Posts tagged ‘christian persecution’
The number of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, the greater Middle East, continues to plummet months after the Islamic State, which waged a genocidal campaign against Christians, lost its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, Breitbart News learned from various experts, including an archbishop.
“Unfortunately, it can be stated that the Islamic State group’s anti-Christian campaign was very successful in Iraq, and to a certain extent, successful in Syria,” John Hajjar, the co-chair of the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy (AMCD) and co-director of the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC), told Breitbart News.
“I think we have no more hope,”Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the diocesan legate in America’s capital and ecumenical director for the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, also told Breitbart News, referring to the future of Christianity in its Middle East cradle. “Middle East Christians have no nation that protects them openly.”
The number of Christians in Middle East-North Africa (MENA), as a component of the overall Muslim-majority population, has dropped substantially — from about ten percent in 1900 to between two and four percent now.
There are different estimates for the overall number of Christians that vary from about 12 million in the Middle East alone to about 20 million in MENA, Breitbart News learned from the experts and data from U.S. government and independent sources.
“The future for Christians right now is terrible — a Middle East without Christians. We are going to have churches without Christians as museums for tourists. There will be no Christians left,” the archbishop warned, echoing other analysts who have constantly cautioned that Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the Middle East.
“The number of Christians in the Middle East has already dropped extensively,” he further declared, accusing church leaders of inflating the actual numbers of Christ followers in the region to minimize the fact that Christianity is on the brink of extinction.
The bishop urged U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to do even more to help Middle East Christians.
Contradicting assertions by the Trump administration, the Church leader said, “People are not coming back. I can assure you that nobody will go back.”
The Trump administration has disbursed billions in funding to help victims of ISIS genocide, namely Christians and Yazidis, but the bishop told Breitbart News it is “not enough.”
“Trump is going to be a hero for the Christians in the Middle East if he takes more action,” he said.
Addressing President Trump, Archbishop Aykazian added, “Please help the Christians. They need your help and once you move one of your fingers the entire Arabic world will thank you. If he does such a thing, it is going to change everything. If he doesn’t, they will suffer.”
“The ball is in Trump’s court,” he further said.
In Iraq, which experts say has experienced the most dramatic drop in Christians due to jihadis and Iran-allied groups, Aykazian told Breitbart News that number has decreased from 1.6 million to less than 100,000, marking a drop of more than 90 percent.
“A similar situation is taking place in Syria’s Aleppo where there has also been a drop of more than 90 percent in Christians, from 360,000 to about 25,000 now,” he said, noting, “The church leaders don’t want to say those statements because they fear their followers will be disillusioned.”
ISIS’s genocide campaign targeted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, primarily Christians and Yazidis, killing tens of thousands of them and taking some hostages as sex slaves.
“They [Christians] realized just how insecure they are,” Nina Shea, a religious freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, told Breitbart News. “Their own governments fail to protect them, and ISIS gained popular support within some neighboring major Sunni areas, like Mosul.”
Archbishop Aykazian said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi “so far has been the best leader in the Middle East for defending Christians.” he said, adding, “The biggest Christian majorities are in Egypt.”
Shea pointed out, “Egypt retains ten million Coptic Christians. That is the only place where I see a certain future for them [Christians].”
“In a generation, Egypt may be the only remaining country with a robust Christian community that traces its roots to the earliest Christian church,” Shea added. “Elsewhere in the Middle East, only remnants of these ancient communities may survive.”
Nevertheless, Shea and the bishop acknowledged that, even in Egypt, Christians are confronting the spread of Sunni extremism and anti-Christian bigotry. The ongoing war against Islamic terrorism continues to kill, wound, and push Christians out of their historical homelands in the greater Middle East, even in Egypt.
“More recently, after the Arab Spring and with the rise of ISIS, tens of thousands of Christians were killed in Iraq and Syria,” Hajjar said. “Close to 1 million Christians in the region have gone into exile.”
“Following multiple terrorist attacks in Egypt against the Copts, many Christian Egyptians also emigrated from their country,” Hajjar continued. “We can estimate that more than 25-30 percent of Christians in the Middle East have been affected by the recent wars and conflicts.”
The experts also attributed the ongoing demise of Christianity in the Middle East to certain governments’ disdain towards followers of Christianity and their refusal to protect them.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly designated Christians as “enemies of the state.” In Iraq, the country that experienced the sharpest drop in the number of Christ followers in recent years, Baghdad-sanctioned Iran-allied Shiite militias have reportedly taken Christian lands and are harassing them.
Referring to the countries that have experienced the largest decline in Christians, Hajjar named Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. Similar to Hajjar’s list, the bishop said, “Iraq is number one, Lebanon is number two, and Syria is number three.”
The experts conceded that the Trump administration had done more to help Middle East Christians than his predecessor, but they argued that Christians are far from protected and more can be done.
Reported By Randy DeSoto | Published March 27, 2019 at 12:08pm | Modified March 27, 2019 at 9:40pm
Pennsylvania Democrats, including the state’s governor, chastised a freshman Republican representative for an “offensive” and “Islamophobic” opening prayer at the state capitol in Harrisburg on Monday, during which she mentioned Jesus numerous times.
In her prayer, Rep. Stephanie Borowicz — an associate pastor’s wife representing a district in the center of the Keystone State — also thanked President Donald Trump specifically for “unequivocally” supporting Israel.
The lawmaker began the invocation, “Jesus, I thank you for this privilege Lord of letting me pray. I Jesus am your ambassador here today representing you, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. The great I am.”
Borowicz referenced the tradition of leaders praying for the country, including George Washington at Valley Forge, Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, as well as the members of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia who “fasted and prayed for this nation to be founded on Your principles and Your words and Your truths.”
“God forgive us — Jesus — we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us,” she said.
Borowicz then paraphrased the Bible passage 2 Chronicles 7:14, saying, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, that you’ll heal our land.”
The verse has often been quoted by political and religious leaders, including Ronald Reagan who had his family Bible opened to it when he was sworn as the 40th president of the United States in 1981, CBN News reported. Mike Pence used the same Bible, opened to the same passage when he took the oath as vice president.
Borowicz further prayed, “thank you that we’re blessed because we stand by Israel,” a clear reference to the Bible’s Genesis 12:3.
The representative concluded her invocation: “I claim all these things in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus, the one who, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord, in Jesus’ name.”
Someone, apparently a representative, yelled out as Borowicz was finishing, prompting Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai, who had looked uncomfortable at various points throughout, to nudge her arm indicating it was time to wrap it up.
Borowicz’s prayer came before Pennsylvania’s first Muslim-American female representative, Movita Johnson-Harrell, was sworn in. Johnson-Harrell recently won a special election to fill a vacant seat for a Philadelphia district.
Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said on Tuesday that he apologized to Johnson-Harrell for Borowicz’s prayer, Fox News reported.
“I was horrified. I grew up in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn on the basis of freedom of conscience. I have a strong spiritual sense. This is not a reflection of the religion I grew up in.”
Johnson-Harrell told reporters she thought pretty much the “entire invocation was offensive,” describing it as a weaponization of Jesus and the Israeli – Palestinian issue.
“It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,”she added in an interview with the Pennsylvania Capital Star.
Democratic Leader Frank Dermody called Borowicz’s invocation “beneath the dignity of this House,” The Associated Press reported.
Majority Leader Bryan Cutler did not find fault with his Republican colleague.
“I, for one, understand that everybody has sincerely held beliefs and I would never ask any one of us as an individual to go against that,” Cutler said.
Borowicz was unapologetic, according to state house reporter Andrew Bahl.
“That’s how I pray every day,” she said, adding, “Oh no, I don’t apologize ever for praying.”
Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said that individuals offering the opening prayers “should be free to pray as their faith and conscience dictates.” He said he would hope their words would not be censored.
“A Christian praying out loud to Jesus and speaking his name should not be a surprise to anyone, nor viewed as offensive,” Geer said. “From the days of William Penn and Benjamin Franklin, prayer is at the centerpiece of Pennsylvania’s founding and flourishing, and we must never abandon it.”
Harrisburg-based conservative radio talk show host Marc Scaringi agreed.
“State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz’s prayer wasn’t offensive,” he contended. “It was a beautiful invocation for the blessings of Jesus Christ. What’s offensive is Governor’s Wolf’s apology — that he was ‘horrified’ by the prayer.
“Strangely, Wolf invoked Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn, in rebuke of Borowicz and her prayer. Yet, Penn founded Pennsylvania to be a peaceful refuge for members of all religious beliefs — and yes, that includes Christians too! Pennsylvanians should be horrified by our Governor’s apparent rebuke of the blessing of Jesus Christ.”
Rep. Jason Dawkins, a Muslim lawmaker, opened Tuesday’s Pennsylvania House session by reading from the Quran, prompting applause in the chamber, Fox News reported.
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Reported by Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com) | Thursday, November 15, 2018
A Christian student at the University of California, Berkeley, is being pressured to resign her post in student government over her biblical beliefs.
When President Donald Trump recently redefined “gender” for federal purposes as the gender an individual is born with, it didn’t set well with students at Berkeley. A member of the student government quickly introduced a resolution condemning the president but student senator Isabella Chow (pictured) couldn’t support it. She didn’t vote no – instead, she abstained. For that, she was roundly condemned by her fellow students at a subsequent gathering.
In an interview with OneNewsNow, Chow expressed her support for freedom from discrimination and freedom from harassment for all people.
“But where it crosses the line for me is that I’m asked to promote LGBTQ identities and lifestyles – and it conflicts with my values and the values of the Christian community that I represent,” she shared.
And when she refused to support the resolution, it didn’t take long for the hammer to fall.
“My political party released a statement right after the vote disaffiliating with me – [and it] was shared widely,” said Chow. “This issue has just gone viral. People are calling me ‘homophobic,’ ‘transphobic,’ the ‘f-word’ and many other slurs that I just don’t want to repeat here.”
Most of the campus is demanding she resign her post in student government – but Chow is determined to stay the course.
“The issue that students here at Berkeley have with my statement is that they fundamentally cannot reconcile how I can say I love you and validate you as an individual, and yet disagree with how you choose to identify yourself and how you choose to live your life,” she explained.
Chow, who has a long year and a half in front of her before graduation, told Fox News that “backing down is not an option” – even though no one except her Christian supporters on campus will even talk to her anymore.
A teaching assistant at the University of Georgia made absurdly racist Facebook posts targeted toward white people and suggested dismantling “churches, schools, and families.” There is always a degree of left-wing lunacy that you can expect from America’s colleges, but professors and students seem to be getting crazier by the day.
Irami Osei-Frimpong, a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant at the University of Georgia, made several racist Facebook posts explicitly attacking Christians and white people, Campus Reform reported. In a public post, Osei-Frimpong suggested an idea to deal with “crappy” white people who push “voter suppression” and “voter ID laws.”
“We can talk about voter suppression. We can talk about ID laws,” Osei-Frimpong wrote. “But all of this begins and ends with the fact that we make crappy White people.” He went on to suggest “dismantling” churches, schools and families.
I’m not sure how Osei-Frimpong wants to “dismantle” families and churches, but I doubt it’s through peaceful means.
In another public Facebook post, the left-wing radical suggested putting an end to “respectability” and going “to war on the White electorate.”
“Democrats need to go to war on the White electorate,” Osei-Frimpong wrote. “Acknowledge that we are going to lose elections for at least the next few years, as we campaign to change the conventional wisdom of the electorate.”
Osei-Frimpong is exactly the type of left-wing radical that conservative students on college campuses have to engage with every day. These left-wing radicals, who are often filled with hatred toward white people and Christians, are the ones who accuse others of “racism” and “fascism.”
Osei-Frimpong previously made comments in August about his white students, calling them “sociopaths” and comparing them to “autistic kids.”
“There is a way in which White people in the South learn manners as a series of behaviors the way autistic kids learn to read social cues for behaviors,” he said. “Except since these guys and gals aren’t autistic, I just feel like I’m around a bunch of sociopaths.”
For some reason, this man is still at the University of Georgia.
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Reported by Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com) | Friday, November 2, 2018
A longtime Canadian activist has been warning for years that Christians are the enemy of the State, and now an allegation of outright discrimination in Ontario is highlighting that ongoing antagonism.
Hoping to foster a child in their home, husband and wife Levi and Amanda denBok applied with Children’s Aid Services (CAS) but were informed via letter that their religious beliefs disqualified them, The Christian Post reported. The couple shared the rejection letter in a Facebook post, describing how they were asked by a CAS adopting agent what church they attend and if they believe the Bible is true.
In the interview, the husband and wife were asked: “Are you one of those churches that still believes the Bible is true?” The agent informed the couple that the Bible was written “thousands of years ago” and the world has since changed, the couple claims.
Dr. Charles McVety, who leads Canada Christian College as president, says the married couple’s beliefs don’t match the supposed “values” of the province of Ontario and its leaders. Yet it’s widely known, he says, that CAS favors same-sex couples as foster parents over religious couples. Such a discriminatory practice would be an eye-opening revelation, since the argument from same-sex couples has been excluding them from fostering children is discriminatory.
McVety has long warned OneNewsNow readers that Canada’s far-left leaders view Christianity and its followers as the enemy of progress.
“There is no neutral ground now. There is no hiding in the corner,” he warned as recently as August.
Asked how Canada got to the point that the government can reject Christians on the basis of their faith, McVety says an apathetic Church led by cowardly leaders is to blame.
According to Levi denBok’s account of the back-and-forth conversation with CAS, he and his wife caved to the agency over the issue of spanking in the home and even assured the case worker that if a foster child is homosexual, the denBoks would love the child regardless. Yet the agency still refused to place a children under their roof. The rejection letter reads:
We also want to let you know that the policies of our agency do not appear to fit with your values and beliefs and therefore, we will be unable to move forward with an approval for your family as a resource home.
“It wasn’t enough that we demonstrated that we would love any child that was placed in our home,”Levi denBok wrote in his Facebook message. “It wasn’t enough that we would provide a safe place for a child to learn and grow. We had to BELIEVE differently. That’s not conformity — that’s conversion.”
Reported by Fred Lucas / @FredLucasWH /
URL of the original posting site: https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/08/15/colorado-targets-christian-baker-again-despite-supreme-courts-cake-ruling/
The state commission moved against Phillips after a lawyer asked him to design and bake a custom cake celebrating a gender transition, pink on the inside and blue on the outside.
Phillips, who calls himself a cake artist, said the requested cake’s message would violate his religious beliefs.
“The state is doubling down on its hostility against my beliefs, even though that’s what the Supreme Court said they couldn’t do,” Phillips said in a prepared statement released by his lawyers. “It seems I’m the only person in the state of Colorado who can’t live out my beliefs.”
The religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has represented Phillips since he turned down a gay couple’s order six years ago for a cake celebrating their marriage, also represents him in a federal lawsuit filed late Tuesday to challenge the latest state action against him.
Shortly after its Supreme Court loss, the state Civil Rights Commission informed Phillips that it found probable cause to believe that Colorado law requires his bakery in Lakewood to create the requested gender-transition cake.
“I serve all customers,” Phillips said once again in his formal statement. “I simply decline to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of my deeply held beliefs.”
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, a lawyer identified as Autumn Scardina asked Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake the gender-transition cake on June 26, 2017. That was the same day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case involving the wedding cake.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, in an opinion joined by four conservative justices and two liberal justices, ruled nearly a year later, on June 4, that the Civil Rights Commission showed “hostility” toward Phillips and his faith in deciding he had violated state anti-discrimination law by declining to create the cake marking the same-sex marriage.
“It’s clear that the state of Colorado did not get the message from the Supreme Court, since it is still singling out Jack for punishment and showing hostility toward his religious beliefs,” Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a formal statement.
Scardina, the lawyer who requested the cake celebrating a gender transition, is not a defendant in Phillips’ lawsuit. The baker is suing the state commission’s members in their official capacities, as well as suing its director personally.
“In moving ahead on this new complaint, the government is yet again confirming that it applies its law in an arbitrary and unequal way, which the Supreme Court has already said that it cannot do,” Waggoner, who argued Phillips’ case Dec. 5 before the high court, said.
“Jack and other creative professionals should not be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs,” she said.
As a policy, Phillips’ lawyers note, Masterpiece Cakeshop also does not make custom cakes that celebrate Halloween; that center on alcohol or drug abuse or sexual themes; or that convey disparaging messages, including those targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals or others in the LGBT movement.
The Bible tells us God created us male and female, and I believe that. A gender-transition cake is not something I’ve ever made, and it’s not an event I could celebrate. There are plenty of messages I won’t convey on a cake. I’ve turned down requests to make anti-American cakes, cakes disparaging the LGBT community, as well as those glorifying drug and alcohol use, mistreatment of women, divorce, and more.
In the case Phillips won before the Supreme Court, his lawyers stress, the state of Colorado admitted that cake artists are free to decline to create custom cakes with a “specific design,” including wedding cakes with “a symbol of gay pride,” cakes that contain “pro-gay designs or inscriptions,” or cakes with images opposing same-sex marriage.
The state has not found probable cause when other bakers refused to create custom cakes, including those opposing same-sex weddings.
“The arbitrary basis on which the commission is applying the law makes it clear that they are simply targeting Jack because they don’t like his religious beliefs,” Waggoner said. “Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. We’re asking the court to put a stop to that.”
This report has been updated to include the name of the lawyer who requested the “gender transition” cake.