Persecution Unveiled Cause

Persecution Unveiled Cause
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Persecution Unveiled has established this cause to educate people about the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in the US & worldwide. Mission Raising awareness to the growing tide of bigotry and hatred toward Christians around the world has become a burden on those trying to wake up those who cherish religious freedom as a God given right. Persecution Unveiled has been called by God to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to speak up and act on behalf of those who have no voice. Email

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Church Banned From Worshiping in Coffee Shop They Own, Now Suing Maryland City

Ragamuffins Coffee House, a nonprofit coffee shop owned by 
Redemption Community Church, located in Laurel, Maryland.

By Michael Gryboski
Christian Post

A church is suing a Maryland city over a zoning regulation that bans them from holding worship services at a downtown coffee shop they own unless they apply for a special waiver the church believes is too expensive and uncertain.

Redemption Community Church, which oversees a non-profit coffee shop called Ragamuffins Coffee House, is suing the city of Laurel over a zoning law that requires it to undergo what it calls a "costly" and "uncertain" special exception, even while non-religious assemblies do not have to, according to the lawsuit.

The parameters of the exception include a nonrefundable $2,000 filing fee, the hiring of an engineer to draft an "Existing Conditions Site Plan" and a "Proposed Site Plan," and a detailed application that the City Board of Appeals can reject.

Known as Redemption Community Church v. City of Laurel, the lawsuit was filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Redemption Community is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm that often handles religious liberty litigation.

ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said in a statement released last Friday that the city of Laurel's zoning regulation was "discriminatory."

"The government can't discriminate against churches simply because they are religious," said Holcomb. "Despite making every effort to work with the city to comply with its burdensome zoning changes, Redemption Community Church is now being told to either stop holding worship services or pay severe fines."
Originally called Covenant Presbyterian Church, Redemption Community decided to move to the downtown Laurel area and set up a non-profit coffee shop to minister to the poor.
"Churches can be fortresses," explained the Reverend Jeremy Tuinstra, head of the church, in a 2017 interview with The Baltimore Sun. "I would stand up and preach about loving our neighbors and I didn't know mine."
In March 2015, Laurel's Planning Commission voted to grant Redemption Community a parking waiver to allow for its creation of a non-profit coffee shop and worship space.

The Ragamuffins Coffee House was located in the "Commercial Village Zone" of Laurel and needed a waiver in response to a code regulation on number of spaces.

Commissioner Mitzi Betman, chair of the Commission, explained at the April 2015 meeting that she was reconsidering the vote from the month before due to new details that emerged.

"When I voted for this in the affirmative, I believed that we were getting a coffee shop on Main Street that for two hours on Sunday was almost going to be a sublet in a sense for a church," explained Betman at the April 2015 meeting. "So there was a lot of additional information brought up."
Christian Post article continues here 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Roman Colosseum to Be Lit Blood Red for Persecuted Christians

By Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

The Roman Colosseum along with two churches in Mosul and Aleppo will be lit up by red lights later this month to draw attention to the global persecution of Christians.
“Christians are the victims of at least 75 percent of all religiously-motivated violence and oppression,” declared the latest report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the group organizing the event, and moreover “the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.”
In a gesture meant to combat global indifference to the plight of persecuted Christians, on Saturday, Feb. 24, one of Rome’s most iconic structures—the Colosseum—will be illuminated in red, representing Christians who have shed their blood for the faith.

At the same time, prominent churches in Syria and Iraq will be illuminated with red lights as well. In Aleppo, the St. Elijah Maronite Cathedral will be lit up in red, as will the Church of St. Paul in Mosul. Turning on the lights in Mosul, said the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako I, “means bringing back hope to Iraqi Christians who have suffered so much.”

According to Alfredo Mantovano, president of ACN-Italy, the media event is meant as a denunciation of “the martyrdom suffered by our brothers and sisters.” It is our intention, he said, “to involve them directly through two of the communities who have suffered the most in recent years, those of Syria and Iraq.”

Last year, Aid to the Church in Need organized a similar event, lighting up London’s Parliament building in red, as well as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris and the cathedral in Manila, Philippines as a sign of solidarity with persecuted Christians everywhere.

