Persecution of Christians Escalates Around the World

-Globally: 55,000+ Christians reported martyred annually: In a recent lecture to the Protestant Association of the Christian Democratic Union in Dresden, Germany, professor Thomas Schirrmacher said that at least 55,000 Christians are killed each year for religious reasons. Christians in India, Indonesia, and Pakistan run the highest risk of losing their lives, and three out of four cases of severe persecution are directed at Christians. Schirrmacher encouraged politicians to increase efforts for religious freedom instead of being reluctant with Islamic nations who persecute Christians. He believes interest in religion worldwide is on the rise and cited the shrinking of "the communist atheistic realm" as part of that, along with phenomenal Christian growth outside the Western world. The number of Christian worshipers in China now exceeds Sunday-service attendance in Europe where Christian growth is decreasing. Since 1970 the number of Christians has tripled in Africa and Asia and doubled in Latin America.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

-In India: Following an attack by Hindu extremists last month, four tribal Christians from Toranpada village in west-central India's Maharashtra State asked police for help. One police officer taunted them by saying, "Ask Jesus to call me on my mobile phone." Police officers also asked for a demonstration of prayer. When the four knelt down, the officers kicked them and continued taunting. Finally, the four were charged with "breaching the peace." An investigation was under way by the State Minorities Commission.

Compass Direct via MissionNet

-In Myanmar (Burma): Minority Chin women in Myanmar are "under constant attack" with threat of rape by the Burmese army, according to a newly released report. Titled "Hidden Crimes Against Chin Women," the report was written by the Women's League of China. The Chin are 90% Christian and have faced religious and ethnic persecution for decades. The report states, "The fear of rape alone is a powerful weapon against all Chin. By assaulting Chin women, all of the Chin are demeaned and terribly disrespected." One female Chin university student said, "If you are double C-being a Chin and being a Christian-you have nothing in Burma."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide via MissionNet

-In Nigeria: Muslim extremists overpowered police officers providing refuge to an unidentified Christian woman in the central town of Izom, Nigeria, stoning and clubbing her to death for doing street evangelism on June 28. The woman handed out tracts and preached to a group of Muslim youth. When Muslim elders heard this they claimed it insulted Mohammed and ordered she be killed. Police took her into protective custody when an unruly mob surrounded the police station. The officer's attempt to escape out a rear door with the woman was blocked. The police abandoned the woman to save their own lives, resulting in her death. She remains unidentified amid speculation she is from a neighboring village. Street evangelism is common in Nigeria, and there are nine Christian churches in Izom.

Compass Direct via MissionNet

-In China: A report released June 26, by the China Aid Association lists events of persecution in different provinces of China from May 2005 to May 2006. The report shows that 1,958 house church pastors and Christians were affected in 15 provinces across China. Teacher and leadership training events seem to be viewed as particularly threatening by the government officials who seem to aim to control the indoctrination of the next generation of Christians. The central province of Henan was listed as the worst for persecution against house churches with 823 pastors and believers arrested in 11 raids from July 2005 to May 2006. The report shows that police officers and religious affairs cadres often mistreated and tortured the Christian captives. Two women, ages 72 and 21, were forced to strip during questioning. There are about 10 million state-registered Protestants in China and an estimated 50 million unregistered "house church" Protestants.

China Aid Association/Christian Newswire/WorldWide Religious News via MissionNet

-In the Philippines: While officiating a wedding on June 3, 47-year-old Filipino pastor Mocsin Hasim received a text message saying, "Pastor, you will die today." He had been receiving death threats for months, so he ignored the message and left via motorcycle with his 22-year-old daughter Mercilyn after the wedding. Their bodies were found in an isolated area near the motorcycle. Hasim was shot 19 times, mostly in the back, while his daughter was shot five times. There are no known witnesses, but the Muslim extremist group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is suspected. Hasim was affiliated with the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church of the Philippines and had been ministering among one of the fiercest of the 13 Filipino Muslim tribes for about 10 years. His wife and three remaining children have moved due to ongoing threats since the attack.

Evangelical News/Open Doors via MissionNet

-In India: Four nuns from a group known as the Mother Teresa Sisters were attacked by a crowd of Hindu fanatics and arrested by police in southeastern India's Andhra Pradesh State on June 25. The nuns, known worldwide for their altruism and dedication to the poor, modeled after the work of the late Mother Teresa, were in the middle of their weekly hospital visit with terminal AIDS patients in the city of Tirupati when a group of about 50 Hindu fanatics broke into the hospital and blocked the nuns in. They accused them of trying to "convert Hindu patients."

WorldWide Religious News/AsiaNews via MissionNet

-In Somalia: Somali Christians braced for more attacks after reports of at least three Christian men being gunned down in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. The three men were apparently hit by automatic gunfire as they returned home from a prayer meeting. Muslim violence is spreading across the nation and latest reports indicate "some children of Somali Christian refugees" in neighboring Kenya were kidnapped by Muslim relatives and taken to Islamic institutions back in Somalia for "rehabilitation." The situation for Somali Christians has deteriorated rapidly since Mogadishu was taken over by the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), a strong militant group that has pledged to implement sharia (Islamic law) in the country.

