call on President Obama and the new Congress to make overcoming poverty a political priority and to develop a national plan that addresses this moral and spiritual crisis.”makeshift

from UK News:

‘Wake-up’ to intolerance against Christians, archbishop says

The Church of England fought back this week against the "seeming intolerance and illiberality" aimed at their faith by public bodies.

Often seen as a peacemaker in a multi-faith Britain, church leaders and priests said it was time to give more voice to their own religion.

Recently, the media has been dotted with stories about Christians being ostracised in their workplace because of their faith.

Look who’s celebrating Reformation Day today

Today is Reformation Day, the anniversary of the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg in eastern Germany and set off the Protestant Reformation. It is a public holiday in the five eastern German states, in Slovenia and — this year for the first time — in Chile.

Chile? Isn’t that traditionally a Catholic country? Even the Catholic parts of Germany don’t celebrate Reformation Day.

Yes, Chile is traditionally Catholic, but now only about 70% so. Like elsewhere in Latin America, Protestant churches — especially evangelicals and Pentecostals — have spread rapidly in recent decades. They now make up just over 15% of the Chilean population, up from 7% in 1970. It’s not a new story, but creating a holiday especially for Protestants is a symbolic step towards recognising the changes in the religious landscape in Latin America.

Who threatens Christians in northern Iraq?

At least 1,500 Christian families have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul this month to escape violent attacks against them. About 12 Christians have been reported killed in that period. Protests have come in from the United Nations, the Vatican and other places around the globe. There clearly seems to be a campaign against them, but finding out who is behind it is not that easy, as correspondent Missy Ryan reports from Mosul.

The commander of U.S. forces in Mosul has blamed Sunni Islamist militants. “Others, including many Christians, quietly point a finger at Mosul’s powerful Kurdish minority, which controls the provincial council and makes up a majority in the local army. Kurds, some say, want to show that Mosul cannot be controlled without them,” she writes.

Check out Ryan’s latest reports from Mosul — Mystery shrouds attacks on Iraq’s Christians and Iraq’s Christians “sacrificial lambs” as attacks mount.

Irish voters and the EU’s “loss of Christian memory”

Protest sign in Dublin, 21 July 2008/Philippe WojazerDid the Irish reject the European Union’s Lisbon treaty last June because they are “losing their Christian memory?” Cardinal Seán Brady, the top Catholic cleric in the once staunchly Catholic country, thinks that can partially explain the vote.

The cardinal told a conference in County Mayo on Sunday that many Christians in Europe think the EU bases its values on a lowest common denominator that “invariably coincides with the secular and relativist tradition within Europe – that which denies moral absolutes with an objective basis – rather than the religious view.”

They think the EU is suffering from what the late Pope John Paul called a “loss of Christian memory,” he said, according to reports in the Irish press. As Brady put it:

Antichrist rehearsal added to Obama list of sins by far U.S. right

obamaberlin.jpgDALLAS – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has had to fend off all sorts of spurious Internet rumours suggesting he is a closet Muslim and even linking him to the Ku Klux Klan.

Our columnist Bernd Debusmann has written about this elsewhere. But a new line of character attack has emerged: Obama, while not the Antichrist, has provided a dress reherasal for the End of Times as foretold in the Bible with his recent overseas tour.

At least that is what Hal Lindsey, a leading figure in U.S. apocalyptic Christian circles, claims.