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
persecutionunveiled@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Wedding Officiant Sues Ohio County over Law Forcing Ministers to Officiate Same-Sex Weddings

“we all lose when bureaucrats can force citizens to participate in religious ceremonies they oppose, speak messages they disagree with and stay silent about beliefs they hold dear.”



Kristi Stokes (center), owner of Covenant Weddings in Cuyahoga, 
County Ohio, interacting with a bride and groom at a wedding 
photo shoot. | Courtesy of ADF


By Anughar Kumar
Christian Post 


An ordained minister in Ohio has filed a federal lawsuit against Cuyahoga County, challenging a law that would require her to officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies or face a fine of $5,000.

Kristi Stokes, an evangelical Christian and the owner of Covenant Weddings, filed the lawsuit this week at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The county recently passed a law that forbids businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, says the Christian legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the suit on behalf of Stokes.

The law applies to any “place for the sale of merchandise to the public, or any other place of public accommodation or amusement where the accommodation advantages, facilities, or privileges thereof are available to the public.”

“Like other ministers, Kristi chooses which weddings to officiate and write about based on her faith,” the lawsuit says. “While Kristi works with and tries to convey God’s love to everyone no matter who they are, she can only celebrate weddings consistent with her beliefs.”

“Since a young age, I’ve dedicated my life to ministry, and today I love serving my community by officiating and writing for weddings,” Stokes said. “My religious beliefs influence every aspect of my life, and I can’t simply put my religious identity into separate personal and professional boxes. If you’re looking for someone to officiate your wedding, and you’re hoping to incorporate a cannabis theme or write prayers to celebrate an open marriage, I’m not your girl.”

The lawsuit says, “… Because Kristi offers wedding services that celebrate marriage between one biological man and one biological woman, the County says she must also provide the same services for weddings that contradict her beliefs or Kristi commits illegal ‘discrimination.’”

This, in turn, means that Stokes “must officiate same-sex weddings, pray over same-sex marriages, write vows calling biological men women, write homilies using incorrect or gender-neutral pronouns (like Per, Xe, and Ze) or face heavy fines, attorney fees, and injunctions,” the suit adds.

The law also forbids Stokes from explaining on her company’s website or social media “that she can only provide wedding services consistent with her religious views on marriage and gender.”

“No one should be forced to officiate ceremonies that conflict with their religious beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson. “Because of Cuyahoga County’s law, Kristi faces an impossible choice: disobey the law, defy her own faith, or ditch her business. Many different religions and countless people of goodwill believe that weddings are sacred ceremonies between one man and one woman.”

Christian Post article continues

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Bulgarian Survivor Warns Americans: Socialism 'Is Actually an Anti-Christ System'

For those who think America can have a softer, kinder socialism, Banov wishes they could understand to succeed, it has to take total control, and that means taking away freedoms. He contrasts that to the God who gives freedom and power to care for all.

Georgian Banov (image:via CBN News)

By Paul Strand
CBN News

Surveys show more than half of young Americans would prefer moving to a socialist economy and government. About a third say they'd even opt for communism. 


While things like free college tuition might sound great, it can come with a high cost, such as the government taking away the freedoms we enjoy today. Those who've lived under it warn against it.

Georgian Banov leads worship, often with Christian rock bands, across the world. Not only does he love rocking out for God, but he's also a classical violinist. While Georgian rejoices in his freedom as a Christian, he still mourns over those who suffered for decades in his childhood home of Bulgaria, trapped behind the Iron Curtain.

Burned Them Alive

"They immediately went after killing every capitalist," Banov recalled of the communists who took power. "Because according to Karl Marx, capitalism is the main evil. They make them dig a ditch, they throw them in the ditch, they put oil on them and burn them."

Banov said his grandmother witnessed such mass murders and told him she could never forget the smell of burning flesh.

Socialism, Communism Inextricably Linked

It's important to remember communism and socialism are inextricably linked. After all, the communist USSR was the Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics—a system controlling everything, leveling its people out by crushing individual incentive.

"Everybody makes the same amount of money," Banov stated. "So if you're good at something and work hard, you don't get a dime more than the guys who sit and do nothing. So the productivity goes lower and lower and lower. This is very destructive to a successful economy. Now everybody's poor."

"There's nothing to buy because everything is so depleted," Banov said, and remembered the stores in his youth. "The only thing you could buy every day is bread. Whatever came, we'd buy and we ate it right away. And there wasn't enough for you to even refrigerate in your house."

Five Families in a Five-Room Home

This was probably good because he can't recall anyone having a refrigerator. As for him, he remembers being so poor, his family was one of five packed into a five-room home.

