Franklin Graham: ‘Equality Act’ will lead to Christian persecution ‘as never before’

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham is speaking out against one of the LGBT lobby’s top congressional priorities, warning that the so-called Equality Act would have “catastrophic consequences” for both religious freedom and women’s rights if it became law.

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” among expressly recognized “non-discrimination” categories in “public accommodations” (the definition of which would be dramatically expanded); and force employers of 15 or more people to recognize their claimed “gender identity,” forbid them from “discriminating” based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” and mandate transgender “access” to sex-specific facilities.

In May, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to pass the bill, which Graham warns could become law depending on the outcome of next year’s elections, WND reports.

“If the Senate majority changes or if enough Republican senators change their position, it would be up to the president to veto the bill. And if that office were to change hands in 2020, I have little doubt this would become the law of the land,” Graham wrote in the July-August issue of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine Decision.

If that happens, he continued, Christian employers “would lose all protections to hire people who adhere to their biblical statements of faith. Christians will be persecuted for their sincerely held beliefs as never before. The clear teachings of the Bible on the sins of homosexuality and abortion will no doubt be considered ‘hate speech.’ It will be a nightmare from which this nation may never recover.”

Conservatives have long warned that the legislation’s true purpose is not to protect homosexual or gender-confused Americans from tangible harm, but to force other Americans such as photographers, florists, and bakers to participate in same-sex “weddings”; to force employers and businesses to accommodate cross-dressing, same-sex cohabitation, and sex-change treatments regardless of their own values or policies; and to force women and girls to sleep, shower, and use the bathroomalongside gender-confused males.

WND adds that in the same issue, the Graham association’s Jerry Pierce warned that the Equality Act “would make no exemptions for religious institutions and explicitly invalidates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” leading to the closure of adoption agencies that insist children be placed in homes with a mother and a father along with stripping “parents of their right to raise and educate their own children if their beliefs contradict government mandates.”

“Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights,” five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared in May.

“The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate,” the bishops added.

The Daily Caller reported last month that every 2020 Democrat presidential candidate averaging above 1% in the polls has endorsed the Equality Act, including former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren. (Click to Source)

 

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“Lovers of Islam, Force These Demonic Creatures Out!” Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2019

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The Slaughter of Christians

Burkina Faso: A number of fatal Islamic terror attacks on Christians and their churches occurred throughout or were reported in May:

  • On Sunday 26 May, armed Muslims stormed a Catholic church during mass and opened fire on the gathered worshippers; four were killed and several others injured. killing four and injuring others.
  • On May 13, armed Muslims attacked a Catholic procession, slaughtered four Christiansand “burned a statue of the Virgin Mary.”
  • On May 12, approximately 30 armed Muslims stormed a Catholic church, slaughtered at least six worshippers—including the officiating priest—and then burned the church to the ground.
  • On Sunday, April 28, Islamic terrorists stormed a Protestant church and killed six worshippers, including the 80-year-old pastor and his two sons.  According to a local, “The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused.”  So “they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.”
  • On April 5, Islamic gunmen entered a Catholic church and murdered four Christians.

Nigeria:  On Sunday, May 26, Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed and slaughtered as many as 30 Christians as they walked home after church service.  The Muslim tribesmen also torched approximately 20 Christian households as part of their planned “Islamization” of Nigeria, said a local pastor, adding, “These targeted attacks on innocent Christians are unacceptable, particularly with confirmed arrests of over 30 Christian women [who work as] fruit and food vendors by soldiers … after the attack.”  Separately, on May 18, Islamic gunmen killed a Christian and kidnapped two others at a Baptist church.

Central African Republic: An elderly Christian nun of Spanish/French origins who spent her days teaching young girls how to sew in the African nation was beheaded by a militant group representing and partially composed of Muslim Fulani herdsmen; around the same time the group massacred at least 26 people, in what one report refers to as “one of the biggest single losses of life in the Central African Republic (CAR) since a February peace deal.”

Turkey:  The murder of an elderly Christian man is believed to have been a hate crime.  According to the report, the “86-year-old Greek man was found murdered in his home with his hands and feet tied. He was reportedly tortured”:

Zafir Pinari’s death on May 14 comes just five days before the commemorative anniversary of the Greek Genocide. This genocide was conducted from 1913-1922 by the Ottoman Empire and was the systematic killing of Christian Greek citizens. By … 1923, most of the Greek population were either murdered or had fled the country. A wave of killing of Greek Christians again occurred in the 1960s.  A suspect has been arrested in this case and three others are under investigation. It is not yet clear as to what motivated the murder. However, given the historical context, local press covering the incident are labeling it as a hate crime.

