Category Archives: United States of America

Oscar Rodriguez: United States of America

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Retired US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez was invited to recite a traditional flag-folding speech at a retirement ceremony for Master Sergeant Charles Roberson, held at Travis Air Force Base.  He did not write the speech.  It is one that has been given for years at flag-folding events in the US.  The speech ends with these words:

“It is this one nation under God that we call, with honor, the United States of America. God Bless our flag. God bless our troops. God bless America.”

When he began his recitation, several uniformed men grabbed Rodriguez and dragged him out of the room, as he continued to recite the speech.  Oscar Rodriguez was a retired serviceman, an invited guest, reciting a speech at the request of the man being honored.  He was not in uniform, yet the officers in charge felt it was appropriate to deny him his Constitutional rights, and throw him out of the ceremony, finding the use of the word “God” offensive.

Source:  First Liberty

What you can do:

  • Write to your representatives protesting this blatant disrespect and disregard for the laws of the country.
  • Pray for the men and women of the armed forces.
  • Pray for the leaders of this country,  as well as those who interpret and enforce the laws.
  • Watch the video here.

Father, it breaks my heart to see those who are supposed to be protecting our rights in the USA bullying, falsely accusing, and denying those very rights to ordinary citizens.  I see it every day in our leaders and judges who are supposed to be impartial and hold everyone to the same standards.  The powerful do whatever they want without fear of accountability.  The powerless are their scape goats.  Our government is corrupt.  Our leaders are corrupt.  Our celebrities are corrupt.  Our lives are filled with and controlled by corruption.  I ask You, with all my heart, to pour out a Spirit of repentance on the USA.  Bring us to our knees, and teach us to respect and appreciate those who think and believe differently from us.  I’m asking for a true spirit of tolerance–not just for the elites and the things they want, but for every person living here.  Diversity is the great strength of the US, but right now it is our great weakness as it is tearing us into shreds.  This is what happens when we think we can manage things without You.  Take out our stony hearts and give us hearts that care for and respect everyone.  

 

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha: United States

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Three American Muslim students were killed yesterday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina–three young people at the beginning of their lives whose lives up to this day were filled with giving to others and charity work.  Deah and Yusor were married one month ago.  Razan was Yusor’s sister.  All three were university students.  All three have a history of charity and love toward others.

Website: YouCaring.com/SyrianDentalRelief

Their father said:

“They all volunteered in downtown Raleigh many times a year to feed the homeless and the hungry,” he said. “They cooked loads of food. They came heartbroken to me to tell me how many grown men they’ve seen, standing in line, waiting for a bite.”

The loss of these three amazing people is a tragedy not just for Chapel Hill, but for the whole world.  In a recent conversation for the  StoryCorps oral history project, Yusor told her elementary school teacher:

“Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture.

“And that’s the beautiful thing here, is that it doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions — but here we’re all one, one culture. And it’s beautiful to see people of different areas interacting, and being family. Being, you know, one community.”

That is how it’s supposed to be here in this country–NOT like it was yesterday!  I don’t know what caused the shootings, but I do know that my heart is broken for the victims and their families.  We have to carefully guard against condemning the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.  Plurality is the strength of the United States.  All of our citizens matter.

Sources:  CNN News
Aljazeera
CNN News (2)
Facebook
NPR
Vox

Father, my heart breaks for these three students and their family and friends.  I thank You for the beauty of their lives, for their hearts of service that gave to others from their earliest years.  I know that what they have started will continue, and that You will bless it richly because You are full of mercy and grace.  I pray for everyone who has been touched by their giving, and those that will be touched, that they will be blessed and give to others in their own time.  I pray for Mr. and Mrs.  Abu-Salha and their remaining son–they lost 2 daughters and a son-in-law in one fell swoop.  I also pray for the parents and family of Deah.  Pour out Your comfort upon them, Father.  Show them Your redemption.  Flood them with Your peace. 

