The Roman Catholic Bishops of the Middle East and East Africa said that the pope’s efforts for peace are changing the dialogue in their countries. They call it a “miracle.”
The Roman Catholic Bishops of the Middle East and East Africa said that the pope’s efforts for peace are changing the dialogue in their countries. They call it a “miracle.”
Elizabeth Scalia has heard the call.
I’m talking about the call to prayer for persecuted Christians around the globe.
Pope Francis issued a call to prayerfor the persecuted church earlier this week.
According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, one hundred thousand Christians have died for their faith each year in the last decade. That works out to 11 Christians martyred for their faith every hour for the past ten years.
Can you imagine the outcry if this was one the groups that fashion says we should care about? Just consider the sentence 100,000 _______ were murdered because of they were ______ each year for the past ten years. Supply the name of any group whose rights we hear daily that we are supposed to care about.
Now, go back and substitute the word Christians, as in:
100,000 Christians were murdered because they were Christians each year for the past ten years.
See what I mean?
Christian bashing is far more popular in today’s world than defending the human rights of Christians. Every time I post on the issue, I get a spate of comments telling me that no such problem exists. There are usually a few profane and truly ugly comments mixed in with them. I delete these things the same way I would swat a fly; the same way I delete Holocaust deniers and gay bashers and woman haters; with speed and quickness.
Pope Francis is right. We need to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. If you’re one of those people who has been observing this carnage and wondering What can I do? here’s you answer. Get on your knees and start praying.
I wrote a Novena for the Persecuted Church a few weeks ago. You can find it here:
The Washington Post published an opinion piece by Reza Aslan, the Muslim writer-about-Jesus.
I’m not going to go into the this-guy-is-not-a-Christian-he’s-a-Muslim stuff because I don’t think it really matters. You can find the same garbage he writes in this opinion piece on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and other places all over television every Christmas/Easter.
These are the same lies that are trotted out by Christian bashers all over the internet. You can find them repetitively blah-blahed any day of the week at certain portals right here on Patheos. There are also the hyper modernist Christians, such as the Jesus Seminar, who put this stuff out there, feeding the attacks against Our Lord from within.
Mr Aslan lines up the same old bogus arguments in a list of five, labeling them the “Five Myths about Jesus.” These “myths” are, for those who don’t want to click on the thing: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus was an only child (Mary is ever virgin), Jesus had 12 disciples, Jesus had a trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus was buried in a tomb. Each of these is a myth, according to Mr Aslan.
His reasons for these opinions of his are as flabby and obvious as his motive: He’s not a Christian and he wants to tear down Christianity.
The really great thing in all this is that it points out quite eloquently the fact that Christianity is different by far from other religions, specifically Mr Aslan’s faith. Can you imagine if Mr Aslan had written a similar opinion piece about Islam? What if he had decided to debunk the Prophet Muhammad?
The question here wouldn’t be whether or not those “intolerant” Muslims decided to criticize Mr Aslan’s objectivity or say that he was wrong in his assertions. Rather, the question would be where Mr Aslan would hide to keep from being killed.
Christians have been roundly criticized for criticizing this Christ basher. They have been called bigots for pointing out that, as a Muslim, Mr Aslan just might have an agenda in his “scholarship.” They have, as usual, been labeled bigots and intolerant extremists for standing up for their faith.
On the question of the inevitable calls for death and beheading of anyone who dares to say even one criticism of the Prophet Muhammad, there is a “tolerant,” oozy silence.
But the facts are the facts. Christianity is radically different from any other faith on this planet. There is no other empty tomb. Every good thing we believe today about the value of the individual human being and the individual human life has its foundation in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
The fact that the Church is under such attack in the Western world today is a direct consequence of this one thing: Christianity teaches that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and that there are certain moral requirements and consequences attendant to that fact.
We may not kill with impunity. This teaching raises the ire of those who wish to kill through eugenics, euthanasia, abortion, embryonic stem cell research.
We may not degrade other human beings. This teaching raises the ire of those who wish to degrade through pornography, prostitution, egg harvesting, surrogate pregnancy.
We must use our sexuality as a mutual, life-giving gift between a man and a woman united in the sacramental covenant of Holy Matrimony. This teaching raises the ire of everyone who wants to live outside this boundary.
