Tuesday, March 22nd, in the year of our Lord, 2016.
By Kevin Swanson
A very important religious liberty battle in American history will play out this week at the Supreme Court of the United States. Little Sisters of the Poor will make their case on Wednesday, arguing for an exemption from the Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate. Given the current makeup of the court, Justice Kennedy may provide a tie vote for the conservatives, which would still keep the mandate in place, at least temporarily.
“But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the . . . children alive” (Exodus 1:17).
Burma’s new government offers hope for religious freedom for the first time in seventy years. The new president, Aung San Suu Kyi, will form a new government next week, but she’s not making any promises yet. About 140,000 Muslim refugees live in camps on the border of Thailand, expelled from Burma by the old military regime. Open Doors, a Christian organization, put the nation at the 23rd worst spot in the world for persecution. The Buddhist radicals pushed through four laws for the “Protection of Race and Religion” last August that hurt the Christians. Pastor Mark Robinette from Columbus, Ohio, has worked in Burma for the last three years. Robinette says the Burmese government has a more favorable view of Christians now: “Karen people are Christians as well. So these guys are not the ones whose houses are getting burned down. These are the ones that are not being attacked by the government—although they are not thrilled for people to be Christians, they’re not having a problem collectively.”
We have reports that the most prominent Christian pastor in Southwest Guatemala has been assassinated. Pastor Juan Saturnino Guachiac was supervising 26 churches and two mission works in the Quiche region of Guatemala when he was shot down. He is survived by four adult children.
“Precious in His sight is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).
In the providence of God, drought conditions in Africa are the worst in decades, especially affecting the nations of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. A total of 36 million people are impacted, and local churches are seeking outside aid, according to Religion News Service.
The world has changed since 9/11. Police in London have been warned to prepare for as many as ten simultaneous terror attacks. The Brits expect something similar to what hit Paris last November. A manhunt in Belgium is also underway for a suspected terrorist associated with the Paris attacks, 24-year old Najim Laachraoui.
The Le Parisien newspaper reports on a leaked memo from France’s Department of Public Security, detailing 17 cases of Islamic police officers, some of whom refused to protect synagogues from terrorist attacks and listened to and broadcasted Muslim chants while on patrol.
The Global Terrorism Index increased 80% over the previous year, accounting for 32,700 deaths in 2014. That’s a fourfold increase since President Obama was inaugurated in 2009.
“How long, Lord? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You, And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name” (Psalm 79).
President Barack Obama was the first sitting president to visit neighboring Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. Obama promised Castro that the U.S. would lift the trade embargo, and he urged the Cuban president to release political prisoners and ease up on human rights abuses. Castro denied any such abuses. Obama, however, agreed with Castro’s criticisms of America. In the president’s words, “President Castro, I think, has pointed out that in his view making sure that everybody is getting a decent education or health care, has basic security and old age, that those things are human rights as well. I personally would NOT disagree with him.” Senator Ted Cruz called the occasion a sad day in American history, pointing to over a hundred prisoners of conscience languishing in Cuban prisons.
Wheaton College in Illinois has appointed its first woman provost in the history of the college. Dr. Margaret Diddams has a background in psychology, and, according to the Chicago Tribune, “maintaining diversity at Wheaton will be one of her biggest focuses.”
The U.S. Marines introduced a new policy allowing women to wear crewneck T-shirts so as to cover up their tattoos. The Marine Corps does not allow visible tattoos on its recruits.
Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump’s latest comments on Israel yesterday after he promised to be neutral in future peace talks. Clinton argued, “Israel’s security is non-negotiable.” The Republican National Committee responded by pointing out Clinton’s support for the Iranian nuclear deal.
And that’s the World View in Five Minutes.