All posts tagged: Persecution

Groom, Texas Credit: maciek/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Persecution of American Christians up 133% between 2001 and 2016

A report recently released by First Liberty Institute (FLI) entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” outlines the growing number of attacks on religious liberty in America. Founded in 1972, First Liberty Institute fights for religious liberty in the US through advocacy and litigation by providing pro-bono legal defense to those being persecuted or discriminated against for their faith. According to the organization’s report, the number attacks on Christians jumped by 15% between 2015 and 2016. Since FLI started tracking attacks on religious liberty in 2001, the number has increased by 133% over the following five years. In 2011, FLI reported 600 attacks on religious liberty and by 2016 the number had reached 1,400. FLI’s CEO Kelly Shackelford noted that the cases they cited are just the ones that were published. She described them as just the “tip of the iceberg” as many cases of faith persecution and discrimination are simply not reported. This is not even referring to the number of attacks on Christians that now routinely take place in the …

Lahore, Pakistan Credit: Usman Malik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Pakistani prosecutor tells 42 Christians to convert to Islam to escape murder charges

After Muslim extremists blew up a Catholic church in Lahore, Pakistan in 2015 killing 14 and injuring 75, Christians took to the streets. In the mayhem that followed, the police captured two Muslim men accused of the brutal bombing and handed them over to a Christian crowd who then lynched the Muslims. After the two Muslim men were murdered, Pakistani authorities arrested 500 Christians and kept most of them in jail for nearly 18 months under brutal treatment that included torture. However, after finding most had nothing to do with the crime, about 450 were let go, leaving 42 men still in prison. The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) that is monitoring the situation and providing legal help to the those arrested was horrified by the killing of the two Muslim men, but it said that at least 30 of the men still in jail had nothing to do with the crime. The BPCA then reported on a disturbing story published in a national Pakistani paper, The Express Tribune. The paper wrote about a bizarre …

England's Parliament Building Credit: Jim Nix/Flickr/Creative Commons

In the midst of trials and tribulation lies a ‘Great Opportunity’

Interesting days in England and it probably  indicates what the so-called progressive left eventually wants to see happen in North America. A new law is being debated in England’s House of Commons and if passed, the government’s revised Policing and Crime Bill will see the penalty for a “racially or religiously aggravated offense” increased from its current seven-year imprisonment to 14 years. Since the revised law implies that a person could be thrown in jail for simply offending someone, during the debate UKIP Member of Parliament Lord Pearson asked the following question of the government: “Could such an offense be caused by a Christian preaching the supreme divinity of Christ and thereby denying the supremacy of Muhammad? Would various assembled Muslims be free to regard that as a religiously aggravated offense under this section?” He wanted to know if a person could be thrown in jail for simply stating their belief Jesus is Lord? As an opposition party, UKIP led the charge in England’s decision to leave the European Union. Rather than saying there was …

An approaching sandstorm in Al Assad, Iraq in 2005. Credit: US Marine Corp/Wikipedia

Massive sandstorm protects new Christians from militants

Bibles for Mideast (BFM), an organization that shares the Gospel and uses teams to smuggle Bibles into Middle Eastern countries, recently shared a story of how God used a sandstorm to protect recent converts from probably certain death. According to their report, several converts from an unnamed Middle Eastern country had requested water baptism from the organization. Early one morning, BFM team members transported the 24 candidates and friends, 50 in total, on a bus for a baptism service in the Arabian Sea. The organization noted that before baptism, candidates typically spend three days fasting and praying. They made it to the ocean, had their baptism, and were heading back to a house church for worship and communion, when gunmen came up behind them in cars and started shooting at the bus. Because of this very danger they had tried to keep the baptism secret, but somehow the extremists had found out. They had either been told or perhaps saw the baptism taking place. The report stated: “Suddenly some militants reached behind us by three …

Photo of Allepo, Syria (Photo Craig Jenkins Wikipedia/Creative Commons) where Muslim extremists captured Karla Mueller insert image (YouTube capture)

