India: Faith Grows Among Persecuted Christians in Orissa

Bann01

We have been faced lately with the defection of a number of highly-placed American Christians on serious matters of faith. 

In particular, there has been a large retreat among political and intellectual Christian leadership on the question of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. They are either tossing marriage out the door altogether, or they are, as I was once counseled concerning abortion, urging the rest of us to leave our beliefs at home or inside our houses of worship. 

I’m not talking about one, specific, runner. I’m talking about a whole group of people who have grown fat off denouncing other people for not supporting the very values they are now running from themselves. Excuse me please if I won’t go along with their self-serving patter. 

But I’m not going to. 

I think they’re self-serving phonies. 

I also think that they should consider persecuted Christians around the world who are holding fast to the cross in the face of horrific suffering. 

A case in point is the persecuted Christian population of Orissa, India. Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (Orissa, eastern India) says,

“Faith in Orissa is growing because of the persecution. This mission, in the face of violent persecutions, has become the focus of religious and priestly vocations.”

Consider, for a moment, what sincere Christians face in India. According to Archbishop Barwa, 

… the district of Kandhamal, where the majority of Catholics of the Archdiocese live, has faced untold persecution”. The highest point were the pogroms of 2008: “During the persecutions, there was an ethnic cleansing of all Christians in 400 villages, more than 6,000 houses, 340 churches and chapels, clinics and schools were burned and destroyed. Thousands of believers were injured, several women and girls, including a nun, were raped and about 60,000 men, women and children were left homeless”. The Bishop recalled that 75 Christians (22 Catholics, 28 Baptists, 12 Pentecostals, 5 of independent churches) and 8 non-tribal Christians were brutally murdered.

The text continues: “Five years after the persecutions, visiting the affected communities, the faithful say to the Bishop: the persecutors burned our houses, property, and killed our loved ones, but they did not manage to destroy our faith and cannot separate us from the love of Jesus Christ .We are proud to be Christians and proud of our faith”. Words and actions of this kind “are clear signs of growth in faith. They may be poor and illiterate, but rich people of faith”, he comments.
The Archbishop explains that still there is no guarantee that persecution will not be repeated: “We live trusting in God and making every effort, as individuals and communities, to build peace in Kandhamal, but we surrender to God and say: Let there be your will”.

He goes on to describe what I believe is beginning to happen here in the “Christian” West when he says, “Each growth is a process that requires pruning, trials and suffering.”

The devil is collecting the low-hanging fruit with the runners who are running away from traditional marriage in America today. These folks don’t need persecution to make them tuck tail and skeedaddle. If you stop and think about it, they’ve never really talked about following Jesus. Their focus for decades has been on denouncing other people. They haven’t urged us to live by our faith or even to bring people to Christ. Their entire focus has been on manipulating us into believing that being a Christian was summarized by how we vote.

The purpose of all this wasn’t our souls or the conversion of our culture. It was their power.

All they needed to switch horses on these issues they were pushing in lieu of actual Christianity was for the manipulations to stop delivering enough votes to give them the power. They are switching — and trying to get us to switch along with them — on 2,000 years of Christian teachings because denouncing people over those teachings has stopped being profitable. The minute they see the money is leaving the fight, they leave the fight right behind it. 

Christianity is growing in India because the Christians there are following Christ. 

Cowardice and Christianity don’t mix. Opportunism and political manipulations don’t mix with Christianity, either.

They never have.

Christianity was so ascendent here in the West that its popularity covered for the manipulators and cowards in our midst. But things are changing. Faithfully following Jesus is beginning to be a career breaker, rather than a career maker. 

We shouldn’t be surprised when people who were only pretending to follow Jesus in the first place fall away under these circumstances. It is inevitable. 

I am humbled by the persecuted Christians in our world today, those in Orissa among them. I know that God holds them close, because I know that none of us has the courage to stand toe to toe with satan incarnate and not run unless the Holy Spirit is empowering them. 

We need to help our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in every way we can, including by praying for them every single day. I hope they in turn will pray for us.

Because their prayers avail much. 

Because they walk with God. 

 

The link to this article is courtesy of reader Fabio. 

  • Bill S

    “The devil is collecting the low-hanging fruit with the runners who are running away from traditional marriage in America today.”

    If a politician in Massachusetts ever said something like that, even in private if it got out, it would be all over the news and that person would never be elected again. I guess Oklahoma is a little different.

    • hamiltonr

      Bill, I represent a district that elected me the first time when I was a pro choice advocate who had no particular religious beliefs. The same district, the same PEOPLE, turned around and elected me (by huge margins against well-funded, heavily-backed opponents, both times, btw) as a pro life Catholic. I had the Democratic Senate Pro Tempore recruit, fund and back someone to try to beat me when I was first in office, and I’ve had most of the members of the Oklahoma Democratic Central Committee recruit, fund and back an opponent to try to beat me this time.

