News Update - June 2015

U.S. Congress Will Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Organs of Aborted Babies
Committees from the House of Representatives will be investigating allegations that Planned Parenthood sells organs of aborted babies after an incriminating video surfaced online. In the leaked video, a Planned Parenthood executive is seen explaining, over a meal with wine, how abortionists are able to preserve the body parts of babies that are desired by buyers.

Life News reports Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced today that the matter will be investigated. He said in a statement, "Nothing is more precious than life, especially an unborn child. When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so. When an organization monetizes an unborn child-and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video-we must all act. As a start, I have asked our relevant committees to look into this matter. I am also calling on President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to denounce, and stop, these gruesome practices."

Planned Parenthood denied the claims that the company profits from the sale of organs.

Christian Headlines

Saeed Abedini Overlooked in Iran Deal
Pastor Saeed Abedini will not be released as part of the Iran deal that was finalized between Iran and six world powers, including the United States. Christian Today reports Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, is urging President Obama to reconsider the deal. 

"I plead with Congress to ensure that my husband, an American citizen, is not left behind," she said. "With the announcement of a deal and yet silence as to the fate of Saeed and the other Americans held hostage in Iran, their fate lies now in the hands of Congress. I plead with each member of Congress to review the deal with our family at the forefront of their thoughts."

She continued, "Congress holds the key to bringing my husband home, to returning the father to my children. My children have desperately missed the loving embrace of their father for the last three years of their lives. They have grown up almost half of their lives without their father. Please help us ensure the remainder of their childhood includes both a mother and a father."

Saeed Abedini was arrested in 2012 while visiting Iran to assist in the construction of a secular orphanage. He was imprisoned for his Christian faith and is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence.

Christian Headlines

Chattanooga Gunman May Have Been Connected with Islamic Extremism
Editor's note: One of these shootings happened just one mile from our office in Chattanooga. Please join with us in praying for our city during this difficult time.

Authorities believe the 24-year-old man who attacked two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 16, killing four Marines and a Navy sailor and injuring others, may have been connected with radical Islam. 

Fox News reports Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who was gunned down by police after he opened fire at the Navy Operation Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center, was a practicing Muslim who had recently been showing increased devotion to the religion.

An FBI official said, "While it would be premature to speculate on the motives of the shooter at this time, we will conduct a thorough investigation of this tragedy and provide updates as they are available."

Christian Headlines

Charleston Pastors Pray for Lasting Unity
Weeks after Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight of his parishioners were shot to death in the basement of Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, S.C., questions hang heavy in the humidity of this Southern coastal city: What will sustain the beautiful display of unity among races visible in the shooting's aftermath? How do churches keep racial reconciliation on the street and not cloistered behind church walls as a relic to be brought out after the next crisis?

"People want to engage and grieve, but there is a lot that works against lasting change," said Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. "People want to get back to what they perceive as normal as quickly as possible."

It's that "stasis," as Lawrence calls it, that consumed the prayers of close to a hundred Charleston-area pastors who gathered June 30 next door to Mother Emanuel AME at Citadel Square Baptist Church. Clergy of various denominations and races-some in clerical attire and others in blue jeans, some women but mostly men-joined hands in small groups to pray for personal repentance and that the city would turn from divisions hindering the Gospel message.

They prayed for revival and reconciliation, and for the Holy Spirit to refresh the churches to bring people together and communicate a "multi-ethnic" presentation of the Gospel that speaks to all people.

"There's always the work of the Holy Spirit that has to sustain movements like this," said prayer gathering organizer Craig Tuck, a pastor of Centerpoint Church of North Charleston. "Our intentions are to come together at least in conversation and dialog," something he acknowledged has been happening in the community "in different ways, but not consistently."

"Now is not the time to shrink back," Tuck said. "It's time to press forward, to ask what we can do now. What are the on-ramps out of conversations around tables that will lead us to see sustainable pathways on which to bring about a multi-ethnic Gospel? I believe God has prepared us for this moment, and tragedy is the catalyst to going forward."

Christian Headlines

Kansas Governor Protects Pastors from Lawsuits over Gay Weddings
The governor of Kansas has issued an executive order that protects pastors from lawsuits that could emerge over refusal to officiate gay weddings. The order from Gov. Sam Brownback comes after the Supreme Court ruled June 26 in a 5-4 vote to legalize same-sex marriage across the United States. 

In a statement, Brownback said, "We have a duty to govern and to govern in accordance with the Constitution as it has been determined by the Supreme Court decision. We also recognize that religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans, and should be protected. The Kansas Bill of Rights affirms the right to worship according to dictates of conscience' and further protects against any infringement of that right. Today's Executive Order protects Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs."

WORLD Magazine reports Kansas is the third state to enact a bill of this variety after Oklahoma and Texas. Tennessee is also considering an order that would protect clergy members from potential lawsuits. 

In accordance with the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, pastors are not required to perform gay wedding ceremonies. As of yet, no clergy members have been sued for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings

Christian Headlines

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