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, July 18, 2018

Teen Who Refused to Renounce Christ Despite Rape by Boko Haram Faces Rejection at Home

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

For a Nigerian teenager who was raped and tormented by Boko Haram for nearly a year, as she refused to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ, her nightmare didn't end when she was rescued and returned to her village.

Though she is now home, Esther, as described by Open Doors USA, is facing rejection and abuse for being a "Boko Haram woman."

Esther was held in captivity in northern Nigeria for close to a year after her village was raided and her father was killed by Boko Haram radicals.

The Christian woman was pressured but refused to abandon her faith in Jesus, for which she was punished for and raped multiple times by different men.

When she was finally rescued by soldiers and returned back to her village, however, she was treated in much the same way as many women who have been forced to bear Boko Haram children.

Family and friends turned her away, believing that her baby would inherit the father's "bad blood," a belief associated with witchcraft that is still prevalent in parts of the country. They even named the child "Boko" though her mother named her Rebekah.

Scores of other women that have been forced to marry Boko Haram fighters or have been impregnated as a result of rape have shared of similar experiences, as reported by NPR and many others.

At least 3,000 women and girls are believed to have been kidnapped by the terror group since it began carrying out its raids in 2009. The terrorists, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, have been killing Christians and other civilians throughout the country, also expanding their raids into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Women and children who have been abused by Boko Haram have sometimes also been raped and betrayed by soldiers who are supposed to be defending them, a major report by Amnesty International revealed in May.
"The soldiers, they betrayed us, they said that we should come out of from our villages. They said it would be safer and that they would give us a secure place to stay. But when we came, they betrayed us," a 35-year-old woman named Yakura said in the report.
"They detained our husbands and then they raped us women," she added.
Amnesty interviewed more than 250 people over a two-year period in preparing its report, determining that thousands of women and girls who were rescued have been mistreated.

Open Doors has been providing trauma counseling to Esther and other Boko Haram victims, and the church community has been helping such women who have been rejected by their families.

Esther and others were encouraged to write down their burdens on a piece of paper and pin them to a wooden cross.
"When I pinned that piece of paper to the cross, it felt like I was handing over all of my sorrow to God," Esther said.
The teenage mother has been learning to find peace despite the horrors she has suffered and the rejection from her community.
"Some of those people who used to mock me now ask me my secret," Esther said. "I tell them, 'I forgave my enemies and now trust God to take vengeance in His time.'"
Esther is now living with her grandparents, finally receiving the support that she needs. The mother says that her daughter now means everything to her.
"Rebekah has become my joy and laughter amid sadness," she said.
Website: Christian Post 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Turkey: Fervent Prayer Sought for Imprisoned Pastor Brunson Ahead of July 18 Hearing

"Let's unite in prayer for pastor Brunson and his family. It's time for the Church to pray. It's time for the Church to speak up and stand up. Let your voice be heard." -Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, NRB

By Hamilton Strategies: Charisma News
Breaking Christian News

Christians around the world are praying fervently for North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been imprisoned in Turkey on accusations of spying or aiding terror groups. (Image: Pastor Andrew Brunson/ACLJ/via Charisma News)

Brunson has a court hearing tomorrow, July 18, in Turkey. One Turkish newspaper has reported that because of the national and international attention Brunson's case has received from groups such as the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition, the pastor could be released at this hearing.
"The newspaper reports that 'Brunson's case has been attracting enormous attention in the U.S., both politically and religiously' and has led to 'a number of serious congressional interventions against Turkey, which would cause political consequences,'" according to CBN.
The STPC Coalition advocates on behalf of 215 million Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide, and was also part of a protest organized by Magdi Khalil with Coptic Solidarity for Brunson last month in Washington, DC Brunson was arrested by the Turkish government in October 2017 and is facing up to 35 years in jail on charges of "espionage" and "terrorism." 

The protest was a way for those concerned about Christian persecution to show solidarity with Brunson and to shed light on the situation for Christians in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was re-elected June 24.

National Religious Broadcasters, led by STPC Coalition member Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, is also reporting on Brunson's hearing tomorrow.
"Let's unite in prayer for pastor Brunson and his family," Johnson said. "It's time for the Church to pray. It's time for the Church to speak up and stand up. Let your voice be heard."
The Trump administration has said it is working to bring Brunson home, and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is also working to free pastor Brunson. Those concerned may read more and sign a petition, which has more than 582,000 signatures.

The STPC Coalition continues to work diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those—like pastor Brunson—who are being persecuted for their faith. Americans can lend support by encouraging their pastors and faith leaders to visit and order a free banner to display in front of their houses of worship.

These simple banners feature the Arabic "nun" character, which has become an international symbol for the oppression of Christians ever since the Islamic State used this first letter of the Arabic word for "Nazarene" to designate homes of followers of Christ targeted for persecution. (Photo: Ambassador Sam Brownback holding a banner/STPC Coalition)

Raising awareness is an important first step, especially as Christian persecution occurs so routinely it rarely makes headlines. For example, according to Open Doors, 255 Christians are killed worldwide every month. 104 Christians are abducted. 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage. 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial. And 66 churches are attacked every month.

