Archive for the America Category

Shared Hope International

Posted in America, Human Trafficking with tags , , , on June 20, 2008 by Mike

Human trafficking, and sex trafficking in particular, is a problem that is growing, not just overseas, but here in the US, also. This is due to a number of factors, but one of them is that the market is growing in our country–the demand is growing, so the supply must increase. The Church is taking a more active role in combating this terrible problem. Citizen Link has an interview with Linda Smith, former Washington congresswoman and founder of Shared Hope International.

1. Linda, you’re combating global sex trafficking. Many people might be surprised to hear there are similar things happening right here in the United States. Tell us about the domestic problem we have with sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry. It needs a product, it needs a buyer, and somebody’s all too happy to get a “product” and take it to market. And that’s what we call the trafficker or pimp.

2. There is a lot of that happening with minors. What are you uncovering with regard to boys and girls being taken into this?

We’re just about two-thirds through the investigation of major cities throughout the United States and the trafficking of children for commercial sex. What we’re finding is shown by the story of a 12-year-old. She was snatched going to school. The man had been walking alongside of her as she went to school. Come along six months, he had built a relationship. She was a gifted, smart, little girl, and that’s why she was walking the extra blocks to a special school. She got in the car with him and disappeared.

She was arrested twice, taken home, and they couldn’t understand why he’d get her again. She was arrested 19 more times before she was 16, in about that many states. Once a child, kidnapped, lured, deceived, six magic words will control her: “I know where I got you.” And those controlling words say, “I know how to get your mother. I can beat you again. There’s no safe place in the world for you.” We just prosecuted the pimp. I’ll go to the prison in a couple of weeks and interview him. He was part of a network selling girls (from) Louisiana to Toledo, clear over to Kansas, all the way to Seattle, and they had a pimp network of our little girls — just snatched and lured for “product” to men all over the United States (who) are pretty common, pretty ordinary, buying them because they’re labeled “prostitute.”

3. How does the American culture contribute to the problem of sex trafficking?

The American culture has started to tolerate commercial sex. “What happens here stays here” means thousands of little girls have been brought into Las Vegas, sold to tourists as well as local men. You don’t find any of the buyers being arrested because, in the man’s mind, she’s a prostitute. In society’s mind, she’s a prostitute. The man is perceived as just using a prostitute, no matter what the age. The age is going younger and younger, as men are visualizing something young. They’re seeing young porn. They’re seeing young bodies, no stretch marks. And when you come to actualization from visualization, that actualization has to replicate something similar. It’s going younger and younger as porn is going younger. We found 1 out of 5 images online are of children.

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Against Separation of Church and State

Posted in America with tags , , , on February 1, 2008 by Mike

Bobby Keith has a great article arguing against the separation of church and state. Here’s an excerpt:

The phrase “separation of church and state” was used by Jefferson in a letter that he wrote to the Baptists of Danbury, CT in 1802. This group of Baptists, a minority in the state, were being persecuted because they did not conform to the views of the Congregationalists, who were not only the religious majority in the state, but also held the elective offices in the state. The Baptists were afraid that their freedom to worship God in their own way was endangered.

In Jefferson’s response, he writes, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Read the whole article to see how he makes his case.

Worship Freely Today!

Posted in America with tags , , , , on January 16, 2008 by Mike

Happy Religious Freedom Day! As you go to work or school, say a prayer to thank God that we still have the right to worship where and when we please. And then pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who live in constant threat of arrest, torture, or death because of their faith. From the Christian Post…

President Bush issued a proclamation calling “on all Americans to reflect on the great blessing of religious liberty, endeavor to preserve this freedom for future generations, and commemorate this day with appropriate events and activities.”

The day celebrates the 1786 landmark passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which acknowledged that the human mind was made by God to be free and men should have the conscience to practice the faith of their choosing.

Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the legislation along with George Mason, considered it one of the three greatest accomplishments of his life, along with the writing of the United States Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia.

The Suffering Church

Posted in America with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2008 by Mike

Chuck Colson has written an excellent article in the Christian Post about how American Christians have a great opportunity during this election season to bring the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters around the world into the spotlight.

A recent story in Al Jazeera’s English-language service described how Islamic radicals are “testing” Indonesia’s reputation for “for tolerance and moderation.”

