WASHINGTON – A Sudanese human rights activist has called upon Christians in the United States to help the churches of the Republic of Sudan.
Nahmia Shaloka, a lawyer who had to flee his native Sudan due to persecution, told The Christian Post on Monday that Christians in the East African nation need help from American churches. "We also need to send a message for the Church in U.S. here," said Shaloka, who along with another Sudanese lawyer named Safwan Hegaze recently arrived in the United States.
Shaloka said that Sudanese Christians need the U.S. "to stand with them" and "help with many things" regarding the advancement of "religious freedom and other justice for all Sudanese." more >>
Ranked No. 1 on watchdog Open Doors' World Watch List for 12 consecutive years as the worst persecutor of Christians on the globe, North Korea is estimated to have imprisoned between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians for failing to revere their "Dear Leader," the title initiated by previous dictator Kim Jong-il and adopted by his successor and son Kim Jong-un, as a god.
"It is safe to say that nothing has improved for Christians since Kim Jong-un took over power," Open Doors states in its 2014 World Watch List featuring 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is most severe. There are an estimated 300,000 Christians in North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Open Doors adds, "The God-like worship of the rulers leaves no room for any other religion. Any reverence not concentrated on the Kim dynasty will be seen as dangerous and state-threatening. Not only will the believers themselves be punished if they are discovered, but likely also their families. Immediate family members, even if they aren't Christians themselves, will serve a sentence in a re-education camp. Christians are sent to political labor camps, from which there is no release possible." more >>
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has refused to sign a controversial parliament-approved bill that would make "aggravated homosexuality," including repeated gay acts, punishable by life imprisonment, insisting that homosexuality is an "abnormality" from which people can be "rescued."
"The question at the core of the debate of homosexuality is, what do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or we do contain him/her?" Museveni wrote in a letter to the parliament, according to Daily Monitor.
The president suggested that lesbians choose female partners because of "sexual starvation" that comes from failing to marry a man, and proposed that a better economy can stop people from becoming gay. more >>
Human trafficking for labor and sex, considered a worldwide epidemic, is of such heightened concern for this year's Super Bowl that one Catholic social activism group has trained more than 400 volunteers to canvas the New York and New Jersey region during the week-long extravaganza to raise awareness. Other groups, including churches, are taking aim at the problem as well.
In another instance of action against the form of modern-day slavery, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale in Florida, is using the month of January, tagged Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and coupled with their own Super Bowl efforts to encourage Christians to join a team planning to meet in Brazil for the World Cup.
"You've read the devastating statistics (An estimated 27 million are enslaved in the world today; Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and are children (boys and girls); human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world-second only to drug trafficking.)," states Calvary Chapel on its website. "But did you know that this epidemic is running rampant at one of the largest sporting events in the world? more >>
The United Nations is urgently calling on the nations of the world to donate $6.5 billion this year to combat the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria, noting that this aid is the difference between life and death for millions.
"Humanitarian aid is the difference between life and death, hope and despair. It has already assisted millions of people affected by this crisis," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference on Syria in Kuwait on Wednesday. "I count on you to show the Syrian people that the world is here to help."
Kim Dae Jin recalls the day when, as a prisoner in a North Korean labor camp, an informant betrayed a small group of prisoners who were Christian, which to be was forbidden.
"I watched as they (prison officials) grabbed hold of my friend's arm so tightly that it died and had to be amputated," he said. "After that, he and the other Christians were sent to an even stricter camp. You do not get out of a camp like that alive."
Sadly, Kim's tale is all too common in North Korea's brutal regime. In its newly released annual report on Christian persecution, Open Doors notes that up to 70,000 Christians are being held in horrific conditions in the North Korean prison "gulag." In them, everyone, from small children to the elderly, is subject to sub-human treatment, often for simply believing in Jesus. more >>