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, and Google and like us on Facebook.

Indian Christians Form 12-Mile Human Chain to Protest State-Sponsored Harassment

India currently ranks as the 11th worst nation in the world when it comes to Christian persecution...Open Doors USA

By Samuel Smith
Christian Post

Thousands of Christians formed a 12-mile long human chain in India's Jharkhand state following church services on Sunday to protest what they say is state-sponsored harassment against the Christian community, according to a report.

UCANews reports that about 10,000 tribal Christians gathered for demonstrations held in Ranchi, Gumla, Simdega, Bokaro, Jamshedpur and Kkunty to protest arrests of local Christian leaders that they say are designed to tarnish their reputations and policies that they believe could lead to them being stripped of their benefits, rights and land.

"Catholic nuns, priests, pastors are attacked and jailed. Their institutions are searched. They are accused of every wrong that takes place in the state," event organizer Prabhakar Tirkey, who serves as president of ecumenical Christian forum Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, told the Asia-based Catholic news outlet.
One of the cases that the tribal Christians were upset about involves a nun from the Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity women's shelter in Ranchi. The nun was arrested on child trafficking charges this month after it emerged that four children had been sold from the shelter. The government is now seeking to freeze the organization's bank accounts and inspect all Missionaries of Charity child care facilities.

Another case involves Jesuit Father Alphonse Aind, a principal of a school in a remote village. The priest was arrested on June 22 on charges of aiding and abetting the abduction and gang rape of five social activists. However, church officials have claimed that the charges against the priest are fabricated.

While a nun has reportedly confessed to selling the four babies from the shelter, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India General Secretary Theodore Mascarenhas claims that the nun told the charity's lawyer on July 11 that she was not involved in the baby selling and that her statement came "under pressure" of police, according to Press Trust of India.

The Missionaries of Charity has also denied that babies were sold.

Tirkey and other Christian leaders believe that the arrests of the leaders are part of some government-sponsored campaign to discredit Christian leaders and missionaries.

"It is part of an organized to plan to keep ordinary people away from Christian institutions and missionaries," Tirkey told UCA News.
Ankita Kujur, who participated in the protest, told the outlet that the government has been working to divide the tribal community in Jharkhand between Christians and non-Christians in an attempt to weaken support for tribal rights.

The demonstration comes as the state government had previously tried to remove clauses protecting the land rights of indigenous people from two laws. Many fear tribal lands could be used for industrial development and mining.

Bishop Joseph D'Souza, president of the All India Christian Council, told The Christian Post that while he doesn't know the full details of the cases against the religious leaders who were arrested, he explained that targeted attacks against the tribal Christians in Jharkhand are "real."

"In Jharkhand, it is a tribal state and there are a lot of tribal Christians who have access to land," he told CP in a phone interview. "Ever since [the state] has gone into right-wing hands, the targeting of tribal Christians is real."
"Tribal Christians are being attacked and harassed and targeted in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand," he added. "This is terror tactic so that the tribals don't know how to live without practicing their faith."
Christian Post article 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, and Google and like us on Facebook.

Pastor Beaten Unconscious by Uganda Muslims After Saying That Jesus Is the Son of God

A man prays after mass at the Martyrs of Uganda church 
in Bamako, Mali, November 8, 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Joe Penney)

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

A Christian pastor was knocked unconscious in eastern Uganda during a debate with Muslims about the divinity of Jesus Christ, while another pastor saw his services forcibly shut down after Islamists became angry that some Muslims were choosing to convert to Christianity.

Tom Palapande, a 38-year-old pastor in Butaleja District, was knocked unconscious by Islamists who threw rocks at him and other church leaders during a village debate, Morning Star News reported on Friday.

Palapande held a two-week evangelistic campaign in June, which included discussions on Islamic and Christian scriptures, the Trinity, and Jesus as the Son of God. The last subject infuriated Muslims, however, who began throwing rocks at him, chanting "Allah akbar," or "God is great."

A church leader, who wasn't named, said:
"A big stone hit the pastor's forehead, and the stones as well injured three other church leaders who were close to the pastor at the podium — Moses Balabye, Agrey Gibenya and Milton Magezi."
Palapande, who was treated at a hospital in Mbale, revealed that he has been attacked by Muslims on a number of occasions during debates.
"I was beaten up, and it was falsely reported in a local newspaper as well as the local radio station that I am disrespecting the religion of Islam. This is a calculated move to tarnish my name," he said.
Another recent attack occurred in Mazuba village, Namutumba District, where a half-constructed church was forced to stop its services.
"The church members are now living in great fear for their lives and have stopped attending church services," pastor Maseruwa Budallah told Morning Star News.
The trouble began in April, when Muslims in the area noticed that a number of people had chosen to leave the Islamic faith and start attending the Christian church.

Budallah's children began being bullied by Muslim children at school, with death threats forcing the pastor to send his family to a boarding school in another town to protect them.

