Archive for the 'Persecution' Category

08
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection: SSM and Religious Freedom

During Australia’s same sex marriage debate, one group (on the “NO” side) continues to claim that religious freedom will be put at risk should SSM be legalised. The other group (on the “YES” side) continue to insist such concerns are unfounded and are mere red herrings – that the only issue at stake is the happiness of people who want to marry their same sex partner.

But what is the reality?

 

I heard an interview* on ABC radio this morning that made it clear that any protection of religious freedom will ONLY be applied to religious institutions and not to Christian individuals.
Bringing out the now clichéd example of a cake maker refusing to supply a cake for a same sex wedding, it was made clear that they will be guilty of breaking anti-discrimination laws and will be subject to prosecution.

 

My own view of that is that it is the EVENT being “discriminated” against – not the people involved. I’m sure the cake maker would be willing to bake cakes for anyone as an individual – just not willing to bake a cake for an event that compromises their religious beliefs.
To take a step to the side – should a cake maker (religious or otherwise) be legally required to supply a cake promoting (legal) extreme right wing groups or other political views that challenge their conscience, or would their refusal be deemed prosecutable discrimination?

 

Apart from that hypothetical and now clichéd example, we have current cases to look at (not exclusively religious), such as the one described in this story:

A petition with more than 2000 signatures has likened doctors who oppose marriage equality to racists and accused them of contributing to “increased depression.”

The open letter accompanying the petition was written by Perth medical student Carolyn O’Neil and accused more than 400 doctors of adding to “increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/37005078/doctors-opposing-marriage-equality-slam-petition-against-them/

 

This follows a situation that I mentioned in an earlier post, where a doctor was being subjected to a petition calling for her to be struck off the medical register.

A woman that appeared in the advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

In recent weeks I’ve kept an eye on several discussions in the media around the topic of same sex marriage and have found very strong anti-Christian attitudes being shown that don’t line up with the assurances that religious freedom won’t be reduced.
The problem with those assurances is what “religious freedom” actually means to those making them. The nature of that “freedom” is being defined by those who won’t be needing it – by the irreligious, the non-believer, and at times those who are actually hostile to all kinds of religious belief.

Those people have NO qualification for understanding the reasons why Christians (or adherents of other religious beliefs) might not agree with same sex marriage. To have that understanding they would need to recognise what it means to believe in a God who has revealed what HE requires of His creation – that it is GOD’s standards that count – not man’s ever changing whims.

Genuine Christians believe in a very REAL God and desire to commit their lives to Him and His ways – to them “religion” is not a mere interest, a hobby – an alternative to sport or any other past time. Their relationship to God is the most important part of their life: in fact it IS their life.

_______________________

* http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/same-sex-marriage-hate-speech-santow/8884594

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04
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection 2: Don’t dare speak out!

At a time when homosexual campaigners are decrying anti-homosexual hate-speech…

 

Petition calls for doctor in ‘no’ campaign same-sex marriage ad to be deregistered

A woman that appeared in [an] advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

And another article:

Same-sex marriage debate: conservative Muslims steer clear for fear of backlash

Muslim Australians who oppose same-sex marriage are afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled extremists, including by Christian conservatives who themselves oppose it, a Muslim community leader has said.

Ali Kadri, a spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland, told Guardian Australia that imams and community leaders “who represent the vast majority of the Muslim community” were staying out of the postal survey debate for fear of backlash.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/04/same-sex-marriage-debate-conservative-muslims-steer-clear-for-fear-of-backlash

 

There are questions I’d like to raise regarding the second article:

Why would the Muslim spokesman think and suggest that conservative Christians would label Muslims as extremists for sharing their views on same sex marriage, when the conservative Christian and Muslim views would be the same?

Is that suggestion an attempt by the Muslim to politically distance himself and his community from conservative Christians – who have so far been the main target of hate-speech from supporters of SSM?

Is it a suspicion that conservative Christians will be antagonistic towards the Muslim community even in cases when their views are the same?

Maybe it’s a Muslim attempt to maintain division and distrust between two religious communities – mirroring the anti-Muslim rhetoric of some Christians who have regularly resorted to fear-mongering with regard to the presence of Muslims in the community?

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And a related article (don’t dare reflect a “traditional” view of fatherhood on father’s day):

Dads4Kids ad is ‘dodgy campaign tactic’ in marriage debate, says LGBTI activist

A fathers group that claimed its political ad was blocked from television is engaged in a “dodgy campaign tactic” to claim victimhood in the same-sex marriage debate, according to a senior LGBTI advocate.

Just Equal spokesman, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, has hit back at Dads4Kids, labelling them an anti-LGBTI, anti-marriage equality activist group who had attempted to politicise father’s day.

Ben Pratt, the spokesman for Dads4Kids, said it was “extraordinary” that Australians could “no longer celebrate fathers’ day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate”.

“It’s a tragedy that a political motive is now implied in any mention of fatherhood. Not everything is about same-sex marriage,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/03/dads4kids-ad-is-dodgy-campaign-tactic-in-marriage-debate-says-lgbti-activist

01
Sep
17

Fearless for Christ

Four masked gunmen charged into Mohammad Yousuf Bhat’s home on the evening of 1 July 2016, pushed his wife aside and demanded to talk to him. After he stepped forward, the gunmen escorted the 43-year-old father of three outside his home in the Kashmir Valley, India and shot him seven times, killing him. Those who worked with Yousuf describe him as being a fearless, bold and passionate believer who “would not be quiet about Christ”.

Complete article here: Fearless for Christ

30
Jun
17

Lessons For Western Christians

“What attracted me is the loving environment of the church”

 

Fadi became a Christian because he read the New Testament. “I read about the teachings of Jesus, the high values and virtues. The high standards Jesus teaches are the biggest evidence that these are teachings of God. What also attracted me is the loving environment of the church; that is something impossible to find outside.

Sadly, it seems to be very hard to find that “loving environment of the church” within large sections of the alleged church in the “west”.

 

Muslims Turn to Christ in Unprecedented Numbers Pt. 1

The Islamic State has been filling the headlines for a long time and filling the hearts of many people in the Middle East with fear. But in the midst of all this, the church in the Middle East is showing the love of Christ to those who fled their homes. Muslims in the Middle East are turning to Jesus in unprecedented numbers.

complete article here:
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/muslims-turn-to-christ-in-unprecedented-numbers-pt-1/

 

Muslims Turn to Christ in Unprecedented Numbers Pt. 2

Somewhere in Lebanon we meet with a young woman named Karima*, a refugee from Aleppo. She still covers her hair, but the change in the way she dresses compared with when she first arrived in Lebanon is obvious. She became a Christian more than two years ago. Karima and her husband, also a convert, are now working with one of the churches in Lebanon, both as teachers to Syrian refugee children. They had their doubts about Islam before they came to Lebanon. She saw miracles happen in her life because the pastor of a church prayed for her. God provided a place for them to live, a job and even healed her seriously sick son.

complete article here:
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/muslims-turn-to-christ-in-unprecedented-numbers-pt-2/

 

Aleppo Churches Open Doors to Displaced Muslim Families

“Many Muslims were genuinely surprised when they met Christian women in our churches willing to serve them. Their image was that all Christian women spend most of their days dancing in nightclubs and drinking alcohol! Meeting each other was a shock, both for them and for us,” says Kristina. Kristina also says the Muslim women were surprised to see that churches offered support and programs for all Syrians, not just for Christians. “Their mosques don’t do that,” Kristina says. “Many are re-thinking the faith they grew up in and have dropped their hostility towards Christians.”

complete article here:
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray/aleppo-churches-open-doors-to-displaced-muslim-families/

07
Apr
17

God, the Church, Refugees and the Gospel

I’ve recently quoted the following a number of times

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him

Acts 17 26-27

Over a year ago I referred to the above quote when I wrote the following on a Christian forum, in reply to comments about the potential danger of the “flood” of Muslim refugees to the west.

To me it shows that God, not man, is in control of national boundaries. And he will change those boundaries to suit the purposes of His Kingdom and to create conditions conducive to people seeking and potentially finding Him.

That could work in multiple ways including:

1) Moving believers to unbelieving areas to take the gospel where it hasn’t been heard before.

2) Moving unbelievers into an area where they have more chance of hearing the gospel.

3) Moving hostile unbelievers into a lukewarm area where the gospel used to mean something, but doesn’t any more, where what is left of Christian faith will be tested and refined by the influx of those hostile unbelievers.

04
Apr
17

Underground Iranian Church

I came across this video after following links recommended by Jeanne T given in the comments section of a recent thread.


 

At the beginning of February I finished reading a book about the growth of Christianity in Iran. Too Many to Jail, by Mark Bradley. I thought I’d written a “review” of it here and wanted to link to the review after the above video. However, I couldn’t find it and suspect my memory was of an email I sent to a friend at the time.

 

The book tells of growth in the underground church in Iran, and suggests that Iran’s history and culture has prepared the country for the gospel.

In recent decades, the Islamic government of Ayatollah Khomeini , followed later by the Khomeini inspired Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presidency, caused a lot of disillusionment among Iranian Muslims who couldn’t reconcile the words and actions of “Allah’s representatives” with their own idea of what God was like.

Bradley also writes of other aspects of Iranian society that helped make Iranians look favourably upon Jesus and how some had been primed to respond to the gospel through dreams, visions and miracles before being led to someone who could share the truth with them.

 

After around 100 years of mission work leading up to Khomeini coming to power, traditional churches in Iran could only count around 500 believers – now motivated by home-grown house churches, the number of believers is thought to be in the 100s of thousands.

 

 

03
Nov
16

Chinese Communist Party crackdown on Christianity

Correspondents Report By China correspondent Matthew Carney

China’s governing Communist Party is set to launch a nationwide crackdown on Christianity. Correspondent Matthew Carney travels through the country and speaks to churchgoers who are worried they could soon be arrested.

The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they do not pledge loyalty to the state.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become “Chinese” and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.

full story here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-08/chinese-communist-partys-crackdown-on-religion/7912140

prayer




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