In 2016, Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain was bathed in red light in a move reminiscent of the first plague of Egypt, commemorating the many new martyrs killed in our time for their faith in Jesus Christ. The ten plagues, brought down by Moses through the power of God, were meant to soften the hard heart of Pharaoh, who held the Israelites enslaved in Egypt.
“In terms of the number of people involved, the gravity of the crimes committed and their impact, it is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history,” said John Pontifex, editor of the latest ACN biennial report on Christian persecution.
In the 13 countries where Christians suffer the most intense persecution, the situation has worsened in all but one—Saudi Arabia—in the last two years, and conditions there have stayed the same. 
“In almost all the countries reviewed,” the report reads, “the oppression and violence against Christians have increased since 2015 – a development especially significant given the rate of decline in the immediate run-up to the reporting period.”

14 Christian House Church Leaders Abducted in China Amid Communist Crackdown on Faith

Chinese Lawyers Who Have Stood Up For Christians Have Also Been Persecuted 

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Fourteen Christian house church leaders who are part of the Middle Eastern evangelism network have been abducted by government security agents in China.

ChinaAid reported on Wednesday that the Christians, who weren't named, are being held captive at an undisclosed location by state authorities in the coastal Zhejiang province.

"This massive, enforced disappearance of 14 peaceful church leaders shows the Communist Party has no regard to rule of law and its citizens' religious freedom rights," said ChinaAid President Bob Fu.

The group, which monitors the crackdown on churches and arrest of Christians and human rights activists in China, said the Communist government continues to deny believers religious freedoms and basic human rights.
"ChinaAid urges international leaders to speak out against this blatant abuse against religious freedom and human rights, and calls on China to immediately and unconditionally release these innocent Christians," the group declared.
Back in January, Christians shared their fears that the persecution could get worse following the government's destruction of an evangelical megachurch in the northern Shanxi province.

Chinese military police detonated explosives inside the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, destroying the house of worship which was owned by the Christians who worshiped there.

A video of the demolition was shared worldwide, showing the moment the church collapsed.
"My heart was sad to see this demolition and now I worry about more churches being demolished, even my own," a local pastor who wasn't named said at the time. "This church was built in 2008, there's no reason for them to destroy it now."
A Catholic church was also destroyed in a similar fashion in December, while at least 1,200 church rooftop crosses have been forcefully removed in Zhejiang province since 2015.

Chinese authorities have been known to raid worship services and detain dozens of Christians at once, such as what happened to 13 believers in Guangdong province in November. Police officers raided Qingcaodi Church, a small house church in Jingmen, with believers seeing their Bibles and other church-owned material confiscated.

Christian Post report continues here

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Woman Left Disfigured by Church Bombing Shares Visions of Jesus, Message for Attacker's Family

An Egyptian woman holds a melting candle at a vigil in downtown Cairo,
following a deadly explosion inside a Coptic cathedral in Cairo, Egypt
 December 14, 2016. 
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) 

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

A Christian woman who was left disfigured by a bombing at St. Peter's Church in Cairo in December 2016 has said that Jesus miraculously kept her alive and continues appearing to her in visions.

Samiha Tawfiq Awad shared in an Open Doors USA piece last week that she and her husband, Qalini, attended the church on the morning of Dec. 11 when radicals detonated a large bomb in the women's section, where she was sitting.

The twin suicide bombings that day at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Cairo left 24 Christians dead and 49 injured, with many of the women close to the explosion suffering severe disfigurement to their faces.

Qalini rushed his wife to the hospital, though she was hardly recognizable after the attack, and doctors warned him she might not survive.

Awad not only pulled through, however, but experienced visions of Jesus she says have filled her heart not with anger toward the attackers, but with forgiveness.

"The doctors might've given up on Samiha, but God had another plan!" Qalini exclaimed.
The woman recalled that doctors put her on the list of dead victims right from the beginning.
"The doctors thought it was useless to treat me, so they just came to check on me now and then to see if I was already dead. But I stayed alive," she recalled.
Doctors eventually put her through surgery, and she is alive and well now, even though she is missing half her face.
"I remember that I saw Jesus on the ceiling when I was lying on the ground after the explosion," she said of one of her first visions of Jesus.
Christ kept appearing to her in the hospital as well, she recalled.
"I would have been willing to die for Jesus," Awad said, "but the fact that He kept me alive so miraculously tells me that He wants me to live."
The Christian husband said that forgiving the people who attacked the church and put his wife through so much suffering is not an easy thing, but pointed to Jesus' Words on the Sermon of the Mount, where Christ calls for the forgiveness of enemies.

Awad said that she doesn't have anger for the attackers.

"If I would meet the family of the attacker, the only thing I would ask them is: 'Do you know Jesus?' I pray they will find the right way," she expressed.
Christian Post article continues here 

Persecution Unveiled has been called by God to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to pray for, speak up and act on behalf of those who are persecuted for their faith.  Follow us on  Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Bill Would Allow Public High School Coaches to Pray With Students in Georgia

By Samuel Smith
Christian Post

A lawmaker in Georgia has introduced legislation that would effectively allow high school football coaches and other public school officials in the state who want to participate in a student-led and initiated prayer to do so.

After headlines were made last year when East Coweta High School football coach John Small was told by the school district that he could not engage in prayer with his team before games, State Sen. Michael Williams introduced Senate Bill 361 on Tuesday in an attempt to give Small and other coaches such a right.

The bill, titled the "Coach Small Religious Protection Act," would take effect in the 2018-2019 school year and would amend state law relating to elementary and secondary education to provide "freedom of religious expression by faculty and employees of public schools while fulfilling the duties of their jobs."
"While performing their assigned job duties, school employees are required to maintain a position of neutrality toward religion; however, when interacting with other school employees or when the context makes clear that the employee is not speaking on behalf of the school, school employees are entitled to robust protections for their religious expression," the bill states.
The bill states that during "contract" time, school employees, faculty and other types of volunteers affiliated with the school are permitted to "participate in voluntary student-initiated, student-led prayer, such as prayer before a sporting event, when invited to do so by the students, provided that the participation is in the faculty's or employee's personal capacity and not as a representative of the school."

The bill would also protect teachers' rights to wear religious clothing, jewelry or symbols and engage in religious discussions and share religious materials with other faculty.

The bill comes after the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint with Coweta County School System last fall about how Coach Small was seen before a football game participating in a team prayer with his head bowed.

The FFRF complaint led to the school district issuing a district-wide guidance on prayer that explained clearly that coaches can't "join hands, bow their heads, take a knee or commit another act that otherwise manifests approval with the students' religious exercise" when it can be perceived to display government endorsement of religion.
"Public schools are being threatened by out-of-state special interest groups who demand that schools adopt inaccurate interpretations of the First Amendment that unlawfully restrict the freedom of students, teachers, and other public school employees to engage in religious expression or otherwise exercise their freedom of religion, leading to a stifling of constitutional rights," the legislation adds.
Christian Post article continues here

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wife of Iranian Pentecostal Leader Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Praying With Christians

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

The wife of the former Assyrian Pentecostal Church leader in Iran has been sentenced to five years in prison, allegedly for endangering national security. But human rights advocates have said she is being punished for praying with other Christians.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran reported on Monday that Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran handed down earlier in January a five-year sentence to Shamiram Isavi, the wife of Victor Bet Tamraz.
"As far as we know, and based on Mrs. Isavi's own statements, no evidence has been presented in the case to show that she was engaged in spying or disturbing national security. She has denied all the charges," Kiarash Alipour, a spokesman for Article 18, a U.K.-based organization focusing on Christians in Iran, told the group.
"Mrs. Isavi explained during the interrogation that when the Assyrian Pentecostal Church was shut down, she attended home churches and prayed with fellow Christians and discussed the Holy Book," Alipour said. "It's astonishing that a country's national security could be threatened by a gathering of Christian believers."
Officials claimed that Isavi was "acting against national security" through her efforts in organizing house churches, which is not allowed in Iran, as well as attending Christian seminars abroad.

Tamraz was arrested with Isavi and their son, Ramin, along with 12 other Christian converts, back in December 2014 in Tehran. The pastor and two of the converts were given 10-year prison sentences, while another convert was punished with 15 years.

The Iranian government, which in recent months has faced public anti-corruption protests, has not relented in its crackdown on Christians in 2018, continuing with the arrests and punishments it carried out in 2017.

Iranian agencies such as Mohabat News reported in October that believers have also been told by authorities that they will be beaten for their faith in Jesus Christ, or be forced to leave the country.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom named Iran among the five worst countries in the world in August when it comes to blasphemy laws and its treatment of minorities, while Open Doors USA recently listed the Islamic nation at No.10 on its World Watch List.

Christian Post report continues here

Persecution Unveiled has been called by God to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to speak up and act on behalf of those who have no voice.  Follow us on  Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Christians Are More Persecuted Than Any Other Faith Group

The United States Needs to Take Bold Action to Prevent Christianity in Many Countries from Disappearing Altogether

By Kerby Anderson
Christian Post

A recent report by Aid to the Church in Need documents that persecution of Christians today is worse than at any time in history.

"Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith groups. But ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution."
In some countries the situation was already so severe, it is hard to imagine how it could be any worse. Other countries (like China) have seen intolerance on the rise, as evidenced by a clampdown on dissent clergy and the destruction of churches.

Most of the countries where persecution against Christians is the most intense are Muslim countries (though North Korea and China are notable exceptions). Former Representative Frank Wolf has been on Point of View many times and recently called for the United State to take "bold action" to prevent Christianity in Iraq from disappearing altogether. Of course, ISIS remains a threat to Iraq's minority groups but they also face threat from a Baghdad-sanctioned Shiite militia.

World Summit

Earlier this year, the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians was held in Washington, D.C. More than 600 victims and advocates from 130 countries gathered to raise awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians.
Franklin Graham said that he "spent time this week with two men whose brothers were among the Coptic Christians marched out on the beach in Libya and viciously beheaded by ISIS for refusing to deny Christ."
 Some were surprised to hear the story of one of the men who actually was from Chad and had NOT been a Christian prior to the day of his beheading. As the terrorists gave each Christian a choice to deny Jesus or die, they came to this man from Chad. He answered, "Their God is my God." He was moved by the faith of these Christians and chose to die with them.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the summit. He observed, "The reality is, across the wider world, the Christian faith is under siege. Throughout the world, no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than the followers of Christ." He also added that he believed "ISIS is guilty of nothing short of genocide against people of Christian faith and it is time people called it by name."

During the summit's final session, the organizers put forth a declaration that called for all believers to declare their allegiance with those who suffer for Christ's name. They pledged to promote awareness of persecuted Christians as well as pray and urge other believers to pray for those being persecuted. It also called for churches and individual Christians to provide practical assistance to the persecuted church.

Ignored and Forgotten?

Whenever I do a radio program on the plight of persecuted Christians, I notice two things. First, the number of people who call into the program drops significantly. Second, a number of those who do call the program complain that we should be more concerned with what is happening in America.

Christian Post article continues here

Blogger's Note

Why does the Church in America continue to ignore the plight of persecuted Christians?  A good question. At the very least, every Sunday pastors can pray from their pulpit for our brothers and sisters and ask their congregations to include them in their daily prayers. They can educate through bulletin inserts. Direct them to Open Doors USA and Voice of the Martyrs and learn how to become an advocate, volunteer, support and get the latest prayer requests from persecuted Christians. 

"As Christians, we are called to take a stand for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Learn more about how you can help persecuted Christians." Open Doors Statement

Terry Noble

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Muslims Converting to Christianity: Growth-Spurt in a Surprising Country

“I’ve heard statistics as high as 70 percent of Iranians have rejected Islam"

By Lyndsey Koh
Mission Network News

Which country do you think has the fastest growing Church in the world? China? Russia? Maybe a country in South America?

Here’s a hint: the official name of the country starts with ‘The Islamic Republic’.

Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Marytrs, USA reveals, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is actually the place in the world where the Church is growing the fastest, something that would be pretty surprising to most Christians.”

The situation is bursting with irony. The Islamic Republic of Iran is listed on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List in the top ten hardest countries to be a believer.  
And yet, last year, Operation World listed Iran as having a 19.6 percent uptick in the Christian population annually — more than any other country.

“Conversion is illegal, the above-ground churches have almost all been closed down,” says Nettleton. “So it is a country that has worked very hard to eliminate Christianity, and particularly to eliminate Muslim conversion to Christianity. But it’s the place in the world where the Church is growing the fastest.”
The Laws That Backfire

Why is the Iranian Church going through such a growth spurt?

Nettleton shares, “I’ve had Iranian Christians tell me, ‘The greatest missionary in Iran, the greatest evangelist we’ve had in Iran was the Ayatollah Khomeini.’ This is the guy who took power in 1979, he converted Iran to the Islamic Republic [saying], ‘We’re going to run our country according to what Mohammed would have us do, we’re going to run our country according to the Koran.’
“Now here we are thirty-plus years later, and most Iranians have rejected Islam precisely because of that. The country is run by the Mullahs. The government says, ‘We’re doing everything according to Islamic principles.’ So if the government doesn’t work, if there’s still corruption, if there’s still poverty, then that must mean Islam doesn’t work…. That failure has really, in the eyes of the people of Iran, become the failure of Islam.”
According to Nettleton, the Iranian people are going through honest introspection about what they’ve witnessed in their country, and what that means for their lives…and their souls.

