Why are Christians, as a new Pew report documents, the most persecuted religious group in the world? And why is their persecution occurring primarily throughout the Islamic world? (In the category on "Countries with Very High Government Restrictions on Religion," Pew lists 24 countries-20 of which are Islamic and precisely where the overwhelming majority of "the world's" Christians are actually being persecuted.)
The reason for this ubiquitous phenomenon of Muslim persecution of Christians is threefold:
Christianity is the largest religion in the world. There are Christians practically everywhere around the globe, including in much of the Muslim world. Moreover, because much of the land that Islam seized was originally Christian-including the Middle East and North Africa, the region that is today known as the "Arab world"-Muslims everywhere are still confronted with vestiges of Christianity, for example, in Syria, where many ancient churches and monasteries are currently being destroyed by al-Qaeda linked, U.S. supported "freedom fighters." Similarly, in Egypt, where Alexandria was a major center of ancient Christianity before the 7th century Islamic invasions, there still remain at least 10 million Coptic Christians (though some put the number at much higher). Due to sheer numbers alone, then, indigenous Christians are much more visible and exposed to attack by Muslims than other religious groups throughout the Arab world. Yet as CNS News puts it, "President Obama expressed hope that the 'Arab Spring' would give rise to greater religious freedom in North Africa and the Middle East, which has had the world's highest level of hostility towards religion in every year since 2007, when Pew first began measuring it. However, the study finds that these regions actually experienced the largest increase in religious hostilities in 2012." more >>
What caused three Republican lawmakers in Arizona to sign SB 1062 only to reverse course a few days later and urge Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill?
The controversial religious freedoms bill, which Gov. Brewer ultimately vetoed, was passed along party lines by a vote of 17 (Republicans) to 13 (Democrats), but as the bill received tremendous public opposition, from Apple to the NFL, from Delta Airlines to the NBA, and from Mitt Romney to John McCain, three of those Republicans had a change of heart.
As reported on February 25th, "three state senators, who initially voted in favor of the measure, said in a letter to Republican Governor Jan Brewer that the proposal had been mistakenly approved in haste and had already caused 'immeasurable harm' to Arizona's national image." more >>
A local business owner in Gilbert, Ariz., has received numerous hate emails for her support of S.B. 1062, a religious freedom bill that has been lambasted as "anti-gay" by media outlets.
"Die you ----. And I hope your children die too. You hateful ---- demon," the email declared. "We're not going to reveal the words other than to say they were extremely vile and derogatory terms that have no place in public discourse," said Joe La Rue, legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. The family contacted ADF, which then reviewed the emails and determined that they are authentic, La Rue told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday. He also mentioned that ADF and other groups have received similar threats.
La Rue explained that in "the early days" when Senate Bill 1062 was being debated in the Arizona State House and State Senate, many business owners voiced their support of the bill – which was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer this week. The business owners wanted to defend their faith and the beliefs of their employees from government discrimination, the lawyer said. Furthermore, some insisted that the bill would draw further business to Arizona because people want to do business in a state that respects religious freedom. more >>
Last week, a reporter who said he wanted to interview me about President Obama's statement that "homosexuality is a human right" called me. He said that the president's recent comments about the situation in Uganda elevated homosexuality to the level of a "human right" or a "universal fundamental freedom." My remarks were simply that the president of the United States has the responsibility to represent the entire nation. When he states his personal beliefs and values and presents those as representative of the United States of America, the full force of his office is behind those statements. It is clear that the beliefs of the president about "human rights" are controversial in his own country and offensive to many both in the U.S. and abroad, and serve to promote the political homosexual agenda worldwide. Claiming that homosexuality is a "human right" is an affront, even a mockery, of¬¬ those Judeo-Christian values that have been the foundation of virtually all Western civilizations across time and cultures.
That critique is not an endorsement of Ugandan law. Concerned Women for America (CWA) supports the human rights of everyone, including homosexuals. The president should have criticized brutality (though he has not done that in some other notable international incidents) without embracing and promoting the political agenda of a relatively small special interest group.
Human rights are granted to us from God, not man or government; that is why religious liberty and freedom of speech are such important principles. Religious liberty and freedom of speech were so important to the Founders that those principles are foundational in the United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson started the momentum toward that position in the Declaration of Independence. It is a foundational principle that religious liberty and freedom of speech are from God, not man. Human rights are the implication of our God-ordained freedom, not vice versa. more >>
NASHVILLE – Public policy experts at this year's National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville asserted that the government religious liberty and freedom issues facing Christians today are fundamentally and intrinsically tied to the future of culture in America.
Janet Parshall, host of the daily radio talk show "In the Market," moderated a panel on Tuesday that included Todd Starnes of Fox News, Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and NRB Sr. VP and Chief Legal Counsel Craig Parshall.
Janet Parshall said finding the subject matter for this year's event was not difficult. "It took us about three nano-seconds to decide what we were going to discuss here today," joked Parshall. "It's the most important issue Christians are facing today." more >>
I'm not referring to Hobby Lobby's theology, but rather to a common Protestant mistake that's plagued Christian life for generations.
The Internet is aflame with discussions of whether private businesses have sufficient grounds for resisting state efforts to tell them which contraceptives they must provide employees or which customers they must serve. Underlying the entire discussion is the virtually unquestioned notion that for-profit businesses should enjoy less liberty than non-profits. When it came to the abortion-pill mandate, for example, the Obama administration at least went through the motions of providing religious accommodations, but private businesses enjoyed not even this false grace. Regarding same-sex marriage, the law is not (yet) requiring religious participation in homosexual unions. Why the distinction?
I wonder if, oddly enough, the distinction is in part the result of lingering Christian influence in our culture - part of a legacy of an old yet popular theological mistake, the sacred/secular distinction in work and life. more >>