Pakistan: A Muslim man tortured his Christian employee to death after the latter tried to quit his job.   Javid Masih, 45, worked as a livestock farmhand for Abbas Jutt.  According to a source acquainted with the case, “Masih wanted to quit because he was often subjected to discrimination and religious hatred.”  The deceased’s widow confirms: “We had been experiencing religious hatred from [Jutt] and his colleagues, however, we had no courage to register this with police.  We are poor and belong to a downtrodden segment of society. Therefore, we are never heard.  Jutt has damaged our lives and we have nothing to live for now.”

Egypt:  A Muslim employee murdered his Christian supervisor on May 7, “because of his Christian faith” notes a report.  Surveillance footage from a nearby building captured the incident.  While passing each other, the two men speak briefly, before the Muslim man returns with a knife and butchers the Christian, who leaves behind a wife and two boys aged 15 and 9.  “The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began nearly two weeks ago,” the report adds. “It is common for Christians to suffer increased violence and harassment during this time. Persecution is a constant theme of life for Egyptian Christians, as they are already viewed as second class citizens in this Islamic nation.”

Syria: Islamic militants bombed a Christian village; five children and a 35-year-old woman were killed.  “The kids went out to play after some days of calm” near a monastery, explained a local priest, when a rocket struck near them, “instantly killing five and wounding others… the woman was killed in a nearby street by a separate rocket.”

Iraq:  On May 13, Islamic militants connected with the Shia group, Shabak, which is supported by Iran,  broke into the home of two elderly Christian women, a mother and daughter, and repeatedly stabbed them with knives.  Although the mother’s age is unknown, it can be surmised considering that her daughter—who was last reported as “struggling with death” and “in critical condition”—is 69 years old. According to one report, “The women were repeatedly stabbed with a knife and their gold and money were stolen. The two victims were then hospitalized in Mosul. The daughter, who sustained a violent head injury, remains in critical condition.”  Although the two women were subsequently robbed, local Christians say plunder was not the primary motive: “The attackers tried to deliver a message of threat….  I don’t think it was a robbery because they stabbed the daughter on her head by a knife which means the criminals tried to kill them….  You know who could be the ones who may attack Christians. Everyone knows them. But no one can give you the names since they are supported by the militia.”

Separately, in an address delivered in London, the Rev. Bashar Warda, Archbishop of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, accused Britain’s Christian leaders of indifference to the genocide of Iraq’s Christians.  Some of his comments follow:

Christianity in Iraq, one of the oldest Churches, if not the oldest Church in the world, is perilously close to extinction. Those of us who remain must be ready to face martyrdom….  Our tormentors confiscated our present, while seeking to wipe out our history and destroy our future. In Iraq there is no redress for those who have lost properties, homes and businesses. Tens of thousands of Christians have nothing to show for their life’s work, for generations of work, in places where their families have lived, maybe, for thousands of years….  Will you continue to condone this never-ending, organised persecution against us?  When the next wave of violence begins to hit us, will anyone on your campuses hold demonstrations and carry signs that say “We are all Christians”?  And yes I do say, the “next wave of violence”, for this is simply the natural result of a ruling system that preaches inequality, and justifies persecution. The equation is not complicated. One group is taught that they are superior and legally entitled to treat others as inferior human beings on the sole basis of their faith and religious practices. This teaching inevitably leads to violence against any “inferiors” who refuse to change their faith. And there you have it—the history of Christians in the Middle East for the last 1,400 years.

Attacks on Churches

Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen stormed a church during evening choir practice and kidnapped 17 Christians on May 18.   “As we were in the church, Fulani herdsmen numbering over 20 just surrounded the church and started shooting,” a church member recalled. “Everybody was terrified, but there was no way we could run because they had already surrounded the church. They were asking for the pastor’s house, and they threatened to shoot us if we don’t show them the house. Some of them went to the pastor’s house while others kept watch over us.”

Kenya:  On May 17, a rampaging mob of Somali Muslims destroyed the properties of four churches—Kingdom Gospel for All Nations Ministry, Evangelical Victory Church International, End Time Army Church, and Kale Heywot Church—and injured several Christians.  On the previous day, locals had called police on an outdoor Islamic event because it was getting too loud and rowdy.  Citing “public disturbance,” police responded by pulling the plug on the event.   On the next day, “a group of Muslim adherents stormed our church building armed with stones, machetes, and petrol,” the pastor of one of the destroyed churches said.  “They broke into the church and damaged everything; from chairs to sound equipment. They also attempted to set the church on fire, but police arrived and contained the situation….  After they destroyed the chairs and equipment of this church, they split into small groups and went around stealing from the nearby shops operated by Christians. This was outright persecution of the people that subscribe to the Christian faith.” Another pastor of an attacked church said, “Our freedom of worship has been violated and we can only pray for a time when the Muslim community will allow Christians to worship without fear of being attacked. Our members are now scattered and … we have received notes at our church warning us against going to church, praying and preaching.”  “The influx of the Somali people who are majorly Muslims has posed a great danger to the churches,” said the leader of another attacked church. “They have erected four mosques and are looking for portions to build other mosques. They have been threatening churches to leave so that they can build mosques on those plots.”