The pastor was warned that he and church members who continue attending services will be killed, however, with even his relatives in another town rising up against him.
"You have refused to come back home, and we hear that you have started building a church for infidels," read one text message. "Know that Allah is going to deal with you soon, and you will not finish it nor pray in it."
Although a majority in Uganda, Christians continue to face serious attacks by the Muslim minority in the country, especially in instances where they have left the Islamic faith.

Christian Post article 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, and Google and like us on Facebook.

School Threatens to Call Police on Person Handing Out Bibles to Elementary Students

By Samuel Smith
Christian Post

An Illinois school district has sent a cease and desist letter to a community member who was handing out Bibles to students on school property and has threatened to call the cops if Bible distribution continues.

At the request of the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, the La Harpe Community School District has ordered an elementary school principal to stop placing Bible verses on official school correspondence and has also told an unnamed evangelist to stop passing out Bibles on school property.

In May, FFRF sent a letter to Superintendent Ryan Olson to voice two complaints about Christianity being promoted on school grounds in ways that the group claims violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The first complaint involved La Harpe Elementary School Principal Lila McKeown. The principal was accused of using her position to promote her Christian faith through flyers distributed to teachers at staff meetings. The flyers included Bible verses and some were related to holidays such as Easter and Christmas.

One flyer read: "Easter is the celebration of God's greatest gift – salvation through Jesus Christ." Another flyer called for the homes of staff members to be "filled with loving presence of our almighty God."

Secondly, the group accused McKeown of allowing outside adults to distribute Bibles at the school doors. The organization believes that the individuals could be affiliated with Gideons International, an evangelical Christian evangelistic organization.

FFRF requested that the school district take action to stop the practices going on at La Harpe Elementary.

The school district's attorney responded to FFRF's request by stating that McKeown was not aware of the Bible distribution but assured that she will no longer be allowed to place Bible verses in staff communication.

According to Christian conservative columnist Todd Starnes, the school district's attorney explained that it is likely the Bibles were being distributed in the street that splits the school campus in half. The road was previously maintained by the city but has been maintained and owned by the school district since 2013. However, the attorney explained, many community members still think that it is a city road.

In his letter to the school district, FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne argued that courts have held that it is unlawful to distribute Bibles to students during instructional time and cited a 1993 Seventh Circuit ruling disallowing Gideons International from distributing Bibles in classrooms.

"Religion is inherently divisive and has no official place in a public school where staff and young students hold varied beliefs — and no belief at all," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. "It's commendable that the district has investigated and remedied these violations."

The school district has reportedly gone as far as to enact a new policy requiring staff members to notify school administration if they see someone handing out Bibles.

FFRF regularly pressures school districts and local government entities into taking action against any conceivable government entanglement with religion.

Last month, a Kansas high school principal agreed to stop using his platform at graduation ceremonies to encourage graduating students to look to Jesus to find success in life. Great Bend High School by Principal Tim Friess came under fire from FFRF following his remarks at a May 20 graduation ceremony.

Earlier this year, another Illinois school district banned a school principal from inviting parents and community members to the school's flagpole for an annual prayer event. The move by the El Paso-Gridley Community Unit School District No. 11 came after FFRF filed a complaint about the matter.

An Oklahoma school district earlier this year banned a local pastor from praying with a high school football team after FFRF complained.

Christian Post article continues here

Sunday, July 15, 2018

“Pure Genocide” in Nigeria

by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera

It’s one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. What’s going on right now in Nigeria is “pure genocide.”

Recently on BreakPoint, I said that it took a lot of courage to be a Christian in Iraq. Just two years ago, the Obama administration called what ISIS was doing to Iraqi Christians “genocide.”

Unfortunately, there are other places in the world where being a Christian requires a lot of courage as well, and, where the treatment of Christians merits the word “genocide.”

One such place: Nigeria. By most estimates, the population of Nigeria is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. That religious split largely follows geographic lines: The northern part of the country is predominantly Muslim, the eastern and southern parts of the country heavily Christian. The middle, sometimes called the “Middle Belt,” is ethnically and religiously diverse.

Not surprisingly, what makes Nigeria so dangerous for Christians originates in the Islamic north. There, Christians have been on the receiving end of a campaign Open Doors calls “religious cleansing,” that is, an attempt “to eradicate Christianity” from the region.

Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people.  For more information, please click here.  


Persecution Unveiled has been called 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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Priests in the Philippines Want Guns to Protect Themselves

Philippine Pres.Rodrigo Duterte is hostile to the Catholic Church. Reuters

By Staff Writer
Christian Today

Priests in the Philippines are applying for gun carry permits in record numbers after three of them were murdered during the last six months.

According a national news report last week, applications have been received from nearly 250 religious workers including 188 Catholic priests, Crux reported.

The priest who died most recently was shot inside a chapel in the north of the country as he was preparing to say mass. Fr Richmond Nilo was killed by two unidentified gunmen who fired through a window four times.

Before him, on April 29, Fr Mark Ventura, 37, a campaigner against unethical mining practices, was shot dead after celebrating mass in the province of Cagayan. Fr Marcelito Paez, 72, was shot dead on December 4, 2017 in Nueva Ecija province after helping secure the release of a political prisoner and dropping him off at his home.

