Tag Archives: persecution
The difference between “freedom of religion” and “freedom of worship” is very distinct. The fact that our president says he believes in “freedom of worship” over “freedom of religion” is a warning to be taken seriously.
A group of Pentecostals were meeting in a home church group when the local police came and said they would drive them from the home in accordance with a new law. That new law allows “freedom of worship” but severely restricts “freedom of religion.”
Recently in Russia, a proposed law received overwhelming support from lawmakers and was approved by president Vladimir Putin. That law put restrictions on missionary work, teaching, preaching, or seeking to “recruit” people into a religious organization. The law also restricts people from sharing their faith in their home, online, or anywhere outside of a church building.
It has been confirmed by multiple sources that US-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini has finally been freed from the Iranian prison he was held in for more than three years.
Sources including Christianity Today and his wife Naghmeh confirmed the release of Pastor Saeed as a part of a prisoner swap between the US and Iran. The United States released 7 prisoners and Iran released 4.
Pastor Saeed was first taken in 2012 while he was in Iran helping to build a government approved orphanage. He had been warned not to participate in house churches while Iran, but was given clearance to help with the orphanage. While on a bus he was taken, arrested, and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Pastor Saeed’s wife became a tireless warrior pleading for his release. She spoke with anyone that would listen, including religious and political leaders all over the world. Mrs. Abedini’s legal representation, The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), gathered more than 1 million signatures in its effort to secure Pastor Saeed’s release.
If I were to ask you whether churches would ever lose their tax-exempt status (or be sued) for refusing to support homosexuality, what would you say?
Can you imagine a time in our nation when a church would be forced, under penalty of law, to accept something that it believes is sin? That is the question many people are currently wondering. In light of the earlier Supreme Court ruling in the Obergfell case, political analysts are speculating that it is just a matter of time before churches are in one way or another forced to support homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”
In particular, commentator Bill O’Reilly said he thinks it’s “just a matter of time” before churches are sued for refusing to perform same-sex weddings. In a video after the Supreme Court decision he said:
“It’s just a matter of time before lawsuits are filed against churches and religious organizations, trying to strip them of their tax-exempt status if they don’t toe the line on gay marriage and other progressive causes.”
Let’s be honest here, it has always been religious people that have stood in the way of liberal causes. When you think of the primary opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and other liberal social ideas, it is Christians and those with deeply held religious convictions that stand opposed. For this reason people of faith are a target, an obstacle to be removed in order to achieve some liberal idea of a utopian society.
Did you know that 2014 was one of the worst years on record for violence against Christians around the world?
According to Open Doors USA, a leading organization that serves the persecuted church around the world, last year marked the most dramatic increase in violence and persecution of Christians around the world in the modern era. And, the group says, the worst may yet be ahead.
Open Doors USA released its 24th annual World Watch List, documenting the 50 most dangerous countries to live in if you’re a Christian. Not surprising is the fact that most of the top countries are Muslim, the rest are communist or socialist. This highlights the reality that without religious freedom there is only violence and persecution waiting for people.
Open Doors USA defines persecution as “any hostility experienced as a result of one’s identification with Christ.”
An article at The Blaze shares details from the World Watch list report:
Pastor, let me ask you a question. Does your congregation know their religious rights? I’m not trying to be funny, it’s a serious question. And I am willing to bet that not only does many in your congregation not know their rights, but neither do you.
My friend Erik Stanley has been leading the charge to educate churches and pastors on their religious rights for a long time. As a religious freedom litigator with Alliance Defending Freedom he is on the front lines ensuring our constitutional rights are protected and defended. Part of his work has been the “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” project which aims to challenge the unconstitutional Johnson Amendment in the IRS code. Erik recently wrote:
“Why is it that Christians have a sense that our faith is under attack and that we are a disfavored minority on the road to sure persecution? One reason is because of the stories we see of fellow believers who are currently undergoing trials and tribulations for simply exercising their faith… Pastor, what are you doing to prepare your congregation to live in a culture that seems bent on denying them the right to live out their faith and to share their faith with others around them? Are they aware of the increasing attacks on people of faith?”
By now many people know of the florist in Washington, the baker in Colorado, and the photographer in New Mexico facing lawsuits for adhering to their religious convictions. What you might not know is that these are just three of the hundreds of cases wherein people of faith are facing legal action for their convictions. The reality is that these stories are growing in number.
A group in Indiana is under attack for speaking truthfully about the danger same-sex “marriage” presents to religious freedom. The group put out a bulletin insert to churches which listed “Just Four Dangers of Same-Sex Marriage” that is being blasted as “promulgating panic” by those who don’t agree. The flier says the four dangers are: