Religious Liberty in Contemporary Evangelical Social Ethics: An Assessment and Framework for Socio-political Challenges

by Andrew T. Walker | Christian reflection on religious liberty is as old as Christianity itself. But unless it is rehearsed and given fresh expression and articulation in new contexts, it can fall by the wayside. Marx was believed to have said, “Take away a people’s roots, and they can easily be moved.

Evangelical public theology often lacks a systematic, theologically grounded social ethic concerning religious liberty. The resulting impasse is one where religious liberty lacks distinctly evangelical contours. Modern and contemporary religious liberty discussions have been ceded, almost exclusively, to political and legal philosophy. At the same time, religious liberty is a foundational principle for evangelical public theology because it addresses issues of how evangelicals enter the public square as a religious people. Additionally, a doctrine of religious liberty is vital for establishing the relationship between the church and state in society. Theological warrant is needed to establish a doctrine of religious liberty on evangelical grounds, and, correspondingly, the lack of consensus or framework around religious liberty jeopardizes the possibility of developing a truly evangelical understanding of religious liberty for public theology.

On a cold, rainy Friday night in October 2017, my wife and I and a few friends from church gathered for a night of worship sponsored by a Christian worship organization that works with local Christian artists in our town

At the end of the evening, the individual emceeing the night closed with an impassioned prayer wherein he expressed gratitude to God for the liberty to join together with other believers to worship Christ without fear of government harassment. There was palpable gratitude for the freedom to worship in this man’s voice.

This gathering did not have to be registered with the government, which is tragically the case in other countries. We entered and left in peace without even a hint of fear of whether we would be “exposed” as Christians. Upon leaving, I knew I would be free to utilize social media and share of the event’s details without fear of that post facing censorship. Moreover, that weekend, I would be free to go to church and hear a sermon on why Christians should seek to influence their culture, whether related to the sanctity of life, racial reconciliation, or any other issue of ethical controversy in the culture. While I am accustomed to sermons and prayers where gratitude to worship freely is often expressed, writing this dissertation while hearing a prayer to God giving him praise for religious liberty struck me anew; and it dawned on me that this dissertation was not just a rote academic exercise.

Something pivotal about my existence as a Christian, and my participation in a local body, is bound up with the liberty to live faithfully in accord with God’s call on my life, and my family’s life. Religious liberty is not the gospel. That night, however, I was reminded that my experience of the gospel assumes a freedom I so often ignore and at worst, neglect gratitude. Religious liberty fans the flames of personal holiness and proclamation. It gives breath to the life of a local congregation gathering together every Sunday to declare that Jesus Christ is king.

I was reminded and convicted that night of how trite, routine, and assumed religious liberty is in my own mind—that as an American, I know nothing other than 212 religious liberty. That is one of the challenges to religious liberty in an American context— that Americans grow so accustomed to it that they may not recognize when its pillars are slowly corroding.

Christian reflection on religious liberty is as old as Christianity itself. But unless it is rehearsed and given fresh expression and articulation in new contexts, it can fall by the wayside. Marx was believed to have said, “Take away a people’s roots, and they can easily be moved.” This report has been an exercise is exposing the roots of freedom found in Christianity. Christians need presented with arguments for the defense of their own liberty, but also the liberty of others—for securing the liberty of others ensures the security of our own. This need for ethical apologetics is true of every age.

At this writing, religious liberty in America is entering a new age beset with challenges and opposition that call into question a once sacred consensus. By grounding religious liberty in the horizons of eschatology, anthropology, and soteriology, my hope is that this contribution to the field of Christian social ethics can be but one resource helping to usher in a new era of Christian preoccupation with religious liberty.

May the Christian church return to its first love, a primal strength—a fortitude that turns the other cheek and confidently, under pressure, insist that no worldly scheme can push back the onward advance of Christ’s invasion—for Christianity needs neither the state nor the culture for its truthfulness and efficacy. The liberty Christians seek and the liberty Christians use is a liberty to seek a city that is not yet, and to allow those in the church’s midst to join it in the promise of its coming.

Any claim or pursuit of religious liberty must always be pointed back toward its telos: The advancement of God’s kingdom. In the spirit of our missionary faith, let each of us, like the Apostle Paul, go about “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:31).

Andrew T. Walker is the Director of Research and Senior Fellow in Christian Ethics at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination’s entity tasked with equipping Christians and local churches to address ethical issues facing society and the church. In his role, he researches, speaks, and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public policy, and the church’s social witness. This is a summary of his dissertation presented to the Faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree, Doctor of Philosophy back in May 2018

Genocide in Nigeria!

by Joanna Bogunjoko | Despite his re-election, Buhari has not begun to change or do things better. Alas, he has not even acknowledged anything is going on. The All Progressives Congress (APC), South African Chapter, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the lives of Nigerians are safe in South Africa.

A university professor was gruesomely axed and murdered recently. He was 40 years old, married and a father of three young children. This is one in a thousand stories, and each murder was deliberate, planned and done without remorse or consequences. Is this how the story of Nigeria will continue? Will the world keep being quiet and turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the GENOCIDE going on in Nigeria?

Despite his re-election, Buhari has not begun to change or do things better. Alas, he has not even acknowledged anything is going on.

Please click the links in the references below and read about the massacres. And, please ask your government to put pressure on Buhari to stop these barbaric killings and bring the man-slaughterers to justice.
I can’t help but cry out the words of Psalm 10 that I have shared below.

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?….

