Saturday 28 August 2010

Ugandan Christians Reject the Tithe Doctrine


The truth about tithing : Pastor Antonio Thomas

Pastor Imelda Kula Namutebi’s Tithing heresy


A Few Financial Questions For Pastors Today


Tithing is Unscriptural Under the New Covenant

Tithe Collectors

Ugandan Christians Reject the Tithe Doctrine

Kato Mivule | August 24, 2010

Millions of Christians are forced to Tithe and threatened by clergymen that if they don't tithe, Christians risk forfeiting their salvation and risk being cursed by God Almighty. Tithing has become a prerequisite for blessings, wealth, riches, and Salvation in the Christian Church today, yet unsupported anywhere in the New Testament Teachings on the Christian Faith.

The same Preachers and Pastors who demand the Tithe would never allow to be circumcised in keeping with Old Testament Laws. None of the clergymen would convert to Judaism. Yet they pick and choose this Old Testament Mosaic Law of Tithing so as to keep funds coming in.

It is all about Money and a total lack of trusting The Lord for Provision. Salvation according to the Pastors that push the Tithe Doctrine involves paying the Tithe and otherwise a Christian risks being “Cursed” by Jesus Christ into abject misery, trouble, pain, and poverty.

Ugandan Christians, this is a total lie and a contradiction to New Testament Teachings, keep the Good Fight of Faith in Jesus Christ. Below Ugandan Christians are beginning to tackle this misleading Doctrine called Tithes and Uganda's Secular Media has given them a platform. Kato Mivule



Tithe is outdated
Moses Mulondo

THE Bible says you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). For so long, there has been a raging debate in Christian denominational groups on whether the Old Testament mandatory law of tithing is a requirement one has to abide by for complete salvation.

In the Old Testament, out of the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi was set apart for priesthood. These are the ones who always went into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies on behalf of the other Israelites. They were not allowed to take part in any income-generating activity and they were not even allowed to own land. That is why those belonging to the 11 tribes were mandated to contribute tithes to support the Levites in getting food.

But the New Testament setting is completely different. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn in two meaning that every human being had now gotten access to go directly into the presence of God, thus making it irrelevant to tithe.

Even the concept of the temple /church changed from the man-made buildings to the hearts of men. While in the Old Testament setting the throne of God was in the Holy of Holies in the temple which only priests (the Levites) could access, in the New Testament (Christianity), God’s throne is established in the hearts of the believers (1 Corinthians 3:16 and Ephesians 2:21-22).

And thus, we were all made priests. That is why Jesus had 12 disciples, all of whom became the first priesthood who started Christianity. The choice of 12 was meant to send a message that priesthood was now a vocation for all willing humanity regardless of the tribe or race.

If tithing was a requirement of salvation, Paul should have compelled the church to tithe. If tithing was a requirement of salvation, the famous Jerusalem meeting of Apostles on the Mosaic Law (Acts 15) which introduced the tithe law, should have resolved that the brethren in Antioch observe it for their salvation to be complete.

I am waiting for any pastor to come out and challenge me and I will swiftly defend my position. And if someone convinces me that I am wrong, I am ready to change my position on this matter.

The writer is from Alpha & Omega Ministries Charlton Park Lane

Published on: Saturday, 21st August, 2010


Who will call out today’s church on tithes?
Saturday, 31st July, 2010

By Grace Joan Achom

As an ordinary Christian, I can’t claim to know what they teach in theological schools regarding certain matters concerning the faith we now profess. Yet I wonder whether all the pastors who preach about particular topics are right or wrong.

As Christians, moreso born-again Christians who eschew everything to do with the old Judaic order, I am surprised to see one thing stick around like a sore thumb. Tithing!

Pastors are quick to dismiss most things as ‘Old Testament’ practices.

It makes me uncomfortable every time I hear an otherwise respectable preacher expounding on the tithe, of course emphasising how it is a must or someone will be cursed. Most of their scriptural backing for this comes from the Old Testament. Some preachers are excited about Mark 23:23, but as usual they take the verses out of context, forgetting that Jesus was addressing himself to the so called law-abiding Pharisees. Besides, Jesus saying those words does not translate into a command. Also if he was addressing the new order, he would have found another opportunity to address the issue to his disciples again like he did with other topics.

The pastors’ obsession with the tithe is an expression of their lack of faith in God’s providing power. If God has truly called you to the ministry, then he will provide for you. The disciples never demanded tithes from the believers. They encouraged giving and shared financial needs for which believers collected money as needed.

But for all those hooked onto the tithing creed, I have a few words, taken from Galatians…You foolish Galatians (or pastors or Ugandan Christians) who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Galatians 3:1-4).

The writer is a Christian

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Fooling Christians - The Debacles of Benny Hinn and Paula White



Hinn told the crowd in Oakland that the Vatican made him a Patron of the Arts and invited him to visit Rome. He said patrons are asked to find donors to help maintain the Vatican's art collections, and he wanted White to become a donor."I let her come with me to Rome so she can donate money," Hinn said. "That was stupid on my part. And for that I do ask forgiveness."(

Hinn proudly stated, "My upbringing, of course, was Catholic in that I attended the Catholic school in Jaffa, Israel. And so my mentality basically is a Catholic mentality. When I was born again, I was Catholic in my ways. I was very Catholic in my ideas, in my behavior." (Christianity Today, Sept. 3, 1991.)(

Hinn then endorsed the reputed divine healing power of the Marian shrines at Lourdes and Fatima. He told King and the viewing audience: “Look, God has given us, Larry, many sources of healing. Look at Lourdes. People have been healed going to Lourdes and Fatima. There was a pool, even in the Bible, the pool of Bethesda, where the angels stirred the water — people were also healed. So God has given us many avenues of healing. He wants us to be healed.” (

Listen to what Hinn said concerning Pope John Paul II after his death, “Pope John Paul II pointed millions to Jesus Christ when he was Pope. And I believe we're in for the greatest move of the Spirit of God on this planet." -BENNY HINN(


Fooling Christians - The Debacles of Benny Hinn and Paula White

It is time for Christians to stop allowing themselves to be fooled and hoodwinked by Pseudo Preachers. It is Christians who support them, endorse them, and financially allow such preachers to manipulate them to the point that Christians continue to pour thousands of dollars in support of such Pseudo Preachers. Please Christians, exercise some reason, discernment, critical thought, and sound judgment. The Lord God of Heaven created us with a brain and expects us to use it!

Kato Mivule


Benny Hinn Admits 'Friendship' With Paula White But Tells TV Audience It's Over
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 04:41 PM EDT Adrienne S. Gaines News - Featured News

Evangelist Benny Hinn recently admitted at a crusade in Oakland, Calif., to having a "friendship" with fellow minister Paula White while he's still married after a tabloid pictured them holding hands in Rome on July 13. But the well-known healing minister says the relationship is over.

"A friendship did develop," Hinn said of White in Oakland on July 30. "Hear this: No immorality whatsoever. These people out there are making it sound like we had an affair. That's a lie."

Hinn invited his daughters Natasha and Eleasha on stage in Oakland and asked the crowd to pray for him, his estranged wife, Suzanne, and their four children. He said he and his wife had problems in their marriage for years and "could no longer exist in the same house."
Benny Hinn and Paula White
Hinn's wife, Suzanne, filed for divorce in February after the couple had been separated for years, but it has not been finalized.

Hinn aired segments from the Oakland crusade and made additional personal comments on his This Is Your Day program on TBN Aug. 5, the day after his 31st wedding anniversary. A ministry executive said the program will air on other networks this week, including on Daystar Friday.

Hinn told the crowd in Oakland that the Vatican made him a Patron of the Arts and invited him to visit Rome. He said patrons are asked to find donors to help maintain the Vatican's art collections, and he wanted White to become a donor.

"I let her come with me to Rome so she can donate money," Hinn said. "That was stupid on my part. And for that I do ask forgiveness."

The National Enquirer published photos in its Aug. 2 issue of Hinn walking hand-in-hand with White in Rome. The article, which released July 23, claimed the two spent three nights in a five-star hotel Hinn booked under a false name.

Hinn said in Oakland that he and White found "common ground" after she appeared on This Is Your Day in late May. White and her ex-husband, Randy, went through a public divorce in 2007. She now leads the Tampa, Fla., church they founded, Without Walls International Church, and has her own national television show called Paula Today.

He said he and White were never alone in Rome, but claims he ended his friendship with her after the tabloid report was published. "I said, 'Paula, we can't even be friends right now.'"

Hinn admitted that he contributed to the demise of his marriage by putting ministry over his family. "I was so busy in the ministry, I was so caught up with the ministry, I forgot about my family," Hinn said. "That's probably what broke the whole thing up."

He said he often preached that ministry comes first, acknowledging that he knew that teaching hurt his children. "You know what? It's wrong," he said of the teaching. "I'm here to admit I was wrong because the call of God first should touch the family. If you have no family, you can't go on anyways."

Hinn admitted he and his wife had "challenges" but said he didn't expect her to end the marriage.

