Displaying items by tag: freedom of speech
Law professors have urged the US commission on international religious freedom to intervene for the Finnish Christian MP, Pavi Räsänen, who faces criminal charges for tweeting her views on marriage and sexuality. The bishop-elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission also faces prosecution for publishing a booklet in which Ms Räsänen made similar comments. The professors ask the commission to ‘press our government to use its legal powers and fulfil its duties under US law to aid victims of human rights violations such as Pavi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana.’ The prosecutor general’s pursuit of these charges sends an unmistakable message to all Finns: no one who holds to the traditional teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other religions on questions of marriage and sexual morality will be safe from state harassment if they openly express their moral and religious convictions.
Former government minister and current MP Päivi Räsänen is charged over her tweet about homosexuality, when she posted a picture of her Bible open at Romans 1:24-27 which describes homosexuality as 'shameful'. In the post she questioned the decision of the church of which she is a member to support a gay pride event. Following complaints, police questioned her and launched an investigation. This resulted in her being charged over the tweet, and also comments made on TV in 2018 and a pamphlet about marriage which she wrote in 2004. All charges are linked to 'hate speech'. Vowing to fight the charges, Ms Räsänen said, ‘I will go to court with a peaceful and brave mind, trusting that Finland is a constitutional state where the freedoms of speech and religion, which are guaranteed both in international agreements and in our constitution, are respected.’
Israel is threatening to shut down a Hebrew-language evangelical channel aiming ‘to take the gospel of Jesus into 700,000 Jewish households’. Under its newly issued license, Shelanu TV, an arm of God TV, is now prohibited from broadcasting content that subjects viewers to ‘undue influence.’ It is illegal to proselytise under-18s without gaining parental consent. The Likud party’s communications minister said that they will not allow missionary channels to operate in Israel under any circumstance, and has launched a comprehensive investigation to determine that no channel is violating the terms of its license: ‘if indeed this channel is engaged in missionary activities, it will be taken down immediately.’ Ron Kantor, Shelanu’s regional director, said his network had been entirely transparent during the licensing process. ‘I immediately asked them, 'Can we broadcast in Hebrew?' And the answer was an emphatic yes. We were told many times that laws have changed and there was no issue with our programming.’
The Supreme Court will not hear the case of Alina Dulgheriu, who has challenged a protection order introduced in 2018 around a London abortion facility. The order criminalises silent prayer and offers of help. The young mother, who herself had received help from a now-banned group, argued that this violated fundamental rights to freedom of speech and assembly. She is now considering her options for challenging this decision. Ms Dulgheriu said, ‘My little girl is here today because of the practical and emotional support that I was offered outside a Marie Stopes centre. I brought the appeal to ensure that other women did not have this vital support option removed. It is unthinkable that any council would criminalise an offer to help a woman keep her child.’ She is now considering the possibility of bringing her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
On 10 November Rev Roland Parson was told by police officers he could not show his ‘Blood of Jesus Christ’ banner which was fixed with rope to the side of his preaching stand while he preached the Gospel. He has displayed his Christian banners and preached at Speakers’ Corner for over twenty years. Now the police informed him he was violating the Royal Parks regulations - banning the display of printed material. However, they didn’t do anything about other large banners displayed in the area. Mr Parsons is now taking legal advice to fight the ban, ‘not least because of the undue effect it has on evangelical Christians’. Mike Phillips, legal adviser to Christian Concern, added, ‘If you are doing something which has been allowed for many years, and suddenly the authorities prohibit it, then arguably they are acting outside their powers.’
Jesus’ command to ‘make disciples of all nations’ means bringing individuals to him and putting Christ at the heart of society. If Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, then this must have implications for all areas of society - from the way our nations are governed to what laws are made; from what cultural traditions we follow to what we speak of in the media. When the gospel is upheld in these areas, we truly can make disciples of a nation, because society is better able to observe all that he taught us, which has the power to transform lives. This means being unashamed to speak of Jesus in public life, putting Christ back into law, media and politics, and placing the gospel at the centre of the big issues of the day. Click the ‘More’ button for details of two forthcoming seminars on these issues.
Please Pray with us for the 2019 Federal Elections in Canada:
1) Media - We are seeing an obvious manipulation of Canadians opinion in most of our mainstream national news forums. Global warming is being almost endlessly platformed and one news commentator stated that if you were interested in our environment and the future of our children, then there is only one party that you can vote for. (Liberal Party).
It is also what we are seeing that is not being reported. For example, we are not hearing of the huge protests and lawsuits being raised by many of our First Nations People regarding their desire to see pipelines built across our nation.
In addition, our current government has recently given over 600 million to news agencies that they deem to be good for our nation. This obvious ‘by-off’ by our government needs to be countered by righteousness.
2) Freedom of Speech / Religion - Three of the four main political parties have policy so that you cannot even run for those parties if you hold to a Pro-life viewpoint. This needs to be challenged in our Supreme Court as anti-democratic.
We are also seeing huge increases in those who want to be euthanized in Canada and many of our physicians and other medical personnel are being denied their freedom of conscience who would choose to not be implicitly involved.
3) Life - Canada is only one of three countries in the world with no law concerning abortion, (China, North Korea). In a recent Parliamentary meeting, one Member of Parliament stood announcing that Canada stands for abortion at any time in pregnancy and for any reason. (We are praying that the enemy has over-played his hand!).
4) Voter Turnout - Typically, there has not been a great difference between the percentage of Christians who vote and non-Christians. We are praying for effective national communication that will help pastors and other leaders to clearly see the crisis we are in. That boldness will replace fear and unrighteous issues will be addressed from our pulpits across Canada. Pray that Christians will be encouraged to register their voice in our nation by voting. What would happen if 100% of Christians voted?
5) Our God-Given Destiny - For Canada to arise and shine to fulfil her calling of Healing to the Nations, for Righteous Government to come forward in this season. (Recently submitted by the Canberra House of Prayer for Canada).
6) A Right Perspective Regarding Government - Please pray that Canadian Christians would not put all their focus on government as the only way we can positively change our nation. When we make all our problems political, we are saying therefore, that all our answers can only be political. This raises government to a place they were never meant to be. Jesus is the right solution, and he will be seen in us as we rightly minister to those around us, changing culture to eventually change government. Yes, prayer and righteous action are needed for our government, but let’s not make government something it was never intended to be.
Pray that Canadian Christians will develop a God-given compassion for those who are lost in our nation and are doing what they believe to be right in their own eyes.
In March Prayer-Alert intercessors prayed for an inquiry into the unfair arrest and abuse of Pastor Oluwole Ilesanmi, a street preacher. Now, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, he has been offered £2,500 in exemplary damages from the Metropolitan Police in relation to his false arrest, imprisonment and unlawful detention. Also a petition with over 38,000 signatures has now been given to the Home Secretary calling on her to investigate the guidance and training given to police officers nationwide on the freedom to preach in public. May this petition now be acted upon. See
In 2016 Prayer Alert intercessors were asked to pray for Felix Ngole, a Christian student removed from a postgraduate course in social work at Sheffield University. A judge ruled against him in 2017, but now three Court of Appeal judges have overturned that ruling. Felix said, ‘This is great news for everyone who cares about freedom of speech, especially those working in or studying for caring professions. As Christians we are called to serve others and care for everyone, yet publicly and privately we must also be free to express our beliefs without fear of losing our livelihoods. I am thankful to the judges for recognising that I did not discriminate against anyone.’
Following the death of activist Kateryna Handziuk on Sunday, Ukraine’s leaders face mounting demands to protect its civil society and end the impunity of powerful criminals. In August someone poured sulphuric acid over Ms Handziuk (33) outside her home in the southern city of Kherson, where she was an adviser to the mayor and campaigned against police and political corruption. From her hospital bed in Kiev, she had called for urgent action over the assaults on more than forty Ukrainian activists in the past year, and expressed doubts about whether five men arrested for the acid attack were actually responsible. Out of more than 140 attacks on journalists since the start of 2017, only 14 have gone to court; police and officials seem unable or unwilling to defend those who expose the lucrative links between politics, business, and crime in the country. The US ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, urged Ukraine to ‘bring the perpetrators to justice, including those who ordered the attack’.