He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

Thank you for your prayers and support for my country!


Nigerian Christians Under Siege: Attacks Claim 120 Lives Since February

A Dozen Christian Villages in Nigeria Wiped Out in Four-Day Killing Spree:

New Zealand: Fani-Kayode queries international community over silence on Kaduna killings

2 Islamic Groups Target Nigerian Christians – 300 Killed While 72 Others Supernaturally Saved from Firing Squad

Media IGNORING Mass Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria

Muslim Terrorists’ Merciless Killing of Nigerian Christians Continues as Mainstream Media Remains Silent

Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko

Joshua & Joanna Bogunjoko

Joanna Bogunjoko is the SIM’s Special Assistant to the International Director and Archives Assistant under the umbrella of SIM International Leadership and Services. She have served at three mission hospitals in West Africa and became full members of SIM in 2001.


‘Two-Party System’ Fraying in Both UK and US

by Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Dr. Harold Brackman | What’s needed on both sides of the Pond are leaders–liberal and conservative– who have the courage to call out extremists among their own—in real time.

The old joke is that the Americans and British are “divided by a common language.” Just consider Americans’ ignorance about “cricket” and most Brits’ incomprehension of “baseball.”

Politically, Americans remember such high-profile post-WWII Prime Ministers as Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. But they have a harder time understanding the Conservative Party’s PM Theresa May and her messy struggle with Brexit, or for that matter Jeremy Corbyn, the man who leads a British Labour Party increasingly welcoming of anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and coddlers of terrorists.

In fact, both of the UK’s major two parties for the past 100 years—the Conservatives and Labour—could be breaking up for failing to meet the challenges of extremism. Theresa May because of her failure to unite her majority party behind a Brexit soft landing; and Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who continues to fill Labour’s ranks with far-leftists while Tony Blair’s “moderates” are purged.

British Jews, who traditionally had found a home in the Labour Party voters, did not initially take seriously Corbyn’s history as an extremist firebrand who favored a review of UK arms sales to Israel because of its defensive response to armed Gaza mobs and terrorists. Corbyn  defended a London mural depicting ravenous Jewish bankers taking bites out of the backs of naked Third World minorities. And he attended in Tunisia a ceremony for Palestinian terrorists who kidnapped and murdered Jewish athletes at the 1972 Berlin Olympics. A 2009 video of him expressing sympathy for Arab suicide bombers also emerged.

Corbyn defended London Mayor Ken Livingstone who was expelled by the Labour Party for claiming that that Hitler was “a staunch Zionist.”

Not since the meteoric career of Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British fascists in the 1930s, have UK’s Jews faced political danger of the magnitude of Jeremy Corbyn. Some 85 percent of British Jews consider him an anti-Semite, and half that number would seriously consider leaving the country in the event of his election as PM. Such a development would probably administer a death blow to the UK-U.S. “special relationship” at the heart of the NATO Alliance.

But that scenario was dealt a blow when nine Labour members of Parliament quit labor to protest  his ambiguous positions on Brexit and association with anti-Semites at home and abroad.

America’s current two-party system, emerged in the 1850s when the Republican Party, opposed to the expansion of slavery, replaced the Whig Party in opposition to the Democrats.

Today, there is no US national leader espousing extremist positions on par with UK’s Corbyn. One virtue of America’s two-party system– now is under attack– is its success in preventing extremists from seizing power at the top of either national party. Until the 1960s, the Democrats made their peace with powerful Southern racist politicians who blocked legislation for racial integration, but denied them national control of the party. In 1948 and 1968, Strom Thurmond and then George Wallace broke from the Democrats to run as third-party candidates for President.

The Republicans as a party never repudiated Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s extremist anti-Communist crusade, but Republican President Eisenhower worked behind the scenes to reduce McCarthy’s power before he was censured by a bipartisan coalition of Senators in 1956.

Today in Congress, extremist views come from members of the House of Representatives. GOP Congressman Steve King (R-IA), long guilty of flirting with fascists, went too far when he stated that he saw nothing wrong with the labels “white supremacist” and “white nationalist.” His GOP colleagues censured and stripped him of committee assignments.

Somali-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) along with Rashida Tlaib (DMI)- have criticized Jews and Israel that resulted in their characterization as “extremists.” In 2012, Omar tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Omar never stopped labeling the Jewish state as an “apartheid regime.” Under political pressure, Omar clarified that she was “befuddled” when she made her “unfortunate” word choice in 2012. As of today, she favors a draconian boycott of Israel—but no sanctions on the authoritarian Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Finally, Omar asserts that Israel’s new nation state law “does not recognize the other religions that are living in it.” She equates democratic Israel with repressive Iran.

Back in the Minnesota legislature, Omar asked a judge for a lenient sentence for nine convicted Somali-American terrorists.

Most recently, she smeared the American Jewish activism on behalf of the US-Israel alliance, thusly: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby…”

Faced with multiple embarrassments from Omar, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belatedly passed a critical statement, but did not Omar by name, nor did she cancel Omar’s coveted position on the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Jeremy Corbyn’s long career in the British House of Commons shows how massive oak trees can grow from little acorns. Today, ideological and demographic shifts, affecting especially in the U.S. House of Representatives, may have ended the long period when “friends of Israel” in both parties predominated. There is nothing wrong with politicians sympathetic to the Muslim and Arab Middle East finding a voice, but that voice cannot be accepted in the mainstream if it validates violent extremists and demagogues who seek the demise of an independent Jewish state.

