Today Presidents Trump and Putin meet for summit, and the New York Times tells of an exiled Jehovah's Witness who proposes Trump ask Putin a simple question: "Why are Russians who pay their taxes, follow the law and embrace the Christian values promoted by the Kremlin being forced to flee their country?"
A simple [and single] question. To propose that Trump do this is exactly the non-confrontational style of Jehovah's Witnesses, and is proof in itself that they are not extremist. Moreover, because the goal is so modest, it is not impossible that it could happen. Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is not everywhere, but where it is, it is draconian, with police dressed in riot gear breaking down doors to arrest them.
Meanwhile (and irrelevant), I did a google search of "New York Times Jehovah's Witnesses." The second hit is an article from 1958, telling of (I think) the largest Christian assembly in history.
Remember, Google is personalized. Your results may vary.
By Guest Nicole
La lujosa iglesia de $20 millones de dólares que construía en El Bronx, el pastor Amaurys Mella, hallado muerto en un río la semana pasada. (Fotos vía facebook)
EL NUEVO DIARIO, NUEVA YORK._ El pastor dominicano Amaurys Mella, de 61 años de edad y cuyo cadáver fue encontrado en un río de el Bronx la semana pasada, completamente vestido, construía una suntuosa iglesia con una inversión de $20 millones de dólares en ese condado.
Mella, quien era líder de la iglesia “Dando a Conocer a Cristo”, había sido acusado por los padres de una adolescente de 17 años de edad en 2014, de haberle “seducido”, se destacaba por los lujos que lo rodeaban y se transportaba en un carro deportivo último modelo.
También vestía impecablemente.
Su congregación cuenta con más de 500 feligreses activos, que según una fuente cercana, aportaron millares de dólares para la construcción del templo.
Acorde con la maqueta, publicada hace unos meses en su página facebook, Mella mostraba una iglesia que supera en estructura, espacio, modernidad y lujos a los templos de la Iglesia Universal, los mormones, Testigos de Jehová, adventistas y otros templos de gran inversión económica.
Hasta el momento, la Oficina del Médico Forense de la ciudad, no ha entregado los resultados de la autopsia.
La congregación de Mella, es parte de la Organización de Ministros Cristianos, que lidera el reverendo y senador estatal Rubén Díaz (padre), quien se negó ayer a responder preguntas de este reportero sobre el desenlace de la muerte de Mella.
Díaz, que un día después de ser hallado el pastor en el río, se explayó en el tema, dijo que ya no quiere seguir tocándolo y remitió a este reportero a comunicarse con el co-pastor de la iglesia y hablar con los feligreses.
Pero numerosas llamadas hechas a la congregación, no han sido respondidas desde la iglesia que pastoreaba Mella.
Tras su muerte, se dijo que hay preocupación entre sus fieles por el curso que tomará ahora la construcción de la lujosa iglesia en El Bronx.
No se ha confirmado si la policía mantiene una investigación respecto a la muerte del pastor, debido a que la feligresía descarta el suicidio.
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By Guest Nicole
"Los terroristas no veneran a Dios. Veneran la muerte", ha declarado el presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, en la cumbre árabe-islámica-estadounidense en Riad.
Donald Trump ofrece un discurso en la cumbre árabe-islámica-estadounidense en Riad, Arabia Saudita, el 21 de mayo de 2017.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Un día después de llegar a Arabia Saudita, este domingo el mandatario de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, ofrece un discurso en la cumbre árabe-islámica-estadounidense en Riad. Durante su primer viaje al extranjero en el cargo actual, el presidente estadounidense busca "fortalecer antiguas amistades de EE.UU. y buscar nuevos socios para lograr la paz". "EE.UU. no buscará imponer su estilo de vida a otros, sino tender manos con espíritu de cooperación y confianza", ha asegurado.
Trump ha declarado que EE.UU. aboga por la creación de una "coalición de naciones" en Oriente Medio, con el fin de "erradicar el extremismo". Ha calificado la lucha contra los extremistas como una "batalla entre el bien y el mal" y ha precisado que combatir al terrorismo "no es una batalla entre diferentes creencias, diferentes sectas o diferentes civilizaciones", sino "una batalla entre quienes buscan aniquilar la vida humana y quienes buscan protegerla".
"Los terroristas no veneran a Dios. Veneran la muerte", ha destacado. También ha recordado que "el 95 % de las víctimas de los ataques terroristas son los propios musulmanes", en su mayoría, "inocentes de naciones árabes, musulmanas y de Oriente Medio".
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The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church) can be de facto banned in Ukraine. And this is more than half of all parishes of the ROC. The Church will be deprived of most of its flock and influence and will cease to be the largest Orthodox church in the world. Patriarch Kirill hurriedly wrote letters to world leaders asking for help.
