Blog – 2017 3rd Quarter
Weekly Commentary September 24-30, 2017
Week after week Today’s Martyrs reports on persecution and discrimination against Christians, much of which occurs in so-called underdeveloped nations. While that is also true of this week’s report (please click here to read it), this week has several stories from the developed world which are disquieting.
First, there was a shooting at a church in the U.S. in which a mother of two children was killed and seven others were injured. A church usher disarmed the gunman (a Christian refugee from Sudan, with possible mental health issues) and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, Antioch, Tennessee – courtesy the church’s web site
In Belgium the Brothers of Charity have continued their battle with the board which oversees their psychiatric hospitals; their Superior General released another document calling the board prideful and arrogant on their continued stand to allow their patients to be euthanized.
In Australia the battle over the government’s non-binding referendum on legalizing same sex marriage has continued to boil over. There is a small story (click here to read) concerning a priest who was spat upon by a same sex marriage supporter on a public street. If the reader were to click on this link and scroll down he or she will find numerous accounts of violence and intimidation. One in particular stands out: a pro-traditional marriage group – which cannot release the names of its officers due to threats – held a conference which was invaded by same sex marriage advocates. In the photo of this event it can be seen that they held up a banner that read “Burn churches, not queers”.
Burn churches. These words are not just the hype of the overwrought. Churches and other Christian facilities have already been burned by organized anti-Christians in Australia. And in Argentina. And the United States.
We have two stories from Britain. The first is the consecration of Gavin Ashenden (who resigned in January 2017 as a Queen’s Chaplain following his criticism of an anti-Christian interfaith scandal) as bishop by a Canadian branch of the Anglican church. His official title has an odd tone: he is now Missionary Bishop to Anglicans in the United Kingdom and Europe. A Missionary Bishop to Anglicans? That title sounds as if Anglicans are now an endangered tribe in a primitive society, in need of preservation. It sounds odd, but it also sounds true.
The second British story is a speech read in London last week by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev. He said:
…The modern-day decline of Christianity in the western world may be compared to the situation in the Russian Empire before 1917. The revolution and the dramatic events which followed it have deep spiritual, as well as social and political, reasons. Over many years the aristocracy and intelligentsia had abandoned the faith, and were then followed by common people…I firmly believe that a Europe which has renounced Christ will not be able to preserve its cultural and spiritual identity…The legalization of abortion, the encouragement of sexual promiscuity, and the systematic attempts to undermine family values have led to a profound demographic crisis in many European countries…Often the language of hatred in relation to Christians is used when Christians insist on their right to participate in public affairs. They enjoy the same right as much as it is enjoyed by adherents of any other religion or by atheists. However, in practice it is not like this…In modern-day Europe militant secularism has been transformed into an autonomous power that does not tolerate dissent. It allows well-organized minority groups to successfully impose their will on the majority under the pretext of observing human rights…I believe it important that Christians of Europe should stand shoulder to shoulder to defend those values upon which the life of the continent has been built for centuries, and that they should view the afflictions and dismay of Christians throughout the world as their own.
The eloquence and import of this statement is striking (click here to read in its entirety). The socio-politico-economic facts of 2017 Europe are nothing like that of 1917 Tsarist Russia, yet we know in our hearts that Metropolitan Hilarion is right: the West is spiritually ill, and needs the healing that only Christianity can bring. We can only pray that the sickness today is not as deep as that of 1917 (but it might be: recall the burning churches). Two weeks earlier Bishop Ashenden said in an Anglican Unscripted webcast : “The Russians are the key – this will surprise people – the Russians are the key to the survival of Christianity in our generation”. This will not be a great surprise to Catholics (with their Fatima traditions) nor to the Russian Orthodox, who see themselves as having a mission to the world in the wake of their own great persecution, but it may be to others. We need to pray that all Christians will come together for their joint survival, if that is truly what is endangered.
Weekly Commentary September 17-23, 2017
Another Christian has been freed from captivity this week (click here to read the full 15 page report): Fr. Teresito ‘Chito’ Suganob was rescued from Islamic militants by the Philippine military. This is the sixth release of a ‘prominent’ Christian since August 1, 2017. This good news has been outweighed by the sentencing of two Christians to prison, one in China and one in Vietnam, and the continued captivity of Christians in Mali. One captive in Mali, Sr. Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti, has developed serious health problems. Beyond that Christians were killed in Egypt and Nigeria – two of the stories this week from Nigeria involve Biafrian separatists who apparently want to trigger another civil war.
