Persecution Friday: Uzbekistan

May 27, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Uzbekistan: Raids Increase in April

Christians in Uzbekistan have faced increased persecution recently in the form of raids, literature confiscations, court-ordered literature destruction and heavy fines.

On April 5, Police and National Security Service (NSS) officers raided the home of Anvar Rajapov, a believer in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, according to Forum 18 News Service. Police confiscated about 250 religious books and recordings, a computer and Rajapov’s passport. A police officer also photographed Rajapov’s children without his knowledge.

Rajapov was convicted on April 14 of violating five articles of the administrative code, including those prohibiting the illegal storage of religious materials, the illegal organization of meetings, and proselytism. Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage, or about $2,330. The judge also ordered the destruction of the religious books confiscated in the raid, “except for those that can be allowed for internal use of religious communities.”

Local Christians told Forum 18 that the court had produced no evidence to support the charges brought against Rajapov. “The whole case is fabricated,” one believer said. He added that the judge “did not even investigate the case but just signed the hastily and carelessly prepared decision.” Local believers said the head of the city district committee, Ulmas Shukurov, had called for Rajapov to be punished and expelled from the district because he had left Islam and accepted Christianity. Shukurov accompanied police on the raid of Rajapov’s house.

Rajapov’s case is not uncommon, as Uzbekistan’s courts frequently order the confiscation and destruction of religious literature, including Bibles. Uzbek authorities conducted two raids in April on the Hamza District Baptist Church, also located in Tashkent. In a raid on April 7, police confiscated thousands of Christian books from the church as well as money belonging to a church member. Four days later, on April 11, police and NSS officers raided a church-owned flat nearby, confiscating printing equipment and tens of thousands of Christian books. Four church members were each fined between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage, according to Forum 18. In addition, tax authorities fined the church the equivalent of about $4,090 on April 28 for failing to use a cash register to record sales and donations.

Newslinks 12/05/10

December 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Global Church Leader Urges Koreas to Refrain from Use of Force
The United States and South Korea began naval exercises off the west coast of the peninsula Sunday to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive actions must stop.

Pakistan Gov’t Barred from Pardoning Christian on Death Row

2 Healthy Churches Merge for Bigger Impact in Ariz.

Religion Debate Pits Blair Against Hitchens

Don’t Do Christmas on Credit, Debt Charity Warns

Iraq Arrests 12 Suspected in Deadly Church Siege

Leak of State Dept Cables Could Impact Friends and Allies Around the World, White House Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Sunday’s release by WikiLeaks of classified U.S. State Department cables provides a glimpse into the world where views are delivered directly and sometimes bluntly, far removed from bland diplomatic statements reserved for the cameras. The cables reveal frank evaluations of a range of issues and political leaders, offered not just by American officials but also by their foreign interlocutors speaking on the assumption of confidentiality.

Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Might Shift Older Workers Onto Disability Rolls, Report Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Improvements in life expectancy have led to proposals to raise the earliest eligibility age for Social Security retirement benefits above 62, the full retirement age above 67, or both. But a recent government report found a downside to raising the retirement ages.

South Korea Warns North Korea of Retaliation As Naval Exercises Begin
(CNSNews.com)
– South Korean President Lee Myun-bak on Monday vowed strong retaliation against the Stalinist state in the event of any further provocation. He spoke a day after the United States and South Korea launched a four-day joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea. , the body of water located between China and the west coast of the Korean peninsula. China has complained about the U.S. Navy movements in its “exclusive economic zone.”

Alleged Christmas Tree Bomber Said He Wanted to Kill Americans While ‘They Were With Their Families Celebrating the Holidays,’ Says Affidavit
(CNSNews.com)
– Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen, allegedly made the statement in a video- and audio-taped conversation he had with two undercover FBI agents on Aug. 19 of this year in a Portland, Ore., hotel room.

Security Situation Seen as ‘Bad’ by One in Five Afghans; 80 Percent Say Corruption Affects Daily Life
(CNSNews.com)
– “The number of Afghans rating their security situation as ‘bad’ is the highest since the nationwide survey began in September 2008,” the report stated. “This downward trend in security perception is likely due to the steady increase in total violence over the past nine months.”

Tea Party May Target Major Companies That Back Obama Agenda, Poll Shows
(CNSNews.com)
– The results of the survey led the pollster to conclude that Tea Partiers could “realistically” lead a boycott of such companies.

