Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The 50 worst countries for anti-Christian persecution

Kirsten Powers explains in the leftist Daily Beast, of all places.

Excerpt:

In their annual report of the worst 50 countries for Christian persecution, Open Doors found that Christian martyr deaths around the globe doubled in 2013.  Their report documented 2,123 killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. In Syria alone, there were 1,213 such deaths last year. In addition to losing their lives, Christians around the world continue to suffer discrimination, imprisonment, harassment, sexual assaults, and expulsion from countries merely for practicing their faith.

Once again, the worst persecutor of Christians is North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 followers of Jesus are suffering in prison camps for “crimes” such as owning a Bible, going to church, or sharing their faith. In November 2013, it was reported that 80 prisoners were publicly executed, many for possessing Bibles. Last year, North Korea sentenced an American missionary, Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor in a prison camp.

[...]It’s chilling to imagine worse treatment than what the average North Korean prisoner has reported, including a mother forced to drown her own baby in a bucket, and tales of subsisting on nothing more than rats and insects. According to first-hand accounts from former prisoners reported by Amnesty International, “every former inmate at one camp had witnessed a public execution, one child was held for eight months in a cube-like cell so small he couldn’t move his body and an estimated 40% of inmates die from malnutrition.”

Syria, ranked as the third-worst country by Open Doors, has devolved in the last year to a horror show for Christians. The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea noted in December 2013 a message she received from a contact in Syria who reported, “Kidnapping, killings, ransom, rape . . . 2013 is a tragedy for Christians in Syria. All Syrians have endured great suffering and distress. The Christians, however, often had to pay with their lives for their faith. Our bishops and nuns have been kidnapped, our political leader killed by torture. After our Christian villages have been occupied, our churches have been destroyed and even mass graves were found in Saddad. [T]he Islamists have put [to] the Christians the alternative: Islam or death. Why [is] the West just watching?”

Some of the most harrowing stories about how Christians are persecuted have come from the African country of Eritrea, which Open Doors lists as the twelfth worst country in the world for Christian persecution. In his 2013 book, The Global War on Christians, reporter John L. Allen Jr., writes that in Eritrea, Christians are sent to the Me’eter military camp and prison, which he describes as a “concentration camp for Christians.” It is believed to house thousands being punished for their religious beliefs.

Prisoners are packed into 40’x38’ metal shipping containers, normally used for transporting cargo. It is so cramped that it’s impossible to lie down and difficult even to find a place to sit. “The metal exacerbates the desert temperatures, which means bone chilling cold at night and wilting heat during the day….believed to reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher,” Allen writes. One former inmate…described [it] as “giant ovens baking people alive.” Prisoners are given next to nothing to drink so “they sometimes end up drinking their own scant sweat and urine to stay alive.” The prisoners are tortured, sexually abused, and have no contact with the outside world. One survivor of the prison described witnessing a fellow female inmate “who had been beaten so badly her uterus was actually hanging outside her body. The survivor desperately tried to push the uterus back in” but couldn’t prevent the inmate’s excruciating death.

Lately, I’ve been blogging quite a lot about the difference between the Judeo-Christian morality and atheist morality. Christians have a objective standard to condemn what is going on in these other countries. Christians believe in human rights. Christians believe in religious liberty. Christians are grieved when we hear about these crimes being committed against followers of Jesus. On the Judeo-Christian view, every human being is made to be in a relationship with God – a relationship that lasts into eternity. That means that when Christians see someone in distress, we are rationally compelled to try to try to help them. In fact, the earliest Christians used to take in abandoned babies, because of that reasoning. If Christianity is true, then what these people are doing to persecute Christians for their beliefs is really wrong.

But on atheism, you can’t condemn violence against Christians in other countries as wrong:

Rule #1: Relativists Can’t Accuse Others of Wrong-Doing

Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies that there is such a thing as wrong- doing. In other words, if you believe that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you can’t ever again judge the actions of others. Relativists can’t even object on moral grounds to racism. After all, what sense can be made of the judgment “apartheid is wrong” when spoken by someone who doesn’t believe in right and wrong? What justification is there to intervene? Certainly not human rights, for there are no such things as rights. Relativism is the ultimate pro-choice position because it accepts every personal choice—even the choice to be racist.