We have stories of deportees from Cambodia, Thailand, and the United States who fear death upon their return to their countries of origin. The Thai account is particularly egregious, since it involves a death threat against a Pakistani refugee from her own government following her attempted rape at the hands of one of its diplomats.
In India we have stories of the closure of a Catholic college (probably a boarding school) by RSS paramilitary forces and the imposition on public school students of a ‘Hail India!’ morning salute that uses an unofficial sectarian word for ‘India’ rather than the official non-sectarian word. At its heart this debate over words sounds much like a debate over the words ‘bund’, ‘volk’, and ‘reich’.
China published a new 10,000 page document of religious regulations, and told a woman she was ‘brainwashing’ her Sunday school students.
We also have stories concerning church vandalism in Israel, Turkey, and Ukraine.
St Stephen Church, Beit Jimal, Israel – courtesy Kippi70
Layadova Monastery, Ukraine – courtesy Orthochristian.com
Western style persecutions fill much of our pages this week. Christians were denied access to a civic center in Nigeria that they had rented, but most such stories from the U.S., Ireland, and especially Australia are concerned with the bullying and silencing of Christian voices. Christians in the West must come to understand that they will lose their voices if they fail to use them to defend their faith, not to shout down opponents in arguments but rather to enlighten and convert. Pray that we will find the words that will succeed. Pray that we will be inspired and strengthened for the days ahead.
News Analysis September 16, 2017
We have added an analysis of recent news coverage to our Reports page regarding the imposition of euthanasia in Catholic mental health hospitals in Belgium and the imposition of religious tests for Federal office in the United States. The underlying themes are the need for Christian unity and reporting accuracy. Please look over this analysis and pray for our leaders and journalists.
Weekly Commentary September 10-16, 2017
This week (please click here to read the full report) Father Tom Uzhunnalil SDB was released from captivity in Yemen. Readers may recall that he was abducted by armed men in a March 4, 2016 attack on a nursing home in Aden in which 16 were killed, including four nuns from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Mary Wagner was released from jail in Canada with time served for having entered the waiting room of a Toronto abortion clinic in December 2016 with red roses and words to persuade the clients to leave. One did and wrote a letter thanking Ms. Wagner for saving her baby; this letter was read aloud to the court.
One child was saved, but twenty Christians were killed in Nigeria, half of them children.
In India Cardinal Telesphore Toppo was burned in effigy by a Hindu rally, and a letter was sent to Prime Minister Modi protesting this veiled death threat and demanding that the state Chief Minister [state governor] be replaced.
In the Philippines Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle issued a pastoral letter concerning the police killings of drug addicts, and ordered all churches to ring their bells every night at 8 PM for the dead. Another priest contrasted the Marcos era police killings that totaled about 250 per year with the current total of 12,000 per year and said “We have a serial killer president and the state is becoming a state-killer”. President Duterte himself admitted that 1 in 20 households has a member involved with the drug trade; imagine: 1 in 20 families will have death visited upon it without trial or due process.
A Pakistani Christian who converted his Muslim wife to Christianity has been sentenced to death on fraudulent blasphemy charges.
In the United States a pastor’s widow was murdered in her church and a young mother died of brain cancer but saved the life of her unborn daughter.
There is even another ‘funny’ story from Pakistan. September 8th in the Roman Catholic calendar is the celebration of the birth of Mary the mother of Jesus. This is a major religious festival in Pakistan, with many Muslims joining in. Since nearly 90% of the Lahore municipal sanitation workers are Christian and many would be off to attend the festival, the city put out one of those ‘public service’ announcements and asked people to not throw their trash in the streets since the Christians would not be available to pick it up! Can’t imagine life after the festival is over and things are back to ‘normal’! What would we do without Christians?!
Please continue your prayers.
Weekly Commentary September 3-9, 2017
In our report this week (please click here to read) Christians have been killed in the Central African Republic, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan. An elderly priest in China who as a young seminarian spent 12 years in forced labor has died of natural causes, and other clergy were not allowed to attend his funeral. Christians in India publicly condemned the latest political assassination of an anti-Hindu nationalist writer. Other Christians in the Central African Republic have fled across the border to the Congo to escape religious violence.
