Displaying items by tag: USA
Nigeria regularly sees ongoing massacres of indigenous Christians, and security forces imprison free thinkers for the ‘crime’ of blasphemy. Nevertheless, the USA removed Nigeria from its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list. On 2 December Rev John Hayab wrote an article in Nigerian Voice stating, ‘The US’s delisting Nigeria from its CPC list is appalling, as the persecution of Christians is still at its peak. Because Nigeria still has grave problems with religious persecution, this action is like a doctor discharging a patient from hospital even though they are still critically ill. What that signifies is telling the patient to go home and die. The USA was either ill-advised or does not care what happens in Nigeria. It does not comprehend that the current regime wants to impoverish and weaken the Christian community without letting the international community notice it. The Nigerian government employed highly professional lobbyists to convince the US state department to reach its decision.’
As the Taliban quickly took over Afghanistan during the late summer of 2021, the world witnessed chaos, panic, and extreme violence. The Afghan Church was in the middle of the storm, facing ever-increasing danger as brutal tyrants took over their country. Persecution.org has raised its voice to urge the United States to safeguard Afghan Christians, who are predominantly composed of Muslim converts. This puts them at risk of death as the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law considers converts to be traitors to Islam. It is very possible that the Taliban will return to the violence and brutality that marked their earlier reign over Afghanistan. Already it seems that this could include punishments such as cutting off limbs and severe oppression of women’s rights, access to education and religious freedom. Persecution.org is inviting people to sign a petition to Joe Biden asking Congress to create ways for these at-risk people to emigrate to America.
The Omicron variant has spread globally. Leaders hoping lockdowns and travel bans had ended now face disruptions that could affect their economies and popularity. Italy’s PM Mario Draghi has made economic recovery a cornerstone of his leadership, but he is under fire for enforcing some of the strictest vaccine mandates in Europe. His honeymoon period could be derailed if further lockdowns or disruptions send the economy into a nose-dive. Inflation and supply-chain chaos are headaches for America. Uncertainty over Omicron threatens to make things worse after a wobbly economy and a shambolic departure of troops from Afghanistan. Biden’s handling of the pandemic previously inspired voter confidence but has now caused his popularity to drop. It is unlikely that he will take risks that could harm the US economy. China’s president is pursuing an increasingly elusive zero Covid strategy. If Omicron is more transmissible than previous variants, China's leadership could be questioned domestically.
A leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services reveals America’s plan to undo religious liberty protections and disregard First Amendment rights. The memo states, ‘This action will likely be well received among civil rights and groups advocating separation of church from state. But many will interpret this as the Government abdicating its responsibility for compliance with religious freedom, and will issue strong negative reactions.’ We can pray for the US government to remember the roots of their religious freedom and liberty birthed by the Pilgrims in 1620. The Pilgrims didn't just institute Thanksgiving, celebrated on 25 November this year. They were prepared to die for religious freedom and made the Bible America's guide to life. The self-rule they pioneered eventually shaped America’s government and constitution.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager cleared of murder during racial unrest, said his case ‘had nothing to do with race’ it was about the right to self-defence. Jurors cleared him of killing two men and wounding a third with a military rifle when he said he had feared for his life. A patriot to some and a vigilante to others, his acquittal divided the US with media commentary dwelling on race, even though Rittenhouse and all three men shot were white. The incident is the story of an American dystopia induced by guns and Pennsylvania’s lawmakers wanting to move closer toward allowing permitless concealed carrying of firearms. See
American pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana said God helped him know what to do, after a man at the front of his church pulled a gun out and pointed it at the congregation. Pastor Ezekiel, who has been hailed a hero, was praying with members of his congregation when the incident happened. He can be seen on camera tackling the gun-wielding man into the aisle. He held him down until police arrived and arrested Dezire Baganda, 26, who also faces over a dozen aggravated assault charges. While Baganda is not a church member, the pastor said he has attended previous services. Congregation member Akimana Charite said, ‘We were so shocked seeing him come in the front and pull out a gun. The whole church was calm; we thank God, if we had started panicking he might have started shooting, but we all stayed calm.’
2.25 million disabled Americans should attend church, but don’t. Calvary Community is oriented towards people with ‘special abilities’. Their families drive long distances to get there. As a result, church growth has surged. ‘It just really exploded,’ said Pastor Gina. ‘We have a heart to help. The church understands the value of people with special abilities. ‘They have a straightforward clear understanding of the love of God. They’re not bogged down by noise, politics, or anything that can confuse who God is. Their childlike faith reminds us how simple the love of God can be. They help us understand what it means to serve someone who can’t serve us back.’ The community has 300 volunteers actively seeking and serving people with special abilities. The results speak for themselves. The church now has a database of 700 families with one or more child or adult with special abilities, and they train and help other churches develop special programmes.
Space satellites have become strategic assets and valuable military targets. China has vowed to become the world's leading space power by 2045. In 2019 it landed its Chang'e-4 lunar probe on the far side of the moon - something which had never been done before. The US air force secretary said, ‘China has moved aggressively to weaponise space. Conventional deterrence and operations depend on access to communications, intelligence, and other services provided by space-based systems. As a result, China has pursued and fielded a number of weapons systems in space designed to defeat or destroy America's space-based military weapons systems and ability to project power.’ Much of what happens in space affects life on earth. The 3,000+ active satellites orbiting earth today and their services have become indispensable. Among these are US military-operated GPS satellites for positioning, navigation and timing, serving military and civilian needs - for example taxis, grocery delivery services, monitoring weather, and communications.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken said, ‘The US and its allies want to bring Iran back into compliance with the nuclear deal, including looking at all of the options necessary if diplomacy doesn’t work.’ He was commenting on US talks with Germany, France and Britain about Iran. ‘We are absolutely together in lockstep on how we are approaching the challenge of getting Iran back into compliance with the nuclear agreement,’ he said. ‘And that’s new because we’ve actually been at odds in recent years. But we do not yet know if Iran is willing to come back, engage in a meaningful way, and get back into compliance. If it isn’t, if it won’t, then we are looking together at all of the options necessary to deal with this problem.’
President Daniel Ortega has gripped Nicaragua’s election on 7 November by arresting all competition, controlling electoral authorities, and reinventing himself as a business-friendly devout Catholic. The US is working with international partners to prepare new sanctions to be levied if he wins the election that Washington denounces as a sham. It has also begun a review of Nicaragua’s participation in a Central American free trade agreement and has halted support for any ‘trade capacity building’ activities seen as benefiting Ortega’s government. Nearly half of Nicaraguans live below the poverty line, and an additional 90,000 individuals fell into poverty as a result of the pandemic. Nicaragua is one of the most corrupt countries globally - a costly, painful legacy of misrule by Ortega’s dictatorship. He stole, wasted and misused state resources, which were destined to combat poverty and used for national development, resulting in immense economic costs. See