And that’s why in the secular mainstream media, crimes like this are seldom talked about. Secularists have no basis to condemn these actions, they would rather crusade for late-term abortion and same-sex marriage, which is nothing but the celebration of the selfishness of adults at the expense of children.

If you would like to the difference that Christianity makes when dealing with a real threat of danger, then click through to this National Review article, which talks about Christians living in Syria.

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Indian Christians cheer election results

In September of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported on anti-Christian violence in India:

In the past week in Karnataka, the southern Indian state that is home to India’s high-technology capital of Bangalore, at least 17 attacks have been reported on churches and prayer halls, according to local Christian groups, independent monitors and police….Christians, who make up roughly 2% of India’s 1.1 billion population, have periodically been the targets of violence by Hindu-extremist groups who oppose Christian missionaries and the conversion of Hindus. Christianity has proven popular among those on the lowest rungs of Hinduism’s caste hierarchy, in part because Christian groups often offer education and health care.

Christians and churches also have been targeted in Kerala in southern India, Madhya Pradesh in central India and Uttar Pradesh in the north.

The incidents follow attacks on Christians in the eastern state of Orissa starting last month that have left about 25 dead. The Orissa attacks were sparked after a Hindu-fundamentalist leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, was found dead in a temple. Orissa police have said they suspect Maoist rebels for the deaths, but Hindu-extremist groups blame Christian missionaries.

The violence has taken on a political tinge as India prepares for national elections that must be held before May.

The article talks about the two main parties in the May elections:

The opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is viewed as ideologically aligned with the extremist Hindu groups, such as the Bajrang Dal, that minority groups and some other parties blame for stoking the violence.

The BJP and the Congress Party are India’s two main national parties. The current government is a Congress-led coalition.

…”The BJP has always fallen back on a strategy that polarizes people on communal lines to get what they imagine will be electoral gains,” said Jayanti Natarajan, a Congress spokeswoman.

Check out these comments by the BJP, it’s scary:

Kalyan Singh, BJP national vice president, said the party doesn’t believe in sectarian agitation. “We condemn the violence in Orissa, but the main and deep root is the mass conversions by the Christian missionaries,” which the BJP opposes, he said.

Bajrang Dal is a militant youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, a Hindu-nationalist organization. Prakash Sharma, Bajrang Dal’s national head, said in an interview that the death of Mr. Saraswati in Orissa was “under the inspiration of the Christian missionaries and converts.” He said that as a result, “people all over India are responding spontaneously against them.” Asked if he could cite evidence of Christian culpability for the death, he failed to do so.

He denied any involvement of Bajrang Dal in the riots against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.

CNS reported on the anti-Christian campaign waged by the BJP:

Orissa is one of five Indian states where BJP authorities have passed anti-conversion laws which the U.S. State Department says infringe upon an individual’s right to change religion.

…Christians say those who have become believers do so willingly, and in the process escape the discriminatory caste system.

The Christian ministry Open Doors, which maintains a watchlist of countries where Christians face the worst persecution, this year moved India to 22nd place, up from 30th last year.

The May elections are now completed! And here are the election results so far, from the BBC: (H/T Dr. Roy)

State television says Congress’s alliance has won or is ahead in 263 seats, compared with the BJP’s (154), the Third Front (60) and others (66).

…Prakash Karat, the leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the key mover in the Third Front, accepted Congress had won.

“The CPM and the Left parties have suffered a major setback,” he said.

It’s a Parliamentary system with 543 seats, you need a governing coalition with the majority of seats to govern.

Dr. Roy says:

…There will no need for commies to be part of the governing coalition. There was 60% turnout. Unfortunately 60 people died in attacks by maoist terorrists. Congress and its allies have won in Tamil Nadu. Probably not very good news for the ltte. The Prime minister will be ManMohan Singh for now, but it is likely a Gandhi will be PM in the not too distant future.

Great news for Christians in India!

UPDATE: The Competitive Enterprise Institute says that it’s a victory for free market capitalism, as well! Bonus!

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