Christianity Is Now The Most Persecuted Religion In The World, Says Vatican

According to evidence presented at a conference co-organized by the United Nations and the Vatican, violence against Christians is rising around the world.

Special coverage by Fox News correspondent Lauren Greene sheds light on the bombings at a Sri Lankan church, which killed and injured hundreds of people. Just months before, two Catholic churches in the southern Philippines were also bombed. The attacks also left at least 20 devotees dead, and many more injured.

The Vatican has embarked on a special mission to bring the disturbing issue to the attention of the United Nations. By sharing the stories of many of the survivors of these attacks, the UN has stated that “Christianity has officially become the most persecuted religion in the world.” The Vatican has called the persecution “a deepening crisis.”

While Muslims and Jews also continue to face persecution, statistics uncovered during the conference states that eight out of ten victims of religious persecution are Christians.

“We called this event to hear from the survivors of religious persecution across the globe so that the Un could be informed,” said a Vatican representative at the conference.

Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need also states that eleven Christians are killed every day due to faith-based violence. South and East Asia are major hotspots for Christian persecution.  Apart from the bombings and attacks on churches in the region, China is also cracking down on church leaders.

Just a few days ago, an elder of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, was sentenced to four years in prison. The charges against him were described as “illegal business activities” in connection with the possession of religious books.

An “Unholy Trinity of Threats” have been identified in these areas. The persecution against Christians is deemed to be backed by Islamist extremism, populist nationalism and authoritarian regimes.

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China Calls House Church Elder’s Possession of Religious Books ‘Illegal Business Operations’

Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) Elder Qin Defu, from Chengdu, China has been sentenced to four years in prison on charges of “illegal business operations.” The Chinese Communist court accused Qin of the crime, due to the possession of religious books.

“Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church” shared details about the case on their Facebook page.

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“At brother Qin’s trial, we learned that the charge of ‘illegal business operations’ only concerned 20,000 books for the church’s own use (most of these were small gospel tracts like ‘The Good News You Don’t Want to Hear’),” read the post.

They further revealed that another pastor named Wang Yi took responsibility for the said books. As such, they are expecting him to receive an even harsher prison sentence of more than ten years. Furthermore, they stated that the police had previously promised that Qin would be released if he accepted a government-appointed lawyer. Sadly, the promise did not materialize and Qin was sent to prison instead.

According to China Aid, both ERCC Elder Qin Defu and Pastor Wang Yi have been detained for more than ten months on what church members believe to be false charges. Neither their families nor their lawyers have seen them since being arrested.

Pastor Wang, however, was able to write and post a manifesto titled “Meditations on the Religious War.” The manifesto is highly critical of the Communist Party. He says that the government is pushing citizens to worship Chinese President Xi Jinping like a God.

As a result of his incendiary manifesto, his home was ransacked by the police in December 2018.

Pastor Wang also stated that the church will go on even in the face of persecution. China has been known to persecute not just Christians, but also other religious groups such as Muslims and Buddhists.

“Even if we are down to our last five, worship and gatherings will still go on because our faith is real,” the pastor said.

Feature photo courtesy of Bob Fu Facebook Page

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Florida Sheriff Refuses to Remove ‘In God We Trust’ From Patrol Cars Despite Protests From Atheists

Last month, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida refurbished their patrol cars and made the decision to include patriotic designs in the new livery. The American Flag and the national motto, “In God We Trust” now feature prominently in the newly painted vehicles.

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Unfortunately, the inclusion of the national motto received negative reactions from atheists. Despite the protests, Sheriff Wayne Ivey is refusing to remove the phrase from the vehicles.

According to Fox News, an atheist group called Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has deemed the phrase to be “inappropriate and exclusionary.” Furthermore, a statement issued by the group states that the inclusion of such a phrase is “frightening and politically dubious.”

Regardless of how religious the phrase “In God We Trust” may seem, it found its way into the design due to the fact that it is the national motto of the United States of America. The phrase has been printed on US dollars as far back as 1864.

