Anti-American protests erupted across the Middle East Friday, following weeklong demonstrations outside of several U.S. embassies and a 9/11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that left the U.S. ambassador and three others dead, Fox News reports. Protesters reportedly broke into the German Embassy in Sudan—pulling down its emblem and raising the Islamic flag—and demonstrators in Lebanon set a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on fire while chanting against the pope’s visit to Lebanon. In Egypt, riot police clashed with angry protesters blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as the president went on state TV and appealed to Muslims to protect embassies, trying to patch up strained relations with the United States. Several hundred protesters massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after weekly Muslim Friday prayers and tore up an American flag, waving a black Islamist flag. When protesters tried to move toward the embassy, several blocks away, they were confronted by lines of police who fired tear gas. “With our soul, our blood, we will avenge you, our Prophet,” they chanted. Fox News reports that the State Department was warning American citizens in even more countries to be on alert as anti-U.S. protests spread to Oman and showed no signs of stopping there. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI also issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning that the violent outrage aimed at U.S. embassies could be spread to America by extremist groups. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo at first issued a statement saying, in part, that it condemns “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” The Romney campaign issued a statement overnight calling that response “disgraceful,” prompting criticism from the president’s campaign, reports Fox News. The Obama campaign accused Romney of launching a “political attack” as reports were first surfacing that one American had been killed. By Wednesday morning, the death count was at four. Romney, as he condemned the “outrageous” Libya attack during a stop Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla., did not back down from his criticism of Obama. “I think it’s a terrible course for America to (issue) an apology for our values,” Romney said. “An apology for America’s values is never the right course.” Meanwhile, The Washington Times posted a video clip reportedly originating from the Libyan Free Press confirming the sodomization of Ambassador Stevens prior to his being murdered.
- Lawmakers and other officials stepped up calls Thursday for the United States to put heavy pressure on the governments whose people are storming U.S. diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa—even if it means freezing aid and expelling diplomats from Washington. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News that President Obama should be putting particular pressure on Egypt and its president, Mohammed Morsi, over the sustained demonstrations there. King said the U.S. should suspend aid to Egypt until Morsi makes “absolutely clear” he is condemning the demonstrations and taking “forceful action” to protect the U.S. Embassy. Obama, in an interview with Spanish-language network Telemundo, pushed back on the idea of suspending aid, saying the U.S. “doesn’t have an option of withdrawing from the world.” On Egypt, he said pointedly, “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we do not consider them an enemy.” King countered, “If he’s not an ally, why do we continue to give him billions of dollars in aid?” Egypt was slated to receive $1.6 billion this year in U.S. aid. Protesters earlier in the week stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tore down the U.S. flag. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the George W. Bush administration, said Obama should communicate privately to Egypt and Libya that if this happens again, “we’re cutting off all assistance.” “That message has to go all across the Middle East,” he said. Gary Bauer of American Values says it is absurd to blame Americans for the violence in Benghazi, reports onenewsnow.com. “Suggesting that some obscure film that somebody made explains these riotous mobs—that is just breathtaking in its ignorance,” he insists. “So, this shows they’re clueless. They don’t know what’s happening in the Middle East. They’re putting all of us at risk. And has it dawned on them that these attacks took place on the anniversary of 9/11? The idea that this had something to do with a movie is absurd.” Bauer believes Obama’s foreign policy is emboldening America’s Islamic enemies, and events in the Middle East are accelerating toward a cataclysmic crisis due in part to the president’s inability to understand how to act on the world stage.
- President Obama’s annual proclamation—Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, —that recognizes the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 was void of any mention of “God” or prayer, reports The Christian Post. The absence of “God” in the proclamation comes on the heels of the Democratic National Convention fiasco in which “God” and “Jerusalem” were left out of the party’s final draft of their platform, but was amended the following day by a controversial floor voice vote. Tapes of the floor seemed to indicate a majority of delegates voted “no.” A two-thirds majority of voting delegates is required to amend the platform. Yet various news accounts said it was President Obama who demanded that “God” and a reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel be inserted back into the document that outlines the party’s ideals and objectives. GOP nominee Mitt Romney also issued a statement in honor of the 11th anniversary of the tragic events, saying that America would never forget the loved ones that were lost defending our freedom. “Today we again extend our most profound gratitude to our brave troops who have gone into battle, some never to return, so that we may live in peace,” said Romney in a written statement. “On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world.” Charlie Daniels, writing in cnsnews.com, remarked, “The Democratic Party has basically turned their collective backs on Go—refusing to even mention His name in their platform, until public opinion drove them to a half-hearted and downright embarrassing reinstatement—embraced same-sex marriage, profligate spending and big government in an effort to cobble together a coalition of racial and fringe groups, knowing that much of Main Street America will not be attracted to their radical platform. The national debt has just rolled over to $16,000,000,000,000, sixteen trillion dollars and grows larger by the second. A nation that cannot pay its debts is bound for fiscal ruin and chaos. A nation who turns it’s back on its Creator is a nation that cannot and will not stand. A house divided will fall. America will be brought to her knees, I only hope it will be in prayer, not in ruin.”
