Editor's Note: This statement was originally posted by the White House on Dec. 23, 2015.
During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing. Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.
In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL. more >>
Evangelical leader the Rev. Franklin Graham has praised President Barack Obama for his recent comments on persecuted Christians at the hands of the Islamic State terror group.
"President Barack Obama said this week that he is praying for Christians being persecuted this Christmas by ISIS. I'm glad his administration is beginning to acknowledge the plight of Christians being persecuted and killed around the world by Islam," Graham wrote in a Facebook message on Sunday.
As many as 200 Islamic rebels killed at least nine people from Christian villages in the southern Philippines in attacks on Christmas Day, officials have said.
The Associated Press reported that clashes between government forces and Islamic rebels took place in three different provinces across the country on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Regional military spokeswoman Capt. Joan Petinglay revealed that the dead include nine Christian villagers shot down by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter insurgents, while military forces killed at least five of the rebels. more >>
Islamic extremist group Boko Haram reportedly killed 16 people, including children, in an attack last week in a Nigerian village, continuing their long history of massacres on Christmas Day.
Nigerian national newspaper THISDAY reported that terrorists raided the Kimba village in the Biu local government area, located in southern Borno State, which the rebels still control.
The militants invaded the village Friday evening, setting houses and shops on fire, and kidnapping six other people. more >>
Florida senator Marco Rubio and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention have jointly written an article in The Washington Post, urging Christians and U.S. officials to observe this Christmas season with a sense of burden for the persecuted Christians "in the land of Jesus's birth."
Due to the scourge of radical Islam in the Middle East, "some churches that have existed since the Book of Acts are on the brink of ruin," Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate, and Moore, who heads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of SBC, write, referring to violence by the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, which seek religious cleansing of the Christian minority.
"Their tactics are to bomb churches or convert them to mosques, to violently drive Christians and other minorities from their homes, force conversions to Islam, or require compliance with Islamic apostasy and blasphemy codes," explain Rubio and Moore, adding that some repressive governments are also persecuting Christians in the Middle East and around the world. more >>
Christmas is a time full of tradition, as the holiday has been celebrated for centuries long before the United States was a thought or Europe knew about America.
This special wintry time of year is full of Santa Clauses, evergreen trees, mistletoes, presents, and a host of good cheer and family gatherings.
Ever wonder where some of these traditions came from? Listed below are some Christmas traditions and where they came from. more >>