Anglican leaders from across the globe have expressed sorrow for the victims of the bombing of an Anglican church in Pakistan in which more than 80 worshippers were killed and some 200 more were injured on Sunday.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion, commented on Twitter about the tragedy at All Saint's Church in Peshawar.
"Peshawar bomb reveals depths of human evil, yet those suffering speak of forgiveness as well as justice. That is the love of Jesus shown," wrote Welby. more >>
Two Christians are among the 11 prisoners of conscience released earlier this week by Iran, which has also been called to release other detainees, including American Pastor Saeed Abedini.
"CSW welcomes the release of Maryam Jaiili and Mitra Rahmati, Nasrin Sotoudeh and the other prisoners. While this positive step by the Iranian government is to be commended, it is by no means sufficient given the vast number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience," Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.
"CSW continues to call for the unconditional release of all of these prisoners, including Farshid Fathi, Benham Irani, Saeed Abedini, Shahin Lahooti, the seven Baha'i leaders, and others who belong to religious minorities and have been unjustly detained." more >>
Since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown on July 3, his radical supporters have ruled the southern Egyptian city of Dalga, carrying out various attacks of vengeance against the city's 20,000 Christians, whom they blame for Morsi's overthrow. The military government took control of the city earlier this week, prosecuting the Islamists, but Christians fear the peace will be short-lived.
"The government and its forces are not going to be here for long and when they are gone we go back to living with Muslims, just us and them," Coptic Priest Father Ioannis told The Associated Press on Thursday.
"One day, all this police and army will go and we will have no one on our side," local Christian Sameer Hanna Tanyous said. more >>
The wife of an imprisoned Iranian-American pastor has stated that her husband has been bringing fellow inmates to Christ and that his time in an Iranian prison is "not in vain."
Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, told those gathered at Liberty University on Monday that though imprisoned in the infamous Evin Prison, her husband continues to evangelize. "He's been asked and tortured to deny his Christian faith and return to Islam and he has not," said Abedini, who said around 30 inmates have converted to Christianity due to Abedini's witness. "For me to know that so many of them now know Christ, it makes it worth it. I know his imprisonment is not in vain."
Abedini also told the students gathered that Saeed's torturers have often told him that he could go free should he return to Islam, but that he refuses to do so. "The kids and I desperately want him back but we're proud that over us he's chosen Christ, even over coming back to us, he's chosen to stand up for his faith," said Abedini. more >>
In a world of people with deeply held differences, an expansive view of religious freedom is needed to limit conflict and violence and foster human achievement, Os Guinness argues in his new book, The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity. America's strong tradition of respecting freedom of conscience could lead the world in this endeavor, he told The Christian Post in a Friday interview, but Americans are squandering this heritage by failing to live up to the ideals of their Founders.
Guinness uses the term "soul freedom" to encompass many of the core freedoms explicit and implied in parts of the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment, such as freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression.
"Soul freedom is the inviolable freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief that alone does full justice to the dictates of our humanity," Guinness wrote. "As we shall see, it best expresses human dignity and agency; it promotes freedom and justice for all; it fosters healthy giving, caring, peaceful and stable societies; and it acts as a bulwark against the countless current abuses of power and the equally countless brutal oppressions of human dignity." more >>
Coptic Christians have reacted with nervous relief to the Egyptian military's pushback of the Christian-persecuting Islamist rebels who had taken over Dalga.
During the two and half months that Islamist rebels held control, Christians suffered the vandalism and destruction of a monastery, two churches and close to three dozen homes. Recently, they had reported that the rebel rulers had forced them to pay a "jizya" or tribute tax to the Islamists — in essence, bribing their oppressors to let them stay in their homes.
Further, Copt incomes also suffered severely — the majority of Christian-owned small businesses were shut down during the Islamist takeover. In response to these measures, hundreds of Dalga's 20,000 Christians fled the city. more >>