Word from the Pastor
ue to Pray for Christian Martyrs
“Open Doors” is a watchdog group that advocates for Christians throughout the world. According to “Open Doors” in a report for the 2015 year, Christian violence in the world has heightened to new high levels in the modern day world. “Open Doors” re-ports this new violence as “... a level akin to an ethnic cleansing.”
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now, you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26-27)
What comes to mind when you hear the word persecution? If you are like us, your mind will instantly bring up the images disseminated by the new media of the 21 Coptic Christians kneeling on the beach with the name of Jesus Christ on their lips as they courageously faced death at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Today, an estimated 5.5 billion people (77 percent of the world population) of all faiths including Christian, Muslim, Jew Hindu, Buddhist, and others face some form of religious persecution. Such persecutions take the form of economic discrimination, imprisonment, physical violence, and death.
Listed below will be cited 10 countries where the Body of Christ is experiencing persecution and suffering. The 10 countries that follow do not comprise all of the countries where Christians are suffering from persecutions. Individuals in these 10 countries, specifically in their families and in their churches, are keeping the Christian witness alive and vibrant even though the threats to their well-being are put before these witnesses of the faith on a daily basis. In Iraq, the land of Eden and the garden, Jonah and Daniel, Christians have shrunk from 1.5 million to just over 300,000. Many Christians have been massacred and because of impending death threats have migrated seeking greater safety for their faith, witness, and their very lives. A tearful Assyrian Christian activist told a packed audience at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. ISIS has systematically targeted religious minorities for murder and abduction and has auctioned off girls and women kidnapped from religious minority groups. It prices the youngest from ages one to nine at 200,000 dinars which is equal to 170 U.S. dollars. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warns that the ongoing violence could “... well mark the end of ... its ancient Yazidi and Christian communities.”
Syria, with the fear stemming from negative repercussions from the Sunni refugees identifying them as Christians, worry daily they will be exposed as Christians and then become subject to persecution. The Syrian Christian population has been decimated. According to The New York Times, in 2013, almost 25 percent (450,000) of Syria’s Christians have fled. The number of Syrian refugees then was 1,877,020. Today, it has more than doubled to 4,086,760. If displacement rates are correct displacement has remained the same and more than 50 percent of the country’s Christian population may have become refugees. Consequently, because of the fear of the Muslim refugees escaping the conflict, most Christians will not identify themselves and access the 4 billion dollars of U.S. aid which was distributed through the U.N. Continued next week.