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Jindal Warns of ‘Silent War’ on Religion in Reagan Library Speech.


Image: Jindal Warns of 'Silent War' on Religion in Reagan Library Speech

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 08:29 PM

By Greg Richter

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted the “silent war” that he said is undermining the nation’s basic principles in a major speech Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Contrary to what liberals say, the Constitution was set up specifically for believers, Jindal, a Catholic who converted from Hinduism, said.

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“The American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war,” said Jindal, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016.

“It’s a war against the propositions in the Declaration of Independence: It is a war against the spirit that motivated abolitionism: It is a war against the faith that motivated the Civil Rights struggle: It is a war against the soul of countless acts of charity: It is a war against the conscience that drives social change: It is a war against the heart that binds our neighborhoods together: It is a war against America’s best self, at America’s best moment.

“It is a war — a silent war — against religious liberty.”

“This war is waged in our courts and in the halls of political power. It is pursued with grim and relentless determination by a group of like-minded elites, determined to transform the country from a land sustained by faith into a land where faith is silenced, privatized and circumscribed.”

Jindal, 42, is expected to be among a group of Republicans seeking the presidential nomination in 2016, and many see his speech at the library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of the groundwork for such a run.

He follows other likely GOP contenders Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Jindal released the text of his speech before delivery. He said there was no better place than the Reagan Library to make his point because Reagan had said “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few, but the universal right of all God’s children.”

“When he said this, he was not expressing a strictly personal belief in the nature of man as a created being, as a child of God” said Jindal. “He was reaffirming the most basic contention of the American founding, set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that we are a nation constituted in accordance with the ‘Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ and that we are a people ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.'”

Jindal reminded his audience that as far back as 1798, President John Adams had written to Massachusetts militiamen telling them, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

But he claimed that the “secular elites” understood that to take over America they must make war on its philosophy.

“This silent war is the real undercurrent driving politically fractious debates in a number of areas of policy,” he said. “But why is this war happening? What does it mean for the country and people of faith? Why does it represent such a fundamental challenge to our American identity and the exceptional history that makes our nation great?”

In answering his own questions, Jindal pointed to the court battle over craft store Hobby Lobby’s contention it should not have to provide the morning-after pill. The Green family that owns the stores believes the pill causes an abortion, and they object to its use on religious grounds.

He said Hobby Lobby’s statement of purpose begins with a Bible verse, and that all of the stores close on Sundays. The company pays well above minimum wage and has increased salaries four years in a row. The family that runs it is committed to giving the majority of its wealth to philanthropy.

“None of this matters to the Obama administration,” he blasted. “The argument they have advanced, successfully thus far, is that a faithful business owner cannot operate under the assumption that they can use their moral principles to guide the way their place of business spends money.

“According to the administration’s legal arguments, the family that owns Hobby Lobby is not protected by the First Amendment’s ‘free exercise’ of religion clause.”

He pointed out the absurdity that Hobby Lobby — which has an offshoot company that sells Bibles — is considered a secular company, but Tyndal House, which prints Bibles, is not.

“Perhaps we should all start printing Bibles, so we can claim protection,” he said.

And he said he defended “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson and his family over Robertson’s controversial statements on homosexuality, not because Jindal is the governor of the state where the Robertsons live, but because “they have every right to speak their minds, however indelicately they may choose to do so.”

Jindal also raised the Hosanna-Tabor case in which the Obama administration argued that a Lutheran academy did not have the right to fire someone over a difference in beliefs. The Supreme Court unanimously threw out the government’s argument.

“So for the time being at least, the government doesn’t get to decide who can preach the gospel. But the important thing to note is that the government wanted to make that decision — that is truly offensive and frightening.”

He also brought up cases where bakers, photographers and others in the wedding industry have been told they must cater to same-sex unions.

“This assault will only spread in the immediate future,” Jindal said, foreseeing a time when believers who refuse to be cowed will be penalized for their views, denied membership in professional groups or even rejected from licenses.

“This is the next stage of the assault,” he said. “And it is only beginning.

