We Persevere Roundup Week of 07/15/16

Weekly News on Global Religious Freedom and How the Church Perseveres

Russia: This week, many took note that Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of “anti-terrorism laws” that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.

In light of the truth that anti-Christian hostility is always culturally, politically, and historically determined, Andrey Shirin explores what’s behind this particular piece of legislation in his article Russia: The Other “Christian Nation.”

Pakistan: What if posting a poem on social media could land you in jail? One hallmark of hostility against Christians is the limitation of speech. This family fled their home last week after the father, Nadeem James, posted a poem on WhatsApp. His neighbor reported the poem – and the family – to police, feeling that it challenged Islam and broke Pakistan’s “blasphemy rule.” Breaking this rule carries the death penalty.

To date, the James family is still in hiding, and their story underscores the fragility speech and religious freedoms, and how intertwined the two are for the genuine believer. Read the full story here.

US: This week, there were a growing number of pending legislation quietly being debated. Most seek to establish non-discrimination for various segments of our population, yet they simultaneously chip away at speech and religious freedoms for others.

As Iowa introduced changes to its Civil Rights Act that would set a precedent for restricted speech in the pulpit, a Virginia bill that was meant to protect citizens from being required to solemnize or officiate marriages at odds with conscience was vetoed by its governor. California’s SB 1146, a measure that would restrict California’s Christian higher-ed institutions from interpreting and practicing their own standard for biblical sexual ethics, was also debated. In light of these weighty matters, the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission asked  “Is there no goodwill left on religious liberty?”

Pakistan: Human rights journalist Geoffrey P. Johnston is running a series on Christian persecution focusing the lens on Pakistan, and I was honored to be interviewed for his opening article. You may recall that Pakistan fell victim to a terrible massacre on Easter Sunday 2016, but this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of indignities religious minorities suffer under what many of us would recognize as “Jim Crow” conditions.
Catch up on Part One and Part Two of his series … Part Three will come out next week.

Nigeria: Eunice Elisha, a mother of seven, was hacked to death in the early hours of  July 9th near Nigeria’s capital as she preached the Gospel. Her body was discovered by her sons, who had heard reports that a “preacher had been killed in the streets.” Her surviving husband called her a zealous Christian who “rarely missed a day in church.” Police have arrested six suspects, and an investigation continues, but the Buhari administration remains lukewarm to the ongoing violence against its Christian citizens. Read more here.

 

Stand With Them: Here’s a tangible way to show solidarity with the persecuted … order your “We Persevere” t-shirt and hoodies here, available for a limited time.