Note to Readers: This article is dated September 26, 2016.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eritrean Christian Refused to Renounce Faith Even Through 13 Years of Suffering in Prison

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

An Eritrean Christian has opened up about the 13 years of suffering he underwent for his faith in prison, including being punished for months at a time in a confined cell where he could not even stretch his limbs. Despite the suffering, he refused time and time again to renounce his faith.

World Watch Monitor reported on Tuesday that Shiden first came to faith in his late teens, despite the country's hostile treatment of evangelical Christians. He joined military service at the age of 22, but was caught during a secret worship meeting with other Christians.

From there he was moved to prison camps where he was made to suffer under harsh conditions, such as no sanitation, with guards taunting him and telling him to renounce his Christianity.

He answered back, however:
"I won't leave the faith because I believe it and I live by what I believe. I served this country faithfully and honestly during my military service. When you sent me to work in the field, I did that without complaining. But my belief is my personal belief, and you have to respect that. But if you don't, then I am willing to pay for it."
Later he was given two sheets of paper by prison officials, and asked to choose whether he believes in Jesus or not. Once again he stuck by his faith and told officials he was willing to pay the consequences, which is when he was moved to the general prison in Barentu, where he would spend the next 10 years.
"He was often put in solitary confinement for six months at a time, staying in a very small cell where he couldn't stretch out his arms or even stand up straight," the report describes.
At one point he was moved back to national service, but guards discovered sections of the Bible in his possession, which again had him sent to solitary confinement for a period of three months.
"During that time he saw no-one. Once a day, a cup of tea and a slice of bread were put through a gap in the door. He had no idea if anyone even knew what state he was in. He said it was a horrifying experience and that, to make it worse, just beforehand he had heard that some friends had managed to escape and cross the border," World Watch Monitor said.
Even after his release from prison after 13 years, Shiden continues suffering from the trauma of what he experienced, and with so much of his young adult life spent behind bars, he has missed out on education and job opportunities.

Although some officially recognized churches are allowed to operate in the African country, the targeting and persecution of Christians there is so severe that it is ranked at No. 6 on Open Doors USA's 2018 World Watch List of nations.

Persecution Unveiled has been called by God to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to speak up and act on behalf of those who have no voice.  Follow us on  Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook

Christians in China Fear Persecution Will Get Worse After Authorities Bomb Evangelical Megachurch

Footage of the demolition of the Golden Lampstand Church by Chinese officials in Linfen, Shanxi province, China, on January 9, 2018.

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

An evangelical megachurch was destroyed by Chinese Communist authorities Tuesday in the country's northern Shanxi province, sparking fears among Christians that the persecution they suffer will soon get worse.

China Aid said in an update Wednesday that Chinese military police detonated explosives inside Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, destroying the $2.6 million house of worship, which was owned by the Christians who worshiped there.

A demolition crew broke apart the remaining pieces of the church after the explosion with diggers and jackhammers.

Lampstand's head Pastor, Yang Rongli, had previously spent seven years in prison on charges of assembling a large crowd to disturb traffic order, and has been under police surveillance since his release in October 2016.

Describing the demolition, the pastor was quoted as saying that at first, police surrounded the church.
"Patrol wagons guarded the church. Workers smashed the church's glass. At this point, excavators are digging into the church, but we are not allowed to enter or watch," she said.
"The village head and the police from the local police station warned all the believers against entering the church. Now, we really have no idea what is going to happen."
The order to demolish the church reportedly came from China's top officials, who control the military police.
"The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights," said ChinaAid President and founder Bob Fu.
"ChinaAid calls on the international community to openly condemn the bombing of this church building and urge the Chinese government to fairly compensate the Christians who paid for it and immediately cease these alarming demolitions of churches."
The Guardian reports that a Catholic church in the neighboring province of Shaanxi was also demolished in a similar fashion last month, which is stoking fears among Christians that the widespread crackdown on churches continues in full force.

As many as 1,200 crosses have been removed from churches in Zhejiang province since 2015, with officials arguing that many of the demolitions have been down to building code violations.

A local pastor, who asked not to be named, said that he saw "more police than I could count" at the site, preventing worshipers from approaching.
"My heart was sad to see this demolition and now I worry about more churches being demolished, even my own," he said. "This church was built in 2008, there's no reason for them to destroy it now."
The Associated Press noted that the evangelical megachurch had a congregation of 50,000, and had been targeted by police on a number of occasions. Officials reportedly hired thugs to smash the church and take its Bible during the crackdown in 2009, when Rongli was arrested.

Persecution Unveiled has been called by God to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to speak up and act on behalf of those who have no voice.  Follow us on  Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook