Category : Violence

(PRC FactTank) Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level

The number of assaults against Muslims in the United States rose significantly between 2015 and 2016, easily surpassing the modern peak reached in 2001, the year of the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new hate crimes statistics from the FBI. In 2016, there were 127 reported victims of aggravated or simple assault, compared with 91 the year before and 93 in 2001.

But assaults are not the only form of hate crime carried out against Muslims and other religious groups. The most common is intimidation, which is defined as reasonable fear of bodily harm. Anti-Muslim intimidation also increased in 2016, with 144 reported victims, compared with 120 the previous year. These numbers, however, are still dwarfed by the 296 victims of anti-Muslim intimidation in 2001.

Certain types of crimes that damage or destroy property, including vandalism, also have risen, from 70 cases against Muslims in 2015 to 92 last year.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Religion & Culture, Violence

(ACNS) Anglican commission begins work to develop global safeguarding procedures

An international commission established to make the Churches of the Anglican Communion safe places for children, young people and vulnerable adults has begun its work. The Anglican Communion’s Safe Church Commission was established by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) at its meeting last year in Lusaka; in one of four resolutions on safeguarding.

The establishment of the commission was recommended by the Anglican Communion Safe Church Network – a global group of clergy and laity which “emerged out of a concern that a number of Anglican Provinces have seen highly publicised lapses in behaviour by some clergy and church workers with tragic consequences for those who have been abused.” The network, which was recognised by the ACC at its 2012 meeting in Auckland, “is a growing international group of people committed to the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare and safety of all people involved in churches throughout the Anglican Communion.”

While the network has an on-going brief to educate people about abuse and misconduct in churches, and to equip and support people working to make their churches safe, the commission has been given a specific time-sensitive task.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Violence

(WSJ) This Sunday, Some Churchgoers May Choose to Pack Guns With Their Bibles

As he does every Sunday, the Rt. Rev. Council Nedd II, an Anglican rector, put on his collar and robes to offer Mass at his central Pennsylvania church. Now, he is considering wearing something else with his religious vestments: his handgun.

As a Pennsylvania state constable, Dr. Nedd can bring his gun just about everywhere—to the grocery store, to the park and to synagogues and other houses of worship, where he often acts as security. His church was the one place where he went unarmed.

“Weapons do not belong in church,” he said. But, as a bishop, he has “a responsibility to protect the flock,” he added.

Dr. Nedd said he didn’t bring his weapon to church this Sunday, but plans to in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Violence

(WSJ) What to Do in a Shooting? Americans Stream to Classes to Learn ‘Run, Hide, Fight’

At a yellow-brick public library in a quiet upstate town, 200 people participated in active shooter training Wednesday. It was the second session the library offered this week.

Retirees, college students and young parents crouched under desks, barricaded themselves in the local history room, and fled outside into nearby woods. Many said they came so they could move beyond helplessness, conquer fear and take control of the one thing they can: their survival.

“It’s going to keep happening,” said Ninevah Aranas, a 77-year-old retired family-medicine doctor. “We have to be prepared because you go to church, it’s not safe. You go shopping, it’s not safe. Just walking around the park, it’s not safe.”

Similar sessions are planned this week at a hotel in Michigan, a college in South Dakota, a church in Tennessee, a hospital in West Virginia, and a middle school in Massachusetts. The demand for the courses around the country reflects a growing acceptance among many Americans that they may face a shooting in their lifetimes.

Read it all.

Posted in Violence

(AJ) Freedom from slavery theme of 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will focus on freedom from slavery, with prayer topics that are of special importance to the Caribbean. These topics include the plight of Haitian refugees, human trafficking, violence, the debt crisis and credit union movement, strengthening families and colonial reconciliation.

Developed by an ecumenical team in the Caribbean, the theme for the week, “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power” (Exodus 15:6), represents the abolition of enslavement in its many forms, according to background material included in the Week of Prayer resource booklet.

