United States News

  • Young Teen's Legacy of Love and Courage
    Philip Parks
    Phil Parks
    Photo: VOM USA

    The life of 14-year-old Philip "Phil" Parks may have been cut short by cancer, but his bold faith, which only grew stronger as he confronted death, continues to help persecuted Christians today. During his battle with stage four glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive brain cancer, Phil used his God-given artistic talents to create greeting cards which he sold online. The front of the cards feature his drawing of a cardinal -- a symbol of hope during his battle with cancer.

  • Four US Christians Killed in Church Shootings
    Tiffany Johnson and Philip Crouse
    Photos from YWAM

    Four Christians were killed when Matthew Murray (24), who was described by one policeman as a man who "hated Christians," went on shooting sprees at two locations in Colorado on December 9. At approximately midnight Murray walked into the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) training centre on the grounds of Faith Bible Chapel in the Denver suburb of Arvada. After a staff member refused to let him spend the night, he pulled out a gun and began shooting. Tiffany Johnson (26) and Philip Crouse (24) were shot dead. Two others were wounded.

    In 2002, Murray had attended the YWAM training school but had to leave without completing his term because of health concerns, according to a December 10 press release from YWAM. Recently he had been reportedly sending hate mail to the school.

    Twelve hours later, Murray opened fire at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, killing sisters Stephanie (18) and Rachael Works (16). After being shot by a security guard at the church, Murray then shot and killed himself.

    Between the two attacks, Murray reportedly posted anti-Christian messages on an internet forum including a statement saying that he wanted to kill and injure as many Christians as he could and that Christians "[were] to blame for most of the problems in the world."

    Pray for the families of those killed. May they find comfort in knowing that those who die in the Lord will be raised with him (1 Cor. 15:50-58). Pray for the family of Matthew Murray as well, as they also must walk a difficult path.

  • Church Sued For Persecution Simulation
    United States flag

    An underground church simulation on March 23, 2002 at the Forest Hills Baptist Church of Maryville, Tennessee has resulted in one family suing the church for two million US dollars, claiming that it was "a dangerous, cult-like event that was unlawfully and deceptively conceived, sponsored, promoted and supervised by Forest Hill Baptist Church, its pastor, its deacons, its youth director and several of its members." The pastor of the church says the kids and parents were well aware of what was going to happen. In fact, the congregation was reportedly told well ahead of time what the event would entail. Though not involved in the event, a Blount County Sheriff's deputy was on site and no criminal complaint was ever brought against the church before the suit was filed late last week.

    The family of the girl suing the church claims that church leaders kidnapped, assaulted and neglected her. She claims in her lawsuit that she was blindfolded, handcuffed, thrown into a van with other teens, and told to deny Christ or she would be shot. She says that when she refused to deny Christ, she heard gunshots before being doused with water. Church leaders, however, deny that anyone was injured in the event and dispute the severity of the treatment that the family claims participants underwent as part of the event. Pastor Harry Sherrer told a local television reporter, "the 30+ young people and adults who participated were really impressed." One Tennessee reporter mused, "Of course, I suppose it's possible that everyone else at the church is lying and this family is telling the truth. I wonder, then, why it took Janie (not the girl's real name) more than year to realize she was so permanently scarred by this event. And I wonder why the attorney representing them happens to have quite the reputation for frivolous lawsuits" (http://www.upforanything.net/archives/cat_from_the_news_desk.html ).