The Rev. Franklin Graham says Christians should never deny Jesus Christ in order to spare their lives from slaughter by terrorists, such as ISIS, and further asserts that doing so would be a betrayal against martyrs who stood strong for their faith, despite persecution.
"Christians have been martyred going all the way back to the Romans when they fed them to the lions. We would be betraying every person who stood for their faith, who stood for Jesus Christ, if we turn our back on Jesus Christ. … I think we take a stand for our faith," Graham said on Fox News' "The Kelly File" when host Megyn Kelly asked if Christians should lie in order to save their lives when confronted with death at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
Noting that Christians who live in countries where they're the religious minority are the most persecuted people in the world, Kelly commented on a story about four Iraqi Christian children who were beheaded by ISIS militants after they refused to convert to Islam, a story reported by The Christian Post earlier this month. more >>
Three Iranian Christian leaders have seen their convictions overturned following an appeals hearing, in what persecution watchdog groups are hailing as an encouraging victory. Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani have been granted their freedom after their six-year sentences were overturned, but pastor Benhram Irani is still serving six years for previous convictions.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide confirmed the court's decision in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday. The group's Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, said in a statement:
"We are extremely pleased to learn of the release of Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, Deacon Silas Rabbani, Hossein Baraunzadeh and Rahman Bahman. While we welcome this news, we remain concerned at the continued detention of Amin Khaki and long-term prisoners like Behnam Irani and Farshi Fathi – all of whom who have been unjustly detained." more >>
Yet another Christian church was destroyed by Muslims in Ethiopia—this time by local authorities.
Heaven's Light Church, which served some 100 evangelical Christians, was demolished last November 28. The church had stood and functioned in the Muslim-majority city of Harar for five years. In the days preceding the destruction, officials forcibly removed the church's exterior sign and warned believers not to worship there, citing complaints by a local Muslim. Officials further told church members who had previously congregated at the church "not to gather under what remains of the church building." Accordingly, Christians are now meeting in homes of individual believers.
Prior to the demolition of the church, when some Christian leaders protested, they were illegally detained, released only after community members, "outraged by the wrongful detentions," called "for their immediate release," reported International Christian Concern, a rights advocacy group supporting the Christians: more >>
Thirteen Christian families in a small village located in the Punjab province of Pakistan are now homeless after the local municipal government demolished their homes because the families refused to work for no pay and become bonded laborers.
Members of the Christian families, who all worked at a local brick kiln in the village of Samundri, refused to continue working unless they received fair compensation for their labor. Pakistan Christian Post reports that the village's municipal government carried out the destruction of their homes last week after being pressured to do so by the "influential" Muslims who owned the brick kiln operation.
"Houses of 13 Christian families have been demolished by the Town Municipal Administration Samundri under the pressure of the influential people of the village just because they refused to bonded labour without any penny," the news report stated. more >>
A group of around 30 Hindu radicals reportedly attacked a Christian pastor and 15 of his church members singing Christmas carols in the Indian city of Hyderabad over the weekend, accusing the Christians of trying to convert people. The attack left Pastor Bhim Nayak of Banjara Baptist Church and four other Christians severely injured.
International Christian Concern reported that the attack occurred on Saturday night, when Nayak and his church members were singing carols while visiting other Christian families in the Singareny Colony in Hyderabad. The radicals surrounded the Christians and their vehicle, before accusing them of trying to forcefully convert people to Christianity.
What followed was a severe beating that left Nayak unconscious and covered in blood, needing to be taken to the hospital and receive first aid. The local hospital has said that the pastor remains in critical condition, while four other Christians injured in the attack are receiving medical attention as well. more >>
U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for more than two years and has been subjected to harsh beatings, is in "severe pain," according to a relative who was able to visit him in prison.
"Saeed continues to have severe pain and would appreciate your prayers," American Center for Law and Justice quotes Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, as saying.
Saeed has sustained prolonged internal injuries due to beatings in the prison, ACLJ explains, stressing that "as his pain increases, so does the need for humanitarian release." more >>