These things, and not the veracity of the Gospels, are the source of the popularity of the attacks on Jesus.
Mr Aslan is just riding the wave of anger against anyone who tells our nihilistic, narcissistic culture that there are moral limits on what they may do. They are using him with their phonied up “tolerance” to attack what ails them, which is anyone who says their sins are sin. He is using them to attack a faith other than his own in the name of a phonied up scholarship.
This is standard stuff for us Christians. We have to put up with being attacked, defamed and now, blatantly discriminated against as part of our faith.
But we know something that these people refuse to believe: Jesus Christ is the Lord of Life, and those who persist in following Him to the end will live forever.
For a different take on this same article, check out Joanne McPortland.
In a move that should surprise no one, the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that Elaine Hugenin and her husband Jon must do wedding photos for same-sex marriages.
The couple, who own Elane Photography, declined to do wedding photos for a two-woman commitment ceremony in 2006, saying that their Christian beliefs conflicted with the message of the ceremony. The state’s supreme court ruled earlier this month that New Mexico’s non-discrimination laws trump the couple’s right to freedom of conscience.
This, once again, tosses the slogan bandied about by gay marriage supporters, If You Don’t Favor Gay Marriage, Don’t Get Gay Married in the ash can, alongside, the Who Does It Harm? canard.
In truth, forcing people to do things that are against their faith is not a benign action. Using the law to coerce people to violate their deepest moral beliefs — beliefs which have been standard throughout the Western world for 2,000 years — based on what is essentially a social fashion, should be repugnant to anyone who believes in the dignity of the individual human being and their right to free will.
The only other explanation I can think of for going to such extremes to compel this couple to violate their faith is that the Hugenin’s must be the last living wedding photographers in the state of New Mexico.
According to Catholic News Agency:
Scholar Ryan T. Anderson, writing in National Review Online, said the Aug. 22 decision “highlights the increasing concern many have that anti-discrimination laws and the pressure for same-sex marriage will run roughshod over the rights of conscience and religious liberty.”
“If marriage is redefined, then believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage — that it is the union of a man and a woman ordered to procreation and family life — would be seen increasingly as an irrational prejudice that ought to be driven to the margins of culture. The consequences for religious believers are becoming apparent.”
Read the whole story here.
If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay married.
That’s how the slogan goes.
But … who really believed they meant it?
Not, evidently, the Church of Scotland. The Kirk, as it’s called, is considering a move to discontinue performing marriage services “rather than face a slew of lawsuits from homosexual couples demanding to be wed.”
Read about it here.
Catholic social teachings have their roots in the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.
One would think, watching this video, that every person, everywhere, would unite with all others behind these teachings. However, Catholic Social Teachings are the reason that the Church is attacked from so many quarters, including, sadly, from the pews and even from behind the altars of its own parishes.
Everyone has someone they want to exploit, abuse or even kill for their own privilege. This impulse is evil from its core, and like all evil it responds to anything that seeks to limit it with anger and rage.
Nothing makes people more angry than telling them that their most precious little sin is, in fact, a sin. Of all the angers I have encountered as an elected official, none is so vicious, hate-filled and unreasoning as the rage of people who are being told they can’t kill or exploit other people they have deemed not human enough to matter.
I think the reason for this is that, by defining other people as not human enough to matter, and taking on themselves to power to kill and exploit them, they have already aligned themselves with the darkness.
And the darkness hates the light, even it is just a flash of the tiniest flame of another person telling them that they are wrong.
This beautiful video describes Catholic Social teaching with colors.
Watch it and pray that Kingdom come, His will be done.
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.
“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.
I apologize for talking about this now, on Sunday.
But the weight of grief and oppression I felt Friday — which is the day I usually write about our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ — has lifted, and I feel compelled to talk about it now.
According to Asia News, at least 58 Christian churches, schools, homes and shops have been attacked, looted and torched in Egypt in the last three days. The Christians of Egypt need our prayers today on this Lord’s Day.
Sunday is a time of rejoicing and feasting, our Sabbath of thankfulness for the Resurrection and its promise of eternal life. But on this Sunday, it is also a time for us to unite ourselves with Christ crucified all over the world.
