Christian Persecution: Six Quick Takes

Easter isn’t all new clothes, gorgeous masses in stunning church buildings and arguments about red shoes and foot washing. 

In some places, Calvary is present in the lives of the people. The Church itself and all its Christian people hang on the cross of persecution.

In other places, such as the United States and Great Britain, society is moving along the continuum toward violent persecution. Christians in those two countries have come to expect and accept that they will be subjected to hate speech against Christians, Christian-bashing on web sites. They are increasingly being forced to accept that they face growing legal discrimination against Christians and moves to force Christian speech and expression out of the public sphere. We are at the “you can go to church all you want, but leave it there,” phase of discrimination, and this discrimination is rapidly becoming government-enforced.

At the same time, Christians in Egypt fear being kidnapped with no police support to stop it. Christians in Bangladesh have their children stolen and trafficked and again, the police do not punish the traffickers. Christians in North Korea are imprisoned and worked to death. Christians in Nigeria are murdered, tortured and their churches are burned.

I could go on. But there is too much of it for one post.

Here is this week’s roundup of Christian persecution in Six Quick Takes.

 

Christian church destroyed nigeria

1. Nigeria: Easter Attacks Kill 80, Thousands of Christians Flee to the Hills 

By BosNewsLife Africa Service – “Nigerian Christians appealed for prayers Tuesday, April 2, after Easter season violence in troubled central Nigeria left as many as 80 people dead and displaced some 4,500 others.

At least 19 people were killed since Easter Sunday when gunmen believed to be nomadic Muslim cattle herders attacked the mostly Christian Atakar group in Kaura district, a remote area of Kaduna state, officials said.

Witnesses said the attacks on three communities, including the Mafang and Zilang villages, killed many women and children. Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawan told reporters his forces were still investigating.

Ataka Christians live near Plateau state where authorities claimed fighting between cattle herders, who are mainly Fulani Muslims, and Christian villages killed nearly 60 people in recent days.

The area is on the uneasy dividing line between Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south…

Christians said that following Sunday’s violence, thousands of villagers fled to the nearby hills. (Read more here.)


Trafficked children bangladesh

2. Bangladesh: Christian Children Re-Captured By Trafficker

Eleven of the 16 Christian children who were rescued from Muslim traffickers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 2 have again gone missing. Sources in the Christian community, as well as reports in local newspapers, report that they believe the children were re-trafficked and taken to madrassas, Islamic training centers, where they will likely be forced to convert to Islam and study the Quran.

Eleven Christian children, originally from the Rangamati district of Chittagong Hill Tracts, disappeared for the second time earlier this year after being given back to the custody of their parents. “We were not aware that our child would be taken to a madrassa,” one parent told International Christian Concern (ICC).

The children, along with five others, had been rescued by police from a madrassa in the Abuzor Giffari Mosque Complex in Dhaka. The children had been missing for months. They were returned to their parents soon after their rescue, but traffickers continually threatened the parents until the recent re-disappearance of the children. Local authorities say the children were likely trafficked again to madrassas and are concerned that they will be forcibly converted to Islam.

“The [leader] of the traffickers gives a large sum of money to the traffickers to take the kids to the madrassa,” said an ICC source. “Because of this, they threatened the parents and took their children, again, to a madrassa. It is all because of large sums of money, and because there are no punishments for the trafficker.” (Read more here.)


NKorea lightbox

3. North Korea:  Number 1 for Christian Persecution

North Korea is the most hostile place for Christians around the globe,  according to the annual “World Watch” list from the Open Doors Organization.

The list ranks the 50 countries where Christian persecution is most severe. North Korea tops the 2013 list, thus holding its ranking for the eleventh year running.

“Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution,” the Open Doors report said. (Read more here.)


 

Union jack

4. Great Britain: Majority of Church-Going Christians Feel Persecuted and Marginalized

Over two-thirds of Christians in the United Kingdom feel part of a victimized minority, and David Cameron is making that worse by redefining marriage, the Coalition for Marriage says.

In a new poll commissioned by the group, almost eight in 10 said the prime minister’s same-sex marriage plan will lead to those who back traditional marriage facing the sack.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they felt part of a “persecuted minority.”

