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BAGHDAD, May 28 (UPI) — About 30 people have been killed in Iraq in the past three months because they were homosexual or believed to be gay, a U.N. agency says.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Rights made its estimate after several men were killed in Baghdad and two others survived torture and mutilation, ABC News reports. Amnesty International wrote Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asking him to take “urgent and concerted action” to protect homosexuals from violence.

A government source said Asaieb al-Haq, a little-known Shiite militia that appeared after the Mahdi Army declared a cease-fire, issued a call to kill homosexuals. At least six men were killed in the next 10 days, two of them in Sadr City, the Shiite area in Baghdad dominated by the Mahdi Army.

But an Army officer, who did not want to be identified, suggested the deaths were the work of tribal vigilantes.

“Two young men were killed Thursday. They were sexual deviants,” he said. “Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor.”

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/05/28/Gay-killings-on-rise-in-Iraq/UPI-51651243540234/

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One of her lawyers, Nyan Win, told Mizzima that Police Brigadier General Myo Thein, along with Burma’s Police Chief Khin Yi, on Tuesday morning read out an order removing restrictions imposed on Aung San Suu Kyi under her former sentence of house arrest. It implies that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no more under house arrest, but she remains under detention as she is currently facing a trial,” Nyan Win explained. Myo Thein also told foreign diplomats and journalists that authorities had been thinking of releasing Aung San Suu Kyi when her current term of detention expires on May 27, but the American’s visit had interrupted their considerations. Khin Yi and Myo Thein said authorities had considered releasing her even though her detention period could still be extended for another six months. However, they did not cite any legal reasons for why her house arrest could have been extended. Aung San Suu Kyi’s International Lawyer, Jared Genser, was outraged at the news, saying no legal grounds – both by international and domestic law – can allow the extension of her detention. Genser, in an email message, said the junta’s claim has already been considered and rejected by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which is part of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Genser said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be legally placed under further house arrest. He cited the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s opinion issued on the holding of the Burmese pro-democracy leader.

Koyin Ko from France

The Church of Scotland sustains pastoral call of openly gay minister!

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Rev. Lindsay Louise Biddle, Chaplain of Affirmation Scotland, author of the Biblical Self-Defense Course and former National MLP Board Member, shared with us this good news from The Church of Scotland:

 

“After 3 1/2 hours of debate, the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday evening, May 23, 2009, voted 326 for and 267 against the Presbytery of Aberdeen’s action (taken in January 2009) to sustain the call (issued in November 2008) from Queen’s Cross Parish Church in Aberdeen, to the Rev. Scott Rennie, an openly-gay minister in The Church of Scotland who is in a committed relationship with his Christian partner, David, who is a religious education teacher.”

We thank God for an inclusive church, where all are welcome!

“Jesus loves me! this I know for the Bible tells me so. All to Jesus we belong, whatever our sexual orientation! Jesus loves me! this I know for the Bible tells me so. God created every one, said “very good,” and it was done!  Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! he Bible tells me so.

 

By the proud Chaplain of Affirmation Scotland The Rev. Ms. Lindsay Louise Biddle,

30 Ralston Avenue Glasgow G52 3NA 0141-883-7405.

 

We give thanks to God for this extraordinary faithful and just decision made on May 23 by The Church of Scotland and pray for its witness to inspire the Presbyterian Church (USA) and all other communities of faith within the Christian Communion.

 

with gratitude and hope,

Michael

 

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director & Field Organizer

More Light Presbyterians, 369 Montezuma Avenue # 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA (505) 820-7082, michaeladee@aol.com, www.mlp.org

Ecumenics support www.mlp.org since 2007

The Parliament of Connecticut abolished the death penalty, but Gov. Jodi Rell menaces the veto. Please, write Her, and write to everybody, in any country, in any language. Death penalty is a human sacrifice, a costly, racist, classist violation of human rights. Nothing more than “the pointless and needless extinction of life”. Death penalty is an enormous waste of lives, money, time and resources. It is not a deterrent and kills the poor, the weak, the mad, the illiterate, and the black.

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell

State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave. Hartford,

CT 06106 Fax:(203)524-7396

Tel:(203)566-4840 Tel: 860-566-4840 Toll-Free: 800-406-1527 TDD: 860-524-7397 email: Governor.Rell@po.state.ct.us

 web: http://www.state.ct.us/governor

 Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele Ltgovernor.fedele@ct.gov

Conn. Newspapers

 http://www.newslink.org/ctnews.html

From: Claudio Giusti, Italy

Letters to Ecumenics

John Mark Attard from Malta writes to Claudio Giusti:

I will of course write against the death penatly … but there was something written in the message that I didn’t like – 1 paragraph was said:
“Death penalty is an enormous waste of lives, money, time and resources. It is not a deterrent and kills the poor, the weak, the mad, the illiterate, and the black.”

