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 Saturday 22nd August, 2020

 

CONFERENCE RESOLUTIONS

The General Assembly of the United Nations on May 28, 2019 adopted Document A/73/L.85 and passed a resolution proclaiming 22 August as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on their Religion, Belief or Faith, amongst other matters. According to a UN Report, “by terms of the text ‘International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, Belief or Faith,’ the Assembly invited all Member States, the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil societies and the private sector, to observe the International Day.”

Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) commemorated the International Day of Religious Freedom (IDORF) on Saturday 22nd August, 2020 with an international Webinar featuring speakers from United States of America, United Kingdom, as well as Nigeria.

The Report and Resolutions of the Conference are as follows:

  1. WHEREAS Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) states, “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion,”
  2. WHEREAS Section 38(1) of the same Constitution states, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance,”
  3. WHEREAS Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution also states, “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies,”
  4. WHEREAS Section 14(2)b of the Constitution goes further to state, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,”
  5. CONTRARY to these Constitutional provisions, it has been observed, with credible evidence, that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has flagrantly and with unhidden impunity violated the above stated Constitutional provisions which he took an oath to uphold. The President mismanaged Nigeria and its security apparatus in a manner that has resulted in the murder of Christians and the wanton destruction of Christian communities by Fulani Militia of his ethnic and religious group, in addition to destructions and deaths caused by Boko Haram which is another insurgency group that shares the same Islamic faith as the President of Nigeria,
  6. CONSEQUENTLY, the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN), in compliance with the United Nations Resolution A/73/L.85, designating 22nd August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, Belief or Faith, organized a Webinar with the theme, “UNFOLDING GENOCIDE IN NIGERIA,” to mark the 2020 International Day of Religious Freedom (IDORF).
  7. THE Conference, which included international and local participants, decried the unfolding genocide taking place in Nigeria with Christians as its main target, and subsequently passed the following resolutions:

RESOLUTIONS:

  1. THAT Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has acknowledged that Boko Haram and ISWAP “have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos… they seem to now have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians.” Despite this admission by President Buhari’s Administration, the Nigerian Government has been seriously remiss in protecting its civilians and bringing perpetrators of the killings to account;
  2. THAT the UK Government’s response has also been appallingly inadequate. Even as militant groups such as Boko Haram and ISWAP sweep across the Sahel, imposing their radical ideologies with killings, abductions, rape and torture of those who refuse to  convert, the UK Government appears to underplay the scale of massacres or refuses to acknowledge that a  genocide  is occurring;
  3. THAT the Government of United States of America is demonstrating appreciable concern about the genocide going on in Nigeria but it should hasten its appointment of a Presidential Envoy to look into these issues in Nigeria as well as the implementation of the Executive Order to defend Religious Freedom.
  4. THAT the International Criminal Court (ICC) is not helpful for spending 10 years (since 2010) in conducting Preliminary Examination over Nigeria without commencing any prosecution;
  5. THAT Christians should commence litigations locally against those confirmed to aid or abet the Jihadists involved in the ongoing genocide;
  6. THAT justice for the victims should not only be the prosecution of the criminals and their sponsors, but also compensation, rehabilitation and empowerment;
  7. THAT the main objective, globally and locally, should be to end the impunity of the Federal Government without which the genocide will not stop. Conference agreed that the impunity of the Federal Government is the major problem in Nigeria;
  8. THAT the political imbalance in the country should be redressed as a matter of urgency as it tilts power and influence in favor of those who abuse both;
  9. THAT the Kaduna State Governor should be held liable for the exacerbation of violence and destruction of lives in Kaduna State;
  10. THAT the imposition of 24 hour curfew on Christian communities in Kaduna State for two months during which Fulani Militia roamed freely to attack Christians in their homes and kill them should be considered a war crime for which the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam el Rufai, should be held to account;
  11. THAT Educational Jihad in the North as well as in the Middle Belt in which Christian candidates are discriminated against should cease;
  12. THAT the current wave of kidnapping of Christians in Nigeria for ransom by Boko Haram and Fulani Militias is a deliberate program to impoverish one group in favor of the other. Conference lamented that this wave of kidnapping is Jihad;
  13. THAT the imprisonment of Prof. Solomon Tarfa for eight months by the Kano State Government because he is running a Christian Orphanage is a violation of the Constitution and an abuse of his fundamental human right. Conference demanded his immediate release;
  14. THAT Christians must unite and work as one to overcome a common foe;
  15. THAT the issues in Nigeria are political and require political solutions. Therefore, Christians should cooperate to build Christian political platforms that will henceforth launch Christians into governance.

Bosun Emmanuel

Executive Secretary

Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN)

27th August, 2020     

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    • August 8, 2019 From KKK Terrorist to Follower of Jesus Christ:

      What led you down the path of hate?

      Buy your copy of Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

      Thomas A. Tarrants: I was not raised to be racist or anti-Semite. Growing up, my family had a black maid and we all loved her. A black man who worked for my dad also did some work on our cars from time to time. He was an honest, hardworking man and we thought highly of him.

      I don’t recall the subject of race being discussed much in our home until the desegregation of the public schools began in Alabama in the summer of 1963. This triggered a time of social upheaval in which what I had known as “normal” was suddenly turned upside down. It was disorienting for me and many others and provoked a concern about where the country was headed. My high school was one of the first in town to be desegregated, and I became angry at the federal government, the civil rights movement, and Black people. After reading some of the racist, anti-Semitic literature that was being circulated, and attending some meetings, my anger began to grow for Blacks and Jews as enemies of America and the White race.

      [Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: A Free Devotional To Help You Discuss Race, Racism, and the Bible]

      Briefly describe your involvement with the KKK and the attempted bombing for which you were convicted.

      Thomas A. Tarrants: As I read more deeply in extremist literature and talked with racists, I became more fully indoctrinated into far-right ideology, hatred grew, and I became radicalized. Later, I got involved with the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, the most violent right-wing terrorist group in America, according to the FBI. One night, an accomplice and I were ambushed by a SWAT team while attempting to bomb the home of a Jewish businessman. My accomplice was killed and I was shot four times at close range with shotgun fire. At the hospital doctors said if I lived 45 minutes it would be a miracle. And it was a miracle—a miracle of God’s grace and mercy, for I certainly deserved to die.

      [Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Forgiving the Killer of the Charleston Church Shooting: An Interview with Rev. Anthony B. Thompson]

      How old were you when your grandmother gave you a Bible and why did reading it then not appeal to you?

      Thomas A. Tarrants: My grandmother was a good Christian who loved me and was worried about the direction of my life. I was probably about 15 or 16 years old when she gave me a King James Version Bible with my name embossed on the cover. Unfortunately, the Elizabethan English didn’t connect with me very well, and, sadly, I later used it to find proof texts to support racist and anti-Semitic ideas. But the deeper reason it didn’t appeal to me was that although I had regularly attended church most of my life and even made a profession of faith, I was not born again.

      What made you reconsider reading the Bible years later when you were in prison?

      Thomas A. Tarrants: I was given a 30-year sentence in prison for the bombing attempt, and six months later I escaped with two other inmates. When we were recaptured, one of them was killed. I was taken back to prison and put in a 6’ x 9’ cell in the maximum-security unit, by myself, 24 hours a day. I was in a desperate situation, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12 ESV). To keep from going crazy, all I could do was read. Eventually, my reading turned into a search for truth, wherever that might take me. This search started with a study of classical philosophy and eventually shifted to the Gospels. The shift was not because I was trying to find God, because I thought I was already saved.

      Little did I know that God was actually at work in all of this. As Jesus said, “no one can some to me unless the father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44 ESV). I would later learn that a group of godly women had been praying weekly for two years that God would draw me to Christ. This was a great example of what James said: “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, ESV).

      [Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, White Evangelicalism and Racial Bias: An Interview with Bryan Loritts]

      Describe how “the lights” went on for you when you finally read the Bible.

      Thomas A. Tarrants: What little reading of the Bible I had done in the past had been dry, not very interesting, and didn’t make much sense to me. It was just as Paul had said, “the natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV). But this time, reading the Bible was different. My eyes were being opened to spiritual reality. It was as if I had been blind all my life and was now beginning to see. The meaning of the Scriptures and their application to me, personally, was becoming clearer and clearer. I was convicted of my sins and brought to a place of repentance. I thank God that growing up in church I had been taught that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).

      One night, I got on my knees and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and take over my life, and something changed deep inside of me. The next day, God was real to me in a way I had never known. I was spiritually alive, and my life began to change. God gave me love, and I publicly renounced the Klan and hatred. Friendships developed with people who were very different from me and this has continued ever since.

      What do you mean when you write, “Christ had first led me out of error into truth, then out of darkness into light, and finally out of death into life”?

      Thomas A. Tarrants: Even before I came to Christ, he enabled me to see the errors in racist and anti-Semitic ideology which had blinded my mind and to abandon those ideas. I would describe this as a kind of pre-evangelistic liberation of my thinking from demonic deception and blindness. This was essential, for as Paul says, “the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV).

      Then Christ began to shine the light of biblical truth into my mind and heart, convicting me of my sins and opening my eyes to the fact that I had never been saved. Finally, he gave repentance, drew me to ask for forgiveness, and answered by bringing me out of death into life. As Jesus put it, “truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death” (John 5:24 ESV).

      [Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, How a Small Town Can Teach Love and Faith: An Interview with Eric L. Motley]

      How do you describe the change in your life before reading the Bible in prison and after?

      Thomas A. Tarrants: Before I came to Christ, I was spiritually blind and dead. I had no real interest in God or spiritual things. I lived for myself and enjoyed the sins of the flesh without any concern about doing so. Paul’s description of the Ephesian believers before they found Christ fit me perfectly: “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among who we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind” (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV).

      After coming to Christ, I was alive to God and had a hunger to read the Bible for hours every day, and to pray, and to live for God. Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). That had become true for me.

      What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

      Thomas A. Tarrants: Here are two:

      “For the LORD is good;
          his steadfast love endures forever,
          and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5 ESV)

      “I have been crucified with Christ. it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV).

      Thomas A. Tarrants
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