Equating Christians to Muslim Jihadists

Christian Breaking News Alert:

Every year, approximately 175,000 Christians are martyred for their faith, and countless others endure torture, discrimination and hardship. We are blessed to live in a country without such persecution, but we should not forget about those less fortunate. Not only can we stay aware of their situation, but in many cases we can help ease their suffering. And in all cases, we can pray for them!

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Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have to help those who are persecuted for
their faith. God hears our prayers and is answering them in ways we may never know.
Thank you for lifting up our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer as they suffer for
the sake of Jesus Christ.
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1) Solidarity rally for religious freedom
The ‘All Pakistan Minorities Alliance’ is organising a rally for August 11 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination minorities suffer. About 100,000 Christians and people from other confessions are expected.

Lahore : – The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) is going to hold a ‘National Solidarity Rally’ on August 11 at the Mīnār-ĕ Pākistān in Lahore. A huge gathering of people from minority communities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsees, should come. Organisers expect about 100,000 people from all over Pakistan, brought together by the same desire to see discriminatory laws abolished, including the blasphemy law, as well as the protection of equal rights and religious freedom.

In announcing the event APMA chairman, Shahbaz Bhatti, quoted from Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who in his address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State . . . . We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and citizens of one state””

Despite Ali Jinnah’s dream for a modern secular Pakistan (in which Muslim clergy played no role), the founder’s successors paid no heed to his wishes. They used religion to centralize power and divide society, adopting in the end inhuman legislation and laws that persecute and victimise minorities.

“Today,” Mr Bhatti said, “Christians and religious minorities in Pakistan are facing serious challenges on different fronts. Their basic rights are denied and religious freedom is curtailed. They are persecuted, victimised, terrorised and hated due to their faith. The blasphemy and other discriminatory laws violate all standards of human rights and democratic norms; they are naked swords hanging over our heads. There is a greater need for unity among Christians and religious minorities to overcome these challenges, including extremism, terrorism and religious intolerance.”

With this purpose in mind APMA has been organising for some time seminars, conferences and public demonstrations in various cities to focus public attention on the issue of persecution and atrocities committed against Christians and members of other religious minorities.

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2) Orissa: two nuns accused of ill-treatment released

Both women religious are accused of inflicting physical violence and coercion on two girls in a school in Baghmara, but the real charge is attempted forced conversion. No evidence in either case has been produced.

Mumbai :– Two nuns, who were arrested on Saturday charged with ill-treating two female students at a residential school run by the Catholic Church at Baghamara, were granted bail by a local court on Monday.

Sister Mary, 57, and Sister Prema, 62, from the Bangalore-based congregation of St Ann’s Sisters were released after three days in jail on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 (US$ 250) each.

Both women religious have not gone to trial yet because the police needs more evidence to back the charges. So far it has failed in this task.

In reality unsubstantiated allegations of forced conversion underlie this case.

In the meantime Sub-Divisional Judge Moonrani Mishra granted bail on condition they try not to change the faith of others, co-operate with investigators, and try not to tamper with evidence or leave the court’s jurisdiction without permission.

According to the papers filed in the case, two girls—14-year-old Sarojini Murmu of Nachipur village and 11-year-old Anjana Behera of Titia village—fled their school on July 20 alleging that the two nuns had physically tortured them and made them clean toilets and the school poultry.

The two women religious are charged with voluntarily causing harm, intimidation and attempt at forced conversion.

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3) Evangelical Christians oppose Catholic candidate
Evangelicals smear Senator Brownback, a pro-life Catholic. A letter, circulated among evangelicals in Iowa, asks them not to split Christian vote. Pastor wants Protestants to vote solely for Protestants.

A letter is being circulated among evangelicals in Iowa asking them not to split the Christian vote between former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback; they are urged to vote for Huckabee, an evangelical, over Brownback, a Roman Catholic.

The letter stems from Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heights. It says that unlike President George W. Bush, and his father, both of whom had to learn “how to speak to evangelicals,” Governor Huckabee is “one of us.” The missive continues as follows: “I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002. Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor’s. I don’t know if this fact is widely known among evangelicals who are supporting Brownback.”

This issue was addressed by Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

“Discernment. Evangelicals have it, and Catholics do not. But are those evangelicals who express themselves this way capable of discerning the difference between persuasiveness and abrasiveness? Do they really think all Catholics are rote-minded robots who let the Vatican do their thinking for them? We thought we’d gotten beyond such nonsense, but apparently some stereotypes are proving hardier than others.