Exodus 15:1–21, the song of Moses and Miriam, was chosen as a motif because of its themes of triumph over oppression, it adds.

The choice of theme reflects the Caribbean’s colonized past, from the islands’ Indigenous inhabitants who were enslaved and, in some cases, exterminated, to the African slave trade and the “indentureship” of people from India and China. “The contemporary Caribbean is deeply marked by the dehumanizing project of colonial exploitation. In their aggressive pursuit of mercantile gains, the colonizers codified brutal systems which traded human beings and their forced labour,” says the Week of Prayer resource booklet for 2018.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Politics in General, Sexuality, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

(NYT) In Places of Worship Scarred by Bullets, Long Memories and Shared Pain

The worshipers, hundreds of them, had gathered Sunday for the afternoon meal in the vast, bright dining hall at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, just as they do every Sunday.

But before long, the happy din of the congregants was interrupted by a grim bulletin from Texas. People pushed away their plates of cauliflower and rice as the horrific news chirped across their cellphones. A gunman in a house of God. Multiple fatalities. Multiple injuries.

The Sikh temple was 1,300 miles and worlds away from the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. But at the temple, where a mass shooting left six dead five years ago, it felt sickeningly familiar, as it had at congregations in South Carolina and Tennessee and New York, places on the grim list of religious congregations that have become victims of gun violence. As different as they are, they share both a tragic past and a continuing struggle to move beyond it.

“Every time this happens, we feel the pain again,” said Harjinder Singh, a priest, as he sat in the quiet temple on Tuesday. “It is like when you have a bandage on your body, and it is ripped away.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Baltimore Sun) Maryland churches ponder security in wake of Texas shooting: ‘This evil can happen anywhere’

The Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway says it’s the duty of any church to do all it can to ensure the safety of its congregants, so he has long had security cameras in place throughout Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore.

But after yet another mass shooting left 26 people dead at a Texas church Sunday — the worst such incident at a place of worship in American history — the church and community leader is feeling a special urgency.

Hathaway was hard at work Monday on an email to other local religious leaders to urge action across denominational lines on matters of security.

“It’s tragic to think that this anger, this violence, is now invading our sacred spaces, the places where we try to foster peace and reflection, especially in a country that espouses religious freedom,” he says. “But this is clearly a fact of life now. We must think about security over and against our freedoms.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Christianity Today) the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting raises important qtns about security in places of worship

Violent incidents in churches are on the rise, including high-profile shootings in sanctuaries. In September, a shooter killed one person and injured seven others after Sunday worship at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ outside Nashville.

“The prevailing problem is denial,” said [church security expert Carl] Chinn. “People think, ‘It won’t happen here.’ If they were following the news, they would know it’s happening at small churches in small towns and big churches in big cities.

“The denial is worse in churches because we believe God will protect us,” he told CT. “I believe God will protect us … but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to be intentional about security.”

Chinn previously reported that 2015 marked a record year for violence on religious property or involving senior pastors, with 248 incidents and 76 deaths.

“I don’t know how many wakeup calls it will take,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Violence

A NY Times profile of the Sutherland Springs, Texas, Gunman

Before a gunman entered a rural Texas church with a ballistic vest and a military-style rifle, killing at least 26 people on Sunday, he was convicted of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull.

In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Devin P. Kelley, 26, was charged with “assault on his spouse and assault on their child,” according to the Air Force.

“He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife,” said Don Christensen, a retired colonel who was the chief prosecutor for the Air Force. “He pled to intentionally doing it.”

He was sentenced in November of that year to 12 months’ confinement and reduction to the lowest possible rank. After his confinement, he was discharged from the military with a bad conduct discharge. It is unclear whether his conviction would have barred him from purchasing a gun.

The case marked a long downward slide that included divorce and being charged with animal cruelty.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Violence

The President Of U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops Responds To the Mass Shooting In Texas

from here:

“Earlier today, we heard of the mass shooting at the Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. With Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, I extend my prayers and the prayers of my brother bishops for the victims, the families, the first responders, our Baptist brothers and sisters, indeed the whole community of Sutherland Springs. We stand in unity with you in this time of terrible tragedy—as you stand on holy ground, ground marred today by horrific violence.

