Published on Jul 26, 2018

Speaking at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on July 26th, Vice-President Pence announced that the U.S. would impose “significant sanctions” against Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is freed.

Brunson, a pastor from North Carolina who has lived and ministered in Turkey for the past 20 years, was arrested and jailed for over 600 days. On July 25th, he was moved to house arrest.

A portion of Vice President Pence’s remarks are available here:

Pastor Andrew Brunson was imprisoned without being charged for more than a year. When the Turkish government finally indicted him, they accused him allegedly of “dividing and separating” Turkey by simply spreading the Christian faith. Pastor Brunson is an innocent man…

To President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message, on behalf of the President of the United States of America. Release Pastor Brunson NOW or be prepared to face the consequences. If Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free.


Trump: “United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson”

republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
This is long overdue. Turkey has not been behaving like an ally of the United States for a long time, without Washington taking the slightest notion of the change. There needs to be much more of holding Turkey accountable for its actions against its Christian minorities and its increasing regional adventurism. Imagine in general how different the world would be if good relations with the United States depended upon how one treated one’s religious minorities, women, etc.
“President Trump threatens to hit Turkey with sanctions if it doesn’t release Christian pastor,” by Mike Ciandella, The Blaze, July 26, 2018 (thanks to Robert):
President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that the United States would “impose large sanctions” against Turkey for its imprisonment of Christian pastor Andrew Brunson. Vice President Mike Pence made a similar announcement at a religious freedom event earlier in the day….
Trump tweeted that Turkey would face “large” sanctions for its treatment of Brunson, whom he described as “a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being.”

The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!
At a State Department-hosted religious freedom event, Pence declared:
To President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America: release Pastor Andrew Brunson now or be prepared to face the consequences.

Islamic Republic of Iran: Christians seized from homes, pastor arrested and tasered despite offering no resistance


The Islamic Republic of Iran is deeply threatened by Christians and Christianity, and persecutes them harshly. The contrast is stark: in the West, many imams in mosques preach death to the Jews, and are either ignored or even defended in the establishment media. In Iran, meanwhile, Christians don’t preach that anyone should suffer harm, and are arrested and persecuted, while the global “human rights watchdogs” generally look the other way.
“Christians in Iran Seized from Homes, including Violent Imprisonment of Pastor,” Morning Star News, July 25, 2018:
(Morning Star News) – Three Christians in Iran were arrested from their homes today and yesterday following the violent arrest of pastor Yousef Nadarkhani on Sunday (July 22), according to advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC).
Pastor Nadarkhani, a convert from Islam like the others arrested, was awaiting a summons to begin a 10-year prison sentence after his appeal of a conviction for “propagating house churches” and promoting “Zionist Christianity” was upheld in May.
“Around 10 police officers arrived at the house and physically assaulted Yousef’s son when he opened the door to them,” MEC reported. “Both Yousef and his son were tasered, despite offering no resistance. The manner of their arrest was probably an attempt to intimidate the Christian community, but their friends report that the church has not given in to fear.”
Pastor Nadarkhani was sentenced on July 6, 2017, along with fellow converts from Islam Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Mohammadreza Omidi and Saheb Fadaie. Mossayebzadeh was arrested from his home today, and Omidi and Fadaie were arrested from their homes yesterday evening (July 24), according to MEC.
Pastor Nadarkhani ad [sic] Omidi were also sentenced to two years of internal exile, according to MEC.
“Both will serve this sentence in the south of Iran, far away from their families in Rasht,” the group reported in a press statement.
The three Christians arrested today and yesterday have been taken to Evin Prison in Tehran to join Pastor Nadarkhani, who has been put in a “quarantine” ward normally reserved as a form of punishment, according to MEC.
“Please pray that the Lord will comfort and strengthen those arrested and their families and that the Christian community in Iran will trust the Lord and not be intimidated,” MEC’s statement read, also requesting prayer that “Iranian authorities will treat converts and other religious minorities with respect, and that they and their families will not be wrongly and aggressively handled.”
The four Christians were arrested in Rasht on May 13, 2016 during a series of raids by security agents on Christian homes, according to advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). They were sentenced by Judge Ahmadzadeh, head judge of the 26th Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, who is accused of miscarriages of justice and is subject to financial sanctions in the United Kingdom, according to CSW.
“Their appeal hearing on 13 December 2017 took place before Judge Hassan Babaee and Judge Ahmad Zargar, both of whom are alleged to have played prominent roles in the crackdown on freedom of expression in Iran,” CSW said in a press statement.
Judge Zargar, a Hojjatolislam (clerical position immediately below an ayatollah), was among several Iranian officials deemed responsible or complicit in serious human rights violations in 2012, according to CSW. He was also one of six judges accused in 2014 of lacking judicial impartiality and overseeing unjust trials of journalists, lawyers, political activists and members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities, the group reported.
“The national security charges leveled against these men were spurious, and their sentences are excessive, amounting to a criminalization of Christian practice,” CSW Chief Operating Officer Scot Bower said in the press statement. “We are calling for the unconditional release of Pastor Nadarkhani, and for his sentence and those of Mr. Omidi, Mr. Mossayebzadeh and Mr. Fadaie to be quashed.”…

Trump demands Turkey release U.S. pastor

Ben Davies of Rebel Media

Ben Davies of The Rebel.Media reports: American Pastor Andrew Brunson has been imprisoned in Turkey since 2016 with no reason to feel hopeful about being released from that corrupt country until now. Watch as Ben explains why he now has reason to hope. MORE: https://www.therebel.media/trump_dema…
FRC President discusses imprisoned American pastor 
in Turkey on Fox 

Jacqueline Furnari testimony and singing of Andrew Brunson’s song, “Worthy of My All”

Addressing the EPC’s 38th General Assembly, Andrew Brunson’s daughter, Jacqueline Furnari, thanked the EPC for their prayers and support for her father, who has been imprisoned in Turkey since October 2016.