“Like Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee is a man of character, and as such he would never choose to be associated with such bigotry. The blame for this incident lies squarely with Rev. Tim Rude, pastor of the church. Unfortunately for him, he has now compounded his problem by saying that he did not intend his e-mail to be made public, and that in any event, ‘All I was trying to say is that Protestants should vote for Protestants.’ Great. But now that his gig is up—everyone knows about his stealth campaign against Brownback—the time has come for Rev. Rude (what a great name!) to fess up and apologize. He might also take this opportunity to explain his lack of confidence in the ability of Protestants to discern whom they should vote for in the election.”

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4) Church Group Wants Bibles In Newspapers
Bible Society Has Trouble Raising Money

A Christian ministry plans to deliver New Testaments to newspaper subscribers around the country, but has raised only a small fraction of the money needed to pay for them.

International Bible Society-Send the Light plans to distribute the Scriptures through 11 newspapers between November and May.

The New Testaments would be packaged in pouches on the outside of newspapers, much like soap or other sample products

But fundraising has been slow. None of the city projects has raised even half the money needed.

And there have been objections from non-Christians who say they would be offended and from some Christians who worry that people who already own Bibles will just throw the packets away.

A ministry official discounted the objections, saying people can “do with it what they want.”

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5) Italy faces high risk of attack by Muslim radicals

August 1, 2007
ROME — Italy faces “heightened risks” of attack and an influx of Muslim radicals, an intelligence services report said Wednesday, citing 60 threats in the first half of 2007.

The semi-annual report, unveiled at a news conference, said that the threats aimed at Italy from within or abroad were of “variable credibility and magnitude.”

But the threats by international jihadist groups pose “heightened risks for our country,” said the report covering January through June.

Italy saw a “rise in Islamic meeting places, which, even if they are primarily organized and frequented by law-abiding people, remain potentially exposed to infiltration by radicals,” the report said.

It highlighted “networks of north African origin” while stating that “interactions or contacts with other radical milieu from the Balkans, the Middle East, or central Asia” were also possible.

The intelligence services also outlined risks facing Italian personnel taking part in overseas missions.

“The attack on the Spanish contingent of [the UN peacekeeping force] FINUL in Lebanon [in late June] requires being alert to the possibility of similar risks concerning the Italian contingent,” the report said.

Italy took over command of FINUL, a force of some 13,000 peacekeepers including some 2,500 Italians, in February.

The intelligence agencies also pointed to a risk of attack within Italy by anarchists whose “designs remain unchanged” despite the arrests in February of 15 people suspected of belonging to a far-left cell of the Red Brigades.

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6) Taliban threaten hostages as deadline passes

August 1, 2007

RALLY: Protestors shout slogans during an anti-war rally demanding the safe return of kidnapped South Koreans and the withdrawal of its troops from the country, in front of the US embassy in Seoul August 1.
(REUTERS)
GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s Taliban threatened to kill more of its 21 South Korean hostages after a Wednesday deadline expired, as helicopters dropped leaflets asking people to leave the area where they are held.

By evening, hours after the noon (0730 GMT) deadline, there appeared to have been little movement, with negotiators unable to provide new information and the Taliban saying that there had been no developments.

The extremist group repeated, however, that it was ready to kill more members of the aid mission seized in the southern province of Ghazni two weeks ago. Two have already been shot dead – a 42-year-old pastor and a 29-year-old.

“After the deadline passed, one or more hostages could be killed any time,” Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said earlier.

Military choppers dropped leaflets in the province, including the Qarabagh district where the South Koreans were captured, asking residents to leave ahead of a planned operation but officials denied that this would be a bid to free the captives.

The operation was a routine exercise due in the coming weeks, the defense ministry said, adding that it “has no links to the South Korean hostages issue.”

A South Korean embassy official said: “We have no information about any operation. Before launching any operation, we must be informed.”

With tensions mounting and Qarabagh said to have been surrounded by soldiers for days, Ahmadi said that Taliban fighters were “ready to answer with force and if there’s any pressure on us, the lives of the hostages will be in danger.”

He said earlier that there had been no progress in the negotiations in which the rebels have demanded that at least eight Taliban prisoners be freed from Afghan jails.

Afghan authorities have rejected the demand after being condemned internationally for a similar deal in March.

One of the main negotiators, parliamentarian Mahmood Gailani, said that tribal elders fronting the talks had asked for 48 more hours. “We are waiting for the answer,” he said.

Negotiators also want the militants to unconditionally free 16 women in the group, two of whom a Taliban spokesman Tuesday described as gravely ill, before considering other possible demands.

A top US official, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, and Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile joined international calls for the release of the Christians.

Adding to concern about their chances, the bullet-riddled bodies of four Afghan court officials were found Wednesday near where the bloodied corpse of one of the foreigners was dumped late Tuesday.

“We killed them because they worked for the government,” Ahmadi said.

There were also fresh fears for a German engineer held since July 18, a day before the South Koreans were captured, after Al Jazeera television broadcast late Tuesday a video that it said showed him pleading for his life.

The footage, reported to be days old, was the first to show the engineer, said to be 62 years old.

The hardline Taliban, backed by the Al Qaeda network, has intensified an insurgency launched since being driven from government in 2001.

There are daily attacks in the war-ravaged country, undermining internationally backed efforts for reconstruction.

In new incidents a dozen Taliban and a policeman were killed in Kandahar province late Tuesday, police said.

Four rebels were also shot dead in Ghazni province and a soldier from the 35,000-strong NATO-led force here to assist the Afghan government was killed in fighting in the northeast, security officials said.

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7) Bombs rock Baghdad as unity government crumbles

August 1, 2007

SUICIDE BOMB: A fuel truck burns at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Baghdad August 1. A suicide bomber killed at least 50 people and wounded 60 after luring motorists to a fuel truck near a petrol station in Baghdad’s western Mansour district, police said.
(REUTERS)
BAGHDAD — Thunderous car bomb blasts echoed around Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least 70 people, as Iraq’s national unity coalition collapsed under the weight of sectarian tensions.

New government figures also revealed that civilian deaths in the country rose by one-third last month, dealing a further blow to a five-month-old security plan designed to stabilize Baghdad and allow for reconciliation.

Three large bombs tore through crowded districts of the capital, leaving at least 70 people dead and feeding the communal bitterness that has undermined Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki’s US-backed government.

In the largest blast, a truck bomb detonated near a filling station in the west of the city, setting fire to a huge fuel tank, killing at least 50 people and wounding at least 60 more, Iraqi security officials said.

A medic at the nearby Yarmuk Hospital said that the emergency room struggled to cope with the wave of incoming wounded.

“There were not many lightly injured people, everyone had medium or severe burns. Some of them got beds, but others had to lie on the floor and some were given first aid then sent on to other hospitals,” he said.

Earlier a car bomb ripped through a busy shopping district, killing at least 16 Iraqis and wounding 14, according to Brigadier General Qassim Atta, an Iraqi army spokesman for Baghdad.

The blast near the Karrada Harij electronics market at a crossroads known for the popular Fiqma ice-cream store sent a dull boom echoing across the city and a plume of smoke skywards. There was no word on who might have planted the bomb, but the area is known as a stronghold of supporters of Shiite leader Abdel Aziz Al Hakim, and previous attacks of this kind have been blamed on Sunni extremists.

A third car bomb in the southern neighborhood of Dura, one of Baghdad’s most notorious districts, killed three more people and wounded another five, according to security officials.

Two off-duty Iraqi policemen were shot dead when gunmen ambushed their car in the Saydiya neighborhood in southwest Baghdad, a security official said.

As the explosions rumbled across the city, ministers from the Concord Front, Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc, resigned from the ruling coalition and effectively ended its claim to be a government of national unity.

“The Front announces its withdrawal from the government of Nuri Al Maliki and the deputy prime minister and the ministers will submit their resignation today,” said Rafie Al Issawi, minister of state for foreign affairs. Issawi made the announcement at a news conference inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone as Sunni Vice-President Tarek Al Hashemi and other senior members of the bloc stood behind him.

Hashemi will remain vice-president and the bloc’s 44 parliamentarians will return to the National Assembly in September after its summer recess, when they will swell the already growing ranks of the opposition.

The Front has accused the government of failing to rein in Shiite militias and of the arbitrary arrest and detention of Sunnis, but Wednesday leaders seemed to leave the door open for future discussions.

“Our central and historic goal is reform. We will reconsider the withdrawal tomorrow if they review our demands,” Hashemi said.

