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Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
As pro-democracy rallies continue in Hong Kong, churches are urging congregations to pray for those that are protesting, as well as law enforcement officers that are patrolling the rallies. 
 
The Vine, an international church with a branch in Hong Kong only blocks from the protests, has opened up its doors to be a place of rest and prayer for those involved. 
 
Senior pastor Andrew Gardener said, "As a church we felt that our response should be to have a response. We feel passionate about justice, it sits at the heart of God and we feel God has been stirring it in our hearts over the years, so our building is open as a place of refuge for anybody that needs it...we want to make sure we're open for anybody in need.” 
 
Gardener says that Christians should respond to the proceedings first with prayer. "We feel very strongly that we have to be doing something, and it begins with prayer. Prayer may not be our only response, but it should be the loudest,” he said. 
 
The protests are against the Chinese government’s policy on screening political candidates, ensuring their allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party, Christian Today reports. 
 
Political science professor Joseph Cheng said that many Christians support the protest because "Christians by nature are anticommunist, as the Communist party are atheist and the tolerance for Christians under the Communist regime is extremely limited. Also, Christians believe in the next world, and so are more willing to sacrifice, and to fight injustice.”
 
 
Publication date: September 30, 2014
Jessa Duggar, of “19 Kids and Counting” fame, recently posted a photo from the Holocaust Museum to her Instagram account. In the photo caption, Duggar related the horrors of the Holocaust to present-day abortion.
 
Duggar wrote, “I walked through the Holocaust Museum again today… very sobering. Millions of innocents denied the most basic and fundamental of all rights—their right to life. One human destroying the life of another deemed ‘less than human.’ Racism, stemming from the evolutionary idea that man came from something less than human; that some people groups are ‘more evolved’ and others ‘less evolved.’ A denying that our Creator—God—made us human from the beginning, all of ONE BLOOD and ONE RACE, descendants of Adam.
 
The belief that some human beings are ‘not fit to live. So they’re murdered. Slaughtered. Kids with Down syndrome or other disabilities. The sickly. The elderly. The sanctity of human life varies not in sickness or health, poverty or wealth, elderly or pre-born, little or lots of melanin [making you darker or lighter skinned], or any other factor.
 
May we never sit idly by and allow such an atrocity to happen again,” she wrote. “Not this generation. We must be a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Because EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS. #ProLife.”
Over 24,000 people liked the photo, but many criticized Duggar’s comparison in comments. 
 
“Do not use the Holocaust as an excuse to preach about your religion. Abortion has nothing to do with the slaughter of millions of people. You should be ashamed of yourself,” one commenter wrote. 
 
Still, some agreed with Duggar, arguing that the killing of over 57 million babies through abortion is Holocaust in a different form. 
 
 
Publication date: September 30, 2014
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were not invited to a major gathering of social conservatives in Washington last weekend in what was viewed as a serious snub of two men considered prominent Republican presidential contenders for 2016.
 
“They were not invited this year because they just weren’t on the top of the list in terms of what they are doing right now and whether or not it was relevant to the values voters and who they want to hear from,” said Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council and chief organizer of the Values Voter Summit, which opened on Friday and ended Sunday (Sept. 28).
 
“They shouldn’t take it the wrong way,” Perkins told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview taped on Friday.
 
But in his report, Brody said the two men had been “snubbed” and that’s not good news for any presidential aspirations they may harbor.
 
The Values Voter Summit is the pre-eminent venue for GOP candidates who hope to showcase their bona fides to the crucial conservative Christian bloc, and Christie and Bush — the elder brother of former President George W. Bush — are seen as Republicans who could appeal to the center of the electorate but who have not won the hearts of social conservatives.
 
Those voters, predominantly white evangelicals, are key to winning the GOP primaries.
 
Christie and Bush “are quite frankly not at the top of the list when it comes to values voters, who they want to hear from,” Perkins said.
 
“We have a list of good, conservative leaders that are fighting on our issues right now that wanted to be part of this,” he said.
 
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favorite who wowed the crowd with a red meat, faith-filled speech, on Sunday won a straw poll of the delegates for the second straight year with 25 percent of the votes. He finished ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Arkansas GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee.
 
“We stand for life,” Cruz told the nearly 2,000 delegates. “We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel. We bring back jobs and opportunity and unleash small businesses to make it easier for people to achieve the American dream. We abolish the IRS. We repeal Common Core.”
 
“He’s not apologizing,” Perkins told reporters after the speech. “Values voters find that refreshing.”
 
Other Republican hopefuls who addressed the summit included Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
 
Perkins said Christie and Bush could well be invited next year as the presidential election heats up, especially if they throw their hats into the ring.
 
Social conservatives are struggling to maintain their status as a pillar of the Republican Party as the GOP engages in sharp debates over its identity and what it will take to recapture the White House. In that debate, religious conservatives are contending with economic conservatives and defense hawks, who often hold conflicting views on the party’s priorities.
 
 
Courtesy: Religion News Service
 
Publication date: September 30, 2014
A restaurant in Louisiana offers customers a discount if they bring a gun into the establishment. Bergeron’s Restaurant will give diners 10 percent off if they have a gun with them; owner Kevin Cox started the tradition to attract police officers to the restaurant. 
 
Cox said, "If you have a gun on you, I'm going to give you a discount. My friends and relatives would come in with their guns on their holster. I felt good about that. It made me feel safer that they were there with their gun, so why not include all citizens with the officers too."
 
Other restaurants in the area do not allow officers or civilians with guns to go inside, so Cox decided to encourage weapons at the establishment. 
 
Bergeron’s patrons have praised the restaurant for encouraging people to use their American right to bear arms. 
 
Restaurant customer Steve Moore said, "I think it protects the restaurant. It discourages people from breaking in. If they think someone may have a gun and it's concealed, you'll think twice about coming in and robbing somebody."
 
 
Publication date: September 30, 2014
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