Why did the person who wrote it mentioned the Black only? the death penalty kills not just the black -0 but also the whites. by no means the blacks are better than the whites & also vice-versa … but if he/she mentioned the Blacks – they should also mention the whites… or else they won’t mention any color at all. Racism isn’t just from the whites to the Blacks – but also there are Black racists who make the whites suffer… SO WHY THIS FACT IS NEVER MENTIONED ANYWHERE???

The Blacks have to come to terms with reality – that while they are nothing less than anyone – they also aren’t more than anyone – We are all equal – no White is better than a Black – but no Black is better than a White – People tend to forget this.

 

 

 

Claudio Giusti (Amnesty International) writes to John Mark Attard:

 

Blacks are 13% of American Population, but they are 50% of the jailed.

1 American adult every 100 is in prison, but for Blacks is 1 man every 10

Blacks are the 50% of the victims of murder (and murder occurs inside the racial community), but 80 % of the executed had killed Whites.

235 Blacks were executed for the killing of a White and 15 White for the killing of a Negro (none never from Texas)

If I say “Death penalty kills the black.” I know what I say

claudio giusti

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/FactSheet.pdf

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-and-death-penalty

PS

For Native Americans is even worse.

 

I understand the point …. however it doesn’t justify anything … the life of a 1,000 Blacks & life of just 1 White – ( and vice versa is of the same importance) – so whenever a Black or a White is mentioned – the other relative (Black or White) should be mentioned too –

However – I have totally understood the point … but this what I say – is how things ought to be – if they are to be in the very right way.

Life is life – no matter of whom … so we are all equal.

John Mark Attard

 

 

I’m a Christian non only for a compassion reason but I’m a follower of Jesus because I care of a new word of justice. The life is life but in this life very often there is not justice: the statistic show us;

the poverty is the main cause of every kind of inequality.

We must support civil e Human rights but  Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation too.

Maurizio Benazzi

 

One among the several problems connected to death penalty (and not only in the American society) is its impudently use as a status and racial tool and I am very surprised reading these kind of statements.

Victims of death penalty are mainly poor people, better if blacks, as in the cases of lynching. Americans are used not to apply litteraly their law because in this way we would have thousands of executions every year, as in other countries. Considering also the social cost, the American middle class wouldn’t stand this situation.

Claudio Giusti

Bible text: I Corinthians 12:4, 8-13
Speaker: Rev. Dr Ofelia Ortega

Introduction

The preparation of the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia, demanded a poem which could provide a poetic setting for the theme of the Assembly – “Come Holy Spirit – Renew the whole Creation”. T.K. Thomas, who worked at the Department of Publications of the World Council of Churches, called me up and said “Ofelia, we need a Latin American poem about the Holy Spirit”. Then I remembered a poem by Pedro Casaldáliga, and immediately sent him a telegram to Matto Grosso in Brazil, asking his permission to publish it. The answer did not take long. “Use the poem. It makes me happy to know that it will serve as inspiration for the Assembly. With ecumenical hugs.. Pedro Casaldáliga”.

Of course, Casaldáliga would never make claims concerning his author rights in a case like this. So we used the poem in most of the publications for Canberra.

To the Wind of the Spirit

That blows everywhere,

Free and making others free

Free and bringing Liberation,

Victorious over the Law,

And over Sin and Death.

 

To the Wind of the Spirit

That swept into Jesus

And sent him to the poor

To announce good news for them

And freedom for the captives.

 

To the Wind of the Spirit

That worked on Pentecost

Removing prejudice and interests

And fear away from the Apostles,

Opening wide the doors of the cenacle

So that the community of Jesus’ followers

Could always be open to the world

Free in their word,

Coherent in their witness,

Unbeatable in their hope.

 

To the Wind of the Spirit

That always sweeps away fears from the Church

And sets all powers on fire

Except the power for fraternal service

And purifies the church through poverty and martyrdom.

 

To the Wind of the Spirit

That brings arrogance, hypocrisy and lust to ashes.

And feeds the flames of justice and liberation

And makes the soul of the Kingdom.

So that we are Wind in the Wind, sisters and brothers.

 

There is a wonderful text in the letter of Paul to the Galatians – “The Spirit He gave us”.

This text is really excellent because it is evident that Pauline communities are not built on words, speeches and theoretical teachings. The communities had the experience of the Holy Spirit, and Paul appeals to that experience in order to lay the groundwork for the doctrine, being aware that “he who saw cannot but believe”.

