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Stories tagged with: persecuted church

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  • Cuba's proposed constitution cuts religious freedom

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, February 18, 2019 (4 days ago)

    iStock photo
    HAVANA (BP) -- Cuban pastors are resisting pressure to support a Feb. 24 constitutional referendum that further limits religious freedoms in the Communist nation, international religious liberty advocates said.

    The referendum comes amid a growth in Christianity in Cuba, Southern Baptists active there have said, including a reported 43,072 professions of faith among Eastern Cuban Baptists in 2017.

    Cuban Communist Party (CCP) officials have gathered religious leaders including Christian ... Read More

  • Bibi victory draws praise, caution from advocates

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, January 30, 2019 (23 days ago)

    LAHORE, Pakistan (BP) -- The acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother who escaped death from a disputed blasphemy conviction in Pakistan, has stirred optimism as a legal victory and caution over her safety.

    The Pakistan Supreme Court upheld Bibi's acquittal Jan. 29. The three-judge panel ruled against Islamic extremists who challenged the court's October decision to free Bibi.

    "The verdict is a way forward, and it is positive," NPR quoted Bibi's attorney Saiful Malook as saying. "The judges raised pertinent legal questions, focusing on law and evidence, expressing displeasure over the perjury that was committed by the complainant against Asia and other witnesses." Read More

  • 'Least of These' film opens Feb. 1

    by Michael Foust/The Alabama Baptist, posted Wednesday, January 30, 2019 (23 days ago)

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- A missionary's murder that shocked the world 20 years ago is the focus of a movie opening in theaters this weekend -- and its filmmakers hope the project helps spark a renewed interest in long-term missions.

    "The Least of These" (PG-13) tells the story of Graham Staines, an Australian missionary who took medicine and the Gospel to India's lepers and was killed in 1999 for allegedly violating the region's laws against "forced" conversions. A subsequent investigation cleared his name and showed that everyone who became a Christian did so willingly.

    The film stars Stephen Baldwin as Staines; Shari Rigby ("October Baby," "Overcomer") as his wife Gladys; and Sharman Joshi as Manav, a newspaper journalist investigating Staines. Read More

  • Christian women targets for persecution: Open Doors

    by Diana Chandler, posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 (one month ago)

    IMB file photo
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Targeted Christian persecution tailored to hurt women is trending globally, Open Doors reported in its 2019 World Watch List of 50 countries most dangerous for Christians to practice their faith.

    "The data proves conclusively that Christian women are the most exploited group on the face of the earth today," Open Doors President David Curry said in a Jan. 16 press conference in Washington announcing the list. "While not minimizing the incredible violence against men, women are doubly persecuted. They're exploited for their vulnerability as females, and also for their faith.

    "And the shame culture within many of these regions of the world," Curry said, "makes sexual violence victims very cautious of how they rebuild their lives within these shame cultures." Read More

  • 'Trying to be Jesus': 4 testimonies of persecution

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from Facebook
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Hana describes her most distressing experience as a persecuted Christian in Southwest Asia as perhaps her greatest joy.

    She was in the hospital trying to console her closest friend, who lost her unborn baby and suffered severe injuries during a church bombing.

    "Sitting in a dingy room with somebody who needed sunlight and fresh air, and trying to be that sunlight and fresh air for them, trying to console them, trying to be Jesus to them," Hana described the moment to Baptist Press Jan. 15. "Then perhaps I will change my statement and say that that wasn't the worst experience, but perhaps it's been the most rewarding and beautiful experience." Read More

  • Open Doors: Christian persecution up 14% worldwide

    by Diana Chandler, posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 (one month ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The number of Christians suffering high to extremely high persecution is 14 percent more in 2019, Open Doors reported, counting 245 million individuals globally.

    Persecution driven by Islamic extremism and Communist authoritarianism in the world's two most populous countries, India and China, marked the increase, Open Doors said today (Jan. 16) in releasing its 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries with the most extreme Christian persecution.

    "Islamic radicalism continues to dominate and influence all spheres of life for Christians, and we are watching China and India very closely," Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry said in releasing the latest findings. "The distressing impact of billions of people living in an environment in which the government oppresses freedom of religion is unraveling day by day as millions of Christians are being attacked, imprisoned or killed." Read More

  • 'In Jesus' name': Evangelicals meet Mideast leaders

    by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, January 07, 2019 (one month ago)

    Twitter photo
    MIDDLE EAST (BP) -- Southern Baptists are praying in Jesus' name in the offices of Muslim princes and presidents hosting evangelicals on tours promoting religious freedom in the Middle East.

    In the office of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Jerry Johnson of the National Religious Broadcasters led a prayer for bin Salman just days after the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, in a visit officially unrelated to Khashoggi's disappearance. Read More

  • Chinese police disrupt weekend worship

    by June Cheng/WORLD , posted Tuesday, December 18, 2018 (2 months ago)

    CHINA (BP) -- Members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, tried to meet together for Sunday worship (Dec. 16) only to reportedly have police detain about 60 people and shut down outdoor services. Several small groups found spaces to meet and worship without incident.

    One week after Chinese authorities cracked down on the prominent unregistered church and arrested more than 100 of its leaders and members, congregants arrived at their building to find the metal gate locked and plainclothes officers and riot police blocking all the entrances, according to a church prayer update. Police arrested some of the congregants who showed up for Sunday worship. See related Baptist Press story. Read More

  • Pakistan added to worst religious liberty violators

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, December 12, 2018 (2 months ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The United States added a single country to its list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom but designated for the first time nine non-state organizations for their violence against people of faith.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday (Dec. 11) he had added Pakistan to the list of "countries of particular concern" (CPCs), a category reserved under federal law for governments that have committed or tolerated "systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom."

    The CPC designations -- actually made Nov. 28 by Pompeo -- also included nine of the countries named in December 2017 by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Burma (Myanmar), China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Read More

  • Chinese Christians: We will 'stand strong'

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Photo from Facebook
    SICHAUN PROVINCE, China (BP) -- As China continues to hunt down and arrest members of a house church in Sichuan Province, many of the 100 or more Christians arrested reportedly pledged in advance to persevere even until death.

    Gina Goh, Southeast Asia regional manager for International Christian Concern, said many leaders of Autumn Rain Covenant Church counted the cost and pledged faithfulness in advance of arrests at homes, workplaces and on the streets that have continued since Dec. 9.

    "I think a lesson we can learn from them is they continue to say that, 'No matter what may come, we will continue to serve the Lord. We will continue to stand strong in our faith,'" Goh told Baptist Press today (Dec. 11). "As was demonstrated in this church, ... their pastor, a lot of elders, actually wrote letters to their congregation saying that, 'We will not bend, even if it means jail, even if it means death. We will continue to preserve our faith.'" Read More