Christians Under Seige
It's happening more and more routinely - Christians and Christianity are under assault in many corners of the world. I don't normally get political here on the blog, but these events and the frequency with which they are occuring are unsettling.
Consider just a few recent situations: A bomb ripped through a church in Alexandria, Egypt during New Year's Eve mass, killing at least 21. A Catholic church in Turkey was vandalized on January 1; the same group later threw a Molotov cocktail into the structure with a note saying "Bring down the cross, or we'll do that instead." (Remember that Turkey is where St. Paul spent a great deal of his ministry.)
In January, a prominent member of Pakistan's ruling party was assassinated by a member of his own security detail for having spoken out against his country's blasphemy laws.
Salmaan Taseer openly opposed the sentencing of a Christian woman to death for "blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad." Simply being a Christian is a crime punishable by death. For challenging the demands of Islamic extremists, Mr. Taseer, a Muslim, paid the ultimate price. This story continued as yet another Pakistani leader, Shahbaz Bhatti - a Christian man - was shot dead just last week by the Taliban after he, too, urged that blasphemy laws be reformed.
On Saturday (3/5/2011), a mob of nearly 4,000 attacked a Coptic village near Cairo and torched the Church of St. Mina and St. George there. The whereabouts of the pastor and three deacons are unknown; some say they died in the fire, others say they are being held captive. A curfew has been imposed on the village's 12,000 Christians. In fact, according to a briefing paper published in mid-January by a European Parliament member, "Statistics tell us that last year 75% of religiously-motivated violence in the world was against Christians."
Look more broadly and you'll see other forms of attack...non-violent, but quite ominous nonetheless. Following is a story about something that just occured in the U.K. (and not, by the way, an atypical occurance). At the end of February, the high court ruled that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster parents. The court case and subsequent ruling resulted from an application to the Derby City Council by a couple seeking to foster a child in 2007; they were blocked because of their unwillingness to promote the practice of homosexuality to a young child.
Neither the ruling nor the reporting of the incident indicated that these folks are bigoted gay-bashers. What was stated is that they were unwilling to promote something with which they don't agree. Big difference. More telling are the comments the "Equality and Human Rights Commission" (now there's an oxymoron) made as they inserted themselves in the case:
The tax payer funded EHRC played an important role in this judgment. They intervened in the Johns case, and they suggested to the Court that a child should not, in their own words, be 'infected' with Christian moral beliefs. Suggesting that Christian moral beliefs on sexual ethics could 'infect' children is an extraordinary position for a statuatory body to take. It is also deeply insulting to both the Johns, who have a proven track record of successfully raising children, and to Christians in general.
Infecting? There are a lot of people around the world who could use some support via prayer.
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