Despite ISIL’s torture and rape, Kayla Mueller refused to renounce Christ

On August 4, 2013, American Kayla Mueller, 24, from Prescott, Arizona was working as a humanitarian aid worker in Syria when ISIL captured her and a friend, Omar Alkhani, as they were leaving a Doctors without Borders hospital in Aleppo. Omar who was a contractor for Doctors without Borders was released a few weeks later. Meanwhile, hoping for a ransom, ISIS moved Kayla to various locations throughout Syria. In 2014, the Islamic extremists notified Kayla’s parents of their daughter’s kidnapping. However, nothing could be worked out and  after 18 months in a brutal captivity, Kayla died in February 2015 after an air strike by the Jordanian air force. Recently in an interview with ABC’s news program 20/20, four hostages who shared a cell with Kayla came forward with a story about her remarkable faith in Christ. It appears ISIL was purposefully trying to force Kayla to recant her faith. But in the face of the unrelenting torture, Kayla remained strong to the end. According to ABC, her torture included “verbal abuse, prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, stress …

Church (Igesia de Mauque) in the Andean Mountains of Chile. Photo: Pablo Necochea/Flickr/Creative Commons

Church under attack in Chile

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), since December 2015, arsonists have burned 16 churches to the ground in the provinces of Araucania and Bio-Bio, Chile. The latest church destroyed was San Andres Chapel, which unknown assailants torched on August 9, 2016. Most of the attacks occurred at night while the buildings were empty, but not all of them. A June 9th attack took a more sinister twist when masked men entered the church during an evening service at Senor Evangelical Church in Temuco, Araucania. The armed men ordered the people out before burning the church to the ground. Then in the middle of June when fire fighters and police responded to another church fire set in the middle of the night, they came under gun-fire from unknown assailants. The shooters injured one police officer. The attacks are quite puzzling as Chile has no real history of church attacks as nearly 90% of Chileans consider themselves Christian, either Catholic or protestant. Fires were set at both evangelical and Catholic churches. Though it is uncertain who the …

Market Church in Wiesbaden, Germany. Photo: Kay Gaensler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim refugees in Germany threaten ‘impure’ Christians

According to an article on Breitbart, Christians in Germany’s migrant housing are being forced to hide their faith due to intimidation and death threats by Muslims. At a recent Frankfurt news conference, Mahin Mousapour said that Christians purposefully hide their crosses and Bibles to avoid hate attacks by Muslims. Mousapour is from Iran. A former Muslim, she became a Christian over 25 years ago  and now pastors Persian Father House, an Evangelical Free church in Frankfurt. Fearing reprisal, refugees tell people in their complex that they are only visiting friends when attending her church. Ms Mousapour was joined at the news conference by politician Erika Steinbach who serves as a member of the Bundestag. It is a German equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives or Canada and England’s House of Commons. Mousapour said Muslims tell Christians that they are “impure as a dog” adding: “Toys of Christian children are being destroyed. Christian asylum seekers are told to not only wash their dishes after eating, but also they must clean the entire kitchen as it would otherwise be ‘unclean’.” …

The Kremlin and St. Basil Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Photo: Mariano Mantel/Flickr/Creative Commons

Russian government makes it illegal for believers to share their faith privately

The Russian government just passed a bill severely curtailing religious expression in that country. According to reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already signed off on the bill and it will come into effect on July 20, 2o16 The legislation was part of a package of bills intended to counter terrorism. However, many are concerned due to its broad reach, the law could be used by local authorities to persecute the Christian church. Among the many features of the bill, evangelism would be limited to regular church services and would only be allowed by people licensed with an organization registered with the government. Essentially, this would stop church members from sharing their faith privately. This can include something as innocent as reading a Bible in the presence of non-believing friends. It also forbids using the internet to share one’s faith which means that people and churches could run foul of the law by simply inviting someone to church via an email. The law that was first drafted in April also prevents believers from holding church …

Eric Metaxas addressing the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons

Eric Metaxas on ‘authentic’ faith

Eric Metaxas recently gave an interesting speech to a three-day conference called The Bridge. Its theme was the persecuted church. Metaxas is a popular author, speaker and radio host. He has written several books and has appeared as a cultural commentator on Foxnews, CNN and MSNBC. Since the death of Chuck Colsen of Prison Fellowship he has become one of the main voices for the organization’s program Breakpoint. Samuel Smith a writer for Christian Post reported on Metaxas’s hour-long speech in which he said the faith of the North American church has become diluted because of our success. Metaxas said in other parts of the world where Christians regularly face persecution, they have been forced to ask themselves “Do I actually believe this or don’t I?” Until recently, Christians in America have never been faced with this question. Metaxas cited the life of German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) who the Nazi Gestapo arrested in April 1943 because of his vocal opposition to Adolph Hitler. Metaxas wrote a book on Bonhoeffer —Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. …

