Persecution

The War on Christians in the Middle East

From the Spectator:

At least 36 people [ed now 49] have died in Egypt after blasts targeted Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday. Today’s attack is just the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East. As Jonathan Sacks observed: ‘until recently, Christians represented 20 percent of the population of the Middle East; today, 4 percent’. In 2013, John L. Allen Jr. wrote for The Spectator on the global persecution of churchgoers — the unreported catastrophe of our time. Unfortunately, the article still holds true today.

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Persecution makes a comeback in China

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The new laws will put the state firmly in charge, giving the Communist Party the ability to hire and fire church leaders and change religious doctrine to make it more Chinese.

That means churchgoers will have to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party first.

China correspondent Matthew Carney

China is set to launch a nationwide crackdown on the Christian churches.

The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they don't pledge loyalty to the state.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become 'Chinese' and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.

Christianity Today sums up what the new regulations are likely to include:

  • No religious activities that are not approved by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) .
  • No one may provide a venue for religious services that are not approved by SARA.
  • No one may use their home for religious practices that are not approved by SARA (including home or family Bible studies).
  • No publishing religious materials without approval from SARA.
  • No foreign or domestic donations may be made to any religious organization that hasn’t been approved by SARA.
  • No one may call themselves a pastor without the approval of SARA.
  • No international religious exchanges may happen without the approval of SARA.
  • No one may study theology at school without the approval of SARA.

Across Beijing, church leaders are waiting for the first round of arrests and detentions. It seems the harassment has already begun.

Matthew Carney's report from the (Australian) ABC is worth listening to. You get the feel of what it is like for the ordinary Chinese believer.

There are 25 million believers registered with the official church and around 75 million believers in unregistered churches. By 2030 China may have the largest Christian population in the world.

Is it right to obey God or Vladimir Putin?

 Christianity Today reports that,

This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.

Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday.

The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20.

read on

Persecution worsens for Indian Christians

Christianity reached India almost two thousand years ago, hundreds of years before parts of Europe

Yet Hindu nationalists haven't to terms with that reality.

Police in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have arrested three evangelical Christians, accusing them of forced conversion and insulting Hindu religious sentiment.

Rev V A Anthony, of the Brethren Assembly Church in Satna, his wife Prabha and another woman were arrested after leading prayers in the nearby town of Aber.

What's driving the persecution of Christians in Pakistan?

 Suicide bomb blast aftermath, Lahore Pakistan.jpg

Suicide bomb blast aftermath, Lahore Pakistan.jpg

You may have already forgotten about the 70 dead in Lahore, Pakistan last week. The press has moved on. The story never got the same coverage as Paris or Brussels. 

Christianity Today reports on the background in Pakistan.

UPDATE: The Spectator: The Lahore attacks are just the latest atrocity in a war on Christians