Jindal was speaking the day after a legal challenge was filed to get Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage overturned.

“Today, an overwhelming majority of those who belong to a religious denomination in America — that’s more than half the country — are members of organizations that affirm the traditional definition of marriage,” he said. “All of those denominations will be targeted in large and small degrees in the coming years,” he predicted.

Jindal ended his speech by referring to President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which he said that history shows “that nations that uphold the rights of their people — including the freedom of religion — are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful.”

“Well said, Mr. President. I couldn’t agree more,” said Jindal. “The president is very concerned about religious liberty.

“And also… if you like your religion, you can keep your religion.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Hindu Extremists Refuse to Let Christians Buy and Sell in India.


 

pastor at hospital in India
Bethel Church Pastor Rev. Bijay Purusu, standing, and Mudha Madhi, in the Malkangiri District Headquarters Hospital. (World Watch Monitor)

Three months of intimidation and assaults in two villages in eastern India has left four Christians hospitalised and others injured, two houses damaged, and the entire Christian community unable to do business or draw water from the town well, church leaders say.

The boycott of the Christians of Dangarguda village, led by some Hindu nationalist residents, began in April, said Rev. K. Raju of the Malkangiri Life Development Society.

“The Christians were prohibited from buying and selling and from fetching drinking water from the public well because of their faith in Christ,” Raju told World Watch Monitor.

Christians in the village started drinking from the river, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India. Heavy rains, however, muddied the river, making it unfit to drink.

In many parts of huge and diverse India, Christians and Hindus live together peacefully. In some regions, however, nationalist Hindus enjoy popular and bureaucratic support in their campaign to make India a purely Hindu society.

In Odisha state, where the village of Dangarguda is located, India’s foremost nationalist political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, shares power with the more secular Biju Janata Dal party.

Antagonism in the village boiled over into violence on June 8 when a woman, Mongli Madhi, was attacked as she tried to fetch drinking water from the public well.

‘The extremists did not allow Mongli to take water from the public well, beat her up and broke her water buckets and pots,” Raju said.

They returned the following day, going to Mongli’s house and beating and even biting her, said Bethel Church Rev. Bijay Purusu. He said she sustained injuries on her back, right hand and neck.

Bethel Church Pastor Rev. Bijay Purusu, standing, and Mudha Madhi, in the Malkangiri District Headquarters Hospital.Bethel Church Pastor Rev. Bijay Purusu, standing, and Mudha Madhi, in the Malkangiri District Headquarters Hospital.

The next day, June 10, area Christian leaders reported the matter to the village head, who took no action. Later the same day, a group shouting anti-Christian slogans attacked village Christians with swords, axes, chains and other weapons.

The victims were beaten nearly unconscious, and the attackers poured water on them to revive them when they were about to pass out. One victim, Mudha Madhi, was unconscious for about three hours.

The mob damaged two houses belonging to Christian families.

Four Christians—Irma Madhi, Mangli Madhi, Mudha Madhi and Sambru Khurami—suffered cuts and bruises and were bleeding profusely when they were rushed to the hospital. Three of the victims have been released, but Irma Madhi remains hospitalised.

The remaining Christians fled the village, taking shelter in Christian homes in a neighbouring village.

“This is the month of an agricultural time and we do not know how long they can stay in the homes of other people as they are all struggling for their livelihood,” Purusu said. Most have since returned to their own homes.

The latest assault came on June 22 in nearby Goudaguda village, when a group beat up a Christian couple, Bina Madhi and his wife, Ermi Madhi, and church member Jagarnath Maekani as they unsuccessfully tried to drive the Christians off their farmland.

“The extremists, led by Laxmi Markani, swelled up and told the Christians to leave the village, claiming that there is no place for them and there is no need for Christians to have cultivation land,” Purusu said.

The attackers used bamboo sticks, but the victims were not seriously hurt. They filed a complaint at Malkangiri Police Station. No arrests have yet been reported.