Marginalized
The survey also showed that over half of the U.K.’s Christians who voted Conservative in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again in 2015.

Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage, said the poll showed “widespread and continued opposition towards David Cameron’s plans to redefine marriage.”

He added: “More worryingly it shows how Christians and those of faith are being treated like illegal aliens in their own country. They are being marginalized and persecuted for their beliefs. (Read more here.)


Egypt kidnapping

5. Egypt: Christians Targeted for Kidnappings

MATAI, Egypt (AP) — Ezzat Kromer’s resistance to his kidnappers did not last long. One of the masked gunmen fired a round between his feet as he sat behind the wheel of his car and said with chilling calm, “The next one will go into your heart.”

The Christian gynecologist says he was bundled into his abductors’ vehicle, forced to lie under their feet in the back seat for a 45-minute ride, then dumped in a small cold room while his kidnappers contacted his family over a ransom.

For the next 27 hours, he endured beatings, insults and threats to his life, while blindfolded, a bandage sealing his mouth and cotton balls in his ears.

Kromer’s case is part of a dramatic rise of kidnappings targetingChristians, including children, in Egypt‘s southern province of Minya, home to the country’s largest concentration of Christians but also a heartland for Islamist hard-liners.

The kidnappings are mostly blamed on criminal gangs, which operate more freely amid Egypt’s collapse in security since the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Crime has risen in general across Egypt, hitting Muslims as well. But the wave of kidnappings in Minya has specifically targeted Christians, and victims, church leaders and rights activists ultimately blame the atmosphere created by the rising power of hard-line Islamists.

They contend criminals are influenced by the rhetoric of radical clerics depicting Egypt’s Christian minority as second-class citizens and see Christians as fair game, with authorities less likely to investigate crimes against the community.

Over the past two years, there have been more than 150 reported kidnappings in the province — all of them targeting Christians, according to a top official at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police. (Read the rest here.)


Cross Flag

6. United States: Pro Life Student Group Banned at Johns Hopkins University

.- A pro-life student group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., is appealing a denial of official recognition, saying that it is being discriminated against for its views against abortion.

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, told CNA that this decision is surprising, given that Johns Hopkins administration and students “pride themselves on being a ‘free speech campus’ – allowing dissenting opinions on campus and allowing a free exchange of ideas on campus.”

She added that there is a need for “upholding freedom of speech that isn’t popular.”

Voice for Life, a pro-life organization that is trying to re-start on the Johns Hopkins campus after several years of dormancy, has been rejected multiple times by the university’s student government, despite receiving clearance from the necessary committees as having met all campus requirements. (Read more here.)

  • txpoonhunter

    Christians conveniently forget that they threaten people (even kids) with eternal torture if they don’t join Christianity.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      This one’s pretty easy. Does anyone want to answer it?

    • Ted Seeber

      Hell is chosen by the sinner’s own sin. Christianity offers one escape, but if you read Nostra Aetate and Lumen Gentium, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Christianity does NOT offer the ONLY escape. It is entirely possible to, due to invincible ignorance and being raised in an anti-Christian society, that through the practice of forgiveness a pagan might be saved.

      • Bill S

        “It is entirely possible to, due to invincible ignorance and being raised in an anti-Christian society, that through the practice of forgiveness a pagan might be saved.”
        Ted,
        You make it sound like a pagan can be saved if, through ignorance, he is unaware of how to be saved. I completely reject Christianity. I reject its moral teachings. I reject the hierachy of the Catholic Church and the infallibility of the Pope on matters of doctrine. I don’t accept the inerrancy of the Bible. What do you think is going to happen to me when I die?

        • Guest

          Here is one possibility, under the Catholic understanding that going to hell is our own choice.

          When you face the all-loving, all-merciful Jesus at your particular judgment and every proud, arrogant, rejecting, and hurtful thing you ever said about Him, every person you turned away from God even a little bit in your pride and arrogance, and the eternal ramifications of all that are revealed to you in perfect clarity, and satan whispers in your ear that you cannot possibly be forgiven those sins, you may just do a Judas and fling yourself into hell in shame and self-loathing rather than face Divine forgiveness.