But America’s challenge from political extremists goes beyond the Middle East. An avowed Nazi garnered 56,000 votes in the November 2018 general election in the Chicago area. A Holocaust denier ran on the Republican ticket in California.

What’s needed on both sides of the Pond are leaders–liberal and conservative– who have the courage to call out extremists among their own—in real time.

Silence is not an option. Silence leaves political and social voids that will be filled by those who lack the vision to build but who possess the power to destroy.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean, Director Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with over 400,000 family members.


Dr. Harold Brackman, an author and consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has published widely, both in journalism and in scholarship. Check out his book, coauthored with Ephraim Isaac, “From Abraham to Obama: A History of Jews, Africans, and African Americans.”

Elections: Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Expresses Worry Over Vote-Buying in Ondo

by Bankole Adewale | Revd. John Oladapo, CAN Chairman, said he observed that people were still being given money to vote while monitoring the presidential and National Assembly elections in some parts of the state on Saturday

The Christian Association of Nigeria, Ondo State chapter, has expressed worry over the increasing incidence of vote buying during elections in the country.

The CAN Chairman in the state, Revd. John Oladapo, said he observed that people were still being given money to vote while monitoring the presidential and National Assembly elections in some parts of the state on Saturday.

Oladipo, who spoke with journalists while monitoring the election in Igbotako, the headquarters of Ilaje Local Government area of the state, however, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for the smooth commencement of the poll, saying the electoral body really prepared for the polls.

He described vote-buying as a threat to the nation’s democracy, urging people to vote for candidates of their choice.

He said, “The election has been going smoothly and I can say INEC has done well. However, the issue of money inducement is happening but not open and it is only those that can observe very well that will discover.

“There is an improvement compared to other elections in the past. People behaved maturely by abiding by INEC guidelines.

“We are disturbed though. I don’t know how far it will influence the outcome of the poll but I can see people are still being induced. Inducement is ungodly. We are disturbed and we are not pleased with it.”


Children of God: It’s Time to Take Action

by Ven. Dr B.U. Okafor | “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”

As the election draws nearer, I want to dwell on the dangerous situation into which Nigeria is sliding, especially the church. If care is not taken the church will soon slide into similar situation like that of the children of ancient Israel in the days of Pharaoh in Egypt; when they were dangerously and mightily oppressed by Pharaoh and his chariots, to the point where they even had to cast their male children into the rivers. In those days, it was dangerous to be called an Israelite or a Jew.

The church in Nigeria is sliding dangerously into such days as the days of Pharaoh, the days of Herod, and the days of the Antichrist. But God has promised us, the church and the whole nation, deliverance. This promise is in 2 Chron. 7:14: where God says, “if my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, I the Lord will hear from heaven and forgive their sins, and heal their land.

God will hear and heal Nigeria and His people if: 

  1. They humble themselves. Don’t be so proud. Many Nigerians are living in one sin or another: fornication, adultery, covetousness, greed, worldliness, etc. Why not humble thyself?
  2. They pray for the poor and needies instead of for themselves for more worldly treasures.
  3. Nigerians need to sought the face of the Lord, to know what pleases Him. They have not sought His kingdom-enlargement on earth, nor His righteousness. Rather, self-interest has consumed many of them.
  4. They turn away from their wicked ways. Instead they have oppressed the poor, prayed for the death of their enemies, and have not preached the gospel of Christ like the Apostles. They have not shone the light of God’s righteousness and mercy in this world. Rather they have been bitter, hard at work competing with the rest of the world. There is barely any difference between Christians and non-Christians these days.

Now Nigeria is heating up right and left with the persecution of the church; and it looks as if things are going to get worse. The devil has really come down to persecute the nation at large and especially churches in Nigeria. But the worst thing is the attitude of the children of God at a time like this. I am troubled that many children of God have neither curbed their extravagant life-style nor diminish their preaching of material prosperity and breakthrough messages, which have made many of the saints covetous and worldly. Even many of the great leaders have not sobered down their life-styles to reflect the doctrine of Christ, which is soberness and righteousness and truth which leads to godliness.

Many Believers have not preached the message that will bring true repentance to unbelievers and to the flock of God. Many have not diminished the flamboyance of their tempestuous life-styles, nor humbled themselves with sober living as true servants of Christ.

Many believers do not live in peace with their fellow saints and christians, and have not forgiven one another, and have set themselves on the war-path with other Christians. And because of this, at this critical hour, the church of God cannot come together to pray and humble ourselves, and corporately repent before God. Therefore, how can we fulfill 2 Chron 7:14 in our days?

Dear Brethren, this is an urgent appeal to the children of God. Do you not see the handwriting on the wall? Do you not see the days of Pharaoh are here? Do you not see that Herod is arising to oppress the church? Do you think it is impossible that you might be compelled to renounce your faith, or go into hiding to preserve your life? You may be saying “God forbid”, and I also say so. But do you know that God expects us to do something now to avert that disgrace and disaster?

We are appealing to all the ministers from various congregations to examine their ways. Times like this call for reflecting, soberness, and repentance. Preach righteousness, truth and soberness. Preach the word of God as well as hellfire. Turn your people back to God through Holy sober preaching and living a life of righteousness and truth. These are not the times for prosperity preaching and celebration. These are the days to actively seeking the Lord God and His Son, until He comes to deliver His people!