Police have registered a First Information Report against the attackers.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

WORLD WATCH MONITOR

Christians ‘On Top of the World’ Facing Persecution.


 

nepalese christians
Christians face widespread persecution but God is on the move. Their numbers have grown from 29 people when the first church was planted in Nepal 60 years ago, to nearly 1 million today (CBN)

Nepal is known for being on top of the world. It’s also a country where Hinduism and Maoism struggle for dominance.

Christians face widespread persecution but God is on the move. Their numbers have grown from 29 people when the first church was planted in Nepal 60 years ago, to nearly 1 million today. Most of those coming to Christ in Nepal today are former Hindus.

One young woman named Sharada said she grew up in a Hindu family.

“Before I came to Christ my life was in darkness and I didn’t know God,” she said.

Sharada, however, faced persecution from her own family when she left Hinduism for Christianity.

“When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior the persecution started to come into my life,” she explained. “My mother asked me, ‘Do you love your religion more than your parents?’ I told her, I love both. She hated me for following Christ and she used to say bad words to me.”

Physical attacks soon followed. Sharada said her mother threatened to kill her with a sickle and blind her with a nail.

“My mother told me, ‘If you are blind you’ll stop going to church.’ She took the nail, pushed me to the ground and tried to stick the nail into my eyes. I moved and the nail hit my ear,” she said.

Sharada escaped to the jungle where she now lives with a friend.

Churches under Fire

Christians in Nepal not only come under attack from co-workers and family members, but churches are also under fire from Maoists and Hindu militants.

One case in point is a church CBN News visited in a remote region of southwestern Nepal. Pastor Damboo Bishoo Karma explained what happened when militant Hindus attacked members of his church.

“Non-believers came to our church and demanded that we join their festivals and worship idols,” Pastor Karma recalled. “We told them that we don’t worship like this.”

The Christians refused to help fund the Hindu festivals.

“When we didn’t pay the money they came and attacked us and took our livestock,” Karma said.

One church member named Mr. Choudary (NAME?) faced a raging mob outside his home.

“Two-hundred thirty villagers with sticks came here and took the two oxen that I kept,” he said.

Pastor Karma said the suffering of village Christians comes of no surprise to them.

“Matthew 5:12 says in my name you will be persecuted and you will be hated,” he said.

Nepali Christians are also disrespected in death. Hindus usually cremate a deceased loved one, but what happens to Christians when they die?

CBN News visited a cemetary in Kathmandu, the only one where Christians could bury their dead.

But no longer. Rarely are Christians given a place for burial. Religious extremists believe non-Hindu bodies desecrate the land.

Christians report militants often force them to dig up the buried remains of loved ones. One Christian woman reportedly kept her deceased husband’s decaying body in her home because she was prevented from burying him.

Another woman helped hide church members in her house. A rampaging mob attacked them for burying a deceased Christian on village property.

Standing Firm
So what does the future hold for Nepali Christians? Pastor Karma said his church will stand firm.

“We want to keep the witness of God in this place and improve the church. Our main purpose is to influence all of the villagers,” he said.

And God is working in Mr. Choudary’s heart. He lost his oxen in attacks on his home.

“We are sons and daughters of God,” he said. “Whatever the villagers took from us belonged to Him. We should be satisfied with His Word.”

And what about Sharada? She and her aunt led Sharada’s cousin, Huma, to Christ.

Sharada explained, “I told her if you find God then you will know how wonderful He is and you will know God’s plan for your life.”

Now, Huma said she wants to share the good news.

“After I finish my education, I want to share Jesus with those who do not know Him. I will walk with Him and share the Gospel,” she said.

“Sharada says even though people offer many animals for sacrifice, they will not be forgiven,” she continued. “Only Christ’s blood can bring forgiveness of our sins. I now know death is not the end. God has brought me from darkness to light.”

Sharada and Huma are two young, Nepali women who have found eternal hope and vision at the top of the world.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

‘No Religion’ Third World Group After Christians, Muslims.


praying girl
(iStockPhoto.com/Paulus Rusyanto)

People with no religious affiliation make up the third-largest global group in a new study of the size of the world’s faiths, placing after Christians and Muslims and just before Hindus.