However, Church authorities have expressed unease about the trend for priests to carry weapons. According to UCA news, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said he was 'very disappointed', and that priests who wanted to carry weapons needed 'serious counselling'.
'We don't even have to dwell on the morality of it. It is unpriestly, to say the least,' he said.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the bishops' conference, said: 
'We are men of God, men of the church, and it is part of our ministry to face dangers, to face deaths if one may say that way.'
Website: Christian Today 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Protestant Students in Russia Deported, Fined for Worship Videos in Anti-Missionary Crackdown

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Anti-missionary crackdowns in Russia are increasing and largely targeting Christian Protestants, a human rights group has warned, with two African students recently being told they will be deported for participating in worship videos in Nizhny Novgorod.

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation fined the students' Pentecostal church, Jesus Embassy, while the students themselves were told they must leave the country by the end of the month, Forum 18, a Norway-based group promoting religious freedom reported on Monday.

Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin said that charges of illegal missionary activity, apparently over videos of worship services that the students appeared in, are "completely unlawful," however.

"I would like to hope that the cases were initiated by the stupidity of the siloviki, otherwise this greatly undermines the authority of Russia in the international arena," Ozolin added, referring to security agent authorities.
Forum 18 detailed that a number of other Protestants in Nizhny Novgorod have been targeted since the adoption of the "anti-missionary" law in July 2016, which the Russian government has claimed is aimed at tackling terror activities.

The law has banned people from sharing their faith in any place that is not a government-sanctioned house of worship and has led to the arrest of some Christian leaders.

Ozolin said that, according to court documents, 50 regions in Russia reported infringement of the anti-missionary laws in 2017, with Nizhny Novgorod accounting for eight separate investigations.

Lawyer Aleksey Vetoshkin, who has been involved in several recent cases, told Forum 18 that the FSB has had a particular interest in Jesus Embassy itself and Protestants in general.

"After this pressure, the number of African parishioners has fallen from 150 to 20," Vetoshkin said back in May.
Other lawyers, such as Vasily Nichik, noted that it is difficult to understand how officials interpret the anti-missionary law, though foreigners in a number of regions have been deported for engaging in religious activity.
"I understand that behind the whole persecution of Protestants is someone from the leadership of law enforcement agencies. Who? It is difficult to answer this question unambiguously," Nichik said last week.
"If a highly intolerant person enters the power structure, then he sees enemies in everyone and begins to construct schemes to restrict freedoms and persecute [people] for dissent. Such a type has probably ended up in the leadership of law enforcement agencies in the Nizhny Novgorod Region."
Nizhny Novgorod is one of the host cities for the ongoing 2018 World Cup in Russia. The massive soccer tournament, attracting millions of fans from around the world, has presented opportunities for evangelistic campaigns, despite what faith leaders say is a crackdown on evangelism.

Ohio ‘Pastor Protection Act’ Clears House Committee

By Suzette Guiterrez-Chachila
The Gospel Herald Society

An Ohio bill protecting pastors who refuse to perform weddings that do not conform to their convictions cleared the House Committee.

The bill, known as the “Pastor Protection Act” (H.B. 286), also protects religious organizations that refuse to lend their church buildings to be used for such events.

The bill was approved by the House Community and Family Advancement Committee with a 9-4 vote. It has been referred to a vote on the House Floor.

However, with the Dec. 8 deadline fast approaching, it is not yet known if the legislation will be passed before then. If the bill doesn’t get passed by the deadline, it would have to be reintroduced next year.

The bill says those who refuse to officiate same-sex weddings or don’t allow their buildings to be used for such ceremonies are “immune” from punishment and “neither the state nor a political subdivision of the state shall penalize or withhold any benefit or privilege from the ordained or licensed minister or religious society, including any governmental contract, grant, or license.”

“No ordained or licensed minister … or religious society … is required to solemnize a marriage that does not conform to the ordained or licensed minister’s or religious society’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” the bill says.
“No religious society is required to allow any building or property of the religious society to be used to host a marriage ceremony for a marriage that does not conform to the religious society’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” the bill further says.
Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana first proposed the bill in July. The purpose of H.B. 286 is to allow pastors the freedom to reject participation from activities that go against their conscience, he explained.

In spite of what the bill’s critics say, Vitale maintained the bill had nothing to do with discrimination.

“This is not an issue of discrimination,” he said. “It is an issue of protection; protection for those who have committed their lives to the service of God and their community.”
Various groups gave their support to the “Pastor Protection Act,” including the American Freedom Law Center and Liberty Counsel.

Ohio is not the only state where a legislation that protects ordained ministers and religious organizations is in place.

A legislation in Texas that was cleared in both upper and lower House chambers has been signed by the governor into law. In other states like Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee, similar legislations have passed one House chamber, according to LifeSiteNews.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Jordan Peterson Warns Canadian Christians Their Religious Freedom Rights Are Eroding

"So if you think your religious freedom is worth having, you better be ready to defend it."

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist, author, and free-speech advocate, has warned Canadian Christians that they must make a "great leap forward" because religious freedom in the country is set to get "a lot worse."

Speaking online with Canadian author and activist Faytene Grassechi in a video posted on YouTube Wednesday, Peterson told Christians they must stand up for themselves, "because your religious rights are very low on the rights totem pole at the moment."

He added that it's "going to get worse, a lot worse, before it gets better. So if you think your religious freedom is worth having, you better be ready to defend it, and you better be ready to do that in an articulated way, because you're not a priority."

Peterson made his comments in light of the Canadian Supreme Court ruling last week that decided an evangelical Christian law school can be denied accreditation, due to its opposition to homosexuality and biblical position on marriage.

The court ruled that the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario can deny accreditation to Trinity Western University, explaining it "significantly advanced the statutory objectives by ensuring equal access to and diversity in the legal profession and preventing the risk of significant harm to LGBT people."

The majority opinion insisted that "TWU's community members cannot impose those religious beliefs on fellow law students, since they have an inequitable impact and can cause significant harm."

The dissent, however, argued that the denial of accreditation was "a profound interference with the TWU community's freedom of religion."
"It interferes with that community's expression of religious belief through the practice of creating and adhering to a biblically grounded covenant," it added.
"In a liberal and pluralist society, the public interest is served, and not undermined, by the accommodation of difference."
In his interview, Peterson said that Canadians need to start voting if they want to see religious freedom rights protected.
"It's probably time to take an active role in the political world. I mean, our political institutions are quite functional compared to most political institutions. People don't use them, and that's generally because they work so well that you can ignore them," he continued.
 Christian Post continues here

Christians Could Be Killed Off in Nigeria by 2043 If Massacres Continue, Leaders Warn

Christians in Nigeria worship at a church in undated file photo.(Photo: Open Doors)

By Stoyan Zaimov 
Christian Post

Nigerian Christian leaders have warned that if the current rate of massacres continue, with hundreds of believers being killed each month, Africa's most-populous nation is on the brink of decimating its Christian population by 2043.

The warnings echoed as 86 more people were killed by the largely Muslim Fulani herdsmen in attacks on Christian farmers.

The Punch on Sunday obtained comments by Bosun Emmanuel, the secretary of National Christian Elders Forum, at the recent conference of Catholic Men's Guild in Lagos, where the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of "openly pursuing an anti-Christian agenda that has resulted in countless murders of Christians all over the nation and destruction of vulnerable Christian communities."

"Realistically speaking, Christianity is on the brink of extinction in Nigeria. The ascendancy of Sharia ideology in Nigeria rings the death toll for the Nigerian Church," Emmanuel said, calling on the Christian Association of Nigeria to be restructured to be able to better speak out for Christianity in the country.
Although Christians make up nearly half of the 186 million population, for nearly a decade they've been heavily targeted by Islamic extremist groups, such as Boko Haram, and most recently by the semi-nomadic herdsmen.
"In 2018, we can say in 25 years from now, we are facing the risk of being the last Christians in Nigeria. Therefore, Christians should be in the frontline of defending democracy in Nigeria," Emmanuel warned.
The Church is the bastion of democracy. A divided CAN cannot defend democracy and promote justice, equity, and fairness. Consequently, Sharia will grow stronger. As Sharia grows stronger, democracy will become weaker and the Church will be emasculated out of existence."

Buhari, himself from a Fulani background, has insisted that his government is trying to enforce peace, but hundreds of citizens are being killed each month due to clashes and attacks.

AFP reported that 86 people were killed in another Fulani attack in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state last week, reportedly in retaliation of ethnic Berom farmers fighting against herdsmen.

State police commissioner Undie Adie said that beside the 86 people killed, another 50 houses were destroyed. Buhari said he "appeals for calm and assures that no efforts will be spared" to bring attackers to justice.

"The grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau today is painful and regrettable," he added.
Still, Christian leaders blasted the sentencing of five Christian men to death earlier in June over the killing of a Fulani herdsman.

The five men were told by Yola High Court they will face the death penalty for their actions, in what some politicians, such as Femi Fani-Kayode, the former Minister of Aviation, have said were in self-defense.

The Supreme Council of Bishops, also known as World Council of Bishops, said in a letter to Buhari that not a single Fulani has received a similar sentence despite the thousands of Christians dead.

"Till date no adequate justice had been meted out on them commensurate to the lives and property lost," the bishops wrote.

Persecution Unveiled has been called 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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hostility to Religion Rising Globally, Christians Targeted in 144 Nations: Pew Study

By Brandon Showalter
The Christian Post

New research reveals that religious hostility is on the rise globally, as government-sponsored restrictions and non-state actor assaults on religious practice have grown for the second year in a row.

The Pew Research Center's ninth annual study, which was released Thursday, on restrictions on religion around the world charted the direction of religious freedom in 198 countries in 2016, and found a notable overall increase from 2015. Whether from government decrees hostile to religious faith or terror groups committing atrocities against religious minorities in their societies, antagonism toward people because of their religion is trending upward.

"More than a quarter (28%) of countries had 'high' or 'very high' levels of government restrictions on religion in 2016, an increase from 25% the year before. This is the largest share of countries in these categories since 2013," the report reads.

