Blog – 2019 4th Quarter
Weekly Commentary December 22-28, 2019
Good news! No one identified by name was reported to have died for the Christian Faith this week (although there are stories of murdered Christians in Nigeria without confirmed identities). Also, the Israeli government released more visas to Christian pilgrims in Gaza than in previous years, and the Supreme Court of Ukraine ruled against a law enacted to persecute Christians loyal to the Moscow patriarchate.
Bad news, unfortunately and oh so typically: multiple acts of persecution and discrimination were reported from sixteen nations. Please click on this link to read our report in full, which includes a grenade attack outside a Philippine cathedral, the assault on the wife of a priest in Ukraine, the burning of a thatch-roofed church in India along with violence and threats of worse against the parishioners, and the invasion and disruption of a Christmas Eve service in Switzerland by hooded ‘peace activists’. A prominent pastor in China was sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment, and several other instances of captivity continued.
Please continue your prayers for these and all other believers.
St Elijah Church, Rososhka village, Rakhov district, Transcarpathian region, Ukraine – courtesy Panoramio
Church burned in Perigaon village, Rayagada district, Odisha state, India
Church in Kleinhuuningen, Switzerland
Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines
Announcement December 21, 2019
The Finnish TV group Hurttimurtti has released a very impressive 41 minute documentary on YouTube entitled One Ruler: The Power of Persecuted Church, by Ruut and Mika Ahonen. If you can, please find the time in this busy Christmas season to watch it: if you make it to the very end you will see a nearly unbelievable example of God’s power and grace.
Weekly Commentary December 15-21, 2019
Two priests have been released from a brief captivity in Nigeria. A pastor in Tajikistan has been released a few months early from a prison sentence he had earned for singing hymns. Fr. Cedric Prakash (the subject of one of our biographies) has continued the good fight for the Faith in India, and Bishop Mark Davies has continued it in Britain, although by unusual means – more on that later.
The rest of our report this week (please click here to read in full) includes:
- The murder of the Rev. Luis Gregorio Coronado in Venezuela
- The abduction of Pastor Kayode Shogbesan in Nigeria.
- Pastor Zhang Shaojie (the subject of another of our biographies) continues to suffer great mistreatment including mind altering drug administration halfway into his 12 year prison sentence in Henan, China. Please pray for his protection!
- Fr. Mauro Armanino described continued persecution of animists and Christians in Niger and concluded “Next Christmas for the parish of Bomoanga will be very close to the original of Bethlehem, with the Herods of the moment”. Yes indeed: there are always Herods, of every moment.
The big news in Britain is the conversion of Bishop Gavin Ashenden, a major source of information for this web site and e-newsletter, to the Roman Catholic Church at the invitation of Bishop Mark Davies. While this is Catholicism’s gain it is Anglicanism’s loss. Gavin Ashenden has been one of the great voices in defense of traditional Christianity in Britain. His conversion is not really surprising – he has dropped hints for at least a year on the Anglican Unscripted YouTube channel concerning his high value of ‘Catholic’ as stated in the Nicene Creed and his view that while the Church always needs reformation the institutional Reformation has largely played itself out – but it is, for many Anglicans, painful. Gavin Ashenden has now bluntly stated that the recent efforts by many to reform Anglicanism to resist the secular anti-Christian zeitgeist are doomed, and that while “the grass is not greener” on the other side of the Tiber it is the place where the fight must now be fought. Bishop Mark Davies apparently agrees. It will be interesting to see what will come of this decision in the future.
Weekly Commentary November 24-30, 2019
Great news from India in this week’s report (click here to read in full): the last five men known as the ‘Kandhamal 7’ have been ordered released on bail by the Supreme Court in New Delhi. In August 2008 Maoist guerrillas murdered a radical Hindu swami in the state of Kandhamal; despite the Maoist claims, Christians were quickly scapegoated, with hundreds beaten, raped, or killed and thousands driven from their homes. Seven Christian men were quickly arrested for the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 in a trial were no defense was permitted. Two were released earlier this year. Under Indian law they cannot be re-arrested without the consent of the Supreme Court. Their appeals will continue. We also include news of the release of the second captive in July 2019.
Three Nigerian clergy were released from captivity after separate abductions.
A Nicaraguan priest was hospitalized after he and several others who had been held captive in his church by police for six days were set free, thanks to the Red Cross.
A Pakistani Christian reported that the national legislature has created a committee to find ways to stop the practice of forced Islamic marriage.
So, we have much good news to share with you. Here we list the rest:
- A new account of the Easter 2019 Sri Lanka church bombings, in which a husband and father recovering from a kidney transplant was killed.