‘Shock and Betrayal’ Andrew Brunson’s Daughter Dismayed by Father’s Imprisonment, Still Waiting for Her Father to Walk Her Down the Aisle

In testimony to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe late last year, the 19 year-old Furnari said her father has missed two of the biggest milestones in her life; her graduation from UNC Chapel Hill and her marriage.
She told the commisson:
“In February I got married. We didn’t want to get married without my parents present, but because my husband is in the military, we could not postpone it.  We had received my father’s blessing, but we felt so terrible about getting married while he was imprisoned. Neither of my parents were present when I got married. I will never get that moment back. For those of you who are fathers to daughters, I’m sure you would want to walk your daughter down the aisle. My father didn’t get that. I didn’t get that. My husband and I decided to have a civil ceremony and to postpone our wedding ceremony until my father is home. I’m still waiting for my wedding. I’m still waiting to wear the wedding dress that I got almost a year and half ago.  I’m still waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle. I’m still waiting for that father-daughter dance.”
She said when she visited her father in a Turkish jail in August, 2017, “We sobbed the entire visit. It was hard to fit words in because the emotions were too strong and only led to more tears. It was hard to see my father so broken, so thin, so desperate. He hated having us kids see him that way.” 

Pastor Brunson’s Daughter Testifies to Senate Committee

“Prisoners of the Purge: The Victims of Turkey’s Failing Rule of Law” committee hearing Jacqueline Furnari’s testimony.


SEE: https://christiannews.net/2018/07/27/judge-says-parents-can-remove-their-children-from-school-if-they-dont-like-transgender-restroom-use-policy/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon has rejected a lawsuit filed by concerned parents who challenged a school district’s policy allowing those with gender dysphoria to use the restroom and locker room that aligns with their gender identity, stating that if parents object, they have a right to remove their child from school, but have no power over the policies once they choose to send them.
“Parent Plaintiffs seek to expand their right and exercise control over district’s decision-making authority embodied in the plan. It is within Parent Plaintiffs’ right to remove their children from Dallas High School if they disapprove of transgender student access
to facilities.
Once the parents have chosen to send their children to school, however, their liberty interest in their children’s education is severely diminished,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez, appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama.
“Plaintiffs allege that they ‘have a fundamental right to determine whether and when their children will have to risk being exposed to opposite sex nudity at school, as well as a fundamental right to determine whether their children, while at school, will have to risk exposing their own undressed or partially unclothed bodies to members of the opposite sex,’” he noted, but pointed to the 2005 Ninth Circuit decision of Field v. Palmdale School district, which concluded that parents have a right to decide where to send their children to school, but not to direct how they are taught once they get there.
“Plaintiffs cite no case standing for the proposition that parents retain the right to prevent transgender students from sharing school facilities with their children,” Hernandez wrote. “As the Ninth Circuit explained in Fields, Parent Plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment liberty interest in the education and upbringing of their children ‘does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.’”
The coalition Parents for Privacy, which is comprised of current and former students and their parents, the group Parents’ Rights in Education, along with three individual plaintiffs, had filed a legal challenge against Dallas School District No. 2 and the Oregon Department of Education in November after the restroom policy was implemented.
According to reports, the policy was created to accommodate a female student who identifies as a boy, so that she would be able to use the boys’ locker rooms and restrooms. The student, who goes by the name Elliot Yoder, was a senior at the time and has since graduated.
“These students have the sincere religious belief that they must not undress, or use the restroom, in the presence of the opposite biological sex, and also that they must not be in the presence of the opposite biological sex while the opposite biological sex is undressing or using the restroom,” the legal challenge from the plaintiffs read.
They also stated that, as a result of the new policy, “biologically male and female students … have experienced, or may experience, embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, fear, apprehension, stress, degradation, and loss of dignity because they will have to use locker rooms, showers and restrooms with a student of the opposite sex.”
However, Judge Hernandez dismissed the groups’ religious liberty and right to privacy infringement claims, but instead ruled that not allowing students with gender dysphoria to use their preferred facilities would not only violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, but would also be “harmful” to “transgender” students.
“Forcing transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity would undoubtedly harm those students and prevent them from equally accessing educational opportunities and resources. Such an injunction or district policy would punish transgender students for their gender non-conformity and constitute a form of sex stereotyping,” he wrote.
It is not yet known whether the parents plan to appeal. However, Gary McCaleb, an attorney Alliance Defending Freedom, told the New York Times that “[t[he Oregon ruling treats sex as if it were determined by a person’s perception of their masculinity or femininity, rather than the objective fact that a person is either male or female.”