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Bergen Church by Conor MacNeill

Bergen Church by Conor MacNeill

Be protective of your sheep because the wolves are coming.

-Jimmy Meeks, police officer, minister, and owner of Sheepdog Seminars

Five days ago a 21 year-old walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and murdered nine people. He reloaded his weapon five times during his killing spree. Friends say Dylan Roof wanted to shoot up a nearby university but couldn’t get past security, so he decided on the likely gun-free church instead, taking advantage of their warm welcome and inclusiveness.

As is always the case when a mass shooting happens, there were red flags ahead of time. Roof had told friends of his hatred toward black Americans and about some of his plans at least a week before. He posed in pictures highlighting his bigoted interests that were shared online. His aspirations were not a secret. In a move that is atypical of related acts of violence, he spent an hour in the church before opening fire, which could be another indication of advance planning.

Is America a free country? Yes. So reporting everyone who has biases or passionate opinions to the authorities isn’t called for. We are a land of diverse beliefs and freedom of speech is protected by our Constitution. But if someone you know is threatening to go kill others, discuss it with the authorities. Who knows what horrors you might prevent if they take it seriously. See how this killing spree was averted by an alert father, Father Tips Off Police to Son’s Alleged ISIS Sympathies, Authorities Say.

A common response to this tragedy has been, “I can’t believe something like this could happen!” I understand the feelings of shock, horror, and disbelief. No one wants to believe this could happen to them, or their family, or in their church. Start believing it. This is the world we live in.

Hundreds of people have lost their lives in church violence in America and Christian persecution is rampant around the world. This is not by any means the first time this has happened, and it is far from being the last. Given the volatile state of our planet, and increasing animosity towards Christians and Jews, I expect to see more of the same and worse.

For some graphic examples of what is happening to Christians in other countries, see the Gatestone Institute’s recent report Jihad on Christians. Some will protest that I’m drawing a parallel to Islamic terrorism, but reality is that this rabid intolerance of other belief systems is universal. There are millions upon millions of human beings today who think they are justified in violating and killing others because they’re different.

Going back to, “I can’t believe something like this could happen!”, this is a wake up call to all churches in America. You should have a security committee. You should have a security plan. You should be ready for natural disasters and emergencies. The church should be the most prepared private entity in any given community as community members will look to you in times of crisis. You’re also responsible for the well-being of a lot of those same people. Stop worrying about being nice and start thinking of how to save lives.

Jimmy Meeks again, from Church security: need highlighted by S.C. shooting:

“The biggest obstacle for churches is just not believing that [a violent attack] could happen at their churches,” said Jimmy Meeks, a Southern Baptist police officer in Hurst, Texas, who presents church security seminars across America. People “don’t listen to what needs to be done until they believe it needs to be done.”

The popular WWJD campaign years ago always depicted Jesus as doing “something sweet” and often overlooked Christ’s cautious or protective actions, Meeks said. “What about John 2:24b-25 — Jesus ‘knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man’? What’s wrong with not trusting people you don’t know? Be watchful of them.”

Some church leaders say, “we don’t have the money!” You can increase security and be better prepared without money. You just need to start with a few good men and women willing to sit down and develop some standard operating procedures. Ask the obvious questions–what if there’s a fire? Active shooter? Earthquake? Tornado? Controversial guest speaker? Bomb threat? Kidnapping? Domestic abuser who keeps showing up at the church threatening his ex-wife?

Discuss how you would ideally handle such events and draw up a plan. Consider that some of the biggest threats might come from or have to do with your church family itself. Domestic violence often becomes workplace violence– similarly, an abuser usually knows where their ex goes to church and might want to take her out among others in a blaze of glory. A noncustodial parent might try to remove their child from a nursery. Protesters could show up and try to disrupt an event.

Brainstorm. Take notes. Don’t consider any question or scenario too outrageous or unlikely. Consider all events at the church, not just large services. Involve your local law enforcement agency to get their insights. They will often do security assessments or consultations. Some offer security training for churches. There are also private security firms who provide these services. Obtain copies of plans other congregations or agencies have written up and work from them. Train your staff members and volunteers in basic emergency protocols. Got CERTs? Got parishioners who carry firearms? Got first responders? Know your assets. Don’t require people to disclose, just ask for volunteers.

