Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why Things Could Be Worse

You could be in Iraq:

Iraq’s troubles preceded those of the rest, but they are important because they eerily prefigure them. ‘Democracy’, imposed at gunpoint, has meant in Iraq, among other horrors, the mass persecution of the country’s Christian minority. Murders, kidnappings, intimidation and expulsions, impelled by a mixture of greed and fanaticism, have reduced that ancient, venerable community to total ruin. Of some 1.4 million Christians living in Iraq before the war, perhaps 400,000 — mostly the poor and the old — remain.

Or Syria (from the same article):

Many Iraqi refugees left to join the two million indigenous Christians of Syria. They now share their hosts’ lot — persecution by the western-supported, Saudi-financed, Islamist-dominated Syrian rebels. Large areas of opposition-held Syria are now under sharia law. Saudi judges have appeared to administer it. Non-Muslims are only tolerated if they pay the jizya, the tax imposed on infidels. Priests are special targets. This is where a Syrian Catholic priest, Father François Murad, was murdered last month. He was not the first to die. A Syrian Orthodox priest, Father Fadi Haddad, was grabbed last December as he left his church to negotiate the release of a kidnapped parishioner. His body was found by the roadside, the eyes gouged out. Two higher-profile recent cases — if not high enough for the government or most of our press to notice — are those of the Greek Orthodox archbishop Paul Yazigi and the Syriac Orthodox archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim. They were seized near Aleppo in April, when trying to negotiate the release of kidnapped priests. Both archbishops are now presumed dead.

Or Egypt (from the same article):

By his action he rejected the traditional Muslim assumption that Egypt’s Copts — 10 per cent of the population — enjoyed second-class status. That was a direct challenge. The Islamists have reacted wherever they are in control. Since Morsi’s removal, 58 Christian churches, as well as several convents, monasteries and schools and dozens of homes and businesses have been looted, burned and in many cases destroyed. Tawadros himself has gone into hiding. In Cairo, Franciscan nuns watched as the cross over their school was torn down and replaced by an al-Qa’eda flag; the school remains were burnt; and then three of the sisters were marched through the streets, while a mob hurled abuse at them. The reaction of the US State Department’s official spokesman to these outrages was: ‘Clearly, any reports of violence we’re concerned about, and when it involves a religious institutions [sic], are concerned about that as well.’ The words ‘church’, ‘Christian’ or ‘persecution’ could not cross that eloquent spokesman’s lips. Nor, it is safe to say, will they figure in one of William Hague’s innumerable tweets.

Thanks to Robin Harris for pointing these out.

Or you could be in Viet Nam (thank you Tancred for the post):

The Vietnamese police attacked a peaceful rally of Catholics in the parish of My yen. With batons, electric pulse weapons, tear gas and shots in the air with live ammunition, the Vietnamese police took action against several hundred Catholics who were demonstrating for the release of two parishioners. The two Catholics are in prison without charge since June. According to witnesses, it was one of the bloodiest and most brutal of anti-Christian police actions in recent years. Several dozen Catholics were arrested. The number of injured is much higher. The seriously injured were taken to Hanoi. Several of them are in serious condition. My Yen is in the province of Nghe An, a coastal area in the central north of the country.

Or India (per AsiaNews):

The latest occurred on 18 August in Chikkamalaguru District when Hindu radicals stormed the home of Ms Doddamma, a member of the Rehebothe Prarthana Mandir Pentecostal Church. The group of men asked her why she visited Hindu families and who gave her permission to preach Christianity. Faced with her silence, the men dragged her and her daughter to a nearby Hindu temple, where they ordered some holy men to reconvert them to Hinduism. Faced with their refusal, the Hindus brutally beat the two women, as others destroyed their home...

On 11 August, in Chitadurga District, Rev Paramajyothi, the pastor at an independent Pentecostal Church, was attacked by Hindu ultra-nationalists. Dragged out of his church, he was stripped him and beaten mercilessly under the eyes of his congregation and family. The religious leader suffered several injuries, including three broken teeth...

On 3 August, 50 Hindu extremists violently attacked Somashekarwas, an Evangelical Christian in Bijapur District. Pulling his hair and ripping his clothes, they ordered him to reconvert to Hinduism. They also swore at his wife Kusumabhai and ordered the couple to leave the village if they were not willing to renounce Christianity. Because of their refusal, the attackers reported them to the police in Nedugundhi, accusing them of practicing forced conversions.

Or, of course, China:

Per ChinaAid- recently reported that the Rev. Song Wanjun, priest of the underground Catholic Church in Xiwanzi, Qiaodong District, Hebei province was detained by 10 law enforcement officials at 4 a.m., Aug. 7 while he was driving. The news of Rev. Song’s arrest has been confirmed by the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Per UCA-
Three other priests – Frs Shi Weiqiang, Tian Jianmin and Yang Gang, all from Hebei, were also arrested last month, the JPC report noted. The current whereabouts of all four priests remains unknown.

So we got that going for us.

Fortunately, of the hundreds of thousands just that we've mentioned in this post, none were killed by chemical weapons. Otherwise, somebody might actually care.

When you heard today's Gospel and Christ spoke about guys building towers or kings going to war who made sure that they determined what the cost of their venture would be prior to taking any action, did it bring to mind how high the cost of Christianity might be? Or how heavy the cross could get?

Something to think about.

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