NEW YORK — A former Pakistani parliamentarian advocating for equal treatment for religious minorities back home claims life is sometimes hell for the Islamic Republic's Christian minorities, who are often victimized by blasphemy laws and bear the brunt of public resentment against Western nations like the United States.
"Due to our faith, we are persecuted. People are killing us, people are burning us, and people are putting us in jail. And (the) state (has) failed to protect the rights (of Christians) and (have failed in) their responsibility," said political and human rights activist Pervez Rafique. "The state doesn't have any solid and concrete policy and agenda and plan to protect marginalized and persecuted Christians and other non-Muslims in Pakistan."
Rafique, a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, worked alongside Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian minorities minister who was assassinated in 2011, as a chief coordinator for All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. At the time of transition prompted by Bhatti's murder, a clash with the former leader's family members forced Rafique and supporters to leave the organization he had served for more than 10 years. Since then, Rafique has helped found another group, with a similar name, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance-Founders, which in combination with the PAK Christian Fellowship, represents around 25,000 people, he told The Christian Post. more >>
Religion News Service's Lauren Markoe authored a story yesterday on the Presbyterian Church (USA) decision to permit same-sex marriages and how, according to a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a majority of Mainline Protestants now support the practice.
At the same time, the article notes that the majority of church-affiliated Americans belong to denominations that forbid gay marriage, including Roman Catholics, most Baptists, Pentecostals, evangelicals and Mormons. Markoe also reports that Mainline Protestants have lost ground in recent decades to other denominations and to independent churches.
Accompanying the article is a denominational chart of same-sex marriage support, with some interesting inclusions – and omissions. Taken together, the missing churches constitute tens of millions of members – a significant slice of the U.S. religious pie – all on record opposing redefinition of marriage. Meanwhile, all denominations nationally and globally that support same-sex marriage are in a state of decline. more >>
"Sound of Music" the film with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Diane Sawyers hosted an affecting ABC remembrance of it last evening, interviewing both lead actors. The story of a pious but spiritually restless nun/nanny who falls in love and marries the war hero widower father of her young charges amid the Nazi takeover of Austria has been universalized in global popular culture. Even children in nightmarish North Korea sing songs from the musical, Sawyer incredulously reported.
Critics, as the Sawyer program noted, have dismissed the tale as a "sugar coated fantasy," an escapist and feel-good love story set amid the glories of the Austrian Alps, in charming Salzburg, full of songs children can sing, with a dash of slapstick Nazi danger and nun comedy lathered in. Certainly it's not a serious drama, supposedly.
But "Sound of Music," based loosely on the real-life von Trapp family, who did indeed escape their native Austria after its merger with the Third Reich, contains several quite serious themes that together make it a Christian allegory about vocation, family, marriage, citizenship, patriotism and the moral response to evil. more >>
Just one day after The Christian Post reported that a film entitled "I Am A Christian" about persecuted Sudanese Christian Mariam Ibraheem was planned for production, the team behind the project starring Stacey Dash has cancelled a $500,000 campaign that was launched to crowdfund it.
The campaign was scrapped after Ibraheem and her husband, Daniel Wani, came forward to publicly denounce the film, because they had not given Christian Lives Matter, LLC, the newly-formed company responsible for "I Am A Christian," rights to tell their story. The couple in fact only learned Tuesday through news reports that the project was being pursued without their permission.
"It's terrible. … It's not right," Wani told CP over the phone Wednesday. He expressed concern about filmmakers attempting to tell his family's dramatic story of persecution based solely on media reports and without his and Ibraheem's first-person accounts. more >>
A wedding videographer in Ohio could face legal action after she declined to shoot a lesbian couples' wedding ceremony because it would have conflicted with her biblical understanding that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
When Jenn Moffitt and her partner Jerra Kincely were searching in February for a videographer to film their wedding, they sent an email inquiry to a local video production company called Next Door Stories in Bexley, Ohio, a town in the Columbus suburbs.
Five months ago the Navy called him the "best of the best." But now, Chaplain Wes Modder could be kicked out of the military over issues of intolerance and insensitivity to other cultures.
Lt. Cmdr. Modder has been accused of failing to show "tolerance and respect" in private counseling sessions regarding issues pertaining to faith marriage and sexuality – including homosexuality.