Record 499 Syrian Refugees Admitted to US So Far in May Includes No Christians

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Record 499 Syrian Refugees Admitted to US So Far in May Includes No Christians

By Patrick Goodenough | May 23, 2016 | 4:25 AM EDT

 

(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration has admitted 499 Syrian refugees so far this month, with no Christians among them.

Of the 499 admitted in May, 495 are Sunni Muslims and the remaining four are described simply as “Moslem” in State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

Since FY2016 began on October 1, a total of 2,235 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States. Of them, 10 (0.44 percent) are Christians: three Catholics, two Orthodox, one Greek Orthodox and four refugees identified simply as “Christian.”

Christians make up the biggest non-Muslim minority in Syria – about 10 percent before the civil war erupted.

Sunnis

Meanwhile the State Department figures show that 2,170 (97 percent) of the 2,235 Syrian refugee newcomers in FY2016 are Sunni Muslims. The rest are made up of 17 Shi’a Muslims, 27 other Muslims, 10 Yazidis, and one refugee identified as “other religion.”

This marks the first time the fraction of Christians admitted during any given month in FY2016 has fallen below half a percentage point. Last October, it was 2.1 percent. By year’s end it had dropped to 0.9 percent, and over the ensuing months it has edged down to 0.8, 0.7, 0.5 and now 0.4 percent.

With another week still to run, May already accounts for the highest monthly tally of Syrian refugees admitted since the civil war began in the spring of 2011. The 499 admitted so far in May also exceeds the total number admitted during the first three years of the conflict.

After this month the next highest monthly admission numbers were recorded in April 2016 (451), September 2015 (389) and March 2016 (330).

The pace has picked up noticeably since last February, when the State Department opened a special refugee “resettlement surge center” in Amman, Jordan to speed up processing. Until then, President Obama’s goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees in FY2016 looked set to fall woefully short, with only 841 in total admitted between Oct. 2015 and Jan. 2016.

A total of 499 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the U.S. so far this month – the largest single month figure since the civil war began in 2011. (Data: State Department, Graph: CNSNews.com)

Even with the “surge” and significantly accelerated processing times – from around 18-24 months down to just three months – achieving the president’s fiscal year goal still looks like a tall order: With four months and one week to go, the total number admitted is still 7,765 shy of the target.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) attacks in Paris last November fueled concerns that the terrorist group would use refugee admission programs to infiltrate fighters into Western nations. According to French prosecutors two of the Paris attackers had evidently entered Europe through Greece, posing as refugees fleeing from the fighting in Syria.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee in February that ISIS was “taking advantage of the torrent of migrants [entering Europe] to insert operatives into that flow.”

In the U.S., dozens of Republican governors pushed back against allowing Syrian refugees to settle in their states, citing security concerns.

Since the Paris attacks, the State Department program has admitted a total of 1,944 Syrian refugees, of whom five (0.25 percent) are Christians, 1,884 (96.9 percent) are Sunnis, 44 are Shi’a and other Muslims, 10 are Yazidis and one is “other religion.”

Last March, Secretary of State John Kerry formally determined that atrocities being carried out by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in the areas it controls constitutes genocide.

only Christians

Before the conflict began in March 2011, the estimated Syrian population breakdown by religion was 10 percent Christian, 74 percent Sunni, and another 16 percent comprising various other Muslim traditions, including Shi’a, Allawite and Druze.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR acknowledges that Syrian minorities “fear that registration might bring retribution from other refugees” in the camps that it runs in countries surrounding Syria.

Many Christians therefore tend to avoid registering with the agency, and since the UNHCR plays a key role in the early stages of applications for refugee status in the U.S., Christians are unintentionally disadvantaged in the process.

“Without doubt, Syrians of all confessions are being victimized by this savage war and are facing unimaginable suffering,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on the Senate floor last March as he introduced legislation that would set aside 10,000 refugee resettlement places annually, for five years, for Syrian religious minorities.

“But only Christians and other religious minorities are the deliberate targets of systematic persecution and genocide,” he said. “It’s well-established that many religious minorities in Syria are very reluctant to register as refugees with the United Nations because they fear facing even more persecution.”

Exclusive: SunTrust Cuts Business Ties With Benham Brothers After Conservative Views Attacked

 

 

Exclusive: SunTrust Cuts Business Ties With Benham Brothers After Conservative Views Attacked

 

First they lost their television show. Now the Benham brothers say they are losing their business.