Continue reading here

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jack Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop Sees 3 Times More Customers Since Supreme Court Victory

Christian baker Jack Phillips distributes free cookies to both supporters and
opponents after his Supreme Court victory in Lakewood, Colorado, on June 8, 2018.

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Jack Phillips told The Christian Post on Thursday that his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, has seen three times more customers since his Supreme Court victory.
"We have had so many people coming by to support us as the case has gone on, and there has been an outpouring of love and support since the decision came down. The state's targeting of my beliefs cost me 40 percent of my business and forced me from 10 employees down to four. But we're so happy to be busy doing what we do best at our shop," the Christian baker told CP in an email.
"We're also eager to start designing custom wedding cakes again," Phillips added. "A cake is a canvas, and I'm really looking forward to creating beautiful art that celebrates such a special day."
Close to 400 supporters lined up at Masterpiece Cakeshop to celebrate his Supreme Court victory earlier this month, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, whose lawyers defended him. Cookies were offered to the LGBT activists who came out to protest.

As for the response from the community, he said that even though one can never get used to death threats, for the most part people have been supportive and understanding of his position.
"Since we won, we've seen far more support than negativity. Even people who don't believe what I do about marriage, including many who identify as LGBT, have been so encouraging. Tolerance is a two-way street. If we want freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to those with whom we disagree. Most people get that," Phillips told CP.
"While we've seen much support, it hasn't all been positive. Throughout the case, I received a lot of harassment, profanity-laced phone calls, and even some death threats. The threats got so bad at one point that my wife was afraid to set foot inside our own shop," he continued.
"Even after we won the case, a group of people showed up at my shop to protest. I offered them cookies and told them to stop by anytime."
The baker explained: "Certainly, you never get used to hostility, misrepresentation, or death threats. We've had to deal with our share of hatred directed at us. But most people in our community and our customers know that we serve everyone — we just don't celebrate every event or express every message."

ADF published a YouTube video published last week that shows long lines of people, customers and supporters congratulating Phillips at his shop in Colorado, ordering and enjoying food items, and speaking out for free speech.
"A lot of people are coming out to show their support and encourage us. People have been praying across the country and around the world, it is just phenomenal," Phillips says in the video. "Our God is so good."

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Communist Authorities Remove Jesus Images, Destroy Major Way of the Cross Pilgrimage in China

Christians worship in the rubble of their demolished church
in China's central Henan province. 
(Photo: China Aid}

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Communist officials in China's Henan province have reportedly destroyed the major Way of the Cross pilgrimage site, and have also removed images of Jesus Christ. UCAnews reported that the demolition of the Catholic holy site took place last week in Tianjiajing village of Anyang Diocese.

Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin of Anyang was apparently told one month ago that the Way of the Cross must be brought down, but was not provided a reason for the decision.

As Catholic News Agency explains, the Way of the Cross pilgrimage leads to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For over 100 years, thousands of pilgrims have traveled annually from nearby provinces on July 16, though the government has attempted to limit the number of pilgrims each year.

It was built in 1903-05 as a means to thank the Virgin Mary for helping missionaries during the Boxer rebellion in 1900. As many as 10,000 people are said to have visited the shrine on July 16, 1986.

A source, who wasn't named, shared what happened on the evening of June 5:

"Excavators and pickup trucks were driven to the site at night because authorities feared there would be too many church members in the daytime," the man said.
Local nuns are said to have taken photographs and videos of the demolition.

Religious sources said that the Communist party's policy seeks to "allow Catholicism to exist but not develop."

Christians have been facing rising persecution in Henan and across China in the last several years, with hundreds of church rooftop crosses demolished in what the government says is building code violations, though activists have argued is an attempt to stifle the growth of the faith.

Followers of Jesus in China have cried out for prayers, warning in April that Communist authorities are intensifying their campaign against them, targeting both officially sanctioned churches and underground congregations.

"The condition is deteriorating, but the obstacles tie the house churches together and direct them to God," a believer named Li from a house church in Nanyang told watchdog group ChinaAid at the time.
Of particular concern has been China's revised Religious Affairs Regulations document that came into effect February 1, placing further restrictions on the lives of citizens and believers.

Government officials have said that they want Chinese faith communities to move "to the direction of localizing the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China's national circumstances."

The Communist party has also previously targeted images and photos of Jesus.

Back in November 2017, officials told thousands of villagers in southeastern China that if they want assistance with poverty and illness relief, they must replace their posters of Christ with photographs of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Assembly of God Pastor and Family Held Hostage for 4 Days Released by Captors in Burkina Faso

A Church in Burkina Faso.

By Worldwide Watch
Christian Post

The Christian pastor who was abducted last Sunday with his family in Burkina Faso's northeastern province of Soum has been released.

Local sources told national broadcaster Omega Radio that Pastor Pierre Boena, his son David and his daughter-in-law, Ami Sawadogo, were released on June 7.

The report does not specifically mention the two granddaughters, Fasne-wendé Ouédraogo and Pélagie Sawadogo, who were also abducted during the raid on Sunday, but does state that the pastor was released "with all the other members of his family in Malian territory."

The reason for their release is not known, nor is it known whether a ransom was paid.

Pierre Boena, a pastor with an Assembly of God church, was kidnapped last Sunday evening in his village of Bilhore, near the border with Mali.

At the time of the attack he was at home with four family members and a church member, Pauline Sawadogo, who was visiting with her two daughters, Sanata and Zoenabou, local sources told World Watch Monitor.

These sources suggested that Pauline and her daughters might have been kidnapped along with Pastor Boena's family on June 3. Speaking on Thursday they said the whereabouts of Pauline and her daughters remain unknown.

Meanwhile there has still been no news regarding catechist Basnéré Mathieu Sawadogo, and his wife Alizeta, who were abducted two weeks earlier. Mathieu serves as a catechist at their parish, Notre Dame des Apôtres (Our Lady of the Apostles) in Arbinda, 62 miles from Djibo.

Kidnappers have previously targeted Djibo. Eighteen months ago an Australian couple were taken hostage from the city by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Ken and Jocelyn Elliott had run a 120-bed clinic for 40 years until their abduction in January 2016. Jocelyn was released a month later, but her husband remains in captivity.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent kidnappings but World Watch Monitor understands that the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Fulani ethnic group.

Some relatives have been able to speak over the phone with the hostages, who told their family that they were in good health and were being treated well by their abductors.

Persecution Unveiled has been called 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.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spain's New Atheist Prime Minister Looking to Integrate Muslims, Remove Catholicism From Schools

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Atheist politician Pedro Sánchez was sworn in as Spain's new Prime Minister on Saturday, for the first time in the country's modern history without the presence of a crucifix or a Bible at the ceremony.

In his oath there was no mention of God, and he chose to use the Spanish word for "promise" instead of "swear."
"I promise by my conscience and honor to faithfully fulfill the obligations of the office of president of the government with loyalty to the King, and to keep and enforce the Constitution as the fundamental norm of the State," Sánchez said on Saturday in the translation provided by CNN.
Catholic publication The Tablet laid out several concerns on Wednesday with Sánchez and his PSOE Socialist Party platform, accusing them of being anti-Catholic but pro-Islam.

It pointed out that Sánchez has vowed to remove religious symbolism from institutions, as well as to end public funding for the Catholic Church, which is the largest church in the country. Additionally, he has said he will remove religion from the school curriculum.

At the same time, he has offered a hand to Spain's minority Islamic community, saying that he will pay special attention to the "full incorporation of Islamic communities into the European project and for the recognition of the Arab contribution to the European culture."

In other statements he has said that he does not want "any religious denomination having preferential treatment," though he has also said that he will support legislation "in which ideological, religious, cultural and gender convictions and expressions are respected."

Sánchez has in the past referred to himself as an atheist, explaining his beliefs in a 2014 interview with El Plural:
"I am an atheist and I believe that religion should not be in the classrooms, it has to be in the churches, in the classrooms you have to form citizenship, not people with religious beliefs, that corresponds to the private sphere."
The CIA World Factbook notes that 9.1 percent of Spain's population identifies specifically as atheist, along with another 18.4 percent who say they are non-believers. Two-third's of the population, or 67.8 percent of people, say they are Catholics.

Evangelicals, who are a small minority, have been fighting bills in the country that they say is pulling it away from its traditional roots. The Spanish Evangelical Alliance campaigned against a bill last year seeking to strip parents of their rights to stop their children from undergoing hormone treatment and sex change surgeries.

The evangelicals argued at the time that the belief that gender is fluid is "dogma," warning that cross-hormonal treatment in children leads to "deep and irreversible traumas."  Openly atheist leaders in Europe have been increasing in numbers over recent years. France, Croatia and Greece have also been led by non-religious figures.

Woman Saves Pastor From Angry Hindu and Muslim Crowd by Saying Jesus Christ Transformed Her Life

Christian children light candles in memory of those who died in a bomb 
attack on a church in Baniarchar on June 3, 2006.
By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

A woman in Bangladesh saved a pastor from an angry crowd of Muslims and Hindus who were accusing him of converting people to his church, by testifying how she has been transformed by Jesus Christ.

Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International told Mission Network News that the woman, who wasn't named, stepped up to the crowd at the village near the Indian border and said that she invited the pastor, named Paul, to speak with her.
"I know there are people who want to know the truth about God. I want them to experience the forgiveness that I have found in Jesus Christ," the woman told the crowd
"I want my family, my friends, my neighbors to have the power for daily living that Jesus provides through His Holy Spirit. The transformation of life," she added.
Allen explained that the crowd was "stumped" by the testimony, as it went against their accusations that the pastor was manipulating or bribing people to come to his church.
"This was truly a grassroots movement from within their own community," Allen said.
He revealed that his missionary group is looking to help evangelists and church planters in rural parts of Bangladesh to reach more people who are seeking to hear the Gospel.

They are there, they're crying and saying 'Please feed us, please take care of us.' And so FMI would love to be able to support more church planters in these hard-to-reach, creative access places," Allen noted.