Father, I also ask You to use this opportunity to spread the good news of many of those practicing Islam.  We only hear about the radical extremists, Father–isn’t it time to hear about all those who love and care for others, who contribute to the strength of the US?  Stir up the hearts and minds of journalists to dwell on the story of these three young people, just as they dwelt on the stories of other young victims of crime and terror.  Bring healing and peace to the divisions in my country, Lord, and make us what we should be.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike: United States

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UPDATE  March 1, 2014
The Supreme Court of the United States is considering an appeal from the Romeike family regarding Department of Justice’s reversal of the asylum originally granted to the family by the Immigration Department.  The DOJ failed to submit a brief to the court outlining its case, and the court had to demand its presentation.  It is expected that the court will decide on Monday whether to hear the case or not.

Source:  FOX News

In 2006, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, German citizens living in Germany, took their children out of the German public school system and began to homeschool them.  (Both parents are music teachers.)  Since Germany has, for all practical purposes, outlawed homeschooling, the parents were assessed thousands of dollars in fines.  According to Uwe, one day the police arrived and took the crying children to school in a police van.  Due to their fear that the government would take their children away from them, the Romeikes moved to the United States in 2008, to join the two million children who are legally homeschooled here.

In 2010, the family was granted asylum in the US by an immigration department judge.  The Department of Justice, however, is contesting the ruling and the case will now appear before the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in April, 2013.  According to the DOJ, homeschooling is not a human right, and therefore not a grounds for asylum.  The Romeikes are devout Christians who removed their children from public education due to teachings that are contrary to their religious beliefs.  They felt their children were being taught to disrespect authority, and behave in ways contrary to their religious values.

The US DOJ views homeschooling as a “right” granted only to those people who belong to a religious group that “requires” them to homeschool.  This administration argues that homeschooling is not an individual right, but a group right, in the same way that they seem to view all rights included in the US Bill of Rights–not as individual rights, but as rights only of the group.  As Governor Mike Huckabee says, “This is a chilling idea.”

In Germany, school attendance became mandatory in 1918, but those laws were strengthened in 1938 to promulgate the spread of Nazi ideas, and the same laws continue today.  Heavy fines and penalties are imposed on parents who refuse to send their children to government schools in Germany’s 16 states.  Parents who continue to home school their children have been brought to court yearly, been imprisoned, and can be deprived of their parental custody rights.  German policymakers believe that homeschooling creates “parallel societies” outside the mainstream of German values.  They don’t wish to have any “religious or political minorities in Germany.”

The outcome of this case may have a powerful effect on homeschooling laws in the United States.  If the ruling supports the concept that the opportunity to homeschool can only exist for people who belong to a group that requires it, thousands of families will lose their hard fought parental rights in this area.

I find it interesting that 11 million illegal immigrants have been released by the DOJ, and can remain in this country (because of “sequestration”), but one family that entered legally, and was legally given asylum by a governmental agency, is now under threat of deportation by the same governmental agency that recently released illegal immigrants.  Justice?

What you can do:

  • Contact your representatives and express your concern over the DOJ’s interpretation of legal, American rights and to whom they apply
  • Contact your representatives to support the Romeike family
  • Pray for the family, the court case, and Germany
  • View this video of Mike Huckabee interviewing the lawyer representing a homeschooling organization.

Father in heaven, it seems like the world is all upside down–people calling white black, and black white.  I pray for the Romeike family.  They have uprooted their entire way of life in order to provide the education they want for their children.  They have followed the laws, received political asylum, and lived a productive life in the United States.  I pray that you will intervene in their behalf, and in behalf of all people who seem to be systematically being deprived of their “inalienable, God given, individual rights.”  I pray for wisdom for the judge who hears the case, the lawyers who are defending our basic human rights, and the family whose lives depend on what the ruling is.  It is for freedom that You have set us free, so let freedom ring, Lord!  Strengthen Uwe and Hannelore, comfort their children, and provide for their defense.  We pray for the government of Germany, Father.  Give them the will to embrace diversity, rather than attempting, once again, to stamp it out from their society.  Bring them the wisdom to rethink their stand on the rights of individuals and parents.  All people have the right to worship You, or not, in their own individual way.  In Your name, Amen.

Sources:  Al Jazeera
Fox News