Banov also remembers the constant fear of stepping out of line because the communists were constantly watching.

"Unless you're saying things that are in line 100 percent with the communist propaganda doctrine, you get pulled out and eventually you disappear," Banov recalled, remembering the cowed Bulgarians all about him. "They're afraid that if they say something, they're going to get arrested."

What You Can Say, Do, Believe All Dictated to You

And in the schools, one's life, profession, and the beliefs they were allowed to have were all dictated to them.

He said of his instructors at school, "You are directly controlled by a supervisor who is over the teachers, making sure everything you say supports the communists."

Banov pointed out it's not just about economics, but snuffing out God. He explained Karl Marx, the man behind communism and socialism, despised God.

"God, I Hate You and I'll Hurt You"

Banov quoted Marx, saying, "'God, I hate You and I'll hurt You by destroying the people You create for Your glory.' So the whole system is actually an anti-Christ system. They became God. 'Praise us. Glorify the communists.' So it's a religion."

Banov saw how Bulgaria clamped down on Christians with an iron fist, demanding their membership rolls, dictating what could be preached and taking their Bibles. Because the communists couldn't stand that these Christians believed in and submitted to a power higher than the state.

"It is the only enemy that they cannot fight, they know," Banov said of the communists. "So they really pushed Christians, to break them down, to submit to them. And if they don't submit, 'you're out!' Bibles were confiscated. And every Bible press was destroyed."

Meeting in Secret


They especially targeted Spirit-filled Believers.

"They were the most persecuted because they had power. The Holy Spirit gives you power," Banov stated. "So the Holy Spirit people were the most persecuted because they were the most unsubmissive. They didn't give their membership. They meet in secret, only ... underground."

But he pointed out in the end, the communists—just like ancient Rome—couldn't wipe out Christianity.

"Kind of like (what) happened in Rome with the early Roman church," Banov explained. "We're talking about the most powerful war machine in the world—conquered Europe, conquered the Middle East, conquered northern Africa. It couldn't conquer a handful of Believers in its backyard."

CBN News continues here

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Anti-Christian Incidents in France Rose 285% Since 2008: Observatory

"perpetrators of church attacks and acts vandalism in France tend to be radical Islamists or people aligned on the radical extremes of the political left, including Antifa movements, anarchists and radical feminists."


Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019, in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images

By Samuel Smith
Christian Post


There’s been about a 285% increase in the number of “anti-Christian incidents” reported in France over the last decade-plus, according to the head of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe.

As six French churches have caught fire in the last year and a half, including the major Cathedral in Nantes last week, government data indicates a stark increase in the number of alleged attacks and acts of vandalism committed against houses of worship since 2008.

“The French government reported 275, what they call, anti-Christian acts [in 2008]," OIDACE Executive Director Ellen Fantini told The Christian Post Monday. "So that is anything from targeting a church in some way with vandalism or a public Christian statue, it could be a Christian cemetery or it could be actual assaults against French Christians with an anti-Christian bias."

"If we look at 2018 and 2019, the numbers are little over 1,000 [per year]. So the increase from 275 to a little over 1,000 works out to 285% increase.”

According to France’s Interior Ministry, there were 1,052 recorded anti-Christian incidents committed in 2019, which mostly consist of attacks on religious property. The 2019 incidents are broken down into 996 "acts" and 56 "threats."

“What is shocking about that actually is how low the government’s numbers are,” the director of the only observatory that covers Christian freedom of conscious issues across all of Europe said.

In addition to the government’s published data on anti-Christian actions, Fantini said that the French government also submits data about hate crimes committed with a bias against Christians to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

However, the government’s data on hate crimes against Christians don’t seem to match the figures the government provides on anti-Christian incidents.

“Those numbers, the most recent figures for hate crimes, were nearly 2,000 in 2018,” she explained. “So when people react with shock when we say that this works out to about three a day, we are taking conservative numbers. When we take even the government’s own numbers of hate crimes against Christians, it works out to more than five a day.”

“It is not clear why those [two sets of] numbers don’t match up. The French government has not been transparent about why those numbers don’t match up. What we can safely say is that the French government reports both of these numbers. It would suggest that the lower figure must be the absolute minimum and the figure given to OSCE is likely accurate, though I suspect even that number is lower than the real figures."

When asked what “anti-Christian incidents” entail, Fantini stated that they tend to be acts of “vandalism with a message.”

“They are not necessarily like graffiti where you could identify what these people want, as compared to Spain. … In France, we see a lot of decapitation of statues, we see the destruction of precious objects. I don’t mean precious by material value but destruction, for example, of consecrated hosts in Catholic churches. There is basically nothing worse you could do in a Catholic church than destroy the consecrated host.”