- The murder of Nigerian Christian farmers as they slept.
- Assaults and arrests of Christians in Egypt, India, and Uganda.
- Desecration of churches and icons in Chile and Greece, and a media attack on a U.S. priest.
- A major story from India concerning the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority territory in India. In August 2019 the government abrogated the 71 year old Indian Constitution provisions regarding this territory and imposed direct rule from New Delhi. A curfew and an internet blackout were imposed. Almost immediately police and Hindu paramilitaries began to increase persecution of Christians. This is a much bigger story than most in the West realize.
- A very strange story regarding the entry of four masked men into the fortunately unoccupied Istanbul residence of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the “first among equals” among Eastern Orthodox bishops (or at least he was before last year’s split between him and Moscow over Kiev). These four took nothing. They were later captured in a gun battle with police. Were they an assassination squad? No one at this time appears to know.
There you have this week’s news. For more details please follow the links in our detailed report. For more protection and grace for these men and women please redouble your prayers.
Weekly Commentary November 17-23, 2019
Christians with young children were reported to have been killed in Ethiopia and Turkey, simply for serving the church (click here to read this week’s report in full).
In India Christians continued to suffer persecution. Nuns continued to be harassed by government officials seemingly bent on their defamation. The Christian Chief Minister of a state with a very large Hindu majority has also been slandered by a political opponent.
In Britain police accused a Christian preacher in Hyde Park and his wife of violating the law with their “The Blood of Christ” banner. He retorted that he has used the banner for 20 years, and a photograph apparently showing them much younger has surfaced which confirms this. Once again we see that what has been permitted for Christianity is now under threat. Please think about such changes, and please pray over the people who are challenged by them.
Speakers Corner Hyde Park, London, UK – courtesy Stephen Meddle, REX, and Shutterstock
Weekly Commentary November 10-16, 2019
In this week’s report (please click here to read in full) we see that Christians were killed in Cameroon, Nigeria, and Syria – reports differ as to whether one or two priests were killed in Syria. We should note that the Syrian killers were Islamic State members who most likely were set free by the Turkish military incursion that followed the recent U.S. withdrawal.
Christians continued to be jailed or imprisoned in China, Iran, and Vietnam, and were assaulted or threatened with death in India and the Philippines – an Indian woman was left in a coma. A Pakistani was abducted and held in a mosque on a false Quran desecration allegation – he had actually retrieved the texts from the trash and had attempted to return them – but was rescued by police.
There has been another large upswing in reports of attacks on church buildings. Bitter Winter has reported on the destruction of a large number of official and unofficial churches in China (see here and here), but without names for us to add to a Today’s Martyrs report. Multiple churches were torched in Chile and Egypt – one cathedral in Chile saw its doors burnt, while another church there lost its statues and pews to fire and its walls marked by satanic graffiti. Unbelievably, unidentified persons invaded a monastery chapel in Ireland and not only vandalized it but shouted obscenities at the elderly nuns at prayer! In nearly all of these stories outside China the Eucharist was profaned.
Mar Girgis Church, Helwan, Cairo – courtesy WorldWatchMonitor
St. James Cathedral, Valparaiso, Chile – courtesy Robert Cutts and Wikipedia
Carmelite Monastery, Malahide, Ireland – courtesy Harry Reynolds and Radoslav Strba
The Irish story seems very distant from the Ireland of recent memory, and it highlights the dramatic changes underway under our very eyes. Another such story comes from California.
A Federal civil trial concluded with convictions against Christian undercover journalists and their supporters who had exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of unborn baby body parts. These four individuals were ordered to pay Planned Parenthood over $2 million dollars. The case was mind boggling:
- The judge had real ties to Planned Parenthood through his wife, had refused to recuse himself and showed considerable hostility to the defendants throughout the trial
- The judge denied the defendants their First Amendment defense, in effect claiming the government has the power to rule without any evidence to the contrary that a journalist is not a journalist
- The judge denied the jury the right to determine the guilt of the defendants – he mandated the verdict himself – and directed the jury to make a financial damages assessment in the absence of their consideration of guilt
- Planned Parenthood witnesses admitted in court that they repeatedly broke the law, not only with the sale of organs and tissues from unborn children for profit, but also in harvesting of these parts, including beating hearts, while the unborn were still alive.
As a counterpoint, there was a California case a few years ago in which animal rights activists did a similar undercover expose of a chicken processing plant. The court held that expose to be protected by the First Amendment because the public had a compelling interest to know.