North Korea propaganda Photo: ksevik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Pray because of ‘unreasonable’ and ‘evil’ men

There is a curious passage in the second letter that Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. At the beginning of chapter three, he asks the Thessalonians to pray for him because the world was filled with “unreasonable” and “evil”men. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 NKJV) In verse two, Paul was describing the two types of leaders that he was running into as he traveled through Asia preaching the Gospel. He needed to be delivered, literally rescued, from these type of people. The Greek word “atopos” translated unreasonable has several meanings — absurd, improper, unusual, inappropriate and out-of-place. Like the Christians bakers in Oregon who were fined $135,000 (US) because they refused to make a $200 wedding cake for a Lesbian couple. Others were blatantly evil (Greek poneros) — bad or wicked, similar to the one Kenneth Bae encountered. In …

Guarding Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China Photo: Stephan Rebernik/Flickr/Creative Commons

China: When church and governments collide

In 2014, speaking at a religious forum in Shanghai, Wang Zuoan a senior bureaucrat with China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs told of the government’s plans to “nationalize” Christianity in that country. Though Zuoan didn’t couch it in exactly those terms he spoke of Christian theology adapting to Chinese conditions and culture. There was no doubt in the minds of Chinese Christians that this meant the communist party was planning to take over Christianity and use it to promote its platform. Since that announcement, the Chinese government has moved forward on its plan, that included the removal of crosses from Churches. To date citing building code violations over 1,200 crosses have been removed and in some instances churches destroyed. The government even sent a number of Christians to jail for opposing the cross removals including Pastor Huang Yizi, from the eastern province of Zhejiang. The government also recently sentenced Pastor Bao Guohua and his wife Xing Wenxiang to 14 years in prison for leading opposition to crosses being removed. The government also falsely accused them …

Muslim Shrine in Iran. You can see an image of the Ali Khomeni, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on the left. Photo: My life, the universe and ..../Flickr/Creative Commons

Christian population surging in Iran

Despite Iran’s heavy-handed crackdown, the Christian population in Iran is flourishing and growing rapidly. The country has a population of about 78 million. The official religion is Muslim, and on paper it allows other religions including Christianity. However, it is illegal for a Muslim and even members of other religions to convert to Christianity. Iran is an Islamic Republic and though there is an elected president, according to Iran’s constitution he is subject to the country’s “Supreme Leader” who is the highest ranking religious leader in the country — currently Ali Khomenei. Iran is made up primarily of Shia Muslim, the smaller of the two main branches of Islam, the larger being Sunni — ISIS comes out of this latter group. It is dangerous for a Muslim to convert to Christianity in Iran and aside from societal/family pressure can lead to imprisonment, torture and even death. As a result, most Iranian Muslims convert secretly, keeping it hidden from their family. One of those Muslims who converted to Christianity in Iran but didn’t keep it quiet …

Central Java, Indonesia Photo: Piyaphon Phemtaweepon/Flickr

Dealing with fear

In December 2001, Pastor You Yong was praying in his church in Magetan, Indonesia when members of the Laskar Jihad army surrounded the church and kidnapped the Christian pastor. Pastor You had started a small church in 1996 and it grew to over 100 people. The majority of the congregation were converts from Islam. The Muslims were outraged. Indonesia has a population of about 250 million and 85% are Muslim. In a couple of provinces, they have even managed to set up Sharia law. Though Christians only make up 12% of the population, they are the fastest growing religion in Indonesia. Yong’s church was part of that growth. The Muslims complained to local authorities that Yong was causing disharmony. When they were put off, the Islamic leaders called in the Laskar Jihad army to deal with the situation. The Jihadists threw a bag over Yong’s head and dragged him off for interrogation. They beat and threatened Yong. They held a machete to his neck and Yong thought he was going to die. But during this …

A member of the Pueblo Grande Baptist Church talks with members of Argentina's gendarmerie after the church was vandalized: Photo Morning Star News

Argentinian Baptist church under severe persecution gains the support of the courts