The researcher added that France sees “a lot” of small intentional fires at churches. Those fires don’t usually burn down the buildings, however.

“There are a lot of broken windows. For something like a broken window, we don’t know if it was a kid playing with a ball or whether it was somebody who hates the church or hates Christians. My organization tends to, if we don’t have any other information, to not really say that we think an incident has an anti-Christian bias," she noted.

“But if they smash a window and destroy things, then we know that is going on. It’s hard to figure out what motivation is because most of the time vandals aren’t caught. Most churches don’t have security cameras. Most churches are open to the public all day long but don’t have security guards. To be honest, I think we only see the visible tip of the iceberg because so many churches across Europe and America as well experience vandalism and simply don’t report it.”

The observatory’s executive director opines that part of the reason there is an increase in attacks and acts vandalism committed at places of worship in France is that the rising secularism in the country “has led the society generally not to think of churches as special sacred places.”

Fantini said perpetrators of church attacks and acts vandalism in France tend to be radical Islamists or people aligned on the radical extremes of the political left, including Antifa movements, anarchists and radical feminists.

“They all set their sights on churches for different reasons,” she said. “In France, we certainly have not seen any kind of far-right attacks on churches. In France, I would say it is sort of the cultural leftists on the extremes as well as the radicalized Islamists. Although we haven’t seen that as much as we did a few years ago.”

Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the killing of Priest Jacques Hamel during an attack on his Normandy church by two men claimed to be aligned with the Islamic State.

“He was the priest who was beheaded by ISIS sympathizers in the South of France while he was celebrating mass,” she said.

While there is not enough data available to calculate the rise of anti-Christian incidents throughout Europe, Fantini believes that such incidents are “absolutely on the rise everywhere.”

“We see in Germany arsons and vandalism, we see it in Spain, we see it in the U.K. Really, I can’t say that there is any place in Europe where this phenomenon is decreasing,” she warned. “I was just looking at the U.K. The U.K. has a government fund to protect places of worship of all kinds. It was started five years ago and the amount in the fund has already doubled to £3.2 million.”

In Spain, she said churches see quite a lot of “destruction and vandalism.”

“In particular, the anarchist movements, their favorite phrase is: ‘The only church that illuminates is the one that burns,’” the researcher explained. “Every year on International Women’s Day, which is celebrated all over Spain, it is an opportunity for the feminist activists to put their tags on Spanish churches, they destroy things, they protest. Spain is no stranger to the activist left when it comes to targeting churches.” 


Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Christian Photographer Could Be Fined $50,000 for Not Working Same-Sex Wedding

“The First Amendment ensures each of us can choose what we say and what we celebrate, even when the government dislikes it.”



By Michael Foust
Christian Headlines


A Christian photographer filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn a Virginia law that would force him to take pictures at same-sex weddings under the threat of $50,000 to $100,000 fines.

At issue is the Virginia Values Act, which was signed by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam in April and prohibits “unlawful discrimination because of” sexual orientation in “places of public accommodation.” It defines a public accommodation as “all places or businesses offering or holding out to the general public goods, services, privileges, [or] advantages.”

Virginia law permits a civil penalty of up to $50,000 against first-time violators and up to $100,000 for each subsequent violation.

The law went into effect Wednesday.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the suit against Virginia’s attorney general and another state official on behalf of Chris Herring, who owns Chris Herring Photography.

Herring is a Christian who derives his views on marriage from the Bible, the denominational teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention, and “other Christian leaders, pastors, and theologians that Chris admires,” the suit says. His formal policy, the suit says, is “to only offer wedding photography services celebrating weddings between one man and woman and to decline any photography requests celebrating any other weddings – including those for same-sex engagements or weddings.”

The suit says the new law violates Herring’s constitutionally protected religious and free speech rights as guaranteed in the First Amendment.

“Just as Virginia cannot force atheist newspaper editors to print op-eds promoting Christianity or LGBT artists to design church-flyers condemning same-sex marriage, Virginia cannot force Chris to convey messages he objects to,” the suit says. “The First Amendment ensures each of us can choose what we say and what we celebrate, even when the government dislikes it.”

The suit says Herring will work with LGBT individuals in the other part of his business, which involves taking pictures of outdoor adventures. He also will work with LGBT photographers at a wedding of a man and a woman.

“Like most other artists, Chris creates photographs for anyone no matter who they are; he just cannot create some content for anyone no matter who they are – whether that be content promoting pollution, pornography, or certain views about marriage,” the suit says. “It’s this last editorial judgment, though, that Virginia finds objectionable – threatening to fine Chris into bankruptcy for not creating photographs and blog posts he objects to.”