Add all these facts together, and the picture that becomes visible is that of a legal exceptionalism for abortion providers – as if we didn’t already know this from their general exemption from medical hygienic rules. They are the high priests of a new state religion, and certain elements of the state will protect them to the bitter end. What will that end be? A writer we admire, Pavel Chichikov, once answered that in a slightly different context:
What does that remind you of? It reminds me of the scenes of human sacrifice at the pinnacles of the Aztec temples and in other ancient Central American cities and ceremonial centers. Living hearts perhaps not ripped out of still living chests with flint knives, but carefully excised with steel scalpels. At least for the Aztecs, there was some kind of deformed cosmic anxiety behind the sacrifices on the temples – or at least so we read. What’s being proposed here is another stage in the self-destruction of the human species and its transformation into another life form, pitiless, limited, pragmatic, insectoid.
Pray that such an end will not be our fate. Pray that we will remain what God intended us to be.
Announcement – October 30, 2019
The Seven ‘Good’ Emperors – courtesy CoinWeek
Since the inception of this site in May 2015, and the earlier email subscription in November 2011, we have tried to operate with a minimal amount of financial resources.
We have until now solicited no donations, and we are therefore doubly grateful for the occasional donations that have come our way, sparked by the generosity and vision of our supporters.
Unfortunately, our situation has changed. Our other sources of income have declined. The cost of operating this site have increased as additional security has been added. The computer we use to produce this site has begun to fail, making timely updates very difficult.
Once again we are going to turn our attention to securing tax exempt status. But until we achieve that we still need to provide our publishing services to the Church and the world. Therefore we have opened a GoFundMe page for donations to cover our annual overhead and research costs, and for creating our tax exempt status.
Please prayerfully consider making a donation that will allow us to continue operations, you can click here to be redirected to the Today’s Martyrs GoFundMe annual expenses page. If you would rather send a donation through the mail please use the address on our Contact page. Thank you and God bless!
Weekly Commentary October 6-12, 2019
Another priest killed in Colombia. More high school students abducted in Nigeria. Our report is short (please click here to read) in material but long in pain and suffering. Please continue your prayers.
Weekly Commentary September 29 – October 5, 2019
Almost one third of this week’s report (please click here to read in full) comes from Great Britain, three tales of modernity’s disgust with Christianity.
First, though, allow us to mention the murdered Christians in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and the United States; the captive Christians in Nigeria (now freed, thank God, along with many Muslims) and Pakistan; and the Christians denied the ability to worship together in Russia.
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge, Iowa, United States
Verkhnebakansky Baptist church, Novorossiysk, Russia – courtesy Google
Church is the larger structure behind the residence
A Chinese cleric officially objected to Communist appropriation of an historic church ruin for propaganda.
St Paul ruin, Santo Antonio, Macao, China – courtesy GG001213
A Christian judge in the United States was subjected to the beginning of a judicial ethics witch hunt for giving a Bible to a defendant she had just sentenced to prison.
And so we come back to the British stories.
The first story is of a congregation in Cornwall that has left the Church of England. All Christian Creeds profess “one baptism for the forgiveness of sin”, and so this congregation decided that it could not accept the Church of England’s decision to allow the second baptism of the transgendered after their transitions. A small local media outlet proceeded to not only label this congregation as ‘extremist’ but also to create and provoke division against them in their community. We have transcribed a lengthy analysis from Bishop Gavin Ashenden which explains how this event has shown the monumental difficulties that Christians face in spreading the Gospel.
Fowey Parish Church of St. Finbarrus, Cornwall, England – courtesy Chris Downer and geograph.org.uk
The second story is of an actor who was blacklisted from her profession for endorsing traditional Christian morality on social media. In this week’s irony award, her peers decided she was a hypocrite because her most recent theatrical role was that of a lesbian!
The third story is perhaps the worst. A doctor fired from the National Health Service for refusing to affirm transgenderism was told by the Employment Tribunal that his Bible based beliefs [cf Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4, and Mark 10:6] were ‘incompatible with human dignity’ and ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’. So what? Aside from his loss, isn’t this just a fundamental difference of opinion or belief? No, this goes much deeper. These phrases have a very clear and particular meaning in English law: these are the words that are applied to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers to justify their legal suppression. This legal standard application, if not overturned, could someday be used to outlaw the Bible and orthodox Christianity itself.
Dear readers, please look at what is happening. The gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s Church, but those gates are multidimensional, they face the Church – us – in many directions, they are Legion. All of us feel their attractions. Please pray not only that they not prevail, but that those we love (and please consider just who Christ calls us to love) turn away from the glamour and lure they seem to possess, for the greater beauty that lives elsewhere.
Blog – 2019 4th Quarter