Obama’s Agriculture Dept. Has Hired Consulting Firm to Advise It on ‘Diversity
(CNSNews.com)
– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has “taken a number of actions to make his department more sensitive to civil rights issues,” The Hill newspaper reported on Monday.

Bush, Warren: It’s Not About You
Former President George W. Bush revealed on Monday that during his eight-year term, he had in tow the same words of wisdom that Pastor Rick Warren may be famous for: It’s not about you.

Catholic Bishops Back House Resolution to Protect Iraq’s Christians

Survey: Evangelicals Go Against the Tide on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Family Group Blasts Holiday Gift Certificates for Abortion

Man Without Limbs: Live Without Limits

Survey: 1 in 20 Christians Cite Accountability in Church

Mother of 13 Urges Adoption of HIV-Positive Children
Carolyn Twietmeyer, a suburban mother of 13 children – including six from Africa – has a message she wants to say on World AIDS Day: adopt HIV-positive kids.

Faith Leaders Back DREAM Act for Undocumented Youth

Christian Charity in India Educates Public on HIV and AIDS

Televangelist Admits Affair on TV

Christian Columnist: We’ve Won the War on Christmas

Pro-Family Groups Fight Against ‘Hate Group’ Label

Prison Ministry: Spiritual Revival Happening in Women’s Facilities
For unexplainable reasons, other than the Holy Spirit, women inmates are attending Bible meetings and coming to Christ like never before, a prison ministry reported.

Conservatives Warn: DADT Repeal Likely to Hurt Morale, Recruitment

Apple Urged to Restore Manhattan Declaration App

Kay Warren on HIV/AIDS: God Broke My Heart, Wiped Me Out

Poll: ‘Very Religious’ Americans Have Better Emotional Health

Wash. Football Player Flagged for Pointing to God

Drug Cartel-Related Murders Exceed 10,000 for Year So Far, According to a Mexican Newspaper Tally
(CNSNews.com)
– Cartel-related murders in Mexico’s drug war have surpassed 10,000 so far this year, according to a tally kept by the Mexican newspaper Reforma. That figure is about twice the overall number of U.S. military fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

November 2010 Was Deadliest November for U.S. Forces in 9-Year Afghan War
(CNSNews.com)
– At least 45 U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan last month — up from the 17 killed in November 2009. That makes November 2010 the deadliest November since the war began more than nine years ago, according to CNSNews.com’s database. So far this year, 452 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan, more than was killed in any previous year of the war.

Hoyer Supports ‘Disciplinary Action’ Against USDA Employees Who ‘Consciously’ Discriminated Against Black Farmers
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) voted in favor of the huge settlement for black farmers who were discriminated against by the Agriculture Department from 1981-1996, but when asked whether “disciplinary action” should be taken against any USDA employees, Hoyer said he didn’t know enough about the case to endorse any specific action. “It’s pretty amazing to me that you can have 94,000 people likely discriminated against and you can’t find one single individual responsible for $2.3 billion worth of discrimination,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told CNSNews.com Monday.

‘Misleading’ Andy Griffith Ads Cost Taxpayers $3 Million, Gov’t Documents Show
(CNSNews.com)
– The federal government spent $3.1 million on TV ads in which actor Andy Griffith touts the new health care law, but a non-partisan watchdog group says those ads are misleading.

White House Deficit Commission Won’t Say If Federal Salaries Should Be Cut
(CNSNews.com)
– The co-chairs of the White House deficit commission said they support “at least” a freeze of federal employees’ salaries but declined to say whether they support a cut in federal salaries. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the year 2009 show that federal worker compensation including benefits averaged $123,049, which was more than double the private sector average (with benefits) of $61,051.

Now That Obama Administration Is Taking Terrorism ‘More Seriously,’ Airport Security ‘Significantly Improved’ This Christmas, Lawmaker Says
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said airport security has “significantly improved” since last year’s attempted Christmas bombing. “The federal government, Homeland Security and TSA have, I think, significantly improved since last Christmas, there’s more cohesion.”

Obama Administration Linking Arms Control Treaty With Russian Cooperation on Iran
(CNSNews.com)
– Pushing to get the New START arms reduction treaty through the lame-duck Senate, the Obama administration and Democrats are looking to pro-Israel organizations, arguing that delaying ratification will jeopardize Russian support for international pressure on Iran. Many conservatives, including some Jewish groups, have deep reservations about the negotiated treaty, including concerns that it will constrain U.S. missile defense options.

