Monday, December 31, 2012

A Repentant Nation

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda repelled the powers of darkness when he openly repented of his personal sins and the sins of Uganda on November 27, 2012. He specifically repented for idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in the country and for the innocent shedding of blood, dishonesty and political hypocrisy.  It was a shot not heard around the world (and certainly not reported by the liberal media in the U.S.) but it was certainly heard in the kingdom of heaven.

President Museveni is a model not only for the United States’ leadership but for all nations for the Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” (Ps 33:12)

The text of President Museveni’s speech follows:
Father God in Heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all Your goodness to us.
I stand here today to close the evil past—especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history. [We are] at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for Your forgiveness.
We confess these sins that have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.
We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft, which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.
Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict.
These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love You, to fear You and to seek You. Take away from us all the above sins.
We pray for national unity. Unite us as Ugandans and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. Help us to see that we are all Your children, children of the same Father. Help us to love and respect one another and to appreciate unity in diversity.
We pray for prosperity and transformation. Deliver us from ignorance, poverty and disease. As leaders, give us wisdom to help lead our people into political, social and economic transformation.
We want to dedicate this nation to You so that You will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: 'Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord. A people You have chosen as Your own.'
I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to You, to walk in Your ways and experience all Your blessings forever.
I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Faith Challenged

It is the end of a good year in terms of personal achievement.  I sold an iconic building to one of the foremost entertainment giants in the country.  I stood against a governmental agency and prevailed.  I gave birth to a book that I began writing over three years ago.  My wife and her team set records ministering to women and men in need of recovery from past abortion(s) and she enjoyed enormous personal growth as well. It was a year of personal challenge and great victory.  By the power of God, dreams were realized and faith renewed.  It was a good year for us, but a bittersweet pill to swallow.

In the midst of our personal celebrations all year, Americans have been surrounded by disaster and many families are displaced and in pain. Our nation experienced $11 Billion in natural disasters that include Hurricane Sandy, massive flooding, and a drought throughout the lower 48 states.  Our nation experienced the highest (8%+) and longest period of unemployment in recent history creating 25 million Americans unemployed, 1 out of 6 living in poverty and 47 million Americans on food stamp assistance.  Our nation experienced unprecedented murders in our largest cities. Chicago registered its 500th homicide this year (more than in New York) with 80% of those being black boys and girls.  And of course, we still mourn the loss of the innocent lives in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 elementary students lost their lives to a young gunman.     

There is a trend of despair, violence, and hopelessness all around.  It’s in the air.  For many the response or the answer is to elect a new president or make new gun laws or fight climate change more by jacking up fees everywhere you can. Not. The answer is too obvious to see.
We have systematically allowed the removal of God from our public discourse and for many from our very hearts.  As we as a society bend to appease the faithless, we’ve allowed the very mention of God to be removed from our public prayers, from education (text books and the like), and even from our homes as we bend to cries for same-sex marriage and abortion on-demand. Tolerance has become our religion as we go astray. We’ve become a lukewarm people afraid to be hot or cold for fear of being called religious, racist, or radical.

Our nation is under assault and it has little to do with our local leadership, or the economy, or who is in the White House all of which are wanting for change.  It has everything to do with our pursuit of the things of God.  We are a nation under spiritual attack and the attack will only abate when we turn our eyes, our minds, and our hearts toward Jesus Christ.  God help us all.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

George Clooney: Sudan Village Burnings A War Crime

Great article in the Huffington Post by Straziuso

NAIROBI, Kenya — Actor George Clooney and a group of U.S. genocide scholars in the United States are warning that war crimes are taking place in an obscure conflict in Sudan's southern region.

Clooney has long worked to prevent conflict in Sudan and South Sudan, and he co-founded a group that uses satellite imagery to monitor acts of war there. That group, the Satellite Sentinel Project, said Thursday that 26 villages were intentionally set on fire last month by Sudanese forces.

"Razing a village is a war crime, and the torching of now at least 26 Nuban villages, plus the systematic destruction of crops and grasslands for cattle, is a crime against humanity, Clooney said. "What we're seeing here is a widespread campaign of village and crop burning. We've seen this in Darfur, and it's happening again in South Kordofan and Blue Nile," he said, referring to two states in southern Sudan that border the separate country of South Sudan.

"The international community must act more robustly to counter and create a consequence for these crimes," he said.

Sudanese troops are fighting rebels in the Nuba Mountains who were once aligned with what is now South Sudan. When South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan last year, following decades of civil war, the rebels' region was placed in the Sudan side, though many there say they wish they would have been put with South Sudan.

Antonov airplanes have routinely bombed the rebels' region over the last year, resulting in farmers fleeing their fields. John Prendergast, a co-founder of the satellite project, said Sudan is carrying out a strategy of "starvation warfare." More than 100,000 Nuba residents have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan.

The United States under President George W. Bush played a large role in ending decades of conflict between Sudan and what is now South Sudan. But the fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states – between Sudanese forces and rebels known as the SPLM-North – is not generating much international attention by comparison.

Samuel Totten, a professor at the University of Arkansas and the author of "Genocide by Attrition: The Nuba Mountains of Sudan," leads an online discussion with scholars and human rights activists about events in Sudan. On Wednesday he submitted a letter signed by more than 70 scholars to the Atrocities Prevention Board, a U.S. government panel. President Barack Obama created the board in August 2011, when he declared that the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide to be a "core national security interest and core moral responsibility."

Totten's letter said Sudan is carrying out attacks in Nuba much like it once did in Darfur, a region in western Sudan that benefited from an international outcry against atrocities committed there. The letter said the U.S. and international community are doing little or nothing to prevent the violence, despite Obama's 2011 directive.

"There is a point, we believe, when it should become self-evident that the continuation of talk, talk and more talk with a state that has engaged in serial crimes against humanity, genocidal-like actions, ethnic all but a total waste of time," Totten wrote.  "As hundreds of thousands of innocents needlessly suffer, there is a moral imperative that the continual 'diplomatic' talking, negotiating, pleading, and ultimately begging with leaders of such openly deceptive and destructive strategies must be replaced by concrete and effective action..."

Preventing a return to war between Sudan and South Sudan appears to be the international community's first priority. A border has not yet been defined, and major oil disagreements over the last year have seen the South half its oil production, costing its own government and that of Khartoum's millions of dollars in lost revenue. Border skirmishes broke out in April.

The U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, traveled to the region in late November. Lyman said that without ending the conflict in the Nuba Mountains it will be hard for Sudan and South Sudan to sort their outstanding issues. Khartoum accuses South Sudan of aiding the SPLM-N rebels, a charge officials in Juba, South Sudan's capital, deny.

"There has to be, and I think everybody really recognizes this, a political channel inside Sudan between the government and the SPLM-N, to bring this conflict to a close. And the first step has to be a cessation of hostilities," Lyman said.

E.J. Hogendoorn, a Horn of Africa expert at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that tracks conflicts, said Sudanese forces aren't strong enough to take the Nuba Mountains without heavy casualties, and the SPLM-N isn't strong enough to push outside of Nuba.

"You have a strategic stalemate that if the international community doesn't do anything about it could last for a very long time, and the knock on-effect is that the civilian population is going to get screwed," he said.