We have learned of a new phrase from India: ‘Gau Rakshas’, the ‘cow watchers’, a new version of vigilantes. Thanks to such Hindu nationalists more Christians have been arrested there. Other Christians were imprisoned or prosecuted in Iran and in Kazakhstan. The major case in Kazakhstan involved another Baptist summer camp, which only confirmed our observation last week of the political motive in the acquittal of the Russian Orthodox summer camp case. Christians were released from jail in India and South Sudan.
A report from Syria details the absolute collapse of civil society and the possibility of further violence.
From Britain, Russia and the United States come several stories of Western discrimination, many involving public figures.
This week’s report contains many eloquent quotations from Christians around the world. Please read the report to see the full range of events and emotions underway in today’s world. Please pray for them. We will end with perhaps the most truthful and challenging quote of all, words spoken at a Philippine church synod but perhaps also to the entire Christian world:
We must teach even if our voices get hoarse. We must teach even if they threaten us. We must teach even if they kill us and if they kill us, our message will echo even more because the best way to teach is through martyrdom!…In the lights and shadows of life, in the stormy and sunny days, in the persecutions we endure and the triumphs we bask in – the Lord speaks…We dream not of status quo Church but an ever vibrant Church that is excited, not afraid to plunge into the deep.
Weekly Commentary August 27 – September 2, 2017
Let us begin with several of the good stories on this week’s report (please click here to read in full)
- A Christian woman held in captivity by the Islamic State in Iraq for 3 years has been freed by the military. A video has shown her dancing with relatives and repeatedly kissing the small cross that had been returned to the chain around her neck.
- Two Azeri women prevailed in court and were awarded damages for an illegal arrest and imprisonment.
- A Russian Orthodox priest in Kazakhstan was acquitted of conducting worship in an unauthorized location, because the law did not contain language that included the outdoor youth summer campsite where he had been arrested. Undoubtedly this acquittal came due to Russian pressure, since several Baptists have been convicted in past years for their summer camp activities.
- Two Russians were acquitted of incitement of hatred.
- Six Indian vacation Bible school volunteers have finally been released on bail after three months of incarceration. They had been arrested on forced conversion charges.
That is a long list! Let us thank God! But, we have others who need our prayers.
Christians were killed in Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the last a secondary school student beaten to death by his classmates. Christians were shot in Russia and the United States, the first in a retreat center (with rubber bullets!) and the second in a Christian book store. Christians were beaten in Australia, China, and Uganda.
Christians were arrested in South Sudan (a bizarre story involving a possible poisoning at a UN seminar) and Sudan, and had their detentions either extended or worsened by more charges in Russia and Turkey. An abducted pastor is still missing in Malaysia. An Iranian’s hunger strike in prison has now passed into his second month.
Churches have been attacked or desecrated in China, the United States – three reported cases there – and in Cameroon. The Cameroon story is particularly offensive: someone entered the cathedral in Bafia at night and sprinkled blood on the tomb of the bishop who was murdered three months ago.
So there is no end of the need for prayer. Please read the names in our report and please do not forget them and the rest of our brothers and sisters around the world.
San Sebastan Cathedral, Bafia, Cameroon
Weekly Commentary August 20-26, 2017
Anarcho-tyranny is the controversial idea that governments with a bent for repression of liberties often allow criminal elements free reign to prey on the populace, and sometimes will even ally with criminals to do their bidding. Perhaps the greatest example was the Soviet Union, which most readers know was extremely repressive in the use of state power, but which also would excuse career criminals as victims of capitalism; ‘ordinary’ crime would receive much lower sentences than ‘political’ offenses.
This week’s report (please click here to read in full) has two stories from China which both tell of Christian congregations under attack from criminals hired by police or real estate developers; in neither case did law enforcement help. It would appear that the only real controversy with anarcho-tyranny is in the applicability to specific situations: certainly some are very real.
There are other examples of governmental failure that, while not exactly fitting the definition of anarcho-tyranny, have similar outcomes for their people. The government in the Central African Republic is not fully functioning, and so the United Nations have sent peacekeepers to help stop the anarchy that has grown out of the recent civil war; our account again shows that the UN troops have continued to be part of the problem, with abandoned citizens in one village left dead in front of a church and clergy speaking of spiritually preparing parishioners for their anticipated deaths. Jihadist terror is another variation: we report on the death of a 7 year Christian student in Barcelona, Spain, and security preparations at the Vatican. Another variation is vigilantism, which is growing in the Philippines’ drug war.
