All posts tagged: Persecution

Preparing for the end times

When the warden for All Saints’ Radford church in Nottinghamshire showed up at the church on Sunday, July 26, 2020, Lorraine Smedley discovered that vandals had painted upside down crosses and swastikas on the church building. The Nottinghamshire police referred to it as a “hate crime.” Across the English Channel in France, reports indicate the number of attacks against Christian churches in that country has increased nearly 300% in just 12 years according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDACE), a Venice-based organization. OIDACE reports that in 2018, the French government officially stated that there were 275 attacks, fires and vandalism, against churches in that county. That number had climbed to 1,052 attacks by 2019, representing a 285% increase. Recently, there was an arson attack on a 500-year-old Cathedral in Nantes, France on July 18, 2020. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg because these simply represent threats and attacks against physical structures. In 2018, the French government reported that there were 2,000 hate crimes against Christians. Though …

Several churches vandalized over the past week

According to an article on Fox News, several churches across the US were attacked in the last week and authorities are wondering if this is related to the recent protests. Fox News writes: A slew of Catholic churches from Florida to California were burned and vandalized over the weekend as police continue to investigate whether or not they are connected to protests targeting symbols and statues. Following George Floyd’s police-related death in May, Black Lives Matter leaders and protesters called for the toppling of statues, from Confederate symbols to former U.S. presidents and abolitionists. Activist Shaun King called for all images depicting Jesus as a “White European” and his mother to be torn down because they’re forms of “White supremacy” and “racist propaganda.” The list included:  A man drove his car into Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Florida during a morning service. He then got out of the car poured gasoline and set fire to the church while people were inside. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The man allegedly suffered from schizophrenia. The 249-year-old San Gabriel church in Los Angeles, California also had a major fire. The church …

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard arrests 12 Christians with aid of house church infiltrators

According to a report by Article 18, an organization dedicated to monitoring religious freedoms in Iran, between June 30 and July 1, 2020, the country’s Revolutionary Guard arrested over 12 Christians in three cities — Malayer, Karaj and Tehran. In addition to this, officials also secured the identities of dozens of other Christians. Article 18 reported that about 10 agents with the Revolutionary Guard stormed a house church of about 30 people in Tehran. They arrested six people who were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken away. The families have no idea where they are. Five of the people arrested were Muslims who had converted to Christianity which is illegal in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The remainder had their cell phones seized and were forced to sign forms that the Revolutionary Guard had “not” taken their phones. The Revolutionary Guard then went to the homes of people attending the house church meeting, including the six arrested, to search for Bibles and Christian literature. Others who were not at the house church meeting were also arrested as …

Last words: Never give up your faith in Jesus

You have probably never heard of Kande Mudu, 27, but the Apostle John mentioned Kande in his vision of the end times found in the book of Revelation. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) recently reported on what happened to Kande, a Christian living in Khunti district in Jharkhand state located in the North East corner of India. CSW is an organization that monitors religious freedom in 20 countries. According to CSW, Kande and his wife Bindu became Christians in 2016, and they along with their two daughter were the only Christians in the small village where they lived. On June 7, 2020, a mob of armed Hindu extremists started pounding on the door of the family home around 8 PM. They eventually broke down the door and dragged Kinde out of the house. They then started beating him with their weapons and Kinde was killed when an assailant slit his throat. Kinde’s body was discovered later that night on a deserted road. This was not the first time the family had been assaulted because of their …

Good News for a Persecuted Christian

What does it cost to be a Christian? A pastor in Myanmar, also known as Burma, was kidnapped by an armed rebel group, and after a year had passed with no news, most people assumed he was dead. More than a year after his capture, the pastor was returned to his family. He had been captured with another man, and the article does not mention what happened to him. Possibly that second man paid with his life for being a follower of Jesus. These two good men, our brothers, are an example to us all. We were told by Jesus “Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14: 33) READ: Myanmar pastor presumed dead returns home more than a year later

Jail time for praying about a virus

So, how are you coping with the lockdown for the Corona virus or COVID-19? Whatever name we give to the virus, the effect is the same. A virus can make us sick, and possibly kill us, and spread to others. We know that. The other effect, is to destroy society. Have you noticed the list of corporations that are now in bankruptcy? This morning I heard about Hertz, the company that rents cars. We may not think about them unless we work for them, but did you ever imagine a world where so many big corporate names would disappear? The world is changing around us, in this pandemic. Some of the changes are made by us. The pandemic itself is terrible in some places, or just a temporary disruption, depending on how people managed the crisis. History will judge us all. One other problem, is the blame aimed at people who break the rules. I live in a place where the restrictions are not too extreme. If I don’t like the line ups when I …

Government’s latest COVID-19 conspiracy theory

Apparently, some governments believe COVID-19 can be transmitted through car exhaust. When a small church in Greenville, Mississippi decided to hold a drive-in church service, where people stayed in their cars and listened to the service in the parking lot through low-frequency FM, the mayor ordered 20 police officers to storm the church and stop this dangerous gathering. Since the parishioners were not getting out of their vehicles, are we to presume these people were breaking the law because their cars were not wearing masks? READ: Police Officers Storm Mississippi Church for Hosting Drive-In Services