Turkey: On May 21, police interrupted a baptismal ceremony while raiding and subsequently shutting down an unauthorized church composed of Iranian Christian asylum seekers. “Turkey does not have a pathway for legalization of churches,” the report adds:

Many are instead forced to register as a foundation or association, and most even then will not be allowed to open a church building. For this reason, many like the church in Bolu are forced to exist in apartment buildings.  It is common for Christians to report harassment and intimidation by the police who monitor their church services. For Iranian Christians, they are often challenged in that as asylum seekers, they are usually housed in extremely Islamic areas who do not want a Christian presence.

Iran:  Authorities directly under the control of the Supreme Leader  raided an Assyrian Presbyterian Church on May 9. They tore the church’s cross down, changed its locks, and made clear that worship was no longer be permitted at the church.  Apparently the church’s crime was that it used the Persian language alongside its own Assyrian language; because the overwhelming majority of Iran’s Muslim population speaks only Persian, conducting church services in that language is seen by the Islamist regime as a seductive threat to the faith of Muslims

Algeria:  Citing a law that requires special authorization for non-Muslim places of worship, authorities shut down another church and its Bible school on May 22.  “I am sad to have to face this injustice,” its pastor said: “We prayed for those authorities who are persecuting us, as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded.” The church had filled all other prerequisites for legalization, and had been waiting for approval since 2017, which never came.   This is the latest of several churches to be closed in recent years.  According to the report,  “Officials have yet to issue any license for a church building under the regulation…Several churches have since received written orders to cease all activities, and authorities have closed a number of them for operating without a license. Islam is the state religion in Algeria, where 99 percent of the population of 40 million are Muslim.”

Egypt: Authorities closed down another church in response to Muslim disapproval.  “This is a very hard situation,” said one local Christian. “You can see kids praying in tears because of their feelings of fear … that is very painful for us as Christians personally. I don’t trust in the government promises, but we have to continue praying for [a] reopening the church.” “Many years ago we were praying in our houses with the priest because there was not an [existing] church,” another local Christian gave background information. “Now there are more than 400 Coptic persons in our village and the number of us increases day by day… During the last feast days (Orthodox Easter) many Copts prayed and the police had secured the building, but then the police asked Bishop Georgius to close the church because some Muslims in the village disagreed.”

Separately, an American professor teaching at Cairo’s American University was fired for refusing to emphasize Islam over other religions during his Religions of the World Class. According to one report,

Professor Adam Duker has taught Comparative Religions at the university since 2016. His dismissal reportedly comes after a conflict with Saudi billionaire Tarek Taher, who maintains close ties to the university.  Taher had requested that Professor Duker focus more heavily on Islam. When Professor Duker refused, his contract was terminated effective October 2019. Professor Duker says that Taher asked him to encourage non-Muslim students to convert to Islam and that Taher wanted his lectures pre-approved before teaching. [A more detailed report on this development appears here.]

Pakistan: “A pastor … received a letter on May 1 warning him that his church would be the site of a terrorist attack unless he paid a ransom of more than $3,500.00,” notes a report. “The threat has many church leaders in Karachi on edge and calling on local authorities to provide their communities with protection….The letter also warned that if Pastor Azeem went to police, there would be consequences like the recent terrorist attacks on churches in Sri Lanka.”

In a separate incident, 38 Christian graves at a Pakistani cemetery were desecrated; the unknown assailants also defaced several crosses fixed to the graves.

Attacks on Apostates and Blasphemers

Uganda:  Muslims burned the home of a former Muslim convert to Christianity and his large family (when still a Muslim he had married three women who gave him 14 children).  Most of the family was indoors and barely made it out in time before the charred roof collapsed.   “We thank God that no one was physically hurt but emotionally are very hurt as we continue receiving threatening messages warning us of a possible attack,” said the father. “The pressure from the extended family and radical Muslims is really troubling my family, and we cannot risk going back to our houses.”  Problems began once Muslims learned the family had embraced Christianity; area Muslims began stoning their home on the same day they saw the family attend church.  Muslim villagers and the imam of the local mosque also began insulting and harassing the family, with one villager saying, “If you do not come back to Islam, then expect something unusual to befall your family.” “Since then,” explained the father, “my family became vigilant, and we even hired a guard to take care of the family during the night, but the stone-throwing continued in one of the houses while the guard was on patrol on the other side of the homestead.”  Even after being made homeless, the family continues to receive threatening messages, including,  “The burning of the house was just warning. If you continue hardening your hearts and fail to return to Islam, then expect a worst thing that you have never seen before.”  “We sincerely need prayers and financial support,” concluded the father. “My family is scattered, and the children are unable to go to school. We gave our lives to Jesus and here we are living a troubled, restless life. The law should bring these perpetrators to book.”

Pakistan: On May 15, a Muslim mob attacked a Christian family accused for allegedly blaspheming against Islam. The incident started after a Christian man asked a Muslim man who was loudly cursing on his phone near the Christian family home to move away.  The Muslim responded with a derogatory, anti-Christian slur, which led to a physical altercation, until the Christian family managed to separate the two men.  That night, the local mosque’s megaphones started blaring out against the Christian household, accusing them of blasphemy and adding: “All the lovers of Islam must gather together and force these demonic creatures out of this village.”  A family member explains what happened next:

This was a horrifying moment for my whole family and other Christians. We felt totally helpless. In our panic we started to get ourselves ready to flee our homes and  get far away from the village, however, we were all to[o] slow. In no time we start to hear Muslims gather outside our home—even the children. The violent mob surrounded our home and all of them had weapons including guns—which were being shot in the air, sticks, axes, poles and farming tools. Even the small children had weapons [and] we feared for our lives. The mob began shouting outside our home asking for our family to exit our home and receive divine retribution for our sin. It did not seem very divine—we just saw raging evil violent people ready to kill us.”  Seven Christian family homes were attacked before the mobs dispersed.

Sexual Abuse of Christians

Indonesia:  A May 23 report says that “ a new form of persecution is on the rise—Christian girls are being targeted by Muslim men…  Influential leaders are literally training young men to target Christian girls to impregnate them”:

They target them to try and sort of diffuse the spread of Christianity because the family of the Christian girl is so ashamed that…they’re forced into marrying that daughter into a Muslim family….  The family, because the shame is so overwhelming, they agree to that… and the Muslims who are being trained to do this, they understand that. That’s why they’re doing that. They’re taking a Christian into a Muslim family so they can influence [her].  Once girls are married into the Muslim families, they’re often cut off from or abandoned by their families and they face even more difficult circumstances.  In some cases, girls are the second or third wife of their persecutor and they have few freedoms.

Pakistan:  Neha Pervaiz, a 15-year-old Christian girl, was raped, forcefully converted to Islam, and married to a 45-year-old Muslim man. “I was taken by my aunt, a Muslim convert, to her house on April 28 to help her look after her sick son,” recalls Neha. “But there I was asked to marry a Muslim man named Imran. When I refused, they beat me up and threatened to kill my minor brother who was with me.”  She was then forced into another room and raped by Imran. “They then pressurized me to convert to Islam and marry Imram.”  Over the following two days she was forced to convert, renamed Fatima, and taken to court where she was illegally married to Imran.  She eventually managed to escape back to her parents.

Egypt: Muslims reportedly kidnapped a Christian wife and mother of three near Cairo. Her family has since received threatening messages saying that unless the woman embraces Islam one of her sons will targeted for slaughter.  After the family took the matter to police, the latter refused to open a case,  suggesting that the woman left her home of her own free will.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:

1)          To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)          To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it. (Click to Source)

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President Trump, moved by religious persecution victims’ plight, insists meeting go into overtime

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – With a meeting near its end and more than two dozen victims of global religious persecution about to be ushered out of the Oval Office, President Trump insisted that they stay longer so that he could listen to more of their testimonies and requests for help.

Twenty-seven people from 16 countries who had been or are persecuted for their faith gathered around the president’s desk on Wednesday. Some spoke briefly of their harrowing plights and others simply thanked President Trump for his administration’s efforts to promote and protect religious freedom.

Among the guests was Pastor Andrew Brunson, who languished in a Turkish jail before the Trump administration intervened to secure his freedom.

“What you have in common is each of you has suffered tremendously for your faith,” noted the President as he welcomed his guests to the Oval Office. “You’ve endured harassment, threats, attacks, trials, imprisonment, and torture.”

“Each of you has now become a witness to the importance of advancing religious liberty all around the world,” he said. “It’s about religious liberty.”

“In America, we’ve always understood that our rights come from God, not from government,” continued the President. “In our Bill of Rights, the first liberty is religious liberty. Each of us has the right to follow the dictates of our conscience and the demands of our religious conviction. We know that if people are not free to practice their faith, then all of the freedoms are at risk and, frankly, freedoms don’t mean very much.”

“That’s why Americans will never tire in our effort to defend and promote religious freedom,” said the President. “To me, it’s very important. It’s vital. It’s really vital.”

“You’ve been through a lot — more than most people could ever endure,” added the President. “It’s really an honor to be with you, and I will stand side by side with you forever.”

“Thank you for your leadership, standing up for humanity, standing up for religious groups and their rights,” said a man who survived the horrific Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque massacre, where 51 perished. “And God bless you. And God bless the United States.”