"Such restrictive religious legislation did not work in Ukraine even during the communist regime, and in the rest of Europe something like this existed only during Nazi rule in Germany," Kirill said. The new laws will become "a blatant example of the violation of human rights to freedom of religious confession," the patriarch is indignant.
Earlier the temples of the UOC-MP had already been subjected to seizures, acts of vandalism, attacked and beaten the believers. Laws do not work? The rights are not respected? Terrible situation? Of course. And now it will intensify.
"All of the above arguments in defense of the Orthodox in Ukraine - in practice, the proof of the arguments in defense of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia", writes the religious expert Dmitry Klyachin.
The patriarch asks for protection, in particular, for Angela Merkel, whose opinion about the persecution of Jehovah's patriarchal witnesses was completely uninterested.
We will not gloat, but it is impossible not to remember: "Do not dig another pit ..."
By The Librarian
Xian’er, the chubby new-age Buddhist robot, interacted with visitors speaking his centuries-old wisdom at Beijing's Longquan Buddhist Temple.
British Jews Fear State Crackdown On Circumcision, Kosher Meat And Religious Schools
"The purpose of the state in my view is not to impose cultural values on a minority which has its own cultural values and which does not clash, fight or inflict violence on anybody else", says David Frei
British Jews may be forced to rethink their future in the UK in the face of increasing criticism of religious practices including circumcision, religious schools and ritual slaughter, according to a prominent figure at the London-based Beth Din religious court.
David Frei, a British-born barrister and registrar at the Beth Din since 1999, has warned of a growing trend of anti-religious sentiment in Britain that has followed record levels of atheism and Islamist terrorist atrocities in Europe that have turned people against faith – be it Judaism, Islam or Christianity – as a whole.
He fears the British government will look to crack down on religious freedom in the UK in response to public opinion. He also believes the Jewish Orthodox community will resist any attempt to legislate against customs such as kosher meat, Jewish yeshivas or the practise of circumcision, which is mandated in the Torah.
“I think there are genuine fears at the moment in any number of areas – including circumcision and ritual slaughter – that the state may one day take a more interventionist role and it is very disturbing. At one point or another Jews will have to evaluate their future in the country if this was to happen,” Frei told IBTimesUK in a wide-ranging interview published on 28 January.
“There is a very secular wave that is washing over this country at the moment. There is no question that fewer people than ever before believe in God. The opinion polls will show you that 30 or 40 years ago, the vast majority of people believed in God and now the vast majority don’t.”
Frei spoke as part of an IBTimesUK investigation into the role of Sharia courts in Britain in the face of criticism by both the government and independent politicians such as Baroness Cox. Beth Din has operated in the UK in one form or another for some four centuries and today still officiates in cases of Jewish divorce, which has a starkly different form to divorce under British civil law.
Beth Din has so far escaped the scrutiny that Sharia has fallen under in recent years, with critics arguing Islamic divorces discriminate against women – who, unlike men, have to go through the Sharia divorce court process and get permission from male relatives. Men are permitted to divorce their wives verbally.
It is argued that Jewish divorce law is similarly discriminatory in that it requires the husband to give his consent to a divorce, which cannot go ahead if he refuses. This has led to the phenomenon of so-called “chained women” in Britain, unable to remarry as their estranged partners refuse to agree to the divorce. But speaking this week, Frei said Jews knew what they were getting into when they had an Orthodox marriage.
He said: “People are voluntarily taking upon themselves additional restrictions because they believe in it. The reality is that if you are a religious Jew, the way that you think marriage is performed is platform X and divorce platform Y. And what is wrong with that?
“That is a restriction that [they have] taken upon [themselves]. That is what you believe in, your value system. That is not a threat to any society.”
In this, and in practices such as circumcision, religious schools and kosher meat, Frei said it was not the role of the government to impose on the personal religious beliefs of its citizens.
He said: “The purpose of the state in my view [is] not to impose cultural values on a minority which has its own cultural values and which does not clash, fight or inflict violence on anybody else. We are a law-abiding community. We are people who have given a full and valued contribution to British society, so why should the state come barging in and tell us what we can and can’t do in terms of matters of personal religious belief.”
On religious schools, Frei said hostility appeared to have come from the rise in extremist Islam and attacks in Europe and further afield, a link that he felt was unfair.
He said: “Very shortly after the most recent attacks in Paris, the first letter I read was about chucking out religious schools and I thought is there any evidence that any of these terrorists had ever actually attended a religious school? I don’t think so. They are better off asking to shut down the internet, because that is causing it rather than religious schools.”
This article was first published at IBTimes, by Orlando Crowcroft
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