Famed evangelical preacher Billy Graham will be celebrating his 95th birthday in North Carolina next month, and his family has invited several well-known politicians and public figures to attend the celebration, including former President Bill Clinton, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and business magnate Donald Trump.
Graham's son Franklin told reporters this week that around 600 to 700 people have been invited to attend the Nov. 7 birthday bash in Asheville, North Carolina, near the town of Montreat, where the Grahams have their home.
The Grahams have previous ties to Palin, Clinton and Trump. In 2009, Palin traveled to Billy Graham's home in North Carolina to have dinner with the famed pastor. After the meeting, Graham released a statement saying it was an honor to meet the politician, adding that he was "impressed with her strong commitment to her faith, to family and love of country." more >>
The longer Iranian authorities keep Pastor Saeed Abedini in prison, the more people will be exposed to the Gospel, argued his wife Naghmeh Abedini before Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse ministries last week.
"They (The Iranian authorities) don't realize that the longer they keep him, the more people are hearing about the Gospel," Abedini said while addressing an audience at Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
The religious freedom activist has been campaigning in the past year on behalf of her husband, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in Tehran earlier this year. His punishment is tied to his Christian faith, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Naghmeh and her two children in America. more >>
A Baptist pastor in Dansville, Kentucky has been arrested in connection to three homicides that took place at a pawn shop earlier in September.
Danville police officials announced at a press conference this week that they had arrested Kenneth A. Keith, a 48-year-old Baptist pastor at Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, for his alleged connection to the murders that took place on Sept. 20 at the ABC Gold Games and More store. Keith was charged with three counts of murder and one count of first-degree robbery and transferred from Pulaski County Jail to Boyle County Jail early Thursday, police said.
On Sept. 20, police received a 911 call from a 9-year-old boy, who said there had been a robbery and shooting at his parents' ABC Gold Games and More store. Police arrived at the store on South Fourth Street in Danville to find the owners, Michael and Angela Hockensmith, along with a third victim, Daniel Smith, shot to death.The shooter had left the store by opening its garage door and fleeing through a small alley, past other small businesses and a dry cleaner. more >>
The European Parliament passed a resolution Friday calling for Iran to release Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in the country for over a year for his Christian faith.
The American Center for Law and Justice has launched the largest campaign in its history to have Abedini released by sending thousands of letters to Iran's president Hassan Rouhani. The legal group announced Friday that in addition to this campaign, it has also successfully convinced members of the European Parliament to issue a resolution requesting Abedini's release. This effort was championed both by the ACLJ and its European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice.
The resolution states that the European Parliament "[i]s deeply concerned about the fate of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for over a year and was sentenced to eight years of prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs," according to a press release composed by the ACLJ's Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. more >>
The American Atheists organization in Alabama is complaining about one police department's new initiative to curb high crime rates in their town by sending trained pastors to crime scenes to counsel the suffering.
Alabama's Montgomery Police Department launched the "Operation Good Shepherd" initiative this past summer in an attempt to reduce the climbing homicide rate that threatens to make the city one of the most violent places in the U.S. per capita. The purpose of the initiative is to train nearly 40 Christian clergy in the area so they may accompany police to crime scenes to offer counsel to the suffering. They will then attend monthly meetings to discuss how crime can be decreased in certain areas of the city.
The pastors are all volunteers, but the American Atheists organization argued in a recent letter to Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Police Chief Kevin Murphy that the initiative is unconstitutional because it only involves evangelical pastors and therefore promotes one particular religion. The letter argues that although the clergy participating in the program are volunteers, the policemen are on-duty when training them for crime scene scenarios. Additionally, the letter argues that "incidental" administrative costs to taxpayers are incurred through ID badges for the pastors and transportation. more >>
1. Judah Smith
- Judah Smith, author of the best-selling Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human, is the lead pastor of The City Church in Seattle, the fourth largest-growing church in the nation.