“Sir, I am from Bangladesh,” said one woman. “My request is: Please help us. We don’t want to leave our country. Just help, Mr. President. I have lost my home. They burned my home. They’ve taken my land.”

Ms. Zhang, a Falun Gong practitioner, told the President that her husband remains a prisoner for his faith in China. “And the forced organ harvesting still exists.”

“Mr. President, one to three million Uyghur population are locked up in concentration camps in China, including my father, who is now serving a life sentence. I haven’t seen him since 2013,” explained Ms. Ilham.

When President Trump asked her if she is able to communicate with her father, Ilham explained, “I haven’t heard about him since 2017, because that’s when the concentration camps started.”

“Anyone who goes to ask about anybody’s family members’ news will never make their way back to their own homes,” she added.

Esther Bitrus of Nigeria shook the President’s hand as she said, “I escaped from Boko Haram.”

Mr. Ju spoke of his family’s plight in North Korea, saying, “All of them, they are in political prison camp.”

“I don’t know where is; they just took [them] at the dawn,” because they are Christians, said Ju.  He also explained that his cousin’s family had been executed.

Among the last to speak was Nadia Murad, who received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in helping women and children who are victims of abuse and human trafficking.

Murad told President Trump about her harrowing experience as a girl in Iraq: “When ISIS attack us in 2014, they killed six of my brothers. They killed my mom. They took me to captivity with my … sister-in-law, with all my sister and my nieces.”

“Today we have 3,000 Yazidi women and children in captivity,” she added.

During the course of the meeting, Pastor Paula White commended the President for his  courageous leadership. “I have watched, from day one and even before you took this office, you be a relentless fighter for people of all faiths and religious liberty.”

“We see it stateside — from you saying we can say ‘Merry Christmas’ again; to the DOJ passing laws that no other administration could pass to give high holy days to all religions to be able to take off of work and to honor that,” said White.

“So we thank you, President, for being the leader — the courageous leader to stand up not only in our nation, but countries all around, for all faith, of all people that we should have the practice and the right to practice our religion,” she added. (Click to Source)

 

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China Update – A Message from the Church in China

Do you notice anything different about the above photo? It was taken earlier this year, and shows a group of Christians from the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China. The photo shows faithful believers meeting in a public park after their services were shut down and their leaders taken away. Starting last December, more than 100 members of this fellowship have been arrested, with many being tortured in prison.

If you look closely, you will see that many have packed bags next to them as they worship the Lord. They brought their clothes and personal items to the open-air meeting in case they were arrested and taken to prison. Across China right now thousands of churches are going through similar intense hardship.

In this newsletter we would like to give a brief summary of what is presently happening in the Chinese Church. The situation is fluid and changing daily, but our contacts in China have shared the following update, followed by a special message from 2 Corinthians chapter 4, which seems particularly relevant and will hopefully greatly encourage you in your own walk with God.

First, an update on some of the recent developments in China:

* Thousands of churches continue to be closed down, and many pastors and evangelists have been arrested. This is true both of city churches and rural fellowships. The persecution is nationwide, and is the result of the implementation of new anti-religion laws introduced in 2017 and 2018.

* Many large city churches have tried to protect their brothers and sisters in the countryside by providing resources, finances and teaching so their faith will be strengthened and better able to withstand the storm. Although the most severe persecution first affected the cities, it has now spread even to small towns and villages. The majority of Chinese Christians remain poor farmers and factory workers.

* Many house church leaders have gone missing. Large numbers have been arrested, while others have gone into hiding. Invasive technology, however, means it is now very difficult to remain anonymous in China. Some leaders have decided they should simply continue to serve God openly, and they are ready to face whatever consequences their actions may bring.

* Even many government-registered Three-Self churches are undergoing a fiery trial. Video cameras with facial-recognition technology have been placed behind pulpits, facing the congregation, and on the walls above church entrances. Scripture posters have been forcibly removed from the walls of many churches and replaced with portraits of President Xi or the national flag.

* All children’s ministry has been banned. This has always been a particularly sensitive topic for the Communist authorities in China. Children are being encouraged to tell on their classmates if they are involved in any religious activity.

* All over the country various local initiatives have been launched in an attempt to stop the growth of Christianity. For example, in the city of Guangzhou the authorities announced they will pay 10,000 Yuan (about US$1,500) to citizens who disclose the names of any missionaries (foreign or Chinese) who work in their city.

* In Henan, which is the province with the largest number of Christians in China, the authorities have issued a paper entitled, “Christianity’s Enormous Harm on China’s Security.” Such reports show how insecure the government is as they seek to consolidate their hold on power. In reality, Christians in China are the most peaceable, hard-working and obedient members of society.