The decision comes at a time when Maliki’s government is under intense pressure to make use of the space afforded by a five-month-old “surge” of US troops to hammer out political agreements between the rival factions.

But with parliament having gone on holiday without passing any of the benchmark reforms demanded by Washington, it is unlikely that any progress will be made ahead of September’s progress report to the US Congress on the surge.

“Democracy is never easy,” US embassy spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters. “It is certainly not easy with the problems that face Iraq. These are things that Iraqi political leaders need to grapple with.”

“In Iraq it’s very hard … They have to get through these very difficult challenges. It is frustrating? Absolutely. It’s frustrating for us. It’s frustrating for them and it’s frustrating for the Iraqi government.”

In a further blow to the surge, numbers released by government ministries Wednesday revealed that the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the country’s brutal civil conflict rose by more than one-third in July.

At least 1,652 civilians were killed in Iraq in July, 33 percent more than in the previous month, according to figures compiled by the Iraqi health, defense, and interior ministries.

Meanwhile, the US military said that four more troops were killed Tuesday, bringing US losses since the March 2003 invasion to 3,653, with 83 killed in July.

Separately, Britain confirmed that another of its soldiers had been killed by a bomb in the southern city of Basra Tuesday, bringing to 164 the number to have died in Iraq.

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8) Lebanese soldier killed as country marks Army Day

August 1, 2007

ON PATROL: Children cheer for Lebanese soldiers on an armored personnel carrier on patrol near the Nahr Al bared refugee camp in north Lebanon August 1. A sniper shot dead a Lebanese soldier at the camp Wednesday as the Lebanese army celebrated its 62nd anniversary.
(REUTERS)
NAHR AL BARED, Lebanon — A Lebanese soldier was killed Wednesday in battles with die-hard Islamists besieged in a seaside Palestinian refugee camp as the military marked Army Day.

An army spokesman said that the soldier died in combat with Fatah Al Islam militants who are still defending a small patch of Nahr Al Bared camp in northern Lebanon.

His death brought to 124 the number of soldiers killed since the conflict began May 20.

Plumes of black smoke hung over the camp Wednesday as a fire raged inside and two army helicopters overflew the area, according to witnesses.

The Islamists, who are in a 1.5 hectare (3.7 acre) area within the ruins of the camp, were “firing automatic weapons at positions of the army, which responded,” the spokesman said.

The continuing battle comes as the Lebanese military celebrates Army Day in an event turned into a rallying point in a country with deep political and religious divisions.

To mark the event, a round of artillery was fired from 10 cannons while, in the rest of the country, processions took place in army barracks.

However, a traditional ceremony to promote officers was canceled because of the political paralysis caused by the resignation eight months ago of six pro-Syrian ministers.

Separately, local television networks broadcast programs paying homage to the “sacrifices of the army to preserve national unity and law and order.”

On Tuesday, army chief Brigadier General Michel Suleyman toured Nahr Al Bared to offer his men support in the battle with the Islamists.

He underlined the cohesive role played by the army, which has not taken part in the conflict between the Western-backed government, and the opposition, which is allied with Syria and Iran.

Most of the camp’s 31,000 residents have fled since the beginning of the fighting.

The only civilians remaining are around 60 women and children related to the Fatah Al Islam fighters. The army has accused the Islamists of using them as human shields, but other sources have said that they remain willingly.

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9) Faith-based toys to hit US stores

Instead of Spiderman or Bratz dolls, children in the US could soon be clutching a talking Jesus toy, a bearded Moses or a muscle-bound figure of Goliath.
Goliath and Sampson action figures (image courtesy of One2believe)
The Bible-based action figures include Goliath and Samson

From the middle of August, Wal-Mart, the biggest toy retailer in the US, will for the first time stock a full line of faith-based toys.

The Bible-based action figures will initially be given two feet of shelf space in 425 of the company’s 3,300 stores nationwide.

There, the Tales of Glory dolls will take on what their makers are calling “the battle for the toy box” with some of the nation’s most popular action figures.

The market is notoriously hard to crack, with every child wanting what their friends at school have and high-profile brands like Transformers and Spiderman dominating marketing.

So will the 12in (30cm) Jesus doll quoting scripture or the 3in (8cm) figure of Daniel in the lion’s den open up children’s imaginations – and their parents’ wallets?

‘Spiritual journey’

David Socha, founder of One2believe, the company which makes the dolls, is confident the demand is there for “God-honouring” toys which reflect Christian teachings and morality.