"We had troubles for a long time, and I would ask her often, 'Would you ever divorce me?'" Hinn said. "She said, 'Never because I fear God too much.' She said, 'My covenant is with God, not you.' And I guess she could no longer handle it. One day she did it to my shock."

Hinn said it's painful to talk about his marital problems, noting that he and his wife were separated long before the divorce filing.

"We've had to be very quiet to protect the ministry, the work of the Lord," he said. "But sadly when you are a public person, everything you do becomes public."

"I don't care how strong you are," Hinn added. "I don't care if the anointing of God is mighty on you. Nobody wants to be alone. I don't care who you are. I am a human being just like you."

Hinn said he is "still focused on the Lord's work," adding, "I'm going to go on serving Jesus with all my being, and whatever the future holds, that's His business."



Married Toronto preacher Benny Hinn romantically linked to healer
July 24, 2010
Kenneth Kidd

There’s a new televangelist soap opera.

Reports this week suggest a still-married Benny Hinn is now romantically involved with Paula White, another television preacher with a colourful past.

The 57-year-old Hinn, who began his preaching career at a church hall near Yonge and Bloor Streets in the 1970s, is best known for his faith-healing “Miracle Crusades” and his half-hour television show, This is Your Day.

White, 44, is the star of television’s Paula White Today, whose ministries reputedly pulled in $40 million in donations and sales of various goods in 2006. Her website’s current offerings include the four-CD set, “Creating Healthy Relationship” in return for “any gift amount.”

Neither Hinn nor White could be reached for comment Friday.

In February, Hinn’s wife Suzanne filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The two were at that point living apart.

But in a broadcast shortly after Suzanne filed for divorce, Hinn said it had come as a “total shock.”

“The children and I never expected this to happen,” he said. “Divorce was the last thing on my mind and theirs.

“There was absolutely no immorality involved in my life or in Suzanne’s life, ever,” Hinn continued. “We were totally committed to each other for 30 years of marriage.”

They have four children.

Suzanne Hinn, nee Hathern, is also an evangelical preacher in her own right, whose Florida-based ministry goes by the name of Purifying Fire International. She once famously told her followers that if they couldn’t work up enough religious fervour, they needed a “Holy Ghost enema.”

Toufik Benedictus Hinn was born in Jaffa, Israel, but moved with his family to Toronto in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

As a teenager, he became intensely interested in religion, and eventually left the Greek Orthodox Church of his upbringing to join the evangelical movement. In 1974, he launched his own ministry in Oshawa, but later moved south of the border.

Earlier in his career, Hinn was given to wearing white suits, with his hair parted in a fashion once described as resembling Niagara Falls.

He now most often sports a monogrammed Nehru jacket, and his signature flourish — getting people to fall backwards with the “fire of God” at his touch or command — has become a YouTube staple.

Like many televangelists, Hinn’s career has not escaped controversy. His healing abilities have often been questioned, not least in one of his more famous cases, involving American heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield.

Holyfield turned to Hinn in 1994, after his physician told him he had a hole in the heart. Mayo Clinic doctors later concluded the heart defect never existed. Hinn has countered that any healing is done by God, and not him.

The Texas-based Benny Hinn Ministries, however, has remained a very big business.

In 2007, the CBC’s Fifth Estate estimated that Hinn’s ministry took in roughly $250 million a year in donations and sales of such items as stainless steel dog tags engraved with the Lord’s Prayer and vials of “Anointing for Prosperity Oil.”

According to reports, Hinn and White have been friends for decades.

White was a self-proclaimed “messed-up Mississippi girl” growing up in Tupelo. Her father committed suicide when she was 5, and White’s website says she suffered “sexual and physical abuse” up until she was 13. White says her life changed when at 18 she received a “divine visitation.”

By 1991, she and then-husband Randy White were founding their own mega-church in Tampa.

The couple announced their divorce in 2007, after the church came under fire to failing to repay $170,000 borrowed from an elderly widow. The money, originally borrowed in 1995, was used as down payment on a house.

Randy stayed on with the ministry, now called Without Walls International Church.

Last year, however, Paula returned to that church’s pulpit, replacing Randy, who resigned citing ill health. At her first sermon, White told the congregants: “Mama is back.”

Other televangelist troubles:

Ted Haggard: Male prostitute Mike Jones outs Haggard in 2006 as a client of his escort service, saying the minister engaged in gay sex and drug use. Haggard resigns as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and is fired from his New Life Church.

Jim Bakker: Bakker resigns from the Praise the Lord television ministry in 1987 after allegedly being blackmailed over a sexual encounter with church secretary Jessica Hahn in 1980. Two years later, he is convicted of bilking investors in his Christian theme park out of $158 million and spends five years in prison.

Jimmy Swaggart: Swaggart confesses to “moral failure” in 1988 and resigns from the leadership of the Assemblies of God church over an investigation into alleged sex with a prostitute. Three years later, police find Swaggart with prostitute Rosemary Garcia in Indio, California. Swaggart steps down as head of Jimmy Swaggart ministries.

Douglas Goodman: The head of Victory Christian Centre near London, Goodman is sentenced in 2004 to three and a half years for indecent assault involving four female parishioners. Later, the church is closed after investigators accuse Goodman of receiving unauthorized salary payments.

Compiled by Rick Sznajder, Star Library

Africa's Educated Evangelicals, Discernment, and the Disconnect

Africa's Educated Evangelicals, Discernment, and the Disconnect

Kato Mivule | August 16, 2010

While we have repeated what I am writing in this article a number of times, I felt compelled once again to cast this reminder on the need for discernment to Christians everywhere, especially in Africa, where a growth of Africa's middle class, combined with unemployment, poverty, and corruption have not left the African Church untouched.

There is so much going on in Christendom that we could just devote every 24 hour effort exposing what the fallacies and outright evil behavior of so-called Men of God going on in many of our Evangelical Churches. There is an outright attack on New Testament Christianity sanctioned by none other than the Christians themselves.

From the the recent TBN TV scandals of Benny Hinn and Paula White, to the continual gospel of greed preached in many of African Evangelical Churches, Christians are partly to blame for allowing themselves to be used and exploited by pseudo preachers and pseudo pastors who care about nothing but only money, fame, and building personal kingdoms.

What is astonishing is the number of young and well educated young Africans who are giving into the pseudo gospel. While literacy rates might still be low, overall in Africa, there is a higher literacy rate among Africa's Middle Class and young generation than say 50 years ago. This is what shocks the most, why is it that Africa's Evangelical most brightest still buy into a gospel that they know contradicts with New Testament scriptures?

Take for instance Uganda as a test case, Uganda has one of the highest literacy rates among adults in Africa at 74 percent according to UNICEF. [3]. When the statistics are further broken down, Uganda even offers more compared to other African Nations, between the ages of 15 to 24, UNICEF reports as of 2008 that 88 and 84 percent are literate among girls and boys respectively.[3] This is an astonishing figure, yet this same population that makes up most of Africa's current middle class will not exercise any discernment, critical thought and proper judgment, skills taught in most of Africa's major Universities.

African Literacy
Image Source:

African Education
Image Source:

According to CIA's Fact Book, for instance, almost 48 percent of Uganda's population is between the ages 15-64 years. [1]This accounts for the most able, intelligent, educated, and and most technologically connected generation. Yet it is this same generation that will not research or even test what they receive from preachers and pastors to see if it tallies with New Testament teachings.

A visit to Uganda's largest mega churches will reveal this phenomenon. Most of the population in Robert Kayanja's Church is young, below 45 years of age, most attend, or have attended Uganda's most famous institutions of higher learning. Most do work for good companies, like Telecommunication companies, etc, basically enjoying an African standard middle class. The same is true with say Pastor Jackson Ssenyonga's Church, Pastor Sserwada, and many of the other Pastors in Kampala, Uganda.

Where is the intelligence and at least the exercise of simple discernment from this young educated African generation? Where is all the critical thinking, analysis, and attention to detail that this young African Educated population attained from Africa's prestigious Universities? How is it that Prosperity Gospel preachers take advantage of Africa's brightest? How is it that corrupted politicians are able to exploit young African Evangelicals for their own political gains?

In Nigeria for example, most of the youth are educated far beyond their counterparts in other African countries. In Nigeria at least each State in the Federation has a University and despite the education, still thousands of educated young intelligent Nigerians flock the Churches of pseudo preachers and pseudo pastors. Why is it that there seems to be a disconnect between educated young Evangelicals and discernment, critical thought, and sound judgment in Africa?

However, not all is dark and gloomy, there seems to be an opening, the tide is beginning to change despite the influence that pseudo preachers and pastors yield over Africa's young educated population. True Christianity is based on Teachings, Doctrine, and Lifestyle as laid out in the New Testament. This alone has been a source of contradictions for the “Men of God” as they continuously live lifestyles and teach doctrines that contradict New Testament Christianity.

It is not that we rejoice and muse in the scandals and 'falling down' of the “Men of God”, rather we mourn and sorrow over the abuse and disrepute they bring to the Name of The Lord. However, we also take this moment to utilize this 'opening' to declare the truth by The Lord's Grace and tell our fellow Christians who are still caught up in the Prosperity Gospel, Dominion-ism Gospel, Christian Politics, etc that the New Testament Teachings are true and contradict what many pseudo preachers have had to offer.