* There is a massive shortage of Bibles right now. The churches are facing a famine of God’s Word as printing slows down, and in many places appears to have come to a halt. Bibles are becoming increasingly rare, and many websites and apps that enabled believers to access the Scriptures have been blocked by the government. Asia Harvest is one of a few organizations still able to provide Bibles to China’s house church Christians.

Please pray for this urgent need. Without the nourishment of God’s Word, the Body of Christ in China will wither.

A Message from the Church in China (from 2 Corinthians 4)

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 4:1-2).

The first thing that we Christians in China would like the global Body of Christ to know is that we have not lost heart. Although we are experiencing a severe trial and some people have given up the faith, we are thankful for the hardship, because God is pruning His Church. It is vital that all believers know that it’s not Satan or any government that prunes God’s Church. The Master Gardener is our loving and wise Heavenly Father!

The reason the Lord prunes is to make the vine even more fruitful, for He said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Therefore we do not lose heart, for we know our lives are completely in the hands of our all-powerful Lord and Savior. At the moment, He is getting rid of some unfruitful branches among His people in China, so that His Church will be refined and more holy as we march forward in spiritual warfare.

We look forward to the time when we will be more fruitful for the kingdom of God. In the meantime, we will not stop proclaiming the Gospel, and we are willing to lay down our lives if necessary so that all of China will hear about Jesus Christ.

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:3-5).

While our lives are firmly in God’s hands, we also recognize that the source of attacks on the Church is the devil. Mankind has been locked in a fierce battle with Satan ever since God declared: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The word “enmity” means much more than a separation. This was the commencement of a full-on war to death, as the devil seeks to destroy mankind, especially those people who reflect the character and goodness of God.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:7-9).

We praise the Lord that He sets limits on what man can do to us. Although millions of believers throughout China are now without a church building to go to and countless home meetings have also been closed down, our faith is strong. The truth of God’s Word and the indwelling sweet presence of the Holy Spirit can never be taken from us. We are not afraid, for the Lord Jesus told us, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10).

Hallelujah! Already we are seeing the benefits of this time of purging in China. In many places, instead of being decimated, churches are experiencing growth! The hardship has caused Christians to become more serious about our faith, and the gospel ie being boldly proclaimed, resulting in even more people pressing into the kingdom of God.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

Finally, brothers and sisters around the world, we want to thank God for you, for we are all members of the same family. Thank you for praying for the Church in China! Although your struggles may be different from ours right now, we know that the Lord is passionate for His people, and He will never abandon us. God’s purpose in suffering is always to humble us, so that we will rely not on our own futile strength, but on the power of His might. We want to conclude by reminding all Christians of this exhortation:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:6-9). (Click to Source)

 

 

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Addiction Ends at the Foot of the Cross by True Salvation thru Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ

Africa: Alarming Rise of Christian Persecution

by Uzay Bulut

  • “In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.” — The Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians.
  • “The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused. They ordered them to gather under a tree and took their Bibles and mobile phones. Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.” — World Watch Monitor, May 2, 2019.
  • As the British report demonstrates, persecution against Christians and other non-Muslims is not about the ethnicity, race or skin color of either the perpetrators or the victims; it is about their religion.
  • If these crimes are not stopped, it is highly likely that the fate of the African Continent will be like that of the Middle East: Once it was a majority-Christian region; now, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenseless minority.

According to a recent interim report published in the U.K., “it is estimated that one third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group.”

Although the full report — commissioned by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and conducted by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen — was due to be released by Easter this year, “the scale and nature of the phenomenon [of Christian persecution] simply required more time,” accordingto the report. As a result, Mounstephen explained, the “interim” findings released in April are incomplete, and the final report will be published at the end of June.

According to the “overview” section of the interim “Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians”:

“In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

Africa — now home to the greatest number of Christians in the world — is one such region.

On June 16, for instance, a Christian elementary school in a Muslim village in Uganda was destroyed, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported.

On June 15, “a mob of Muslim protestors set a church ablaze in Maradi, the third largest city in Niger. The incident was a response to the arrest of a very prominent Imam who was arrested after he claimed the country’s proposed legislation on worship was ‘anti-Islamic.'”

On June 9 and 10, two terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso left 29 Christians dead. This purposeful slaughter of Christians came less than two months after the April 28 massacre of 80-year-old pastor, Pierre Ouédraogo, and other members of his congregation in Burkina Faso, by armed Islamists. A local leader, who requested anonymity, told World Watch Monitor:

“The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused. They ordered them to gather under a tree and took their Bibles and mobile phones. Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.”

On June 7, a Christian woman in Niger was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists and released three days later with a letter calling on all Christians to “leave the town within three days or be killed.”

The above incidents are not isolated. According to the 2019 World Watch Listcompiled by Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group:

“While the violent excesses of ISIS and other Islamic militants have mostly disappeared from headlines from the Middle East, their loss of territory there means that fighters have dispersed to a larger number of countries not only in the region but, increasingly, into sub-Saharan Africa. Their radical ideology has inspired, or infiltrated, numerous splinter groups such as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a deadly group that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram that also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy.”

Terrorist groups are not the only sources of persecution in Africa. Many Muslim governments and individuals also target Christians.

According to the Open Doors 2019 report, the situation in many African nations is as follows:

In Somalia, there is a “life of violence and isolation” for the Christian community that numbers only a few hundred.

“Estimates suggest that 99 percent of Somalis are Muslims, and any minority religions are heavily persecuted. The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence. Additionally, in many rural areas, Islamic militant groups like al-Shabab are de facto rulers. Somali Christians often must hide their faith to stay safe.”

Libya is home to a Christian population of only around 38,000.

“Converts to Christianity face abuse and violence for their decision to follow Christ. Libya is also home to many migrant workers who have been attacked, sexually assaulted and detained, which can be even worse if it is discovered they are Christians.”

Sudan is home to 1.9 million Christians.

“The country has been ruled as an Islamic state with limited rights for religious minorities and heavy restrictions on freedom of speech and press. Christians, whose population is over 1,900,000, face discrimination and pressure— multiple church buildings were demolished in 2017 and 2018, leaving some Christians without a place to worship. Christian converts from Islam are especially targeted for persecution.”

In Eritrea, sometimes called “Africa’s North Korea”, there are around 2.5 million Christians, and many suffer in prisons.

“Since 1993, President Isaias Afwerki has overseen a brutal authoritarian regime that rests on massive human rights violations. In 2018, there were raids on churches, and hundreds of Christians were imprisoned in inhumane conditions. Additionally, there are estimates that other Christians are currently in Eritrea’s vast prison network, but no one knows how many there are or if they are still alive.”

Nigeria, where over 90 million Christians live, is one of the worst places in Africa for Christians.

“Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face persecution from their own families”.

Christians in Egypt, whose Christian population is 9,937,600, suffer from persecution in various ways.

“Those with Muslim backgrounds face enormous pressure from immediate and extended families to return to Islam. Severe restrictions on building or securing places for worship prevent Christians from congregating, in addition to hostility and violence toward believers who do gather. In recent years, Islamic extremist groups have targeted Christians and churches in numerous violent and deadly acts of persecution.”

In the Central African Republic (CAR), the main religion is Christianity, and the Christian population numbers more than 3,450,000.

“Over the last year, the situation has worsened for CAR Christians who face intensifying pressure from Muslims. Christians are also threatened by jihadists and criminal groups in the country whose actions often overlap. And Christian civilians are still caught in the violent conflict between the mainly Muslim Seleka and self-defense militant groups called anti-Balaka.”

Algeria, where around 125,000 Christians live, “has seen an increasing number of churches closed” over the last year.

“At the same time, Christian converts have become more open about their faith, leading to a backlash by Muslim families and the intolerant society. Laws regulating non-Muslim worship, banning conversion and prohibiting blasphemy make proselytizing and public expression of the Christian faith dangerous as well.”

In Mali, the Christian population is 425,000.

“The West African country has become increasingly militant. In the northern part of the country especially, this intolerance has resulted in increasing violence against Christians from jihadist and criminal groups that have a vested interest in keeping the country mired in chaos and instability.”

In Mauritania, there are only around 10,000 Christians from population of 4.5 million people.

“The ‘Islamic Republic of Mauritania’ — the autocratic government of Africa’s 11th largest country — often acts as protector of the Islamic religion. As a result, the state is a major source of persecution. Radical Islamic preachers and militants contribute to the radicalization of society, fueling antagonism and hatred toward non-Muslims. Additionally, a caste system marginalizes darker-skinned Mauritanians and those who do not adhere to Islam.”

In Ethiopia, where the main religion is Christianity and the Christian population numbers more than 64 million, “radical Islam is growing at the local, regional and national levels. Particularly in the rural areas, where Muslims are the majority, Christians are harassed and often denied access to communal resources.”

Morocco has a Christian population of around 31,500.

“Christians suffer persecution from both the state and society. There are restrictions imposed by the state on Christians, such as confiscation of Christian materials written in Arabic, restrictions on evangelization and difficulty getting places of worship for believers from a Muslim background. Radical Muslims within the general populace also put pressure on Christians. In rural areas, pressure from family and community can also be considerable.”

In Tunisia, for the small community of Christians numbering around 24,000, “life within Islamic society comes with hostility and daily pressure.”

“And the threat of Islamic militant activity—especially by those returning from fighting with ISIS—is still worrying, with one suicide-attack on a police station in Tunis in September and a major attack in the border region with Algeria in July 2018.”

In Kenya, another African nation where the main religion is Christianity, Christians are targeted both by Muslim officials and terror groups.

