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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

An Ohio pastor has been charged with coercion and enticement of a minor after he allegedly sexually assaulted a teenager.

According to the Christian Post, Cesar Guerrero of Misión Cristiana El Calvario in Sharonville told police that he had sex with the teenager to “fix her fears.”

Police say the teenage girl had also been sexually abused as a child.

Court documents say he told the 17-year-old to take off her clothes to “clear her head” and made her perform oral sex “in order to free her mouth.” He also asked her to send him sexually explicit photos.

The pastor originally contacted the teenager through Facebook and told her that he had dreamed of her “dressed in white while walking in a dark place.” He said God was speaking to him through the dream.

He also told her that the “cleansing process” for her and the “only way to get out of the dark place” were for her to have sex with him.

The girl’s father told reporters that he was shocked to learn that a pastor had taken advantage of his daughter.

"Angry, frustrated, can't believe. You don't believe in God no more," her father said.

"He's been using God's Word to tell the girls to do sexual things and the girls really thought that was coming from God.”

The teenager isn’t the only one to complain about Guerrero’s behavior.

Another girl says that when she was 14, Guerrero sexually abused her at a conference in New York where she had traveled with other church members.

During the conference, Guerrero allegedly took the then 14-year-old to his hotel room and to “show him how she kissed her boyfriend.” She says he pushed her on the bed and fondled her, telling her “if she was a child of God, she would obey him.”

Photo courtesy: Gbarkz/Unsplash

A 16-year-old lifeguard is praising God after he was able to rescue a two-year-old who nearly drowned.

According to CBS 6 News, 16-year-old Michael Wood was lifeguarding at the Westwood Club swimming pool in Henrico, Virginia when he was alerted to a drowning two-year-old.

Wood told ABC 8 News that he initially believed that the boy was playing a game. He said, “I thought he was actually playing and holding his breath underwater.” 

But according to CBS 6, once Wood saw the child brush up against another swimmer without any reaction, he knew “something was wrong.”

“I knew what I had to do," the teenager said before recalling that he immediately jumped into action.

“I jumped in, grabbed the kid out, and, sure enough, he was completely passed out and he was not breathing,” Wood told ABC 8. 

Wood described the two-year-old as being “pale blue-grey” in color when he pulled him out of the water. The teen administered CPR on the toddler and after four rescue breaths, the color began to return to the child’s face. “His cheeks turned bright red, and color returned to his face,” Wood told CBS 6. “It was scary, but I said, ‘praise God.’ He started crying and I just started crying too,” he added.

“This whole thing could have gone south but quick actions from everyone made this kid be able to take another breath and walk on this earth again,” Wood told ABC 8.

Wood also recalled that the boy’s father ran over to him following the rescue and hugged and thanked him for saving his son.

ABC 8 reports that Henrico County police are investigating the incident but do not suspect foul play or negligence. The boy was doing well when police arrived but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

According to CBS 6, this is the second time Wood has had to rescue a child while lifeguarding. Reportedly, last year, Wood pulled an eight-year-old child out of the deep end of a pool. 

Photo courtesy: Neon Brand/Unsplash

Video courtesy: CBS 6 News

JOSNigeria, August 19, 2019 (Morning Star News) – After the killing of a Roman Catholic priest and a parishioner in southeastern Nigeria earlier this month, another clergyman on Thursday (Aug. 15) narrowly escaped an attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen about 40 miles away, sources said.

Armed Fulani herdsmen on Aug. 1 killed the Rev. Paul Offu in Awgu town, south of Enugu city in Enugu state, as he was returning to his church site after a visit to other congregations he was overseeing, according to Enugu Diocese officials. The herdsmen shot his car as he drove along Ihe-Agbudu Road, forcing it to a halt, and then dragged him out and shot him to death, diocese spokesman Emmanuel Nkemjika Igwesihi said in a press statement.

The herdsmen took parishioner Kenneth Igwe in the ambush. Police found his corpse on Aug. 5, according to Igwesihi.

