PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATING IN INDIA

At least 5 Christians have been killed for their faith in India during a surge of violence over the past two months. Voice of the Martyrs radio host Todd Nettleton has the latest on the tragic deaths — and their inspirational stand for Jesus in the midst of violent persecution. Just further evidence that we are in the prophesied last days before Jesus returns

A young woman in the Khunti district of Jharkhand has become the fifth victim in a string of Christians killed in India because of their faith.

The woman, 25-year-old Suman Munda, was found dead on July 19 in a deserted place near her home, according to Vatican News. Just one month earlier, on June 24, another Christian, 27-year-old Ramji Munda, was killed outside a village in the Khunti district. Speaking out about Munda’s murder, Bishop Binay Kandulna said, “It is a matter of serious concern because the state witnessed a Christian man killed only last month in the same district.”

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Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

PROPHESIED END TIMES INCREASED PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS EVIDENT NOW

While Samaritan’s Purse has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients at its field hospital in Central Park, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson demanded that the Christian charity leave the city over its biblical views on homosexuality.

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“It is time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave New York City. This group, led by the notoriously bigoted, hate-spewing Franklin Graham, came at a time when our city couldn’t in good conscience turn away any offer of help. That time has passed,” Johnson wrote on Twitter Saturday. “Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman (openly gay member of the State Senate), who represents the district where Beth Israel is located said in a press release Friday: “It was bad enough that Donald Trump’s failure to prepare the nation for this pandemic forced New York to accept charity from a bigot like Franklin Graham. Inviting Graham to stay on longer is an insult to LGBTQ New Yorkers and sends the dangerous message that homophobia and transphobia are acceptable.”

Hoylman said. “On behalf of the LGBTQ community I represent, I demand they end their association with Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse, or risk further reputational harm with LGBTQ New Yorkers and the wider public.”

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, responded to Johnson’s tweets and argued that Christians are the ones being discriminated against.

“This open hostility to Christianity is breathtaking. Christians have always believed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that all sexual relations outside marriage are by definition immoral, It’s not a particularly popular point of view in the secular West, but it is what all faithful Christians everywhere throughout the 2,000-year history of the church have always believed. This is nothing new.

“What is new is the notion that real live Christians are unwelcome to live and work and practice their faith in New York. That is an innovation of recent vintage and is nothing more than unvarnished animus—invidious discrimination. If Christians are not allowed to practice their faith in NYC, rest assured that it is only a matter of time before they won’t be allowed to practice it anywhere in the U.S.”

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IS INCREASING RAPIDLY

 As the nonpartisan Pew Centre records, Christians are the most persecuted religious minority in the world. And there is in the West an appalling reluctance to discuss this issue or take any action in connection with it.

The scale of the persecution is enormous. According to Mike Gore, chief executive of Open Doors, the leading Protestant non-governmental organisation working in this area, persecution of Christians is now worse than it has been at any period since biblical times. “I would say the persecution of Christians is increasing rapidly,” he says.

Bernard Toutounji, head of the equivalent Catholic body, Aid to the Church in Need, makes a similar judgement: “The situation is continuing to get worse, especially in Pakistan, China and across the Middle East. The Western world in general is asleep at the wheel.”

Open Doors estimates about 215 million Christians in different parts of the world face serious, ongoing persecution. The true figure, Gore thinks, is higher as this encompasses only the 100 biggest nations. Another widely held estimate is that about 250 Christians are killed for their beliefs every month. These estimates are naturally ­imprecise but no one really disputes them.

Pakistani hardliners call for Asai Bibi’s execution. Picture: AFP

The fate of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman condemned to death on a ludicrous charge of blasphemy, could be decided as early as this month.

In 2009 she made the awful mistake of drinking water from a well. For this she was abused and told that as a Christian she was unclean and could not therefore share anyone else’s drinking cup. There was an argument, and she and her family were badly beaten.

During the beating, she confessed to blasphemy. A long and tortuous legal process ensued and she was subsequently sentenced to death. After nine years in jail, Bibi was finally acquitted on appeal last October. Her confession under torture could not be relied on.

Her suffering didn’t end there. Huge mobs demonstrated against her in the streets, demanding her death. An Islamist group appealed against her acquittal, and this could be determined this month.

For a time after she was released, Bibi had to move from house to house in fear of her life. She is now, with her husband, in a protected situation at an undisclosed location.

Hers is one of very few cases of the persecution of Christians to pierce the determined Western indifference to Christian suffering in many parts of the world.

Yet Bibi’s plight has not produced the response from governments you might expect. Britain and the US have not offered her asylum. But all the leading Western nations are in active discussion about her fate. I am pleased to report that Australia is taking a strong stand against persecution of Christians

Canada has been the most forward, suggesting it will take Bibi and her family and offer them a safe life. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of Australia has said: “If the discussions with Canada fall through, we will facilitate bringing Asia Bibi to Australia.”

Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne tells The Weekend Australian: “Australia is deeply concerned about restrictions on Christian communities imposed by some governments and non-state actors around the world.

“Bringing attention to restrictions on religious freedom is a key priority of our current membership of the UN Human Rights Council. We will continue to use every possible avenue to express Australia’s opposition to the targeting of Christian communities internationally.