- A number of youth ministry researchers and workers have come out with grave concern over Christian youth and their understanding of truth, reports The Christian Post. Chap Clark says, “I’m convinced that the single most important area where we’ve lost ground with kids is in our commitment and ability to ground them in God’s Word.” As a result, Barry Shafer says, “The church today, including both the adult and teenage generations, is in an era of rampant biblical illiteracy.” Duffy Robbins takes this one step further when he says, “Our young people have become incapable of theological thinking because they don’t have any theology to think about. . . . And, as Paul warns us, this . . . leaves us as ‘infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching’ (Ephesians 4:14).” At the conclusion of the National Study of Youth and Religion, lead researcher Christian Smith reported, “Even though most teens are very positive about religion and say it’s a good thing, the vast majority are incredibly inarticulate about religion. . . . It doesn’t seem to us that many teens are being very well-educated in their faith traditions.” To illustrate his point, Smith refers to teenagers in the study from conservative Protestant churches. “About half of their teens say that many religions may be true; more than one-third say it is okay to practice multiple religions; more than one-third believe people should not try to evangelize others; more than one-third say it is okay to pick and choose one’s religious beliefs and not accept the teachings of one’s faith as a whole, and nearly two-thirds say a person can be truly religious and spiritual without being involved in a church.” Summarizing the entire study, Smith reports, “The net result . . . is that most religious teenagers’ opinions and views—one can hardly call them worldviews—are vague, limited, and often quite at variance with the actual teachings of their own religion.” Duffy Robbins considers possible causes when he says, “The church in general, and youth ministry in particular, has demonstrated more of an appetite for goose bumps than for God’s truth, more interest in how our young people feel than how they think. . . . But where are Christian teenagers learning basic tenets of the Christian faith? And if they don’t understand those basic truths or doctrines . . . then how does that impact their long-term faith? I’m concerned that too much of our teaching is reduced to what can . . . be communicated by a worship band illuminated by stage lighting and well-placed candles.” If church teenagers do not know what they believe, the implications are ominous. According to Glen Schultz, “A person’s concept of reality and truth determines his beliefs. A person’s beliefs shape his values. A person’s values drive his actions. . . . Beliefs will eventually determine our actions.”
- The Ten Commandments monument outside of the junior high school in Connellsville, Pa., will remain there—at least for now, reports CBS Pittsburgh. Wednesday night, the school board voted unanimously to hold off on moving the monument and wait for litigation. Earlier, students held a prayer rally at the site of the monument, which has been covered with plywood. Gary Colatch, a local business owner, wants the Ten Commandments to remain outside the school. He and his kids have made Ten Commandments posters and displayed them at each of his 10 properties around the city. “The only way they’re really going to fight this is if our community gathers together and supports our school board and says, ‘No, not this time, not here. We don’t want you to cave. We don’t want you to give in. We want you to fight,’” Colatch told KDKA-TV. The monument was covered last month when the liberal group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sent the school district a letter on behalf an unidentified family asking that the monument be moved. The district initially decided not to enter into a pricey legal battle, but now community members are urging the district to fight. “Maybe this community deserves the right to stand up and say, ‘No, we don’t want to move it,’” Colatch said. He is encouraging families in Connellsville to post the Ten Commandments in their yards.
- Christian prison inmates in California are studying to become evangelists and church planters after they’re released, reports cbn.com. About 900 inmates in 18 prisons are participating in the three-and-half-year program. The course offers seminary-level classes designed to train them to minister in poor communities. The course is the result of a partnership between World Impact and Prison Fellowship. Ten men graduated from the program last year and 14 more are expected to graduate this year. Prisons in Michigan, Florida, and Colorado have also started classes.
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making it clear that Israel will not wait to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, reports washington.cbs.local.com. In heated comments toward the United States, the Israeli prime minister said that it’s becoming clear that diplomacy will not work with Iran. “The world tells Israel, `Wait. There’s still time,’” Netanyahu said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. “And I say: `Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” The Obama administration has consistently stated that they don’t want to go the military route against Iran and give more time for the sanctions to force Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Netanyahu worries Iran will continue developing nuclear technology without giving the Islamic nation a firm timeline to stop. “If Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs,” he said, according to Haaertz.
- A California legal group says the state’s public school system has an agenda to silence the Christian worldview. Advocates for Faith and Freedom is releasing a booklet titled Hijacked K-12, which highlights the radical agenda within California public schools. The booklet tells parents what they need to know about the agenda to silence Christian speech and Christian beliefs. Robert Tyler, general counsel for the legal group, told OneNewsNow that California public schools have become an environment where hostility toward Christian views are prominent. “It is a booklet that exposes the radical agenda in public schools to indoctrinate our kids with an anti-Christian agenda, but also censors any viewpoints that really comes from a Christian perspective on issues of homosexuality, abortion or any other social causes,” he reports. “There is a serious threat in our culture today, and that is the public school system really censoring a Christian worldview.” Hijacked outlines the move by California schools to redefine gender, impose and promote acceptance of alternate lifestyles, rewrite history, and curb parental rights. The booklet also includes the radical agenda of the California Teachers’ Association to further promote gender liberation. The booklet suggests steps that California parents and teachers can follow to take action.
- Gallup polling data shows “Americans now tilt ‘pro-life’ by a nine-point margin,” but it’s not just the general public that is turning against abortion. An upcoming conference will celebrate the men and women who once worked in the abortion industry and are now pro-life. On Sept. 22, the Pro-Life Action League will present the testimonies of seven women and men who worked in the abortion business at a conference titled, “Converted: From Abortion Provider to Pro-Life Activist,” reports lifenews.com. The conference will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill. The conference will bring together doctors, nurses, and counselors—including former employees of Planned Parenthood—to tell their pro-life conversion stories. In different ways, the conference presenters came to reject the “pro-choice” view, and are now speaking out about what it’s really like inside the abortion business and why they now find abortion to be abhorrent. “People need to hear these stories,” said Ann Scheidler, vice president of the Pro-Life Action League. “The former abortion providers converted to the pro-life side not for purely intellectual reasons, but because they beheld with their own eyes the horrors the abortion industry is executing in the name of ‘choice’.”