“The Rev. Fr. Paul Offu was shot dead by some Fulani herdsmen who took him into the bush around 2 p.m.,” the Rev. Ben Achi, director of communications for the diocese told Morning Star News by phone. “He was accosted by the herdsmen and was shot dead.”

About 69 kilometers (42 miles) north, herdsmen on Thursday (Aug. 15) ambushed another Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Chimezie Ani, near Caritas University, a Catholic university in Amorji-Nike, as he drove toward Ugwuomu, the priest told Morning Star News.

“I was driving when suddenly the herdsmen, who were armed, shot at my vehicle, aiming at the windshield,” Ani told Morning Star News. “I immediately on noticing them stopped the car and drove in reverse. The bullets from them broke my windshield and riddled the car all over. I miraculously escaped unhurt. They retreated into the bushes after realizing I escaped from them.”

He said Fulani herdsmen have been attacking Christian commuters along that highway “for some time now.”

“I’m sure they were herdsmen,” Ani said.

Achi of the Enugu diocese confirmed the Aug. 1 and Aug. 15 attacks.

“The incident [Aug. 15] happened along Ugwuomu Road as you heard,” Achi said. “We are very grateful to God that he was not harmed, as he was able to navigate on reverse to a safe distance.”

Following the Aug. 1 killing of Offu, more than 200 Catholic priests took to the streets in the city of Enugu, the state capital, in protest on Aug. 2. They marched peacefully to the State House to present a letter to the governor expressing their displeasure over growing Fulani herdsmen attacks on Christians. 

Afterwards the Rev. Callistus Onaga, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, told reporters of his sadness over the inability of the government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim Fulani, to end herdsmen attacks across the country. Christians in the state have come under a series of attacks over the past seven years, adversely affecting area Catholic churches, Onaga said.

“I am sorrowful and utterly disappointed on the security in the state,” he told a press conference.

Another priest, the Rev. Clement Ugwu, of St. Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno, in Ezeagu County of the state, was kidnapped and killed in March, and herdsmen shot another priest in late July, Onaga said.

“We were shocked to see a priest that joined in our meeting yesterday afternoon in this bishop’s house very healthy and sound being reported to have died. The priest shot by the herdsmen two weeks back is still receiving intensive medical attention as we speak,” Onaga said. “Why we get worried when our priests are attacked is that it shows the level of insecurity other Nigerians face daily. Our priests are very much respected and honored by our parishioners and the people, so if these things can happen to them, what happens to the flock, the people they shepherd?”

Priests in various parts of the state were kidnapped from 2013 to 2016, he said.

“Only in 2017 were we given some breathing space,” Onaga said. “It continued in 2018 and this year, 2019; it is worse as we have suffered the death of a priest in March this year, and now another issue. All we demand is that if there are crop of bad herdsmen in the state, they should be fished out, and we will continue to live in peace with the good ones.”

Also on Aug. 2, the Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, bishop of Awka Diocese, in southeastern Nigeria’s Anambra state, told reporters of his concern over the tepid response of the Nigerian government to violence carried out by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Addressing journalists at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, he said the government lacks political will to curtail attacks against Christians.

“I am sad – what manner of country is this?” Ezeokafor said. “A country where some people are untouchables. A country where some people will be killing innocent citizens. What we are witnessing today is simply coordinated attacks against Christians in the country.

“These senseless killings of innocent Nigerians are becoming a daily occurrence. Why can’t our government put a stop to these killings? Is it not obvious that some people, somewhere are carrying a particular agenda? There is more to this than meets the eye.”

Police confirmed the attacks on the priests and reported arrests of some of the attackers.

Police spokesman Frank Mba said in a statement on Friday (Aug. 16) that officers were investigating the attacks on the priests.

“Crack detectives from the Intelligence Response Unit, the Forensic and Homicide sections of the Force Criminal Investigation Department have been deployed to Enugu state,” he said. “The deployment is to complement the Enugu Command of the Force in their investigations into the unfortunate incident.”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution. 

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved. 

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at https://morningstarnews.org/donate/?

Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy: MSN/Wikipedia/Martin Kudr

 

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