Weekly Briefing: Religious persecution, Twitter ban, gene editing
(Photo: Archdiocese of Erbil)Father Thabet Habib inspects damage in the town of Karamles, Iraq right after the town was liberated from the Islamic State in October 2016.
Religious persecution gets worse
Persecution against religious minorities has worsened around the world, according to a newly released report by Aid to the Church in Need. Over the last two years, the situation has declined in more countries (18) that have significant religious freedom violations.
ACN also documented “ultra-nationalism,” or aggressive nationalism, in several countries, including China, Russia, India and Myanmar (Burma).
The group lamented that the plight of faith minorities is being “ignored by a religiously illiterate West” and that “religious freedom is slipping down the human rights priority rankings, being eclipsed by issues of gender, sexuality and race.”
Twitter bans misgendering
Social media giant Twitter has updated its “hateful conduct” policy to prohibit users from “misgendering or deadnaming” transgender individuals.
Feminist journalist Meghan Murphy was banned for such comments as “men aren’t women.”
“Even online I think transactivists are trying to make it look like the vast majority of people are on board and they are doing this in part by shutting down other voices but also by taking over social media because social media now really is our public square. This is where we are having public debates. And so they're taking over the conversation in those arenas so it appears that nobody disagrees with them except for evil bigots,” said Murphy.
First genetically edited babies
A researcher in China announced the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies — in this case, twin girls whose DNA was altered during fertility treatments. The goal was to increase resistance to possible future infection with HIV.
He Jiankui’s claim of successful gene editing has not been independently confirmed by other experts but many have condemned the experimentation on humans as ethically wrong and irresponsible.
Debate on John Chau’s missions approach
Following the death of John Chau, a 26-year-old U.S. missionary who was killed by an isolated tribe he tried to approach earlier this month, many in the Christian community have debated whether his mission was noble or ill-conceived.
Leaders of the missions group he was a part of, All Nations, have revealed that Chau was well-prepared and that he had long wanted to reach the people of North Sentinel Island with the Gospel.
One thing is clear: Christians have a conviction and a mandate to share their faith. For Chau, it made sense to take risks when people’s eternity is at stake. But to the rest of the world, it’s becoming more incomprehensible, said Thomas S. Kidd of Baylor University.
Transforming the Baby with Christ/ScreenGrabGary Haugen, Founder, CEO, and former President of International Justice Mission, speaks during a Transforming the Bay with Christ event.
Misconceptions about Christians’ work
Many Christians have the misconception that Jesus is happy if they drown themselves in their Gospel-inspired work and never enjoy their lives, according to Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission.
“But God actually wants us to enjoy our lives, even if we're involved very intimately in the work of justice and in the intersection of human hurt,” he said.
A Nigerian Christian, a former imam, who is seeking asylum in the U.S. after his family was attacked and pursued by Muslims numerous times