Conversation Peace: U.S.-North Korea's Historic Meeting
The entire world seems to be holding its breath. And while a lot of the chatter about the North Korean-U.S. summit is about denuclearization, millions of Christians are hoping President Trump can convince Kim Jong-un to lay down another weapon: his deadly hatred of religious expression.
North Korea may be 93rd in land mass, but the regime is first where it hurts — in the war against Christianity. For 17 years, the vicious dictators of the Kim family have ruled with an iron fist in the country that now sits in the world spotlight. Three generations of believers have lived in absolute terror of being discovered, Open Doors USA explains in a sobering report about the state of faith under the Kim’s iron fist. In a culture where neighbors act as spies and children turn in their own parents, something as simple as owning a Bible can be a death sentence.
Even now, leading up to this historic meeting, Kim Jong-un has continued to consolidate his power. The release of three Christians, as a sign of good faith, was encouraging, but little else in the country has changed. To many observers, the people most desperate for a productive meeting are the North Koreans themselves, who live under one of the most repressive regimes in modern times. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who’s made religious persecution a priority in his first few months on the job, continues to be optimistic about the summit’s prospects.
“It’s the case, in each of those two countries, there are only two people that can make decisions of this magnitude. And those two people are going to be sitting in a room together tomorrow,” Pompeo told reporters. But as significant as the dialogue is from a national security standpoint, it could also be the first time a sitting president has the chance to confront Kim Jong-un about his horrific record on human rights.
In a powerful interview with The Stream, Vernon Brewer of World Help, who’s visited the region several times, emphasizes the fact that “Real lives are at stake here. Thousands of North Koreans have starved in the last 20 years. They’re the ones who pay the ultimate price for the outcome of these negotiations.” Brewer, who made his first trip to the area a decade ago, can only shake his head at the dangerous conditions for Christians. Of the 300,000 Christians counted by the government, a quarter are in prison camps that World War II survivors insist are as bad as Nazi concentration camps.
Open Doors’ Lindy Lowry points out that in a 2017 International Bar Association War Committee report, there were “gut-wrenching details from personal testimonies, video, transcripts and scholarly works about the state of North Korea’s prison camps. One of the judges, a former child survivor of the notorious concentration camp in Auschwitz, said the conditions in North Korea were as bad — or even worse — than what he experienced in the Nazi concentration camp.” The average life expectancy for a Christian there is only about three years, Brewer tells Josh Shepherd soberly. “Many of them are beaten, tortured, and prodded with electric stun batons. They even have experimental surgeries done on them, sending them into a coma or vegetative state.”
Life is just as bleak for the average North Korean. In the terrifying true story A River in Darkness, Masaji Ishikaw talks about his chilling experience before escaping the country that tried to kill him. Like so many living under the regime, he desperately gnawed on apple cores, empty corncobs, or acorns just to stay alive. “People faced incredible hardship and deprivation of both the physical and mental variety and wasted away under food shortages,” he writes.
These are the stakes, the harrowing backdrop to the summit. Several faith leaders, including me, have urged the president to take this rare opportunity to confront North Korea’s horrifying record on human rights. “We’ll bring it up,” President Trump told reporters over the weekend.
Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that commitment in a meeting that I had with him yesterday. He also asked me to encourage Christians across the nation to pray for President Trump. Just meeting with Kim Jong-un is an extraordinary accomplishment. But for the sake of so many innocent people, we’re praying that it opens the door to so much more.
Please join us in praying for President Trump and his meeting with Kim Jong-un.
Originally published here.
Twitter Chief Grilled Over Chick-fil-A
Chick-fil-A’s slogan is “Eat Mor Chikin” — not act like one! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did after activists slammed him for posting evidence that he’d stopped by the fast-food chain. After six years, the controversy over Chick-fil-A is still sizzling — and, as we learned over the weekend, just eating there can ruffle plenty of feathers.
Dorsey sent LGBT activists into a frenzy when he posted a picture of the money he saved using a new cash app. “Boost @ChickfilA,” he tweeted. The meal may not have given him indigestion, but it certainly turned the stomach of the far Left. Users resorted to public shaming, insisting that Dorsey was a traitor for visiting the chain at all — let alone in June. “This is an interesting company to boost during Pride month, @jack,” Soledad O'Brien tweeted.