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Catholic Churches Vandalized, 1 Torched with Churchgoers Inside

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco described the destruction of the statue as “the activity of the evil one who wants to bring down the Church, who wants to bring down all Christian believers.”

The building that houses the nearly 250-year-old San Gabriel Mission
in California sustained extensive damage in a fire on June 11, 2020
 
YouTube/CBS Los Angeles
By Ryan Foley
Christian Post


Several Catholic churches and statues paying homage to one of the most revered figures in Christianity became the targets of violence and vandalism over the weekend. Two Catholic churches were set on fire while statues of the Virgin Mary in major cities across the U.S. were defaced.

The wave of vandalism began early Friday morning in the New York City borough of Queens, where a vandal targeted a statue of the Virgin Mary located at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary.


Security camera footage captured an individual defacing the statue by spray-painting the word “IDOL” down the front in black paint, Catholic News Agency reports.

Father James Kuroly, rector and president of Cathedral Prep, described the vandalism as “an act of hatred” while praising the community for “the help we have received as well as the prayers.”

“This tragedy saddens us deeply but it also renews our hope and faith in the Lord, as He has shown His goodness in the many people who have reached out to us,” Kuroly told CNA.

Less than 48 hours after the incident in Queens, a statue of Mary outside St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Boston, Massachusetts, was set on fire. The perpetrator set fire to the plastic flowers in the statue's hand, which caused damage to the statue's upper body.

As he said a prayer next to the statue on Sunday, Rev. John Currie, the pastor of St. Peter’s, reached out to the person responsible for the damage.

“I know Our Lady in Heaven is looking down at the soul, or whoever it might have been, and saying, ‘I love you.’ If you need help, come get help. We’re here for you,” Currie said, the Boston Herald reported.

Early Saturday morning, worshipers gathered inside Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida, faced imminent risk to their lives when 24-year-old Steven Anthony Shields slammed his minivan into the church's front doors and poured gasoline in the foyer before setting it on fire.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports that Shields described his act of violence as “awesome” and relayed his grievances with the Catholic Church to law enforcement officials.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that “no one was injured” in the attack. Shields is being held at the Marion County jail without bond on several charges, including attempted second-degree murder, first-degree arson, burglary with assault and eluding law enforcement.


Christian Post report continues

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Pastor Stabbed, Virginia Police Chief Injured While Taking Down Attacker

Image Credit: WJLA-TV/Screenshot
By Andrea Morris
CBN News


Roessler and another person restrained the suspect until the police arrived at the scene. Two victims were treated for 'bumps and bruises" and other non-life-threatening injuries.

Another pastor at the church, Brett Fuller, issued a statement about the incident.

Today, in a routine church educational setting, one of our pastors was assaulted by an attendee. Two church members came to the pastor's aid and valiantly risked their own lives to defend him. In the process, one of our members was injured. The pastor and one of the members are being treated at Reston Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The other member involved sustained injuries that did not require medical attention. The assailant was taken into captivity at the scene.

We are in prayer for all the injured. We are grateful for the courage exhibited that prevented worse from happening. Lastly, we want to thank the broader community for their outpouring of concern and support in this time.

The Fairfax County Police Department is still investigating the incident. The suspect was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, one count of felony assault on a police officer, and one count of misdemeanor assault.



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

America: Persecution Is Coming – But Don't Lose Heart

Could American Christians – like their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world – be next in line for a wave of harassment, and even persecution?


By Dr. Rex Rogers, President of SAT-7 USA
Christian Headlines


The shifting cultural tides in America right now are making many Christians uncomfortable – and worried about what they perceive as a rapid erosion of religious freedoms and an ever-steeper decline in Christian values.
The pillars of conservative Christianity are being shaken – and it’s giving many American believers the jitters, leaving us asking: “What’s coming next?”

As America adopts moral relativism as its cultural worldview, Christians are finding themselves increasingly marginalized and in the minority – frequently on the defensive against anti-Christian bias, including accusations of “hate” and “bigotry.”

Where Christianity once occupied the seat at the head of America’s table, now it is increasingly denied any seat at the table. This is evident in America’s leading opinion shaping institutions – universities, media, government, entertainment, and even athletics.

Law, education, the arts, entertainment – culture in everyday life once guided by a Judeo-Christian consensus – are now floundering in a moral relativism that in essence believes in no truth, no objective right and wrong, and thus has no meaning. This is the nihilism that’s growing in America right now.

