• Blog – 2014 4th Quarter

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    Weekly Commentary December 21-27, 2014

    Here is the last weekly report for 2014.

    This report is much like last week’s regarding India, Iraq, and Syria, with each news item giving additional confirmation to the ugly truths faced by both Christians and non-Christians in these nations.

    Perhaps the most timely article is that of the Lebanese perspective on the refugee crisis, which ominously describes the imminent ‘collapse’ of international aid. Following that story another appeared in which several unnamed wealthy individuals opened their wallets and gave over US$100 million to feed the refugees. God bless those individuals, whoever they are (since the article mentioned no names Today’s Martyrs could not directly report on it)! Their generosity may have bought the refugees one or two more weeks of life.

    This number is critically important. Current refugee support costs in the Mideast are now running about US$1 billion per month. The cost of the entire current U.S. military action against ISIL has totaled about US$1 billion, so on a per month basis it is cheaper right now to wage war against those who directly created the refugee situation than it is to allow war to continue unimpeded. Of course, this is a facile comparison: it is likely that the current action against ISIL will not return the refugees to their homes anytime soon, and we have already seen how war in this region just seems to sow more conflict and less resolution. The real point in citing these numbers is to show that no one has any good or easy choices.

    God help us all in the new year that is coming.


    Weekly Commentary December 14-20, 2014

    Some good news on this week’s report, with several Christians released from prison in Iran.

    The Mideast news concerning refugees continues to be horrendous.

    The bad news from India is intensifying, with one unconfirmed report stating that Prime Minister Modi has privately told his supporters that “we are not doing anything wrong” with regard to the ‘Coming Home’ campaign to convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. In this past month Modi has refused to fire Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, the Minister for Food Processing Industries who called Christians and Muslims ‘bastards’ and has refused to condemn numerous supporters who have promised to rid India of Christians and Muslims, even one who gave December 31, 2021 as the target date.

    This report is a bit long, not just because of the number of incidents, but also because there are many eloquent quotes from the affected Christians. How can these voices not be heard?

    For you who follow the Western calendar please have a blessed Christmas


    Weekly Commentary December 7-13, 2014

    Many painful stories in this week’s report. Here are a couple of observations:

    First, please consider the story from Lebanon: ‘…the UN announced it had run out of money to feed Syrian refugees and that US$4.4 billion will be needed…there are at least 1.6 million Syrian refugees…”. This is just unbelievable – correction, it is in terms of evil and foolishness entirely believable, but the magnitude of human suffering, THAT is unbelievable.

    Second, please consider the news from India:

    • December 1, 2014: A Latin-rite [Roman] Catholic church in Delhi was nearly destroyed by arson, police had to be prodded to begin an investigation. As mentioned last week, this is the first such event in a major city
    • December 6, 2014: A Syro-Malabar-rite Catholic church in New Delhi was attacked during an evening Divine Liturgy, stones were thrown and windows were broken, no one was injured but many were frightened. The second church attack in a major city, only five days after the first. Please note that the Syro-Malabar-rite churches have existed in India since the beginning of Christianity.
    • December 10, 2014: The RSS paramilitary organization announced that it will convert 4,000 Christian families to Hinduism on December 25, 2014. This is an ugly turn of events, with obvious overtones of premeditated force and coercion.
    • December 12, 2014: A BJP politician announced plans to introduce a national law prohibiting religious conversions (five states currently have such laws)

    When the facts are laid out in this manner, it cannot help but raise questions as to the future survival of pluralism and even democracy itself in India. Is an Indian Kristallnacht in the cards? Or worse? Only God knows.

    Please, please pray.


    Weekly Commentary November 30 – December 6, 2014

    This week in India we have an unusual church arson story. It is not unusual because a church was torched, nor was it unusual because the police initially refused to investigate the crime. Such things happen all the time. What is unusual is that this happened in an urban setting, in fact not far from the nation’s capital, and not in a rural backwater. It is another sign of India’s continued slide away from the rule of law.

    On occasion there is a story that the reader might question as to why it is included. The death of Nickeles Fernando in Japan is one such story. To be clear, it is unlikely that he was denied medical treatment because he was a Christian; rather, it is likely that he was a refugee because he was a Christian, and so would not have even been in Japan if he were not a Christian. He died in the way he did because he was a Christian, even if the persons most immediately responsible for his death did not intend to discriminate against him for his religion.

    There is a report that Grace and Matthew Huang have left Qatar. There is no confirmation yet of their arrival in the U.S. Please pray that this report is accurate.


    Weekly Commentary November 23-29, 2014

    Good news this week from the Central African Republic. An abducted priest has been released from captivity, and the Church is now working in what are basically POW camps to re-integrate Seleka and anti-balaka militants back into civil life. This is again more proof that if the Gospels have sunk deep roots anywhere it is in the CAR.

    As to the rest, we are sorry to report that it is 11 pages of the usual misery and death perpetrated on people who deserve better. Please pray that some good comes of all this.


    Weekly Commentary November 16-22, 2014

    This week’s report covers much territory. Many follow-up stories from China, including the continued detention of a kindergarten principal who is the mother of two young children. A missionary priest from Uganda has been murdered in Mexico. A man was almost beheaded in Oklahoma, in what seems to be a growing trend there (third time this year). Again, so many prayers are needed for these people.

    Finally, there are two stories involving adoption, one in Egypt and one in Qatar. The story from Qatar involves the continuing tragedy of the Huang family. Matthew and Grace Huang are being persecuted because the tragic death of their 8 year old daughter is being judged through the lens of a culture that prohibits adoption. The background of the story is that the Huangs, who are from Pasedena, California, adopted three impoverished children from Africa. Their daughter suffered from an eating disorder as a result of malnourishment (for example, she would refuse food but would be caught eating garbage) and in the end died. The Qataries could not understand why the Huangs would have gone to such trouble unless they had a disreputable motive for their adoption. Christian love? Out of the question. The U.S. government has done some work to aid them, but more can and should be done for their release. Here is another story where we can contact our representatives and demand action.

    Please consider this appeal. Thank you.


    Weekly Commentary November 9-15, 2014

    This week has more good news than usual: prisoners freed in Iran and North Korea, prisoners acquitted of fabricated charged (though not freed) in Kyrgyzstan, and church property returned in Pakistan. The really bad news: more repercussions from that hideous brick kiln lynching in Pakistan, a murder in Libya, and more slaughter in Nigeria. In between: many events of violence, cruelty and intimidation. Even the non-Christian relatives of Christians have not been spared, though one escaped her son’s persecutors this week. This last event should be a reminder that everyone needs prayer, not only Christians.


    Weekly Commentary November 2-8, 2014

    In this week’s report we have an almost unbelievable atrocity from Pakistan, more repression in India, and more attacks in Nigeria.

    Also, it must be pointed out that the refugee camps in Iraq are rapidly deteriorating due to the coming of winter. It is obvious that thousands and perhaps tens of thousands are going to die in the coming weeks and months. This is one problem were we can do more than pray. We can donate money to agencies that are trying to rush material aid to these people, and we can contact our representatives in Washington and demand that governments also work together to deliver humanitarian aid. It appears that aside from the churches and other NGOs no one is being proactive on this matter, and the churches simply lack the resources to help everyone. Please consider asking everyone you know to help.


    Weekly Commentary October 26-November 1, 2014

    Good news from Turkmenistan: most imprisoned Christians have been freed. As to the rest…thousands of lives are at risk in Iraq with the onset of winter, India continues its journey away from tolerance and democracy. the war on Christians continues in Nigeria, and so much of the rest of the world suffers. Please continue your prayers for all people everywhere.


    Weekly Commentary October 19-25, 2014

    Here is the report for this week. It is mercifully a little shorter than usual. One noteworthy story from Ukraine has two people we have previously reported on and prayed for now on opposite sides of a dispute – given the events there this is not unexpected. Please continue your prayers.


    Weekly Commentary October 12-18, 2014

    Here is the report for this week. We have reports that ISIL is spreading around the globe, and a very interesting report on history textbooks that could be more evidence of the growth of a quasi-fascism in India. Our world is in such a need for prayer, and not only for Christians.


    Weekly Commentary October 5-11, 2014

    Click here to read the report for this week. A large number of people this week are captives or refugees. Please remember all of them in your prayers.


    Weekly Commentary September 28-October 4, 2014

    This week’s report has a slightly broader definition of “Today’s” than usual. Included are two cases of martyrdom from the 1990’s that are not well known. Most cases, however, are testimony or actual suffering in the past few weeks. Please keep up your prayers.