Vol. XII No. 5 June 1-15, 2010 l Published from Delhi Post Box No.: 10708, Delhi-110085 The Father seeks true worshippers Christian Biochemist: First 'Synthetic Cell'... Turn to page 15 Turn to page 18 INNOCENTS CAUGHT UP: How to break the tragic cycle of violence ? MPK Kutty officials had expressed dismay over the tendency of human rights groups to question the legitimacy of the state using its power to quell violence while they refuse to condemn the deliberate violence by the extremists. They feel that civil society, by its misplaced zeal, had in fact weakened the efforts of the state government in battling Maoists. However much one might sympathise with the lot of the poor in the Naxaliteaffected districts of the country, there can be no support to those misguided elements who New Delhi: As the death toll in the accident involving the Mumbai - bound Jnaneshwari Express near Jhargram in West Midnapore on Friday touched 141 on Sunday (May 30) the question uppermost in the minds of people is how to end the cycle of violence … One report suggests that a faction of the Maoist-backed Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities was responsible for the sabotage that derailed the train. A CBI inquiry has been ordered into the seek to pursue even desirable goals through crude violence. Violent revolutions had not solved problems in the past and there are numerous examples of such failed attempts. The failure of Soviet communism, the defeat of terrorists in Sri Lanka and Punjab are examples from recent history. Congress President Sonia Gandhi's strategy of taking development initiatives to redress wrongs at the grassroot-level while dealing 'decisively and forcefully' with acts of terror has been well orchestrated in her recent mishap to uncover the whole truth. The event endangering the lives of innocent civilians is bound to further alienate the Maoist groups, which while sympathising with the poor are behaving no different from terrorists. Human rights activists and Civil Society spokespersons like Arundhati Roy, Dr Binayak Sen, have condemned the unleashing of mindless violence on innocent passengers. Home minister Chidambaram, besides security experts and retired senior police (Contd. On page 7) Switch off that mobile! It’s easy to blame the captain of the ill-fated Air India Express for the tragic accident that occurred in Mangalore, since he is not there to defend his case. Also, one can blame the airline management for not maintaining the aircrafts. However, I would request all the airline passengers to do an introspection of their role on board, and the readers to consider the following facts before handing over the death penalty. The state-of-the-art plane (B-737-800) was inducted on January 15, 2008. Hence, one cannot say that its conditions were so bad. Every day, 32 domestic and international flights operate from Mangalore airport. Hence, one cannot caregorically say that the airport or its runway were not safe for landing. Fifty three-year-old Captain Zlatko Glusica who died in the crash had 10,200 hours of flying experience and his licence had been endorsed by the Directorate of General of CivilAviation, India. The commander had flown in and out of Mangalore airport at least 19 times, while the copilot had operated 66 times from the same airport. So the pilot and co-pilot were fully familiar with landing at Mangalore Airport, and therefore it’s not right to put the blame on the pilots. Further, the commander did not report any malfunction before landing, to the Air Traffic Control (ATC). Visibility at the airport on the day of the accident was six km, ‘which is more than that required’, when the ill-fated plane landed in Mangalore. So then, what could be the reason for this air crash? Possible malfunctioning of the navigational system during the landing process caused by a cell-phone switched on by an ignorant passenger? I have noticed that many passengers switch on their mobile phones while landing as if they are in a race to inform their arrival. It is also possible that someone did not switch off the mobile phone while taking off from Dubai, despite being warned by the cabin crew, and it started searching for signals as the flight descended at Mangalore airport, which could have interfered with the functions of the landing system? It should be noted that all three recent air crashes — the first one at Russia killing the Polish Prime Minister and his team, the second one at Libya last month and now Air India Express at Mangalore — all occurred while trying to land, thereby strengthening my suspicion about the possible interference in the navigational system by Thomas Dominic, Kuwait cell phone signals. Any takers? Be aware! Be concerned! Visit www.praisethealmighty.com 2 NEWS AND VIEWS PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Church condoles Mangalore crash deaths May 24, 2010: The Catholic Church condoled the death of 158 people who had boarded an Air India flight that crashed in Mangalore on Saturday. President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), Cardinal Oswald Gracias, in a message of condolence, said the Church in India grieved over the "great loss of life in the air tragedy". "We are aware that words cannot take away the grief, sorrow and pain, but we offer our prayers and solidarity to the families. The Church prays that those who have survived this ordeal may soon recover. We extend all support to the survivors to enable them to cope and recover, and to help them in all ways possible," he said. "The Church prays for the eternal repose of the dead and implores the Almighty and merciful God for his gifts of comfort and strength on those who mourn the loss of their loved ones," he added. The Air India flight was flying from Dubai to Mangalore with 160 passengers and six crew members on board. On landing the plane overshot the runway, went down a ravine and burst into flames, media reported. Eight persons however miraculously survived the crash. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil expressed deep grief and sorrow and condoled the loss of lives. Singh announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund. Vice President Hamid Ansari said that he joined all citizens in sending condolences to the members of the bereaved families and "praying to the Almighty to grant them the strength to withstand this immense loss". According to official figures, 48 of the total of 50 passengers identified so far hailed from the northern districts of Kerala. Across that state, special prayers were held Sunday for those killed in the crash and their grieving families. The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) had asked its dioceses to conduct special prayers in all its churches. The crash of the Dubai-Mangalore flight is said to be the worst air disaster in India in more than a decade. (by Dibin Samuel, Christian Today) JUNE 1-15, 2010 Dalit Christian activists meet Rahul Gandhi New Delhi, May 21, 2010 (Christian Today): As part of political activism for the cause of justice to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, an intense lobbying at the New Delhi circles has been unstintingly continuing, with several delegations impressing upon the political leaders in granting Scheduled caste status to Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin. On 21 May as the nation observed 'Anti Terrorism Day' in commemoration of the death anniversary of former Prime Minister of India Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, the General Secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) gave an audience to a delegation of Dalit Christian and Muslim activists under the auspices of National Council of Dalit Christians. The delegation paid rich tributes to Late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, remembering his efforts to the cause of Dalit emancipation, particularly for bringing in the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989. The delegation then briefed to Mr. Gandhi about the injustices done to Dalit Christians & Dalit Muslims due to the discriminatory paragraph 3 of the Constitution Scheduled Caste order 1950. Mr. Gandhi expressed his surprise that Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin are excluded from the benefits of affirmative actions such as contesting for elections from Panchayats to Parliament, when the Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists of Dalit origin are the beneficiaries of it. Mr. Gandhi was patient to the concerns and issues raised by the delegation, and expressed his earnest desire in supporting this genuine cause for justice, by following up the matter accordingly. The delegation submitted a memorandum, seeking Mr. Gandhi's intervention in impressing upon the present UPA Government to act swiftly in taking an urgent action on the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities report (Ranganath Misra Commission report), particularly to the Additional Term of Reference, and to give an appropriate answer to the query of the Supreme Court to the Writ Petitions demanding deletion of the unjust paragraph 3 of the Constitution Scheduled Castes Order 1950 and to extend Scheduled Caste status to Muslims and Christians of Scheduled Caste Origin The delegation, which included Fr. AXJ Bosco & Mr. Franklin Ceasar from National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), Mr. Aariz Mohammed from Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Fr. Dr. Cosmon Arokiaraj, Rev. Raj Bharath Patta & Mr. S. Raju from National Coordination Committee for DalitonChristians (Contd page 18) Advt. NEWS AND VIEWS JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Christian Council condemns train attack May 28, 2010 (Dibin Samuel CT): The Bengal Christian Council (BCC) today condemned the Maoist attack on Mumbai-bound Gyaneswari Express that killed at least 65 people in West Bengal's Midnapore district. "We are very grieved to learn of the tragedy this morning. The attack by the Maoists which resulted in loss of lives must be condemned in the strongest possible terms," said Rev. A. Mondal, Secretary of the BCC. "As we send our heart felt condolences, we want to pray that God changes the heart of those people indulging in violence," he added. BCC is a body uniting the CNI, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Salvation Army churches in that region. According to media reports, the train derailment caused to Gyaneswari Express was a case of bomb blast. About 13 coaches were derailed injuring at least 200 people. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced monetary assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 each to the seriously injured. Says Rev. Mondal, “The government must hold talks with the Maoists to ward off such incidents in the future.” "An amicable settlement through discussion must be brought to the protracted problem. If the government delays, the future will see more ominous situations," he told Christian Today. This is the second Maoist attack on civilians this month. Naxals had blown up a civilian bus in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on May 17, killing at least 36 people, including 12 Special Police Officers. In an appeal for prayer, Rev Asir Ebenezer, the Officiating General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), observed the urgent need to address the "issues and contexts that give rise to these conflicts". "In the last few weeks the country has seen a spate of unabated violence and bloodshed. Strikes by Maoists, purportedly a retaliation to the brute force with which their demands are met, has been in the news. While the leaders of the Maoist outfits and the State battle it out, people bear the brunt of the attacks from both sides," said Rev Ebenezer. He called for prayer so that "the State and the Non-State actors will uphold governance with responsibility for affirmation of Life to All" and "reactionary methodologies and activities will be dealt with introspection and in ways other than retaliation through brute force". Include 'religious minorities' in ongoing census: AICC May 17, 2010: The ongoing 2011 census must include 'religious minorities' just like the insertion of 'caste' in the format, said a Christian council. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Abraham Mathai, general secretary of the All India Christian Council (aicc), underlined the need for including religious minorities in the census. "If not included, this will certainly result in minority groups being swallowed up in a situation whereby the central and state government exchequers would not have made budgetary provisions to cater for their social and developmental needs,” Mathai said. Mathai, who is also the vice president of Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, stressed that it is imperative to have a special column to categorise minority religious groups so it can prevent minority groups being in greater jeopardy at the hands of callous governments. Adding such a column, he said, would enable enumerators to provide accurate statistics to agencies such as the Planning Commission which then would result in adequate provisions in the respective central and state government budget allocations. Not providing a special column, says Mathai, is tantamount to denying the existence of religious minorities in a country where religious intolerance is rife and gross violations on the rights of the minorities have been experienced. The current census began on April 1 and will count an estimated 1.2 billion population. This will be India's 15th census since 1872. Home Minister P Chidambaram has described it as "the biggest exercise since humankind came into existence". Spread across 35 states and Union Territories, the census would cover 640 districts, 5,767 tehsils, 7,742 towns and more than 600,000 villages. Interestingly, caste will be included in the present census despite opposition from Hindu nationalist groups. The first census that categorised people's caste was conducted in 1931 when the British ruled India. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) welcomed the insertion of caste in the ongoing census. The move according to CBCI will facilitate identification of the dalit Christians and help them get benefits extended to dalits belonging to other religions. This, however, was strongly opposed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which said it would strengthen casteist forces. "There should not be caste based discrimination. There was no caste based census after 1931, why should the government revive it now?" VHP leader Pravin Togadia asked. (by John Malhotra) 3 Indian priest sent home over nun harassment claims May 28, 2010: An Indian priest on sabbatical in California has been sent home while his bishop investigates allegations that he sexually harassed a Catholic sister in England. The situation came to light last month, when the nun, who allegedly received inappropriate e-mails from the accused priest, called Monsignor David Sork, pastor at St John Fisher parish in Rancho Palos Verdes, asking if the accused presently was at the church, the Palos Verdes News reports. On April 27, the sister e-mailed associate pastor Monsignor Steven Zak and copied several other staff members, detailing the allegations. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles received the e-mail the following day. As the accusations heightened, the priest left St John Fisher on May 5 and was sent back to India to complete an investigation into the situation. “They’re serious enough allegations that I can’t have somebody who’s under that type of a cloud serving as a priest here … Because the allegations took place [outside] of this country, we can’t do anything in this country about it,” Sork said. Upon having a discussion with the Pastoral Council, an announcement was made during Sunday service that the priest was recalled to India. Sork sent out a letter dated May 10 to all 3,000 parishioners. “All people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, so we must not prejudge him,” Sork wrote in the correspondence. “When I talked with Fr John about this matter, he denied all these allegations.” Discipleship Centre Commercial Property for sale in Delhi Basement 1st Floor 2nd Floor : : : 628 sqft 3167 sqft (either in part or full) 554 sqft Location : Discipleship Centre, A 42 44, Commercial Complex, (Manushree Building), Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi 110009. Contact Ph. E-mail : : 011- 25571401 / 02 [email protected] Dear Friends, Discipleship Centre that has functioned from its own premises for many years at Dr. Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi has moved its administrative function to another own premises at Janakpuri. We are of the mind to sell our property located at Dr. Mukherjee Nagar in a commercial complex. If you are interested, kindly contact us. The details of the property for sale: Basement: 628 sqft 1st Floor: 3167 sqft (can be purchased either in part or full) 2nd Floor: 554 sqft Location: Discipleship Centre, A 42 44, Commercial Complex, (Manushree Building), Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi 9, Contact: Ph: 25571401 / 02, [email protected] Mukherjee Nagar Commercial Property. Basement 628 sqft, FF 3167 sqft (part / full), SF 554 sqft. Discipleship Centre, A 42 44, Commercial Complex, (Manushree Building), Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi-9, Ph: 25571401 / 02 Sincerely, A Murugesan Executive Director Sealed quotations invited By April end. Executive Director NEWS AND VIEWS 4 JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY EFICOR reconstructing houses of riot-victims in Baliguda region May 28, 2010: Two years after the antiChristian violence rendered them homeless, Christians in Kandhamal's Baliguda region will now have a roof over their heads. The Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) is currently building about 337 houses in that region. Baliguda like other adjacent blocks witnessed severe violence in the aftermath of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati's murder. EFICOR was involved in providing relief for over 6000 families in Kandhamal. The Orissa Government had invited EFICOR to participate in the reconstruction as well as peace process. The Government significantly had authorized EFICOR to distribute materials worth Rs.10,000/- for reconstruction of partially damaged houses and Rs.30,000/for fully damaged houses. Additionally, EFICOR is providing materials required for reconstruction i.e., bricks, sand, cement and A.C sheets for the victims to reconstruct their houses. EFICOR’s three volunteers assess material requirements and ensure proper delivery of materials to the affected families. "Out of the total 337 houses to be constructed in the Baliguda Block, 65 houses have been completed so far. The reconstruction work first started in Budrukia and Medikia Gram Panchayats (GPs) are progressing well towards completion, while other GPs i.e., Bata Guda, Sindri Gaon and Kutikia, the work has commenced," said Sanjeev Kumar Bhanja, Director of Programmes for EFICOR. Construction work will also be soon commencing in Sudra, Barkhama and Baliguda GPs, he added. Towards establishing peace, EFICOR is supporting the Antaranga (Intimacy) Peace Initiative through a consortium of seven local NGOs including Action Aid. The consortium has been enabling communities to resolve their conflicts through socio-cultural activities such as peace meeting in the villages, organizing rallies, theaters, sports events, and development programmes. The Antaranga peace process, according to Bhanja, has gained popularity especially with the involvement and support of the District Administration. During the 2008 violence, Hindu extremists reportedly destroyed 500 churches, 126 Christian shops and 5,000 homes leaving 50,000 people homeless. Christian schools and hostels were also attacked. (Dibin Samuel, Christian Today) GFA missionaries say it is 'privilege' to suffer May 19, 2010 (Charlie Boyd, Christian Today): Missionaries in training with Gospel for Asia have spoken of the “privilege” they felt in suffering for Christ after being attacked on their Bible college campus in Mumbai, India, earlier in the month. Seven students were seriously injured in the attack by suspected anti-Christian extremists on May 9. They were preparing the evening meal when attackers armed with wooden sticks, iron rods and fluorescent light tubes stormed onto the campus, beating them and vandalising the buildings. The students tried to speak to the assailants and find out why they were attacking them but got no answer. Hemanti Kashyap was injured when the attackers hit him in the stomach with an iron rod. He said the incident had given him the chance to live out the difficult lessons he had learned in Bible college. “Through this situation I learned what the Bible means when it says, “Blessed are those who suffer for Christ,” he said. “This opposition was the test of my faith to march forward and to share the Gospel. They hit my stomach with an iron rod and I was injured, but I am grateful to the Lord Jesus who kept me safe to be a witness for Him.” Sunil Pattanayap recalls the moment the attack began: “For a moment I was shocked about why this was happening to me. Then I understood that the time had come for me to glorify His name,” he said. “It was my privilege to suffer for Christ and I am happy today because I can testify that God protected me and brought me safe from death to proclaim His Word and stand as a living testimony for Christ with a strong faith. Three of the injured students are still recovering in hospital. Beedram Sena had to undergo surgery on his broken leg, while Sudershan Yadavan required surgery to repair his broken kneecap. Sunil Reddy needed extensive dental surgery to replace teeth that were knocked out by the attackers. Brijeshware Nayan, who was injured on his back but did not require hospitalisation, said the attack had helped him to see the spiritual value in suffering. He said: “I came to serve the Lord. If we get scared of this opposition then how can we learn to grow up in our faith?” The attackers broke windows and furniture in the campus buildings, and also destroyed teaching materials. Gospel for Asia Vice President Daniel Punnose also took a positive stance towards the incident. “While persecution is not uncommon and many of our people suffer greatly, the Lord has been so faithful to prove Himself by allowing our brothers and sisters to show love to those who need it the most,” he said. “This type of persecution only proves that people need to experience the love of Jesus. It is only then they find their life has meaning and a purpose to turn hate into love.” SACRED ASSEMBLIES VISIONARY EQUIPPING CENTRE Equipping Visionaries to serve God and men S.A.V.E.C. Training Programme of Sacred Assemblies Fellowship invites application from born again Christians for the diploma course in Bible and Practical Christian Ministry Duration : 2 years (One year class room and one year practical ministry by assisting a pastor in Delhi / Haryana / UP / Bihar / Jharkhand / West Bengal / Arunachal Pradesh) Medium : Hindi Eligibility : Born again Christian with burden to serve God and the people of India Contact us: Registrar SAVEC C-6/141 Sector-5, Rohini, Delhi-110085 Phone : 011-27041259, Cell : 971 106 5583, 989 985 3422, 981 268 8177 E-mail : [email protected] Course will commence on 5th July, 2010 NATION PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Saffronisation of Christian schools in Mumbai opposed Mumbai, May 24, 2010: Christian schools in Mumbai have demurred at the suggestion of introducing Hindu culture for students after a directive was issued by the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Brihan Mumbai Corporation (BMC). Archdiocesan Board of Education (Abe) General Secretary Gregory Lobo told the BBC that his schools promoted respect for all faiths and there was no need to focus on a particular faith. The Board runs about 150-odd Christian schools in the state. It is now preparing to take legal action against the proposal that is now being considered by the Maharashtra government. On Tuesday, last week, BMC held a meeting after which it asked missionary schools to increase holidays for Hindu festivals and additionally remove a ban on students applying mehendi and wearing bindis and bangles. Denying the allegation, Lobo said schools had no such restrictions and students were allowed to wear bindis and bangles. Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias also rejected the allegations "coming from a handful of officials in the municipality". Speaking to AsiaNews, he underlined "the values of patriotism and religious harmony" that are inculcated in the students of Christian Schools. Christian schools, he said, were committed to promoting "diversity and pluralism" as elements that can enrich India, to contribute to "nation building" and "the welfare of society". He added that Christian schools were "Models of Integration" and that it was "inclusive and respectful of all religions". (Babu Thomas, Christian Today) Christian leaders unite at prayer for Manipur May 24, 2010 (Christian Today): Over 100 key Christian leaders from different communities of Meitei, Chin, Kuki, Mizo, Zomi and Naga joined hands in prayer for peace in Manipur at the Apostles' Methodist Church in New Delhi on May 22. The economic blockade of the two national highways for over 40 days have severely affected the common and innocent people living in Manipur. The state is home to nearly 40 ethnic tribes belonging to different religions and linguistic communities. The prayer campaign for peace in Manipur was initiated by All India Christian Council with the theme “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).” It also emphasized on verse at II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Apart from Christians in Delhi, there were also those participating from neighboring states. Prominent persons from Manipur, Nagaland and other states also were part of the event. Various Christian leaders representing different tribes of Manipur along with Christian leaders in Delhi and national capital regions - Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad took part in carrying out the prayer movement for peace in Manipur. Remarkably, people of various tribes n a m e l y, R o n g m e i , M i z o , K u k i , Zaliangrong, Tangkhul Naga, Meitei, Vaiphei, Hmar, Zou, Paite, Gangte, etc. shed their tears in prayers on the occasion in favour of restoring a lasting peace and tranquility in Manipur. Prayers were offered for the government of Manipur, its political leaders, students unions, NGOs, and village/city authorities, so that they could "work for peace, love and harmony in the state." “Peace, love, friendship and harmony of people in Manipur are shaken. We need God's guidance and wisdom so the economic blockade can be called off and normal life can return to Manipur,” said Rev. Madhu Chandra, regional secretary of AICC. The ethnic diasporas from Manipur living in Delhi have decided to conduct regular prayer meetings for peace to prevail. JUNE 1-15, 2010 Christian Aid helps cyclone-hit victims in Andhra May 21, 2010: Christian Aid partners in India are preparing to respond after cyclone Laila hit the coast of southern India's Andhra Pradesh state on Thursday 20 May. The category one cyclone unleashed heavy rains and 55-75mph winds across 777 villages. More than one million people have been affected. Thanks to the Andhra Pradesh government's efforts to evacuate 87,000 vulnerable people into schools, government buildings, cyclone shelters and other safe centres on Wednesday, loss of life has been significantly minimized. ‘If the cyclone had hit Bihar where communities and government are less able to cope, this could have been a lot worse,' says Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, Christian Aid's regional emergency manager. ‘Fortunately, the government in Andhra Pradesh is able to prepare for disasters, and this has helped to save lives.' Special Correspondent for Praise the Almighty Andhra Pradesh, India : A church under construction of the Church in this place and construction was demolished by a group of hence they attacked and demolished the Hindu radicals at Anantpur in Andhra church building and thereafter installed idol Pradesh state on May 23,2010. of a Hindu god hanuman inside the According to Global Council of Indian demolished church. Christians (GCIC), The church was Pastor Vijay, the minister of the Church demolished by members of Hindu radical along with few believers approached the group Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks (RSS) and nearest police station for help, but the sad the incident took place at around 9 am. part was that the police refused to file a News source reported that, the complaint against these Hindu radicals. believers had secured all the necessary Global council of Indian Christians (GCIC) permissions from the concerned authorities demanded Andhra Pradesh state Chief for the construction of the church. But these Minister Rosiah to extend protection for Hindu radicals were not happy with the churches and Christians in the state. However, homes and livelihoods have been hit, standing crops of banana, betel and mango are completely destroyed, vital trees uprooted and 1,490 villages are now without power and water. Christian Aid partners report that thousands of people are in need of food, sanitation and drinking water. As the extent of damage and the needs of those affected begin to emerge, Christian Aid partners are already mounting their response. CASA, a Christian Aid partner with extensive experience of emergency relief activities, is already establishing feeding centres in five coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, partners SNIRD and COVA are assessing needs in camps and in villages that have not been reached by the government and military. You can help us respond whenever disasters strike by donating to our emergencies fund. (CT) Church team meets Manipur CM Hindu radicals demolish Church under construction, Installs Hindu Idol in Andhra Pradesh James Varghese 5 Imphal, May 27: A day after leaders of Manipur and Nagaland PCC leaders agreed to hold talks with civil society groups to find an amicable solution to the economic blockade, Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today met a delegation of the All Manipur Church Organisation. The Church delegation was headed by its president Prim Vaiphei and the meeting lasted for more than an hour. Church sources said during the meeting Ibobi Singh “responded positively” to an appeal by the church delegation to hold dialogues with the All Naga Students Association, Manipur and United Naga Council (UNC). “We met the chief minister to urge him to find a solution to the ongoing economic blockade as the entire state was suffering because of it. The chief minister assured us that he would extend an invitation to the Naga groups very soon,” a member of the Church delegate said. He said the organisation was neutral. “We are concerned with the welfare of the people. So we met the chief minister. Conflicts and problems could be solved across the table,” the source said. The chief minister also assured the delegation that the government was always ready to hold talks with any group to redress their grievances. Ibobi Singh told the delegation that his government was also ready to make amendments to the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (Third Amendment)Act, 2008. The UNC, ANSAM and other Naga organisations are opposed to the district council election because they felt that the powers given to the district councils were not enough. ANSAM imposed the blockade on Imphal-Jiribam and Imphal-Dimapur highways since April 11 to protest against the election. The first phase of the election was held yesterday in Chandel, Sadar Hills in Senapati district and Churachandpur. In the second phase Ukhrul, Senapati and Tamenglong districts would go to polls on June 2. Civil society groups in Tangkhul has called a 72-hour Ukhrul bandh from May 31 midnight to boycott the election. WORLD 6 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Global Day of Prayer celebrates tenth anniversary May 24, 2010 by Christian Post: The Global Day of Prayer celebrates the tenth anniversary of its founding by a South African businessman today. South African believers will gather at Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town – site of the first GDOP event – to pray and to celebrate how one of their own started one of the world’s largest prayer events. South African businessman Graham Power organised the first prayer event in Cape Town in 2001, drawing around 45,000 Christians to pray in Newlands Rugby Stadium. The prayer event then expanded to other parts of Africa and soon after around the world. Today, as many as 500 million Christians from more than 200 countries participate in the GDOP. “I am deeply grateful that God led Christians in the southern part of Africa to launch a movement of prayer that has now encompassed the globe,” commented Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World Evangelical Alliance. “Given the challenges we face in the world today the Church desperately needs to be united in prayer. We thank God that Global Day of Prayer has made such a profound impact.” For the past few days, Tunnicliffe has been participating in the three-day GDOP conference leading up to the prayer event. During the May 20-21 conference, the Canadian evangelical led a plenary on the Church and the current global challenges and opportunities facing it. Some of the issues he discussed included globalisation, persecution, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, the financial crisis, war, climate change, and nuclear weapons. “God’s vision is the church joined together in every community around the world effectively living out and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus,” said Tunnicliffe, whose organisation joins together more than 420 million evangelical Christians. “These united churches seek transformation, holiness and justice for individuals, families, communities, peoples and nations.” The evangelical leader is scheduled to lead prayer at the Cape Town GDOP event on Sunday. More than 200 countries around the world have pledged to participate in this year’s GDOP. Librarian challenges porn usage, gets flak Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - May 28, 2010 - A librarian in Salinas, California, has been reprimanded after catching a 10-yearold boy viewing pornography on one of the library's computers. Elizabeth McKeighen, who spotted the boy while she made her routine check through the section of the library said, "I reacted, in all honesty, [with] shock," she recalls. She says she tapped the boy on the shoulder to get his attention, but the mother claims she swatted him. The librarian was reprimanded and warned she could be fired if it happens again. "I'm just disturbed that me touching the kid was blown out of proportion and has suddenly become much more important than the vital issue of pornography in the library," the librarian laments. She believes that filters could provide a solution to the problem -- and though library officials disagree, saying filters tend to block out important information people need, McKeighen explains that filters have advanced in recent years. "This is an issue. It happens all the time, every day," she regards. "And while the solution is very challenging, to ignore the problem is only going to exacerbate it and make it worse.” Instead of using filters, the Salinas Public Library requires employees to be vigilant in looking over patrons' shoulders and stopping them if they are visiting to porn websites. Library director Elizabeth Martinez says that approach works "better than any filter.” Earlier this month, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that filters should be installed on public library computers in that state, saying libraries have the authority to decline adult-oriented material in their collections -- and that discretion, said the court, extends with respect to Internet materials as well. JUNE 1-15, 2010 World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel Joint action for just peace convened by the World Council of Churches: 29 May - 4 June 2010 The World Council of Churches is inviting member churches and related organizations to join a week of advocacy and action for a just peace in Palestine and Israel. Those who share the hope of justice are invited to take peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness. During the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, from 29 May to 4 June 2010, churches in different countries send a clear signal to policy-makers, interested public and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples. Participants are requested to plan their activities around these points: 1. Pray with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem. 2. Educate about actions that make for peace and about facts on the ground that do not, especially, settlements in occupied territory. 3. Advocate with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice. The week calls participants to seek justice for Palestinians so that both Israelis and Palestinians can finally live in peace. It is now more than 60 years since the partition of Palestine hardened into a permanent nightmare for Palestinians. It's more than 40 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza overwhelmed the peaceful vision of one land, two peoples. Yet the dream of one nation cannot be fulfilled at the expense of another. The action week's message is that now: · It's time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace. · It's time for freedom from occupation. · It's time for equal rights. · It's time for the healing of wounded souls. Franklin Graham Closes 3rd Brazilian Festival with Over 25,000 American evangelist Franklin Graham concluded his third evangelistic festival in Brazil Saturday night, preaching to over 25,000 Brazilians in the city of Belo Horizonte. heart. It’s only Christ that can make changes in the human life,” he added. According to Geremias Couto, the national coordinator for the festival in Brazil, only 19 percent of the people in Belo Horizonte - the country's third largest city - are considered evangelical. And Graham's Festival of Hope is the first-ever event of its type. In the four months leading up to the festival, some 800 churches were trained and mobilized and 100,000 "Operation Andrew" cards were sent out - 20,000 of which were returned with 7 names on each of them. Though the effort began one month later than planned due to "a number of situations," the May 27-29 festival still drew thousands each night, starting with 10,000 the first and concluding with Saturday night's 25,000. As he does with each festival, Graham brought with him the gospel of Christ as well as inspirational music from popular Christian artists including Michael W. Smith, Ana Paula, and the Tommy Coomes Band. Local musicians and a choir made up of May. 30, 2010: American evangelist volunteers from churches across the region Franklin Graham concluded his third also took to the stage in culminating the efforts evangelistic festival in Brazil Saturday of what grew to become more than 1,000 local night, preaching to over 25,000 Brazilians churches from a wide range of denominations. According to Graham, the number of in the city of Belo Horizonte. Graham, who heads the Billy Graham churches that worked together to prepare for Evangelistic Association, has preached the Festival of Hope in Belo Horizonte was twice before in South America’s largest the largest he had ever seen. “I don’t think I’ve seen that at any country (and the world’s fifth largest) – the first about 18 years ago and the second crusade that we’ve had anywhere in the world that had that many churches about nine years ago. “The country has changed a lot,” said committed to evangelism,” he reported. Since 1989, Graham has held an the ministry leader after arriving in Belo average of seven festivals each year as an Horizonte for the three-night festival. “We've seen a lot of positive economic evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. changes,” he added. Earlier this year, Graham held his first In spite of all the benefits that Brazil has gained economically, however, Graham event of 2010 in Chennai, India. Along with acknowledged the presence of a “great Belo Horizonte, additional Franklin spiritual vacuum that economy, wealth, and Graham events will be held this year in Vancouver, Canada (Aug. 7); Calgary, material things cannot fill." “[T]here’s an emptiness in people that Canada (Aug. 21); Edmonton, Canada money cannot buy,” said Graham, reiterating (Aug. 28); Osaka, Japan (Oct. 22-24); and the words of the more than 900 churches that Riga, Latvia (Nov. 5-7). Graham, whose father is world invited him to preach over the weekend. “You can’t fill a person with money. It’s renowned preacher Billy Graham, currently only Christ that can come into a human serves as president and CEO of the BGEA. PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 7 Rick Warren tells passive, WCC welcomes Turkish move to protect fake christians to religious find another church minorities' rights During his weekend sermon, Warren laid out a plan for Saddleback's next "Decade of Destiny" in which he's anticipating exponential growth. And the plan has no room for fake Christians, he indicated. May 24, 2010 Pastor Rick Warren has a message for the some 20,000 people who attend Saddleback Church: If you want to remain a passive Christian, find another church. During his weekend sermon, Warren laid out a plan for Saddleback's next "Decade of Destiny" in which he's anticipating exponential growth. And the plan has no room for fake Christians, he indicated. "Let me just be honest with you as somebody who loves you. If you passively just want to sit around in the next 10 years and just waste your life on things that won't last, you probably want to find another church because you're not going to really feel comfortable here. Because if you're in this church, I'm coming after you to be mobilized," said the renowned southern California pastor. Saddleback celebrated its 30th anniversary last month and in preparation for the megachurch's next decade, Warren took the congregation back to the first church in the New Testament for a look at what "real Christianity" is all about. "There are a lot of things done in the name of Christianity in the church that Jesus Christ would disavow," he lamented. "There's fake Christianity, there's phony Christianity, there's pseudo-Christianity. "I want us to look at the real deal. What does it mean to really be a follower of Jesus Christ?" Preaching on Pentecost Sunday – the anniversary or birthday of the first church – Warren said that just as a child is born with its entire DNA, all the DNAwas in the body of Christ when it was birthed more than 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately, the churches and Christians he sees today in the 21st century are a far cry from how they were in the first century, he noted. Aligning Saddleback with the DNA of the original church – which grew from 120 believers to dominating the Roman Empire within 300 years – Warren directed the congregation to adopt and strengthen eight characteristics of real Christianity as found in the book of Acts. They include: supernatural power through prayer, using everybody's language and every communication channel for mission, mobilizing everybody from kids to seniors, life-changing truth, loving support or fellowship, joyful worship, generous sacrifices and exponential growth. "Real Christianity uses everyone's gifts," said Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, as he rejected passive and consumer Christians. "Everybody's a minister," he stressed. In the original church, there were no audiences. Rather, everyone was a contributor and participator which led to the tremendous growth of Christianity. Over the next 10 years, the megachurch will be launching Saddleback worship services in every city in Orange County and in other cities across the country and the world. The Lake Forest, Calif., church also plans to become the first church in history to send someone to every nation in the world to share the Good News. "We're going to sing until the whole world knows" is the theme song for the next decade, Warren said. "If we went back to New Testament real Christianity, not the fake stuff ... do you think we could reach more people for Jesus?" he posed. "Without a doubt. We'd reach more people in the next 10 years than the 30 years combined." Lillian Kwon, Christian Post Reporter Development and justice needed to address communal conflicts in Nigeria Although it is often portrayed as a religious conflict, the crisis in Nigeria's Central Plateau State is of social and economic nature, the country's foreign minister told church representatives. The church delegation advocated for government action to develop the area and to bring to trial those responsible for an outburst of communal violence last March. For Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Henry Odein, the country faces "a lot of challenges which are largely misunderstood by the international community". The situation in the central Plateau State, where several hundred people were killed last March, is "much more complicated" than it is usually portrayed, Odein argued. According to him, the religious factor compounds a conflict between an indigenous population and an immigrant community in that area. "The issues are of social and economic nature", he said. Odein expressed his views at a meeting with the World Council of Churches (WCC) programme executive for Africa Dr Nigussu Legesse and the programme director of the Christian Council of Nigeria Rev. Babatunde Olusegun on 21 May. The church representatives met the minister at his residence in Abuja on behalf of a WCC Living Letters team that had visited the country 15-20 May. “We came here in solidarity with the people of Nigeria”, Legesse told Odein, explaining the purpose of the WCC Living Letters visit. “We visited the villages near Jos, in the Plateau State. We were in Bukuru, where houses and markets were burnt and in Dogonahawa, where 323 people killed last March have been buried in a mass grave. We have met the survivors, talked to them, listened to them and prayed along with them and assured them that the global community of churches is with them in their moment of crisis”, Legesse said. Legesse urged the minister to "help facilitate development in Jos through the federal government". He pleaded that those responsible for the killings are brought before the court of law, "as the question of impunity was a concern widely mentioned by the people we met during our visits”. Living Letters are small ecumenical teams visiting a country to listen, learn, share approaches and help to confront challenges in order to overcome violence, promote and pray for peace. The team visiting Nigeria was made of representatives of churches and WCC staff from Ghana, Kenya, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, India and Ethiopia. (Gbenga Osinaike, the publisher of the Church Times of Lagos, Nigeria, reported from Abuja.) 27.05.10 The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has welcomed a recent Turkish government decree allowing for a better protection of the rights of non-Muslim religious minorities in Turkey. "It is only fair that this new and positive development is commended by all those concerned about the situation of Christian and other non-Muslim religious minorities in Turkey", said Tveit commenting on the news. According to a 21 May report by Ecumenical News International, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree in mid-May ordering local officials "to do more to protect the rights of Christian and other non-Muslim religious minorities, such as by returning their confiscated properties and taking action against anti-Christian groups". "We hope local Turkish officials will expedite the application of this decree and thus bring about an improvement in the situation of communities which, as the Prime Minister has said, are an inseparable part of the Republic of Turkey and must feel fully valued as citizens of the country", Tveit said. "Of course, more needs to be done, but this is a sign that goes in the right direction", he added. "We don't feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens", the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said as recently as 17 December 2009, when he was featured by the US TV show 60 minutes. During the last week of November 2009 representatives of the WCC and the Conference of European Churches made an official visit to Turkey so as to encourage the authorities to improve the situation of religious minorities. In Istanbul and Ankara, the delegation met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Aram Atesian from the Armenian Patriarchate, and the Archbishop Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas of the Syrian Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery. It also met representatives of the Jewish community as well as with government officials. The exercise of religious freedom, the legal status of churches, including property issues, and the right to religious education were on the agenda. Amongst the pending issues for the Ecumenical Patriarchate are the obstacles to the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki, which was the patriarchate's main theological seminary until its closure. Situated on Heybeliada island in the Marmara sea off Istanbul, the school was closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971. “I visited the Halki school during my visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch last March and was impressed by the fact that it has been maintained in complete repair and ready for the day when it will be allowed to reopen", commented Tveit. "And indeed we pray for this to happen soon." How to break the tragic cycle... letter to the party organ, Congress Sandesh, This seemingly contradicted the tougher posture of Chidambaram, who often 'complained of the 'limited mandate' he has in dealing with extremists. He is equally concerned with the alienation, deprivation and sense of injustice prevailing among the tribals; but then if development activities are to make an impact in those areas, or if the grievances are to be removed, violence and insecurity should be ended as well. The stepped up activities of the Maoists resulting in more and more deaths subsequent to the articulation of the Sonia Gandhi strategy are not likely to lead to any changes in the plans before the Central government. There is, of late, a growing impression that states like Jharkhand are not playing their roles effectively in checking violence at the local level. Having opted for a democratic form of government, there can also be no sympathy from any quarters for the Maoist goal of seizing power through an armed struggle in the country by 2050. Democracy may not be a foolproof system to ensure equality, justice and all round prosperity, but the people through their sovereign will had opted for that system after winning independence from the British. The latest instance of Maoist terror highlights the enormity of the problem and a government invested by the people with the duty of maintaining law and order can not but take serious measures to put down those who seek to disturb the peace. The BJP has already accused the government of lacking in will power to deal with the serious problem. The Maoists must understand that if they are concerned with the lot of the poor and the oppressed, they must find means other than violence to realize their cause. In the cycle of violence caused by their conflict with the governments, the innocents become the victims. No one gains through mindless violence. They must be willing to talk to the government, if they earnestly hope to help the poor on whose behalf they claim to have taken up the gun. As Martin Luther King Jr stated long ago hatred cannot drive out hatred. Efforts must be made to strike at the root of hatred by starting a dialogue between the government and the extremists through mutual friends. Men of goodwill and peace activists should strive to bring the conflicting parties to the conference table to eliminate mutual suspicion and promoting understanding. While doing so it must be made clear that extremists have no right to disturb the peace and cause trouble to the lawfully elected government of the people. Meanwhile the Bengal Christian Council (BCC) has condemned the Maoist attack on Mumbai-bound Express train . The BCC consists of the CNI, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Salvation Army churches in that region. Several other religious organizations have also come out against the violent attacks. 'Those who take the sword shall perish by the sword.' This scriptural truth remains an eternal principle written into the constitution of this world. Peace activists and Christian groups must play active role in bringing about the awareness in society that violence in any form doesn't pay and will only halt the march towards progress. Christians need also to pray for a change of heart in the peoples and leaders in the nation so that they come to recognize the need to eschew violence and work towards peace with 8 JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Jews for Jesus founder dies at Age 78 May. 20, 2010 The founder of Jews for Jesus died Wednesday, leaving behind a prewritten message to members of the ministry. In the letter posted on the Jews for Jesus website after his death, Moishe Rosen encouraged members of Jews for Jesus to stay with the ministry, especially as they “stand on the edge of a breakthrough in Jewish evangelism.” “Just a little more. Just another push. Just another soul - and we will have reached critical mass where we begin generating that energy that the whole world might know the Lord,” wrote Rosen, who was 78 when he died Wednesday after a protracted battle with prostate cancer. The son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Rosen came to believe in Jesus at the age of 21 and felt a call to ministry shortly thereafter. In September 1973, Rosen founded Jews for Jesus and, until 1996, he served as the organization’s first executive director. “Moishe Rosen has had a tremendous influence on the field of Jewish missions, on the Church and on so many who have sought to serve God in making the gospel known,” commented the organization’s current executive director, David Brickner. “Moishe Rosen championed the refreshing realization that one can be a Jew for Jesus while retaining one’s cultural heritage,” added Dr. Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary. Aside from Jews for Jesus, Rosen was responsible for training a significant number of men and women who are leaders in the field of Jewish missions today, several as CEOs of other mission agencies. Rosen was also a special consultant to the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization’s study group on reaching Jewish people, which met in Pattaya, Thailand, in 1980, and was one of the founding leaders of the organization it spawned - The Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, an umbrella group for Jewish mission agencies around the world. Rosen also authored a number of books in his field. “In modern times, no one has championed such creative and effective ways of winning Jewish people to Christ as has our brother,” stated Dr. David Larsen, professor emeritus of preaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In his final remarks, Rosen expressed how concerned he was by the support some believers were giving to the efforts of rabbis “who, frankly, not only don't know Christ, but don't want to know Him.” “I would urge you to think very seriously before you support any ‘ministry’ that involves Jewish people and doesn't actually bring the gospel to the Jews,” wrote Rosen to Jews for Jesus members. He also expressed his disappointment in Jesus-believing Jews who “feel that their primary purpose is to promote Jewishness and Judaism to the Jews.” “I hope I can count on you to show love and respect for the Jewish people, but Jewishness never saved anybody,” Rosen stated. “Judaism never saved anybody no matter how sincere. “ Though Rosen also made clear his disagreement with some of the decisions made by the leadership of his own organization after he stepped down as executive director in 1996, he said the core of what the ministry stands for is still central. He also said the ministry has been in competent hands for many years and urged ministry members to encourage the leadership. “The executive director and the staff need to hear that you intend to continue standing with us,” he wrote. In lieu of flowers, Rosen’s family has encouraged well-wishers to make gifts to Jews for Jesus in Rosen’s honor. Moishe Rosen is survived by his wife of sixty years, Ceil, his brother Don, his daughter, Lyn Bond and her husband, Alan, his daughter Ruth Rosen and two grandchildren, Asher and Bethany Bond. A special memorial service has been scheduled for June 1 at First Baptist Church in San Francisco, where Jews for Jesus is based. Joshua A. Goldberg, Christian Post Reporter. Seminar against euthanasia follows defeating assisted suicide in Canada Seattle, WA (LifeNews.com) -- On the heels of defeating a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide in Canada, an anti-euthanasia group is organizing a national conference to coordinate strategy to respond to additional attempts to promote the practice. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will host the event next month in Seattle. The bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 228 to 59 last month. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells LifeNews.com that was an "unprecedented victory.” "The massive victory was accomplished by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition quarter-backing a focused campaign that involved groups and individuals from many different organizations," he said. "In other words the incredible victory was achieved by maintaining a strict focus and working in coalition with many different groups who shared one goal, opposing the legalization of assisted suicide.” Now that the battle to soundly defeat Bill C-384 has come to an end, Schadenberg is ready to move ahead to the next fight. "Similar strategies need to be employed in every jurisdiction in the United States and around the world," to ward off euthanasia and assisted suicide, he said. "It is maybe necessary to express our opposition to legalizing assisted suicide in different ways, but what remains the same is the need for a focused leadership that is willing to work with groups from every political and social constituency," he said. The June 5th Push Back Seminar in Seattle will help pro-life advocates, Catholics, disability rights advocates, medical groups and others who oppose assisted suicide to develop new coalitions that can work with a focused strategy and purpose. Experts will provide information and give attendees the opportunity to work through the ideas that enabled the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and its coalition partners to convince politicians from across the political and social spectrum to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. "We also need to recognize that the euthanasia lobby does not provide equal opportunity. We cannot allow them to control the language and the direction of the issue," the activist told LifeNews.com. "A prime example is how the film about the I1000 Initiative in Washington State went from being a documentary of a campaign to a propaganda film that demonized our leaders. We must turn the tide now.” Schadenberg hopes having the event in the state that became the second to legalize assisted suicide will yield learning opportunities. “Seattle is also located near Montana, a state that is also in need of forming a strong and effective coalition. We also predict that California will once again face a new challenge by the euthanasia lobby and Oregon is constantly under social attack," he said of two other states that allow assisted suicide and a third that has repeatedly considered it. (by Steven Ertelt) Christians pray for Britain's healing London, May 27, 2010, Charlie Boyd (CT): Christians gathered in every borough of London on Pentecost Sunday to pray for God to heal Britain. The prayer gatherings were held as part of the Global Day of Prayer, which united an estimated 250 million Christians worldwide as the movement marked its tenth anniversary. Global Day of Prayer London facilitated prayer gatherings in churches and parks in all 33 London boroughs, testimony to the movement's huge growth in the UK since it was launched in Westminster Chapel, London, in 2006. Convener of the Global Day of Prayer London, Jonathan Oloyede, told Christians at a prayer gathering in Southwark, south London, to pray for a “new Britain. “We're asking God to open up a new Britain, that it no longer is to be broken Britain, but for it to be healed,” he said. Mr Oloyede invited Christians to take part in a major GDOP London event on June 13 at West Ham football stadium, to be joined by London Mayor Boris Johnson, worship leader Graham Kendrick and X Factor finalist Beverly Trotman. He said: “We're inviting churches to come to West Ham and send a delegation to come down as a church, as a family, and come and join thousands of other people as we pray 'Lord heal our land'. “This is like a foretaste of Heaven, when we're lifting up holy hands united at the throne room of God worshipping. “It's an indescribable feeling. You have to be there to appreciate it when you're worshipping with Christians of different traditions but united by the blood of the Lord and by the cross.” Global Harvest Business Fellowship We welcome all Business Person's, Entrepreneurs and Professionals to join our non denominational business Fellowship. Our goal is to penetrate the marketplace with that knowledge. The place of action to fulfill this vision is the business where testimonies of businessmen present the path for men in business to choose to live a Spirit-directed life through Jesus Christ. Together, we can change the culture of the marketplace. Contact :09868675134, Email : [email protected] website: www.gtm.in Advt. PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 9 MATRIMONIAL PTA-ML/2010/001 Marriage Proposals Pentecost fair BBA girl 26/5'.2”, accounts executive (Muthood Finance) seeks Pentecost, born again, fair, graduate, 28 to 30/5'.5 5'.8” Delhi based working boy. 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Mob.08004203570,09847765482 E-mail: [email protected] PTA-ML/2010/27 Marriage proposals invited by Malayalee Pentecostal parents boy, 29/5'7'' currently working in a private firm in Delhi. Contact 9899710806 Please e-mail The matrimonial to [email protected] or send through SMS to 0989 985 3422. Advertisement charge: Rs. 100/- only per matrimonial You can send you Payment by M.O, Cheque/DD in favour of PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY to: Manager,PTA C-6/141 Sector-5, Rohini,Delhi-110085 Phone :011 2704 1259 Mobile : 9711065583, 9899853422 Email : [email protected] thealmighty.com EDITOR’S PAGE 10 JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY EDITORIAL Speak up for the perishing PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Finally, molester Rathore is behind bars The long wait of this nation to see a rich, famous and powerful criminal punished has finally ended. After a twenty year legal battle, Mr. S. P. S. Rathore, the one who molested a teenage budding tennis player, was finally sent to jail. The ever-present smile of derision was absent on Rathore’s face when he was taken to jail. The trial court had earlier sentenced the former top cop to rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months. There was a media outrage at this lenient sentence meted out to this criminal who spared no efforts to threaten and intimidate witnesses and the members of the Ruchika’s family. The judge who increased the sentence now says that the trial court’s verdict was a mistake. Indeed, the whole nation felt so. Public support for justice in this case is not surprising. In a battle of unequals, the people of India stood with the weak family that fought for justice. They lost their daughter. Their son was arrested and tortured after being falsely implicated in various criminal cases. A police officer who was supposed to protect people used every power under him to hide his crime and to intimidate all who were bent on nailing him. In this land, where the powerful think that they can get away with anything, it is only too natural for people and the media to highlight this case. We usually see such criminal characters who misuse government offices and power in films. Here was a real life story that was taken to a fitting conclusion. Mr. Rathore’s lawyer-wife is now trying to get him out on bail. However, the concerned court remarked that Mr Rathore’s bail application was not an urgent case despite him being a 68-year-old man with several health complications. This is indeed a welcome move. Otherwise, as per the honourable court’s admission, granting of bail to Mr Rathore would make a “mockery” of the whole justice delivery mechanism in this country. There may be hundreds of young women in India who silently bore the assault of those in power because their future was in the hands of their molesters. Only a few have the courage to come forward and file a complaint against the high and mighty. In such a situation, Ruchika’s friend Aradhana, who now lives in Australia, deserves a mention here. If it were not for her bold stand, this case would not have reached this end. Aradhana was the only one who saw Rathore molesting Ruchika. Her initial reaction was shock. But she overcame her fear and troubles and stood with Ruchika’s family for the past two decades. Recently, two young women in Madhya Pradesh were driven to suicide after a policeman forcefully dis-robed and filmed them without their consent. The cops then harassed them and threatened to spread their multimedia clips. This only shows how widespread and deep rooted is this problem in our country. Protectors turn predators and hapless victims kill themselves for they are unable to bear their shame and trauma. The one factor that keeps a molester bold enough to continue this exploits is his confidence that most Indian girls or women will not fight back. Unwanted physical contact, indecent remarks, staring, teasing, etc., are common on our streets, in our workplaces and in our trains and buses. These incidents are on the rise. Yet, few women display the courage to turn and identify the criminal or to expose him publicly. Which is why a recent incident in Kochi, Kerala, was highlighted by local newspapers. A woman in her 30s was walking to her place of work. A passer-by deliberately touched her even when she tried to avoid him. The woman then turned and stopped the man to demand an apology. The man, who was drunk, beat her several times. This incident was noticed by another road user and he used his mobile phone to capture pictures of this encounter.As a result, the man was arrested by local police. A country where girls and women are not safe will not progress beyond a certain extent. In a charged-up society in which men think that all women are as immoral as the women they see in their favourite media, such incidents of harassment are bound to increase. Policemen should use modern technologies such as digital cameras to gather evidence as these crimes happen. It is the duty of the government to nab these criminals, successfully convict them and to win them maximum punishment. Thus, we may be control this menace. Annual Subscription India Rs. 240 Please send Letters to the Editor and articles to: E-mail : [email protected] Phone: 011 27041259, 989 985 3422 For subscription: Please send M.O., D.D./ Cheque drawn in favour of PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY payable at Delhi and send to: Manager, C-6/141, Sector-5, Delhi-110085 Patrons Chief Editor Hony. Editor Sub-Editor Associate Editor Correspondent Layout design Circulation Circulation Asstt. Pastor M K Babu For if you remain silent at this time, …... And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Est 4:14 Intercession is an integral part of Christian life. God has given us the freedom in Jesus Christ to approach the throne of grace anytime for God’s favour. A child of God is ornamented with the confidence to receive mercy and help in time of need from God. The Bible says: “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16). God answers our prayers because today His heart is for the ‘lost’ in the world. He showed His unfathomable love for the nations through His Son Jesus Christ who was sent to die on a cross in order to do away with sin. His initiative to save the world declares the fact that His plan is for everyone irrespective of religion, caste and language. When God is at work to save the people from every nation, tribe, language, inevitably it is the obligation of Christians to intercede for the perishing people in their respective cities and nations. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." Jer 29:7. The Bible teaches us to ask forgiveness for the sins committed in their ignorance by the our ancestors or the people in the city (Neh. 1:6). The Great Intercessor, Lord Jesus Christ, who sits in the right hand of God prayed: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21. It is God’s plan under His perfect will that every single person must know that God sent His Son to this world so that the world can be saved through Him. Our Lord’s heart longs to see His servants love each other and work in unity and oneness. There cannot be a greater message than that to the world which will draw people to the Lord. Those who pray earnestly for any cause shall work for it wholeheartedly. We are coming to an agreement to work according to God’s will when we offer prayers for the salvation of people. Through the intercessory prayer in unity and in one accord among His disciples enhances the spirit of oneness to stand for the same cause. Paul sought prayers for him, for the word of God to spread. “Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you” 2Th 3:1. Ministers of the Word need this prayer from the church so that they can minister effectively to the people. A message prepared without prayer lacks heavenly anointing and the transformation power of God. Moreover, God wants us to be an aroma to God through our prayers and deeds. He has made us righteous to pray for the lost. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2Cor 2:14-15. Comfort zones of life sink the passion to intercede for the less fortunate for our affluence gives us a feeling of (false) security and protection. Mordecai prompted Esther to speak up for her people in order that they can be saved from being destroyed by the hands of Haman. He alerted her regarding her election and positioning as the queen of the nation for a time such as that! Esther was ready to put her life in risk and resorted to present herself before the king with her request. Prior to that she wanted to fast and pray and requested her people to fast and pray for her. God, in His nature, will not be silent spectator when someone is determined to put their life in risk for His sake. He proves that the He is sovereign and supreme authority of heaven and earth. : : : : : : : : Rev. Dr. Valson Thambu M P K Kutty Rev. M.K. Babu E-mail Bright Sam E-mail Annie M. Babu E-mail Philip P Eapen E-mail Dilan Marandi Mobile Raj Masih Mobile Madan Mohan Mobile Neeraj Kumar Mobile : : : : : : : : [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] 971 106 5583 989 139 9918 991 085 2894 987 338 7946 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 11 Quietly, the Christian-Muslim killing continues in Nigeria Access to power and lucrative oil contacts are driving a rise in Christian-Muslim clashes and killings. Nigeria's heavy military presence is not enough to quell violence that plagues the No. 3 supplier of oil to the US Jos, Nigeria: Patience Dassah, a smartly dressed young Nigerian, has recently had trouble getting a taxi. But her trouble with okadas, the motorcycles that zip through the streets here in Africa's most populous country, does not lie with the typical traffic jams or fuel shortages. "I live in a mostly Christian area, and now my Muslim okada driver will not take me there," she says, explaining that he is too afraid of being attacked or even killed. "He won't even pick up my calls.” Ms. Dassah lives in Jos, a city in central Nigeria now caught in a cycle of religious and ethnic violence. Sandwiched between the country's largely Muslim north and mostly Christian south, Jos has endured a decade of periodic clashes between followers of the two faiths, a conflict that has flared up in recent months. In two massacres this year, gangs with machetes from both sides descended on nearby villages and killed hundreds. A boosted Army presence and nighttime curfew in Plateau State, of which Jos is the capital, has reduced the risk of more largescale attacks. But some residents of Jos are resorting to "secret killings," in which a lone Christian is lured to a secluded Muslim part of town – or vice versa – and killed. They are the reason Dassah says her okada driver no longer answers her calls. And they appear to show once again that a heavy military presence is not enough to quell the religious violence that plagues the No. 3 supplier of oil to the United States. Targeted killings of ethnic individuals: Secret killings have been on the rise since this year's second massacre, in early March, say Christian and Muslim community leaders, government officials, and police. "We have started receiving reports of corpses being found here and there. It started happening after the March 7 incident," says Femi Oyeleye, the head of the state's criminal investigation department, referring to coordinated mob attacks by Muslims on members of the mainly Christian Berom ethnic group. Those March killings are said to have been reprisals for religious clashes that killed scores in January. According to Mr. Oyeleye, 25 corpses unrelated to any major attacks were found in Jos during March and April – far above the average rate of three corpses a month during the 12 months leading up to February. Lawal Ishaq, a local lawyer who documents secret killings against Muslims, recorded 36 deaths in March and April. Death tolls are sensitive in Jos – and highly unreliable. The figures for the March massacre, in which mostly Christians were killed, range from 150 to 450 Similar uncertainty shrouds the January massacre, in which mostly Muslims died. "Each side inflates the figures, and then the high numbers are used to justify revenge attacks," says Henry Mang, a researcher at Jos University's Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies. Ethnicity and politics also play a role: In Jos, religion is just one cause of conflict. The fighting falls broadly along ethnic lines, with the mostly Christian Berom group against the largely Muslim Hausa and Fulani groups. The Hausa and Fulani are officially deemed settlers in Plateau State, even though some have lived here for generations, and say that as a result they are excluded from political office. The state government counters that the socalled settlers have been given a small number of roles and are now trying to take over. Political office is prized throughout Nigeria – holders of such jobs can grant lucrative public contracts to their allies and access oil revenues in what is sub-Saharan Africa's biggest energy producer. "[The violence in Jos] is not about religion," says Murray Last, an anthropologist at University College in London and an expert on Nigeria. "That is just the glove that covers the hand. That hand is politics: the access to power and the access to land." Faith-based ghettos emerging- As killings continue, and suspicion between Christians and Muslims grows, residents say the city is splitting into faith-based ghettos. Some say Berom farmers are afraid to travel to remote rural areas, missing the opportunity to plant crops during the rainy season. In a sweltering car yard in the midday sun, Vincent Chungzi, a mechanic, fears that his missing cousin, a Christian okada driver, has become another victim. He was last seen with a female Muslim passenger more than a month ago. "We keep calling him, but he is not 13 evangelicals A.P.C. MINISTRY arrested in Alexandria APC is a registered : - non- profit organization is working in Faridabad, Haryanasince 1997. A. P. C. is serving the poor without regard to religion, caste and gender. A.P.C. Ministry is involved in : 1. Church Planting 2. Education 3. Medical Program 4. Empowering women program 5. Awareness classess 6. Capacity Building program All donation are tax exempt under section 80G of the IT Act. APC is registered with the ministry of Home Affairs Government of India , New Delhi under the foreign contribution Act 1976(F.C.R.A.) Permitting to receive Foreign Aid. For more information:Action for perfect charity Karunya Nagar mawai Road old Faridabad Haryana-121002 Tel : +91-129-2229307 Email : [email protected] Www.actionforperfectcharity.org State Security Investigations Service arrested yesterday in Agami, Alexandria 13 evangelical Christians for proselitizing. The arrests were made at a meeting with Father Antonios of the Orthodox Church. Naguib Gobrail, president of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, described the arrest of the 13 youths under the Emergency Law as illegal, given that their activities had nothing to do with terrorism or drugs, which make up the entire remit of the Emergency Law since its amendment this month. Gobrail said he had a phone conversation with a senior security official who confirmed that the 13 Christians had been arrested, and who added that Egypt is not in need of "yet another source of tension". Gobrail also talked with Safwat el-Bayadi, president of the Evangelical Organization, who expressed his regret over the incident. In a related development, the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox church instructed the synod's media committee to supervise Coptic television channels and report on their performance. Meanwhile, Zakaria Boutros, a radical Coptic priest, confirmed two days ago that his program on Al-Hayah channel has been suspended, as was reported by the BBC last week. Boutros said he is launching a new TV channel that "promises salvation" to the Muslims of the Arab World. 12 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 Obama Admin may Evangelicals Promote `Theology of Sex,' have illegally spent $10 million Abortion Reduction promoting abortion in Kenya Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- New information obtained by a member of Congress makes it appear the Obama administration has spent $10 million potentially illegally promoting a proabortion constitution in Kenya. Obama officials were thought to have spent $2 million but Rep. Chris Smith says that figure could exceed $10 million. Lobbying for or against abortion is prohibited under a provision of federal law known as the Siljander Amendment annually included in the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. The amendment reads, “None of the funds made available under this Act may be used to lobby for or against abortion,” and violations are subject to civil and criminal penalties under the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1341.” Smith, the leading Republican on the House Africa and Global Health Subcommittee, and two other members of Congress have called for a probe into the Obama administration's spending in support of a campaign to get the proabortion constitution approved in Kenya in August. The three sent a May 6 letter to the Inspectors General at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development seeking a probe. Today, Smith's office informed LifeNews.com that subsequent information uncovered by investigators has revealed that actual U.S. taxpayer expenditures in support of the pro-abortion constitution are estimated to exceed $10 million. “This week I learned that U.S. taxpayer expenditures in support of the proposed constitution may exceed $10 million—five times the level we original suspected," Smith said. “This massive spending will undoubtedly be directed to those entities that are pressing for ratification of the proposed constitution. Such support will further enable passage of a constitution that is opposed by many pro-life leaders in Kenya, because it enshrines new rights to abortion. As such, the funding is a clear violation of federal law against use of U.S. taxpayer funds to lobby for or against abortion,” Smith explained. He added, “Learning of significant additional U.S. donations gives even more urgency to our request for thorough and Adelle M. Banks, May 29 Religion News morally acceptable, and three-quarters Service: - The National Association of consider abortion and unmarried sex to be Evangelicals on May 20 launched an morally wrong. Less than a third -- 30 initiative to reduce abortions by promoting percent -- think national religious leaders a "Theology of Sex" for churches and are doing a good or very good job at pledging to find common ground with addressing the issue of abortion. opponents on abortion. NAE officials have planned nationwide "There's a sense that, whatever our laws forums to promote dialogue about abortion are, abortion is a problem because of the reduction. Carey hopes they will include underlying issues of how we treat sex," said academics, counselors, teachers and Galen Carey, director of government affairs for representatives of pregnancy resource centers. the Washington-based umbrella organization. "These conversations should build on NAE leaders have concluded that our shared concerns for human dignity, churches are not doing a "good job" of protecting children and promoting healthy teaching about sex and marriage and should families and communities," the NAE said in better address the high percentage of a resolution. cohabiting unmarried young adults, Its new 24-page "Theology of Sex" including many evangelicals. booklet declares "Yes, sex is good!" within "Addressing that subject will do a lot, the context of heterosexual marriage and says we think, to reduce the number of that "God is forming a new life in his image" unplanned pregnancies and the number of in both planned and unplanned pregnancies. abortions," Carey said. "Sex is a responsible act only in a A Gallup poll commissioned by the relationship in which the couple is willing to NAE found that 90 percent of evangelicals care for any children that can come from objective investigations into all State consider "hormonal contraceptives" to be that union," it states. Department and USAID funded activities related to Kenya’s proposed constitution. I hope that all investigative agencies will take our request seriously and act swiftly in this matter.” As LifeNews.com reported, US Ambassador to Kenya Michael A Jewish human rights organization denounced an upcoming World Council of Ranneberger called last month on the Churches’ peace event as “blatantly anti-Israel.” African nation's political leaders to rally the May 28, 2010 A Jewish human rights encompass the West Bank and the Gaza people to pass the referendum. organization denounced an upcoming Strip. In return, Palestine and other Arab Smith authored the May 6 letter with World Council of Churches’ peace event as states must recognize Israel’s right to exist. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the Under the proposal, Israel also needs to Ranking Republican on the House Foreign “blatantly anti-Israel.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center was dismantle its settlements in the West Bank Affairs Committee and Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight referring to the World Week for Peace in and Gaza Strip, while Palestinians need to Palestine Israel, which begins Saturday and end their suicide bombings and other Committee. will run until June 4. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, violent attacks on Israel. Ranneberger issued a statement But some of WCC's rhetoric does not praising the Kenya parliament for passing associate dean of the center, accused the the proposed constitution and urging WCC of never standing up for Israel in the 62 sit well with Jewish groups. Last year, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister years of its existence but being “fixated” on former WCC general secretary the Rev. the plight of Palestinians. Samuel Kobia called Israel’s occupation of Raila Odinga to rally support for it. “It (WCC) never issued a single Palestinian territories “a sin against God” in He also suggested the Obama administration would fund a national response to Arab attempts to annihilate it a report to the group’s main governing body. campaign to persuade the people to adopt (Israel), to drive the Jews into the sea, to mass He noted the WCC’s stance that antimurder Jews at prayer through suicide Semitism is a “sin against God,” and the document. Although the draft contains language bombings,” said Cooper. “It is remarkably asked WCC leaders if they were “ready to say advocating the right to life for unborn fixated on the single democracy in the Middle that occupation is also a sin against God?” The American Jewish Committee, one children, it contains a section with a health East, while it cannot find its voice in countries that criminalize the practice of Christianity of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations exception that essentially opens the nation and tolerate the murder of Christians.” in the United States, condemned Kobia’s to unlimited abortions throughout Cooper said the “hate-fest” against Israel statements for ignoring the root cause of pregnancy for any reason. Before the revised constitution can this coming week will not improve the life of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. “Israel does not seek to govern another come into force, it must be approved by Palestinians because it fails to bring the two people together for genuine negotiations. people,” Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s popular vote -- expected in July or August. “Christians are the ones who should be international director of interreligious “Kenya’s current constitution includes no reference to abortion and abortion is not worrying even more than Jews,” added Rabbi affairs, maintained. “Rather, Israel has legally permitted in Kenya except to save Yitzchok Adlerstein, the interfaith affairs offered in direct negotiations with the the life of the mother," the pro-life director at the center. “The WCC evangelizes a Palestinians repeatedly to withdraw from gospel of political activism, not Christian love most of the West Bank in exchange for Republican lawmakers said. They added that “any expression of and understanding. Protestant leaders and peace and security.” Rosen criticized Kobia for repeating support for or opposition to the proposed laypeople should be wary of an organization that seeks to hijack their faith, and ask the “same hypocritical statements” about new constitution (including by drafting, themselves whether they should continue to Israel that the WCC has regularly issued. offering technical advice or providing WCC has had a long troubled relationship foreign assistance of any kind that is support the divisiveness of the WCC.” During the World Week for Peace in with Jewish groups, which criticize the designed to influence public approval in the Palestine Israel, the WCC invites