This mass murder has caused the age-old debate about firearms to flare up again. I’ve reviewed countless news articles about this story and people are either saying, “This is why we should ban firearms!” or “We need to increase armed security in church.” If your church already has one or more uniformed police officers on hand during Sunday services, then you already know the value of meeting any threat with an appropriate level of force. You acknowledge the value of having someone with certain training and skills standing by.

The fastest way to take down an active shooter and keep him from reloading five times can be an armed good guy. The use of firearms in a crowded room is obviously risky, but chances are not many people, on zero notice, are going to want to rush a gunman even though statistical chances of surviving such an incident are greater the more quickly the threat can be neutralized. Let’s not forget what one armed off duty cop was able to do in Colorado, Colorado Springs vs. Charleston: The Church Massacre That Ended Differently.

There is intense interest in church security right now, particularly in the presence of guns in churches. Time just featured Why Some Pastors Bring Their Guns to the Pulpit. This church in Colorado has 100 volunteers trained as security guards. In North Carolina, one pastor had good reason to assemble an armed volunteer security team known as the Watchmen (a nod to the story of Nehemiah). Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc. is hosting a free webinar, Five Immediate Steps To Enhance Church Security, on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 12:00 CDT.

How each church protects itself is up to its leaders. Some leaders are not anti-gun but are concerned about what might happen if uniformed police officers run into a building and see “regular” people with guns drawn– they don’t know who the criminal is. No matter how you feel about guns, now is the time to learn, to prepare, to train. A storm is coming and there is no reason to be caught unprepared. Churches, unfortunately, are for the most part soft targets, or to put it another way, sitting ducks. They have all sorts of unsecured entrances and exits and windows and activities, and most people present will have their backs to the myriad ingress and egress points. Those who don’t, like priests, rabbis, and pastors, will be absorbed in their duties. People often have their eyes closed. Consider limiting ways into the building once services start.

From First Coast News, Pastors consider beefing up church security:

“There are lot of critics that feel that pastors or even parishioners don’t need to have certain protection in places,” said Jefferson. “That is totally wrong.”

The former Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer is a member of the security detail at Impact church. He said he has served in that capacity 13 years.

“You have to have eyes that are watching people as the come in,” he said. “Watching their body language, watching what they’re carrying.”

Jefferson alludes to a practice that has kept the Israelis safe for years, behavioral profiling. Ushers, greeters, and others can be trained to watch for and report suspicious behavior. The sergeant quoted here says that everybody’s responsible for church security– “We train our members that if something looks suspicious, it is.” At his church they have an aptly-named Ministry of Defense. 

As I told callers to the police department for many years, we’d rather have you report something and have it turn out to be nothing than not do anything and have it be something. Everyone at church should be comfortable reporting things and should know who to report those to. People also need to know it’s okay to call 911 in emergencies– you’d be amazed at how many people call places other than police and fire dispatch because they “didn’t think it was important enough.” Then they’ll call 911 to ask what time it is.

In today’s world, it’s madness not to prepare for acts of violence and other emergencies. They happen to someone, somewhere, every day, and the more we talk about what could possibly happen, the more likely it is that we will be able to respond to these events rather than react. So have an emergency plan like school districts do. Take advantage of Community Emergency Response Team training. FEMA recently had a webinar titled Preparing Houses of Worship for Emergencies. They have other relevant webinars archived, and other great material about preparedness. You can have code words to put the church on lockdown, install security cameras and alarm systems, change your cash-handling procedures– there are many actions you can take to improve security right now.

This video was recommended to me by a trusted friend in law enforcement, Run. Hide. Fight. You can easily find other online videos and resources, like church security expert Carl Chinn’s website. It’s packed with useful information. In western Washington, the ADTA, Armed Defense Training Association, is an excellent place to learn practical self-defense and firearms skills. Again, tap your local police and fire departments for pointers and plans.

As an aside, please do not limit your security committees and security team members to uniformed personnel. There are members with other valuable skills and insights, and women in particular can often contribute a different perspective than the sometimes black and white thinking of professionally trained men. Psychologists and teachers and nurses are just some of the people who can enhance your committees and teams.

Again, a storm is coming. Around the world, terrorists and zealots and criminals and bigots are storming the house of God. We can and should pray for peace and divine protection, but God also requires us to do the best we can with what we have to protect our brothers and sisters. Last March in Pakistan, suicide bombers attempted to murder Christians in church but were stopped by volunteer security guards who were killed in the explosions.There would have been many more deaths if it weren’t for their preparedness. As I regularly review reports of Christian persecution and church security issues from around the world, I become increasingly impressed that the churches usually doing the most to protect their people are the ones with the fewest resources.