In words of John Bluck1; “…at the Canberra Assembly the Spirit was invoked to break the churches out of their old theological captivities”.

In his opening address the General Secretary Emilio Castro expressed:

“By invoking the Holy Spirit

we affirm communion, justice,

solidarity and accountability as

against the pragmatic notions

of instrumentally, efficiency and profitability”2

And in his sermon Jacqueline Grant reminded us the words of Jesus… “Peace be with you”, but she added, that Jesus did not stop there, this was followed by the directive “receive the Holy Spirit”. The comments of Jacqueline Grant are very significant in the process of our “Decade to Overcome Violence”… Perhaps Jesus was saying to the disciples that the Holy Spirit is required to help us to discern peace. We know peace only when we know the Holy Spirit”3

I- Responding to tensions in the Corinth Community

Let’s now look at our biblical text: I Corinthians 12:4, 8-13.

In I Corinthians Paul, responds with concern to the news he has got from the Church in Corinth. Such news come from two sources and they reflect two different perspectives. In the first place Paul says that some people have communicated with him by the word of mouth ((1:11; 5:1; 11:18) and also by means of a letter (7:1) That official letter was asking for guidance “about the spiritual gifts”.

Paul uses his habitual concentric model to give the answer in three chapters. The problem of the spiritual gifts is developed in two parts (chapters 12 and 14), illuminated by a fundamental reaction (chapter 13), placed between these two parts.

There is also much tension in the new Christian community itself; rural groups, scandalous behaviour, and discrimination of the poorer and vulnerable people.

In this pastoral letter there are two basic axes that go through Pauls’ answers to these situations: the axis of the scatological future that sharpens conscience and inspires perseverance and the axis of the solidarious love that moves and guides Christians to devote themselves to the others. All these ideas are summed up in Jesus Christ ( 1:30).

It is interesting to observe the educational-pastoral strategy used by Paul – “you know” (12.12) to be able to clearly explain the denunciation and the teaching this is going to give them.

The letter establishes the exact criterion to evaluate the manifestations of the Charismatic nature. That is why it solemnly declares – “This is why I make known unto you…”( 12:3). Obviously the criterion of authenticity is the Christological one.

II-The Charismata come from the same source

To deal with the rivalries among the people with different gifts, Paul wants to very clearly establish that all these gifts come from the same source.

Paul repeats this truth three times, “the Spirit is the same”, “the Lord is the same”, “God is the same”.

This is a guide for the right definition of “charisma”. “It is a manifestation of divine grace, a gift bestowed irrespective of merit or spiritual maturity, an endowment sometimes called “a gift of the Spirit” granted by the Triune God to individuals to enhance, the life, worship and service of the people of God”4

Therefore, all the gifts come from the same source. None of them can be despised.

In her book “Pastoral Problems in Corinth” Irene Foulkes states that : “Paul expresses a triplet reiteration of diversity and he uses three different terms to talk about the variety of gifts given by God to the community of believers.

  • carisma (12:4)
  • ministeries, services
  • operations, activities.

It is significant that all the Pauline discussions of “charismata” are within the context of the metaphor of the Church as the Body of Christ (Rom 12:4 – 8); I Cor 12:4 – 11; Eph 4:4 -16).

And the summary in verse 7 adds the expression “manifestation of the Spirit”5

“The “charismata” are understood as graciously bestowed on individuals (indicative of diversity) given according to God’s covering will, but intended to meet the needs of the one Body (indicative of unity)6.

III- The diversity of Gifts

In verses 4.8-11 Paul presents the principle of the diversity of gifts and the universality of distribution.

The Spirit gives to ” one…. to another….and to another….” The central idea is that the Spirit provides all the people of God with the vital energies they need for their development and training.

This diversity of capabilities comes from the same Spirit that distributes them among all the believers (12:11)

In the Corinthian community , there are some people looking for extraordinary charismata for their own satisfaction rather than for community building. Besides, this search for charismata is selfish, without regarding its integration with other charismata and going over love. They have all the characteristics that would be present in the Gnostic groups of the II Century . Charisma is at the service of power and of personal benefit. It is possible to identify the minority of wise, powerful and noblemen of the Christian community in Corinth with these groups of enthusiastic Charismatics and future Gnostics.

Paul’s position towards them is coherent with his taking sides with the poor majority of the community.