SunTrust Banks is cutting ties with would-be reality stars David and Jason Benham after liberal activists attacked them for their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

The move comes just a week after HGTV announced it was canceling a planned home renovation show hosted by the brothers.

“If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it,” said Jason Benham on Friday.

“We were caught off-guard with this one,” David Benham said of SunTrust’s actions. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace.”

The Benhams, in their statement, said the news came “without warning or explanation from SunTrust and took place over a 15 minute period” on Thursday. The Brothers said they have had a “mutually productive working relationship with SunTrust for many years” and hold a ”preferred broker” status with the bank.

The brothers said they contacted SunTrust, but bank employees declined to explain the reasoning for what happened.

Benhams

Reached for comment by TheDC on Friday, SunTrust corporate spokesman Mike McCoy would not say whether the Benhams’ political views impacted their decision.

“We continuously review our supplier relationships and changes to the list of companies we rely on for services is a natural part of our business, however we do not publicly comment on specific vender relationships,” McCoy told TheDC.

In their statement, the Benhams said they “recognize SunTrust’s right to hire or fire any real estate broker they choose but do not support the decision” to fire independent franchisees that are associated with them. Many of these franchisees, they said, “do not hold the same beliefs” they do.

“As Americans we find ourselves at a crossroads and are forced with a decision to either stand up or sit down,” David Benham said. “Evidently, SunTrust’s longstanding commitment to diversity must not include our historic Christian values.”

One such franchisee is Joel Morimanno of Benham Real Estate of SW Florida.

“I believe SunTrust has requested a blanket reassignment of all Benham Brother listings across the nation because of their Christian beliefs,” Morimanno said in a statement to TheDC.

“The success of my business is based on my performance,” he said. “I work hard to maintain a Preferred Status with all my clients. It appears that SunTrust simply reassigned the listing based on other external factors.”

In an email obtained by TheDC, Morimanno was told by SunTrust’s third-party asset management company: “Unfortunately the seller (SunTrust) is asking for this property to be re-assigned. This was the direct clients (SunTrust) request. I really appreciate all your efforts on this property…This one is out of our control. It is really nothing you did.”

“It is highly unusual for a big asset manager to reassign assets without cause. I even offered to waive my commissions on the sale of the property but they refused and said they were required to reassign the property,” Morimanno explained.

Benham REO Group, the brothers’ main company, “offers streamlined and scaled property management solutions to bank clients for the purposes of liquidating large volumes of foreclosed properties in the Carolinas,” according to its website.

“Having served more than 200 Bank clients and managed/sold over 6,500 foreclosed properties since its inception, the Benham Real Estate Group also provides home buyers/sellers/investors with a highly trained sales team that specializes in working with people interested in purchasing REO property,” the website said.

The Benhams were set to host a new home-renovation show on the Home and Garden Television network called “Flip It Forward.”

 But all that changed after an obscure website called Right Wing Watch drew negative attention to the Benham’s conservative views with the headline, “HGTV Picks Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Extremist For New Reality TV Show.”

The story shed light on how the hosts’ father, Flip Benham, is an outspoken evangelical minister who leads an anti-abortion group. It also revealed that David Benhan led a prayer rally in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention and has spoken out against gay marriage.

As TheDC reported earlier this week, the hit on the Benham brothers started with the anti-Christian conservative movement in Hollywood. Right Wing Watch, the website that first attacked the brothers, is a project of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, which started with an assist from the left-wing Tides Foundation.

People for the American Way was founded with help from former television Norman Lear, a Hollywood executive producer credited with starting the anti-Christian-right movement in the 1980s.

This is how HGTV described the proposed Benham Brothers show last month, which was not expected to be about politics: “Flip It Forward will feature real estate entrepreneurs and dads, David Benham and Jason Benham, as they leverage their good-natured sibling rivalry to help families find a fixer-upper and transform it into the dream home they never thought they could afford.”

There has been a conservative backlash to the HGTV decision. A group, Faith Driven Consumer, has now launched an effort in support of the Benham brothers called FlipThisDecision.com. Nearly 18,000 people have a signed a petition asking the television network to reverse its decision.

Chris Stone, the founder of Faith Driven Consumer, called SunTrust “discriminatory, intolerant, and in direct opposition everything that America is about.” He said the organization will actively seek new banks “who will welcome” the Benham brothers “along with all of the other people that they serve.”

