The Communist Party of China has intensified its ongoing crackdown of Christianity and other faiths with the publication of new rules and regulations that tighten the government's grip on underground churches, persecution watchdog groups have said.
China Aid, which reports on religious freedom issues in China, said late last week that the new restrictions are aimed at dispersing Christian house churches and silencing Tibetan and Xinjiang separatists.
The Revised Draft of Regulations on Religious Affairs is expected to formally come into effect early in October, and includes prohibitions on "organizing citizens to attend religious training, conferences and activities abroad," "preaching, organizing religious activities, and establishing religious institutions or religious sites at schools," and "providing religious services through the internet." more >>
A Pakistani Christian boy who was arrested earlier this week could face the death penalty after he was accused of posting a picture on Facebook that Muslims consider to be blasphemous toward Islam.
According to the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association, 16-year-old Nabeel Masih, who lives in the town of Kasur in the Punjab province, was accused of posting a blasphemous picture on Facebook that reportedly showed the Kaaba (the building at the center of Islam's most sacred mosque in Mecca) with a pig's head on top.
Masih's alleged post was reported to local police by a Muslim friend who found it offensive. Masih was arrested and is being held at the local police station in Kasur until his trial. more >>
A school district in Mount Vernon, Washington, was advised by legal representation Wednesday to allow the Satanic Temple of Seattle to start an after-school program at one of their elementary schools because it would be costly and futile if officials chose otherwise.
Duncan Fobes, a lawyer with the Seattle-based law firm Patterson, Buchanan, Fobes and Leitch, advised the Mount Vernon School Board during a Wednesday meeting that any effort to block the proposed "After School Satan Club" by the Satanic Temple of Seattle for Centennial Elementary School "would ultimately be unsuccessful," according to the Skagit Valley Herald.
"I think that if the school district denied that application, you would face costly litigation that would be distracting from your mission," said Fobes who was hired by the district's risk-pool insurance group to assess if the district had legal standing to deny the temple's application. more >>
Earlier this summer, around mid-July, India introduced a bill to its 1955 Citizenship Act. The bill, if passed, will not only prioritize foreign ethnic and religious minorities for citizenship, but will cut their naturalization wait time from eleven to six years.
"Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan … shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act," reads the proposed amendment to India's Citizenship Act.
This bill is in response to the many minority groups, most with Indian origins, who have emigrated to India because of religious persecution. more >>
Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who spent three-and-a-half years in Iranian prisons before being released in January, claims that the United States government wouldn't pay for a return flight home even though his family faced serious financial issues.
Abedini, who spoke at the Free Iran rally at the U.N. in New York on Tuesday, wrote an op-ed with the help of religious freedom advocate Lela Gilbert that was published by Fox News on Wednesday.
In the op-ed, the 36-year-old Idaho pastor said he feels like he and two other Americans held hostage in Iran were seen as nothing more than a "bargaining chip" to the U.S. government in its political dealings with the Iranian regime. more >>
America won't be saved by a "political awakening," said Pastor Ronnie Floyd, who was among over 40 Christian leaders that came together at The Gathering to pray for a spiritual transformation in the nation.
"Many of us, as believers, at times if we're not careful, we're more committed to some kind of political awakening," said Floyd at the solemn assembly hosted by Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, Wednesday night.
"That's not the answer to this nation. The answer to the nation is the next great awakening with the Holy Spirit of God. And He wakes up the Church and He shakes the Church," added Floyd, who's the senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. more >>