Gospel star Erica Campbell says Christianity doesn’t equal conservatism

Asking herself some introspective questions birthed the idea for gospel singer Erica Campbell’s new book, “More Than Pretty.” She also discusses her new single, “Praying and Believing,” and says being a Christian does not mean you’re a conservative. (Nov. 8)

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Benin offers voodoo prayers for Cup of Nations success | AFP

Benin is known as the birthplace of voodoo in Africa and the religion is still widely practiced in the country alongside Christianity and Islam. Some believe the spirit world is lending a helping hand to the national side as it sets a course for victory in the African Cup of Nations tournament. On Sunday, Dah Gbediga, president of the indigenous religions of Benin, was joined by several other vodunsi practitioners for a “special ceremony to support the Squirrels,” as the national squad are nicknamed.

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Benin offers voodoo prayers for Cup of Nations success | AFP

Benin is known as the birthplace of voodoo in Africa and the religion is still widely practiced in the country alongside Christianity and Islam. Some believe the spirit world is lending a helping hand to the national side as it sets a course for victory in the African Cup of Nations tournament. On Sunday, Dah Gbediga, president of the indigenous religions of Benin, was joined by several other vodunsi practitioners for a “special ceremony to support the Squirrels,” as the national squad are nicknamed.

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Deport or remain? Judge allows migrant rapist to stay in UK after he ‘converted’ to Christianity

A judge in the UK has blocked an illegal immigrant’s deportation after the asylum seeker ‘converted’ to Christianity.

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War on Christianity? US student loses free speech case vs college over ‘Jesus loves you’ cards

There are growing claims that a supposed war on Christianity is being fought at universities in the US.

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U-turn on multiculturalism? Danish public broadcaster told to stress importance of Christianity

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New guidelines for the Danish public broadcaster DR have put an emphasis on its highlighting the roots in Christianity of the country’s society, instead of multiculturalism and integration, which DR had been promoting.

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Pope Francis arrives in Geneva, Switzerland

Pope Francis vowed Thursday to seek deeper “unity” between the Catholic Church and other Christian faiths as he arrived in Geneva, a centre of Protestantism, amid Christianity’s waning influence in Europe. IMAGES

Pope Francis arrives in Geneva, Switzerland

Pope Francis vowed Thursday to seek deeper “unity” between the Catholic Church and other Christian faiths as he arrived in Geneva, a centre of Protestantism, amid Christianity’s waning influence in Europe. IMAGES

Algae For Energy & The Priest Of Blockchain: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)

This is the March 21, 2018 FULL EPISODE of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

4:22 As the German government steps up its effort to deport migrants, many churches are defending them. They give rejected asylum seekers a place to hide and some have been converting Muslims to Christianity. VICE News visits a congregation in Berlin where the congregants are made up largely of migrants from Iran and Afghanistan.

10:32 Authorities in Central Texas confirmed today that the serial bomber in Austin is dead. The suspect, a 23 year old white male named Mark Anthony Conditt, blew himself up inside his car, while being pursued by law enforcement early this morning.

14:29 Way out in the California desert, researchers have installed a 900 foot metal chute full of green slimy algae. They think the algae can clean polluted water and become a renewable source of fuel, and they’re being bankrolled by a powerful backer: the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Lab.

19:09 Patrick Byrne runs Overstock.com. He’s also a philosophy-loving libertarian, a survivalist with stashes of gold, and thinks bitcoin can save the world – an idea he’s putting into practice at his own company, which now encompasses a crypto exchange, its own ICO, and a slew of other blockchain-centric subsidiaries. VICE News profiles the bitcoin evangelist.

