The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Persecution Update

It's getting downright dangerous to be a Christian in certain parts of the world these days. Here are just some incidents of  overt anti-Christian persecution that have occurred in the past few days:

  • In Muslim Uzbekistan, groups of Baptists had their homes raided by police, and were then beaten and fined. Their crime? Unauthorized praying. It seems that in this wonderful country to gather together for religious purposes is illegal, unless of course you're a Muslim. Oh, yes, in addition to the beatings and fines, the police also confiscated all those dangerous Bibles and hymnals used by the Baptist criminals. The courts have predictably sided with the police. By the way, the Uzbek constitution supposedly guarantees "freedom of thought, speech and convictions." It would seem that Uzbek judges have been taking lessons in constitutional law from some of our judges. (Read more here.)
  • In India persecution of Christians by Hindus, often sanctioned or tolerated by local authorities, is increasing. The latest example took place in Karnataka and involves the vice principal of a local Catholic school, who also happens to be a brother and Missionary of the Holy Cross. Brother Philip was dragged out of the school by a huge mob of 300+ people and beaten. Even a local police inspector tool part in the attack. It seems that the leaders of the mob want to seize the school's property for use by a newly-built Hindu temple. To facilitate this they accused the brother of sexual abuse of students. The Provincial Superior of the order issued a statement in which he stated, "There was a serious violation of human rights against brother Phillip...all the accusations are unfounded infamy”. It seems the parents of the two students who were allegedly abused have repeatedly threatened Brother Philip because of his involvement in the dispute with the Hindus over the school's property. Oh, yes, and the accusations of abuse didn't surface until after the beating by the mob. (Read more here.)
  •  In southern Malawi, where the population is 75% Muslim, copies of the New Testament used by students in a Catholic school were destroyed. Who destroyed them? Muslim students who attend the school. The students called the use of the New Testaments an "insult to Islam" and claimed that they were forced to accept copies. They went on  a bit of a rampage, tearing up the books, screaming at their teachers, and throwing pages into the street. The school disputes the students' claims, stating that no Muslim students were ever given the New Testament, and indeed no student was obliged to take a copy. When local Muslim leaders went to the school demanding an apology, they were set straight by a Muslim teacher who confirmed the school's statement. As a result, the Muslim leaders attacked the teacher. This incident -- and it's worth reading the full story here -- shows how Muslim youth are being radicalized throughout the world. It's not something we should ignore.
 Yes, it's become an increasingly hostile world for Christians, but we are still commanded to "make disciples of all nations." And so, like our courageous missionaries throughout the globe, we must continue to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to all, confident that He is with us "always, until the end of the age."

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