The Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore has called on President Barack Obama to fill the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, which has been vacant since Suzanne Johnson Cook resigned in October.
Moore specifically recommended that the President nominate outgoing Rep. Frank Wolf, R.-Va., who has already announced that he will not run for reelection this year.
"Congressman Wolf is a tireless and unparalleled advocate for persecuted religious minorities," Moore wrote in the letter. "No one has done more in fighting for human rights and the protection of religious minorities than him during his distinguished career of over thirty years in the United States House of Representatives." more >>
Several family members of a prominent Chinese pastor who was sentenced to 12 years in prison last month have eluded state authorities and safely made their way to the United States, China Aid has confirmed.
Zhang Shaojie's daughter, Zhang Huixin, son-in-law, Sun Zhulei, and 1-year-old granddaughter, Sun Jiexi, were aided by Chinese Christian convert and activist Bob Fu's organization, reported the Associated Press. The family was originally based in Southeast China before arriving in Dallas, Texas, on Monday.
Zhang's controversial sentence blamed the pastor for gathering crowds to "disturb public order," a decision which ChinaAid argued constituted religious persecution and the Chinese government's attempt to hold back the growth of Christianity. more >>
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil called on his country's Muslim and Christian's populations to come together, while blaming Israel for stoking tensions between Arabs who practiced the different faiths.
Bassil, who serves a country with a robust Christian population, — Christians are estimated around 35 percent of the total population of 4.3 million people — said that the nation should conceive of its diversity as an asset.
"We should be aware as Lebanese, that our source of strength lies in our unity as Muslims and Christians," Bassil said on Sunday as reported by The Daily Star, stressing "the importance and essentiality of Lebanese unity." more >>
Western Christians fail to fully grasp the suffering of Palestinians, including its Christian population, Bethlehem Bible College professor and Palestinian Christian told The Christian Post on Monday.
"The Christians in the west, most of them, they don't know the realities here. They don't know who is occupying who, who is oppressing who, who is confiscating whose land, who is building walls to try and separate people from one another," Alex Awad, who also pastors East Jerusalem Church, told The Christian Post.
"In the United States and much of Europe people — they just don't understand the realities on the ground," he added. more >>
The Chinese, Russian and Tajikistan governments bore responsibility for the destruction of over 100 houses of worship in their respective countries in 2012.
Pew Research Center has found that the three countries, whose populations are 1.4 billion, 146 million, and 8 million, respectively, were among the leaders in terms of the number of incidents of religious property damage. Pew collected data on the "demolition of houses of worship, and the seizure of religious groups' property and government raids of houses of worship that result in property damage."
China, which has no state religion, currently has a minority Christian population. According to the CIA World Factbook, 52.2 percent of the population is religiously unaffiliated, 18.2 percent is Buddhist, and only 5.1 percent are Christians. more >>
The Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Colombia has decried the human rights abuses continuing to take place in the country, where Christians are sometimes killed for offering a different way of life than joining drug trafficking groups.
"The situation is very delicate, and we as Bishops are the voice of those who have no voice, so we need to highlight that we are not living in human conditions in this area. We are forgotten by all, we have no protection, people live in anguish and without hope," said His Exc. Mgr. Julio Hernando García Peláez, Bishop of Istmina-Tado, according to Fides News Agency.
The region of Chocò was highlighted as a particular concern, where drug traffickers often prevent the presence of the services of the state. Mgr. Garcia added that security forces in the area also bare a good deal of responsibility for the violence, and claimed that some security members use civilians "to protect themselves from the fire of illegal armed groups, and innocent people die in these deadly clashes." more >>