Moderation? I wonder what the Christians of East Timor, an estimated 200,000 of whom died during Indonesia’s 25-year occupation, would say about that reputation. Needless to say, this example of Indonesian “moderation” goes unmentioned in the Al Jazeera article.

Instead, we are told about a Muslim group called the “Anti-Apostasy Alliance.” This group targets churches and Christians throughout the island of Java, Indonesia’s most-populous island.

As its name suggests, the greatest object of the Alliance’s ire are converts to Christianity. A spokesman told Al Jazeera that “Conversions to Christianity in Indonesia . . . have become increasingly serious.” He then added that “in my judgment I think it is a bigger evil than terrorism.”

God has put us in this privileged position so that we will speak out for those around the world who are being persecuted. So, pressure the candidates whom you encounter. They want to know what you think? Tell them.

Faith of the Martyrs

Posted in America with tags , , , on January 11, 2008 by Mike

Jennifer Trafton has written an excellent article at Christianity Today about what life was like for the early Christians in a society that often took sport in torturing the followers of Christ.

Ignatius and many other believers in his time were dealing with dilemmas most American Christians will never have to face: “Should I go to the local executioner and volunteer to die for my faith, or should I try to avoid being arrested at all costs? Is it okay to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods just once, if it means staying alive? Does martyrdom bring me closer to the sufferings of Christ? Are martyrs more special than the rest of us?” Questions like these shaped early Christianity.

Polycarp had been a disciple of the apostle John and was a revered elderly leader of the church. The proconsul pled with him: “Curse Christ and I will release you.” Polycarp’s reply is classic: “Eighty-six years I have served Him. He has never done me wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?”

The Ugliness of Christmas

Posted in America with tags , , , , on December 12, 2007 by Mike

I like to listen to various podcasts on my way to and from work. It helps pass the time as I’m sitting in rush hour. One of the podcasts I’ve started listening to lately is John MacArthur. A few days ago, they posted a sermon entitled, “The Ugliness of Christmas”. Before listening to it, I thought it might be about how materialistic we’ve become in our celebration of Christmas. I was soberly surprised. While I would highly recommend downloading the podcast and listening to it for the full effect, you can also read the transcript. Here’s a short piece of MacArthur’s excellent sermon.

…I suppose that most people when they think of this time of year think only of the beauty of it, and we’re surrounded by the beauty, lovely trees with bright lights and decorations, colorful ornaments, beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fire places and a hearth in a family home, beautifully wrapped presents, everything is bright and light and cheery and happy. And I guess that all of that symbolism is conveyed to us most significantly in the Christmas cards that we receive which present to us almost a world of fantasy, beauty, wonder, loveliness and that is one side of Christmas, without question.

But there’s also another side. There’s a very ugly side. And there are a lot of ways we could approach that. I mean, we could talk about a dark, cold night in a small non-descript village in Palestine where a lovely young woman gave birth to a baby in the most unsanitary wretched conditions imaginable, standing in the filth and manure of a stable. We could talk about the ugliness of a man named Herod who because he feared the loss of his control and power massacred all the babies in that region. Christmas does have some ugly aspects. We could talk about an indifferent population in Jerusalem.

But there’s something even beyond those things. There is lurking behind every beautiful scene on every Christmas card, every lovely sentiment of Christmas somewhere behind all of that is something very vile and very ugly, the most wretched heinous hideous reality in all the universe. And I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas, you must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas.

Intrigued? Download the podcast or read the rest of the transcript.

Gunman opens fire at New Life Church in Col Springs

Posted in America with tags , , , on December 9, 2007 by Mike

This was not a good day for Christians in Colorado. A gunman brought a high-powered rifle into New Life Church in Colorado Springs today after the 11:00 am service was getting out, just before 1 pm. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

Police were searching the sprawling campus of the 10,000-member church for reported bombs that may have been connected to the 1:10 p.m. incident. Officers said the gunman opened fire 30 minutes after a service ended and as many as 7,000 people took shelter in buildings or fled.
Of the four wounded, three were admitted to Penrose Hospital, where one was listed in critical condition, one in fair condition and a third in good condition. The status of the fourth victim wasn’t available.
Pastor Brady Boyd said one of the dead was a New Life member.
“My heart is broken,” he said.
Police said the gunman was shot and killed by a security guard.
“He probably saved a lot of lives,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said.
Hundreds of New Life members remained locked in church buildings for up to four hours as police conducted what they said was a precautionary search for additional gunmen, police Lt. Fletcher Howard said.