Thursday, March 09, 2006

Defining Persecution

I received the following email from Vision America:

In less than 3 weeks (on March 27-28) Vision America's The War On Christians Conference will convene at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C.


Let me tell you about just one of our panels - Christian Persecution: Reports From The Front Lines.
This is a topic that is usually near to my heart, but continuing on, I found what they were really talking about:
The panelists all have experienced anti-Christian discrimination firsthand. They are:

Lloyd Marcus, an African-American artist, who initially had his paintings censored from a public showing for Black History Month, because they contained church scenes.

Pastor Tom Crouse, from Massachusetts, who was charged over $6,200 for police protection for a public meeting on coming out of the homosexual lifestyle, in an attempt to stifle his First Amendment rights.

Michael Marcavage was one of the Philadelphia Four - Christian activists who were arrested and prosecuted for quietly witnessing at a gay festival. If convicted, each could have been sentenced to up to 47 years in prison.

Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt is a Navy Chaplain who was almost discharged from the service for publicly praying in Jesus name.
OK, I don't deny that these are important issues, and the folks involved are right to make the issue public. But is this persecution? Compare these problems with the sort of thing going on in other parts of the world.

After preaching God’s Word at a New Years service at Beradakia Church in his native town of Baliguda, Kandhamala district in India, 35-year-old Pastor Jimendra Nayak (Mantu) never made it home to the village of Barakhema. At 8:00 p.m. on January 1, 2006, Nayak took an auto rickshaw after service to return to his home in Puri district, where he has lived for two years and served as pastor of Indian Church Assembly. He didn’t leave the vehicle alive.


It is reported that when Nayak’s widow, Sashrekh Pradhan, and relatives initially attempted to file a complaint looking into the suspected murder, but the police officer to which it was submitted rejected it. The person assisting the widow as she prepared a petition for an investigation into the death of her husband was harshly rebuked by the presiding officer. No inquiry about the cause of Nayak’s death was made before the complaint, and no action was taken once it was filed. For six weeks following the pastor’s death, relatives have unsuccessfully tried numerous times to attain a postmortem report.


Furthermore, Pastor Nayak’s widow and relatives divulged that radical Hindus targeted him for some time, approaching him on numerous occasions because of his witness to Hindus. He was threatened and restrained from carrying out his missionary work in the community.

North Korea:
It is believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps where they face cruel abuses, according to the 2006 World Watch List report. Some think the hermit regime has detained more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world. On occasion, North Koreans become Christians after crossing the border with China and entering into contact with local Christians. But many are exposed as believers when they return to North Korea and are targeted to be caught. Many face torture and death. Though no exact figures can be given, Open Doors’ staff estimates that hundreds of Christians were killed by the regime in 2005.

This is not to mention Saudi Arabia (number 2 on the above mentioned World Watch List), Yemen, Indonesia, Burma and many other countries where there are actual death penalties for converting to Christianity.

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