Syria (Mission Network News) — While the conflict in Syria intensifies, it seems as if Americans—specifically Christians—are only becoming more apathetic.
According to a survey by World Vision, 38 percent of those who described themselves as committed Christians had taken action for refugees in the past two years—a six percent drop from 2015. In 2015, 40 percent of Christians said they prayed for refugees, while only 19 percent of Christians said they did in 2016.
“The news nightly just pounds away with pictures and videos and new statistics and this many killed, and this many wounded, and after a while it really has an adverse effect on people to where they almost just tune it out,” says Tom Doyle, Vice President of church and ministry partnerships for e3 Partners and author of “Killing Christians.”
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WASHINGTON — The Museum of the Bible, a project of Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, has officially announced that its doors are scheduled to open in the nation’s capital in November 2017.
“The grand opening of Museum of the Bible is sure to be one of the most memorable events held in our nation’s capital in 2017,” said museum President Cary Summers in a statement on Friday.
The 430,000-square-foot museum is being constructed just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, and plans to house one of the world’s largest collections of ancient biblical scrolls, codices, papyrus fragments and other historical artifacts.
The eight-floor facility with 40-foot bronze doors will feature over 40,000 biblical manuscripts owned by the Green family. It will also house a 500-seat theater, a 100-seat lecture hall, a restaurant, gardens, and a Nazareth village. Floors will serve various themes, such as “The Impact of the Bible,” “The Narratives of the Bible,” and “The History of the Bible.”
“The History Floor will feature more than 500 world-class artifacts that document the Bible’s preservation, translation, and transmission across centuries and cultures,” the website for the project outlines. “This floor features many of the greatest biblical discoveries, including writings dating to the time of Abraham, fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, early New Testament writings, and more.”
“The Impact Floor will explore the Bible’s impact over time on cultures, civilization, and daily life, including its profound influence on fine arts, science, government, and more,” it explains, noting that the experience will be visually stimulating and interactive.
Summers says that the museum will be on the cutting-edge of modern technology.
“Museum of the Bible’s team of innovators, in concert with some of the world’s leading creative and technical minds, has dedicated itself to building the most technologically advanced museum in the world,” he said in a press release. “This team brought together the most impressive electronic systems in the world, dreamed up how to create the best museum experience and then invented the rest of the tools they needed to bring our guests the most interactive, memorable experience possible.”
The performance hall will feature 7 state-of-the-art 4K projectors, which can project a 30,000-lumen image. Commentary at various exhibits will be available in 10 different languages, and some presentations will have 3D interactive virtual and augmented reality capability.
But most of all, the museum is meant to be a teaching tool in a world that doesn’t really understand the Scriptures.
“We have probably the most ignorant population we’ve ever had in our society [about the Bible] because it’s been taken out of our schools,” Green told Baptist Press in 2014 prior to the construction of the site. “We want to be able to, in a simple way, explain to them, ‘Here’s what the Bible is.’ Ultimately, it’s about the fact that we are sinners, we need a Savior and Christ was that. And He came to die for us that we might have life.”
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WASHINGTON — Prominent Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Franklin Graham, and prosperity preacher Paula White will be among the ecumenical selection of faith leaders who will present prayers and readings at Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony next month, the inaugural committee announced on Wednesday.
“Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people,” Committee Chairman Tom Barrack said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers at the swearing-in of President-elect Trump and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.”
In addition to Dolan, Graham and White, Jewish rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Wayne Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International will also participate.
“I am honored to have been asked to offer a reading from Scripture at the upcoming presidential inauguration, and look forward to asking Almighty God to inspire and guide our new president and to continue to bless our great nation,” Dolan said in a statement.
“In American history Inauguration Day is one of the most sacred and important celebrations we have as a people, not only because it signifies the peaceful transition of power but also because on this day ‘We The People’ appeal to the favor, blessing and guidance of God on our country, on our people and on our new leadership,” White also remarked.
As previously reported, in September 2015, White was among a number of spiritual leaders, including televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Jan Crouch, who laid hands on and prayed for Trump at Trump Tower in New York. She specifically made a “faith declaration” that she was securing Trump’s “calling and his mantle.”
“Father, we just secure him right now by the blood of Jesus. We thank you that no weapon formed against him will be able to prosper and any tongue that rises against him will be condemned according to the word of God,” White, who leads New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, prayed as she touched his arm.
“All the days of his life, let him live well,” she continued. “I secure him. I secure his children. I secure his calling and his mantle.”
James Dobson of Focus on the Family also told reporters in June that “Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ.”
White, like Trump, has been married three times. She married Journey rocker Jonathan Cain in May 2015 following a divorce from second husband Randy White in 2007. In a message the two delivered about marriage in August of last year, Cain advised, “Ladies, if you don’t know what he likes, figure it out. Get a book. … If he likes to watch porn, watch porn with him.”
In addition to prayers and readings from Catholic, Jewish and evangelical leaders, music will also be provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the inaugurals of U. S. presidents,” Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said in a statement. “Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best. We are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”
As previously reported, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed at inaugural events for Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Documents released this week from the St. Paul Police Department outline that two homosexual men who committed suicide in August had molested 10 adolescent boys during a period of three years.
Police have now closed their investigation into Minnesota school teacher Aric Babbitt and his “husband,” Matthew Deyo, who ended their lives after a 16-year-old boy and his mother reported to officials that “an ongoing sexual relationship” had been taking place.
While charges had not yet been filed, the two left a letter for their parents advising that they were going to commit suicide, which was received after the fact. Their bodies were found on Lopez Island in Washington state on Aug. 25.
Police documents outline that the men wrote that that preferred to choose their “own destinies rather than experience the hatred and inevitable loss of freedom that the justice system would give.” The situation was ruled a murder-suicide.
Babbit, then 40, worked as a fourth grade school teacher at Lincoln Center Elementary School. The 16-year-old had volunteered at the school, and Babbit served as his mentor when he came out to his family as homosexual. The teen told police that Babbit and Deyo had said they would take him to a concert and pay for his hotel stay. But while at the hotel, he alleged, the men gave him alcohol and marijuana, and then sexually abused him.
The situation occurred again at a cabin, and this time, involved both the teen and his friend. According to KSTP-TV, police were able to obtain photos from the cabin stay that identified the youths, as well as the accused.
On August 16, a search warrant was issued in relation to the matter, which included suspicion of possessing child pornography. Police confiscated Babbit and Deyo’s computers, phones, cameras and other devices. They also found marijuana in the men’s home, as well as a hidden camera in the restroom, according to their report.
Pioneer Press also outlines that footage had been found of Babbit filming himself touching his private parts in the elementary school restroom and in an empty classroom. The Star Tribune states that some of the encounters with the boys was likewise filmed.
Babbit was suspended with pay, and other youth began coming forward.
But nine days later, Babbit and Deyo traveled out of state and committed suicide. The police report states that the letter mailed to their parents outlined that they were concerned that information regarding search of their home would become public and some would consequently “paint them as monsters, but we are not.” They contended that anyone who was involved was a “willing participant.”
“They do not believe that they did any harm, nor did they intend any hurt,” police documents note.
More youth came forward following the men’s deaths, and now the final report—134 pages in all—outlines that there were 10 boys who came forward to state that they had been sexually abused.
“As a school district, we strive to provide a safe and secure learning environment for our students,” South St. Paul schools Superintendent Dave Webb said in a statement to reporters this week. “This has been very hard on our entire South St. Paul community.”
St. Paul Police Chief William Messerich says that the investigation is now closed.