“Inspired by Islamic radicals in Somalia, Muslim politicians have made it their agenda to eliminate Christianity. Officials often demand churches do things that are not in line with their faith, while militants viciously carry out suicide bomb attacks and other brutal acts against those considered to be the enemies of Islam. Due to corruption inside the government agencies, those operating against Christians tragically often enjoy impunity.”

In a May 21 article for Open Doors, Lindy Lowry says that Boko Haram, founded in 2002 in Nigeria, has expanded into neighboring countries:

“They have conducted terrorist attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which have resulted in dramatic refugee and humanitarian crises. They are even regarded as ‘slave raiders’ who target women in raids for ‘wives’ in the areas around Lake Chad, which borders Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria…

“In Rwanda, the country has closed thousands of churches and has arrested at least six pastors since February 2018 for ‘noise pollution’ and failing to comply with building regulations. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu, leaders of the church have been targeted and killed. Reportedly, at least 15 armed extremist groups were known to be operating in the area.”

As the British report demonstrates, persecution against Christians and other non-Muslims is not about the ethnicity, race or skin color of either the perpetrators or the victims; it is about their religion. In Africa, various Islamist groups and individuals are attacking and attempting to annihilate Christians for being Christian. If these crimes are not stopped, it is highly likely that the fate of the African Continent will be like that of the Middle East: Once it was a majority-Christian region; now, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenseless minority. (Click to Source)

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

POLICE IN NEW ZEALAND LOOKING TO MAKE ARREST OF PERSON WHO LEFT A CHICK GOSPEL TRACT ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS CALLED ‘MEN OF PEACE’ IN MAILBOX

Police have taken fingerprints and have canvassed the neighbourhood to try and identify who delivered the material. The Pamphlet appears to originate from American evangelical Christian Jack Chick, who was known for his anti-Islam, anti-Judaism, anti-Catholic cartoons.The New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari says he’s pleased the police are taking it so seriously. Mr Kashkari says we must remember these are just fringe elements. Police are urging anyone with similar concerns to contact them and say they are taking the matter seriously.

May 12, 2019

A Sri Lankan woman living in Mt Roskill, who didn’t want to be identified, told 1 News she saw someone leaving the leaflet in her letterbox.

I got saved and began handing out gospel tracts pretty soon after, a practice that I continue to this day. Before creating our own gospel tract, I loved to hand out the Chick gospel tracts. They had a great message, were drawn really well and people really like to read them. I read one about a year before a got saved and it made a strong impression on me. Jack Chick, before his death, dealt with many topics and warned people about the counterfeit Christian church known as Roman Catholicism, warned people about the LGBTQ, warned people about all sorts of topics. Chick also produced many tracts warning people about Islam and Sharia Law. Someone in New Zealand handed out some of these tracts, and now they are wanted by the police.

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” John 15:20 (KJV)

Do you get the sense that the wide-open window we have enjoyed for so long is starting to close? I do. Yes, this story takes place in New Zealand and not in America, but guess what? America is a kitten’s whisker away from turning Socialist. Could I see Americans in America arrested for handing out gospel tracts if the Democratic Socialists get power? I absolutely do! Read the story below and click on the link to read the new Chick tract on Islam in its entirety, and then ask yourself if it hate speech, or is it the gospel?

This article refers to people who hand out gospel tracts as ‘fringe elements’ and ‘extremists’, and calls for them to be locked up. Locked up for handing out gospel tracts. The door is closing people, and it’s closing fast. Like we always say, if you’re looking to get something done for the Lord, do it soon.

Police investigating after anti-Islam leaflets dropped in Auckland

NEWSNOW NEW ZEALAND: Police are investigating the distribution of anti-Islam material in Auckland letterboxes. She was so concerned about the material she took it to police. “I think they are taking it serious, they came immediately,” she said. Before the Christchurch terror attacks, she’d never seen such material. Mt Roskill is one of Auckland’s most diverse suburbs.

 

Police have taken fingerprints and have canvassed the neighbourhood to try and identify who delivered the material. The pamphlet appears to originate from American evangelical Christian Jack Chick, who was known for his anti-Islam, anti-Judaism, anti-Catholic cartoons.

MEN OF PEACE? Muhammad ended up in the same place as everyone else who rejects Jesus.

The New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari says he’s pleased the police are taking it so seriously.

“It’s quite a significant change from the past. when i’ve reported that messages and emails that are coming through, they’ve said they are just psychological issues. We have been encouraging people to report, because we’ve had the silent majority not speaking for some time so we’re encouraging New Zealand and the community to discuss these things,” he said.

Mr Kashkari says we must remember these are just fringe elements. Police are urging anyone with similar concerns to contact them and say they are taking the matter seriously. (Click to Source)

 
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