Fear God, all you congregations of God. Turn your lives to Christ. Don’t be boastful and flamboyant in your sinful lives. Repent now, and seek God’s help in these perilous times. Be sober, be just, be humble, and repent from your sins…..for the Lord is patiently waiting to show you mercy even in these evil days. Remember we are living in the prophesied perilous times of 2 Tim 3:1-17.

Let us go back to 2 Chron 7:14. Let us humble ourselves and pray. Let us seek the face of the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit of God to show us our sins, and as He shows us, let us also ask Him to grant us repentance. Let us repent from all our diverse sins, and as we seek God’s forgiveness, let us also forgive those who have offended us in any way. As you forgive others, you will also receive forgiveness and healing.

Beloved, if you are in Nigeria at this time and you are discerning, you don’t need prophet Jonah or Isaiah or Jeremiah to tell you that we are in evil times. Unless we earnestly seek the Lord now, we are all in danger of being devoured by the devourer. Critical times requires critical measures.

Therefore, I am inviting you to join us in one week prayer and fasting for repentance and revival for the church and for the nation of Nigeria:

Date: Saturday, February 9th to  Friday, February 15th 2019
Time: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily

If you love the Lord Jesus and cherish your faith, and I know you do, we appeal to you to join us in this fasting and prayer. It is a nation-wide event.

You will pray with your family anywhere around the world in the peaceful surrounding of your home. Do it earnestly with sincerity, as unto the Lord. Please, whenever possible, involve your churches as well.

The prayers are for repentance for all our sins, for faith towards God, to seek God’s help and His intervention for the church and for the nation; for peaceful elections on Saturday, February 16, 2019, and that God will deliver the Nigeria from Satan’s desires and schemes from bloodshed and violence.

Pray also for our leaders that God will deliver them from evil, that they will only do God’s will, and have the interests of the masses at heart. Pray that from 2019 elections will emerge a God fearing individual with interest of the church and nation at heart, a man of righteousness.

Pray for the ministers of God to arise to do righteousness and to preach the whole truth of the gospel, not a white-washed superficial gospel of material prosperity without holiness. And pray that righteousness and peace shall cover Nigeria (Prov. 14:34). And remember to pray for yourself and your household that God will preserve you from all evil and unto His everlasting kingdom.

This is an appeal to the entire Body of Christ (the church) in Nigeria. Let us all corporately, fervently and earnestly seek the Lord’s help, and see what He will do for the church, and for the nation of Nigeria. Please do not wait to be reminded because there may not be reminders. But we shall all fast and pray. Pray as if everything depended on your personal prayers. Above all, do not forget to register and vote.

This is non-denominational. It is God speaking to you to do the right thing now for the Christians in Nigeria and for a peaceful nation. These are perilous times, indeed!

Let us arise and do the right thing. You will never regret that you sought the help of the Lord at such a critical time in the history of Nigeria. Pray without ceasing.

Let us now all take up the admonition of prophet Joel in Joel 2:12-20:

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Who knoweth if he will return and repent…?

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thy heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God?’

Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people…”

Thank you for arising to pray, fast and vote during the General elections on February 16, 2019 to elect the President and the National Assembly. It is very necessary and urgent now!

Ven. Dr B.U. Okafor, National Evangelism Christian Outreach (NECO) Inc. – 15 Emenike Street, Mile One, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. Connect via


Pray for Democratic Elections, Standards & Monitoring in Nigeria on February 16th and March 2nd

by Joanna  Bogunjoko | As you may know, Leah, Alice and many others are still in Boko Haram’s captivity. Please continue to pray for their release. Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam has done a lot to raise prayers on their behalf and to reach out to the government to do more in getting them released. President Muhammadu Buhari [Photo: The News (Nigeria)]

Happy New Year! I trust that you had a wonderful Christmas and a restful holiday season with family and friends. May we have a joy, peace, mercy and grace filled year 2019 and many more.

I would like to thank you all for your prayers for Nigeria, your guidance on who I need to connect with to see that justice is done and to see that the upcoming elections are monitored. God bless you all!

As you may know, Leah, Alice and many others are still in Boko Haram’s captivity. Please continue to pray for their release. Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam has done a lot to raise prayers on their behalf and to reach out to the government to do more in getting them released.

May I beseech you to please pray fervently for the upcoming Nigerian elections (Presidential on February 16th and Governorship on March 2nd). May He in His infinite mercies guide and direct the electorate so that they could cast their ballots rightly in order to elect a credible candidate.

See below a list of election monitoring agencies sent to me that you can implore to go and monitor the elections. I believe that as God used King Artaxerxes of Persia to help Nehemiah rebuild Israel and its walls, He can also use anyone to rebuild Nigeria.

May the Lord bless you all and meet your every need according to His riches in glory. Thank you very much for your support.

Election Monitoring Agents

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems
IFES 2011 Crystal Drive 10th Floor,
Arlington, VA 22202
TEL 202.350.6700
FAX 202.350.6701

Democratic Elections and Standards, Monitoring Elections Carter Center
The Carter Center
453 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30307
Phone (404)420-5100 or (800)550-3560

National Democratic Institute (NDI)
National Democratic Institute
455 Massachusetts Ave, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20001-2621
Phone: 202-728-5500
Fax: 888-875-2887

Westminster Foundation for Democracy
House, 11/19 Artillery Row
London SW1P 1RT
T +44 (0) 20 7799 1311

Christian Association of Nigeria
National Christian Centre Central Area Abuja
P.M.B. 260 Garki
Abuja Nigeria
Phone: +234-806-081-6172
Mobile: +234-806-081-6172

African Union
African Union Headquarters
P.O. Box 3243 | Roosvelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax:(251) 11 551 78 44 | Webmaster:

European Commission
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI)
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
1049 Brussels.  Telephone: +32 2 584 11 11

Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko

Joshua & Joanna Bogunjoko

Joanna Bogunjoko is the SIM’s Special Assistant to the International Director and Archives Assistant under the umbrella of SIM International Leadership and Services. She have served at three mission hospitals in West Africa and became full members of SIM in 2001.


George W. Bush Delivers Emotional Eulogy for His Father, George H.W. Bush

by Scott Stump | In a heartfelt eulogy George W. Bush, the former president called his dad “the best father a son or daughter can have” during a touching memorial for the 41st president. Photo: Getty Images

The 43rd president of the United States stood up, composed himself and delivered a deeply moving eulogy during a memorial for his father, George H. W. Bush on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington.

George W. Bush said goodbye to his father, George H.W. Bush, with a moving eulogy during a memorial for the former president on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington.

Bush, the 43rd president, had a rare moment of public emotion at the end of his 12-minute speech while reflecting on his father’s tight bond with his children, his love for his wife of 73 years, Barbara, and his enduring sadness over the loss of his daughter, Robin, in 1954.

“The best father a son or daughter can have,” Bush said, his voice breaking. “And in our grief, let us smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”

Bush’s eulogy came in front of an audience that included the four other living presidents and first ladies as well as a host of world leaders. The elder Bush died Friday at 94.

Recalling some of his father’s enduring qualities, Bush called his father an empathic man who valued character over pedigree.

“He was no cynic,” Bush said. “He looked for the good in every person, and he usually found it.”

The elder Bush also “loved to laugh, especially at himself.” He also had some well-known quirks, including his hatred of a certain vegetable.

“His short game (in golf) was lousy. He wasn’t exactly Fred Astaire on the dance floor,” Bush said. “The man couldn’t stomach vegetables, especially broccoli. And by the way he passed these genetic defects along to us.”

The late Bush’s brushes with death, including being shot down over the Pacific as a Navy pilot during World War II, encouraged him to “live every day to the fullest,” his son said.

The elder Bush went skydiving on his 90th birthday near the family’s home in Maine and loved to crank up the engines on his boat and take it out for a spin on the Atlantic, even into his mid-80s.

“Dad was always busy, a man in constant motion, but never too busy to share his life with those around him,” Bush said.

The former vice president and onetime CIA chief had two speeds: “Full throttle and sleep,” Bush added.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former Sen. Alan Simpson, of Wyoming, were the ceremony’s other eulogists. Each spoke about Bush’s humility, leadership qualities, sense of humor and loyalty as a friend.

Bush’s granddaughter, TODAY correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, also took part in the memorial with a reading from the Book of Revelations.

In the days following his death, the younger Bush and siblings Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy remembered their father as “a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”

The two former presidents shared a heartwarming father-son bond that became tighter when the younger Bush was elected president in 2000. Both weathered the triumphs and criticism of the office.

In the final hours before his father’s death, George W. Bush told him over speaker phone that he was a wonderful dad.

The elder Bush was able to say goodbye, offering George what would be his final words: “I love you, too.”

Members of the public waited hours on Tuesday to pay their respects to the 41st president after his remains arrived in Washington, D.C. He is the first preside to lie in state since Gerald Ford in 2006.

President George W. Bush grasps the hand of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.The White House - Getty Images.

President George W. Bush grasps the hand of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.The White House – Getty Images.

The service in Washington will be followed by one on Thursday in Houston, where Bush lived, before he is laid to rest on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.

Scott Stump is a reporter @TODAYshow, contributor @NBCNews, freelance writer, Jersey Shore forever, and Northwestern Wildcat.

Nigerians in the Diasporas – Voting Opportunity

by Joanna Bogunjoko | Special Assistant to the International Director and Archives Assistant | Be sure to vote on November 1st, tomorrow, and remind others please.
Listen to the above on Youtube, subscribe to be eligible to vote, read the instructions below it (also attached), and share widely please.
Be a part of rebuilding Nigeria!
Watching the video lifted my spirit. I have been weeping for my beloved but tormented country, Nigeria for a long time, praying and thinking of what to do. I have connected with some influential people internationally to see how they can put pressure on our government to do what is right about the atrocities and genocide going on and to see how they can monitor our elections, especially in February 2019. This seems to be a ray of hope and by God’s grace, a workable and brilliant solution.

Great way for the Nigerians in the diaspora to be able to have a say in the elections!

Omoyele Sowore is the person everyone I spoke with is going to vote for.

Some people keep saying one of the 2 bigger parties will win anyway because of rigging and they won’t vote. Also because the two parties are already well known and the others are not. This is a silly and self-crucifying ideology.
How will a 3rd person be known and given a chance if people won’t be open minded and give someone else a chance?
Which of the two evils are we ready to have rule our country again? Is it Buhari who has dug us deeper in the grave and is allowing atrocities to reign or Atiku who stole our money when he was in government?

My ideology is that if all those who don’t want to vote for Atiku from PDP and those who don’t want to vote for Buhari from APC come together to vote for a third party, Sowore of AAC, I think by simple mathematics, Sowore will win. But, we all have to come together as a united force to vote for him.