Jesus suffers this minute in Egypt. His churches, convents, institutions and homes are burnt and destroyed. His people are subjected to terror and all forms of violence.
This is the face of Christ Crucified in our world today.
We can not ignore our Suffering Savior in these His people.
I hope that you will pray the Novena for the Persecuted Church that we began today. I hope also that you will pray and ask God to show you how you may help our persecuted brothers and sisters.
The list below is the names of the churches, convents and institutions that have been attacked that we know of. From Asia News:
Catholic churches and convents
- 1. Franciscan church and school (road 23) – burned (Suez)
- 2. Monastery of the Holy Shepherd and hospital – burned (Suez)
- 3. Church of the Good Shepherd, Monastery of the Good Shepherd – burned in molotov attack (Asuit)
- 4. Coptic Catholic Church of St. George – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Church of the Jesuits – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Fatima Basilica – attacked – Heliopolis
- 7. Coptic Catholic Church of St. Mark – burned (Minya – Upper Egypt)
- 8. Franciscan convent (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. Teresa – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 10. Franciscan Church and School – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Convent of St Joseph and school – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 12. Coptic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart – torched (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 13 Convent of the Sisters of Saint Mary – attacked (Cairo)
- 14. School of the Holy Shepherd – attacked (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- Orthodox and Evangelical Churches
- 1. Anglican Church of St. Saviour – burned (Suez)
- 2. Evangelical Church of St Michael – surrounded and sacked (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 3. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George – Burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 4. Church of Al-Esla – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Adventist Church – burned, the pastor and his wife abducted (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Church of the Apostles – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 7. Church of the Holy renewal – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 8. Diocesan Centre Coptic Orthodox Qusiya – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. George – burned (Arish, North Egypt)
- 10. Church of St. George in al-Wasta – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Church of the Virgin Mary – attacked (Maadi, Cairo)
- 12. Church of the Virgin Mary – attacked (Mostorod, Cairo)
- 13. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George – attacked (Helwan, Cairo)
- 14. Church of St. Mary of El Naziah – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 15. Church of Santa Damiana – sacked and burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 16. Church of St. Theodore – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 17. Evangelical Church of al-Zorby – Sacked and destroyed (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 18. Church of St. Joseph – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 19. Franciscan School – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 20. Coptic Orthodox Diocesan Center of St. Paul – burned (Gharbiya, Delta)
- 21. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Anthony – burned (Giza)
- 22. Coptic Church of St. George – burned (Atfeeh, Giza)
- 23. Church of the Virgin Mary and father Abraham – burned (Delga, Deir Mawas, Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 24. Church of St. Mina Abu Hilal Kebly – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 25. Baptist Church in Beni Mazar – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 26. Church of Amir Tawadros – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 27. Evangelical Church – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 28. Church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad- burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 29. Church of the Apostles – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 30. Church of St Mary – arson attempt (Qena, Upper Egypt)
- 31. Coptic Church of St. George – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 32. Church of Santa Damiana – Attacked and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 33. Church of the Virgin Mary – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 34. Church of St. Mark and community center – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 35. Church of Anba Abram – destroyed and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- Christian institutions
- 1. House of Fr. Angelos (pastor of the church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abraham) – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 2. Properties and shops of Christians – Burnt (Arish, North Egypt)
- 3. 17 Christian homes attacked and looted (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 4. Christian homes – Attach (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Offices of the Evangelical Foundation – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Stores, pharmacies, hotels owned by Christians – attacked and looted (Luxor, Upper Egypt)
- 7. Library of the Bible Society – burned (Cairo)
- 8. Bible Society – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Bible Society- burned (Asuit, North Egypt).
This video talks about Christianity in China. Christianity is growing, despite persecution.
It is interesting that the communists do not make Christianity illegal, they put it under state control. This is similar to the way that our government has begun to try to control Christianity here in America; by reducing the First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion to worship services in houses of worship and the privacy of our own homes.
This is tyranny.
This video shows us a glimpse of the magnificent faith of Christian young people around the world.
Can we do less that stand for Jesus here in America?
Note: The video says that in China it is illegal to give religious instruction to anyone under 18. This mirrors the Dawkins’-inspired secularist calls to stop parents from passing on their faith to their children here in the West. It is notable how often extreme secularists use the tactics of communists.