Thank God for Technology and the free flow of information while it still lasts. While Information Technology comes with its cons, the pros could be utilized in putting out the truth and countering the lies of the pseudo gospel, such as the prosperity gospel, Christian Political Gospel, Dominion-ism, etc. Technology still remains a good tool to freely Teach and Instruct Christians in what the New Testament says about the Christian Faith, reaching across the globe.

Yet still there is still a lot of misinformation out there on the web that Christians must take great precaution in what they read and engage in online. The New Testament should be used as a basis for testing whatever folks put out there. Always question if what someone is teaching or saying tallies up to what the Whole Counsel of God Teaches concerning any subject or topic in the New Testament.

Proverbs 2:1-15 ASV My son, if thou wilt receive my words, And lay up my commandments with thee; (2) So as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, And apply thy heart to understanding; (3) Yea, if thou cry after discernment, And lift up thy voice for understanding; (4) If thou seek her as silver, And search for her as for hid treasures: (5) Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, And find the knowledge of God. (6) For Jehovah giveth wisdom; Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding: (7) He layeth up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to them that walk in integrity; (8) That he may guard the paths of justice, And preserve the way of his saints. (9) Then shalt thou understand righteousness and justice, And equity, yea, every good path. (10) For wisdom shall enter into thy heart, And knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul; (11) Discretion shall watch over thee; Understanding shall keep thee: (12) To deliver thee from the way of evil, From the men that speak perverse things; (13) Who forsake the paths of uprightness, To walk in the ways of darkness; (14) Who rejoice to do evil, And delight in the perverseness of evil; (15) Who are crooked in their ways, And wayward in their paths:

The need for discernment, critical thought, reason, and sound judgment have never been greater, and it is a call that Africa's young and learned Evangelicals must take on seriously to fight the rampant corruption in Evangelical circles and perhaps offer hope for morals and ethics across Africa corrupt landscape. Believing in Jesus Christ and being a Christian does not in anyway mean throwing off all discernment, critical thought, reason, and sound judgment, rather one begins to fully utilize such God given gifts of reason.

Kato Mivule

[1] CIA World Fact Book, Uganda

[2] Friedrich Huebler, International Education Statistics

[3] UNICEF, Statistics on Uganda
74 per cent Total adult literacy rate (%), 2003–2008*; 88 per cent Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2003–2007*, male; 84 per cent Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2003–2007*, female.

Friday 13 August 2010

Christians come under attack in China

Christians come under attack in China

Published On Sat Aug 07 2010

By Bill Schiller Asia Bureau

LINFEN, CHINA—Old Wang was fast asleep in his bed when the mob arrived.

It was 3 a.m. one Sunday last September.

“People shook me and told me. ‘Get up. Get outside. Hurry up!’ ”

What he witnessed on the grounds of the Gospel Shoes Factory – a rural Christian community where he lived and worked with 60 others near here – was complete chaos: a raging mob of more than 200 men were pushing their way through the darkness with flashlights, wooden clubs, bricks, hoes and pieces of metal, smashing everything and anyone in their path.

A perimeter wall had been toppled. The main gate was smashed. Men were pouring through it.

Behind them came a roaring bulldozer, then an excavator.

As Wang stared in disbelief, he was clubbed over the head and trampled to the ground, his face streaming with blood.

Then someone hurled a brick at him, fracturing his leg.

As he lay there he could hear a man yelling, “Beat them. Beat them as hard as you like. I’ll take responsibility for everything.”

To his amazement, and the amazement of other eyewitnesses, the mob was led by a local Communist Party official backed up by uniformed police.

They were clearly on a mission. But what that mission was, wasn’t clear to those under attack.

It was, in fact, one of the more violent flare-ups in China’s ongoing campaign against Christians, a community that – according to researchers – exceeds 100 million and is growing rapidly.

That growth has stoked concern and even alarm among some government officials, who see the spread of Christianity as a threat to their authority.

Officials here took the threat seriously and decided to act – with force.

The Gospel Shoes Factory had all its papers in order. It had a building permit. Its business license was current.

But it also had a church.

China’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but it comes with a catch: every church must register with the government and submit to control by the Communist Party of China.

The Gospel Shoes church was not registered: it was what is known in China as a “house church.”

The government maintains the same registration requirements for China’s four other “officially approved” religions: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam and Catholicism. Each is assigned a government-appointed body that oversees the group’s activities throughout the country.

But Gospel Shoes was operating without such oversight. As a consequence it was deemed illegal.

So over the course of the next few hours, under the direction of the Communist

Party and local police, the mob bulldozed the factory and church into the ground.

In the process they killed livestock, looted appliances and wounded 30 members of the community, seven seriously.

Most were taken to hospital by tractor and private cars.

“As long as I have lived, I have never seen brutality like this, “ says Old Wang, a Christian man in his 40s dressed in trousers and a t-shirt, who asks that his first name not be used for fear of reprisals.

“My father was a soldier in the People’s Liberation Army,” he says. “I was raised to respect authority. But how can I, after this?”

The Star also viewed copies of more than 20 other individual, eyewitness accounts signed or stamped with official thumbprints corroborating Wang’s account.

“This was the most violent attack on a house church in China in a decade,” says Li Fangping, a Beijing lawyer who later defended one of the church leaders.

It was also a sign, says Li, who is also a Christian, that the government has grown frightened of the house church movement – those churches outside the government’s grip that are growing with increasing speed.

“The government is beginning to realize that they’re beyond their control,” he says.

Some academics who study religious movements in China agree.

Protestant Christianity especially, they say, is experiencing “explosive” and even “exponential” growth in China, both in the countryside as well as in major cities: from Heilongjiang province in the north to Guangdong province in the south – from cities like Shanghai and Chengdu, to Beijing and beyond.

When Mao Zedong first took control of the country in 1949, there were just 1 million Christians in China. Today, while it is difficult to calculate a precise number, many now estimate that number to have grown by a hundred-fold.

By comparison, the Communist Party itself has just 70 million registered members.

And the numbers of Christians are growing. Some academic studies place that growth at 5 to 7 per cent annually. But most feel that pace has now accelerated.

“The house churches have been growing so fast,” eminent American sociologist Richard Madsen told an audience in Philadelphia last year, “that the government can neither stop them, nor ignore them.”

What happened in Linfen could be seen as a one-off – a rare and violent reaction by local officials in the far-off countryside responding to a unique local circumstance.

But evidence from media reports, rights organizations and interviews with religious leaders and believers across the country, suggest it is not.

Instead, what happened in Linfen is only the most egregious example of a pattern of state surveillance, harassment, intimidation and threat that has increased over the past 18 months, as the Communist Party of China struggles to come to terms with what some say is a difficult truth: its policy on religion is failing.

”The policy is, on its own terms, a complete failure,” according to Prof. Madsen, who has studied religion in China for more than 20 years. And there are signs, he says, that the Chinese government is realizing it.

Communist theory has long held that religion is nothing more than “superstition and foolishness,” and that as China prospers and becomes more modern, religion will fade away.

But that hasn’t happened.

Instead, religious belief is growing.

In an age when China has abandoned Communism in favour of market principles, more and more people are turning to religion, “looking for hope, and a better life,” says Madsen, head of sociology at the University of California, San Diego.

Party members also confide that Christianity’s rapid rise has raised concern within the Communist leadership itself: a new set of closed-door conferences is being held in Beijing and the Party is commissioning new research on how to respond.

This isn’t purely about religion, of course.

What troubles China’s central government isn’t belief – but the fact that the house churches are growing into a potentially formidable force with leadership, organizational structures, independent financing and a loyal and growing following.

It is these kinds of characteristics, they fear, that could build into an alternative belief system in opposition to the government.

“Of course that’s why they’re wary,” says Madsen.

Back in Linfen, the local authorities were very wary – and far from finished.

After crushing the Gospel Shoes factory, they didn’t stop there.

When a well-known, local preacher, Yang Rongli, dared to mount a day of prayer and protest at the site and threaten to take the church’s grievances all the way to the central government in Beijing, she was arrested with four other church elders.

Yang, a university graduate and fourth generation Christian, was leader of Linfen’s Golden Lamp Church – the mother church of Gospel Shoes – believed to be the biggest house church in all of China, boasting 50,000 followers.

In 2008, Yang and church elders had raised the equivalent of $1.5 million in donations from church followers to build the towering, eight-storey, Golden Lamp Church.

In size, it rivaled all local Communist Party buildings .

As Yang was being arrested on her way to Beijing on Sept. 25 last year, hundreds of armed, uniformed and riot police swooped down and surrounded the Golden Lamp.

“I was inside,” says one church elder who has still managed to elude arrest. “There were about 100 of us in there. And we all knelt to pray.”

“No one slept that night,” he adds. “We were just too nervous.”

The standoff lasted 24 hours.

At 4 p.m. the next day, armed police moved in, took control of the church and arrested more leaders.

Following a one-day trial, Yang Rongli and four other church officials were sentenced to three to seven years in prison for constructing a church on agricultural land and for mounting a protest that had blocked traffic.