A few days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by the narrowest 5-4 margin that certain safety precautions for abortion clinics were unconstitutional – a crushing blow for pro-life Christians.

Several weeks ago, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attacked Christian relief agency Samaritan’s Purse, after the organization set up an emergency field hospital in Central Park, coordinated with The Mount Sinai Hospital, to care for COVID-19 patients. De Blasio called it “very troubling,” citing the organization’s conservative stance on social issues.

Yale Law School adopted a policy that disallows employers that consider religion, religious creed, gender identity, or gender expression from hiring students who benefit from Yale funding. The effect is to discriminate against organizations with religious identity and purposes.

Could American Christians – like their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world – be next in line for a wave of harassment, and even persecution?

In the Middle East and North Africa, Christians know what it means to be in the minority. They’re always on the edge of society, viewed with the utmost suspicion. Often despised and even hated, they’re constant targets for abuse and violence.

As a religious minority in the Middle East – ironically, the cradle of Christianity – followers of Jesus have wrestled for hundreds of years with how to respond in an environment supercharged with animosity.

Christian Headlines article continues

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

China Orders Christians to Take Down Crosses, Images of Jesus; Worship Communist Leaders not God

The Communist Party previously targeted images and photos of Jesus as part of its campaign to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party.”
China's President Xi Jinping attends a welcoming ceremony
outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 

Oct. 14, 2015 
(Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee/File Photo)

By Leah AnnMarie Klett

Christian Post

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, poor Christian villagers in China have been ordered to renounce their faith and replace displays of Jesus with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping or risk losing their welfare benefits.
Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter reports that in April, officials with China's Communist Party visited believers’ homes in Linfen, a prefecture-level city in the northern province of Shanxi. While there, they ordered residents who receive social welfare payments from the government to replace crosses, religious symbols, and images in their homes with portraits of China's communist leaders.
If Christians resisted the order, officials annulled their subsidies.
“All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images,” a local pastor told Bitter Winter. “The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus.”
A member of a state-sponsored Three-Self church in one of the villages recounted how local officials tore down all religious images and a calendar with an image of Jesus in his home and posted a portrait of Mao Zedong instead. 
“Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing — they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive,” the believer quoted an official as stating. 
In May, an official in the eastern province of Shandong stormed into the home of a local Christian. While inside the Christian's home, the official posted portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping and reportedly said, “These are the greatest gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones."
In April, the government of Xinyu city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi canceled a disabled Christian’s minimum living subsidy and a monthly disability allowance of 100 RMB (about $14) because the believer continued to attend worship services despite government orders. 
Similarly, in Jiangxi’s Poyang county, a Christian woman in her 80s was removed from the government’s aid list because she said “Thank God” after receiving her monthly 200 RMB (about $28) subsidy in mid-January. 
“They expected me to praise the kindness of the Communist Party instead,” she said. 
Another elderly Christian woman from Henan’s Shangqiu city had her minimum living allowance canceled after government officials found a cross image posted on the door of her home.
“They tore it down immediately,” she said. “Afterward, both my minimum living allowance and poverty alleviation subsidy were canceled. I am being driven to a dead end. I have diabetes and need injections regularly.”
The Communist Party previously targeted images and photos of Jesus as part of its campaign to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party.”
In 2017, The South China Morning Post reported that CCP officials removed more than 600 Christian symbols from the living rooms of believers in Yugan county of Jiangxi province, and 453 hung portraits of the communist dictator.
Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Monday, July 13, 2020

China Continues to Persecute Early Rain Covenant Church, Orders Members to Cease Online Services


Church Members Have Continued to Face Harassment From Authorities, Even Amid the Country’s Coronavirus Outbreak

Early Rain Covenant Church in China, Photo: Facebook

By Leah MarieAnn Klett
Christian Post Reporter

China’s communist government has continued to monitor and persecute Sichuan province’s Early Rain Covenant Church, demanding church members cease all online worship services.

Over two years after shuttering the 5,000-member church, breaking down the doors of church members’ and leaders’ homes and arresting more than 100 people, police have continued to harass ERCC members, according to a new report from China Aid.

A Christian, who did not reveal her name, told the persecution watchdog that over the weekend, police brought in ERCC members in charge of church activities and online services and demanded that they stop all activities.

Among those brought in to the police station was Ran Yunfei, who had originally been scheduled to give a testimony during a church service Friday. Ran was escorted home only after the service ended.

Because police only summoned Christians during the church’s online services, the source who informed China Aid believes police are still monitoring the church.

In April, several members of the church were arrested by the Public Security Bureau for participating in an online Easter worship service on Zoom and ordered to cease all religious activity.