It’s not strange: Daystar’s Jerusalem studio firebombed

On Saturday morning, May 18, 2019, an arsonist firebombed Daystar’s studios located in Jerusalem destroying most of its facility. Founded in the US in 1993 by Marcus Lamb, Daystar is the second largest Christian TV network in the world with over 70 TV stations in the US. In 2004, it moved into satellite broadcasting and is reaching over a 100 countries. Daystar was in the final stage of a major renovation of its studio when it was attacked. Security cameras showed a person climbing to the top of the building around 2:30 in the morning, and a short time later, there was an explosion and a fire that destroyed much of the new studio, including its control room and equipment, and remaining facility. Daystar’s studio is located in Abu Tor, a mixed Jewish/Muslim section of Old Jerusalem. Police speculate there may be a religious motivation behind the attack since it happened during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, and in addition to being Christian, the station is pro Israel. A second theory has also surfaced involving an …

Church in Germany Credit: Bernard Blanc/Flickr/Creative Commons

Bad News for Organized Religion

Where I live, we are a few days away from an election. A few night’s ago, we had a leader’s debate, with all the usual personal attacks and petty bickering. The reaction today is that no-one won the debate, and the voters haven’t changed their minds about how they will vote. It was all a required exercise before the vote, with no results. In all the arguments, there is a story about someone who preached a sermon at a Baptist church. I wasn’t there for the sermon, but apparently he talked about sexuality and morals, and he described some similarities between homosexuals, and pedophiles who molest children. I don’t know what he said, but someone found a record of the sermon, and noted that the preacher is a candidate in the election. That has produced angry demands to fire the candidate, and he has apologized. The debate last night included angry words about “homophobia” but I predict that preacher will win his local election by a landslide. People in his small-town region don’t have a …

Red Square, Moscow Credit: Matt Shalvatis/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to be a Persecuted Christian

Are you a Christian? If ‘yes’ do you know that you will be persecuted? The Bible is very clear about that “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “Will be.” I recently followed the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. And yes, it is dangerous for me to say that, but note that I live in Canada and I don’t want to pick sides in someone else’s argument. What I noticed was that accusers and the accused were like soldiers on the front line, and they could be sacrificed for the benefit of greater powers. I am sure the dispute was more intense because the U.S. was a few weeks away from mid-term elections, at the time. So much was at stake. I could say more, but I am now in dangerous territory. This is safe for me; I have often traveled to the U.S. and I am always impressed by the large numbers of good people that I meet …

The Black Church of Buoakirkja in Iceland Credit: David Soldano/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to argue with a “New Atheist”

A few years ago, a man I knew was diagnosed with cancer. He was older than me, and I think his health was not good. The cancer doctors used very aggressive treatments and his tumour began to shrink. His friends, including me, were happy about this because it seemed like he was going to beat the cancer. Then the bad news came. The treatment for cancer was so severe, it was killing him. The doctors were forced to stop the treatment to save his life, and the tumor started growing again. He knew he would die from the cancer, and he went to a hospice for palliative care, which means he went to a specialized hospital, and waited to die. And the end of his story is; he did die, after a few weeks. The palliative care unit was close to where I worked and I made a few lunch-time visits. He had visits from family members in the evenings. On my lunchtime work schedule, I had to walk several blocks and I could only …

Mototaxi on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Credit: Tobias Mayr/Flickr/Creative Commons

Whose law will we obey?

Believers in Bolivia may soon be facing a difficult decision. According to a report on Evangelical Focus, the left-leaning Bolivian government of President Evo Morales recently passed a law that could make it illegal for Christians to share their faith. Article 88.11 of Bolivia’s penal code reads: “Whoever recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or host people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations will be penalized five to 12 years of imprisonment.” The way it’s worded, the law suggests that recruiting (sharing your faith) with another person could be considered illegal. Transporting a person to church or even to a religious camp could also be interpreted as an illegal act warranting jail time. The law also equates sharing the Christian faith with armed rebellion. Because of its vague wording, many are concerned Morales could use the law to clamp down on evangelicals. Bolivia has a population of about 11 million of which 78% are considered Roman Catholic, 19% (two million) Protestants and 3% non religious. …

Painting of Nero's torches also referred to as Christian candlesticks by Henruk Siemiradzki (1843-1902) /Wikipedia

The fiery trials of North Korea described as a ‘life of hell’

In an interview with Fox News, Choi Kwanghyuk said he had never heard of underground churches until he managed to flee North Korea and its brutal dictator Kim Jung-un. After his escape, Choi was granted asylum in the US in 2013 and now lives in Los Angeles. While in North Korea, Choi was a member of  the country’s underground church. Though on paper, North Korea says religion is legal in the country, in reality the only god they are allowed to worship is its president Kim Jung-un. Choi who lived in North Korea’s cold North Hamgyon province told Fox News there were nine members in their church and they were very reluctant to share their faith for fear of being found out because it would result in imprisonment and probably death. Choi added that they had one Bible that they shared between them and they often held church services in a hole that they had dug in the ground as a storage place for kimchi, a spicy pickled cabbage that is considered a national food in …

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.”