Coming full circle, we even have a due process variation from Russia, where a Christian was acquitted of illegal missionary activity but still ruled to be guilty! The government just had to put something negative in his file!
Of course, from a Christian perspective academic political theory is of little worth beyond the ordering of a just society. We are warned repeatedly that such theories may not be made into idols. Let us pray that Christians everywhere will remember this. Let us also pray that all people will use such ideas with discretion and wisdom, so that all will be free to discern and follow God’s desires for us.
Weekly Commentary August 13-19, 2017
This week’s report (click here to read in full) has 30 stories from 17 countries. Nearly every one expresses eloquent dismay at the human condition. Two elderly bishops who spent decades in prison have died in China. An Egyptian teen gave the testimony of her father’s death after a church bombing. An Eritrean wife and mother has died after two months’ incarceration in a prison camp. An Indian woman was denied burial due to a Christian vs Christian dispute. One named and several unnamed Nigerians were killed. A Pakistani prisoner who could have secured his release by denying Christ was beaten to death. Two men were shot dead on the steps of their church in the United States; a fellow parishioner said “It seems like the more people march and carry signs — and the more churches bind together to say ‘Stop the violence’ — the more they disregard it and just continue to kill”.
Friendship Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, USA – courtesy Facebook
There are many Western stories on this report. We will concentrate on perhaps the most notable.
The reader may recall our report in April of this year regarding the vote of a Belgian hospital board to allow the murder of the mentally ill via euthanasia, over the objections of the Catholic religious order that had founded the hospitals and who were now a minority on the board. Recently Pope Francis ordered the religious members of the board to either overturn the vote or publicly state their opposition to it (apparently not all of the clerics had done so). The order did not extend to the lay board members.
Shortly after the Vatican order was issued it became publicly known that former European Union President Herman van Rompuy sat on the hospital board. Hours later van Rompuy responded with a tweet that read “The time of ‘Rome has spoken, the matter is settled’ is long past”. It is obvious that van Rompuy’s comment was a gratuitous attack on the Catholic Church, especially when one considers that his outing did not come from Rome, Pope Francis did not criticize him, and that his actual vote on the matter was not made public.
There is a great irony here. Herman van Rompuy became EU President as a result of backroom deals, which prompted European Parliament member Nigel Farage to ask “Who are you?…Who voted for you?”, and to disparage van Rompuy as a banal, colorless functionary. Farage was fined for his disparagements, but laughed it off: after all, van Rompuy’s parliamentary allies constantly disparaged Farage as a Nazi and were never fined. Yet it is van Rompuy who objected to the Vatican’s token interference in the implementation of a lethal policy that has clear and definite roots in Nazi ideology – a policy we can surmise that he supports. We need to pray for people such as Herman van Rompuy, and for the defeat of the moral inversions that they perpetrate. After all, the present age is not the first time to see the exercise of the power of life and death over the weak and helpless by banal, colorless functionaries.
Weekly Commentary August 6-12, 2017
More good news this week (click here to read our full report)! Two more captives have been freed, Rev Jen Tivkaa Moses in Nigeria and Pastor Lim Hyeon-Soo in North Korea. Also, criminal prosecution of a Spanish archbishop for speaking against gender theory has been stopped. A Chinese pastor has posted an eloquent note of thanks to social media following his release after a day-long detention. We have positive stories of the rebuilding of Iraq and Syria.
From the dark side we have the murder of at least 12 Christians in a church in Nigeria, and a massacre in the Central African Republic that killed among others a seminarian, his father, and an entire Red Cross team in a hospital. The backstory here is that two militias were fighting each other, one Muslim and one anti-Muslim (animist and syncretic Christian). The local UN peacekeepers were from Morocco, and instead of equally enforcing the peace they aided their fellow Muslims in perpetrating these atrocities. However, the Muslim leader in the capital took a different stance: Imam Oumar Kobine Layama took the side of the local archbishop and demanded that the UN remove the Moroccans.
St. Philip Church, Ozubulu, Nigeria – courtesy Reuters
This week’s report also lists more civil rights violations and the destruction of a 4th century monastery in Egypt, the beating of an elderly woman in Iraq, the televised trial of Christians in Uzbekistan, the illegal sale of a church in Turkey, the burning of an historic church in Vietnam (not an arson attack, apparently, but firefighters took hours to respond), and a foiled assassination attempt on the Pope in Portugal.
Mary Mother of God church, Trung Dong, Nam Dinh province, Vietnam
Two stories this week reflect a new trend. Evil has always existed within the Church in some form (recall the words of Jesus “One of you will betray me” – Matthew 26:21), but in its beginnings it is usually hidden and covert. Three weeks ago we had a story concerning a very public attempt to bring unchristian beliefs into the Anglican Church. Now we have two similar stories:
In Italy an anti-Christian politician and former abortionist was invited to speak in a Catholic church on immigration issues. Catholics who objected were booed and forcibly ejected from the church – one of them had a very pointed comment regarding the hypocrisy of the politician’s attendance, saying she welcomed immigrants but not children.
In India over a hundred Christians from various churches signed a letter calling on their leaders and all Christians to surrender their differences and to work in unity against the totalitarian movement that is slowly engulfing the country. The full letter has been added to our documents page, thanks to one of our Indian correspondents, Dr. John Dayal. You may click here to read it.
In all of these cases we are witnessing the intrusion of evil forces – there is no other way to state it – into our Christian churches, with the result that we and our leaders become conflicted, cowed, compromised, or even corrupted. In the face of such events and powers we must unite our prayers and actions, as never before.
Weekly Commentary July 30 – August 5, 2017
Great news this week! Two Christians who have long suffered in prison have been released! Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh was released from prison in Vietnam on July 28, 2017, after serving about half of his 11 year sentence for ‘undermining unity’. He was then exiled to the United States along with his wife and five children. Four days later Maryam Naghash-Zargaran aka Nasim was released from prison in Iran, after completing her 4 year sentence for ‘damaging national security’. Unlike Pastor Nguyen she is not safe: like him she needs prayers to recover her health, but she is also apparently at risk of new prosecutions.
In this week’s report (click here to read) we have included the full history of the events in prison, as well as that of Tran Thi Hong [Pastor Nguyen’s wife] who also repeatedly suffered at the hands of police.
Other stories include:
- The priest who was stabbed during Mass in Mexico City’s cathedral in May 2017 has died.
- Two pastors in India were beaten; at least one attacker was arrested, but police also arrested the Muslim teen who attempted to rescue them from the attack and who took them to the hospital, in an attempt to deflect responsibility from Hindu radicals.
- Russian conflict over the memory of Tsar Nicholas II and his family: it might be hard for Westerners to understand, but the Romanovs have been declared in Russia to be Christian martyrs. Their icons and statues are now found in churches, and the depiction of their lives in the media can rouse great passions.
- An almost comical account of a newly ordained priest and seminarians almost bounced from a pub in Wales for wearing clerical garb. Apparently young happy men could not really be Christians, especially if they wore such clothes! Certainly any suffering in this story was not more than a moment, but it has been included because it illustrates again how far the West has moved from its Christian heritage.
Please look over this week’s report and pray for those who remain in prison, those who have been threatened, and those who have been beaten. Pray that more will be free of fear and captivity in the very near future.
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Novosibirsk, Russia
Weekly Commentary July 23-29, 2017
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. – Matthew 7:7-11
This week we report on a pastor in India who was detained for conducting a worship service. The arresting officer asked the pastor which Bible passage was his favorite, and he replied Matthew 7:7-11. The pastor offered to read it aloud, and when he finished he was slapped for his effort. Let us be gracious and assume the officer did not understand that ‘wicked’ as spoken here applies to all children of Adam, Christians included.
Our report this week (click here to read) is rather large. It contains a number of very powerful quotes from Christians around the world. Here is a sample:
- From the Central African Republic: “Half of the population of Bangassou has fled, taking refuge in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. The clashes have been going on for days…Two thousand Muslims have been welcomed in the fenced area of the Cathedral defended by the Moroccan military…”
- From China: “More than 100,000 votes have been invalidated…The election is being trampled on”
- From Colombia, on the murder of a priest: “this son and brother…sacrificed in the exercise of his mission…at the service of evangelization”
- From Greece: “While we are silent as fish, everything is vanishing and dying. We are persecuting Christ! The Greeks are being de-Christianized!… The voice of the Church is not heard today; the walls are falling one by one without resistance”
- Also From India: “There is a display of a majoritarian hegemony with a totalitarian outlook upheld by the RSS [paramilitary] agenda of ending diversity and establishing a Hindu Rashtra, a state with a monolithic culture…”
- Also from India, regarding current persecution: “They want to create a kind of fear into the life of Christians that they should not follow the Christ…Surely this has not weakened us but it is strengthening us…”
- From Kenya: “The attackers have been targeting Christians living in Lamu County, especially farmers in the interior areas…”
- From Mexico: “The headquarters of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference has been attacked with a three cylinder explosive device. I believe this reflects the situation in Mexico”
- From Pakistan: “I was eating at home when the explosion occurred. I immediately realized my brother would have been in the impact zone. I rushed with other family members to be with Ilyas but on arrival all I could see was the lifeless body of my brother…”
It is hard to read these things. It is even harder to know that it will always be this way, until the last day when the grains and the weeds are pulled up together to be separated. So let us pray, let us ask, let us seek, and let us knock, so that God may grant us good things to soften the hardness of life on this earth.
Weekly Commentary July 16-22, 2017
Our report this week (click here to read) tells of the deaths of Christians in Egypt, India, Nigeria, and the United States. Once again, the death of a Nigerian Christian college student shows how the most gifted and promising among us are lost to us due to hatred, though of course they are not lost to God. Once again, the murder of an elderly reclusive nominal Christian in the United States shows the reach of internet enabled terror. Once again, the death of an Egyptian Christian shows the extent of police brutality. Once again, an Indian Christian has died at the altar of Hindu nationalism. Our report this week once again has shown a great many other things.
The irony prize this week goes to the Russian government, for both threatening to prosecute a conscientious objector from an “extremist” church and for telling him that he will be posted to the country’s nuclear forces.
In Great Britain two events occurred that should greatly concern Christians. The first was the release of a report from the Foreign Office which argued that the government should ‘persuade’ Christians in the Global South to ‘reinterpret’ the Bible to be ‘inclusive’ to LGBTI people. The second was similar: at the July 11-14 General Synod of the Church of England in York, the church leaders effectively voted to remove LGBT activity from the realm of Christian forgiveness. One Christian who is regularly reported on this site, Andrea Minichiello Williams, rose and asked the synod to consider the Bible. The Rev. Gavin Ashenden, who is becoming another regular here, told on an Anglican Unscripted webcast what happened:
“One of the saddest moments was when our doughtiest public campaigner, Andrea Minichiello Williams, who is the director of Christian Concern, she stood up and invited people to consider the demands of Scripture. She wasn’t listened to in respectful silence. She was booed. Well, when you have the Synod of the Church of England booing somebody who has an extraordinary reputation for standing up for the Gospel in the public space, who was inviting the Synod to consider the claims of Scripture, when someone like that was booed, you know that things have gone too far, there’s been a sea change”
She was booed. A Christian who has probably done more than any other in today’s Britain to defend the rights of persecuted Christians in courts and in the media was publicly shunned and silenced by the leaders of the established church, and over an appeal to consider, not follow, but just consider the Bible. This is an atrocity. The Church of England has only about 800,000 members, and so Gavin Ashenden recently wrote a call for restoration:
Anglicanism is an episcopal Church, and the betrayal [seen at the synod] is one that lies at the feet of the bishops of the Church of England, who have preferred social and secular kudos to the sacrifice and integrity of the Gospel, and gone along with the replacement of Christ the Savior with Jesus-the-fake-therapist…There must come a new episcopal jurisdiction to whom the faithful can look for comfort, fidelity and leadership – a new Anglicanism that is in fact the old Anglicanism recaptured from the secular civil servants who serve this new religion…Leave the civil servants in their legal offices with responsibility for the upkeep of so many churches that have become museums, and let the faithful look to new bishops who will guard the orthodox faith, offer spiritual nourishment, lead the Christian community in its struggle against the growing anger of the secularists who seek to silence them.
Please read our report, please pray very much, and please do not be silent.
