Palestinian Death Toll in 2014 Highest Since 1967, Says UN

Fig Trees and Vineyards

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More Palestinian civilians have died as a result of the conflict with Israel in 2014 than in any year since 1967, according to a UN report which called for restraint on both sides.

Thereport, published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Thursday, notes that due to summer 2014 hostilities in the Gaza Strip known as Operation Protective Edge more than 2,220 Palestinians, including 1,492 civilians lost their lives.

Continued here

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Israel’s threat from within

Fareed Zakaria

By Fareed Zakaria
Thursday, March 19, 2015

In an appearance on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” soon before he was reelected as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was asked if he was offended that the White House tweeted one of my columns, pointing out that for 25 years, Bibi had been wrong in his predictions about Iran’s nuclear program. “If I had to choose,” Netanyahu responded, “I would retweet . . . the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent tweet in which he cites nine ways and reasons that Israel should be destroyed.” Netanyahu is right to draw attention to that threat, but for somewhat different reasons than he implies.

Let me be clear. Iran’s supreme leader is a radical, anti-Western ideologue whose Twitter feed is filled with hate and hostility — and he means Israel only harm. But he is also a canny politician who has survived and thrived in Iran’s complex political system. What is the…

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Suspended priest’s Palm Sunday greeting for refugees

76 CRIMES

The Rev. Anthony Musaala offers palm fronds. (Photo courtesy of Facebook) The Rev. Anthony Musaala offers palm fronds. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

The Rev. Anthony Musaala remains active as a spiritual guide for refugees from Uganda, including LGBT people fleeing threats of violence in their homeland.

He continues to support his dispersed flock, even though the church suspended him from priestly duties in 2013 after  he wrote a letter to his archbishop criticizing sexual abuses and sexual activity by supposedly celibate clergy members.

Yesterday, on Palm Sunday, he published a photo of himself on Facebook, holding out a handful of palm fronds. He wrote:

TO THE REFUGEES ON PALM SUNDAY

It’s Palm Sunday. I am holding that palm for you to say that like Jesus you are royal too.

Hosana ! to you as you ride that donkey of the process to your resettlement.

Some will laugh coz kings sit on horses not donkeys. Others will cheer and support, like me.

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A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus

john pavlovitz

Pen

Dear Christians In Indiana (and those elsewhere, who might read this),

I’ve seen what’s been going on there lately. Actually, I’ve been watching you all along and I really need to let you know something, just in case you misunderstand:

This isn’t what I had planned.

This wasn’t the Church I set the table for.

It wasn’t the dream I had for you, when I spoke in those parables about the Kingdom; about my Kingdom.

It was all supposed to be so very different.

It was supposed to be a pervasive, beautiful, relentless “yeast in the dough” that permeated the planet; an unstoppable virus of compassion and mercy spread person-to-person, not needing government or law or force.

It was supposed to be that smallest, seemingly most insignificant of seeds, exploding steadily and gloriously with the realized potential of my sacred presence, becoming a place of safety and shelter for all people.

It was supposed to be…

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Nigerian gay activist: I’m a champion, not a victim (video)

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Bisi Alimi (Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast) Bisi Alimi (Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast)

“When my attackers came for me in 2007, they wanted to make me a victim. But I stand tall today…  My name is Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian-born British citizen gay rights activist.  And I am not a victim…. These narratives don’t shape me.  I want to own my own story.”

Those strong affirmations came in this week’s video from the “Quorum” series of 11 discussions of international LGBTI issues.

These are extensive excerpts from Alimi’s speech to the Quorum gathering, as shown on the video:

A few years after I came out, my house was broken into, I was beaten, I was tortured and narrowly escaped being shot in the head. I was tied up. I was stripped naked. At some point, all I could see was my body in a casket. It seemed that I had an out-of-body experience in my…

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Jamaica: What I want from Obama on my birthday

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President Barack Obama (Photo by Elizabeth Cromwell via WIkimedia Commons) President Barack Obama (Photo by Elizabeth Cromwell via WIkimedia Commons)

I am thrilled that President Obama is visiting Jamaica on April 9, which by a very happy coincidence is also my birthday! During his one day trip to the island, the President will meet with leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) before they all travel to Panama for the 7th Summit of the Americas. This will be a gathering of all the heads of state and government of the 35 nations in the Americas.

As someone who has actively campaigned for the liberation of LGBTI people in the region, I would like to make a birthday request of the President, and it is simply that he use the occasion of his visit to PUBLICLY:

1) Apologize for the export of anti-gay religiosity by American evangelicals that has whipped up hate, intolerance, & homophobia across the western hemisphere;

2) Acknowledge the…

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Telling the story well: “God made the world to be his home”

Ben Irwin

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About this series: As I shared in the introductory post, I believe “getting the gospel right” means telling the story well. This is what inspired me to write my book for kids, The Story of King Jesus. Over the next few posts, I want to share a few aspects of this story that I believe are key to telling it well. 

It all began with God.

God made everything you can see.
(And even things you can’t see!)

God made the world to be his home.

                                    – from The Story of King Jesus

Growing up, I thought this world was doomed.

Like many Christians, I thought it was destined for the furnace. I looked forward to the day when I would be evacuated from this world, along with my fellow believers, and ushered into an…

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