Debate begins on next high court nominee

by Tom Strode | Kennedy, long the high court’s swing vote on controversial decisions, told Trump in a letter Wednesday (June 27) after the final opinions of the term were announced that his retirement as an associate justice would take effect July 31. He served 30 years on the court after his nomination by President Reagan and his Senate confirmation (Baptist Press:

WASHINGTON (BP) — The retirement announcement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy quickly ushered in guessing games on whom President Trump would next nominate to the Supreme Court and how long Roe v. Wade and other rulings would survive.

Kennedy, long the high court’s swing vote on controversial decisions, told Trump in a letter Wednesday (June 27) after the final opinions of the term were announced that his retirement as an associate justice would take effect July 31. He served 30 years on the court after his nomination by President Reagan and his Senate confirmation.

Trump commended Kennedy for his service and said a search for the next justice “will begin immediately.” His nominee will come from a list of 25 names the White House released last November, he told reporters June 27.

The Senate will vote to confirm the nominee this fall, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said from the floor June 28. Democrats and liberal advocacy organizations have already signaled they will fight any nominee from Trump’s list.

While defenders of abortion rights and other causes predicted doom will ensue if another Trump nominee like Neil Gorsuch is confirmed, some evangelical and conservative leaders expressed hope for a type of justice who might be forthcoming without predicting who it would be.

“The present vacancy comes at a critical moment, as Christians increasingly find themselves having to defend the most basic of American freedoms in courts of law,” said Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

“President Trump has an opportunity to nominate a jurist who sees his or her job as an opportunity to interpret the Constitution as it is, not as one wants it to be,” Walker told Baptist Press in written comments. “Our country needs a judge on the Supreme Court, not someone who discovers illusory rights in it.”

Michael Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a written statement his organization looks forward to a nominee “who will uphold the First Amendment and the original public meaning of the Constitution.”

Trump’s list — which has six women and three minorities among its 25 potential nominees — “includes the best and brightest of our federal and state judges,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network, in a post for National Review. “They all have judicial records of listening to the arguments of both sides in the courtroom, delivering well-reasoned decisions, and fairly applying the law with a scrupulous adherence to the Constitution.”

Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center and a close observer of the nomination process, predicted Trump would name a nominee before the end of July. A Senate confirmation vote could take place by mid-September so a new justice would be on the court when it opens its next term Oct. 1, Whelan wrote at National Review.

The Senate — which changed its rules before approval of Gorsuch in 2017 — requires only a majority vote to confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority, with Vice President Mike Pence the tie-breaking vote if needed. Without any Democratic votes, they could confirm the nominee as long as they lose no more than one of their own party members.

ERLC President Russell Moore and Farris both acknowledged Kennedy’s legacy is a mixed one. He provided important votes and sometimes opinions in defense of freedom of religion and speech, but he also offered critical support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

Advocates for abortion rights especially expressed despair about another nomination from Trump and confirmation by the Senate.

“Abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months,” tweeted CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin shortly after Kennedy’s retirement was announced.

Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the retirement was “devastating news.”

“The stakes of the coming nomination fight are extraordinary,” she said in a written statement. “The future of reproductive rights is on the line.”

Confirmation of a fifth conservative to the high court does not assure reversal of the 1973 Roe decision that legalized abortion throughout the country. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is the only current member of the Supreme Court who has called for overturning Roe in a written opinion. The other conservatives are Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Gorsuch.

If Roe is reversed, abortion would not be outlawed nationally. The question of abortion’s legality would return to the states, which had jurisdiction before the high court invalidated all abortion restrictions in its 1973 ruling.

In the case of a reversal, the right to abortion would be “at the highest risk of loss” in 23 states, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Abortion rights would appear to be secure in 19 states, the center reported earlier this year.

Trump’s list of possible nominees with their current places of service are:

Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals; Keith Blackwell, Georgia Supreme Court; Charles Canady, Florida Supreme Court; Steven Colloton, Eighth Circuit Court; Allison Eid, 10th Circuit Court; Britt Grant, Georgia Supreme Court; Raymond Gruender, Eighth Circuit Court; Thomas Hardiman, Third Circuit Court; Brett Kavanaugh, District of Columbia Circuit Court; Raymond Kethledge, Sixth Circuit Court; Joan Larsen, Sixth Circuit Court; Mike Lee, U.S. Senate from Utah; Thomas Lee, Utah Supreme Court; Edward Mansfield, Iowa Supreme Court; Federico Moreno, U.S. District Court, Florida; Kevin Newsom, 11th Circuit Court; William Pryor, 11th Circuit Court; Margaret Ryan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; David Stras, Eighth Circuit Court; Diane Sykes, Seventh Circuit Court; Amul Thapar, Sixth Circuit Court; Timothy Tymkovich, 10th Circuit Court; Robert Young, Michigan Supreme Court, retired; Don Willett, Texas Supreme Court; and Patrick Wyrick, Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Women on the list are Barrett, Eid, Grant, Larsen, Ryan and Sykes. Minorities among the 25 names, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported, are Thapar, South Asian American; Moreno, Hispanic American; and Young, African American.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

North Korea Willing to Talk About ‘Complete Denuclearization’

Seeking to salvage a landmark meeting with President Trump, Kim Jong-un told South Korea that he is willing to discuss abandoning his arsenal (Getty Images).

SEOUL, South Korea — The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, said during a surprise summit meeting that he is determined to meet President Trump and discuss a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday.

Mr. Kim met unexpectedly with Mr. Moon on Saturday to discuss salvaging a canceled summit meeting between Mr. Kim and President Trump, a new twist in the whirlwind of diplomacy over the fate of the North’s nuclear arsenal. The leaders of the two Koreas met for two hours on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a “truce village” inside the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.