EPA Shifting Its Emphasis to ‘Sustainability’
(CNSNews.com)
– The Environmental Protection Agency, marking its 40th anniversary this week, has commissioned a National Research Council study that will help the agency “incorporate sustainability into the way the agency approaches environmental protection.” What does that mean? The EPA reaches all the way to Africa to provide an example.

‘Our Government Has a Role to Play’ in Reducing the Stigma of HIV/AIDS, Obama Says
(CNSNews.com)
– In a message marking World AIDS Day on Wednesday, President Obama urged the American people to “join in appropriate activities to remember the men, women, and children who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.” He reminded infected people that his new health care law will help them get “adequate health insurance coverage and quality care.”

Energy Secretary Bemoans ‘Downward’ Trend in Energy Budget
(CNSNews.com)
– Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the “downward” budget trend for research and development at the Department of Energy is “alarming.”

Full-Scale Replica of Noah’s Ark Coming to Ky. Theme Park
Noah may have taken 400 years to build the ark but investors of a new biblical theme park in northern Kentucky plan to replicate a full-scale model in under 36 months.

Former Daystar Employee Sues Evangelist Over Affair

Late-Term Abortionist Moves to Maryland

Obama to Receive Christmas Cards Urging Mideast Peace

Americans Prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ to ‘Happy Holidays’

53rd Grammy Nominees for Gospel Music Announced

FCC Commissioner Wants to Test the ‘Public Value’ of Every Broadcast Station
(CNSNews.com)
– American journalism is in “grave peril,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps says, and to bolster “traditional media,” he said the Federal Communications Commission should conduct a “public value test” of every broadcast station at relicensing time. In a speech at the Columbia University School of Journalism on Thursday, Copps also said station relicensing should happen every four years instead of the current eight.

British Christian Group Raises Concerns About Shari’a-Compliant Food
(CNSNews.com)
– A Christian organization in Britain has launched a petition campaign aimed at defending the right of those who do not want to eat meat slaughtered according to Islamic law (shari’a). Operation Nehemiah argues that the mainstreaming of halal across the world constitutes part of a global Islamization drive. While Muslims should be free to follow their own religious practices, the group objects to non-Muslims having little or no choice in the matter.

Bachmann: ‘There Needs To Be an Insurrection’ Against GOP Leaders If They Don’t Hold Straight Vote to Repeal Obamacare
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), founder and chairman of the House Tea Party Caucus, told CNSNews.com that there will be an “insurrection” against the House Republican leadership if it does not hold an independent, straight up-or-down vote on repealing the entire Obamacare law that does not tie this repeal to other policy initiatives including any effort to “replace” elements of Obamacare with new federal health-care reforms.

Q&A With Michele Bachmann: Zero Out Funding For Obama’s Czars and Obamacare
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), founder and chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, told CNSNews.com this week that when Republicans take control of the House in January they should kill Obamacare by zeroing-out funding for it. They should also remove funding for the non-Senate-confirmed “czars” President Barack Obama has named to his administration. “That’s the beauty of conservatives winning in this election, because the House has the power of the purse and we can zero that out in our budget,” she said.

Pence, DeMint Push for Permanent Extension of Bush Tax Rates
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) renewed their call on Wednesday for making the current tax rates permanent before they automatically reset to 1990’s-era levels at year’s end. “Higher taxes aren’t going to get anybody hired,” Pence said. “Raising taxes on job creators won’t create any jobs. Raising taxes during the worst economy in 25 years is just a phenomenally bad idea.”
“Uncertainty is the enemy of our prosperity,” Pence said.

Napolitano Says Granting Legal Status to Some Illegal Aliens Improves Immigration Law Enforcement
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said granting legal status to illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military will help the country target criminal illegal immigrants. She said the U.S. should “prioritize our enforcement resources on removing dangerous criminal aliens” rather than wasting time and effort prosecuting young people “brought here through no fault of their own.”

Congressman: Close Tax-Funded Smithsonian Exhibit Despite Removal of Ant-Covered Jesus
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said that removing a video with images of ants swarming over Jesus Christ on a crucifix is a “positive” step, but he said there are other elements of the show that make it inappropriate for display in a federal institution where families come to see iconic works of arts such as the portraits of U.S. presidents.

Combat Troops’ Opposition Not an ‘Insurmountable Barrier’ to Letting Gays Serve in Military, Defense Secretary Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Although up to 60 percent of U.S. combat troops oppose the idea of homosexuals serving in the military, those concerns do not pose a ‘insurmountable barrier’ to repealing the statute, Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate panel on Dec. 2. Gates indicated that the combat troops’ negative response to repealing the law stems from their lack of experience in serving with homosexuals. “I couldn’t disagree more,” responded Sen. John McCain.