As a survivor of domestic violence that involved specific firearms threats, for years I considered that I might be endangering others simply by going to church. In that time I learned to consider all the angles of how a possible attack would take place and have become passionate about teaching others to– and please listen to my words carefully here– be prepared, not paranoid. We are not given a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We should not be “nice” about looming threats against the church and human life and be overly concerned about what the rest of the world thinks. We should take a bold stand knowing an infinite power is behind us, and by protecting each other we are fully in line with His principles and character.

There is something each of us can do to improve church security. The “I can’t believe this could happen to us” and “we hadn’t really thought about security” mentalities have to go. Watch. Pray. Volunteer. Give. We are a body. We should function as a body. It’s time for that body to put on the armor of God and take a stand against the forces that come to rob and destroy. We need some literal armor too, whatever form that takes. Don’t be caught naked and helpless when the wolves come to your church. They might already be inside.

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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. –Albert Einstein

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This is a hot topic right now so I want to add some more thoughts:

-Some churches say “we have a security guard outside.” Okay, so who do you have inside? Having a visible off-duty officer is great, but it’s time to think about recruiting and training some not so obvious church members who will be in the services. There might be no communication between the person outside and the people inside. Something bad could happen inside before the person outside would ever know or be able to respond. Security should not only be roaming the perimeter, but mingling.

-An interesting suggestion from a few articles I’ve perused: Once the service begins, limit the number of doors that can be opened from the outside so you can keep a definite eye on the one or few doors still open. The point is limiting access to the building once people are inside, absorbed in the service, with their backs to the door.

FEMA Webinar Library – someone needs to update the page’s content in places, but you will some both older and newer material on here

-Some pastors are being very open that their churches won’t be messed with and trying to harm others there would be a very dumb thing to do. Don’t be a soft target. While you don’t want to show all your cards, it’s not a bad idea to brief the congregation on what to do in an emergency (like don’t all run out the same door) and make it known your church takes security seriously.

-In Fiji, they include churches in their National Security Strategy.

-As an aside, it’s offensive to me that being from the South or being at all associated with the Confederacy means you’re racist. There is an overreaction going on when those energies would be better focused on healing rifts rather than hammering on generalizations that will only widen them. Millions still believe that the Civil War was fought over slavery and therefore everyone who fought for the South was a racist in favor of slavery or a slave owner.

There were a number of issues driving the Civil War, namely the role of the federal government, states’ rights, preserving the Union, and economic issues. Ultimately the South believed it should have the right to break away. Slavery was certainly tied to all of these issues, but many people didn’t take up arms to end or defend slavery. I also resent the suggestion that my Confederate ancestor was racist when he wasn’t all white.

-Don’t forget about all the other events that go on during the week besides your main services– Bible studies, classes, kids’ events, piano lessons, weddings, the average workdays for the pastoral staff. Be prepared all the time, not just for your big services or events. Some criminals or terrorists strike when they’re least expected or will meet the least resistance. They might want to target a specific individual and attempt to harm them when there’s few to no one else around.

-There are security systems that can be viewed from smartphones at all times and other useful technology. It’s not a substitute for a security team, but it can be a major asset.

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Rajai Shahr Prison, Iran

Rajai Shahr Prison, Iran

Many of you are familiar with the story of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran. The ACLJ has just published a Christmas letter he wrote, and I am riveted by this man’s faith and hope in the midst of the extreme physical hell and torture he’s enduring. As the letter says, this is his third Christmas in prison; America hasn’t yet brought him home.

If a man who is being slowly murdered for leaving Islam can rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas this much, how much more the rest of us?

#SaveSaeed – you can help!

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Rajai Shahr Prison 2014

Merry Christmas!

These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.

These cold and brittle conditions have made me wonder why God chose the hardest time of the year to become flesh and why He came to the earth in the weakest human condition (as a baby). Why did God choose the hardest place to be born in the cold weather? Why did God choose to be born in a manger in a stable, which is very cold, filthy and unsanitary with an unpleasant smell? Why did the birth have to be in such a way that it was not only hard physically, but also socially? It must have brought such shame for Mary and her fiancé that she was pregnant before marriage in the religious society of that time.

Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation though faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintry manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas. It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.

Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world.

The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness. He is turning our world into a world full of peace, joy, and love that is so different than the dark, cold, and wintry world that we used to live in. Hallelujah!

So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.

Pastor Saeed Abedini

Soaking in the lava love of Christ

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Please visit the ACLJ’s page discussing this letter.

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A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

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Saeed Prayer Vigil

Tonight on TBN I heard Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, speak at length about their history and present situation. I learned how they became Christians and Americans despite being born into devout Muslim families in Iran, how they met, and how many other times they’ve been arrested for their charity and faith. Naghmeh was very candid about her struggles with fear and anxiety, but demonstrated that the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is real.

Evidently Saeed’s faith and passion for the gospel is so vibrant that despite horrific torture he has other prisoners singing praises to God along with him! This is a man who has death staring him in the face, and yet he does not waver from the belief that God is good. How many of us can attest to faith like that? As I listened to Naghmeh I had to ask myself how many of us Americans would be willing to fight for, be imprisoned for, and even die for our beliefs. I wondered how many of us, when faced with beatings, violations, and isolation, would stick to our guns and not renounce our commitments to freedom and our faith.

The church all over the world is under attack. Whether we are brothers and sisters in the Christian faith or believers in freedom and human rights in general, September 26th is a day to unite on these issues and cry out as one. Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you believe in God or not, there are organized forces in this world that are hell bent on subjugating you and forcing you into a life of slavery. These forces are raping, pillaging, murdering, conquering, and enslaving people who are different from them. The crucifixions and beheadings of children in Iraq are a perfect example of how evil these groups are.

Take a stand for free will and the rights of others no matter what they believe, and join millions of others in shouting out that we stand as one for those who are under attack. As someone who puts my faith and hope in Someone infinitely more powerful than myself, I expect that He will reward this petition and do miracles.

Naghmeh Abedini on Twitter

Save Saeed Campaign Reaching New People in Brazil

And yes, I still wear my hot pink #SaveSaeed t-shirt proudly!

Save Saeed Shirt

 

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Wherever there is prayer, there is the danger of His own immediate action. -C.S. Lewis

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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James Foley

Oh, God, no, please no… I think that’s what I said when I read the headline today declaring that American journalist James Foley had been savagely beheaded by the demonic gang of terrorist thugs called ISIS. Frankly my brain makes up its own acronyms for ISIS, like Ignorant Savages Instigating Slaughter. I know these people need the love of Jesus, but their merciless rampage of death and destruction, which has included the beheading and crucifixion of Christian children, makes my blood boil red, white, and blue.

I first became aware that Foley was missing in Syria while writing my December 2013 post More Americans Left Behind. In that post I featured a number of Americans who were being held in other countries and strongly questioned why the Obama administration has not done more to bring them home. James Foley had been a captive for nearly two years, for example. Supposedly a rescue mission was mounted on behalf of him and other Americans this summer, but it allegedly failed because the intelligence wasn’t good.

The videotaped beheading of an American is a direct terrorist strike at our nation. It’s a strike at you and me, and I wish more Americans had the mentality of the New Yorkers in Spiderman: You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. Americans should not be at the mercy of regimes like Iran and North Korea; we don’t bow to them. We should not be tolerating the ongoing torture of Pastor Saeed Abedini or the criminal mistreatment of Kenneth Bae.

“Oh!” some say. “But they’re Christians, or Jews, or they put themselves in a dangerous situation. This is the price they pay for taking those risks.” We would all be living under a foreign language facist freak show if it wasn’t for the risk takers among us. These guys didn’t go to another nation to go skydiving or dabble in extreme wakeboarding. They traveled to these other countries to make a difference, to save lives, to soothe souls, to shine a light on the reality of the situation in these dark places.

By all accounts I’ve read, James Foley was one of these people. His parents say he went to Syria to show the world what was truly happening there. He ultimately gave his life for that. Thankfully most websites that show his execution video have edited out the part where his throat is cut and his severed head is lying on the ground. But you can still see most of it, in which he reads some sort of prefabricated statement.

His voice does not shake, he holds his head up high. His back is straight. His spirit does not appear to be broken. Knowing he’s about to have his throat slashed open by the masked coward with the British accent next to him, he doesn’t panic or scream. He faced death with courage and dignity. He didn’t have to. But he did. It is an image that will stay with me forever.