      I represent wonderful people who I’ve known all my life. I also really believe that God has protected me.

      As for Massachusetts, if I was running for office there, I would probably get beaten, but if I did, it would be because I stood for Jesus and didn’t run away from Him. As far as I’m concerned — and I certainly didn’t always feel this way — that kind of defeat is an honor and a gift.

      • Bill S

        We have many Catholic politicians. But they don’t mention the devil collecting the low-hanging fruit. That would be political suicide.

        • hamiltonr

          I not from MA, so I can’t say. I would rather doubt it, though. Maybe at first, but persistence and the truth together have a way of winning out in the long run.

          • Bill S

            You would get the votes of many of the Catholic population and other Christians. But the media would (you’ll like this) crucify you. I suppose you would see that as a good thing.

            • hamiltonr

              No Bill, I don’t see the media “crucifying” Christians as a good thing. I see it as a tragedy. But, if that is the way things are, then I do believe that following Christ means that Christians have to forge ahead, regardless.

              So far as elections go, all that matters is who wins. If the people decided they wanted a pro life, pro woman, pro traditional marriage, pro working people, anti-corporate welfare, death-penalty opposing Democrat like me, that would be their call.

              Having said all that, I have to tell you, I’m staying home. I am Sooner born, Sooner bred.

              • Bill S

                What would you think about how Christians are treated by the media if you were to find out that the atheists were right and the Christians were wrong? Just hypothetically.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  It would stink twice over, because, assuming that the average media view were right, the lies, omissions, misrepresentations and deceptions that are the daily bread of “respected” media organizations would be an ugly stain on the face of the truth. The only excuse – not justification – for their daily crimes against facts is that they are desperate not to hear their sound.

                  • Bill S

                    “assuming that the average media view were right”, what do you mean by the rest of that sentence?

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      All right, since you pretend not to be able to read English, let us parse it. (This may be untechnical – I learned to parse and construct in Italian, not in English, but I think it will make the point anyway.)

                      1. Direct answer to your question: “It would stink twice over.”

                      2, conjunction of cause: “because” (you do know what “because” means, don’t you? That is, “The cause of its stinking twice over would be that…”

                      3. hypothetical phrase placed at the opening of the main sentence to qualify the whole sentence: “assuming that the average media view were right”. Meaning, EVEN IF we were in the barely credible situation of having to grant that the ideological position of the mainstream media is correct, NEVERTHELESS… (and here begins the main phrase of the sentence).

                      4a. Start of the main argument. Having said all that has already been said, and that one hopes you would be able to understand,:” the lies, omissions, misrepresentations and deceptions…” – four nouns substantive that make up the subject of the sentence.

                      5. “…that are the daily bread of “respected” media organizations…” – a parenthetical phrase, which might almost be placed in brackets, and which qualifies the fourfold subject just stated: those lies, omissions, etc., are not just any lies, omissions, etc., but the particular cloud of lies, omissions, etc., which “are the daily bread of “respected” media organizations”. The subject had prepared the reader for this phrase by using the definite article “the”, in other words, not just any kind of lies, omissions, etc., but “the” lies, etc., – and this demands a “that”-phrase to qualify it.

                      4b.”would be” – man verb, in the conditional. This always goes back to the beginning: “assuming”, so and so, then it “would be” so and so.

                      4c. Payoff: “an ugly stain on the face of truth.” Not that I expect you to understand the proposition, since you refuse the very notion of truth, but the proposition is that, if we took the media to have any footing in truth (and if, assuming another idiotic assumption, the Catholic Church had nothing to do with the truth and that were the reason why they opposed it), then you do a very bad service to truth by lying even against its opponents. That is the reason why people like me insist on being fair even to Communists, Nazis and the like. As I said, I don’t expect you to understand it.

                    • Bill S

                      Fabio,

                      When I watch the evening news on CBS, I am not a victim of “lies, omissions, misrepresentations and deceptions”. News is news. It is what it is. There is no conspiracy by the media to promote an agenda. The teachings of the Catholic Church would actually constitute an agenda that its followers are trying to promote without much support from the media (and rightfully so).

                      As far as “”an ugly stain on the face of truth”, that would depend on what you consider to be “truth”. Most news reported these days can be verified.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Oh, wow. I just recovered from the convulsions of laughter induced by this comment. The man who is too sharp and critical to believe in God believes in CBS. Nothing more to say, my lad – nothing more to say.

                    • Bill S

                      I’m glad that amuses you.

              • FW Ken

                Ha! but I’d Sooner be from Texas
                (Ken ducks, runs, and hides)


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