In the first place, Paul recognizes the diversity of charismata, but the Spirit is the same and all the charismata get integrated like the members of the same body, nobody can despise the other because they have an apparently superior charisma (chapter 12). Love is , after all, the fundamental charisma . Without it all the other charismata are nothing. (chapter 13)

The most important charismata are the ones that build the community, that is why prophesy is superior to the language gift.

No charisma can be practiced for your own benefit, without order and for oppressing the majority in the community, particularly the poor and most vulnerable people. (chapter 14)

For Paul it is better to say five words where the sense is clear than ten thousand in unintelligible tongues (I Cor 14:19) .

The enthusiastic and impassioned search for extraordinary charismata for one’s own benefit can also take place in our communities at present.

Paul’s priority option comes out of love and for the edification of the needy and poor majority in the community.

Conclusion

I´d like to finish with some words espressed by His Holiness Aram I, Catholic of Cilicia mentioned in his book “For a Church Beyond its Walls”

“Being different is God’s gift, and we must accept God’s gift in humility and gratitude. By defining ourselves in isolation from the “other”, or in opposition to the “other”, we reject the “other”… if we accept the “otherness” of the other, we can built a harmonious community by transforming mutual hostility into mutual tolerance, and mutual rejection, into mutual acceptance”.7

It is what he called the “dignity of the difference”.

The message of this pastoral letter help us to understand that the tension between unity and diversity is mediated by love (I Cor 13), and the purpose for which their charisma are given is the Common Good (I Cor 12:7), care for one another (vers. 25-26) and encouragement and consolation (I Cor 14.3) and edification (v.5)

The statement that was approved in the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra in 1991 affirmed that “in communion diversities are brought together in harmony as gifts of the Holy Spirit contributing to the richness and fullness of the church of God”.

And now, allow me to conclude with this prayer.

“God the Father, creation of justice and mercy

God of Son, bringer of change and hope:

God the Holy Spirit, source of inspiration and help:

We ask you blessings on us, your pilgrim people,

divided by our traditions,

yet united in loving to follow you

Encourage us to face our time

in sorrow for our failings of the past,

in hope of a change of heart,

and in faith for a future

built on your Gospel of love, Amen.”

(Churches together in Farnborough, Surrey. U.K)

1 John Bluck, Canberra Take – Aways, WCC Publications, Geneva, 1991, pages 14, 15.

 

2 The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key texts and Voices, edited by Michael Kinnamon and Brian E. Cope, WCC Publications, Geneva, 1997, page 439.

3 Op.cit, John Bluck, page 16.

4 Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, WCC Publication, Geneva, 2002 page 162.

5 Irene Foulkes, Pastoral Problems in Corinth , Departamento Ecuménico de Investigaciones, San José Costa Rica, 1996, Pp. 345 y 346.

6 Op. Cit, Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, page 163

7 Aram I, Catholics of Cilicia, For a Church Beyond its Walls, Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon, 2007, page 282.

1 May 2009

Iranian authorities executed Delara Darabi in Rasht Central Prison on Friday morning. She is the second person to be executed this year after being convicted of a crime she was alleged to have commited while still under 18, Amnesty International has revealed.

“Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours’ notice,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“This appears to have been a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi’s life.”

Delara Darabi was executed despite her having been given a two-month stay of execution by the Head of the Judiciary on 19 April.

“This indicates that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

Delara Darabi was convicted of murdering a relative in 2003 when she was 17. She initially confessed to the murder, believing she could save her boyfriend from the gallows, but later retracted her confession.

She was detained at Rasht Prison in northern Iran since her arrest in 2003, during which time she developed a significant talent as a painter. Amnesty International does not consider her trial to have been fair, as the courts later refused to consider new evidence which the lawyer said would have proved she could not have committed the murder.

Amnesty International had campaigned to save her life since her case came to light in 2006, urging the Iranian authorities to commute her death sentence and calling for a her re-trial in proceedings that meet international standards. The execution of Delara Darabi brings the number of executions in Iran this year to 140. She is the second woman known to have been executed.

Iran has executed at least forty two juvenile offenders since 1990, eight of them in 2008 and one on 21 January 2009, in total disregard of international law, which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/delara-darabi-executed-iran-20090501

from giusticlaudio@aliceposta.it

Ecumenics support with success this popular petition in Facebook: we’re just second and third international recruiters. Pls support http://apps.facebook.com/causes/177888/18797972?m=95ac708a

IRanian Queer Railroad

Queers do exist in Iran and they need your support.

Positions:
  1. To end discrimination against sexual minorities in Iran
  2. To raise awareness of queer oppression in Iran and in other countries
  3. To advocate for the Iranian queer population
  4. To abolish execution in Iran
  5. To provide financial support for queer asylum seekers

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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