Earlier tonight I had to ask myself a question: am I more outraged that these (ooh, I’ll omit the next scathing acronym) primitive killers that Osama bin Laden didn’t even want anything to do with executed James Foley? Or am I more outraged that the United States didn’t get him back in time? How many more Americans will die because of erratic and spineless foreign policy and the fact that American tax dollars actually do go to terrorist groups and rogue nations? Who’s next? Whose family has to know that their son’s murder will be broadcast to billions of people around the world?

This shouldn’t be happening. It makes me sick. It makes me angry. One of our own has just been taken out into the desert by a group that has less morality than a fossilized amoeba. They believe their god lauds them for killing infidels, killing randomly, killing other Muslims, killing Christians, raping, and pillaging, and selling Christian women as sex slaves. It’s clear to me who their god really is, and that master will betray them when their last breath is taken.

There will be a lot of debate as to what the American and British responses should be to Foley’s murder, but first and foremost we must continue to pray. We must work harder to bring home the other Americans imprisoned in foreign countries. We must not allow Westerners fighting for groups like ISIS to return home as free citizens. We must demand that our government stop giving our money to groups and nations that pose a threat to our own people, to human rights, and to freedom.

And we must never, ever forget James Foley. For a brief moment in time, in that orange suit with the black microphone clipped to it, I saw all of us, our nation, with a knife to its throat. Because that is what ISIS would do to every one of us if they had the opportunity. These radicals would imprison us, enslave us, rape us, torture us, and brutally kill us. If you question the existence of evil, all you have to do is watch one of their videos. All you have to do is read one story about what they’re doing to women and children in Iraq.

Now is the time for our nation to unite against this evil. Now is the time for us to step up on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and other places stained by the blood that ISIS spills so freely. If we believe in freedom, and justice, and equality, and women’s rights, and human rights, we cannot sit passively by while this brave proponent of the First Amendment was forced to kneel in the devil’s playground and enter eternity at blade’s edge.

Regardless of what action you believe needs to be taken– military, sanctions, covert manhunt, prayer, financial aid to ISIS victims, or whatever else– do something. Contact your elected representatives. Make a donation. Make your voice heard. James Foley was one of us, and we’re Americans. Our forebears didn’t sit idly by when such horrors happened. Neither should we. ISIS messed with one of us. They should find out the hard way they messed with all of us.

As I go to bed tonight, I say to Jim Foley, who walked into the belly of the beast to show the world truth, I’m so sorry we didn’t come for you much sooner. I hope the last thing you thought of on this earth was how much you are loved.

Gary Farvel, Indystar.com. Note that James Foley was formerly a reporter for the Stars and Stripes.

Gary Farvel, Indystar.com. Note that James Foley was formerly a reporter for the Stars and Stripes.

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In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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Many people question if James Foley was actually beheaded or if that’s him in the video at all. They are concerned that this death was staged in order to justify another war. This link containing videos to this effect was sent to me by a concerned citizen. Judge for yourself.

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

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This sickening story came to my attention over the weekend:

Obama Ignores Pregnant Wife of American Sentenced to Sharia Death By Hanging for Not Renouncing Christian Faith

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim is the pregnant 27 year-old wife of a naturalized American citizen. She and their 18 month-old son Martin are being held by the authorities in Sudan, who plan to let her give birth, then flog her and put her to death. Martin, who is ill, and the unborn child are Americans. (more…)

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Freedom in Iran

Iran: Letter from Karaj Prison.

Out of support for a fellow blogger and believer in freedom of speech, I’m reposting this powerful letter featured on the Gatestone Institute’s site. There are Americans imprisoned in Iran under similar conditions.  (more…)

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Hangings in Iran. From the Gatestone Institute.

Hangings in Iran. From the Gatestone Institute.

Iran’s “Enemies of God”: Zaniar and Loghman Moradi.

From the Gatestone Institute:

Zaniar and Loghman Moradi, cousins, were arrested in 2009 on charges of “enmity to God and corruptors on earth,” and a year later they were sentenced to death by Judge Salevati, known as Tehran’s “Hanging Judge.” Both were twenty years old at the time of their arrest.

…They both await public execution at any time, most likely from a crane, commonly used for hangings in Iran to ensure the slowest and most painful suffocation. The method does not use a trap door, but instead the accused is hoisted up slowly so that death will not be instantaneous. (more…)

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