Five other church officials were also sentenced – without trial – to two years of “re-education” in a government-run labour camp.

Today the Golden Lamp Church, still under state control, faces a demolition order. Just as they crushed the Gospel Shoes complex, authorities intend to reduce the Golden Lamp to rubble.

Official papers have been issued, but no date has been set.

Zhang Kai, one of the defence lawyers at the trial, has appealed the demolition order but the appeal was rejected.

In July, Zhang traveled to Linfen, some 800 km. southwest of Beijing, to address court officials directly.

But police at the courthouse blocked him from entering.

Zhang showed them his lawyer’s license – but that was useless.

“They said, ‘You’re Zhang Kai. You’re not allowed in here. Those are our orders,’” says Zhang.

Still, Christian believers here remain defiant.

“Even if they do destroy the church, it won’t destroy our faith,” says the elder who was trapped inside the church the night of its siege.

“We believe in what we believe,” he says.

And so do others: On a steamy Sunday morning in Beijing’s college district a disproportionate number of pedestrians make their way along Bei Sanhuan Zhong Lu, coalesce into lines and disappear down an alley. At the bottom of the alley they file into a private club.

The lobby is filled with great photographic moments of Chinese Communist Party history. Mao Zedong’s smiling face is everywhere.

But from a back auditorium, comes the ascending sound of a church choir.

This is Beijing’s biggest, unregistered house church, known as Shouwang, in English: The Lookout.

Inside, the auditorium overflows with 400 Christian faithful – people are standing in the aisles—and this is just the first of three services to be held today.

Psalms are recited. Scripture is read. A sermon is preached.

And when the hymns are sung – everyone joins in.

The audience looks mainly young to middle-aged, middle-class people dressed in their Sunday best. Very few are old.

Then Pastor Song Jun steps to the lectern and announces that the time has arrived to welcome newcomers.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he says, “when the microphone is passed to you, please announce your name.”

Eighteen people rise.

“Dear brothers and sisters how are you?” says a handsome young man taking the microphone. “My name is Song Yubin. I’ve always gone to Haidian Christian Church, but I heard about Shouwang from friends. Sister Zhao Yi brought me here today and I’m very glad to meet you. God bless you all!”

Another young man is handed the microphone.

“My name is Han Song,” he says. “And it was God who brought me here!”

The audience laughs appreciatively. “This is the very first time I’ve come to Beijing, so it’s my first time to Shouwang.”

Then another man nervously takes the microphone and, in doing so, seems to forget his name.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he says, “this is my first day inside a church.” He pauses then. “God be with you,” he says. “Hallelujah!”

When the introductions are complete the choir and community burst into a rendition of “Jesus Loves You,” before spilling out into the street where hundreds of others are preparing to get in.

It’s a spirited scene.

China’s central government has never tried to bulldoze Shouwang.

But it has tried everything else.

In Sept. 2004, state police raided the church founder’s home, seized religious materials, detained him for 15 hours and warned him to stop the services.

But the services continued.

In May 2008, state police raided Shouwang in the middle of a service, sealed the congregants inside, took down all names, i.d. numbers and work place details – and ordered workplace bosses to “have a chat” with the churchgoers and threaten them with firing if they continued to attend.

But the congregants kept coming.

In Nov. 2009 – just weeks before a state visit to China by U.S. President Barack Obama – state police finally succeeded in threatening the church’s landlords to terminate the church’s lease.

Shouwang then held its services outdoors in the snow, attracting wide public attention.

Finally, after two weeks and with President Obama preparing to board Air Force One, Chinese government authorities – fearing a public relations disaster during the president’s visit – relented and allowed the church back indoors.

They even provided it with new premises – the “private club” where the church now meets is associated with CCTV, the state broadcaster – presumably so it can keep a closer eye on church activities.

But insiders say the church and its followers have had enough interference.

They are now preparing to move into their own property in downtown Beijing, recently bought with tens of millions of Chinese yuan in church donations.

It is a bold move, and certain to spark a showdown.

But the challenge for China’s central government is bigger than Shouwang.

Many other house churches have sprung up across the capital, with names like, The Cedar, Mt. Zion, Grace Evangelical, The Gospel, The New Tree, The Ark and others.

They too have attracted police attention and some leaders, like prominent Chinese writer and intellectual Yu Jie, have been detained and questioned about their faith.

In Yu’s case, it’s strong: he is an elder at The Ark and one of the country’s most outspoken advocates for social justice.

It’s a Wednesday evening in July, in a book-lined, art-filled apartment with solid furniture and stunning views of Beijing. Eleven people – artists, office workers, students – have gathered to sip tea and hear Yu lead a discussion on a Bible reading from Kings: 21. It’s the timeless story of Naboth, a man with a piece of property that the king and his wife want, and get, by having Naboth killed.

Land is a combustible issue in today’s China.

Corrupt government officials are regularly colluding with real estate developers and pushing people off land to make profit, a point Yu stresses.

He refers to a case months ago when a desperate woman in Sichuan province, publicly set herself on fire and died rather than suffer the injustice of being hurled from her home.

“So you can see,” says Yu, a slight man with glasses and a firm but gentle manner, “there are similarities here…you can see that the current society in China is often worse than that of ancient Israel.”

There are knowing nods across the room.

Just days before Yu had been brought to Beijing’s Dougezhuang police station for 11 hours of interrogation.

There, an officer named Zhu warned him, “not to use religion to play politics. Such deeds will reap severe consequences.”

Yu posted a transcript of the interrogation online – all 17 pages.

“Every Christian certainly has the right to take part in political activities since Christians are citizens too,” Yu replied. “Politics is part of public life, a way to distribute power, and it’s not patented by the Chinese Communist Party.”

“When a political power violates our freedom of belief, we have a right to criticize and oppose it,” he said.

In July, Yu said publicly that if Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao dismantled China’s monolithic state security system that watches over every detail of dissidents’ lives, there would be more than enough money for health care and education for all.

“The social contract in this country is broken,” Yu says later in an interview. “We are now in a period of moral nihilism, where people seem to care only about money and power.”

“Christianity,” he says, “provides principles and morality. Both are sorely lacking in today’s China.”

People want “a direct relationship with God,” he adds, without state oversight or interference. That’s why more and more people are turning away from “officially approved” churches and finding their way to independent house churches, he says.

But finding your way to Pastor Wang Dao’s house church in the southern city of Guangzhou might prove more difficult than one might imagine – and may even take a miracle.

Pastor Wang has had to move his church 30 times in the past two years.

His Liangren house church has been hounded by state police.

“Every time we find a new location, police threaten the landlords and our premises are padlocked and the lease terminated.”

But that’s not all.

Pastor Wang was detained for 36 days in May and June.

State police took him from his home on May 8 telling him, he says, “You’re a fake pastor. A bullshit pastor. A fake prophet.”

Wang came to believe in God in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square student movement. He was born Wang Tongjiang and jailed for more than a year after calling on students in the city of Wuhan to remember the Tiananmen massacre of June 4, 1989.

Politics are no longer his business today, he says. Still, his services have been broken up by armed police.

And yet on a recent Sunday morning following a service in a hotel auditorium in Guangzhou’s southern suburbs, a new generation of students praise his church.

“I don’t really understand why the government doesn’t like it,” says 21-year-old Lou Rong Heng. “Nothing bad happens. Everyone gets along. There’s harmony here.”

Says 23-year-old Wu Wenjing, “I find it good to be a Christian, to be part of a community. There’s something about the kindness here, the peacefulness, the way people treat each other like family,” she says. “I think it’s important to believe in something in your life.”

But independent religious belief in China comes with a cost.

All across the country the state’s bureaucracies for religious surveillance remain firmly in place: the State Administration for Religious Affairs—which declined an interview request for this article—the various patriotic associations which oversee religious activity, the public security police, the state security office, and the land resources bureaus among others. There is a phalanx of forces at every level of government to deter independent religious activity.

And there remains, too, a measure of fear among the people and religious leaders, born of hard and sometimes harsh experience.

Down a dirt road in Hebei province about 150 km. south of Beijing, past fields of corn and pear orchards and vineyards, through air thick with the stink of pig manure, beneath the haunting, screaming sound of cicacadas perched in trees above the baking earth, lies the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wuqui Village.

It is Monday noon and upon its grounds one can hear the sound of children playing. There is an orphanage here that is home to 80 children, many suffering from severe disabilities.

They are looked after by an impoverished group of nuns and a single cleric, Bishop Jia Zhiguo, without any state support.

“People just leave them on our doorstep,” explains Sr. Zhang Ruizhen, a gentle, smiling woman in her 50s. “If we don’t care for them, who will?”

Bishop Jia is 76-years-old, in frail health and has just been released from 15 months of arbitrary detention.

But he has endured worse: as a young layman he served 15 years in prison for inviting a Catholic priest to his hometown.

Today Bishop Jia is under 24 hr. guard.

Appointed a bishop by the Vatican in 1980, the Chinese Communist government regards him as a renegade.

China doesn’t acknowledge the authority of the Vatican.

