“It’s a dangerous time to be a person of faith. We are at a critical moment. We can and must do more.” Those are the words of U.S Ambassador Callista Gingrich addressing a Rome symposium earlier this week on ‘Defending International Religious Freedom: Partnership and Action.’
The meeting bore special significance as the 20th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act approaches, while religious liberty around the globe has reached a critical point. According to recent reports, 75 percent of victims of religious persecution are Christians, a disturbing fact of which many are unaware or unconcerned.
Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan, soon to be named a cardinal by Pope Francis later this week, added his voice to the chorus, saying that the initial promise of religious freedom in his country after independence in 1947 is being “eroded.”
“There are forces at work within society, Islamic groups and others, with the idea that Pakistan should be an Islamic state with Islamic laws, a theocratic state like Saudi Arabia,” Coutts said.
He recalled how a Pakistani Christian mother has been facing a death sentence under the country’s blasphemy law since 2010 because of an argument with Muslim women. He said the government is “even afraid to take the case forward” because it is concerned about an “emotional reaction” by extremists.
Pakistani blasphemy laws prescribe execution or life imprisonment for anyone accused of offences against the prophet Muhammad or the Quran, Islam’s holy book.
By every measure, Christian persecution – and even more fundamentally, fear and loathing of biblical Christianity – is growing worldwide, even in the once-Christian West, including Europe, the United Kingdom and North America.
The most recent manifestation within the U.S. has been the appalling church shooting massacres, including September’s church shooting in Tennessee and November’s mass-murder in rural Texas when a militant atheist, calling believers “stupid,” slaughtered 26 churchgoers and injured dozens more.
In many parts of the globe, the reasons Christian believers are targets is very clear: Christians are considered “infidels” by millions of Muslims taught from the moment of birth that such are deserving of death or forced conversion to Islam, or else dhimmitude (subservient second-class status including a punitive tax).
The tyrannical elites in communist societies indoctrinate their population with the notion that there is no God – or, as in North Korea, that their leader is a god himself.
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