Category: Religion

July 15th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Members of the mainstream media reacted with confusion and skepticism when a visitor to the White House posted a photograph of President Trump as faith leaders prayed over him, with a laying on of hands.

“Such an honor to pray within the Oval Office for [the president] & [the vice president],” the tweet read.

Such an honor to pray within the Oval Office for @POTUS & @VP . pic.twitter.com/JrDOSJyFeN

— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) July 12, 2017

The post was composed by Johnnie Moore, a former senior vice president at Liberty University.

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the history and traditions of Christianity recognizes the ritual of “laying on of hands” that is even recorded in the Bible.

Harris Faulkner discussed the reaction from the mainstream media on Fox News’ Outnumbered.

“Well there are actually some new questions on whether the mainstream media are out of touch with much of America, after this reaction to a photograph,” she explained. “Evangelical leaders lay their hands on President Trump as they prayed over him at the White House earlier this week.”

Erin Burnett of CNN was quoted in her reaction, which seemed to be out of ignorance of the existence of the ritual.

“Pretty stunning image, I mean, I’ll give you a quick peek at it,” Burnett said. “The president bowing his head in prayer in the Oval Office and all these people sort of touching him, it’s very strange, we’re gonna tell you what happened there.”

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Faulkner also cited the reporting from the progressive news site Huffington Post, where they question Trump’s faith while covering the story.

“Trump, who identifies as Presbyterian, has demonstrated a basic lack of understanding about the Christian faith,” the Huffpo writer said, “including what constitutes an evangelical. But his Christian supporters aren’t fazed.”

The author cited a report attributing confusion on the part of Trump about the distinction between Presbyterians and evangelicals. Another link went to a Huffpo article citing Biblical verses that were taken to be contradictory to policy items on Trump’s political agenda.

Conservative commentator Mark Steyn described the resistance of the left to “ostentatious” acts of faith on Outnumbered.

“There’s a secular elite that doesn’t like, it’s actually creeped out by ostentatious displays of faith. So a little kind of rump, residual, episcopalianism is like OK, but when you actually got laying on of hands, that’s, ‘Woah! That’s way too much, man!’” he exclaimed, throwing his hands up in mock pantomime.

Evangelicals who support Donald Trump made their peace long ago with his tendency to say absolutely terrible things. The fact that Donald Trump said in 2005 that he could grab women by a vulgar term for their genitalia because he's famous doesn't seem to be changing how social conservative leaders feel about him. Evangelicals who opposed him before still aren't fans. And the ones in his camp aren't fazed by the recording. That's because this isn't about how much they like the brash billionaire; it's about how unflinching they are in their opposition to Hillary Clinton. Robert Jeffress the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a member of Trump's Evangelical Executive Advisory Board. According to The Daily Beast, he said Trump's comments were

Posted in Christian, Christianity, CNN, Donald Trump, Evangelicals, Evangelism, Mainstream Media, Politics, Religion, Trump

June 9th, 2017 by Staff Writer

A Portland, Maine high school announced that sports hijabs would be available to young Muslim girls playing sports for the school, Deering High School, CBS News reported on Thursday.

Officials at Deering High School elected to give female Muslim athletes the option to wear a sports hijab in order to make them more comfortable, say students attending the school.

“We’re more confident on the field,” junior lacrosse player Fadumo Adan said. “This one doesn’t fall off. No matter what I do, it won’t fall off.”

Two female tennis co-captains raised over $800 for their Muslim teammates when the school’s athletic director told them that such a product existed.

Israa Enan, a senior who was born in Iraq, said she stayed off the school’s tennis team because her parents had concerns about the uniform and lack of hijab.

“I wished I was one of these girls who wear the hijabs and play with it, but it’s OK,” Israa Enan, a senior at Deering High, said. “I’m too late now.”

She did, however, note that she’s “happy for the other girls who have the opportunity now to wear the hijab and be more comfortable doing the things they like to do.”

Sophomore tennis player Tabarek Kadhim — a young woman who immigrated to the United States from Jordan — expressed her appreciation of the gesture and added, “There are some people who actually care, respect and love others, and they are actually accepting of others, which makes me really happy.”

Welcome to the first piece in a series we've created to explore the lives of Muslims in metro Detroit. Over several weeks and through a number of short videos, we'll profile Muslim Americans and help to explain their religion.

Posted in American Muslim, High school sports, high school students, muslim, Religion, US

June 7th, 2016 by Staff Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) — A team of experts began a historic renovation on Monday at the spot where Christians believe Jesus was buried, overcoming longstanding religious rivalries to carry out the first repairs at the site in more than 200 years.

The project is focused on reinforcing and preserving the Edicule — the ancient chamber housing Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is the first such work at the tomb since 1810, when the shrine was restored and given its current shape following a fire.

An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus’ body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried before his resurrection. It stands a few hundred yards (meters) from the site of Jesus’ crucifixion.