          Have you ever known a person here on earth who spent so much time and energy nursing their hatred and resentment of another person who hurt them that they would rather suffer any pain than humble themselves to accept forgiveness and a restoration of the relationship? I have and it makes the possibility that someone could actually choose hell over heaven very real to me.

        • Theodore Seeber

          “What do you think is going to happen to me when I die?”

          To paraphrase CS Lewis in the Great Divorce, and reverse it a bit: Purgatory will give you one last chance to convert- and if you don’t convert, you can call it Hell, because you will be stuck there for eternity.

          The nicer way to put it is that Purgatory is what happens when we are faced with all we got wrong in this life- it’s painful, but on the other side of it is the reward of Heaven, so it is worth it.

      • pagansister

        Ted, I’m not ignorant of what Christianity teaches and offers—but have chosen not to accept it all as truth. Guess this Pagan will have to take her chances. :-)

        • Theodore Seeber

          Yes, but don’t blame either the Church or God for that choice. If you end up in hell because of that choice- it was YOU who choose to go there, not God or the Church who sent you there.

          • pagansister

            I would have a hard time blaming a church or a god if I ended up in hell, Theodore. I don’t believe that hell exists.

  • Sj

    I am a Christian that feels like I am being persecuted by other Christians. Sometimes people hide behind the trappings of Religion and laws and rules (Pharisees). That does not make all Religious People truly Christians. The Political Religious Right sometimes bears no resemblance to Christ of the New Testament but more resemblance to the Pharisees. You cannot force people to accept your values. You can only be an example that they want to be like. The Political Religious Right is missing the true spirit of Christ. People must be allowed to practice free will and not have doctrine forced upon them.

    • Guest

      I agree with you about the radical right but you only presented one side as so often happens when people try to speak of religion as if were politics. There are plenty on the religious left that try to play God and tell us that some sins aren’t sins anymore. Not only aren’t they sins anymore, anyone who objects to the left’s new definitions are sinners themselves. Or, even if some things are still grudgingly admitted to be sin, we’re supposed to ignore that and be all accepting of the sin anyway in the name of loving of neighbor. This In direct contradiction of course to what Jesus said over and over about “your sins are forgiven, NOW GO AND SIN NO MORE”.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Consider this- Christ himself was considered a Pharisee by the Sadducees and by other Jews.

  • http://heartfulmemories@wordpress.com Janice Oliver

    See, txpoonhunter as Christians we know Satan is real, so we spread the word on how you can avoid him. We no longer fear him and can talk about our Lord and where we will spend eternity.

  • Bill S

    People who threaten children with eternal punishment aren’t just doing it as a lazy way of controlling their behavior. They really believe it.

  • http://michigan harry verwoerd

    the increased pesecution against christians is very Biblical.Christians are a huge threat to the left,liberal philosophy of the present day.Liberals like to think about being compromising,accomodating,untill you disagree with their philosophy,then they start name calling,denying free speech,If you want to know how christians are going to live as time goes on,persecution will increase,the Bible says so.So to all christians,stay strong do not compromise your christian beliefs,you will be rewarded.

    • http://heartfulmemories@wordpress.com Janice Oliver

      Thank you, Harry and Amen.

  • Sj

    Being a Christian does not fall under one political party or another and a self-righteousness is not being a Christian. Only God has the right to judge the heart of another. Just be sure to get the mote out of your own eye before you even attempt to take a speck out of your brother’s eye. Arrogant Pride is not Christian. Actually many calling themselves Christians today, are very likely the same type that also persecuted him when he was alive. Always exalting themselves above all others. Mostly concerned about outward appearances not about loving their neighbor.

  • http://michigan harry verwoerd

    as an evangelical christian we are to love all people, believers and non believers,and your right God will judge all,but christians will affiliate with political parties they are most comfortable with that will stand up for christian values,ive lived in both the U.S and Canada,in the U.S that would be the republican party and the conservative party in Canada despite all their flaws.

  • pagansister

    Jews apparently aren’t the only group that gets persecuted. Except for some of the things happening in Great Britain and at Johns Hopkins, I’m not surprised at the persecutions of Christians in Egypt , N. Korea, Nigeria, and Bangladesh.


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