“You’re right,” a chastened Dorsey replied. “Completely forgot about their background.” Chick-fil-A’s “background,” of course, being that of Christian owners who believe what the Bible teaches about marriage. Back in 2012, before LGBT activists made him skittish about social issues, CEO Dan Cathy had been very open about his views. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that… We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Now, six whole years later, the head of a major social media platform is apologizing for eating a chicken sandwich! This is how out of touch the Left’s new orthodoxy is. To leftists, it’s a given that everyone in America thinks just like them. That no one in their right mind would even consider eating at a restaurant operated by someone who believes that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Even if that restaurant is currently ranked in the top 10 in America and is forecasted to be the third-largest fast-food chain by 2020.
Fortunately, not everyone subscribes to the Left’s narrow-mindedness. “Don’t give in to these people and their complaints,” one user tweeted. “I’m gay and I LOVE ChickfilA. Ridiculous. Go on and eat that ChickfilA and post as much as you want about it!” Others hit back at the narrative that having faith somehow disqualifies you from running a business. “‘Background’ meaning they employ 41,000 people, many of whom are the most pleasant fast-food employees in the country, serve delicious food at good prices, and at amazing speed?” wrote journalist Jeryl Bier. “That background?”
For millions of conservatives, this should be another warning of who’s controlling social media. If Jack Dorsey is begging the Left’s pardon for his fast-food lunch, how sorry will he make you for your views?
Originally published here.
Vitriol Goes From Zero to DeNiro…
For the handful of Americans sitting at home watching the Tony Awards, it must have been a confusing scene. Actor Robert DeNiro walked out on stage, pumped his fists in the air, and started talking. The audience went wild with applause — but since CBS producers had scrambled to bleep out the “Godfather” star’s profanity, no one was quite sure what all the frenzy was about. Unfortunately for the liberals who are trying to knock off President Trump in two years, they do now.
“I’m going to say one thing,” DeNiro started. “F—k Trump. It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump.’ It’s f—k Trump.” After a gasp, the whole room stood and cheered. Though, 24 hours later, no one is quite sure why. Though plenty of liberal activists probably agree with DeNiro, they also know the kind of damage this kind of anti-Trump rage can do. As commentators on the Right and Left pointed out, the only one who stands to gain from it is the man he’s trying to shame!
“These idiots are going to make sure Trump is president forever,” tweeted one liberal pundit. People like Laura Ingraham can’t believe the Left continues to be so out of touch with America. “Another ‘celebutainment’ gift to the GOP & @realDonaldTrump.” It might as well be, Becket Adams agreed in the Washington Examiner, “an early in-kind donation to the committee to reelect Trump.” Over at The Atlantic, Sophie Gilbert called it “toothless,” saying, “It’s easy to be angry. It’s easy to take a platform that offers easy (if bleeped-out) access to millions of people and use profanity to capture a mood, to express an emotion. But the outrage that will doubtless ensue is a distraction from what really matters, and what’s much harder to realize: the work of trying to change a situation, not just rage against it.”
Once again, some on the Left are coming unhinged. There’s no longer even a fig leaf of impartiality with the entertainment industry and liberal extremists. This administration, through its reversal of President Obama’s anti-family, anti-faith policies, is clearly revealing what the 2016 election did: the fault lines in America. As we’ve seen with Meryl Streep and “Avenger” director Joss Whedon (who tweeted a death wish for the president), the curtain is now clearly pulled back on America’s so-called cultural elite (and I have to say “so-called,” because their limited four-letter word vocabulary shows how they truly lack culture).
There was a time when civil society didn’t allow for such language in public. Now, some want to feign disgust at the president while, as former Press Secretary Sean Spicer pointed out, “they engage in the same behavior they find reprehensible — except they do it in public, on public airways where every American can see and see just how deplorable they are.” The hypocrisy is astounding. So is the elitists’ belief that this condescension is working. The more they sneer and belittle Trump’s base, the more committed voters will be. When it comes to Hollywood, regular folks, the New York Post’s Salena Zito warns, have had enough.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.