“To us there is no greater honor than to live in the greatest country in the world and serve as a law enforcement officer in Brevard County where our citizens love us, trust us and protect us just as much as we love, trust and protect them,” said the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

While the motto was met by protests from the atheist group, members of the community have approved its inclusion into the new paint job. The idea to add the phrase actually came from a veteran.

Public Information Officer, Tod Goodyear, said that Sheriff Ivey will not budge “Once he makes his mind up, he’s not going to change it. He’s not going to take something off the vehicles because a group disapproves of it. The comments our office received were in favor of keeping the motto. He’s not going to alter his beliefs,” he said.

“If you’re a police officer putting your life on the line every single day in Brevard County, would you rather put your trust in God or in one of those so-called free-thinkers or atheists? I think the Sheriff’s is going with God,” he added.

Christian Profiling in China? Fingerprint, Facial Scanning Implemented in Churches

The Chinese government has begun to use fingerprint and facial scanning technology to document the personal information of Christians in the country. The growing Christian community is being held on a tight leash and their biometrics are now being recorded by the government.

According to a report by Christian persecution watchdog Bitter Winter, biometric scanning machines have been installed at the entrance of Muyang Church. The church in question is located in the Hubei province in Central China. Those who wish to attend church services had to undergo facial and fingerprint scanning before they could enter the house of God.

The church attendees’ biometrics were recorded along with information about their families. The restrictions do not end there. The watchdog reveals that Christians residing in Huangshi City are also required to reveal all the venues in which they hold religious gatherings.

The report further added: “The churchgoer is disturbed by the order since the requirement not only puts members of congregations under the government’s constant tracking and surveillance but can also implicate their family members and relatives.”

Concerns were also raised about the possibility of some devotees and their family members receiving punishment. They also expressed fears about being under constant “surveillance.” Some members of Christian congregations are also afraid of being given restrictions at work or being denied promotions.

The report about the biometric scanning machines in Muyang Church is not an isolated case. While details remain vague, it is believed that the practice is spreading rapidly across the province and perhaps the country.

Many other instances of Christian persecution are being reported. Devotees were reportedly interrogated after they were caught purchasing faith-based books online. The transactions were made through an instant messaging app called “WhatsApp,” which is likely being monitored.

The police visits and heavy monitoring of Christian literature and paraphernalia are perceived to be a direct effort by the Chinese government to suppress the Christian faith. These measures are being taken to discourage Christians from practicing their faith.

Feature photo by: Metrónomo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36086819

Abducted Christian Schoolgirls in Nigeria Finally Released: ‘God brought us help’

In early October, Muslim Fulani herdsmen abducted six Christian schoolgirls and two adults from Engravers’ College in Nigeria. Nearly a month after the incident, it has been confirmed that all eight individuals have been released after a ransom was paid to the abductors. Sadly, the abducted Christians were tortured while they were in captivity. Thankfully, they all survived albeit extremely traumatized.

Ohemu Fredrick, a parent of one of the abducted girls said, “Several people prayed in churches and mosques. Through their prayers, God brought us help. God used a former governor of Kaduna state to assist us.”

While the aforementioned “former governor” was not named, Fredrick revealed that the good samaritan offered free medical treatment to the released children and staff members. One of the other parents, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they heard the captives being tortured whenever they received a call from the abductors who were demanding a ransom.

Multiple reports have stated that a ransom has been paid prior to the release of the eight individuals, but the exact amount has not been disclosed. The Engravers’ College group is extremely lucky. In the past, other Christians who were abducted by the Fulani Muslims were still harmed or killed even after a ransom was paid.

According to an earlier report by Christian Post, a Christian pastor’s wife was abducted and murdered in September, even after a 250,000 naira ($690) ransom was paid. In the same month, Muslim Fulani men shot and killed Alhamdu Mangadus, a pastor at Nasara Baptist Church in Asso, Nigeria.

The predominantly Christian communities of southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt are some of the most persecuted in recent years. Thousands have been killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in those areas.

The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, has called for the members of the community to cooperate with the government as they continue the “battle to secure our state and all who live in it.” He further said, “urges all our communities not to give comfort to criminals.”

The Fulani bandits are believed to be working alongside the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.