We ask the Lord for healing of those injured, His loving care of those who have died and the consolation of their families.

This incomprehensibly tragic event joins an ever-growing list of mass shootings, some of which were also at Churches while people were worshipping and at prayer. We must come to the firm determination that there is a fundamental problem in our society. A Culture of Life cannot tolerate, and must prevent, senseless gun violence in all its forms. May the Lord, who Himself is Peace, send us His Spirit of charity and nonviolence to nurture His peace among us all.”

Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Violence

(NYT) Sutherland Springs, Texas Church Shooting Leaves at Least 26 Dead, Officials Say

A gunman clad in all black, with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands, opened fire on parishioners at a Sunday service at a small Baptist church in rural Texas, killing at least 26 people and turning this tiny town east of San Antonio into the scene of the country’s newest mass horror.

The gunman was identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing. Mr. Kelley, who lived in New Braunfels, Tex., died shortly after the attack.

He had served in the Air Force at a base in New Mexico but was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014, according to Ann Stefanek, the chief of Air Force media operations.

The motive for the attack was unclear on Sunday, but the grisly nature of it could not have been clearer: Families gathered in pews, clutching Bibles and praying to the Lord, were murdered in cold blood on the spot.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Violence

(Church Times) Church leaders, charities, and politicians up the plea for action on modern slavery

Tackling modern slavery in the UK and supporting the victims of its crimes “demands our attention” and immediate action, Church leaders, charities, and politicians have agreed this week.

On Monday, 50 Church, police, and policy leaders met at the House of Commons to debate the current UK strategy for countering modern slavery. The Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern, who chairs the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel was among them.

“The seminar provided an invaluable opportunity for politicians, law enforcement agencies and those working with and for victims to share concerns, strategies and wisdom,” he said. “There was also an opportunity to consider reactions to the recent report about police practice, and for various sectors to adjust their contributions in the light of the challenges identified.”

Campaigner: the Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern, chairs the Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel

The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the UK, Kevin Hyland, who also attended, said that the number of people living in slavery in the country was likely to be considerably higher than the current estimate of 13,000. The latest statistics suggest that the number of victims of slavery has increased by at least 300 per cent in the past five years (News, 20 October).

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(NYT) At Least 8 Killed in Terror Attack as Truck Careens Down Bike Path in Manhattan

Eight people were killed when a man drove 20 blocks down a bike path beside the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon before he crashed his pickup truck, jumped out with fake guns and was shot by a police officer, the authorities said.

Federal authorities were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and were taking the lead in the investigation, a senior law enforcement official said. Two law enforcement officials said that after the attacker got out of the truck, he was heard yelling, “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference, “Based on information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”

Read it all and join us in praying tonight for New York City.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Christian Today) It is as if prayer is a crime: Egypt’s Christians appeal for help after church closures

Following the closure of a number of churches in recent weeks, Coptic Christians in the south of Egypt have renewed calls on local authorities for an end to discrimination.

Two churches in two separate villages in the southern province of Minya have been shut down by the authorities, a statement by the Minya diocese said.

It said worshippers were harassed at both churches and pelted with rocks at one of them.

‘We have kept quiet for two weeks after the closure of one of the churches, but due to our silence the situation has worsened … it is as if prayer is a crime the Copts must be punished for,’ said the statement, which was released on Saturday.

A third church was closed following rumors of a pending attack, but the diocese said no attack has taken place since and the church remains closed.

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Violence

Michael McManus–Why Aren’t Famous Sexual Offenders Prosecuted?

A growing number of prominent media moguls have been accused of sexual assault – Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby and most recently, Harvey Weinstein.

Why have none been successfully prosecuted?

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Movies & Television, Sexuality, Violence