If you go in a toy aisle in any major retailer, you will see toys and dolls that promote and glorify evil, destruction, lying, cheating
David Socha

“We get a lot of people, even people who are not of faith, don’t go to church, saying ‘I’ve got a four and a six-year-old and I don’t know what to get them any more’,” he said.

“If you go in a toy aisle in any major retailer, you will see toys and dolls that promote and glorify evil, destruction, lying, cheating.

“In the girls’ aisle where the dolls would be, you see dolls that are promoting promiscuity to very young girls. Dolls will have very revealing clothes on, G-string underwear.”

What his company offers instead is “something faith-based that is not only fun to play with but also is solidifying a person’s spiritual wherewithal and their spiritual journey”, he said.

Retail boom

In offering a faith-based alternative to the commercial mainstream, Mr Socha is tapping into a broader nationwide trend.

The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ raised the profile of faith-based entertainment

Sales of so-called Christian products, including books, music, clothes and gifts, have climbed steadily from $4bn (£2bn) in 2000 to $4.63bn last year, according to the Association for Christian Retail.

Accounting for part of that growth is a boom in Christian fantasy fiction, some of it written in response to some Christians’ unease over the use of magic in the Harry Potter books.

According to the Book Industry Study Group, sales of religious books went up by 5.6% in 2006. Another survey suggests Christian book-buyers spend half as much again on books as the average American.

Nearly 12% of Americans spend more than $50 a month on religious products and another 11% spend $25-29 a month, according to a Baylor University study, with one in three Americans surveyed making at least one purchase a year in a Christian bookshop.

Daniel and the lion (image courtesy of One2believe)
The dolls’ makers say parents want to give toys with a moral message

Nancy Guthrie, of the Association for Christian Retail, said: “Over the past decade there has been a significant openness in the broader market place for Christian products.

“All kinds of retailers have recognised that there are a lot of people out there who want books and music and gifts that reflect their faith.”

The fact that two Christian books topped US best-seller lists in 2001, one of which was the fantasy novel Desecration, helped raise awareness of the availability of such products, she said.

Following on from that, Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ “awoke people to the interest and market for Christian media and entertainment”, Ms Guthrie added.

‘Wholesome things’

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien said it made sense for the retail giant – which has carried religious items before but never a full line of faith-based toys – to try to reach that audience too.

The stores chosen for the initial sales of the Tales of Glory dolls are those where other religion-based products such as Bibles and gospel music have sold very well, she said.

Moses (image courtesy of One2believe)
Sales of faith-based products have been climbing steadily in the US
Most are in Wal-Mart’s heartlands in America’s South and Mid West, although a few stores in California and north-east Pennsylvania will also stock the figures, which are aimed at three- to 12-year-olds and all come with a book telling their story.

“It’s really a test to see how consumers will respond,” she said. “We anticipate there may be parents and teachers who would find these toys beneficial in teaching biblical stories.”

Laurie Schacht, president of industry publication The Toy Book, believes faith-based toys could sell well in the right market place, although they will not be to everyone’s taste.

“I think there are parents who want the hottest things that are out there and I think there are parents who want to give their children more wholesome things,” she said.

“I think it’s going to be a parent purchase much more than what the child wants. I think there’s a market and I think Wal-Mart sees that and has given shelf space for it.”

Ms Schacht points out that there have been faith-based toys, such as the Precious Moments range, in specialist Christian stores for years but that this will be the first time a mass retail outlet has jumped into the market.

As for their appeal to children? “Like everything else, if the toys have ‘play value’ and you put them in front of a child, they will do well,” she said.

Mr Socha says making the figures attractive to young people has been at the heart of the project – and they have been tried and tested on Sunday school and church groups.

“If the kids aren’t engaged and having fun, then we might as well not do it,” he said. \

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10) Christian video game draws anger

Screen shot from Left Behind: Eternal Forces (Courtesy of Left Behind Games)
Characters can be carried away by angels
A new Christian video game has sparked calls for a boycott from groups who say it is “training for religious warfare”.

The game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, is based on a wildly successful series of novels about the struggles on earth after true believers ascend to heaven.

Players can command the army of good – the Tribulation Force – against the anti-Christ’s Global Community.

The game’s makers reject criticism, saying their detractors “have a clear hatred of Biblical Christianity”.