Congress Should Look At Reducing Federal Workforce ‘Across the Board,’ Republican Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Thursday declined to say whether salaries of federal employees should be cut, but he did say that Congress needs to look at “a reduction of federal employees across the board.”

Leaked Cable May Prompt Iran to Demand Resignation of Nuclear Watchdog Chief
(CNSNews.com)
– Amid rumors that Iran will demand his resignation, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency denied any wrongdoing Thursday, following reports that leaked U.S. diplomatic cables indicated he sided with the U.S. on the Iranian nuclear standoff. Tehran has long accused International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano of lacking impartiality.

Church Planter Tackles Men Who Won’t Grow Up
A St. Louis pastor and respected church planter raised the alarm about a societal problem he calls “ban,” which are males that are not quite boys nor men in their maturity level.

Military Chiefs Ask Lawmakers to Delay DADT Repeal

Petition Asking Apple to Reinstate Christian App Gains Steam

Groups to Press Obama to Defend Iraqi Christians

Calif. Judge Refuses to Bow Out of Prop. 8 Appeals Panel

Wrong to Exclude God from Classroom, Says U.K. Think Tank

Newslinks 10/24/10

October 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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National Debt Increases for 53rd Straight Fiscal Year; Jumped $1.65 Trillion in FY 2010
(CNSNews.com)
– The national debt increased for the 53rd straight fiscal year in fiscal 2010, when it jumped $1.65 trillion, according to data posted online by the Bureau of the Public Debt and confirmed by a spokesperson for the agency. The bureau says its reporting of the federal debt at the end of each fiscal year (as posted here) states exactly to the penny the full and actual amount the U.S. government has borrowed as of that date.

Value-Added Tax Would Hurt Economy, Kill Jobs, Business Group Study Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– An economic analysis sponsored by the National Retail Federation shows that a Value-Added Tax would damage economic growth and kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. The study showed that a large reduction in federal spending would be better for the economy. President Obama’s Fiscal Commission reportedly is considering a VAT as one option for reigning in out-of-control federal deficits.

Iran Elected to Chair OPEC Next Year; Dismisses Western Energy Sanctions as Ineffective
(CNSNews.com)
– For the first time since the Islamic revolution, Iran has been handed the rotating presidency of the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations. The move comes at a time when Western governments are seeking to target Iran’s energy sector over its nuclear programs. Iran is pushing for oil to be priced against a currency, or basket of currencies, other than the U.S. dollar. Continue Reading Newslinks 10/24/10…

Newslinks 10/17/10

October 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Council on American-Islamic Relations Launches ‘Islamophobia’ Division
(CNSNews.com)
– Spurred by the controversies over Quran-burning and the planned Ground Zero mosque, the most visible Islamic advocacy organization in the U.S. says it is launching a department to deal with “Islamophobia.” CAIR said the new “Islamophobia” department will produce an annual report tracking “trends in rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims,” and it will also “organize conferences, seminars, cultural exchanges, and other activities and events designed to provide opportunities for education and dialogue.”

Obama Administration Gave General Electric—Parent Company of NBC–$24.9 Million in ‘Stimulus’ Grants
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration gave corporate giant General Electric, the parent company of NBC, $24.9 million in grants from the $787-billion economic “stimulus” law President Barack Obama signed in February 2009, according to records posted by the administration at Recovery.gov. Despite getting $24.9 million from U.S. taxpayers, GE decreased its U.S.-based employees by 18,000 in 2009, according to the company’s 2009 annual report.

U.S. Spending At Least $18.6 Million A Day to Incarcerate Illegal Aliens
(CNSNews.com)
– U.S. taxpayers are spending at least $18.6 million per day to house an estimated 300,000 to 450,000 illegal immigrants who are incarcerated and eligible for deportation from the United States, according to data from the Homeland Security and Justice Departments. The prisoners are foreign nationals who have come into the United States, committed a crime, been captured, and imprisoned. Half of the undocumented aliens who were removed from the United States in fiscal 2010 (which ended on Sept. 30) had been convicted of a crime in the United States. Continue Reading Newslinks 10/17/10…

Newslinks 09/26/10

September 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Values Voters Pick Mike Pence Over Huckabee for President
Social conservatives at the Values Voter Summit have crowned a new top contender for president, though the winner of this year’s straw poll only edged out last year’s by two points.