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Germany Accuses Muslim Migrants Of Converting To Christianity To Get Asylum (HBO)

Salman Barbari was born in Iran to a strict Muslim family from Afghanistan. Last month he got baptized and became a Christian at Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin. The potential consequences for his future and safety are vast.
Under Islamic law, Barbari could be sent to jail in Iran for converting to Christianity. In Afghanistan, he could be put to death. But his conversion could also allow Barbari to stay in Germany. He is applying for asylum here, and under German law migrants like himself can’t be deported if they face persecution at home.
Barbari told VICE News his conversion is sincere. “I didn’t get baptized to get asylum or anything like that.”
The German government may not believe him. It has rejected more than 90 percent of recent asylum applications submitted by members of Trinity Lutheran’s congregation.
Pastor Gottfried Martens’ ministry has focused on migrants since 2015. Today, 1400 of his 1600 congregants are Iranian and Afghan. Martens is furious that the German government is getting ready to deport both long-time Christians and recent converts like Barbari, who have completed three-month-long baptism classes at Trinity Lutheran as well as baptism exams.
“The state is a kind of secular version of the Holy Inquisition,” Martens told VICE News, “because the state says we can look into the heart of those people and can say who is the true Christian and who is not.”
The rejections themselves come in the form letters filled with template text blocks that often question the authenticity of of a convert’s beliefs. The fact that the decisions are based on short interviews conducted by administrators who have no religious background is particularly frustrating to Martens.
“I think a secular state is not able or not allowed to make such judgments about the faith of people.”
The increase in rejections may seem surprising given who is running the German government. Chancellor Angela Merkel is both the head of the Christian Democratic party and the daughter of Lutheran pastor. But she also faced significant backlash against her migrant-friendly policies in the months leading up to Germany’s national elections last year. During that time, Germany processed more asylum applications than all other EU countries combined. Since then asylum approvals have dropped.
Andrea Lindholz, a member of the governing Christian Social Union, says rejections are not politically motivated.
“Different aspects play a role. How did the person live his life in his country? How did he practice his faith there? Why did he decide to convert and how is he living his faith day to day?” Lindholz told VICE News. “In that context the pastor can only be one consideration and not the only one.”
Lindholz emphasized that simply converting is not enough to receive asylum, even if converts could face repercussions in their home countries.
“I don’t want to rule out that wrong decisions were made, but there is the possibility” of appealing rejections in court, she said. “It is a tough topic, and you will never find a satisfying solution.”

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Church at Jerusalem’s holiest site for Christians remains closed

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre built at what many consider the holiest site in Christianity remained closed for a second day to protest Israeli tax measures and a proposed property law, leaving disappointed pilgrims locked outside.

German judge removes cross during trial of Afghan migrant, faces backlash

A German judge has caused outrage at a trial in Bavaria, for removing a crucifix from his court room at the request an asylum-seeker. The Afghan man is suspected of threatening to kill a fellow countryman, for converting to Christianity. Our Europe correspondent Peter Oliver has been following the trial.

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Refugees converted to Christianity face abuse, threats from fellow newcomers

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Mass Baptisms: More Muslim refugees coming to EU convert to Christianity

With the migrant crisis showing no sign of easing in the EU, a new trend is gaining ground, with more Muslim refugees converting to Christianity. Some churches across Europe report mass baptisms being carried out.

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Christian City Under Siege: The Battle for Iraq (Dispatch 5)

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Earlier this week, ISIS began an assault on the historically Assyrian Christian city of Qaraqosh in the northern Nineveh province, just east of Mosul. Kurdish peshmerga forces moved into the city to fortify it against a barrage of mortar shells. The city, though not officially located in the Kurdistan Regional Government, has become one of the disputed areas, as the Iraqi government has abandoned it and ISIS is vying for control.

Dozens of mortar rounds landed on the outskirts of the city Wednesday night, causing tens of thousands of residents to flee towards Erbil. Assyrian Christians from Mosul had previously fled the ISIS takeover and were seeking sanctuary in Qaraqosh and in the nearby Christian city of Bartella.

Iraq’s Assyrian Christians are some of the earliest converts to Christianity and are indigenous to the Nineveh plains. Of recent, they have suffered massacres and persecution owing to the instability sowed by the American invasion in 2003. Qaraqosh has always seen as a safe haven, especially for those periodically fleeing violence in Mosul, such as in 2008.

While the attack continued, VICE News was caught in a miles long traffic jam as many residents fled in fear with nothing but the clothes on their back. Peshmerga forces, fearing car bombs and hidden insurgents, meticulously combed through the traffic, and set up tense checkpoints, causing further chaos. We also travelled to the abandoned city of Qaraqosh to speak with residents who have remained there despite the attacks. They tell us why they’ve decided to stay and protect their city.

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