Mr. Moon gave the first details of Saturday’s meeting in a news conference held Sunday morning in Seoul, the South Korean capital. He said that during the meeting, Mr. Kim expressed a desire to “end a history of war and confrontation” on the peninsula. Mr. Kim also said he was willing to talk about getting rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, a topic the Trump administration has said was a precondition for a meeting.

Mr. Moon said that Mr. Kim told him he wanted to go though with his planned summit meeting with Mr. Trump, and to make it a success. The Trump-Kim meeting, which would be the first between the heads of state of the United States and North Korea, had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, but was abruptly canceled on Thursday by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump said he was pulling out of the meeting, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from North Korea. But a day later, the American president said he was reconsidering and that it may still take place as scheduled.

Mr. Moon said the biggest challenge to holding the summit meeting was overcoming the lack of trust between North Korea and the United States, two countries that have viewed each other as threats since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

“Chairman Kim once again clearly expressed his firm commitment to a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Moon said. “What is not so clear to him is how firmly he can trust the United States’ commitment to ending hostiles relations and providing security guarantees for his government should it denuclearize.”

Mr. Moon said that North Korea and the United States will soon start working-level talks to help narrow the gap between the two sides. He said the results of those talks will help determine whether a summit between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump will take place and, if so, whether it will be successful.

Late Saturday night in Washington, Mr. Trump said that discussions about holding the summit meeting after all were “going on very well” and that there was “a lot of good will” between the parties.

Speaking in the Oval Office, the president said that he still hoped to meet with Mr. Kim on June 12 in Singapore, as originally planned.

“A lot of people are working on it,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s moving along very nicely. We’re looking at June 12 in Singapore. That hasn’t changed. And it’s moving along pretty well, so we’ll see what happens.”

Mr. Trump also made a mysterious allusion to talks about the summit meeting that were taking place near the White House on Saturday evening, but he declined to be more specific. It was unclear whether he was referring to the working-level talks mentioned by Mr. Moon.

“As you know, there are meetings going on as we speak in a certain location, which I won’t name,” he said. “But you’d like the location, it’s not so far away from here.”

In Seoul on Sunday, Mr. Moon said it was Mr. Kim who proposed the second summit meeting between them, suggesting that the young North Korean dictator is keen for the landmark meeting with Mr. Trump to take place.

During their time together, Mr. Moon said he briefed Mr. Kim on his meeting with Mr. Trump in Washington last week, telling the North Korean leader that the United States was willing to end hostile relations and provide economic cooperation with North Korea should it completely denuclearize.

“Since both Chairman Kim and President Trump want a successful summit, I stressed that the two sides need to communicate directly to remove their misunderstandings and to hold sufficient working-level talks on the agenda for the summit meeting,” Mr. Moon said.

“Chairman Kim agreed,” he added.

It was the second meeting in a month by Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim, who held their first summit meeting on the South Korean side of Panmunjom on April 27. The second meeting, held in secret and announced only after it took place, came amid doubts about the future of Mr. Kim’s planned summit meeting with President Trump.

At Saturday’s meeting, Mr. Kim thanked the South Korean president for his efforts to bring about the summit “and expressed his fixed will on the historic D.P.R.K.-U.S. summit talks,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported, using the abbreviation for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The report by the news agency marked the first time North Korea formally acknowledged there was a plan for Mr. Kim to meet Mr. Trump on June 12, and it also appeared to confirm Mr. Kim’s desire to negotiate face-to-face with the American leader.

Mr. Moon’s government has worked for months to help set up the first meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States, where it hoped Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump would resolve a decades-old dispute over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

Mr. Trump’s sudden cancellation of the meeting at first appeared to be a blow to Mr. Moon, who had staked much on brokering it. The announcement by Mr. Trump set off a head-spinning series of diplomatic maneuvers aimed at saving the meeting.

North Korea responded to Mr. Trump’s decision with a surprisingly conciliatory gesture, asking Mr. Trump to reconsider and saying that the North was ready to resume dialogue.

For weeks, Mr. Trump had issued a steady stream of enthusiastic comments and Twitter posts on his planned summit with Mr. Kim, although he also warned it might not happen.

Signs of trouble emerged last week, when North Korea pulled out of planned high-level talks with South Korea, protesting a joint military exercise between the South and the United States, which it called a rehearsal for invasion.

The North then focused its anger on Mr. Trump’s hard-line national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who has said the North must abandon its arsenal before sanctions can be lifted, and Vice President Mike Pence, who warned that North Korea might “end like the Libyan model” if Mr. Kim does not denuclearize.

In 2003, Libya’s former leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, handed over a nascent nuclear weapons program in the hopes of better ties with Washington — only to be killed years later by rebels supported by Washington.

On Thursday, North Korea called Mr. Pence a “political dummy” and warned of a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” with the United States, threatening to cancel the summit with Mr. Trump. Hours later, Mr. Trump acted first, canceling it.

On Saturday, the White House announced that an advance team would go as scheduled to Singapore “in order to prepare should the summit take place,” according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

Michael D. Shear contributed reporting from Washington.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Leaders of Two Koreas Discuss Salvaging Summit Meeting.
Source: The New York Times – Home Page (U.S.) (Sun, 27 May 2018 02:51:47 GMT )

President Trump Cancels North Korea Summit

by Dr. Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | The threat of North Korea is just one of the challenges we face as a nation (Images: Getty Images).

Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

With these words, President Trump notified Kim Jong Un yesterday that he was canceling their June 12 summit in Singapore.

This decision followed a series of ominously worded statements from North Korea. Their senior envoy for US affairs had threatened to call off the summit and warned that their regime could “make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined.” The envoy also described Vice President Pence as a “political dummy.”

The White House says back channels for discussions with North Korea are still open but states that the regime must first change its rhetoric.


A “challenging threat environment”

The threat of North Korea is just one of the challenges we face as a nation.

Russia is believed to have 4,300 nuclear weapons, followed by the US with 4,000. There are 9,400 nuclear weapons in military arsenals, with another 5,600 awaiting dismantlement. Nearly 4,000 nuclear weapons are operationally available; 1,800 are ready for use on short notice.

The largest Russian bomb, if dropped on New York City, would kill 7.6 million people.

In addition, China is expanding its economic and military power and influence. Proxy wars in the Middle East involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel threaten to escalate.

Dan Coats, the US Director of National Intelligence, testified earlier this year before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: “We face a complex, volatile and challenging threat environment. The risk of interstate conflict is higher than any time since the end of the Cold war–all the more alarming because of the growing development and use of weapons of mass destruction by state and nonstate actors.”

A nation worth protecting

The challenges of our day show why the men and women of our military are so important to our nation. More than 1.4 million Americans are serving on active duty today. Each of them has taken an oath to defend each of us.

Over America’s history, more than 1.1 million men and women have fulfilled that oath at the cost of their lives. Their memory lives in our gratitude. All we do this Memorial Day weekend to honor their sacrifice is so much less than they did to deserve it.

How does God want us to observe this important tradition?

One: Minister to the families of fallen soldiers. Scripture tells us that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He wants us to be the presence of Jesus as we serve and pray for those in grief.

Two: Pray for wisdom for our military and civilian leaders. In these perilous times, claim the biblical promise: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God” (James 1:5).

Three: Pray for peace among nations. Pray for Kim Jong Un and other world leaders to follow Jesus. Make Paul’s prayer yours: “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Four: Make America a nation worthy of their sacrifice. When I meet military veterans, I tell them that our nation owes them an unpayable debt. They often respond by encouraging me to make America a nation worth dying for.

Scripture calls us to set the example: “Be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).

“An estate to be preserved”

Noah Webster has been called “the father of American scholarship and education.” On the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he delivered a remarkable oration in which he pointed to the values and examples of the patriots whose sacrifice purchased America’s freedom.

At one point, he turned to “the youth of our country, who were not spectators of the distresses of the war.” His charge to them is just as relevant for us: “Let them consider that upon them has devolved the task of defending and improving the rich inheritance, purchased by their fathers. Nor let them view this inheritance of National Freedom and Independence, as a fortune that is to be squandered away, in ease and riot, but as an estate to be preserved only by industry, toil and vigilance.”


For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit

Kogi 2019: Iselaiye Eyes Yagba Federal Constituency Seat

Responding to a question based on speculations about his political ambition and motivations, he said, “It is not a speculation. It is true. By the grace of God, we will be contesting for the House of Representatives election in 2019.
Ahead of the next elections into the National Assembly scheduled for 2019, youthful businessman and founder of Oluwafemi Iselaiye Foundation (OIF), a philanthropic organisation, Mr Femi Iselaiye, has hinted on his intention to run for the House of Representatives election for Yagba West, Yagba East and Mopamuro Federal Constituency of Kogi State.

Iselaiye made the disclosure shortly after he collected his Permanent Voter Card (PVC) at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in his home town, Isanlu, headquarters of Yagba East Local Government Area. Fielding questions from journalists, Iselaiye who is in his mid-30s noted that “leadership is not by age or size.. It is by people oriented vision, support my dream.”.

He stated that his ambition was premised on the “palpable signs of neglect, backwardness and underdevelopment” that permeated the area and the desire to turn around the fortunes of the people with special focus on road infrastructure, education and human resource capacity building.

Iselaiye who is Principal Partner, F&F Trees Service based in the United States of America, pointed out that although his business is located outside the country, he grew up in Nigeria and visit the country regularly, an experience he noted had exposed him to “how things can be better done in a democracy. It is not a question of self-service. It is about service and the people are central to it.”

Responding to a question based on speculations about his political ambition and motivations, he said, “It is not a speculation. It is true. By the grace of God, we will be contesting for the House of Representatives election in 2019. Talking about motivations, I would give you one answer-look around you; just take a look at what you see. Things are not the way they supposed to be. I have been here for three hours trying to complete this (voter) registration, there is no light. Coming here, there is no road. From Egbe to Kabba, the road is an eyesore. Everywhere you go, what you see is palpable signs of neglect, decay, backwardness, underdevelopment, hunger and depression. Quickest answer is look around you”.

He added, “Through the OIF, we have tried within our means to touch lives using our own God given resources. Our experience has exposed us to the vista of the problems faced by the vulnerable population. I have carefully articulated the problems and the type of representation our people need. Now it is our desire to explore the direct approach of getting involved with the process of governance through enacting good laws to turn round the fortunes of the people.”

Recent activities of OIF, a non-governmental organization which targets poverty among the vulnerable population in Yagbaland, included distribution of note books to primary school pupils, cash donation to widows, supports to orphanage homes, organizing seminars and sports competitions geared at helping the people realize their potentials in sport and education, among others.