A supporter of ERCC shared on Twitter, “Since 8:30 a.m., some security officials have entered these Christian families’ homes and pretended to be chatting with them casually. At 9:30 a.m., the worship began, and they were also invited to participate. Once they realized that the sermon was from ERCC’s imprisoned pastor Wang Yi, they immediately shut it down.”

Her account was corroborated by church leader Zhang Jiangqing, who was warned by the police at his house, saying, “Don’t participate in already banned [religious] activities anymore! Don’t listen to pastor [Wang]’s sermons anymore! If you do this again, we will deal with it seriously and take you away!”

ERCC, led by pastor Wang Yi, has not been able to gather in person since the communist regime shut down the church in 2018 and arrested their pastor and other leaders. Pastor Wang was later sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of subversion of power and illegal business operations.


Christian Post report continues 

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.


Monday, July 6, 2020

Andrew Brunson: US 'increasingly hostile' to Christianity; following Jesus will come at personal risk

"I feel a sense of urgency in my heart for this generation in my country,” the pastor stressed. “I feel it especially for my children's generation that they're not prepared to stand. I'm not sure that everyone in this room is ready to stand for Jesus without apology."


American Pastor Andrew Brunson speaks at the Nat'l Religious
Broadcasters Christian Media Convention in Nashville, TN
on Feb. 25, 2020. The Christian Post/Leah Klett


By Leah MarieAnn Klett
Christian Post

American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned for his faith in Turkey for two years, warned that being a Christian in the U.S. may soon come with great personal risk as the culture becomes increasingly “hostile” to believers.

"There is a price to following Jesus," said Brunson told hundreds gathered at the National Religious Broadcasters Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, last week. "There is a price in other countries. We hear about that. But increasingly, I think that there will be a price to be paid here."

According to Brunson, the “media, political, the business classes, most of academia are becoming increasingly hostile to those who identify publicly with Jesus Christ and with His teaching.”

"I feel a sense of urgency in my heart for this generation in my country,” the pastor stressed. “I feel it especially for my children's generation that they're not prepared to stand. I'm not sure that everyone in this room is ready to stand for Jesus without apology."

“We need to prepare ourselves now. We need to make decisions now about our commitment to Jesus because otherwise, the natural tendency when difficulty comes is to fear. And when we’re afraid, the natural instinct is to run away, is to compromise.”

“It is normal to be afraid,” he added. “The issue is, will you stand in spite of your fear? Will you remain faithful? In the end, people are going to pay a price for the sake of the Gospel. Overseas, yes, but also here ... there is a cost to following Jesus.”

Brunson, a Christian missionary who lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, was taken into custody by Turkish officials along with his wife, Norine, in October 2016.

Norine was released soon after, but Brunson was thrown in prison, accused of plotting to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Following two years in detention, Brunson was released last October after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the country.

Brunson shared details about his imprisonment in Turkey, revealing he experienced a crisis of faith while in detention.

“I was actually very afraid,” he admitted. “The issue, actually, is what we do when we’re afraid. There are things to be afraid of.”

Despite severe persecution, Brunson said he believes God is “moving powerfully” in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern regions.

“There is going to be a harvest in the most dangerous and the most difficult places, and this means that there is risk to those who are going to gather the harvest in those places.”



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Supreme Court Strikes a Big Blow in Favor of School Choice and Religious Freedom

"We celebrate today's Supreme Court decision on religious schools, which removes one of the biggest obstacles to better educational opportunities for all children. States may no longer hide behind rules motivated by insidious bias against Catholics, known as Blaine Amendments, to exclude religious schools from public benefits." The White House




By Paul Strand
CBN News


The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Montana – and by extension, many other states – violate the First Amendment when they ban public funding of religious institutions like schools.

It's a mighty blow for school choice, especially when the choice involves religious schools. The Court ruled 5-to-4 if you're going to offer a state benefit for private secular schools, you can't ban it from their religious counterparts.


Moms vs. Montana


This case – Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue – involved moms like Kendra Espinoza suing Montana, claiming the state was discriminating against their children's religious schools. In the end, that's how the Court's conservative majority saw it, too.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious."

He left no doubt that the Court's majority, in this case, felt that Montana's program that cut out faith-based schools was discriminatory.

"Montana's no-aid provision bars religious schools from public benefits solely because of the religious character of the schools," Roberts wrote. "The provision also bars parents who wish to send their children to a religious school from those same benefits, again solely because of the religious character of the school."

Blaine Amendments Defanged & Dead

The Court's ruling defangs statewide provisions known as Blaine Amendments, enacted into dozens of state constitutions and that were originally meant to discriminate against Catholics pouring into the United States in the 1800s.