The Vatican doesn’t officially recognize China and instead maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

But as a concession, Chinese authorities allow Jia to say daily mass and some locals are allowed to attend. But he is officially prevented from carrying out any of his bishop’s duties.

The Star managed to elude his security detail in July and reach his room: a sparsely decorated chamber with a bed, a desk, a chesterfield, and on the wall, artists’ renderings of Jesus Christ and one of the church’s French saints, John Vianney.

He greeted his visitor warmly.

But on learning that the visitor was a journalist, Bishop Jia, bent with age and moving gingerly, bowed his head and refused to be interviewed.

He would not appear on camera. He would not be photographed.

“I cannot be interviewed,” he said softly. “Such a thing would only get you into trouble and – I assure you – it would only bring me misfortune.”

Religious belief in China continues to flourish, surprising the state with ever more visibility and greater growth.

But in China’s countryside, in places like Linfen and Wuqui Village and countless small counties, and indeed even in major cities like Beijing and Guangzhou, faith and fear still stalk the land.

Three Kentucky men drop abuse suit against the Vatican

Ky. men drop abuse suit against the Vatican

August 10, 2010

by Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

(RNS) Three Kentucky men have dropped their six-year effort to sue the Vatican over sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, citing insurmountable legal and practical obstacles.

The men, who say they were abused by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville decades ago, filed a motion Monday (Aug. 9) requesting that a federal judge dismiss their claims.

The suit was one of several seeking to hold the Vatican responsible for sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, alleging that church officials and policies allowed the abuse to continue. Similar cases in Oregon and Wisconsin are ongoing.

All three cases carry important implications for U.S. church-state law and for the Catholic Church, which has been beset by nearly a decade of steady sex abuse allegations and lawsuits.

The Kentucky case was effectively ended by a previous court ruling that gave the Vatican qualified immunity as a sovereign nation, and the inability of the plaintiffs to gather more sex abuse victims who had not already settled with local dioceses for a class-action suit, attorney William McMurry told The Associated Press. In addition, two of the archbishops accused of misconduct have died.

McMurry had sought to prove that the Louisville archbishops were Vatican employees, a point disputed by Catholic leaders, who say bishops have the power to run their own dioceses.

Vatican lawyer Jeffrey Lena said in a statement, "This development confirms that, contrary to what the plaintiffs' lawyers repeatedly told the media, there has never been a Holy See policy requiring concealment of child sexual abuse."

Plaintiffs Drop Sex-Abuse Suit Against Vatican


Three U.S. men who sued the Vatican for alleged sex abuse by priests have decided to end the case, in a big victory for the governing body of the Catholic Church.

The lawyer for the men asked U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit, filed in 2004 in a Louisville, Ky. federal court. He essentially conceded that his clients had no chance of winning the lawsuit, which sought to hold the Vatican responsible for alleged sex abuse.

"We're not interested in banging our heads against the wall anymore," said William F. McMurry, the plaintiffs' lawyer. "The truth is that the U.S. courts have placed an impossible burden on plaintiffs trying to hold the Holy See responsible."

Lawsuits over alleged sex abuse by Catholic priests aren't new or unusual. But the Kentucky case gained notoriety because it targeted not U.S.-based priests or bishops, but the Vatican itself. According to the allegation, Catholic clergy in the U.S. engaged in a systematic cover-up of sex abuse under explicit instruction from the Holy See. The plaintiffs charged the cover-up led to numerous incidents of sex abuse.

In his filing, Mr. McMurry blamed earlier legal decisions in the case which supported the Vatican's argument that as a sovereign nation it was largely immune from lawsuits.

"Plaintiffs in this case are permitted only to pursue claims against the Holy See for the acts of its 'officials or employees' in the United States," the filing read. "Plaintiffs are without the legal right to pursue the Holy See for its direct acts."

Jeffrey Lena, a lawyer for the Vatican, said in a statement: "Six years ago, the plaintiffs' lawyers concocted a series of allegations. But they never had the evidence to back those allegations up. And that is the real reason plaintiffs now wish to dismiss their own case."

At least three other cases filed in the U.S. are pending against the Vatican. Michael Finnegan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in those, said the dismissal of the Kentucky case would have "no bearing at all" on them. "We believe in our cases and we're moving forward," he said.

Vatican pleased lawsuit is dropped
Lawyer cites failure to turn up new plaintiffs, Holy See's immunity.

By DYLAN T. LOVAN • Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 8:00 am

The Vatican spokesman is expressing satisfaction that three men who had sought to hold the Vatican liable in an American court for sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests have decided to abandon the case.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Tuesday it was "positive" that the lawsuit "in the end proved to be originating from an unfounded accusation." He said the Kentucky lawsuit, which started six years ago, had "had strong negative impact on public opinion."

However, Lombardi stressed that he sought not to "minimize the horror and condemnation" of child sex abuse or the compassion due to victims. He said justice for the victims and the protection of children remain a priority.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. • Three men who sought to hold the Vatican liable in an American court for sexual abuses by Roman Catholic priests are abandoning the case, according to a court motion filed Monday.

Lawyers looked to question Pope Benedict XVI under oath but had to leap the high legal hurdle of the Vatican's sovereign immunity status in the U.S.

The Kentucky lawsuit was considered the first in the U.S. to make it to the stage of determining whether victims had a negligence claim against the Vatican. The Vatican argued that the plaintiffs never showed a connection between Rome and the American clergy abuse scandal.

The plaintiffs filed a motion on Monday asking a federal judge in Louisville to dismiss their claims.

Their attorney, William McMurry, said he was seeking to end the case because of the Vatican's immunity and failure to turn up new plaintiffs who haven't yet been involved in a Catholic clergy abuse case.

"Virtually every child who was abused and will come forward as an adult has come forward and sued a bishop and collected money, and once that happens, it's over," McMurry told The Associated Press. McMurry represented more than 240 abuse victims who settled with the Louisville Archdiocese for $25 million in 2003.

An attorney for the Vatican, which is referred to in the lawsuit as the Holy See, said the lawsuit lacked merit.

"This development confirms that, contrary to what the plaintiffs' lawyers repeatedly told the media, there has never been a Holy See policy requiring concealment of child sexual abuse," attorney Jeffrey Lena said in a statement. "The theory crafted by the plaintiffs' lawyers six years ago misled the American public."

Lena said: "That the case against the Holy See always lacked merit does not mean that the plaintiffs themselves did not suffer as a result of sexual abuse. But bringing this case only distracted from the important goal of protecting children from harm."

The judge must still rule on whether the case can be dismissed, but attorneys on both sides say it has virtually ended.

McMurry wrote in the dismissal motion that an earlier court ruling that recognized the Vatican's immunity allowed the plaintiffs to proceed on the narrow argument that U.S. bishops are officials or employees of the Vatican.

McMurry said because of the court's determination, "the grant of jurisdiction was so narrow that it's meaningless."

The Vatican has argued that its U.S. bishops act independently, control their own budgets and are not employees of the Holy See.

McMurry said one of the plaintiffs, Michael J. Turner, was involved in the 2003 settlement against the Louisville Archdiocese, which voided his ability to seek a claim from the Vatican. Two other plaintiffs, James O'Bryan and Donald Poppe, alleged abuses that occurred several decades ago.

"In both cases the bishops in question are deceased and further discovery regarding the bishops' actions is believed to be impossible," the motion said.

McMurry said a months-long search for new victims who haven't settled in a clergy abuse case failed to find any willing to come forward.

"No one who has not sued a bishop is in a position to help us despite our best efforts over the past several months," McMurry said.

A separate American claim in Oregon against the Vatican is making its way through the federal courts after the U.S. Supreme Court refused in June to hear an appeal from the Holy See. The suit was filed in 2002 by a Seattle-area man who said a priest molested him in the late 1960s. Attorneys in that suit are also arguing that priests are Vatican employees for the purpose of American law.

Vatican rejects resignations of 2 Dublin bishops

Vatican rejects resignations of 2 Dublin bishops


DUBLIN — Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has told priests that the Vatican has rejected the resignations of his two auxiliary bishops following their reported involvement in the Roman Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse.

The Vatican's rebuff deals a blow to Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat who was appointed in 2004 to lead Ireland's most populous diocese through a growing storm of child-abuse scandals. From the start he has clashed with predecessors who suppressed reports of child molestation and transferred abusive priests to new parishes in Ireland, Britain and the United States.

"Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops," Martin said in a letter sent this week to priests and other Dublin church officials.

An Associated Press reporter saw a copy of the letter Wednesday. Aides to Martin confirmed the details of the letter. They said neither Martin nor the two auxiliaries were available to comment on the letter, which was a confidential church document and would not be published.

Analysts said the Vatican had sent a strong message to Martin not to criticize colleagues in public again.

"The Vatican were not impressed with the way Diarmuid Martin went on PrimeTime (an Irish television news program) and called on other bishops to be accountable," said Garry O'Sullivan, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin. "It's not the way business is done in Rome."

The letter said the two auxiliaries would be "assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese," but offered no specifics.

A Vatican spokesman refused to confirm that the resignations had been rejected or to offer reasons why bishops allegedly involved in covering up abuse would be kept in their posts.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi said it is the Vatican's policy to make public announcements only when resignations are accepted, not when they are rejected. He declined further comment.

An Irish government-authorized investigation into Dublin Archdiocese cover-ups published in November named more than a dozen current and former bishops as responsible for failing to tell police about more than 170 suspected pedophiles in the priesthood from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s.

Martin supported the state investigation by releasing thousands of previously secret church documents that demonstrated detailed church knowledge of crimes committed against several hundred Irish children. It found that Dublin church leaders began providing information to police only in 1995 — but continued to keep secret, until Martin's appointment in 2004, many files and other records of reported abuse.

The pope did accept the resignations of Donal Murray of Limerick and James Moriarty of Kildare, both of whom were former Dublin auxiliary bishops, and both of whom were criticized in the report. A third, Martin Drennan of Galway, has insisted he won't quit.

The two current Dublin auxiliaries, Walsh and Field, initially rejected criticisms but relented after failing to receive public backing from the outspoken Martin. Their resignation offers were read out to Dublin worshippers at Christmas Mass.

In their joint Christmas statement Walsh and Field said they hoped their resignations "may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologize to them."

Victims groups said Wednesday they were disgusted, but not surprised, that the Vatican had decided to back Walsh and Field rather than Martin.

"All this abuse was covered up by successive Dublin archbishops and in the full knowledge of every auxiliary bishop until Martin's arrival. On those grounds, every single bishop involved in the governance of the Dublin Archdiocese until 2004 ought to have resigned by now," said Andrew Madden, a former altar boy who became the first Irish victim to go public with an abuse lawsuit against the church in 1995.

Walsh has been a Dublin auxiliary bishop since 1990, Field since 1997.

Martin's relations with his two deputies have reportedly frayed during the long wait for a verdict from the Vatican. Martin has not appeared publicly with the auxiliary bishops since December.

Benedict summoned Ireland's bishops to Rome in February to discuss the Dublin Archdiocese scandal. The following month the pope published an unprecedented pastoral letter to the Irish Catholic people that condemned the abusers, praised their victims — but studiously avoided any acknowledgment of hierarchy culpability in covering up crimes.

"So much was expected of the pontiff, and so little was delivered," said John Kelly, leader of an Irish pressure group called Survivors of Child Abuse, who was molested and beaten in a Catholic-run workhouse for boys.

"The pope said that priests and bishops needed to surrender themselves to the demands of justice. Here were two of many who did surrender themselves — and they've been refused," Kelly said. "That sends out a signal that there is to be no change, no closure for victims and no accountability."



Dublin Archdiocese report,

Associated Press Writer Alessandra Rizzo in Rome contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Kenyan church leaders defend opposition to constitution

Kenyan church leaders defend opposition to constitution

by Fredrick Nzwili
Religion News Service

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS/ENInews) Kenyan church leaders have rejected calls for an apology after they campaigned against a new constitution that was overwhelmingly supported by voters in a referendum.

"There is no need to apologize. The voice of the church is the voice of prophecy and we did nothing wrong in taking a stand over this law," said Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa.

The new constitution places restrictions on the powers of the president and would institute a bill of rights for citizens. It was drawn up after violence claimed more than 1,000 lives following a disputed election in 2007.

Many Christian leaders in Kenya campaigned against the constitution because of fears that it will allow abortion, entrench Islamic legal courts and limit freedom of worship.

Following the Aug. 5 referendum, the National Civil Society Congress urged the church leaders to apologize for their opposition. Deacon Daniel Yumbya of Africa Brotherhood Church alleged that some church leaders had given out misleading information on the constitution, particularly the abortion clause.

"I am urging my fellow church leaders and politicians, who lied on certain clauses, to apologize to Kenyans," Yumbya said.

The church leaders said they had no regrets for campaigning against the law, even as top politicians appealed to people to forget their referendum differences and build a united country.

"It is our duty to preach about moral issues in the country," Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi told journalists after Mass on Sunday (Aug. 8) in Gatundu in central Kenya.

Tuesday 10 August 2010



Political Chistianity/Dominionism works for Kenya’s Rich,Middle Class Christians…BEWARE ,THEY ARE RISING AND THEY MEAN WHAT THEY SAY…THEY WANT POWER AND THEY WANT IT NOW.

In a straight to the point critique of the East African Evangelical church ,Kato Mivule of Yesu Mulungi ,reveals the fact that after losing the referendum,Kenyan Evangelicals are not only dejected but energized.They are playing politics very cleverly saying that their defeat will be their victory as the constitution will definitely have hiccups and the masses will say that the church was right as for now the media is saying that the church is wrong.

Ours is to say this false doctrine of Political Christianity is the key to Prosperity Gospel.They know that once gets Political power they will get economic power not knowing they are actually after Satan’s power.The game is not over.

Yesu Mulungi – African Christian Perspectives

The Economist and the Misguided Expose on East Africa’s Religious Right

Kato Mivule | August 9, 2010

The Economist recently published an article on what is called the “The religious right in East Africa, The rise of Christian fundamentalism in the Horn of Africa”. The article gives a description of current Political activities of Evangelical Christians in East Africa.

Much of what the author writes about is not news for those who have been following Evangelicals in East Africa. Most of what the article notes is what we have been warning East African Christians to be aware of – namely Political Christianity, Greed, Prosperity Gospel, Legalizing Morality, and other misguided Cultural wars.

Yet the author of the Economist article take a different twist and detest spin – generalization of East African Evangelicals as “Fundamentalists”. In other words, the defamatory and derogatory term ‘fundamentalist’, at least today, is a reserved for groups like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other lethal religious extremists, mainly used to generalize Muslims.

While the article is a little amusing, the author lacks any understanding of the History of Evangelicals in East Africa. The Authors for instance make a categorical mistake in claiming that most of the Pentecostal Churches started in the 1980s. The author could have researched a number of book written about East African Evangelicals. The author could have consulted a number of historians at some Kampala institution of higher learning.

This lack of historical perspective is some times endemic of some Western Publications such as the Economist. These folks simply send a journalist, who then goes on to live in a five start hotel, the journalist chases around a pompous evangelical preacher for an interview, attends a pompous Church service, then the journalist returns to a Western Capital, makes a weak analysis of events influenced by a heavy anti-Christian Bias.

The Author of the Economist makes another tragic error in stating that Pastor Robert Kayanja is the “ Half Brother” of Archbishop John Ssentamu, the Archbishop of York, England. Was this a strategic error and guided misinformation to try and create a distance between Archbishop Ssentamu and his Prosperity Gospel Preaching Brother, Robert Kayanja? It is well known and fully documented and published that Archbishop John Ssentamu is the elder brother of Robert Kayanja and not a mere “half brother.”

Another instance is the author of the article tries to take the Ugandan Government’s story on Robert Kayanja as being wrongfully accused of “homosexuality”. The truth was Pastor Robert Kayanja was not ‘simply’ accused of being a Homosexual but a Pedophile. The Economist’s lack of coverage of the Child Sexual Abuse that goes on in Evangelical circles in East Africa, Uganda in particular, shows that the author was bent on simply retributive journalism, and blanketing all East African Christians as being Homophobic.

In other words, if the author stated that there are cases of pedophilia that go on in Uganda’s Evangelical Churches, then perhaps anti-gay sentiments would rise. The author seems to not separate the Pedophilia issue with the Homosexuality issue. The trouble was that the Pedophilia issues was mixed up with the War on Homosexuality by Pastor Ssempa and associates.

On reading the article, it was like the Economist Journalist went to East Africa to play ‘tit for tat’ with East African Evangelicals and simply counter attack Evangelicals for their being Anti-gay. The Author knows very well that such an article would not pass the scrutiny of Western Evangelicals with it’s generalization of Evangelicals as “fundamentalists”.

However, despite the short comings of an ‘anti-christian’ attitude, this piece is an eye opener to the political activities of Evangelicals in East Africa and the Political Power of influence that they continual to hold. Despite the lost election on the constitutional change in Kenya, the Evangelicals will not give up but rather be energized the more.

While the Economist sees East Africa’s elite as avoiding the Evangelical Church, most of the numbers that make up the large Evangelical Churches are middle class, wealthy and with money to support pompous preachers. Further more, East Africa’s Political Elite use the Evangelical Population for political exploits. It is not uncommon for Politicians like President Museveni and his wife to always associate with powerful Evangelical leaders in East Africa. Take for instance the relationship between President Museveni and Pastor Robert Kayanja.

Lastly, the Economist makes another tragic error by employing ‘divide and rule’ by splitting the Muslims from Evangelical Christians when it comes to social issues or what the West refers to as ‘cultural wars’. This deliberate ignorance by the Economist, is not only alarming but shows the hypocrisy and anti-christian attitude by Western Publications like the Economist, when it comes to coverage of Christianity in Africa.

There are a number newspaper publications showing the joint meetings and protests by Muslim leaders and Pastor Martin Ssempa against Homosexuality in Uganda. Joint documents have been released by the two groups in the efforts to “rid Uganda of Homosexuality” yet the uppity Economist Journalist insinuates that there is a rift between Uganda Evangelicals and Muslims when it comes to such issues.

