The World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of churches, began a public hearing in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday to discuss mob lynchings, persecution of Christians and the harsh blasphemy laws in Pakistan that are used to target all religions outside of Islam.
"In Pakistan, we are fighting against the blasphemy law and its abuse," said Mohammed Tahseen of campaign group the South Asia Partnership. The WCC added that Pakistan's blasphemy laws put the country's minority Christian and Hindu populations in great risk.
The conference also highlighted the recent case of a 10-year old Christian Pakistani girl who was imprisoned and even faced a possible death penalty after she was accused of blasphemy for allegedly burning pages of the Quran, but it could not be established if she herself committed the offense, Reuters noted. The girl, Rifta Masih, has since been released on $10,000 bail, but her future remains in doubt. more >>
Christians in Syria are caught in the middle of an ever-growing conflict between government troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebel fighters who want to bring down his regime.
"If Assad falls, Christians in Syria are fearful of what will happen when a new government – probably a radical Islamic one – will come into power," Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. Carl Moeller said in a statement. "Will their freedom to worship end? Will persecution increase? Will they have to flee Syria with their families as have thousands of believers in Iraq?"
Conflicting reports put the number of dead in Syria since the violence began last year from anywhere between 10,000 and 17,000 people – with many of the casualties being Christians from the city of Homs who have been stuck in the crossfire. It is estimated that there are around 1.5 million Christians in the nation. more >>
The director of the American Atheists chapter in Pennsylvania is threatening to publicly flog the Quran if the state's House of Representatives does not rescind its new "Year of Religious Diversity" measure before reconvening after summer recess in September.
Ernest Perce of Harrisburg, Pa., says if the House of Representatives refuses to rescind the "Year of Religious Diversity" measure, he will "thrash the Quran with a nine-tail whip 85 times, and a single whip six times" on Sept. 24, when the House reconvenes at the Capitol Rotunda.
On a recent episode of "The 700 Club," Pat Robertson told a viewer that he should break off his interfaith relationship.
During the Q&A segment of the program, a man named Brad wrote in explaining that he had been in a relationship with a Muslim woman for three years and that they were planning to get married."No way! No way! She's going to want to do her Muslim thing and you're going to want to do your Christian thing. There will be constant struggle and strife. Walk away," said Robertson."In the Old Testament they were forbidden to intermarry with the heathen."Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies for Focus on the Family, told The Christian Post that he agreed with Robertson's views on interfaith marriage."The wisdom of God's Word is quite clear on believers being unequally yoked. And marrying someone who is not a Christian – who is not a daily disciple of Christ – is being unequally yoked, regardless of what their beliefs might be," said Stanton."And the wisdom of Scripture is, not surprisingly, backed up by social science, which finds that interfaith marriages are significantly more likely to be unstable, even leading to higher levels of divorce."According to a 2008 survey performed by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, about 25 percent of married Americans have a spouse of a different religious sect. When considering Protestant denominations as different religious groups, the number rises to 37 percent.Stanton told CP that he believed this large percentage of interfaith marriages was because couples in America are not taking faith in practice as seriously as previous generations."A serious commitment to faith and the practice of that faith is not as important to many couples these days," said Stanton."Less than 50 years ago, an interfaith marriage was when a Presbyterian married a Methodist. That was when distinct belief, practice and identity was taken more seriously."The example that Robertson commented on focused on a Christian-Muslim couple. According to Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, Robertson's remarks fit with what many religious leaders preach."While I am not a fan of Robertson, he cannot be blamed for his latest statement. He is merely preaching generally accepted Christian orthodoxy. Most religious leaders, of any faith, adopt the same rule as Robertson," said Nawash in an interview with The Christian Post.Nawash explained that with Islamic practice there is some room allowed for interfaith marriages, but only between a Muslim and someone who is either Jewish or Christian. Further, most Muslims assume that only men can marry outside the religion."Textual Islam is unique among the Abrahamic faiths. It allows interfaith marriages and prohibits husbands from even asking their wives to convert to Islam," said Nawash."However, Muslims are not allowed to marry people outside of Christianity or Judaism. Meaning, Muslims cannot marry Hindus, Buddhists and the like. This is because Islam sees Christianity and Judaism as godly religions."Nawash also said that in the United States Muslim men have been known to marry non-Muslims and that increasingly Muslim women in America have been doing likewise."It is becoming very common for Christian-Muslim marriages in the United States. The trend has been common with men for decades," said Nawash."However, now it is becoming common with Muslim women … I anticipate this trend to continue at a rapid speed and there is nothing that can be done about it."
As the attacks on Nigeria's Christians continued in full force this past week, a particularly grisly attack saw fifty believers burned to death at their pastor's home, where they had fled for refuge from a terrorist attack.
Reports disclosed that over 100 people were killed by armed terrorists this past week, who went on a 12-village killing spree in Nigeria's Plateau state. Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has once again taken responsibility for the assaults.
Different sources have shared various reports of the number of lost lives from last week's assault on Christians, which have been occurring on a weekly basis for many months in Nigeria. But a story last week by the Baptist Press confirmed that about 50 members of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the village of Maseh were burned alive after they took refuge in their pastor's house following a terrorist raid. more >>
Christian ministry leader Dawn Martinez was told she could no longer hold the twice-a-week Bible studies she has taught for homeless people for the last two years inside a McDonald's in Camden, N.J. A night manager at the fast food restaurant told her last week that a customer had filed a complaint. Martinez wonders if it could have been because of the topic briefly discussed at one point last Monday – the Muslim faith.
The 33-year-old, who began the ministry to transients and drug addicts two years ago, describes the Bible study group's last meeting on Monday. more >>