“SunTrust’s actions have effectively put into place a belief-oriented litmus test for its business partners seeking to compete in the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas,” Stone said.

“SunTrust Banks appears to have punished David and Jason Benham by taking action against their business purely based on their Christian beliefs,” he added. “This sends a loud and clear message to people of faith in America, you’re not welcome at SunTrust, take your business somewhere else.”

 

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/16/exclusive-suntrust-cuts-business-ties-with-benham-brothers-after-conservative-views-attacked/2/#ixzz31trU3Dvw

Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics.

Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics 

People crowd St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, on occasion of the celebration of the Easter mass Sunday, March 31, 2013. Pope Francis is celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter's Square, which is packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People crowd St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on occasion of the celebration of the Easter mass Sunday, March 31, 2013. Pope Francis is celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter’s Square, which is packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

By Cheryl K. Chumley

The Washington Times

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See — a free-standing facility — and relocate offices onto the grounds of the larger American Embassy in Italy.

The new offices will be in a separate building on the property, Breitbart reported.


And while U.S. officials are touting the relocation as a security measure that’s a cautionary reaction to last year’s attacks on America’s facility in Benghazi, several former American envoys are raising the red flag.

It’s a “massive downgrade of U.S.-Vatican ties,” said former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson in the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy. The Holy See is a pivot point for international affairs and a major listening post for the United States, and … [it’s] an insult to American Catholics and to the Vatican.”

Mr. Nicholson — whose views were echoed by former envoys Francis RooneyMary Ann GlendonRaymond Flynn and Thomas Melady — also called the justification for closing the existing facility a “smokescreen,” Breitbart reported.

“That’s like saying people get killed on highways because they drive cars on them,” he said in the report. “We’re not a pauper nation … if we want to secure an embassy, we certainly can.”

Moreover, the existing facility has “state of the art” security, he said.

Mr. Flynn, meanwhile, said the administration’s announcement reflects a hostility toward the Catholic Church.

“It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See,” he said in the National Catholic Reporter. “[There’s no] diplomatic or political benefit to the United States” from the relocation at all, he added.

Catholic Vote, a publication for the Church community, called the move “an unmistakable slap in the face” that clearly communicates that the United States cares little for the diplomatic facility.

And Mr. Nicholson went on, as Breitbart reported: “It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican — and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”

PENTAGON MAY COURT MARTIAL SOLDIERS WHO SHARE CHRISTIAN FAITH

PENTAGON MAY COURT MARTIAL SOLDIERS WHO SHARE CHRISTIAN FAITH


The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.

The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.

(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians–including chaplains–sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)

Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.

So President Barack Obama’s civilian appointees who lead the Pentagon are confirming that the military will make it a crime–possibly resulting in imprisonment–for those in uniform to share their faith. This would include chaplains—military officers who are ordained clergymen of their faith (mostly Christian pastors or priests, or Jewish rabbis)–whose duty since the founding of the U.S. military under George Washington is to teach their faith and minister to the spiritual needs of troops who come to them for counsel, instruction, or comfort.

This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.

In response to the Pentagon’s plans, retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning:

It’s a matter of what do they mean by “proselytizing.” …I think they’ve got their defintions a little confused. If you’re talking about coercion that’s one thing, but if you’re talking about the free exercise of our faith as individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, especially for the chaplains, they I think the worst thing we can do is stop the ability for a soldier to be able to exercise his faith.”

FRC has launched a petition here which has already collected over 30,000 signatures, calling on Secretary Hagel is stop working with Weinstein and his anti-Christian organization to develop military policy regarding religious faith.

Florida University Under Fire Over ‘Jesus’ Classroom Exercise

FAU

Florida University Under Fire Over ‘Jesus’ Classroom Exercise

Wednesday, 27 Mar 2013 07:46 PM

A Florida university has come under fire over a professor’s controversial classroom assignment that asked his students to write “Jesus” on a sheet of paper and then to step on it.

The incident earlier this month at the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, has prompted the school to issue an apology and led to a call from Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott for an investigation.

“I am deeply disappointed in the recent actions of Florida Atlantic University faculty that raises significant questions over students’ rights and the lessons being taught in our classrooms,” Scott wrote in a letter to the head of Florida’s state university board on Tuesday.

The classroom exercise was conducted as part of a course on intercultural communication at the public university.


It called for students to write the words “Jesus” in big letters on a piece of paper, place it on the floor and then to step on the paper. Students were then asked to describe how they felt.

School officials said the instructor told students they could choose whether to participate in the exercise, which was based on an example in a study guide to a course textbook and intended to provoke a discussion of cultural symbols.

In a recent statement, Florida Atlantic University said it will no longer use the exercise after it sparked criticism from some students.

“It was insensitive and unacceptable. Based on the offensive nature of the exercise, we will not use it again and have issued an apology to the community,” the statement said.

In his letter, Scott said he wanted more than just an apology from the school.

“The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom,” he wrote.

“I’m requesting a report of the incident, how it was handled and a statement of the university’s policies to ensure this type of ‘lesson’ will not occur again,” Scott added.

Mario’s note: This news item is not offered merely to spark rage but to soberly ask ourselves why this would be done so close to Easter.  Even the professor might not understand his actions.  The answer, in my opinion, is that darkness is agitated at this time of year because we recall and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. 

And why was there no order to write Allah or Mohammed on a sheet of paper and stomp on it?  We all know the answer to that question.  It is because academic honesty is virtually gone.  It is because the America that activist professors, politicians, and media are building has open hostility to Christ and His teachings. 

On the other hand, we can extract an important lesson from this story.  Someone spoke out and the University felt the heat and immediately took action.  How sad that it was a Mormon who first spoke out.   Our prayers and our voices can make a great difference right now.

 “Silence in the face of evil is in itself evil.” – Dietrich  Bonhoeffer.  

Designed for living behind enemy lines!

 

Designed for living behind enemy lines!

Do you feel that a great evil has shrouded America?  Has your disappointment over this election left you downcast and weakened? Do you believe that the mood of the nation since the reelection of Obama is a growing hostility toward Christians?  Have the recent gains in legalizing gay marriage, marijuana and abortion left you feeling that all is lost?  In short, do you believe that you are now living behind enemy lines?   GOOD!  Because that is precisely what you are designed to do.

Many secret powers of the believer do not kick in until times like these.  God’s beloved have always been clothed with special graces in times of great opposition.   This is when we shine!

Our unique power to thrive in times like these comes from a simple prayer that Jesus prayed, and continues to pray for you and me.  Jesus said, “I pray not that you take them out of the world but that You keep them from the evil one. John 17:15.  This simple prayer is why we are different from all of the world’s religions!  Our faith is the only one that is designed for live behind enemy lines!

The religions of the world build hiding places.  You will find them replete with monasteries rituals of escape and endless disciplines for maintaining contact with their God. WE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE NEVER FORSAKEN.  WE ARE THE ONES WHO NEED NOT HIDE IN A TEMPLE BECAUSE WE ARE A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GOD. We are the ones with the indwelling Spirit of God who can give power, guidance, joy and peace through any storm.  We are the ones who are hard wired to transform adversity into even greater victory!

Today we face the uncertain power of an American president who believes he has a mandate to alter our way of life.   This is a terrible and fearful possibility.  However, our Christian soul uniquely qualified to stifle fear and find guidance that will navigate the coming storms.

The experts say it was the young who got Obama back in the Whitehouse.  They were seduced by a harem of Hollywood operatives.  They were lied to about values and human rights.

Now experts say that we cannot reach the young anymore or give them our values. They are supposedly a lost cause to Christianity.  How can we expect to counter the onslaught of modern evil and win the young?  How can we expect to compete with such monstrous power?

Youth are the most vulnerable to Christ of any demographic.  Many setbacks have come to Mario Murillo Ministries but winning youth has never been one of them.  History shows that Christianity has always been a youth movement.   What we need is to display a winsome message, without apology.  Jesus is poised to grant us that skill right now!

Consider these secret powers of the believer:

1. We live by someone else’s faith and not our own.

Galatians 2:20   have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

2. Nothing can separate us from His love for us.   

Romans 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3.  Even though everyone around you is pressured to live by destructive ways, you live by a completely different script.

1 Corinthians 7: 22,23  For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  

 Psalm 39: 6,7 Surely every man walks in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heaps up riches, and knows not who shall gather them.   7And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in You.

4. Whatever weapon the devil designs to destroy you will backfire because of the the way God designed you.

Isaiah 54:17  No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

Now you need to laugh and here are two short videos that are guaranteed to do the job!    The first  is a hilarious joke from Ronald Reagan   and the second is the best line ever about…well let it surprise you!