Muslims and Christians share the same conservative cultural values in East Africa despite the Kenya Constitutional Change Campaigns. They all are anti abortion, anti gay marriage, anti homosexuality, and greatly opposed to what they see as an invasion by Western Cultures in Africa. If there is any version of the African Religious Right, Conservative Muslims have been part of it – at least in Uganda.

When Pastor Ssempa’s associates in the war on homosexuality were arrested, Muslim Imams went to court to show support for their evangelical counterparts in the “war against homosexuality”. The deliberate lack of coverage of these important matters by the Economist further shows their anti-Christian attitudes and if they are to fully analyze Christian Events and the largely conservative culture in Africa, that anti-Christian and retributive attitude must be dropped and perhaps they might be of educational help to a large growing new generation of East Africans willing to give reason and intellect a chance.

Kato Mivule



The religious right in east Africa
Slain by the spirit
The rise of Christian fundamentalism in the Horn of Africa

Jul 1st 2010 | Nairobi

AT A rally in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park on a Sunday afternoon last month, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, parliamentarian, assistant minister for housing and one of the country’s foremost Pentecostal preachers, was passing around a paper bag for contributions from the crowd. Some tens of thousands of Kenyans had gathered to campaign against a proposed new constitution, which Ms Wanjiru and other preachers urged them to reject in a referendum to be held on August 4th. Two provisions, one allowing for Muslim courts to settle marriage and land disputes, the other to allow abortion where the life of the mother is in danger, were a direct threat to Christianity, they said. On the stage, people were being slain by the spirit; sometimes just a fingertip was enough to throw believers back across the boards.

Then someone tossed two grenades into the crowd, killing six people and wounding many others. Almost immediately, there were accusations that government security agents had attacked the rally. That is evidence, for some, that the government is rattled by the vibrant opposition of the “new churches”, mainly Pentecostal, to a new constitution that most members of the government support. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that, as elsewhere, Kenya’s politicians have underestimated the drawing power of a fresh generation of Protestant churches, most of which were set up in the 1980s.

Officially Pentecostals and other “charismatics” count for no more than 5% of the population. In reality, their ministers preach to about a third of the country every week. Their rise reflects an important trend across Africa. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, about 17m Africans described themselves as born-again Christians in 1970. Today the figure has soared to more than 400m, which accounts for over a third of Africa’s population. And as in Nigeria on the other side of the continent, they are now having a noticeable effect on public-policy debates in east Africa. Regardless of the outcome of the vote on the constitution in Kenya, for example, their interventions are likely to make abortion a defining political issue in the country. Similarly, the efforts of new churches in neighbouring Uganda have made political controversies out of homosexuality and the right of Muslims to convert to Christianity.

Ms Wanjiru’s own church, Jesus Is Alive Ministries, is a good example of the new genre. She can draw 100,000 worshippers to a meeting. Add in a visiting televangelist and the number can rise to as many as 500,000. Ms Wanjiru has lived the Pentecostal dream. She is from a poor family of casual labourers and eked out a life as a housemaid and toilet cleaner before working her way up to a marketing job. She then experienced a vision from God calling on her to save Africa. These days videos, CDs and other accessories can be bought from her website using credit cards or phone credit. She makes good use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. She is not afraid to court controversy, last year baptising the boss of the Mungiki organised-crime outfit, Maina Njenga. Mr Njenga’s gang had been involved in extortion and had a history of hacking off the heads of its enemies.

But the business of owner-operated churches is competitive. A few dud sermons and the crowd thins. That is one reason why they are so upbeat and aspirational. Indeed, their insistent calls for self-discipline and education, striving and victory prompt some people to say Pentecostalism should be encouraged in Africa as the new version of Max Weber’s Protestant work ethic. The churches are certainly prominent in anti-corruption campaigns.

However, there is also plenty of hucksterism. You will be blessed with health and wealth by God, congregants are told, especially if you give generously. As in other parts of the world, the new churches in Kenya and Uganda provide a place for the ambitious poor to get ahead. Yet the real competitive advantage of the new churches in east Africa seems to be their willingness to tap, at least subliminally, into traditional beliefs. “They give full play to the enchanted mentality, which holds the world to be inhabited with ghosts and spirits,” explains Paul Gifford, a professor of African Christianity at the University of London. It makes economic sense: getting spells lifted and spirits cast out on a Sunday morning saves money on a visit to the witch doctor during the week.

New churches are good at exploiting gaps in the market and profiting from them. A Ugandan Pentecostal preacher, Martin Ssempa, for instance, has mined a rich seam of homophobia in Uganda to help build up his standing. He and other Pentecostals pushed for the tabling of an anti-homosexuality bill in the Ugandan parliament, which advocates spying on gays and proscribes imprisonment for sodomy. Earlier versions of the law called for the death penalty in some instances. Mr Ssempa has in the past had ties with a prominent American evangelical, Rick Warren (who has condemned the anti-gay law), and with Uganda’s born-again first lady, Janet Museveni. “In Africa sodomy is an abomination,” he says. Some of his actions, such as screening gay pornography to his congregants, look clownish and self-publicising, but Mr Ssempa has been astute in targeting students at Makerere, Uganda’s best university. Other Pentecostals have also had success in Uganda with missions to convert Muslims to Christianity.

New churches are making headway in other parts of east Africa too. Despite threats of imprisonment from a repressive government they are enjoying success in Eritrea and have also built a large following in traditionally Coptic Christian Ethiopia, where all Protestants are simply known as “Pentay” for Pentecostal. The largest denomination, Kale Heywet, which claims 5m members, has been influenced by the new church movement, as has the 2.5m strong Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. It now says that it will reject money from Lutheran churches in richer countries to protest against their support for gay marriage. Returning refugees have introduced Pentecostalism into Burundi and Rwanda. Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is a born-again Christian. He holds prayer sessions and has overseen the introduction of new laws criminalising homosexuality in the country.

However, the new churches may not be able to translate today’s assertiveness into permanent political power. There have been investments from Pat Robertson and others, but the influence of the American Christian right is often overstated. Nigerian Pentecostals are more important in establishing business models and preaching styles. Being independent has helped with growth, but it makes it harder to lobby governments. Then there is the question of class. Pentecostalism cannot quite shake off its impecunious roots. The cabal of civil servants, soldiers, and businessmen who dominate the golf and social clubs of Nairobi and Kampala, the capitals of Kenya and Uganda, are mostly Anglican and Roman Catholic and are unlikely to be swayed by any casting out of demons. Likewise, the former Marxist rebels running Eritrea and Ethiopia probably won’t be moved by speaking in tongues.

Besides, the swagger of preachers like Mr Ssempa can backfire. Support for the anti-homosexuality bill in the Ugandan parliament has fallen away after Mr Ssempa and other preachers accused a rival Pentecostal, Robert Kayanja, of sodomy. Mr Kayanja, coincidentally a half-brother of the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has himself been criticised in Uganda for milking the poor to live a luxury life. And the clear anti-Muslim sentiment scares politicians who want to win the sizeable Muslim vote.

Even so, the emphasis on youth in new churches means they cannot be discounted. A new generation of born-again political leaders may seek to win power on Christian votes alone, even at the cost of division.




Ecumenism is an Evil, Blasphemous Doctrine.

This is to warn all especially Africans not to endorse the Global Peace Festival/ Convention that will take place in Nairobi ,Kenya later this year in November.The peace these people are talking about is peace without Jesus Christ which is a false peace.

The whole project is so subtly good one can think that these guys are for sure just and good.They are calling for people to serve one another in love,throw away divisions of hatred and love- a good message eh ?

But just because they do such good works ,one should look at what doctrine they hold.

The deeds are good but the doctrine is blasphemous.It rejects Jesus Christ as God and claims that all religions are one
before God and that we are all brothers and sisters,”One Family under God –sounds like the American Dominionist “One nation under God”.

Dr Moon who is promoting and funding this event has not recanted the satanic teachings of his Father who believes
he is the Messiah and that the kingdoms of this world shall be under his dominion.

So effective is their mission that they have grasped more than 10 nations in every continent spreading Ecumenism and Antichrist peace.


Ecumenism is a venture that seeks to first unite all Christian denominations together then bring this bloc to unite with other religions of this world.They claim that they are the answer to Jesus prayer for Unity in John 17.

However Jesus was not talking about this unity of denominations because he is not divided .Moreover,Unity of Religions
is impossible when Jesus Christ is put in the equation because other religions unequivocally declare Jesus is not God
nor is he the only begotten son of God.THIS IS ANTICHRIST BLASPHEMY.

Churches that join this Ecumenism bandwagon are declaring that Jesus is not God.They also reject the Holy Spirit because one can only have the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.

Ecumenism rejects the Holy Scriptures as the truth because they are many biblical passages that are contrary to the entire belief systems of other religions.So what these churches do is downplay the scriptural authority and put their compromising opinions as the basis of truth.Truth is relative according to them.According to God truth is his word which is one ,which is Jesus Christ.


Non believers are inspiring and funding this movement.I wonder why so called Christians leaders and denominations can join a group of non Christians to worship God .Oh, maybe they have something in common.But it is not Jesus Christ, so what is it ?