An alliance of liberal groups including the Christian Alliance for Progress, the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, and Talk2Action, have urged the giant retailer Wal-Mart, among others, to stop stocking the game, which was released last month.

“It’s about religious warfare. The way to win is to convert or kill. You have both the Inquisition and the Crusades,” says Frederick Clarkson of Talk2Action.

“Anybody who is not a follower of Jesus is the enemy,” he claims.

‘Dehumanising the enemy’

Mr Clarkson is particularly concerned that the $39.95 (£20) game – which is rated for teenagers due to violence – is being marketed through churches.

Screen shot from Left Behind: Eternal Forces (Courtesy of Left Behind Games)

“Pastors and youth leaders recommend the game to their parishioners,” he says, giving its message the stamp of authority.

And that message is the “dehumanisation of the feared other – Catholics, Jews, Muslims, the wrong kind of Protestants, people deemed to be sinners”, he says.

That dehumanisation, he warns, is a first step towards genocide.

Jeffrey S Frichner, a co-founder of Left Behind Games, utterly rejects that characterisation of his game.

None of the missions in the game has a “convert-or-die” objective, he insists.

“It’s the anti-Christ that desires you to convert or die, and you are defending yourself against that on the good side,” he says.

“You will absolutely lose each level and never win the game if you choose physical warfare as a means.”

‘Evangelising – respectfully’

The word “convert” does not even appear in the game, he adds – and neither does the word “Christian”.

“The game itself is just a great game. People of other faiths could play it and not know it’s Christian,” he says.

Screen shot from Left Behind: Eternal Forces (Courtesy of Left Behind Games)
Left Behind looks like a typical video game in some respects

He freely admits the game aims to evangelise.

“But it is doing it in a way which is very respectful, not Bible-thumping.”

When players successfully complete a level of the real-time strategy game, “you get a vignette that has some kind of Biblical truth and a find-out-more button”, he says.

That leads players to a website where they can discuss issues, say a prayer and “become a believer”, Mr Frichner says.

He thinks that will appeal to young people.

“People are drawn to things that provide answers. My personal position is that the Bible provides all those answers.”

‘Summer blockbuster’

Left Behind: Eternal Forces is not the first Christian video game, but it is the most ambitious to date, experts say.

“This is the first Christian developer that tried to produce a triple-A title, the summer blockbuster of video games,” says Brian Crecente, editor of the games blog Kotaku and a video games writer for the Rocky Mountain News newspaper.

Video games are no longer just about amusing people, but about trying to send a message

He is intrigued by the moral complexity of the game, which he saw played late in development, before its release.

“Your characters can do physical combat, but when they do, they lose morale and have a greater chance of becoming evil.

“In some sense, that can represent what happens. In the real world, you can’t get involved in a gunfight and walk away and forget it.”

He is critical of the game on other grounds, though, saying that in trying to deliver entertainment as well as a message, the developers have fallen short on both.

“It’s a muddled message and a kind-of entertaining game,” he says.

Kill the president

It is not the only violent video game with a message raising concern this holiday season.

Screen shot from Quest for Bush (Courtesy of the Site Institute)
Tony Blair and Iraq’s prime minister are targets in Quest for Bush

The Global Islamic Media Front has released a game called Quest for Bush, in which players aim to kill the US president.

Adam Raisman, an analyst at the Search for International Terrorist Entities (Site) Institute who has played the game, calls the free download “propaganda”, but stops short of labelling it recruitment.

“We can’t say this is preparation for jihad, but it puts out the idea that you can walk around with a gun and shoot American soldiers,” he says.

“It is putting the thought in your head that Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld are the guys you’re going after.”

Mr Crecente, the games writer, has not seen Quest for Bush (also known as Night of Bush Hunting, the literal translation of its Arabic title).

But he says both it and Left Behind: Eternal Forces are part of an effort in the gaming world to deal with important issues.

“Whenever games take on something important, they are accused of trivialising the subject,” he says.

“This shows that video games have gotten past the birthing pains. They are no longer just about amusing people, but about trying to send a message.”

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11) Kashmir rebels blamed for tourist attacks

554d3024b70dbcd291a2010887838da9.jpg SRINAGAR, India – Islamic militants are to blame for two attacks targeting tourists in Indian Kashmir this week that left nine dead including four young people, police said

Two brothers, aged 12 and 14, from India’s Bihar state were killed and six others wounded in a grenade attack on Monday by suspected militants on a tourist vehicle in southern Pulwama district, a police statement said.