Anti-Poverty Groups Sound Off Ahead of High-Level MDG Summit

Pope Expresses ‘Sorrow and Shame’ Over Child Abuse

ELCA Receives 3 Lesbian Ministers

Few Americans Think Glenn Beck Is Fit to Head Religious Mov’t

Wheaton College Installs New President Continue Reading Newslinks 09/26/10…

Newslinks 09/19/10

September 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Stephen Hawking Takes on Sir Isaac Newton; Christians Respond
Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines this past week for taking on arguably the most influential scientist in human history, Sir Isaac Newton.

12-Hour Prayer, Fasting Rally Hits Sacramento

Emergency in Pakistan Will ‘Get Worse Before It Gets Better’

Church Mourns Loss of U.S. Army Chaplain in Afghanistan

Poll: 2 in 3 New Yorkers Want Park51 Mosque Moved

Parliament of the World’s Religions Calls for 9/11 Solidarity Continue Reading Newslinks 09/19/10…

Newslinks 08/15/10

August 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Obama backs ‘gay’ group at U.N.
A homosexual activist group has side-stepped normal procedures to gain a non-government organization status at the United Nations.

GOP: Obama developing ‘backdoor amnesty plan’
The Obama administration is considering ways it could go around lawmakers to let illegal immigrants stay in the United States, according to an agency memo.

Another Democrat facing ethics charges
A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could be facing an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the midterm election outlook for the party as it battles to hold onto its majority.

Amish communities growing rapidly
A new study estimates the number of Amish in North America has doubled since 1992 and increased nearly 10 percent in the past two years alone.

Baptist World Alliance Confirms New President
Virginia native John Upton was elected Saturday to lead the Baptist World Alliance as its new president. The long-time Baptist succeeds David Coffey of the United Kingdom. Continue Reading Newslinks 08/15/10…

Newslinks 07/18/10

July 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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PCUSA’s ‘gay’ measures reflect ‘modern paganism’
An Orthodox Church theologian who was invited to greet the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has criticized its approval of non-celibate homosexual clergy.

Zoning restrictions limit feeding homeless
Government bodies are making it difficult for volunteers to provide for the needs of the homeless at public sites or their own facilities, such as churches.

Appeal likely in ‘lunatic’ marriage rulings
Traditional marriage proponents are hopeful an appeal will be filed on federal court rulings in Massachusetts declaring part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. An attorney with a traditional values legal firm is lambasting the court’s decision.

Transgender seeks millions for ‘distress’
A Maryland man who has made a physical change to the opposite gender has filed a lawsuit against his county for reaping “emotional distress.”

World Evangelical Alliance to Hold 2014 General Assembly in S. Korea
The World Evangelical Alliance will be holding its 2014 General Assembly in South Korea, according to an announcement Saturday. Continue Reading Newslinks 07/18/10…

Newslinks 07/11/10

July 11, 2010 at 11:55 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Atheists put billboard on Billy Graham Parkway
A statewide coalition of atheists and agnostics has placed billboards in six North Carolina cities, including one along the Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte.

Euthanasia weighs evenly on U.S. morality scale
Gallup’s most recent “Values and Beliefs” survey shows an even split among Americans on the issue of doctor-assisted suicide.

Reformed churches merger approved
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council have agreed to merge into the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

When is someone brain dead?
In order to make sure doctors reach the correct conclusion in determining brain death, new guidelines that call for a lengthy examination have been developed.

Joni Eareckson Tada Not Shaken by Breast Cancer
After 43 years of living paralyzed from the neck down and recently learning that she now has breast cancer, Joni Eareckson Tada remains all smiles. Continue Reading Newslinks 07/11/10…

Newslinks 06/27/10

June 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Sherwood’s new film focuses on fatherhood
The pastor of the church that made the hit movie Fireproof says his congregation’s next film will stress the importance of fathers in their children’s lives.

Adopted child joins Mark Hall this Father’s Day
The lead singer of the Christian band Casting Crowns says adopting a little girl from China last month has given him insight into what it means to be adopted into God’s family.

Emmy nomination for pro-life program
A pro-life TV show has received a nomination for a regional Emmy Award.

Guns in church bill headed to governor
Concealed weapons will be allowed in some Louisiana churches after all.

Reformed Bodies Sign Off on Merger
The two largest reformed church bodies officially merged on Friday to become the World Communion of Reformed Churches, representing more than 80 million Christians. Continue Reading Newslinks 06/27/10…

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