1.The Moonies- through Sun Myung Moon’s son Hyung Moon through the Global Peace Festival
2.The Aga Khan – calls for Islam to join with other religions
3.Prince Charles of Wales- wants to be the Defender of faiths not The Faith-yet there is only one true faith.
4.The Saudi King Abdullah- through the Interfaith Dialogue and the Abrahamic Faiths
5.The UN and many other bodies.

Most of these bodies as stated above are royal families and monarchies and empires that are stinking rich with billions of dollars.It is a shame that Churches are being beguiled by such monies in the name of Ecumenism.

Most of all ecumenism helps the Catholic church which believes she is the only true church.Thus when Christian denominations join the Catholic church in unity and tolerance ,they are declaring that she is the only universal church (the real meaning of the Catholic church)

By the way the Universal / catholic church rhymes with Moon’s Unification church, who also supports Archbishop Millingo whose Married Priests Now call their churches Ecumenical.

Beware, this is one world religion in action that is actually worship of the Antichrist ,hence worship of Satan.

Arthur Owiti



The word of God is clear that those who believe in Jesus are the sons of God ,not born of the flesh nor of the will of man but born of God. This issue of being part of the family God has divided the church for centuries and now is being corrupted by the Universalists/Ecumenists.

These two camps believe that there are many ways to God other than the only way, Jesus Christ. They also hold that since all men came from God, then all are saved because they have one Father or source.

But John 1 expressly says that the sons of God are those who believe in Jesus name, not those who trust in the flesh and blood or their family’s righteousness.
This false doctrine is actually racist in nature where people divide one another on the basis of origin.So in an attempt to heal racial rifts ,they opt for tolerance and universal salvation where one can get saved in any religion as long as they do good. This is an insult to the blood of Jesus and the Spirit of Grace and it is as old as the early church.


The Hebrew disciples of Jesus preached at first to their kinsmen until God had to reveal to Peter that the Gentiles were part of the New Covenant. Jesus had broken the wall of division by shedding his blood for both the Jew and the Gentile.
Thus God taught Peter this lesson at Cornelius house when Gentile believers were filed with the HolySpirit just as the Jewish believers were baptized on the day of Pentecost.
However it was a tough pill to swallow for some believing Jews. The national thought was that the Jews were the sons of God,because of the Abrahamic covenant and fleshly circumcision.How could Gentiles, heathen, uncircumcised become sons of God ?

So out of man’s wisdom ,they insisted that one had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses for them to be saved !!
They did not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is for this reason that God called Paul, who was not a Gentile, but one of the most devout Jews, to minister the powerful mystery where both Jews and Gentiles become sons of God through Jesus Christ.

Thus a Jew is a son of God because he believes in Jesus Christ then walks in his teachings; A Gentile is a son of God because he believes in Jesus Christ then walks in his teachings

A man is a son of God because he believes in Jesus Christ then walks in His teachings; A woman is a son of God (not gender son, male) because she believes in Jesus Christ then walks in his teachings. Therefore all who believe in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit, whether a man or a woman, a Jew or a Gentile. Amen.

This is unity In Jesus Christ is about salvation and not about Order.For in order, the gospel was preached first to the Jewish nation then to the Gentile nation.In the church leadership , a married man was eligible to be a bishop and not a woman.

But in salvation all who believe are one. No racial discrimination, no economic division ,no gender discrimination .Thus salvation was taught to be in Jesus Christ.
This teaching of salvation in Jesus Christ was corrupted profusely by the inception of the Roman Catholic church by Constantine where salvation was placed in the church and not faith in Jesus Christ. Thus one became a son of God by the flesh or the will of man and not by God. Observance of Church rituals and not faith in Jesus was what saved man- blasphemy.

It this false doctrine that spurred the Protestant Reformation. However as years went on , the same Man’s wisdom that had infiltrated the believing Pharisees of the early church to save man by fleshly means ,also captured Protestant leadership.

Salvation was based on church membership and other rituals. This is what spread the wave of denominations. Diverse ways of salvation instead of faith in Jesus Christ.Today the same Man’s wisdom has crept in the Evangelical church which actually arose to restore the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.This is seen through the planting a seed issue and faith in yourself of the Word Faith movement. All false ways of becoming sons of God.

Now with the rise of numerous religions due to the current multicultural interactions of all societies in the world, tolerance and cohesion is being sought. This pursuit has been defiled by Christian leadership that is now rejecting the fact that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. All in the name of tolerance and false peace.
Bishop Td Jakes called faith in Jesus Christ in one of his TV programs ” a better way than other ways /religions” when the Bible is clear that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No man can go to God except through Jesus Christ.
A look at the Rod Parsley Dominion Camp Meeting list of preachers shows how the Evangelical leadership is not concerned about doctrine. How can one host many preachers who hold different views about one clear thing in the scriptures and say you are united unless you are just tolerating each other for gain’s sake.

Paul Crouch Jr. of TBN boldly stated that TBN is divided theologically ,having so many divergent doctrines that actually clash with one another. Yet they say they are preaching one Christ.

We can now see how Tolerance sells because if TBN chose to be firm on the one doctrine of Christ many shows would have been chopped off the list and TBN will not be able to pay the bills and build empires.
The fact in all this is that the lack of insistence of salvation in Jesus Christ means that right now salvation is of the flesh and the will of man. It leads to the worship of the Antichrist.
A reformation is needed as the false salvation of ecumenism and universalism is creating false hope that leads to destruction. BEWARE.

In Christ Jesus
Arthur Owiti

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Lutherans Offer Warm Welcome to Gay Pastors

Lutherans Offer Warm Welcome to Gay Pastors

Published: July 25, 2010

With a laying on of hands, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Sunday welcomed into its fold seven openly gay pastors who had until recently been barred from the church’s ministry.

The ceremony at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco was the first of several planned since the denomination took a watershed vote at its convention last year to allow noncelibate gay ministers in committed relationships to serve the church.

“Today the church is speaking with a clear voice,” the Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, one of the seven gay pastors participating in the ceremony, said at a news conference just before it began. “All people are welcome here, all people are invited to help lead this church, and all people are loved unconditionally by God.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, known as the E.L.C.A., with 4.6 million members, is now the largest Protestant church in the United States to permit noncelibate gay ministers to serve in the ranks of its clergy — an issue that has caused wrenching divisions for it as well as for many other denominations.

Since the church voted last summer to allow noncelibate gay clergy members to serve, 185 congregations have taken the two consecutive votes required to leave the denomination, said Melissa Ramirez Cooper, a spokeswoman for the church, citing a tally that she said was updated monthly. There are 10,396 congregations nationwide.

The Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ also allow gay ministers. And the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s general assembly voted at its convention earlier this month to do so, though the vote will become church law only if is ratified by a majority of the church’s 173 regional presbyteries. Two smaller Lutheran denominations, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, do not ordain ministers in same-sex relationships.

The seven ministers welcomed at the ceremony on Sunday had already been ordained and have been serving at churches or outreach ministries in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they had not been officially recognized on the clergy roster.

“The effect of them being brought onto our roster is they will now be part of our national database of pastors who are available for service in any of our 10,500 churches,” said Bishop Mark W. Holmerud, who leads the Sierra Pacific Synod, which includes San Francisco. He noted that while some congregations were open to consider hiring openly gay ministers, others were not — and each congregation is free to choose.

The Evangelical Lutherans designed Sunday’s special “rite of reception” to mark the formal inclusion of gay ministers who were ordained in “extraordinary rites” that were not recognized by the church but were conducted by a group called Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Three more gay pastors will be welcomed at ceremonies in September and October, two in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area and one in Chicago, Ms. Cooper said.

Amalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, said, “It’s been a long and hard journey for a lot of people, and it feels like this is a new beginning in the history of the E.L.C.A.”

She said that all together, there were 46 openly gay ministers who had previously been excluded from the church’s clergy roster and would now be accepted.

The change was made possible after the Churchwide Assembly, the Evangelical Lutherans’ chief legislative body, voted at its meeting in 2009 to allow the ordination of noncelibate gay pastors who are in monogamous relationships. The denomination appointed a task force to study the issue in 2001, and spent the next eight years in debate. In the end, the proposal to permit openly gay clergy members won just two-thirds of the votes, the minimum required for passage.

Some who opposed it are now poised to leave. The Rev. Mark Chavez, director of Lutheran CORE, a coalition of theologically conservative Lutheran churches, said his group expected to form a new denomination, the North American Lutheran Church, in August.

He said of the ceremony on Sunday, “It’s just another steady step taken by the E.L.C.A. to move the denomination further and further away from most Lutheran churches around the world and from the whole Christian church, unfortunately.”

Before the ceremony, one of the gay pastors, the Rev. Megan M. Rohrer, said it had been a long journey from her home in South Dakota — where fellow Lutherans regarded her sexuality as a demon to be exorcised — to being finally welcomed as a minister in the Lutheran church.

“It’s an invitation,” she said of the ceremony, “to join us in the pews every single Sunday, where not a single one of these pastors will care if you agree with us or if you think our families are appropriate. We’ll serve you communion, we’ll pray with you and we’ll visit you in the hospital.”