A Greek team of experts begin renovation of Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city, Monday, June 6, 2016. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

A Greek team of experts begin renovation of Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s old city, Monday, June 6, 2016. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

With its stone staircases, gilded ornamentation and many dark chambers, the church is one of Christianity’s holiest shrines. But that hasn’t stopped clerics from engaging in turf rivalries over the years.

The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches are responsible for maintaining separate sections, and each denomination jealously guards its domain. While the clergymen who work and pray at the church generally get along, tensions can rise to the surface. In 2008, an argument between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks erupted into a brawl.

This time, the clergymen put aside their differences — a reflection of the dire need for the repairs. Last year, Israeli police briefly shut down the building after Israel’s Antiquities Authority deemed it unsafe, prompting the Christian denominations to join forces.

“We equally decided the required renovation was necessary to be done, so we agreed upon it”, said the Rev. Samuel Aghoyan, the top Armenian official at the church.

An Associated Press team had exclusive access to the site as the work began late Monday, carried out by a team of nine Greek experts who have done similar restoration work on the Acropolis as well as to Byzantine churches throughout the Mediterranean.

HOLY LAND

While a group of nuns looked on, the sound of clanking tools filled the vast arched space where conservators and restoration experts began chipping away at mortar between marble slabs. Using cotton swabs dipped into a solution of liquid soap and water, one expert scrubbed away centuries-old layers of wax and carbon dioxide. Another airbrushed the dirt as the work progressed.

Antonia Moropoulou, an architect at the National Technical University of Athens, which is supervising the renovation, noted the intricacy of the historic effort.

“Nobody envies this responsibility and challenge,” she said. “Because, it is a challenge to work here in this ambient of an open monument visited by thousands of people daily.”

Moropoulou said the tomb is stable, but needs urgent attention after years of exposure to environmental factors like water, humidity and candle smoke.

“The marble and stone slabs have developed, due to the stresses, some deformations,” she said. In addition, the structure needs to be protected from the risk of earthquake damage.

Even an iron cage erected around the Edicule by British authorities in 1947 cannot bear the stress. “So another solution is needed,” Moropoulou said.

A Greek worker, part of team of experts, begins renovation of Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city.  (AP/Ariel Schalit)

A Greek worker, part of team of experts, begins renovation of Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s old city. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

The project will bolster the structure by, among other things, replacing the mortars and strengthening the columns. It is expected to take eight to 12 months, during which time pilgrims will be able to continue visiting the site.

Some of the work will be done in the early morning hours or late at night, when the church is closed. This quiet atmosphere will make it easier for experts to concentrate on the delicate task and help avoid disruptions for the thousands of pilgrims and tourists who visit each day.

The project will cost about $3.3 million (3 million euros), said Theophilos III, the Greek-Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem. Each church is contributing funds. In addition, Jordan’s King Abdullah made a personal donation. Jordan controlled Jerusalem’s Old City until the 1967 Mideast war, and the kingdom continues to play a role safeguarding Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Despite the sometimes tense relations between the denominations, the tomb served as a potent symbol of Christian unity when Pope Francis and the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, prayed together there in May 2014.

Likewise, today’s restoration is bridging centuries-old divisions by being carried out in the name of all three major denominations that share possession.

In a show of unity, on May 20 clerics from the three denominations posed and shook hands in front of the scaffolding erected around the tomb ahead of the work.

“What has happened is a very good sign, a sign of togetherness,” said Theophilos III.

Christian nuns watch as a team of experts begin renovation of Jesus' tomb. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Christian nuns watch as a team of experts begin renovation of Jesus’ tomb. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

The church, one of the world’s oldest, was built in 325 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Constantine. That structure was destroyed in 1009 by Muslim Caliph al-Hakim. A 12th-century restoration by the Crusaders gave the Holy Sepulchre its current appearance, while in 1808 a fire all but destroyed the Edicule.

In 1852, the Ottoman authorities then governing the Holy Land provided a framework for resolving disputes inside the church. They put into effect the “status quo,” a set of historic laws and power-sharing arrangements that rigidly regulates the denominations’ activities inside the Holy Sepulchre.

The Rev. Athanasius Macora, a Franciscan monk who represents the Catholics at the inter-church commission that negotiates disputes at the Holy Sepulchre, said the renovation might have been more ambitious if not for the status quo rules.

“I personally would have liked to maybe contemplate some alternative to simply restoring the current structure. But because the status quo is so conservative in its nature . we had to more or less accept the fact that there would be no change whatsoever to the current structure, and it would be restored as it is now,” he said.

Still, for pilgrims like Italian Claudio Pardini, the restoration is “an important sign” that all of the Christian churches are getting together to preserve their faith’s traditions.

“It’s good to take care of our churches so that we can leave the next generations a sign, something to visit,” he said. “Because Christ isn’t an idea. He’s a story.”

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Posted in Faith, Jesus Christ, Religion, World

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