On Sunday, seven people including five tourists, two of them young girls, were killed and 19 wounded in a blast aboard a coach in Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, in another attack police blamed on militants.

“After forensic and chemical investigation of the samples collected at the blast site, the preliminary inferences suggest that the blast has been caused by a grenade,” police said on Wednesday.

“Such types of grenades have been recovered from the militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit recently,” it said.

Lashkar-e-Toiba is the most feared militant group fighting to bring Indian Kashmir under Pakistani rule. Both New Delhi and Islamabad control part of the scenic Himalayan region.

The group however has condemned the attack and denied any involvement.

An insurgency by Islamic militants against New Delhi’s rule in Indian Kashmir has claimed more than 42,000 lives since it was launched in 1989.

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12) CNN to Air God’s Warriors, Equating Christians to Muslim Jihadists?

This post was written by Warner Todd Huston on 31 July, 2007 (05:47) | All News, Entertainment, Country News, Iraq War, TV News , US News, Religious News 405 ViewsWith great fanfare, CNN is announcing the broadcast over three nights in August of a “Worldwide TV event” hosted by

With great fanfare, CNN is announcing the broadcast over three nights in August of a “Worldwide TV event” hosted by Christiane Amanpour titled “God’s Warriors.” But some fear that these three nights, each night focusing on a particular religion, will equate Christian political activists in America (the so-called “Christian Right”) to Muslim suicide bombers and radical Jihasists the world over. And after reading the CNN press release announcing the “event,” it’s hard to doubt that those fears will be accurate.

In the press release, Amanpour claims that people all over the world are questioning her about the “rise of religious influence on political power in the US.”

“As I report around the world, people often ask me about the rise of religious influence on political power within the United States, but in fact this is true worldwide,” Amanpour said. “Wherever I go, what the believers do all have in common is that they want to bring the politics of faith into the very center of public life – we are seeing this now on almost every continent.”

I wonder what credentials Amanpour has to make these judgments, anyway? It also seems odd that people would ask such a thing because if religion is being felt “on almost every continent” why would it seem so odd to foreigners that it might be happening in the USA, too, so odd they would ask about it?

Naturally, the show will feature disgraced ex-president, Jimmy Carter (the man who renounced his association with the Baptists in 1980), assailing the “Christian Right.”

God’s Warriors includes interviews with former President Jimmy Carter about the political impact of the Christian Right in the United States

There’s an unbiased source, eh?

The three episodes will be as follows:
Aug 21 God’s Jewish Warriors
Aug 22 God’s Muslim Warriors
Aug 23 God’s Christian Warriors

Worries about how Christians are going to be treated are voiced in the American Family News Network that the show will present Christians in the US working to get things their way via political means with Jihadists who blow themselves and innocents up to get their way.

A media analyst fears an upcoming CNN special will attempt to create a moral equivalency between all religions. Bob Knight says it appears the network is trying to equate Muslim homicide bombers with evangelical Christians.

In fact, it is hard to see how they could avoid it. The very title of the show “God’s Christian Warriors,” when juxtaposed with the “Muslim Warriors” episode portends damning American Christian political activists with Muslim Jihadists’ actions.

Bob Knight goes on…

Knight, director of the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute (CMI), says any series that equates “conscience-based resistance to liberal programs” with Islamic extremists is a blatant attempt to equate Christianity with Islam and to say “a pox on both their houses — they’re all bad.”

I am sure that Jewish religious activists wont be treated any better than their Christian fellows, either.

As Lynn Davidson says on Newsbusters.org :

The images posted on the “God’s Warriors” site further back up this unbalanced view. Several of the images of Muslims addressed suicide bombers (which the readers must identify through CNN’s use of the biased term) while injecting sympathy and victimhood by showing the grieving female relatives of the “martyrs” instead of, say, the deadly results of the “martyrs.” Even the examples of militant Jewish fundamentalists were portrayed as bombers, but the weirdly semi-ominous images of the Christian “warriors” were mostly of the youth group Battle Cry, whose “battle” is for raising awareness for traditional values. Compare that to plucking out eyeballs and beheadings. Eh, to-may-to, to-mah-to.

Yeah, this one seems sure to be a Christian bashfest that explains away and minimizes Muslim evil.

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Regards
In His Service,
Christian Breaking News Team

REPOSTED BY PERMISSION of Christian Breaking News Team
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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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