CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Endless extermination of Christians: Do we care?
WND.com reports: “Not only is it fatally dangerous to be a Christian in Syria and Egypt, but ‘70 percent of Christians killed around the world in 2012 died in the African country of Nigeria, where the persecution continues today’ (‘Deadliest place to be a Christian: Nigeria,’ Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow.com, May 31).
According to a Fox News report, in Iraq, which we invaded in 2003 to liberate its people from a vicious dictatorship, ‘the number of Christian houses of worship there has dwindled alarmingly in the decade since the U.S. invaded and ousted Saddam Hussein from power.
‘There are just 57 Christian churches in the entire country, down from more than 300 as recently as 2003, Patriarch Louis Sako told Egyptian-based news agency MidEast Christian News. The churches that remain are frequent targets of Islamic extremists, who have driven nearly a million Christians out of the land, say human rights advocates’ (‘Christians, churches dwindling in Iraq since start of war 10 years ago,’ Perry Chiaramonte, Foxnews.com, March 21).
We hear a lot about Barack Obama’s targeted killing of Pakistan’s citizens, including innocent civilians, by drones, but you probably have not heard about this:
‘The destruction a Christian neighborhood suffered on Saturday speaks volumes about growing religious intolerance in the country.
‘An over 3,000-strong mob set ablaze more than 150 houses of Christians in Lahore’s Joseph Colony over alleged blasphemous remarks … by Sawan Masih, a 28-year-old Christian sanitation worker’ (‘Christians under siege: Mob rule in Lahore,’ Rana Tanveer, The Express Tribune, March 10)…” (Islamic Sharia Law commands that death through crucifixion – Surah 5:33 – or decapitation [beheading] – Surah 47:4 – be executed because Christians are infidels. Revelation 6:9 and 20:4 predicts a time of monstrous slaughter just before Christ’s return: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” See the next seven reports.)
National Review Online reports: “The millions of Egyptians, Muslim and Christian, who took to the street in peaceful protest over a month ago understood well the consequences of crossing the Muslim Brotherhood. ‘So much violence, so many innocent people killed,’ says Mina Thabet, an Egyptian human-rights activist who lives in Cairo. ‘The [Mohamed] Morsi supporters are armed and killing people in the streets. They are targeting Copts. But if the Muslim Brotherhood had remained in power, we would have the same violence and much more because he would use the institutions of the country, the army and the police, against us.’
The Muslim Brotherhood’s systematic and coordinated attacks against Christians in Egypt are reminiscent of Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938, when Nazi paramilitaries systematically vandalized Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues and murdered scores of Jews in a disturbing foreshadowing of the fate of European Jews over the next few years. It is no accident that many Jews, including Barry Rubin and Jeffrey Goldberg, have been quick to raise the alarums over the persecution of Christians: They recognize the dangerous signs. ‘They have hatred in their hearts,’ says Thabet of the Brotherhood, echoing observations commonly made of the National Socialists in 20th-century Germany…”
Coptic Church cancels Sunday mass for 1st time in 1,600 years
The Times of Israel reports: “Amid escalating violence against Egypt’s Copts, churches in Minya, located in Upper Egypt, cancelled Sunday Mass for the first time in 1,600 years. Other churches in Minya also didn’t hold prayer services.
‘We did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday [August 18, 2013]for the first time in 1,600 years,’ Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram Monastery in Degla, just south of Minya, told the al-Masry al-Youm daily.
He said supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi destroyed the monastery, which includes three churches, one of which is an archaeological site. ‘One of the extremists wrote on the monastery’s wall, ‘donate [this] to the martyrs’ mosque,’’ Lotfy added…”
Coptic Christians chant in Tennessee streets: ‘Obama, don’t you care?’
The Washington Times reports: “Hundreds of Coptic Christians took to downtown Nashville, Tenn., streets this week [August 22, 2013] to protest the ongoing and escalating violence their faith is facing in Egypt.
Among their chants: ‘Obama, Obama don’t you care? Christian blood is everywhere,’ The Tennessean reported. The demonstrators, waving Egyptian flags, also called for Americans to ‘pray for Egypt.’ And signs abounded, with messages such as: ‘We are against Muslim Brotherhood.’
A woman who said she has lived in the United States for 16 years expressed fear for Christians who live in Egypt, and she said the Muslim Brotherhood is to blame for the 40-plus church burnings that have been reported in recent days.
‘What is terrorism,’ she said in The Tennessean article, ‘but being afraid to go out of your house because someone will attack you.’…”
UK Church reports over 100 attacks on Christian properties in Egypt
ChristianToday.com reports: “The Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK has received reports of over a hundred attacks on churches and other Christian buildings in Egypt since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.
In addition to churches, attacks have been carried out on Christian homes, businesses, institutions and individuals.
It has published a full list of the properties attacked between 14 and 22 August here.
At least seven Christians have been killed in the violence that ensued after the military broke up sit-ins by supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The violence has killed over 830 people, including 70 policemen.
General Bishop in the UK Coptic Orthodox Church, Bishop Angaelos said the scale of the violence was ‘devastating’.
‘To see so many lives lost whether of victims or perpetrators is not only a loss to families and communities, but a loss to the nation and to humanity as a whole,’ he said…”
Islamists Kill Five Christians in Nigeria Because of Their Faith
Breitbart.com reports: “On September 2, Islamists in Nigeria ambushed a minibus, ordered passengers to exit, and then shot those that were Christian.
The incident took place near the central city of Jos. Those killed were members of ‘a Church of Christ in Nations congregation in… Foron.’
According to BosNewsLife, passengers that identified as Christians were ordered to lie down on the side of the road and were executed. Those killed ranged in age from 22 to 40.
A technical school student who rode his motorbike close to the scene to see what was happening was ordered to stop and then asked his religion. When he said he was a Christian he was ordered to lie down with the others. But when the Islamists started shooting those lying furthest away from him he jumped up and ran while the attackers ‘fired wildly at [him].’
He escaped with his life and was able to report to authorities how the attack happened…”
Iran upholds American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s 8-year prison sentence
ChristianToday.com reports: “The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which defends human rights and religious freedom, said an appeals court in Tehran has rejected the appeal of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a US citizen, and refused to reduce his eight year prison sentence.
Speaking in an ACLJ news release, Abedini’s wife Naghmeh called the decision ‘devastating.’
The ACLJ said it is now exploring all legal and governmental options available.
‘While we remained hopeful that Iran would use its own appeal process to finally show respect for Pastor Saeed’s basic human rights, again Iran has demonstrated an utter disregard for the fundamentals of human rights,’ said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, (which represents Abedini’s wife and their two children) speaking in the news release…”
Judge: Foreigners can sue U.S. pastor over sermons
WND.com reports: “A federal judge has backed a homosexual-rights group in its claim that members were injured by an American pastor’s biblical preaching in Uganda against homosexual behavior.
But the ruling from Judge Michael Posner in a case brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda against Pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries could mean much more. It could establish that an international consensus disavowing long-held biblical standards could trump the U.S. Constitution.
SMUG alleges Lively must be punished for criticizing homosexuality, calling his speech a ‘crime against humanity’ in violation of ‘international law.’
The plaintiffs allege that the Alien Tort Statute in the United States allows them to make the charge in the U.S.
Lively’s attorney, Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel, said his client’s preaching is protected by the Constitution…”