member ecumenical body for favoring Palestinians and upcoming plebiscite) unavoidably involves churches and organizations to advocate for just ignoring constant terrorism threats against lobbying for or against abortion.” The letter went to Gene L. Dodaro, peace in Palestine and Israel. The WCC website Israel in its Middle East policies. The WCC is the largest Protestant Acting Comptroller General of the U.S. says participants will seek justice for both Palestinians and Israelis, but highlighted the organization in the world, claiming to Government Accountability Office; Harold partitioning of Palestine and the “permanent represent more than 560 million Christians. W. Geisel, Acting Inspector General, U.S. The ecumenical body brings together 349 Department of State, Office of Inspector nightmare” that Palestinians live under. Last year, WCC supported a “just peace churches, denominations and church General, and to; Donald A. Gambatesa, Inspector General of the U.S. Agency for initiative” proposed by the United Church fellowships in more than 110 countries and of Canada that requires Israel to recognize a territories in the world. Ethan Cole, International Development. fully sovereign state of Palestine that would Christian Post reporter. Jewish Group Condemns WCC Peace Week JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY 13 BOOK REVIEW: The thread of God in my life MPK MPK KuttyKutty Author : R M Lala Publisher Penguins India,2009 This autobiography by an author, publisher and journalist R M Lala Is notable for the insights it makes available to the reader on finding a faith. Strongly influenced by the Moral Re-armament movement and closely associated with the Tata establishment, he had authored more than a dozen books that could be read with profit by men in various fields of human endeavour. The author observes that among his books, no book has given him and the readers greater satisfaction than the 'Celebration of Cells.' It was in 1989 that doctors examining a swelling on one side of his neck and after proper tests, pronounced that he had a battle ahead—the battle with cancer. ‘When I was diagnosed with cancer, I acquired a new perspective, on my seemingly normal life. I learnt many things. To meet the challenge. I awakened to the deeper issues of life and death. I needed to face realities, reorder my priorities, embark on a journey of faith. I had to summon the doctor within myself and to channel my thoughts in a positive direction . I understood once again the value of a sense of purpose. I learnt to cultivate joy, to embrace laughter and humour, and to face death squarely and with equanimity. I also began to appreciate the immense power of prayer and healing,’ he recalls. It is all these and more that he had tried to communicate to cancer sufferers in his book, Celebration of Cells. Quite understandable because its comforting messages must have touched the hearts of people whose lot in life consisted struggles of various kinds and shapes--not necessarily cancer. Words that offer hope for those under pain would always create an impact. The more than 80-year old author had sought comfort from the scriptures and he has very skillfully communicated to others the palliative gems that reach the very depths of human hearts. Dr Abdul Kalam who read the same book gave copies to several friends. So too several other readers who felt convinced of its messages. 'The Thread of God in my life' is an autobiography with a difference. Rajmohan Gandhi's counsel to Russi M Lala that he should write is biography so that his life could be a source of light to many more, did not go in vain. Though he thought, unlike many others, that he had no greatness to dwell upon nor startling disclosures to make, he felt, after initial reluctance, his search for God and answers to life's perplexities were worth writing about. And that is what makes the book valuable to many in search of God. Unlike Gandhi, he does not start with a backlog of a 'nationalistic spirit' having to defend his own concepts and the cultural background from which he originated. Lala had his share of problems and struggles ; hopes and achievements. But these are not the substance with which he builds up his autobiography. There are passing references to events in his life but then belief in God and supportive evidences for such belief in a personal God are found throughout the pages of the book. His canvass for painting God should be considered far broader than that of many writing from an Indian background. If 'Celebration of Cells' abounded in Biblical verses and quotes from Christian authors, this book again exposes his wide reading. His thoughts and influences seem to have been inspired by the works and lives of such persons like Mother Teresa, St Augustine, St Francis of Assisi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Dr Schweitzer, Henry Drummond. No doubt he had his circle of Parsi friends which included his one time boss, JRD Tata. But zoroastrian or Hindu beliefs such as emphasis on 'karma', incarnations and idol worship do not figure prominently in the book. Going by the book, the Moral ReArmament (MRA, now renamed Initiatives of change) seems to have exercised the strongest influence on him. (Refer Page 30) When he started the Himmat weekly along with Rajmohan Gandhi and others, it was the moral standards of society he wanted to uphold rather than mingling in politics. The four years stay in London from the ages of 31 to 35 were significant for what he learnt about the MRA, life in general and about human nature. One play by Peter Howard, 'Ladder', had a deep influence on him. It was about a politician who was going fast up the ladder of success and fame. The lead was played by Paul Campbell, who had given up his own promising career, to work with the MRA. Towards the climax, recalls the author, Campbell would climb up the ladder, with a velvet belt of the awards he had received. In the background would be the strains of the hymn, 'Old Rugged Cross' The words '...all my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown' would continue to ring in his heart. They drove home man's vanity and passion for power and self-aggrandisement. Equally fascinating to read is his reaction to watching the film, 'The Robe' by Lloyd C. Douglas on the wide screen. 'During the scene of the soldiers whipping Christ, as he carried the cross up the hill, 'I wanted to hold their hands.'(Page 136) When from the cross Jesus uttered those famous words: 'Father forgive them, they know not what they do!' they pierced his heart. A stream of tears flowed down his cheeks. But a still greater impact of the scene was felt eight days later, when a Baptist pastor spoke of men recrucifying Christ. The Pastor recalled how he once thought of taking his own life and desisted from the same because ' it would amount to crucifying Christ again!' At that time, he was carrying the pain of a deeply hurt fellowship, that happened while he was 21. He nursed the hurt for four more years. That bitterness was in him when he watched the crucifixion scene. Now the pastor’s remarks worked on his mind. It dawned on him that his refusal to let go his hurt would be like crucifying Christ again. A wave of repentance came over him. He walked to a room and in the silence knelt down imagining that he was at the foot of a cross. He then 'wrapped up my parcel of bitterness and respectfully placed it at the foot.' Surrendering his long stored up ill feelings at the Cross, he felt light: as if all the burdens had been lifted up from him in a moment!’ Reading some of these incidents were like testimonies straight from ‘Born Again ‘ Christians who felt a touch of God and underwent a renewal. This is the renewal the Bible also speaks about by which a person gives up old ways and puts on a new nature. All those authors whom he had admired, it must be noted, hold a Christian world view. Further the author himself extensively reproduces verses from the Psalms, St Paul’s letters and other portions of the Book of Books with which even some Christians may not be familiar. And how many educated Christians could boast of having read at least some of the books listed herein by the Parsi author? Former president Abdul Kalam, releasing the book at a Mumbai function had said: ‘When I read the book, I found that it is a book of books…you feel every page is scholarly and touches the heart. Many authors appear in the book; many poets appear in the book; many scriptures appear in the book….’Of course only the Bible is called the ‘Book of Books.’ What the president meant was probably that he found much resources that would be useful for a person in the search for faith.’ The good Lord has caused all the laws of life to be sown in the literature of the world. No particular country or culture can claim monopoly of the knowledge of God. Russi M Lala has accomplished a great task by bringing into focus all these laws written on the tablets of the human heart by the Spirit of God. And it is his agreement with that Spirit that enables him to conclude the book with those famous lines: ‘ Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee, In life, in death, O Lord Abide with me.’ Certainly the book has succeeded in realizing the lofty aims of the author, who wrote: 'After my radiation treatment in 2003, I realised that nothing was more important than bringing people closer to God, ' he writes in his preface and adds: 'If this book can give faith and point to a path that enables others to find a deeper meaning to life, I shall feel amply rewarded.' Did he succeed? To me, the answer is ‘yes.’ 14 BLOSSOMING BUDS PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 BLOSSOMING BUDS Stevie Goes Home "Isn’t that Stevie out there?" Mrs. Rains said looking out the front window of their house. Suddenly the whole family ran to the front of the house to stare out the different windows that look out on the street. "It’s raining so hard. I can hardly see who it is." Joey said with panic in his voice. Stevie was Joey’s best friend at school. Joey knew he was having some trouble at home but he didn’t know if it was serious. "It IS Stevie!” Mr. Rains, Joey’s dad suddenly gasped. "But he lives miles from here. What is he doing wandering around on our street in the pouring rain?" "Can I go get him dad?" Joey asked with emotion in his voice. "Of course," his mom interrupted. "Go quickly, son." Joey dashed to the hall closet and pulled on his raincoat. "Here take another one for Stevie," his mom insisted. Joey shot out the front door and across the lawn to the street. The family watched nervously as little Joey ran to his friend to help him. They hugged and it was clear that Stevie was crying. "What’s wrong Stevie? Why aren’t you home?" Joey asked his friend as they walked toward their porch to get him out of the rain. "I ran away." Stevie cried. "I broke my mother’s favorite antique glass angel. I was so afraid, I just ran away." "Joey? Stevie?" they both heard the voices of Joey's parents calling to them. "Come in the house boys. We need to get you dried off." S tevie was a little afraid to go in because he felt so guilty that he thought nobody could possibly forgive and love him. He felt such gratitude when Mrs. Rains dried his hair and Mr. Rains got some of Joey’s clothes for him to get into while they got his clothes into the washer/dryer. "Would you like some warm spaghetti, sweetie?" Mrs. Rains said so lovingly that Stevie accepted the offer gobbling down two servings. "You must have walked five miles in the rain," she observed, "No wonder you are so hungry.” After he ate, the boys went to Joey’s room to play video games while his clothes finished getting cleaned up. "How come your parents are so nice?" Stevie asked his friend. "I bet they never hate you when you do bad things." "Oh sure, I make lots of mistakes," Joey confessed. "But parents don't hate their children? Oh sure, they have to correct you and teach you and you have to make things right when you do bad, but parents always love you, no matter what. It's how they are made." "I don’t understand that. Can't you lose their love if you mess up?" Stevie asked, confused. "I know. It's hard to understand," Joey agreed. "Oh, you know what? I just remembered that Pastor Ashcroft explained it in Sunday School a few weeks ago. He explained how God made parents to act like He did." "Joey, I am really getting confused. How can parents act like God does? They are just people too." Stevie complained. "Because parents love you even if you are bad. You don’t have to do anything or please them or be any certain thing because parents just love you no matter what. There was a big word for it. Let me see. What was it? Oh yeah, unconditional love. That’s what parents have. That means they love you just because you are theirs." "Is that how God is then?" "That’s what Pastor Ashcroft said. He said God is Love and He loves us no matter what. Even when we do bad and like sin, you know? God just wants us to stop sinning so we will be happy." "I would feel a lot happier if I hadn't broke my mom's angel and run away. I feel like I'm doomed now." "Stevie?" they both heard Joey's mom calling. "Honey your mom is on the phone. She is so relieved you are ok." "I can’t talk to her." Stevie started to cry again. "I know she must hate me for breaking her angel and running away." "Just try to talk to her, Stevie," Joey encouraged him. “Remember, she loves you like God does. But to get her love and forgiveness, you have to be willing to talk to her and let her love you." Joey and his mom stepped out of the room while Stevie talked to his mom. But when he came out, he looked like a completely different boy. "I’m going home now." He said with a happy melody in his voice. "But what about the angel?" Joey asked. "She said something that totally surprised me, Joey," Stevie said as though he was still in shock. "She said she loved me more than a thousand glass angels and would give them all away rather than lose me or my sister." Mrs. Rains got Stevie his clean dry clothes and he changed and sat on the porch bench with Joey waiting for his mom to come for him. The rain had cleared up and it looked like a bright happy sunshine was coming out. "You know what, Joey?" he said to his best friend. "I learned something today that was better than a million Sunday school lessons." "What was that?" his pal asked. "I learned how that kind of love works, that kind with the big word you said before…." "Unconditional love?" "Yeah, that kind. I never knew parents were like that and I sure didn’t know God was like that. I thought He was all mad about our sins all the time." "I don’t think He is mad," Joey thought out loud with Stevie. "I just think he is sad when we sin because it hurts us but he loves us so much he let Jesus die for us so the sin would stop hurting us. And best of all, we get to go to heaven because of it because that is where God is and we get to be with him. It's like heaven is our home that we haven't even seen yet." They both saw Stevie's parent's car coming down the street. Stevie stood up to say good-bye to his friend. "I like that last word you said the best," he confessed. "Which one?" "Home. That's where I'm going. I'm going home now, Joey. Thank you for teaching me about how parents and God loves me. I’ll see you at school tomorrow. "Ok Stevie. Bye, bye." And Stevie ran to the car and his mommy jumped out and hugged him and kissed him what must have been a hundred times. Joey watched and thought. "Wow, one thing you can say about that unconditional love stuff. It sure involves a lot of kissing.” JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY 15 The Father seeks true worshippers Philip P Eapen The worship of the Living God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is our greatest privilege and our primary duty. Although Christians in general agree on this matter, disagreements about the manner of worship or its expression are common. Evangelical Christians, including those in Pentecostal folds, say in one voice that the God who is Spirit should be worshipped “in spirit and in truth.” What exactly does that mean? My associations are largely with Pentecostal churches, especially with those from Kerala. Several times, I have heard pastors preach from John 4:24 “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” All of them consider Jesus’ words as an attestation of Pentecostal styles of worship as opposed to worship found in mainline churches that use a written liturgy or congregations that follow quieter forms of worship. Whenever they speak of worship “in the spirit,” they refer to glossolalia, speech in unknown languages, as given by the Holy Spirit. This they say by citing Paul’s assertion that a person who prays in an unknown Spirit-given language prays in his spirit. Those who pray in their own language pray with their minds while those who pray in “another tongue” prays in his spirit. They slap Paul’s statement about glossolalia (1 Corinthians 14:14) on to John 4:23 to get a definition for “worship in spirit and in truth.” Therefore, for most Indian Pentecostals, “worship in spirit” is equivalent to speaking in an unknown language to God, either individually or together in a church service. None of Paul’s injunctions against the loud use of glossolalia in public worship meetings – except with interpretation for the edification of those gathered – is considered worthy of obedience. Paul’s guidelines for increased private exercise of glossolalia in the place of immature public flaunting of this gift are torpedoed by the need to “worship in spirit.” What did Jesus mean when he said that true worship is “worship in spirit and in truth?” Was Jesus asking his followers to “worship in other tongues?” The Lord’s reference to true worship is taken from his conversation with a Samaritan woman. The woman had a past and was living in sin. When Jesus revealed her secrets, she understood that the man who spoke to her was a “prophet.” She quickly switched the conversation over to a debate that existed in that land about worship. “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” Samaritans preferred Mt. Gerizim to the temple at Jerusalem. She wanted to know what this “prophet” thought about this issue. Jesus’ reply was different from what she expected to hear. She did not succeed in pulling Jesus into a debate over where people should gather to worship God. Jesus said, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24 First, Jesus said that the Samaritans had got it all wrong. The Jews were right. God had revealed himself to the Jews and they were right to worship God at Jerusalem. Second, Jesus took the discussion to a higher plane. He said that the time had come for Jews and Samaritans – or anyone for that matter – to stop arguing about the right place to find God. God isn’t limited to a place. He is not a part of this material universe. Instead, He is spirit. He transcends time and space. The question that matters is not “where do you worship” but “whom/how do you worship.” Therefore to “worship in spirit and in truth” is to worship God sincerely with the realisation that He is omnipresent. It is to recognise that no place on earth is holier than another. For the true worshipper, the whole world is a sanctuary. He does not recognise any special “holy” label attached to or attributed to places of worship. A true worshipper need not go on a pilgrimage in search of God. As a necessary corollary, we need to say that any form of worship that localises God to a particular place, that considers a “place of worship” as holier than other places, is “false” worship. Jesus was also announcing the divine de-recognition of Jerusalem or its temple as a “holy” place. If God is spirit, and if true worship is that which recognises God’s transcendence over time and space, then Jerusalem can no longer be called a “holy” city. God’s name could no longer be tied to one city or one temple. The Jews acted according to the revelation that they had until then. They got it right, compared to other peoples who were in the dark, as far as worship was concerned. Salvation was to come from them. Now that the Messiah had come to them, it was time for the Messiah to usher in a new scheme of things. The Jewish religious economy and the Temple in Jerusalem – the ultimate emblem of their religion – was to be torn down shortly by God. Finally, the Messianic age is characterised by the impartation of God’s Holy Spirit upon His people. People have to born anew (as seen in the previous chapter, John 3) by water and the Spirit, in order to be a part of the Messianic kingdom. Those outside the kingdom are born just by the “flesh” while those in the Kingdom are born by the spirit. “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6). Therefore, when the New Testament contrasts the new Messianic order with the old Jewish order, it uses expressions such as these: “... for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Cor 3:6 “ ministry of death” versus “ministry of the Spirit” 2 Cor 3:7-8 “ministry of condemnation” versus “ministry of righteousness” 2 Cor 3:9 “... Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Gal 3:3 Therefore, when Jesus said that “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,” he was referring to the worship of God by those who received the Messiah, those who were regenerated the Spirit. In other words, he said that true worship is the worship offered by the global church of Jesus Christ. He invited Jews to turn their backs on the old and to welcome the new age. Without realising this, many Pentecostals think that John 4:24 is about turning our backs on liturgical or a quieter form of worship to a more noisy form of worship marked by speaking in “other tongues.” Such a skewed understanding forced many Pentecostals to discount the importance of songs, adoration and praise in their own languages. The songs they sing get reduced to mere launching pads for “speaking in other tongues,” which they consider to be “real worship.” Tongue-speaking is a form of prayer. The one who speaks in a strange tongue in the Spirit talks to God. That is not necessarily worship. Let’s not confuse prayer with worship. Let us use glossolalia in our private times of prayer. Even if we are led to burst out in ecstatic speech in other tongues while in church, let us do so quietly. That’s perfectly in sync with Pauline teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:28 - “... if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.” The Father seeks true worshippers. Let us worship God, ascribing all the glory due unto His name. Let our worship arise from the knowledge of God that we get from Scriptures. Let us worship with the full assurance that we 16 JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Pastor With No Tongue Still Has a Lot to Say The Lutheran pastor believes that he's been able to reach more people than if he had not had cancer. Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch The Rev. Scott Schmieding sat in an examination room at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston 13 years ago as a surgeon examined a malignant tumor in the center of his tongue. The tumor was spreading rapidly, the doctor told him, and most or all of the preacher's tongue would need to be removed. He might never be able to swallow on his own. His speech would likely be unintelligible. In that moment, Schmieding was not afraid of death or the physical ordeal that he faced. But he wondered about his calling if he survived: How could he spread the word of God if he couldn't speak? Schmieding asked God to either make him whole or take him to heaven. Ultimately, God would do neither. Schmieding survived the cancer, but he lost his entire tongue. In the years that followed, he retrained himself to speak using a special retainer and a muscle from his abdomen that surgeons transplanted into his mouth. Two months ago Schmieding took on a new ministry as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Though his speech is difficult to follow at times, the awkwardness of his speech has, in fact, brought more power to his words, parishioners say. Jana Leppien, who was on the Immanuel selection committee, recalled how one person put it best: "If someone is willing to work that hard to speak, after going through what he went through, I'm going to work twice as hard to listen.” Schmieding had never smoked or chewed tobacco and he had no family history of cancer. But in 1997, five years after his ordination, he noticed a sore in the back of his tongue. In an 11-hour operation, surgeons in Houston sliced open Schmieding's neck from ear to ear and removed his tongue through his throat. Then, they reconstructed the cavity in his mouth with a muscle from his abdomen. During rehabilitation, he suffered from blisters in his mouth from intense radiation, making his speech therapy sessions agony. He calls it "the most painful part of the entire ordeal.” For eight months, he had to breathe through a hole in his neck, and he ate through a feeding tube. Doctors told Schmieding they feared he would choke to death if he tried to swallow food, and that the feeding tube might be permanent. The loss of his tongue meant Schmieding permanently lost almost all of his sense of taste. Radiation treatments to his head eliminated the ability to produce saliva. When he did learn to swallow, it was with the help of gravity to push both solids and liquids—with a quick toss of the head backwards—to the back of his throat. He had to learn how to replace the sounds of consonants in his speech—making the "T" sound, for instance, by shooting air at his retainer, which acts like a megaphone and replicates the traditional sound of the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth. Having survived surgery and radiation, Schmieding was determined to return to parish life. His first public act as a pastor after his ordeal was to give a sermon at his former church in Baton Rouge and celebrate the baptism of his newborn son. Despite his zeal, Schmieding did have some misgivings. He confided to his speech therapist: What if parishioners could only understand half of what he said during a sermon? Her reply? "Isn't that true with most pastors?" he recalled, laughing. Schmieding says now that he never asked why he was struck with tongue cancer, but for what purpose. In the 13 years since his diagnosis, he said, he found the answer. "I have become an expert at adversity," he said, noting that he also lived through five major hurricanes in Louisiana. "I know what people are feeling when they face trials and tragedy." Schmieding was among some 60 candidates considered by the church, and the search committee knew of his challenges when they invited him to visit. "After about five minutes, we began listening to the content of what he said, rather than how he said it," said Alaina Kleinbeck, Immanuel's director of Christian education and a member of the search committee. "The fact that some of his words were a little more difficult to make out didn't matter.” After some initial hesitation among some members, Immanuel offered the job to Schmieding and he arrived last fall. So far, the congregation has been supportive and has benefited from Schmieding's message of perseverance, Kleinbeck said. "So many people have big hurts in their lives, so to have someone stand up there and reveal how they almost lost their vocation in life—that's inspiring for people," she said. Schmieding believes strongly that he's been able to reach more people without a tongue than he would have had he not had cancer. "The history of the Bible is the story of God using imperfect people for his perfect purposes," he said. "I'm just one in a very long line of imperfect people being used by God.” Dalit Christian activists........ (NCCDC) expressed their hope that the Union Government of India would act promptly and render justice to this long pending struggle of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Earlier this month, several other delegations met the following Ministers as part of lobbying for the cause of justice to Dalit Christian and Dalit Muslim struggles. On May 4, a delegation met Mr. Pratik Prakash Babu Patil, Minister of State for Youth affairs and Sports. Two days later a delegation met Mr.R.P.N. Singh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways and Mr. Gurudas Kamath, Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology. On May 11, Mr. Prakash Jaiswal, Minister of State for Coal, and Ms. Ambika Soni, Minister for Information and Broadcasting were met. In addition to them, Dr. Tushar A. Choudhary, Minister of State for Tribal Affairs; Ms. Agatha Sangma, Minister of State for Rural Development; Mr. Salman Khursheed, Minister for Minority Affairs and Mr. Virbhadra Singh, Minister for Steel were met. The lobbying for this long-pending cause has been gaining momentum and the Ministers so far met has expressed their support in ensuring Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Why So Few Christians in Japan? The quality of missionaries or the methodologies used is not the problem when it comes evangelizing. But it is the Japanese mentality itself that is hindering more people from coming to Christ, said a mission leader last week at a global conference in Tokyo. May 18, 2010 The quality of missionaries or the methodologies used is not the problem when it comes evangelizing. But it is the Japanese mentality itself that is hindering more people from coming to Christ, said a mission leader last week at a global conference in Tokyo. Japanese people value human relationships more than truth and principle, said Dr. Minoru Okuyama, director of the Missionary Training Center in Japan, during his presentation at the Tokyo 2010 Global Missions Consultations. “Because they are afraid of disturbing human relationships of their families or neighborhood even though they know that Christianity is the best,” said Okuyama, who previously was Buddhist and a Shintoist. “Thus, Japanese make much of human relationships more than the truth. Consequently we can say that as for Japanese, one of the most important things is harmony; in Japanese ‘Wa.’” He added, “[T]hose who harm the harmony are bad, whether they are right or not has been beside the question.” Less than one percent of Japan’s population is Christian even though the religion was brought to the country over 150 years ago. Okuyama noted that Christianity is thriving in neighboring China and Korea because the mentality of the people is to “make more of truth or principle than human relationships.” In China, the Christian population outnumbers more than even the Communist Party. The Communist Party has about 50 million people, whereas the number of Christians is estimated to be more than double that figure. Regarding South Korea, the Japanese mission leader called the country a “Christian” nation. South Korea is home to the world’s largest church – Yoido Full Gospel Church, which has more than 800,000 members. “When the Chinese have been challenged to choose the truth or the human relationship, they choose the truth, sacrificing the human relationship. But Japanese would choose the human relationship, sacrificing the truth,” Okuyama said. “Utterly same as the Chinese, Koreans also choose the truth.” He noted anthropologists have described Japan as a “human relationship oriented society,” but China and South Korea as “principle-oriented” societies. Despite the difficulties in reaching the Japanese people, Okuyama said missionaries must not give up but continue to plant the seed. He noted the history of several people groups where, for hundreds of years, it seemed like evangelism efforts were in vain. But suddenly countless people came to Christ. “The seed of the Gospel never falls to the ground in vain,” stated Okuyama. “Let us do our jobs!” More than 2,000 mission leaders representing 140 countries convened for the Tokyo 2010 Global Missions Consultations, May 11-14. The Tokyo conference purposely coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Edinburgh meeting – the first-ever global missions conference. Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post Reporter No.618,Malikarjuna, Tempke Street N.R. Colony, Bangalore-560 019 Course Offered BSc Nursing GNM Msc Nursing PC Bsc Nursing 55,000 Per Year 25,000 Per Year Seats Available Seats Available FEATURES ? Colony is located in heart of Bangalore city in lush green campus ? Separate Hoste for girls and boys. ? All course are affilated to RGUHS, Bagalore, KNC& Approved by INC. ? Training in separate hospitals for cardiology,ENT, Psychiatric,Midwifery & community training in rural & uran areas. ? IELTS trainin DIRECTOR SIBI ALEXANDER Placement Assistants in India & Abroad For Admission Contact Pastor A.M. Varghese Mob. 9387614261 Advt. YOUNG INDIA JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY 17 YOUNG INDIA Addicted to Porn I didn't want to keep looking. But I did. Shaun Groves The remains of the campfire were cold. And the labels on the bottles of Bud were bleached white by days in the sun. Whoever had camped out in the woods near my house was long gone. My friend and I picked through the debris they'd left behind. An abandoned hip-hop CD. A few empty baggies and bottles. And a magazine. The cover was weathered and unrecognizable. I poked it open with a stick, scared of what critters might be calling it home now. Its dewy, wet pages flopped open. I saw a woman. And I saw her naked breasts. Since I was only 7, I ran. I mean, girls had cooties. They were gross. They were things we chased at recess, but didn't know what to do if we ever caught one. But I still remember that image. I was excited by it, but scared of it at the same time. I didn't understand it and I knew I shouldn't be seeing it. And I knew I wanted more. A few years later I got my chance. This time I didn't run away. I was 13. I was at my friend Tyler's* house. Tyler was my only friend with internet access. Almost every day, we played computer games for hours. But one day we clicked on what we thought was a game to download, and our lives changed. It wasn't a game, but a video. At first, we laughed as we saw the blurry, slow-moving image of a woman. We laughed nervously as if to say, "That's so stupid. Turn it off." But we didn't turn it off. We watched it. Then I went home. But Tyler went looking for more and showed me what he found. I didn't run away this time. I didn't want to keep looking. But I did. I was caught. Eventually, looking at nudity online together grew uncomfortable and boring. So Tyler and I took our passion for porn solo. Tyler kept downloading anything he could find, progressing from topless women to sex photos to hardcore videos. Meanwhile, I bounced between feeling guilty and wanting to see more. Some days I was strong. Other days, I was like a lustful porn addict looking for a fix. I never purchased or downloaded porn, though. I was a church kid in a small town who could be recognized and ratted on. And I had no computer at home. Instead, I stole porn. I searched my friends' houses in hopes their dad had a hidden stash of porn magazines somewhere. When that didn't work, I stole porn magazines from convenience store shelves. Not many. Just three or four over a couple of years. But I savored them. I imagined one page at a time coming to life. It's embarrassing to say, but these women made me feel loved. My eyes would feast on their skin and it made me feel like a man. For just one moment, I felt wanted. I felt pleasure. I felt close to someone, and it never bothered me that she wasn't real. She was real to me. But those moments of fulfillment did pass. Always. The pleasure faded. And in its wake I fought pounding waves of regret and guilt. I felt a million miles from good, a billion light years from God. I'd often think back to how I saw that first picture of a naked woman. I had used a stick to keep it away from me. I felt like God had the stick in his hand now, poking at me from a distance, trying not to get any of me on him. I knew this wasn't true. I knew I was a Christian. And I knew God saw me as perfect and loveable as he saw his very own Son. I knew all this. Grace. Love. Forgiveness. But I didn't feel it. And I grew more and more depressed and frustrated with myself. I'd promise myself over and over that I wouldn't mess up again, only to repeat my mistakes. Tyler wasn't any better. He eventually found it impossible to believe in a God who'd keep him from looking at porn. With God out of the picture, Tyler convinced himself porn was just about pleasure. And how could pleasure hurt anyone? Once he decided pornography wasn't evil, he embraced it. He subscribed to Playboy and bought their videos. Seeing what happened to Tyler was a wake-up call. I knew I was headed down the same path. So I got help. One day, I was hanging out with a close friend who was a strong believer. Out of nowhere, I told him everything. My voice shaking, I confessed that if I could look at pornography for free, knowing I wouldn't be found out or feel guilty, I would. I asked him for help. We prayed together. And then—to my surprise—my friend told me he had the same problem. Turns out most of my friends did. We went to an older Christian in our church and asked him to meet with us every week and help us. This man had no great wisdom we lacked, no secret to fighting the drawing power of naked women. But what he did was listen, give us wise advice and pray. He became a caring mentor to all of us. The first thing he showed us was that we weren't the only ones with these problems. We weren't freaks. We weren't alone anymore. As I met with my new accountability group, I saw my life had to change. And a lot of those changes and lessons still apply to my life today. Lesson one: run away. "Flee!" our mentor often said. "Alcoholics shouldn't live across the street from a liquor store." To me, that means I can't walk alone into the magazine section of a store. Or use a computer alone without internet filters. I have to limit the opportunities for temptation. I have to put space between me and porn. I can't have some catalogs in my house. I don't let myself watch TV alone. Even with filters on my internet service, I don't go online if no one else is home. These restrictions annoy me sometimes. But they help me flee. The second thing I learned was to ask myself the question: How can I increase my desire for God and smother my desire to lust? Someone once told me that there are two dogs in my heart's backyard. One dog always craves pleasure, sin and selfishness. The other dog craves justice, mercy, peace and obedience to God. When I wake up every day, I choose which dog gets fed. The one I feed grows until the other dog can't even be seen. I need to feed the right dog. I do that by having honest relationships with Christian guys. I have one friend in particular I check in with daily. We talk honestly about sex and sin and the junk that tempts us. Together we figure out how to be better men. We gripe. We pray. We confess. We teach. I also feed the right dog by reading the Bible and studying it with other people. And I don't just read it, but I write down what I've learned and what I'll do or think differently because of it. I spend time in silence asking God to speak to me. I pray, worship, serve other people. On most days, the good dog outweighs the bad one. That mongrel is so scrawny now that I hardly notice him. But he surprises me every once in a while. Out of nowhere he'll bark at me, and I'll find myself pulled in the wrong direction. He's the loudest when I'm not careful about avoiding temptation. So I flee. I get up and leave. And I pray: "God, help me do what's right today. And help Tyler, too. Save us both from pornography and make us closer to perfect. Make us love you more than ourselves and surround us with people who remind us that you love us even when we mess up. Surround us with friends and a church that feed the holy side of us and teach us how to starve the addicted side of us. Kill the bad dog. Feed the good one. Amen." Singer/songwriter Shaun Groves' latest album, White Flag (Rocketown) is based on how each of Christ's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) changed Shaun's daily life. If you have a problem with pornography, Shaun encourages you to seek help right away from your youth pastor, a Bible study leader or another caring Christian adult. You'll also find helpful information and accountability software at xxxchurch.com and freeinchrist.truepath.com. (c) Christianity Today 18 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 Christian Biochemist: First 'Synthetic Cell' Strengthens Case for Design A Christian biochemist among those hailing the recent creation of the first-ever “synthetic cell,” though not for the same reasons as most. May. 23, 2010 A biochemistry expert at the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe is among those hailing the recent creation of the first-ever “synthetic cell,” though not for the same reasons as most. “From an apologetics standpoint, this is exciting work that I’m happy to see pursued and would like to see even more effort devoted toward this because it’s giving us a very powerful case for [Intelligent] Design,” said Dr. Fazle Rana on Friday, referring to the idea that holds certain aspects of nature are so complex that they could not have come about by evolution alone but instead point to an intelligent designer. “In fact, I even would go so far as to say that this is even a brand new class of arguments for Design,” he added during RTB’s flagship podcast. On Thursday, a group of scientists announced that it had successfully replaced all of the natural DNA inside a cell with laboratory-synthesized DNA, creating the first-ever “synthetic cell.” The team, led by Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute, presented its findings in an article published on the website of the journal Science, run by the non-profit American Association for theAdvancement of Science (AAAS). In the study, the scientists explained how they synthesized the genome of the bacterium Mycoplasm mycoides with four bottles of chemicals and transplanted it into another type of bacteria, Mycoplasm capricolum, which is closely related to M. mycoides. "This is the first synthetic cell that's been made," said Venter, calling the cell synthetic because it was completely derived from a synthetic chromosome created on a chemical synthesizer with information in a computer. "This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do,” Venter added. “We have a wide range of applications [in mind]." In his comments Friday, Rana similarly noted that the applications are "limitless" as is "the potential for good." But the Christian biochemist seemed more excited about the new set of arguments that have been made available to Design proponents through advances such Venter's. "This is a third approach that says, 'We think that life is the work of a designer because we know from empirical experience now that to make life requires ingenuity, careful planning, careful manipulation of chemicals in the lab under exacting conditions in order to generate lifeforms,'" Rana said. "I think it shows conclusively in the most compelling way possible that life requires a mind,” he added. As for fears that bioterrorists could get a hold of the new methodology and do something damaging with it, Rana said such a possibility "is a long way off." "To get this to work is so non-trivial. I can't imagine somebody in their garage cooking up a dangerous organism," he stated. Others in the faith community, however, are not so confident. While the announcement by Venter’s team raised the prospect of a number of benefits, such as the ability to accelerate vaccine development, it also raised potential societal and ethical concerns. "Pretending to be God and parroting His power of creation is an enormous risk that can plunge men into a barbarity," Bishop Domenico Mogavero told Italian newspaper La Stampa, adding that scientists "should never forget that there is only one creator: God." Monsignor Rino Fisichella, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, meanwhile told The Associated Press that recently revealed work was a “great scientific WHO seeks clampdown on tobacco ads targeting women (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation called on Friday for more action against tobacco advertising that targets women and girls, especially in developing countries. Females represent the biggest potential growth market for tobacco products and are being subjected to aggressive campaigns linked to fashion, sports events and entertainment, the United Nations agency said. "The industry's market strategy is having its desired impact," Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO's tobacco free initiative, said at a news briefing. "More and more girls are starting to light up. This is a serious red flag.” Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Monday, the WHO released its survey on youth smoking. The report said that out of 151 countries, half reported that as many teenage girls smoke as boys, and even outnumber boys in parts of Latin America, notably Chile, Colombia and Mexico, as well as in Eastern Europe. Men account for 80 percent of the world's 1 billion smokers, according to the U.N. agency. Among adults, 40 percent of men smoke, compared to about 9 percent of women. In large emerging markets such as China and India, 60 percent of men smoke versus 3 to 5 percent of women, leaving an important market to capture, WHO officials said. "The tobacco industry is spending heavily on seductive advertisements that target women especially in low- and middle-income countries," Bettcher said. "The advertisements try to dupe women in believing that tobacco use is associated with beauty and liberation.” PINK CIGARETTE PACKS: Some 5 million people die every year from tobaccorelated heart attacks, strokes and cancers, including 1.5 million women, according to WHO. Another 430,000 adults die annually from exposure to second-hand smoke, two in three of them women. A WHO treaty in 2003, ratified by 160 countries, recommended imposing a complete ban on advertising, promotion and marketing of tobacco products. Only 26 countries have done so, it said. More than $13 billion was spent on tobacco advertising and promotion in the United States in 2005, according to the WHO. In Japan, where rates of male smokers have sharply fallen in recent years, pink packs of cigarettes are aggressively promoted to attract girls, according to the WHO. In Egypt, one maker uses a cigarette pack resembling a perfume container. "The industry has studied what makes women tick in both the developed and developing countries," said Adepeju Olukoya, of the WHO's gender, women and health department. Cigarette maker Philip Morris International said in a statement that it does not market to children or use any images or content that might appeal to minors. "We believe that regulations can strike the right balance between effectively limiting tobacco product marketing and preserving the ability of tobacco companies to communicate with adult smokers," the maker of Marlboro cigarettes added. The company said it opposed a total ban on tobacco marketing but supported regulations that restrict advertising, including complete bans in some media, such as television and radio. discovery.” “If we ascertain that it is for the good of all, of the environment and man in it, we’ll keep the same judgment,” he said. But Fisichella added, “If, on the other hand, the use of this discovery should turn against the dignity of and respect for human life, then our judgment would change.” Presently, aside from working on ways to speed up vaccine production, researchers are planning to design algae that can capture carbon dioxide and make new hydrocarbons that could go into refineries. Making new chemicals or food ingredients and cleaning up water are other possible benefits, according to Venter. In light of the latest advance, President Obama has called upon his recently-created Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to consider the implications of the advance and report back to him within six months. Obama encouraged the commission to consult with a range of constituencies – including scientific and medical communities, faith communities, and business and nonprofit organizations – stating that it is “vital that we as a society consider, in a thoughtful manner, the significance of this kind of scientific development.” “With the Commission's collective expertise in the areas of science, policy, and ethical and religious values, I am confident that it will carry out this responsibility with the care and attention it deserves,” the president concluded in a letter Thursday to commission chair Amy Gutmann. Obama had signed an Executive Order creating the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues late last November. The commission was created to advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology. Eric Young, Hell for abusers, Scicluna warns May 31, 2010: The Vatican prosecutor Monsignor Charles Scicluna has warned abusers that they risk a damnation in hell that would be worse than the death penalty. Monsignor Scicluna, a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith official, led a special “make amends” prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica, AP reports. The service grew out of a desire by some seminarians in Rome for a day of prayers for the victims of clergy abuse and for the healing of the church’s wounds from the scandal over its concealment of abuse. “It would be really better” for priests who sexually abuse minors that their crimes “cause them death” because for them, “damnation will be more terrible” in hell, Il Sole 24 Ore online news reported. Participants at the ceremony asked for prayers “for the victims of abuses perpetrated by men and women of the Church, so that they can heal their wounds and experience true peace,” ANSA adds. Prayers were also offered for clerics and other religious who committed abuses “so that, in the light of day, they can honestly face up to the consequences of their guilt and embrace the needs of justice,” it said. Monsignor Scicluna began with a meditation from St Mark’s Gospel saying those who harm children would be better off tying a millstone to their neck and throwing themselves into the sea. Earlier in the week, the Catholic news agency Zenit reported that several seminary students, including from Britain and the United States, decided to have the prayer service in response to Pope Benedict’s harsh PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY Runaway Christian Convert Being Treated for Cancer, Friend Says By Joshua Rhett Miller, FoxNews: The Muslim teenager from Ohio who converted to Christianity and fled to Florida in fear of retaliation is being treated for an "aggressive" form of uterine cancer, a close friend told FoxNews.com. Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, has undergone two operations and has a third scheduled for Thursday, said Jamal Jivanjee, an ordained pastor who heads an Orlando-based ministry. "The biopsy did come back malignant," Jivanjee told FoxNews.com. "It's a pretty aggressive form of uterine cancer.” Doctors had initially considered a complete hysterectomy, Jivanjee said, but they are hopeful that the complete removal of Bary's uterus won't be necessary. "She really wants people to pray for her," he said. "That was why the decision was made to get the news out there.” Jivanjee, who met Bary roughly 18 months ago when they lived in Columbus, Ohio, said the teenager informed him of her health concerns just a few days ago. Bary is now living with a foster family in Columbus after losing a court battle last year to stay in Florida, he said. "She really likes this foster family," Jivanjee said. "She's being treated very well.” Jivanjee characterized Bary's situation as "very serious" in an e-mail to supporters obtained by FoxNews.com. "As soon as Rifqa heals from the major surgery that she will undergo this Thursday, it is expected that she will need to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy," the e-mail read. "Although she has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, the extent of her condition will be known after this Thursday’s surgery.” Jivanjee also noted Bary's looming problem regarding her immigration status. In August, when she turns 18, she faces possible deportation to her native Sri Lanka for being in the United States illegally, he said. "It's looking as if she's not going to have any legal immigration status," he said. "As soon as she's 18, it's heartbreaking to think that she'll be an illegal immigrant with no health coverage. We're praying that somehow she'll be granted asylum.” John Stemberger, Bary's former attorney, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Bary fled to Florida on a bus last July after her parents, Mohamed and Aysha Bary, learned that she was baptized in early 2009 without their knowledge. Weeks later, using cell phone and computer records, police tracked the girl to the home of Rev. Blake Lorenz, pastor of the Orlando-based Global Revolution Church. In an emotional six-minute interview with WFTV in Florida, Bary, who met Lorenz through an online Facebook group, said she expected to be killed if she was forced to return to Ohio. "If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn't be alive," Bary said last August. "In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first -imagine the honor in killing me.” Investigators in Florida and Ohio found no evidence to support those claims, however, and a Florida judge ordered Bary JUNE 1-15, 2010 19 Pope Declares Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage Most 'Insidious and Dangerous' Threats Facing the World May 13, 2010 By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press: - Fatima - Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called abortion and samesex marriage some of the most "insidious and dangerous" threats facing the world today, asserting key church teachings as he tried to move beyond the clerical abuse scandal. Benedict made the comments to Catholic social workers, health providers and others after celebrating Mass before an estimated 400,000 people in Fatima. The central Portuguese farming town is one of the most important shrines in Christianity, where three shepherd children reported having visions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. Benedict's visit to Fatima on the anniversary of the apparitions was the spiritual centerpiece of his four-day visit to Portugal, which ends Friday. It was cast by Vatican officials as evidence that he had turned a page in weathering the abuse scandal, which has dogged him for months. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, pointed to the turnout in Fatima and said it was "very beautiful and encouraging" that pilgrims hadn't been deterred in expressing their faith despite months of revelations in Europe about priests who molested children and bishops and Vatican officials who turned a blind eye. The faithful understand "the capacity of the church to effectively overcome _ via conversion, penance and prayer _ the dimension of real sin there is in our community," Lombardi said. Benedict himself admitted to the "sins within the church" on the first day of the trip, his most explicit admission of Church culpability in the scandal. By Thursday, however, he had moved on to stressing core church teachings in the largely Roman Catholic country, where abortion on demand has been available since 2007 and where Parliament in January passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage. In addition, a judge in 2008 made it easier to obtain divorce even when one spouse objects. Benedict told the gathering of lay Catholics that he appreciated their efforts fighting abortion and promoting the family based on the "indissoluble marriage between a man and woman" _ the Vatican's way of expressing its opposition to divorce and same-sex unions. Such initiatives "help respond to some of the most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good today," he said. "Alongside numerous other forms of commitment, such initiatives represent essential elements in the building of the civilization of love.” The admonition was a break of sorts from the continuous message Benedict has delivered in Portugal about the suffering of the world and church _ a message which resonates in Fatima, where the sick and infirm flock seeking remedies for ailments. In a special message to the sick during Mass, Benedict urged them to take heart, saying they should "overcome the feeling of the uselessness of suffering which consumes a person from within and makes him feel a burden to those around him.” "In suffering, you will discover an interior peace and even spiritual joy," he said. His message struck a chord with many in the huge gathering, among them elderly and infirm people who, with their heads bowed, fingered rosaries. Like Lourdes in France, Fatima attracts millions of pilgrims a year seeking cures. One of the rituals pilgrims perform at Fatima involves casting replicas of body parts _ eyes, lungs, hearts _ on sale at local shops into a big bonfire while reciting a prayer asking for healing. US demands release of Samaritan's Purse World Vision workers self-help group comes The U.S. State Department is demanding the release of three Samaritan's Purse workers who were abducted Tuesday by a group of armed men in the Darfur region of Sudan. The workers – an American woman from California and two Sudanese men were kidnapped in an area southwest of Nyala, according to a statement on the Boone-based relief agency's website. “Obviously, key Samaritan's Purse leaders and staff most familiar with international operations are consumed with dealing with this recent incident in Sudan and are not available to comment at this point,” Mark DeMoss, spokesman for Samaritan's Purse, said in an e-mailed statement. The U.S. State Department has demanded the release of the aid workers, according to Andy Laine, spokesman for the agency. “We are closely monitoring the situation. We are employing all available U.S. government resources to obtain pertinent updates and any developments in the case,” Laine said Wednesday afternoon. The U.S. also is “moving additional resources into Sudan to aid in the investigation, and we are in communication with senior officials in the government of Sudan,” Laine said. The eight armed men involved in the kidnapping also took the two vehicles the workers were driving. In the statement on the group's website, Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan's Purse, urged people to pray for the workers. “I have visited Darfur several times, and it is one of the most difficult places in the world to work,” Graham said. “I'm asking for the prayers from people around the world for a quick resolution and the safe return of our Samaritan's Purse staff.” An estimated 300,000 people have died in a rebellion in Darfur that began in 2003. Laine said the humanitarian work being done in Darfur is crucial to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the violence there. “The U.S. condemns threats to the safety of humanitarian staff and their efforts to meet urgent humanitarian needs,” he said. Samaritan's Purse's main project in Darfur is food distribution, according to the organization. The group has 2,100 workers in 110 countries worldwide. By Julie Ball. first at state level exhibition May 21, 2010: The Laxmi Bai Women's Self-Help Group (SHG) of Naik nagar, Murum, Maharashtra has bagged the first place at the State Level and second place at the National Level during the SHG Exhibition held in Mumbai. Laxmibai Mahila Bachat Gat Naik Nagar (Murum) was started by World Vision and is also supported by World Vision. This group has been putting up its stalls in Mumbai, Delhi and in the neighbouring towns and has been recognized for its work. The Laxmibai Mahila Bachat Gat of Naik Nagar has bagged the “Mahalaxmi Saras Pradarshan Award” during the exhibition. This exhibition was jointly organized by National and State Government Rural Development Ministry (Gram Vikas Mantralaya) and NABARD from 21st January to 2nd February. Nearly 450 SHGs from 22 States took part in the event and displayed products for exhibition and sale. Six SHGs from Osmanabad District took part in the exhibition. Laxmibai Mahila Bachat Gat Naik Nagar too displayed their traditional Banjara Dress during the exhibition. The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Ashokraoji Chavan felicitated Laxmibai Mahila Bachat Gat Naik Nagar at Omerga on the occasion of International Women's Day. The President of India Smt. Prathiba Patil has invited the Laxmi Mahila Bachat Gat to New Delhi to felicitate them. 20 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 21 NYC bus ads Gates Foundation gives $5m for India asking anti-smoking effort 'Leaving Islam?' cause a stir By DEEPTI HAJELA (AP) NEW YORK -The questions on the ads aren't subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you? A conservative activist and the organizations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 city buses for a month. The ads point to a website called RefugefromIslam.com, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda. Pamela Geller, who leads an organization called Stop Islamization of America, said the ads were meant to help provide resources for Muslims who are fearful of leaving the faith. "It's not offensive to Muslims, it's religious freedom," she said. "It's not targeted at practicing Muslims. It doesn't say 'leave,' it says 'leaving' with a question mark.” Geller said the ad buy cost about $8,000, contributed by the readers of her blog, Atlas Shrugs, and other websites. Similar ads have run on buses in Miami, and she said ad buys were planned for other cities. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said Geller's ad was reviewed and did not violate the agency's guidelines. "The religion in question would not change the determination that the language in the ad does not violate guidelines," MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said Wednesday. All ads are screened, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. Most are reviewed by the company that handles the MTA's advertising opportunities, but some are sent to the MTA for ultimate approval. Last month, Miami-Dade Transit pulled the ads from 10 buses after deciding they "may be offensive to Islam," according to The Miami Herald. But the agency decided to reinstall them after reviewing the ads with the county attorney's office. The county decided "although they may be considered offensive by some, they do not fall under the general guidelines that would warrant their removal," Transit spokesman Clinton Forbes told the newspaper. Glenn Smith, a professor at California Western School of Law in San Diego, said discriminating against the ads could result in First Amendment issues for the city. While people may find the content objectionable, courts have ruled that the First Amendment requires Americans to put up with "a lot of unenlightened and objectionable messages," he said. "It's sort of the price of keeping government out of the marketplace of ideas," he said. Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment expert at UCLA School of Law, said the ads could leave some Muslims reluctant to ride the bus. There could also be a risk that some extremist groups might bomb the buses, although that possibility wouldn't limit free speech rights, he said. The agency had received no complaints since the ads went up on May 14, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. The 30 or so buses with the ads pass through all five boroughs of the city. Council member Robert Jackson, a Muslim, said he had not seen the ad. But he questioned the criteria the MTA uses in determining what is appropriate. He also takes issue with the content. He doesn't believe anyone is being forced to stay in a religion, especially in America, which was built on religious freedom. "I think this is a campaign by the extreme right, those that are against the Muslim religion," he said. "Quite frankly, I would think the average New Yorker would take it for what it's worth.” Faiza Ali, of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the ads were based on a false premise that people face coercion to remain with Islam. She said Muslims believe faith that is forced is not true belief. "Geller is free to say what she likes just as concerned community members are free to criticize her motives," Ali said. Geller has a history of speaking out against Muslims, and the ads are "a smoke screen to advance her long-standing history of anti-Muslim bigotry," Ali said. Geller said she had no problem with Muslims, but was working to "maintain the separation of mosque and state." She is also among those speaking out against the building of a mosque and cultural center near ground zero. Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) has been awarded five million dollars by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen the National Tobacco Control Program in two states of India, namely Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, over a three year period (2009-2012). Project STEPS will provide the much needed district specific strategic response to the rapidly escalating global tobacco epidemic in India. The Government of India, in compliance with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, launched the National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP), under the 11th Five Year plan, to build state capacity to effectively implement tobacco control laws, and also to bring about greater awareness of the ill effects of tobacco use. Under the program, Tobacco Control Cells have been set up at each state for implementing State and District Tobacco Control Programs. PHFI is a public-private partnership linking the government, academia, civil society and the private sector, and engages key stakeholder groups in strategic partnerships. PHFI and its educational institutions – the Indian Institutes of Public Health - are in a unique position to promote and sustain the tobacco control movement in India in partnership with the state governments. PHFI and IIPHs adopt a broad, integrated approach to tobacco control, targeting 11 districts in 2 states with long term vision of extending the successful models and interventions tested through this project, all over India. The goal of project STEPS is to reduce the health burden of tobacco and associated risks; promote health equity through reduction in health and economic burdens resulting from tobacco consumption by engaging, enabling and empowering two key states and their stakeholders. STEPS seeks to facilitate state level action for implementation of centrally designed tobacco control programs. PHFI will be actively assisting the State Governments and NGOs in developing innovative models of community mobilization, community based self help cessation groups, replicating and adapting effective school based tobacco prevention interventions in India, alongside working with Indian Language Print Media to enhance tobacco control coverage in regional newspapers. Project STEPS will also be conducting economic research to generate data to fill the research gap in India and examine various intervention models to identify opportunities and barriers for adopting alternate employment opportunities for the workforce involved in tobacco production, manufacture and distribution sector along with multiple government and NGO stakeholders. Along with Government of India and State Governments, this project will test models to mainstream tobacco control into existing health programs to improve quit rate among Indian tobacco users. Christian leaders split over Korean dispute May 28, 2010: Christian leaders are deeply divided over the current serious tension between North and South Koreas. Some blame the North for creating the problem, while others blame the South. The secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea has urged both governments to be cautious, ucanews.com reports. President Lee Myung-bak took tough measures against North Korea on May 24 by slashing trade agreements, in retaliation to the torpedo attack on the Cheonan warship that killed 46 South Korean sailors. Collected evidence strongly suggests that the attack was carried out by a North Korean submarine. In return, North Korea has threatened a total block on all relations with South Korea, declaring that it may start dealing with further inter-Korean affairs on a “wartime” footing. Conservative Protestant leaders in the South expressed support for President Lee, who is himself a Protestant. Reverend Rhee Kwang-sun, president of the Christian Council of Korea, said he recognized that many people fear a possible war, but added that “North Korea deserves such tough measures and should learn a good lesson from it.” But a Catholic official of the Seoul Archdiocese, who has asked to be unnamed, expressed grave concerns over South Korea’s ‘tit for tat’ policy. “Even if it is true that North Korea attacked the Cheonan, President Lee and other top politicians who call themselves Christians have made the situation worse,” he said. UK priest misses masses over drink drive arrest May 31, 2010: British priest Fr Bede Rowe failed to show up for Mass Sunday when police arrested him on a drinkdriving charge after he smashed his car into a railing. Fr Rowe, who was nearly three times the limit, later wrote a letter of apology to parishioners, The Mirror reports. “As you may know, Masses were not said this morning,” he wrote. “I was not around because I spent the night in police cells. “Last night I went out for dinner and drank too much. I had an accident coming back. The police came, breathalysed me and I was well over the legal limit. “I cannot begin to say how sorry and ashamed I am. I have let you, my parishioners, down. I want to say sorry to you all.” He is due to face magistrates next Thursday. 22 PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JUNE 1-15, 2010 May 31 - World No Tobacco Day Smoking toddler highlights Rise in number Indonesia's tobacco addiction of Indian women smokers: Study As the globe gears up to celebrate ‘World no tobacco day’ on May 31st, 2010 there is a sad contribution from India. The country witnesses a growing number of women smokers and the case is specifically relevant to females working in BPOs and media. The picture looks sad especially in a culturally rich nation like ours where there is still a social stigma attached to women smoking. A recent study revealed that nearly 8% of female BPO workers smoke and the percentage is much larger (5-35%) in media. According to the survey the majority of women smokers are still unaware of the health hazards of smoking. The only health hazards they are aware of is cancer and heart disease related to smoking. Women smokers did not know that smoking is also known to cause infertility and many other problems related to child birth. Lead researcher Dr. Ravikant Singh from Nongovernment organization ‘Doctors for You’ said, “Smoking can cause infertility, miscarriages and still births. It is worrying that women don’t know about this.” The women smokers working in BPOs and media take to smoking mostly due to peer pressure or under stress. They start by becoming passive smokers as they share the same group which has smokers and eventually themselves become smokers. According to study the other factors responsible for women smoking is taking smoking as a sign of women’s liberalization and identity search. Dr. Gauravi Mishra from Tata Hospital, said, “Many women considered it a sign of liberalization, an affirmation of their identity as a free person and an equal.” For the purpose of the study 646 employees working with 4 BPOs in the city across the nation were studied for over 18 months and 1500 media persons working with 15 advertising, print and electronic media were interviewed. The study is first of its kind that considered women smokers in the country. A new video of a smoking Indonesian toddler has emerged to shock health experts and provide further graphic illustration of the Southeast Asian country's growing addiction to tobacco. The parents of a two-year-old boy seen smoking in a clip posted on The Sun newspaper's website are to be investigated, Indonesian officials said after the video drew worldwide attention. Chubby Ardi Rizal laughs and responds to the adults around him as he sits on his plastic tricycle and inhales deeply from frequent drags on a cigarette. His father reportedly gave him his first cigarette when he was 18 months old and now he smokes 40 a day. His mother says he beats his head against the wall unless he gets nicotine, but his father insists he is "healthy". Child Protection Ministry official Heru Kasidi said the family would be investigated for what would be considered a clear case of child abuse in many countries. It's the second time this year Indonesia has been embarrassed by such media coverage. Another video was posted on the Internet last month showing an Indonesian boy aged about four puffing on a locally made clove cigarette, blowing smoke rings and swearing with the encouragement of adults. Weak regulations -- Indonesia is the only country in Southeast Asia not to have signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control -- have enabled tobacco companies to target young Indonesians with advertising and events promotions. US singer Kelly Clarkson dropped tobacco sponsorship for her Jakarta concert in April after anti-smoking groups protested on the grounds that she was effectively encouraging her young fans to smoke. Other artists such as Jamiroquai, Anggun, Incubus and James Blunt have from over 20,000 men before, during or after their time in the military services. This allowed their Indonesian shows to be used sample included 3 % men who were exsmokers, 28% smoked one or more cigarettes decision making power. Apart from this the a day and 68% were non-smokers. sample displaying poor IQ was more likely The study further revealed that though to suffer from problems like obesity, the IQ levels of the smokers was lower than narcotics and health and nutrition. Prof. the non-smokers, yet their IQs were within Weiser said, “These samples are more likely the average limit. It also suggested that the to have obesity, nutrition and narcotics lower IQ people are prone to smoking issues. Our study adds to the evidence of addiction although physically they were this growing body of research, and it may considered fit and in good health as displayed help parents and health professionals help by their pre-screenings for army enrollment. at-risk young people make better choices.” The lower IQ level also is suggestive of The study was reported in a recent the fact that such persons display a poor Smokers have significantly lower IQ than non smokers Smoking has health hazards and everyone knows it, but it also has diverse effects on the IQ level of a person, it was revealed by one recent study. According to this study an average young man who smokes is most likely to have lower IQ levels than his nonsmoking peers. The study further revealed that whereas the average IQ of a non-smoker was about 101, it was 94 for a smoker. The study was carried out on young Israeli army men in the age group of 18-21 years by Prof. Mark Weiser of Tel Aviv University Department of Psychiatry and the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital. The study was based on the data as vehicles for tobacco marketing. Anti-smoking activists and health experts say Indonesia is a paradise for the tobacco industry, which has been aggressively expanding sales in the country of about 240 million people. "The regulations on the tobacco industry in Indonesia are weak. They protect the shareholders in the industry more than the people," activist Kartono Mohamad said. "The people in Indonesia are fighting alone against the tobacco industry, the government and the policy makers. It's one against three.” According to the World Health Organisation, cigarette consumption in the Southeast Asian archipelago soared 47 percent in the 1990s. Almost 70 percent of men over 20 years of age smoke, and regular smoking among boys aged 15 to 19 increased from 36.8 percent in 1997 to 42.6 percent in 2000. But anti-smoking initiatives have floundered in the face of the powerful local tobacco industry, which employs scores of thousands of people and generates more than six billion dollars a year for the government. A bill establishing tobacco as an addictive substance was about to be signed into law last year when officials realised the pertinent clause had been mysteriously deleted. The case is under investigation. The government has increased excise taxes but prices remain extremely low by international standards, with a pack of 20 costing little more than a dollar. Even so, studies have shown that poor families spend more on cigarettes than on books and education. In another blow to anti-tobacco activists, lawmakers have strongly opposed a plan to cut cigarette production by five percent to about 248 billion sticks this year on the grounds that it would hurt local producers. Foreign makers like British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have long recognised the opportunities in Indonesia. In March, Philip Morris's local unit, PT HM Sampoerna, the country's largest producer, announced a net profit increase of 31 percent to 5.08 trillion rupiah (548.64 million dollars) last year. In the absence of tough government regulations Muslim clerics recently issued a fatwa against smoking. But analysts said the religious edict was likely to have about as much effect as regulations banning smoking in bars and restaurants, which are widely ignored. "More and more Indonesian children have become victims of the cigarette industry," Indonesian Child Protection Commission chairman Hadi Supeno said. "There are many children under five years of age who have started smoking. A decade ago, the average age of beginner smokers was 19 but a recent study found that the average is seven.” version of journal Addiction. It also states that there is a general stigma attached to smokers as that portion of population which belong to lower socio-economic background and who have been not properly educated. But the study denies any such relation of the smokers to their socio-economic condition. “But because our study included subjects with diverse socio-economic backgrounds we’ve been able to rule out socio-economics as a major factor,” said Prof. Weiser. HEALTH PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY H E A LT H JUNE 1-15, 2010 23 Smart Tips for Summer Temperatures World Health Organization Targets Harmful Drinking Summer heat means vacations, games, and lemonade. People head outside to exercise, garden, or sunbathe. But to nurses like me, summer also means more cases of heatrelated illness: dehydration, heat exhaustion, even heat stroke. The good news is that heat-related illnesses are completely preventable – here’s what you need to know. Treat Heat Stroke First -- It's Life Threatening Heat stroke is characterized by disorientation and a body temperature of more than 103 degrees—and rising. Anyone can get heat stroke, even people who are accustomed to being in the heat. Heat stroke is a major medical emergency. Call emergency services immediately if someone you’re with has these symptoms. Delay can lead to death. Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration -More Common May 25, 2010: With more than 2.5 million deaths a year attributed to the harmful use of alcohol, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global strategy aimed and reducing alcohol abuse worldwide. The proposal was endorsed in a consensus vote by all 192 nations who are members of the organization. After years of inaction, WHO has taken steps for the first time to address the No. 8 cause of death worldwide. The recommendations range from community prevention efforts, to lowering legal limits for drunk driving, to raising taxes on alcoholic beverages to limiting the sales and marketing of alcohol. The policy, in the works for at least two years, has been carefully monitored by the alcohol industry, which of course does not agree with the WHO findings. The industry contends that raising taxes and limiting alcohol advertising does not reduce harmful drinking, contrary to research used by WHO to make its recommendations. The policies and interventions of the organization fall into 10 general areas: 1 . L e a d e r s h i p , Aw a r e n e s s a n d Commitment - The WHO encourages member states to develop policies based on available evidence and tailored to local circumstances, with clear objectives, strategies and targets. Each country should appoint an agency to coordinate carrying out the action plan and policies. 2. Health Services' Response - WHO recommends increasing the capacity of health and social welfare systems to deliver prevention, treatment and care for alcohol-use and alcohol-induced disorders and co-morbid conditions. 3. Community Action - Among the recommendations for community is developing plans to prevent the selling of alcohol to underage drinkers and developing alcohol-free environments for young people and other at-risk groups. 4. Drunk-driving policies and countermeasures - The WHO recommends lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit for drunk driving, using sobriety checkpoints, using breath tests and ignition interlock devices, among other steps. 5. Availability of Alcohol - Recommendations include regulating the number of retail alcohol outlets, limiting the hours of sales and eliminating sales in certain areas. 6. Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages - The policy recommends limiting the content and volume of alcohol advertising, regulating sponsorship activities involving alcoholic beverages and regulation new media/social network advertising. 7. Pricing Policies - According to the WHO report, "Increasing the price of alcoholic beverages is one of the most effective interventions to reduce harmful use of alcohol." The policy recommends raising taxes on alcohol, prohibiting promotional pricing and establishing minimum prices for alcoholic beverages. 8. Reducing the Negative Consequences of Drinking and Alcohol Intoxication - Among the recommendats are enforcing laws against serving someone who is intoxicated, reducing the strength of alcoholic drinks, and labeling alcoholic beverages to warn of the harm of excess drinking. 9. Reducing the Public Health Impact of Illicit Alcohol and Informally Produced Alcohol - The production of "informal alcohol" is still ingrained in many cultures. The WHO recommends bringing these illegally produced beverages into the taxation system and regulating their quality, while warning the public about their dangers. 10. Monitoring and Surveillance - The policy recommends periodic national surveys on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm to determine how the new steps are affecting harmful drinking in the country. Source: World Health Organization. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are dizziness, headache, feeling tired, and perhaps sick to your stomach. The key difference from heat stroke is that people with heat exhaustion feel lousy, but their body temperature doesn’t rise, and they aren’t disoriented. Heat exhaustion is caused by dehydration (your body doesn’t have enough fluids). If you or someone you know has symptoms of heat exhaustion, the remedy is to drink more fluids and get to a cooler place – cool, not ice cold, water, and air conditioning are ideal. When your body has given off more fluids than you’ve taken in, you’re a prime candidate for dehydration. The most common symptoms of dehydration are thirst and headache. Remember that your body is at least 60% water – your brain is 75% water, and your blood is more than 80% water. You need to maintain those fluid balances for your body to work properly. Four Tips for Preventing HeatRelated Illness By the time you have symptoms, you’re already fluid-depleted—in other words, you are already playing catch-up. The best strategy for combating heat-related illness is prevention. Here are some tips for preventing heat-related illness. TIP 1: RECOGNIZE WHEN YOU’RE AT RISK Many people think they have to be exercising to be at risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion – that’s why heat-related illnesses are summer’s hidden danger. Many summertime activities can put a person at risk including: Physical activity in a warm or hot environment – not only recreational sports or exercising, but also yard work and gardening Sun bathing, which can be dehydrating, as can being a spectator at sporting events (where you sit in the sun), or spending time in the sun for any reason – even If you’re not exerting yourself Vacationing – did you know the humidity in an airplane is lower than in the desert? And when you’re traveling, you don’t have ready access to fluids as you do at home, so you need to plan ahead. TIP 2: STAY HYDRATED Always have water available. There are plenty of fluid choices, but water remains the best. Drinks with more than 10% sugar or carbonation delay stomach emptying, and thus don’t get fluid back into your cells as quickly (not to mention all those calories). If you are training for a triathlon or are an elite athlete, you may need a drink with sugar or salts added. But for the rest of us, water is just fine. And, it's calorie-free. How do you know if you’re properly hydrated? ! You’re not thirsty ! You are producing plenty of clear, light-colored urine ! Your weight is stable (if you weigh less after exercise or being outside in the warm outdoors than you did before, you’ve lost fluids and need to replace them) The best solution? Carrying a bottle (or two) of natural spring water. It’s easy to carry, tastes good, and since it doesn’t stain if you spill it, it’s ideal for kids on summer trips. Before you buy, check the label. If it’s spring water, the label will tell you the name of the natural spring from which it comes. If the label says "PWS" that means "public water supply"—in other words, the same thing that comes out of your tap, only run through filters, and often called "purified." Many people are surprised to know that not all bottled water is spring water. TIP 3: PLAN AHEAD Keeping hydrated means that you drink before you get dehydrated. That means planning ahead, for example: Start drinking water about 2 hours before you begin any activities. Don’t restrict fluids while you’re active. Keep those sips of water coming. If you’re with kids playing sports, never restrict their fluids—and make sure that coaches don’t either. Carry your water with you TIP 4: AVOID UNNECESSARY HEAT EXPOSURE Of course you can’t always stay out of the heat, but you can work to lessen the heat’s effects on your body. Avoid exercising or activity during the hottest part of the day. Try to plan outdoor activities for days or times of day when the heat index is below 80 -- click here to learn a b o u t t h e h e a t i n d e x Wear light colors, which absorb less heat from the sun. Wear fabrics such as natural cotton that breathe and allow sweat to evaporate. There’s nothing wrong with saying, "I’ve had enough." Take a break. Go sit in the shade. If there’s a heat wave and you don’t have air conditioning at home, go to the movies, or a shopping mall, or the public library, where it’s cool and you can get a break. Remember, if you’re in hot temps and start to feel woozy or develop a headache or nausea, recognize it could be heat exhaustion. Get out of the sun, into a cooler area, maybe in front of the fan, and keep the water coming. Which would you rather have? An intravenous in the ER, or a nice refreshing bottle of spring water? Here’s to a fun and healthy summer! Advt.
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