The Becket Fund for religious liberty put out an animated video on these which says, "Blaine Amendments were written during a wave of anti-Catholic bigotry in the 1800s to stop Catholic schools from receiving aid. And today they're used to discriminate against people of many faiths."

Becket Senior Counsel Diana Verm told CBN News, "The Court recognizes that Blaine Amendments have a bigoted history and that history makes them unconstitutional."


She added, "Today they've been used to exclude any religious group from government programs, and I'm happy to say that that discrimination should now be over."

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a longtime advocate for school choice, had harsher words, saying, "Montana and other states should be very clear about this historic decision. Your bigoted Blaine Amendments and other restrictions like them are unconstitutional, dead, and buried."

'Fabulous Decision for Families, for Educational Freedom'


"This is a fabulous decision for families, for educational freedom," said Tommy Schultz of the pro-school choice American Federation for Children. "What this does is it allows families in dozens of states to engage in a real conversation about having school choice programs."

The four more liberal justices all voted against Espinoza, with Justice Stephen Breyer writing, "If for 250 years, we have drawn a line at forcing taxpayers to pay the salaries of those who teach their faith from the pulpit, I do not see how we can today require Montana to adopt a different view respecting those who teach in the classroom."

CBN News report continues

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Cuba Gives Pastor Early Release after Serving 1 Year in Prison for Homeschooling his Children

“The Cuban authorities’ targeting of children on account of their religious beliefs or those of their parents is a deplorable violation of fundamental human rights."

The Cuban national flag is seen raised over their new embassy
in Washington, July 2015. Photo:Reuters/Andrew Harnik/Pool
By Samuel Smith
Christian Post

Cuba has released Christian Pastor Ramon Rigal, who spent over a year in prison for homeschooling his children.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan panel of experts that advises Congress and the federal government, issued a statement Wednesday praising Rigal's release.

Rigal, who was arrested with his wife, Ayda Expósito, in April 2019, was serving a two-year term and was previously scheduled to be released in 2021. Although it's unclear why he was granted early release, it comes as the government has released thousands of prisoners in recent months to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

Ramon Regal(far left) and Adya Expósito
Leyva (center-left) pose with their children.
Facebook/Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso|
The pastor’s release was confirmed by Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a missionary who was arrested several times by the Cuban government before he and his family arrived in the U.S. as refugees in 2016.

“You can tell all the brothers who have been praying for us that we are very grateful for your prayers and all of the support you have given us,” Rigal said in a statement shared through Barroso. 


“I know those prayers came to the throne of God and answered them. It's beautiful to see how even if they don't know me personally they have cared about me and my family, putting him into practice.′′

According to USCIRF, Rigan and His wife were arrested for homeschooling their children after 
they expressed concerns about the public schools’ promotion of socialism and atheism. The couple was later sentenced for “acts against the normal development of a minor.”

Expósito was released from prison in April 2020.

“While we welcome the release of Pastor Rigal and are thrilled that he is reunited with his family, this was not the first time that Pastor Rigal and his wife were arrested in relation to their religious beliefs,” USCIRF Commissioner James Carr said in a statement.

“The Cuban government must immediately cease harassing this couple and allow all Cuban parents, including the Rigals, to raise their children pursuant to their own faith.”

In its statement Wednesday, USCIRF also called on the Cuban government to release independent journalist Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces, who was detained for trying to cover the couple’s trial. He was sentenced to a year in prison last August for the crime of “disobedience.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an international organization that serves persecuted Christians in over 20 countries, had previously warned that the bullying of children in public schools over their religious beliefs is “relatively common” in Cuba. CSW reported that it received “a number of cases” that involve pastors’ children being denied educational opportunities. 


Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

China: 200 Communist Officials Demolish Church, Beat Christians


Reports have also indicated that authorities have required that some churches remove pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary inside of their buildings and replace them with images of President Xi Jinping.


A Chinese Catholic woman prays at the government-sanctioned Xishiku Catholic
 Church on August 14, 2014, in Beijing, China|Getty Images/Kevin Frayer

By Anugrah Kumar
Christian Post


A Christian man was arrested and at least two women were injured in China’s Henan province after 200 communist officials stormed into Sunzhuang Church, which is part of a network of government-run churches, and brought it down using cranes and heavy-duty machinery.

The officials from the Zhengzhou High-Tech District’s Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau did not show any legal documents when they demolished the church on June 12, the U.S.-based group China Aid said in a statement this week.

They threw the church’s furniture and other belongings out of the building before razing it, reported China Aid, which helps those who are persecuted by the Communist Party in China.