News out  of Argentina suggests that a small Baptist church in Rio Terceo, Cordoba, Argentina may finally get some justice. Several years ago, Pueblo Grande Baptist Church and their pastor Marcelo Nieva decided to help women in their community by opening a home for those fleeing drug abuse, sex work and domestic violence. Unfortunately, the move caught the attention of local drug gangs. With these women no longer taking drugs and willing to work the sex trade, it was directly impacting the gangs’ revenue sources. Because of this, gang lords and their supporters initiated a two-pronged attack against the church. They branded the church as a cult and accused it of  “brainwashing” women. This method proved so effective that they were able to organize a rally in June 2014 against the church. Spurred on by media reports, hundreds of people showed up in front of the church where they not only threw stones and sticks at the building, but even painted the Spanish word for cult “secta” on the building. However, rather than tracking down …

Police arrest preacher in England after a lesbian ‘falsely’ accuses him of homophobia

[by Dean Smith] In September, 2013, while Rob Hughes, 34, was street preaching in Basildon, Essex, England, when a woman approached him. She described herself as “gay and proud,” and immediately confronted Hughes. There was a brief, but heated discussion filled with colorful blue language — none of it expressed by Hughes. After the woman left, she called the police and accused Hughes of making homophobic comments. Hughes works with a Christian group called Operation 513, which specializes in street evangelism. After he finished preaching, his group was handing out tracts, when two police officers approached Hughes and arrested him.

Bread and Circuses

[Earl Blacklock] The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. Millions come each year to view with awe its remnants. And little wonder. Designed to seat 50 thousand people, it was an architectural masterpiece. But it had a bloody history. The arena was the place where the idle gathered to amuse themselves, and Roman society had many idle, to the extent that the state had to placate them with free food and amusement to keep them out of trouble. By the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D.), 159 days of public holidays were in place, of which Claudius devoted 93 days to spectacles in the arenas of the empire, of which the Colosseum was chief. Juvenal, a writer of the day, said of his fellow Romans that they “now long eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses”.

Muslims threw Christians off refugee boat crossing the Mediterranean

[by Dean Smith – updated April 18, 2015] Italian police are reporting that Muslims on board a refugee boat crossing the North Mediterranean Sea from Libya threw 12 Christians off the boat. The 12 were murdered simply because they were Christians. The rubber boat held 105 people when it left Libya on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Somewhere along their journey Muslims on board became aware of the Christians. The Muslims were from Senegal, Ivory Coast and Mali. [Since we posted this story, there have been more revelations on what happened on board the raft carrying the 105 refugees. Apparently, the rubber boat started leaking and people began praying. The Muslims on board became enraged when they heard a boy praying to God instead of allah. Screaming allah is great they threw the boy overboard. When other Christians tried to help the boy, the Muslims turned on them as well.] The murdered Christians were from Ghana and Nigeria and were likely fleeing the escalating Muslim violence against Christians in those countries.

After praying for a sick woman, Christian leaders imprisoned for practicing medicine without a license

Bordered by Cambodia, China, Vietnam and Thailand, Laos is a landlocked, communist country in Southeast Asia. Officially called Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Transparency International labelled Laos as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Last year, the government charged five church leaders with practicing medicine without a license because they prayed for a sick woman. Morning Star News is reporting on a legal decision that came down February 12, 2015, the five Christians were each fined US$62 and sentenced to nine months in jail. The group must also pay the family of the deceased woman US$2,448 for emotional distress and funeral costs.

Time to pray: The church is under attack on multiple fronts

Fox 91 reports that three churches in Columbus, Indiana were vandalized with verse citations from the Qur’an spray-painted on their walls. They seem to be a direct attack on the Christian faith by Muslim extremists in the area. The three vandalized churches included the St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, the East Columbus Christian Church and the Lakeview Church of Christ. St. Bartholomew’s church had the verse reference “Qur’an 3:151” sprayed on its wall in black paint. The verse reads:

Did the Bible predict beheadings by Muslim extremists?

[by Dean Smith] Years ago, I stumbled upon a verse in the New Testament that puzzled me. Found in the book of Revelation, it was strange, because based on my experience at that time it made no sense. Eventually I forgot about the passage. But recent events brought it back to my memory and I started looking for it. It took a while to find it. At one point, I wondered if I had just imagined seeing it, but eventually I tracked the verse down. The Book of Revelation speaks of a vision by the Apostle John about the apocalyptic events that would occur before the Second Coming of Jesus. At the end of Revelation, John sees a special reward being given to two groups of people who had undergone extreme persecution. They would be raised from the dead before the thousand-year reign of Christ and live with Christ during this period. The rest would be raised from the dead at the end of the thousand years. So who were these two groups?