The study, based on extensive data for the year 2010, also showed Islam and Hinduism are the faiths mostly likely to expand in the future while Jews have the weakest growth prospects.

It showed Christianity is the most evenly spread religion, present in all regions of the world, while Hinduism is the least global with 94 percent of its population in one country, India.

Overall, 84 percent of the world’s inhabitants, which it estimated at 6.9 billion, identify with a religion, according to the study entitled “The Global Religious Landscape” issued by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on Tuesday.

The “unaffiliated” category covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith.

“Many of the religiously unaffiliated do hold religious or spiritual beliefs,” the study stressed.

“Belief in God or a higher power is shared by 7 percent of unaffiliated Chinese adults, 30 percent of unaffiliated French adults and 68 percent of unaffiliated U.S. adults,” it said.

Islam Expands
Exact numbers for religious populations are impossible to obtain and estimates for the size of the larger faiths can vary by hundreds of millions. This study by the Washington-based Pew Forum appears to be one of the most extensive to date.

Pew Forum demographer Conrad Hackett said the 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers used to compile the report did not allow a further breakdown to estimate the world population of atheists and agnostics.

“It’s not the kind of data that’s available for every country,” he said. “A census will typically ask what your religion is and you can identify a number of particular affiliations or no religion.

An age breakdown showed Muslims had the lowest median age at 23 years, compared to 28 for believers all around the world. The median age highlights the population bulge at the point where half the population is above and half below that number.

“Muslims are going to grow as a share of the world’s population and an important part of that is this young age structure,” Hackett said.

By contrast, Judaism, which has 14 million adherents or 0.2 percent of the world population, has the highest median age at 36, meaning its growth prospects are weakest.

Hackett noted that Israel, which has 40.5 percent of the world Jewish population, had a younger age structure than the United States, where 41.1 percent of the world’s Jews live.

Global Christianity’s median age is 30 and Hinduism’s 26. With a median age of 34, the growth prospects for religiously unaffiliated people are weak, the study showed.

Worldwide Breakdown
The study estimated Christianity was the largest faith at 2.2 billion adherents or 31.5 percent of the world’s population.

The Roman Catholic Church makes up 50 percent of that total, with Protestants—including Anglicans and non-denominational churches—at 37 percent and Orthodox at 12 percent.

There are about 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, or 23 percent of the global population. “The overwhelming majority (87-90 percent) are Sunnis, about 10-13 percent are Shia Muslims,” the study said.

Among the 1.1 billion unaffiliated people around the world, 62 percent live in China alone and they make up 52.2 percent of the Chinese population.

Japan is the only other country with an unaffiliated majority, at 57 percent of the national population. After that comes the United States, where 16.4 percent of all Americans said they have no link to an established faith.

The world’s Hindu population is concentrated mostly in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Half of the world’s Buddhists live in China, followed far behind by Thailand at 13.2 percent of the world Buddhist population and Japan with 9.4 percent.

The study found that about 405 million people, or about 6 percent of the world population, followed folk religions such as those found in Africa and China or among Native American and Australian aboriginal peoples.

Another 58 million, or nearly 1 percent of the world population, belonged to “other religions” including Baha’i, Taoism, Jainism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism. Most were in the Asia-Pacific region.

© 2012 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Suit Eyed Over Yoga in Public Schools.


Parents in a southern California community are considering legal action over the constitutionality of a form of yoga being taught to their children, which they claim is introducing religion into public schools.

Last month, half of the students attending classes in the Encinitas Union School District K-6 elementary schools in San Diego North County began taking Ashtanga (Sanskrit for “eight-limbed”) yoga for 30 minutes twice per week. In January, the other half will begin the lessons.

Concerned parents have now retained constitutional first amendment attorney Dean Broyles, who says that Ashtanga yoga is a religious form of yoga, and that religious aspects have been introduced into the schools.

“The poses and positions are acknowledged by Ashtanga and Hindi yoga as forms of worship and prayers to Hindu deities,” he told ABC News. “They have a spiritual and religious meaning behind them.”

Broyles said that although he was at first skeptical that there were truly religious belief and practices being taught to kids, the more he investigated and spoke with parents, the more he realized it was a constitutional issue.

Broyles says that he brought up the matter at a Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) trustees meeting, along with 60 concerned parents, on October 9. Now the EUSD trustees will be reviewing whether the grant money violates the religious freedom of students and parents.

The yoga, which is being taught in all nine of the schools in the district, is being funded by a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Ashtanga yoga across the world. All of the instructors teaching the students are certified and trained by the Jois Foundation in Ashtanga yoga.

Broyles points to hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones and his wife Sonia Jones, who is a known dedicated disciple of Sri Pattabhi Jois, the recently deceased master of Ashtanga yoga, as the money behind the EUSD yoga program. The district’s program will be studied by the University of Virginia and University of San Diego to look at benefits of Ashtanga yoga, as outlined in a letter sent to parents by EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird.

“The study will look at the way that public school systems can impact student learning, health, positive relationships, and overall wellness through the implementation of a holistic approach to student wellness,” Baird said in the letter.

Calls placed by ABC News to Superintendent Baird were not immediately returned.

The Tudor Joneses, Broyles says, were instrumental in the founding of the Jois Foundation and put up the money for the EUSD Ashtanga yoga grant. He says that parents are now not only questioning Hindu religion entering their schools, but the validity if this study being undertaken.

“We think that children are being used as guinea pigs,” he said. “Following the money, you see what’s going on … It would be like a charismatic Christian organization funding classes in worship and praise, and also funding a research center at a public university that is studying whether this is an effective form of exercise.”

Broyles says that it has been argued that the in-school yoga programs have been stripped of their spirituality. But he says that kids in EUSD are being exposed to Hindu thought and belief within the school.

“On the wall there was a poster that showed the Ashtanga, or 8-limbed deity. There are words showing what the limbs are,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to be absorbed into the universe, which is called Samadhi. They had a poster depicting that. Fundamentally it is a Hindu religion being taught through Ashtanga yoga.”

Children are also being taught eastern meditation techniques to calm themselves, where one clears the mind of all thoughts, poses that were imparted by Hindu deities, and in one class were trained in drawing mandalas, according to Broyles.

Parents also raised specific concerns about the program aside from the religious aspects, saying that the fact that kids are taking 60 minutes of the 100 mins per week allotted for physical education to do yoga is inappropriate. Broyles said that for 40 minutes per week the kids are not getting PE, and that they’re not offering anything for kids that are opting out of the program.

Broyles says that there are some yoga enthusiasts in favor of the program; he says that people in the district don’t really understand eastern mysticism, yoga’s roots in Hinduism, and what’s being taught.

“If we were introducing Christian worship of bowing, there would be outcry in the community,” he said. “It’s dangerous to kids.”

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By KEVIN DOLAK | ABC News

Jesus Bucking the Hindu Trend in Bali.


Bali for Jesus
Bali is an island country dominated by Hinduism, but some are slowly discovering Christ‘s love. (Murdani Usman/Reuters)

The nation of Indonesia consists of almost as many islands as there are languages and cultures. The island of Bali is one of these distinct societies, lying in the southern portion of this large and diverse country.

Known to many as the “Island of Hinduism,” Christianity has a distinctly small following in Bali. But despite comprising only 2 percent of the population, God is still working miracles through his Balinese Christians and University of the Nations base located on the island. Three recent testimonies gathered by University of the Nations staff make this evident.

Jesus Heals
While sitting and chatting with a group of Balinese men in a hut, a Balinese man turned to a University of the Nations staff member and began to speak in English in hushed tones. He said to the staff member, “I am healed. I believe in Jesus.” The staff member was startled and not sure how to respond, and so asked the Balinese man to explain more.