Christians have faced various attacks over the years in the Islamic-majority Bangladesh, where they are a distinct minority.  Radical terror groups, such as the Islamic State, have also carried out killings, including hacking to death a Christian man, a gardener at his church, back in 2016.Mgr.

Theotonius Gomes, the Bishop Emeritus of Dhaka, said at the time that Christians are facing increasing dangers from Islamic fanatical groups that want to put nonbelievers to death.
"We are aware, concerned but not alarmed. Fanatical groups are spreading death, but we hope that the government can control them. The pastoral and social activities of the Church continues," the bishop said then.
Christian Post report continues here

Persecution Unveiled has been called 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.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Supreme Court Same-Sex Wedding Cake Ruling: What About Other Cases on Christian Dissent to Gay Marriage?

Supporters of Colorado baker Jack Phillips hold signs in front of the 
United States 
Supreme Court as arguments in Masterpiece 
Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on December 5, 2017.

By Samuel Smith
Christian Post

Although the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips, the court did not definitively rule whether baking a cake for a same-sex wedding constitutes speech and still leaves questions about how other cases involving Christian business owners and same-sex weddings will play out, lawyers say.

The nation's high court ruled 7-2 on Monday in favor of the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, who faced backlash from the Colorado government after he refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2012.

Although Phillips' six-year legal battle has seemingly come to an end, there are other Christian business owners throughout the country who are still in the middle of their own legal battles and still seeking relief after being punished for refusing to service same-sex weddings.

Even though the court ruled in favor of Phillips, it did so on the grounds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's treatment of Phillips was so overtly hostile towards his religious viewpoint and did not act in a neutral manner when it weighed his case.

Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Kristen Waggoner, who defended Phillips in the case, admitted in a call with reporters on Monday that the court's decision didn't necessarily speak to the overlying issue at hand.
"The court said that the [government's] hostility was so open and obvious ... that [the court] didn't need to reach the issues related to whether Jack's cakes are speech and how that would play out," Waggoner said, adding that the court left such questions "open for another day."
"I think it leaves the question of how the courts will balance those [other cases] still in debate," Waggoner added. "There are a number of cases being litigated in the courts of appeal dealing with this very issue — videographers, filmmakers, hand painters and calligraphers. Those cases are in courts of appeal right now. We expect the court will eventually have the grapple with those issues but the hostility was just so overt here that it didn't need to reach it to rule on Jack's behalf."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented gay couple turned down by Phillips, asserted in a statement that court's decision was based on "concerns unique to the case."

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling argued that the court actually "reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Churches Hold Worship Outdoors to Stand With Persecuted Christians Worldwide

"Taking time out to pray for the persecuted can spur us on to use our freedom to the full."

 Villagers Stood at a Mass Grave in Dogon Na Hauwa, Nigeria, 2010
(Photo: Reuters/Credit Akintunde Akinleye)

By Anugrah Kumar
Christian Post

Churches in the U.K. and Ireland held their services in the open air on Sunday to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world and to pray for them.

"Choosing to meet outside come rain or shine really brings home how precious our freedoms are," said Paul Robinson, the CEO of the U.K.-based Release International, which is behind the annual campaign called Great Outdoors Church Service. "Taking time out to pray for the persecuted can spur us on to use our freedom to the full."
Charity's spokesperson Andrew Boyd told Premier Christian Radio that Christians in the U.K. have "amazing freedom in this country to do whatever we like really without the risk of persecution."
"It's ever so easy to take that freedom for granted, so why don't we just take a very small risk; the really small risk is that it's probably going to rain but never mind," he said.
Not all churches participating in the campaign held outdoor services this Sunday, as the charity has encouraged them to set aside any date that would be suitable while just suggesting that it could be held May 27.

The charity said Christians around the world continue to be persecuted under Islam, militant Hinduism, authoritarian regimes and communism.

Last month, Nigeria witnessed a mass wave of slaughter of Christians at the hands of radical Muslim Fulani herdsmen. At least 58 Christians were slaughtered in April, according to a statement by the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Nigeria, which called for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

"We are sad. We are angry. We feel totally exposed and most vulnerable. Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told by some to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?" the statement said.
In China, authorities are demolishing churches, tearing down crosses and seizing properties used for worship.

ChinaAid said earlier this month the local governments of Wenzhou and Shaoxing had banned all religious gatherings under the guise of fire safety inspections. Wenzhou, which is known as "China's Jerusalem" due to its large Christian community, has been especially targeted by the atheistic Communist government, which has banned Sunday School for Christian children.

In India in April, the state of Uttarakhand became the eighth state in the country to pass legislation that is officially named the "Freedom of Religion Act" but has the allegedly hidden intent to punish those who facilitate religious conversions, especially conversions from Hinduism to Christianity. The law carries a jail term of up to two years.

Christian persecution, which includes violent attacks, destruction of Christian property and false accusations, has risen in India since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won the general election in 2014. A report by an evangelical group in India described the year 2017 as "one of the most traumatic for the Christian community" in 10 years.

North Korea also continues to be the most hostile place in the world to be a Christian, and in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Christians are being accused of blasphemy as a way of settling scores and driving out Christian minorities, Release International said.

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