Christians ARE persecuted in the West
A charity supporting suffering Christians around the world says Christians really are being persecuted in the democratic West.
For many years Western Christians have been reluctant to call the hardships that they endure for their faith ‘persecution’, because it is not as severe as in many other countries.
However, the March/April issue of Barnabas Fund’s magazine states: “The Western world has enjoyed unprecedented freedom to worship and practise the Christian faith over the last two centuries, to the extent that some will deny that persecution in the West is a reality.
“Certainly, persecution in the West is overall nothing as compared to that endured by believers in the Islamic world, under communist rule, or in other contexts… But that does not mean that persecution does not exist.”
According to International Director Patrick Sookhdeo, “The West is not merely passively post-Christian and indifferent to Christianity; it is now actively anti-Christian and profoundly intolerant of the Christian faith.”
Vandalism and burglary of Christian churches continues to happen very frequently, accordingly to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe.
Previously their reports have mainly come from France and Italy, but lately there has been an increase in incidents in Austria and Poland. The graffiti tags tend to reflect an evident bias, as they often contain insults or obscene content.
“The lack of respect for Christian sentiments was again visible after two young men filmed themselves dancing in a sexual manner by a crucifix in France”, reported the Observatory’s director, Madeleine Enzlberger.
Churches across the UK also suffered 4,169 incidents of theft, vandalism, physical assault or burglary in 2020-21, according to the Countryside Alliance, which gathered figures from 40 of the country’s 45 official police offices.
CHINA: Free churches banned from web
Communists rewrite the Bible
House churches that relied on the internet to continue virtual meetings and teaching during Covid-19 restrictions will now struggle to communicate because of the latest Chinese crackdown.
Since 1 March, only officially registered churches are allowed to place religious information on the internet. The official churches are tightly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
“Even a prayer meeting could be detected and your home raided”
The five government-approved religious organisations that can apply for permission to use the internet are the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (officially approved Protestant churches), the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the registered organisations of Buddhism, Islam and Taoism.
According to a partner of Release International, which supports persecuted Christians, “There are millions of online police. They report any suspicious online religious activity. So even a prayer meeting could be detected and sometimes reported, and your home could be raided.”
The ban contravenes China’s own constitution and the international conventions that the government has signed.
It is estimated that over 100 million people belong to unregistered churches.
The Chinese government is turning the Bible into communist propaganda.
Christian watchdog Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) told Faithwire that China is producing a new Bible translation to “support the Communist Party”.
The ten-year project that began in 2019 aims to persuade people that “their ultimate goal is to be a ‘good communist’.”
In the new Chinese version, Jesus stones the woman himself!
VOM give as an example the story of the adulterous woman in John chapter 8. In the passage, Jesus forgives the woman after stopping a crowd from stoning her to death by saying: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
But the new Chinese version adds that Jesus stones the woman himself – and admits he also is a sinner! As a sinner, Jesus can’t be God, so the idea is obviously to remove Jesus’ divinity.
Meanwhile, a Christian woman who has been repeatedly arrested for trying to share the Gospel with Chinese President Xi Jinping was detained again on 20 February.
Zhou Jinxia held up a sign encouraging Xi to follow Jesus outside the Communist Party headquarters in Beijing. Bitter Winter report that she has been trying to evangelise Xi ever since he became President in 2013.
Evangelist murdered at open air rally
Extremist Muslims killed an evangelist speaking at an open-air meeting in Uganda in March.
Morning Star News reported that the murderers beat John Michael Okero to death with iron bars, stones and sticks after he quoted verses in the Koran that mention Jesus. They later burned his body.
The police were called but arrived too late.
Another evangelist escaped with his life in February after Muslim relatives beat him and tied him up to be burned to death. Malingumu Bruhan was rescued when his captors fled after the plot was discovered.
Taliban continues to hunt down Christians
The door-to-door search for Christians in Afghanistan and their subsequent murder by the Taliban, which began after the US and UK withdrew their forces, hasn’t stopped.
UK Christian barrister Paul Diamond, who has been in constant contact with Afghan Christian since la
st summer, says Christians in the country are in hiding. He is therefore seeking an urgent meeting with the government minister responsible for the resettlement of Afghan citizens, because the government is insisting Christians wait until 2023 to even start to apply to come to the UK. Mr Diamond believes many lives are being lost as a result.
Coup leader promises to fight jihadists
The military leader sworn in as president of Burkina Faso after ousting the elected president has promised to crush the Islamist insurgency.
Jihadist invasions have claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and displaced over 1.4 million people, but in his first speech as president, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Damiba prioritised defeating the militants and led a moment of silence for the war’s victims, which have included many Christians.
The former president’s failure to protect the country was the prime reason for the coup, according to the leaders. Barnabas Fund reports that Christians have mainly fled the most dangerous places, where churches are shut or destroyed. A few believers still worship in secret.