A Christian woman who tried to resist the officials lost consciousness after being pushed to the ground. She and another female member of the church who was beaten had to be hospitalized, the group said, and a male church attendee was taken into custody.

Sunzhuang Church joined the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in June 2012, when the communist government allowed it to build a new church building. After the building had been constructed in June 2013, the church received eviction and demolition notices from the Sunzhuang village authorities.

China Aid said the 2013 decision to demolish the church was made without the villagers' consent and authorities were barred from carrying out the demolition at the time. Instead, vehicles owned by Henan province threw tons of dirt and rocks at the church’s doorway. Officials also cut off electricity and water to the church.

The Italian-based magazine Bitter Winter, a publication produced by the Center for Studies on New Religion which covers human rights issues in China, reported earlier this month that authorities removed crosses from more than 250 state-sanctioned churches in Anhui province between January and April.


“All Christian symbols are ordered to be removed as part of the government’s crackdown campaign,” a provincial employee from Ma’anshan city was quoted as saying.

China’s crackdown on religion and religious minorities has drawn scrutiny from international actors such as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, rights groups, and the U.S. State Department.

In its 2020 annual report, USCIRF noted that not only have authorities removed crosses from churches across the nation, but they have also banned youth age 18 and younger from participating in religious services.

Reports have also indicated that authorities have required that some churches remove pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary inside of their buildings and replace them with images of President Xi Jinping.

On Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, China is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians. The organization notes that all churches are perceived as a threat if they become too large, too political, or invite foreign guests.



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Trump Signs International Religious Freedom Executive Order, Approving $50 Million for Programs

The order comes as religious persecution, including against Christians worldwide, continues to rise




By Amanda Casanova
Christian Headlines

President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week that earmarks $50 million for religious freedom programs around the world.

CBN News reports that under the order, named Advancing International Religious Freedom, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will create action plans for countries to help eliminate religious persecution. The money will go to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"Religious freedom, America's first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative," the order states. "Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom.”

The order comes as religious persecution, including against Christians worldwide, continues to rise. According to Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List, North Korea, Afghanistan and Somalia are the most dangerous countries for Christians.

USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa praised the executive order, saying the organization was “grateful for the President's leadership in advancing religious freedom around the world."

"Americans have always believed our first freedom is the freedom of religion, and it is a key component of our national security strategy," Barsa wrote. "Whether in response to genocide committed against Christians and Yazidis in Northern Iraq, or the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya in Burma, the institutional culture regarding international religious freedom has become a top priority at USAID."

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that he was “proud to stand with [Trump] today as he continued to take decisive action to promote Religious Freedom around the world.”

The order follows the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report, which was release in April. The report named 14 countries around the world as “countries of particular concern,” where those countries encourage or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations.”

"USCIRF has long called on the U.S. government to develop an overall strategy for promoting religious freedom abroad, as well as country-specific action plans, and we welcome the fact that this Executive Order requires the State Department and USAID to do exactly that," USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin said in a statement.

Website: Christian Headlines

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Chinese Police Secretly Install Surveillance Cameras in Churches

"They can see every move in the church. If we didn’t follow their demands, the church would have to be shut down.”



By Michael Foust
Christian Headlines


The pastor of a Chinese church says police last month secretly installed security cameras to monitor the congregation’s activities and to try and force him to stop preaching, according to a new report.

Pastor Ma Chao of the Guangfu house church in Guangdong province told China Aid he was heading to a prayer meeting in May when he noticed three cameras outside the church building, pointing toward the main entrance.

He was told police had installed them to watch Ma and the church’s members.

The cameras were installed several days after police investigated three church members at the building.

“Four police officers came, saying that they were investigating the church’s gathering. Two of them said we were not allowed to meet,” Ma said. “I was not present at the time, but pastor Wu, along with another pastor and elder were there.”

The church members asked the police for their identification and for the reason behind their visit, but were refused.

“A police said that his uniform is the ID,” Ma told China Aid. “They also took pictures of the church’s Bibles, hymnbooks, and said that this is where Ma Chao has his illegal gathering, so they came specifically for it.”

Police also investigated Ma in April. He believes the visits are “meant to threaten him and push him out of Guangzhou,” International Christian Concern reported.

Although Ma’s church is an illegal, unregistered house church, China has used cameras to monitor legal Three-Self Patriotic Movement congregations, too.

Last year, Bitter Winter reported that 155 of the 170 Three-Self churches in one section of Huai’an city (Jiangsu province) had government-mandated cameras. They are connected to a network, allowing Chinese officials to monitor Christians.



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of our 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.