BosNewsLife via MissionNet

Abortion Pain Bill, Catholic Resistance To Killing Embryos Top Pro-Life News reports that U.S. House Republicans have unveiled a new legislative plan to tackle social issues. The "American Values Agenda," a list of ten bills House leaders will seek votes on before the end of this year, includes a bill calling for women seeking abortions after the forth month of pregnancy to be informed about the unborn child's capacity to experience great pain.

Another proposed bill would ban all forms of human cloning. The House previously approved the human cloning ban, which prohibits both reproductive and research-based cloning, in 2001 and 2003. The Senate has never acted on the legislation but may do so this year.

In other pro-life news, it was reported that a California State Senate committee has rejected a measure that would legalize assisted suicide-thus shelving the measure for the rest of the legislative session.

The Catholic Church has also restated its opposition to embryonic stem cell research, saying it plans to excommunicate scientists who conduct it because it involves the destruction of human life. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo made the comments to an Italian Christian magazine, Famiglia Cristiana. Trujillo said the warning "applies to all women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos."

The cardinal, head of the Vatican department dealing with family affairs, said the church believes "destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion ... it's the same thing." He said the church is worried that "certain crimes" are being treated as if they had "become rights."

Will Huge Gift Hurt Pro-Life Cause?

Pro-lifers are concerned that the huge donation to the foundation established by Bill Gates and his wife, which has been announced by Warren Buffett, will greatly increase the flow of dollars into pro-choice programs, and cost many more pre-born babies their chance for life. According to an Associated Press report, Buffett-reputedly the world's second richest man-will give shares in Berkshire Hathaway, equivalent to about $37 billion, to the Gates' foundation.

While the announced goals of the Gates foundation are conquering various diseases world-wide, pro-life advocates note that the Gates foundation has given the Planned Parenthood Federation of America almost $12.5 million since 1998, including funds to persuade teenagers to support abortion and to lobby the United Nations to advance pro-abortion proposals. The Gates foundation has also given nearly $21 million to the International Planned Parenthood abortion business over the last seven years. The funds have gone to promote abortions in third-world nations and to set up pro-abortion family planning centers in South America, Africa and eastern European nations.

"Not Just Autistic at Risk in Sex Screening"

All human life is in jeopardy if regulators approve a British hospital's plan to destroy male human embryos from families with a history of autism, a bioethicist says.

Researchers at University College Hospital in London have requested permission from a government regulatory agency to screen for the sex of embryos in couples with a family history of autism, according to the Daily Mail, a British online newspaper. While there is no trustworthy test for autism, the screening of embryos produced through in-vitro fertilization would enable male embryos to be disposed of and female embryos to be implanted. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females, according to the Autism Society of America.

"If unborn children are being eliminated for a genetic disposition to autism, no one is safe," said C. Ben Mitchell, associate professor of bioethics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in suburban Chicago, Ill., and a consultant for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "If genetic diagnosis for autism had been available 30 to 50 years ago, Silicon Valley might be empty," he said, adding it is believed many of those who work in the computer software industry have a mild form of autism known as Asperger's syndrome. "Does anyone think [Microsoft founder] Bill Gates should have been eliminated as an embryo?"

Baptist Press

Iraqi General Notes Growth of Christianity

Retired Iraqi Gen. Georges Sada reports more Iraqi Muslims becoming Christians than at any other time in the history of the country. Speaking at both a private dinner outside Washington, D.C., and at McLean Bible Church in northern Virginia on Monday, May 22, Sada shared stories about Saddam Hussein moving weapons of mass destruction to Syria in 2002, his personal refusal to execute U.S. and British prisoners of the first Gulf War, and stories of what God is doing today in Iraq. Bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg had met Sada previously while researching a book and instigated his speaking engagements. Rosenberg said, "Sada told me that some 5,000 Iraqis have publicly identified themselves as new followers of Christ since Iraq was liberated, and that an estimated eight out of 10 Iraqi believers say they converted because Jesus appeared to them in dreams or visions." Sada reported that the Kurds in northern Iraq are particularly receptive to Christ and are converting "by the hundreds."

Evangelical News/Assist News Service via MissionNet

Famine, AIDS Twin Woes in Malawi

The East African nation of Malawi continues to suffer from a famine that reached its peak in late 2005. One of the poorest nations in the world, Malawi was declared a "disaster area" by the president who warned that 5 million people-almost half the population-were in danger of starvation. In addition, 14% of Malawians are infected with AIDS, making many farmers too sick to work. Millions are still in need of food aid. Ironically, the worst-hit villages lie in a fertile river valley fed by Lake Malawi, but farmers often can't afford the basic equipment and machinery needed to farm or the means to transport water to their fields. Since food is available to those with money, Christian Aid Mission recently transferred funds to an indigenous ministry, allowing the immediate purchase and delivery of food to some of the starving people.

Christian Aid Mission via MissionNet<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

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