A quiz at Ohio State University says Christians are dumber than atheists

According to a report by Campus Reform, an online quiz developed for the Psychology 1100 class at Ohio State University (OSU) states that Christians are dumber than atheists. Campus Reform is a conservative group that according to its website “exposes bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.” The quiz posed this question: Theo has an IQ of 100 and Aine has an IQ of 125. Which of the following statements do you expect to be true? Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian. Aine earns less money than Theo. Theo is more liberal than Aine Theo is an atheist, while Aine is a Christian. The correct answer was the first one: “Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian.”

Barbaric Muslim ritual reported in persecution of Christians

Sister Hatune Dogan reports Muslim jihadists are performing barbaric atrocities against Christians in Syria. Sister Dogan is a nun with the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church and spends much of her time documenting Muslim extremists persecution of Christians. In this graphic interview (be warned), Dogan speaks of Muslim persecution of Christian men and women in Syria. One involves the purging of blood from martyred Christians, so it can be sold to Muslim extremists for a bizarre ritual.

Tehran, Iran Credit: rasool abbasi17/Wikipedia

Iranian Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine

On October 6, four Iranian men were sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking ceremonial wine as part of a communion service in their local house church. Alcohol is forbidden under Iran’s sharia law which governs the justice system and the death penalty is an option for any Muslim who converts to Christianity. Last December, Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Rez Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) were attending a house church in Rasht, Iran, when the meeting was raided by Iranian police. According to sources, the portion of their name in brackets represents their Biblical names. 

A mockery of an ancient Egyptian deliverance?

Just prior to their deliverance from Egypt, God told the Israelites to protect their homes from an avenging angel — that would strike down the first-born of Egypt — by marking the lintels and doorposts of their homes with the red blood from a sacrificial lamb (Exodus 12: 7, 8). This became the basis of the Jewish Passover. Now centuries later, the story is repeating itself in the same country, but with a bizarre twist. According to the Christian Science Monitor, mulsim extremists in parts of Egypt are marking Christian homes and businesses with

Crosses overlooking Matera, Italy. Credit: Hugh Bell/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is mocking Christians ultimately an act of cowardice?

On August 9, 2013, Greg Gutfiled of the O’Reily Factor interviewed Washington Post contributing editor Cathy Areu on the establishment’s double standard on how it treats Christians and Muslims. Earlier that week, Atheist Richard Dawkins tweeted: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though. “ There was an immediate backlash from people offended by the tweet. Celebrities, fellow atheists, liberals and Muslims alike condemned Dawkins’ tweet accusing him of racism for

Church vandalized with satanic symbols

U.S.: This past weekend (August 3, 2013), a Brethren Church in Danville, Virginia was vandalized with three satanic symbols and two words oddly written in Latin. The symbols included an inverted cross and pentagram and the Latin words, when translated, read ‘hail satan.’ Danville is a small community and people were shocked something like this would happen there.  Read the full story: Historic Danville church vandalized It may only be a coincidence, but a similar thing happened during protests this past July at the Texas legislature, as the state government was passing the toughest pro-life legislation in the U.S.  Pro-abortion protestors opposing the legislation could be heard chanting “hail satan” as a pro-life speaker addressed a group opposing abortion.

Jesus banned from the Calgary Stampede

Each July, the City of Calgary in Alberta, Canada hosts one of the biggest cowboy shows on earth — the Calgary Stampede — featuring everything from bull riding to chuck wagon races. This year the show ran from July 5th to 14th. The Stampede also holds an annual parade and each year, Calgary Pastor Arthur Pawlowski has a fight on his hand when it comes to promoting the name of Jesus in the parade. In an interview with Ezra Levant, Pastor Pawlowski says

Christians have rights too, says English judge

In a recent ruling, an English judge stated Christians in that country have rights too. Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson of the Court of Appeals was commenting on a case involving Susanne Wilkinson, a Christian, who owned a Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire. In 2012, because of her Christian beliefs, Susanne had turned down a homosexual couple when they requested a room with a double bed. The gay couple took Susanne to court claiming they were discriminated against. Susanne lost and

Street preachers assaulted in Seattle

Two sign-carrying, street preachers are assaulted at Seattle Pridefest held June 30, 2013. It appears free speech is only allowed to go one way. The preachers’ signs read “Repent or Else” and “Jesus Saves from Sin.” Initially, people argued with the preachers, but it rapidly escalated into a violent assault. Profanity warning.