Two Presbyterian pastors are facing a likely death penalty as their trial in the Republic of Sudan begins. The Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yen Reith of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church have been charged with espionage and blasphemy, though the church says they're being persecuted for their Christian faith, like other pastors in the Muslim-dominated country.
"This is not 'something new' for our church," says the Rev. Tut Kony, pastor of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. "Almost all pastors have gone to jail under the government of Sudan. We have been stoned and beaten. This is their habit to pull down the church. We are not surprised. This is the way they deal with the church."
Michael and Reith were initially detained without charge in December 2014 and again in January, the PC(USA) said on Tuesday. The church has reached out to human rights organizations asking them to speak out for the pastors and urge Sudan's government to respect religious minorities. more >>
Churches should stop spending so much time fighting against abortion and gay marriage and do more about poverty and suffering, some say. There are three important points to keep in mind when you hear this claim.
Hosted by the National Association of Evangelicals and Georgetown's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, the May 11-13 Catholic-Evangelical Summit on Overcoming Poverty brought together both Evangelicals and Catholics, liberals and conservatives, to discuss how churches can better address poverty. There were 17 sessions in all. Solutions offered dealt not only with what local churches can do, but the roles government, business and labor can play as well. more >>
A Muslim mob led by clerics looted homes and attempted to burn a church in Lahore, Pakistan, after learning that a mentally ill man allegedly burned pages of a Quran in the city's Glushan Ravi area on Sunday evening.
Humayun Faisal, a middle aged Christian who's said to be mentally challenged, was taken into custody after some locals accused him of burning a Quran. He was charged under section 295-B of Pakistan's penal code that deals with the desecration of the Muslim holy book.
A complaint was issued by local Sayed Zeeshanul Haq and news of the crime sparked outrage among hundreds of Muslims who looted houses and attempted to burn a church. more >>
President Barack Obama warned of rising anti-semitism in the world, while seeking to reassure American Jews of his support for Israel, in remarks at Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington on Friday. Obama has spoken at more Jewish synagogues than any other American president.
"Our commitment to Israel's security and my commitment to Israel's security is and always will be unshakable," declared Obama. "We need to stand up to Israel's right to thrive and prosper."
The president also addressed what he sees as a "disturbing rise in anti-semitism," adding, "we know from our history it can't be ignored. more >>
Christian Persecution has reached an "unprecedented" high with an average of 11 Christians being killed every hour. That's according to a Catholic Bishop, who this week warned the Irish Government's Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs about the alarming trend. "Christianity is now the world's most oppressed religious group," Bishop John McAreavey said, "with persecution against them reported in 110 countries."
The sheer number of Christians being martyred today is mind-boggling and the graphic accounts of atrocities against Christian populations sickening. But what can we do?
Bishop McAreavey urged governments to consider economic action against offending countries, which would certainly help. "Many of these countries have significant trade links with Ireland," McAreavey said. "Persecution is increasing in China. In North Korea a quarter of the country's Christians live in forced labour camps. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Maldives all feature in the 10 worst places to be Christian." McAreavey also urged Western nations to give more direct aid to churches and persecuted groups, which to date, has been pretty minimal. more >>
An Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan convicted on Thursday 106 suspects believed to have taken part in the lynching of a Christian couple in November 2014. Shama and Shahzad Masih were beaten and burned to death by a Muslim mob, who accused the Christians of burning a copy of the Quran.
Pakistan's Daily Times reported that the 106 suspects were indicted following a police report submitted against them in Lahore.
"The challan (charge-sheet) states that Maulvi Muhammad Hussain, Maulvi Arshad Baloch and Maulvi Noorul Hassan were involved in persistent provocative speeches against the couple which led to the assembly of 400 people as a mob who then burned Shama and Shahzad alive," the article stated. more >>