The man told how earlier in his life he had suffered from a sickness that he kept to himself. Then one late night while watching television he came upon a Christian program. The people on the program were inviting others to believe in Jesus while praying for the sick to be healed in His name. They were also inviting the viewers to believe in Jesus and pray for themselves. The Balinese man felt compelled by their invitation, and told the staff member that “I believed and I prayed for myself and Jesus healed me!” He looked at the staff member with a grin on his face and said it again, “I believe in Jesus!”

Leaning on Jesus
One late night, as a University of the Nations staff member was on the street, a Balinese woman whom he did not recognize came close and called him by name. She said to him “I believe in Jesus!” Confused, and a little shocked, he asked her to explain more.

Some time before, this woman’s husband had betrayed her. He left her and her 8-year-old son on their own, and the woman struggled with the pain and anger left in her husband’s place. Soon someone gave her an Indonesian Bible. She opened it, and from 2 Corinthians Chapter 11 the words “Jesus Christ is your husband” immediately stood out.

She wept, and told the staff member, “Jesus is my husband. I believe in Him.” She found comfort in Christ, even in her loneliness, shame and anger. Knowing then that Christ would always be with her, she told the staff member “Jesus is my husband. I believe in Him.” Even after her family ostracized her, she is still today finding comfort in the local church her son and her now attend with their fellow Balinese Christians.

Radical Salvation
Like many prisons throughout the world, Bali’s infamous Kerobokan prison is an area of special ministry for YWAM and the University of the Nations. Recently, a known Balinese gangster and drug dealer in Kerobokan was converted and became a Christian.

He went throughout the whole prison seeking and extending forgiveness. This radical change of heart shook the other inmates, and as he became a giving and caring person the inmates around him were deeply impacted. The reformed gangster soon died of an unknown sickness.

One inmate in particular was stunned and confused at these recent events. He realized how little we all understand the purposes of God. In a state of confusion and desperation he cried out to God, seeking truth and understanding in Heaven where Earth and his efforts had failed him. That night, Jesus appeared to him in a vision. This inmate is now a Christian and has changed just as radically as the former gangster did before him.

Click here for the original article at YWAM.com.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

YOUTH WITH A MISSION INTERNATIONAL

Religious Conversion Provisions Struck Down in India.


India slums

An law that oppressed Christians in India has been overturned.

The high court of India’s Himachal Pradesh province struck down legal provisions that restricted Christian conversions. Part of the improperly named “Freedom of Religion Act,” the provisions required a magistrate to be notified of all religious conversions and that they be publicly recorded 30 days in advance. The law made exceptions for those reverting to their original faith, typically understood as Hinduism.

If a new convert failed to give the legal notice, the law provided for prosecution and legal sanctions. Converts to Christianity in India are often subject to retaliation, violence and harassment, and the public notice provision was considered to be fueling the problem.

“No one should be targeted for violence, inhumane treatment, and religious discrimination simply because of their faith,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel Tehmina Arora, who is based in New Delhi. “The law should not give aggressors a legal way to fuel religious persecution of new Christians. The court was right to strike down this unconstitutional law, which was clearly designed to discourage conversion to faiths like Christianity.”

ADF allied attorneys representing Evangelical Fellowship of India argued that the law, which discouraged Christian conversion and favored the majority Hindu religion, was unconstitutional. A two-member panel of the court agreed.

In its ruling in Evangelical Fellowship of India v. State of Himachal Pradesh, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh found that “each and every citizen of this country has a right not only to follow his own beliefs but also has a right to change his beliefs.”

The court continued, “A person’s belief or religion is something very personal to him. The State has no right to ask a person to disclose what is his personal belief. The only justification given is that public order requires that notice be given. We are of the considered view that in case of a person changing his religion and notice being issued to the so called prejudicially affected parties, chances of the convertee being subjected to physical and psychological torture cannot be ruled out. The remedy proposed by the State may prove to be more harmful than the problem.”

By CHARISMA NEWS STAFF

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