York Minster, Yorkshire, England
Weekly Commentary July 9-15, 2017
The human rights world, especially in China, was shaken this week by the death of 61 year old dissident Liu Xiabob on July 13th. Liu Xiabob is the first Nobel Peace Prize laurate to die in captivity since Carl von Ossietzky died in 1938 Nazi Germany. Liu was not a Christian, but his humanist writings have had a noticeable effect on the Christians of China, especially his book No Enemies, No Hatred. As he lay dying from the liver cancer that the Chinese government had failed to treat, prayers for him and his wife Liu Xia were offered together at St. Vincent’s Chapel in Hong Kong by a congregation led by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and the Reverend Wu Chi-wai, and certainly by millions of Christians and people of other faiths throughout the country.
The death of Liu Xiabob has frightened many Christians who have loved ones in prison. They already have seen the death of U.S. resident and humanitarian Peng Ming in prison on November 29, 2016. So it should be no surprise that we have seen in recent weeks stories of the failing health of captive Christians. In our report this week (click here to read) we have synopses and links to stories on Tang Jingling, who has had chest pains since he was deprived of sleep for 10 days, and Zhang Shaojie, who has been starved, beaten, and deprived of sleep – to read our biography of Zhang Shaojie click here.
St. Vincent Chapel, Hong Kong
As our archives show, the human rights world should be shaken by a great many things.
Elsewhere in the world, we have the murder of an Egyptian Christian woman in her home, the murder of a rural preacher in Pakistan, and the death of three Christian sanitation workers who were disposable in the eyes of Pakistani society. Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, India, Iran, and the United Kingdom all were reported as having false prosecutions. The United Kingdom also was the scene of a typically Western style persecution, where a terminally ill 11 month old child was denied access to clergy by his hospital.
We ask that you again pray for these and all the nations, and for all their peoples.
Weekly Commentary July 2-8, 2017
Sadly, while this week’s report (click here to read) is short, it does record the deaths of five Christians in Egypt and Mexico. One of the deaths in Egypt was the beheading of a ‘canonical painter’, an icon artist. Each case appears to be one of blind mindless violence.
Three identified Christians have been confirmed to be together in captivity in Mali, along with other persons.
After months of silence the Iranian government has handed out 10 year sentences of imprisonment to several Christians, although three have escaped the country for their native Azerbaijan – pray that they will remain safe at home from extradition! It appears that the government is stepping up its prosecutions, more are about to happen (also see last week’s report)
Christians in Nigeria continue to protest changes to public school curricula that they fear are hidden attempts to convert students to Islam.
This week’s report also contains more details on the police attack on the monastery at Thien An, in Vietnam.
Please continue your prayers in response to these events and in anticipation of the others that are about to happen.
Thien An Monastery, Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam – courtesy AsiaNews.it
Weekly Commentary June 25 – July 1, 2017
Young people around the world share many concerns, which are easily remembered by those who are older. One compelling story in this week’s report (click here to read in full) concerns young Christians in Iran. Imagine that you are a teen or young adult, you have secretly been introduced to the Gospel – secretly because a public introduction would have resulted in the arrest of both you and your evangelist. After reflection and prayer you decided to follow Jesus Christ, and you now call yourself a Christian. You live with the knowledge that every meeting with your fellow believers, every admission of your faith to a longtime friend, could result in your arrest and imprisonment, and possibly your death. Your current circle of real friends is small.
So one story this week concerned a wonderful attempt to expand that circle. A conference was organized in “the local region” so that young Iranian Christians could meet and share their experiences. It sounded like fun. It also sounded very risky. Please read at least that part of this week’s report and pray for their fellowship and safety.
Other stories this week include:
- The death of two missionary nuns in an automobile accident in Brazil
- A lawsuit against church leaders in Cyprus for having allowed two adult men to join a monastery
- Another ‘Jesus should have been aborted’ story, this time from Italy
- A follow up to the story of the Pakistani Christian sanitation worker who died because doctors did not want to risk ruining their Ramadan fast by touching his sewage covered body: after his friends and family filed a criminally negligent homicide police report against the doctors, the doctors responded with criminal interference charges against the Christians and have attempted to coerce the police to arrest them. Fortunately the police have resisted this pressure to perpetrate another injustice.
- Many, many other stories from across the globe
Please read this week’s report and please pray.
Blog – 2017 3rd Quarter