Persecutors All Over the Map, Christians Warn
“We will cut you. We will kill you. We will do anything we want to you.” The threat, Arjun and Neha knew, was real. Banished from the village well — the only source of water — the family left, carrying what they could hold. They had just become Christians, and like a lot of places in India, the decision to follow Jesus was a dangerous one. “God didn’t call me to a life of comfort,” one of the persecuted said. “But He does promise to walk with me.”
Mohan points to a field of wheat. “I loved my village," he says. "It was my favorite place. We worked the farm.” Then, one terrifying day, people broke down his door and destroyed everything in his home. “We made a small hut by the church and live there. We have nothing.” For people watching from the West, the stories are more and more alarming. New reports show a record number of violent attacks against Christians in India is rising — and fast.
“By all accounts, 2019 was a very difficult year for Christians living in India… and 2020 promises to be as bad if not worse," Breitbart warns. In the first quarter of 2019, hate crimes and targeted violence against Christians in India [jumped] 57 percent.” More than 100 churches closed in 2018 alone, Aid to the Christians in Need (ACN) notes, either “because of extremist attacks or intervention by authorities.” In the meantime, Hindu radicals have sent some believers into hiding, while others — like Arjun and Neha — are determined to witness, no matter the price.
Horrifying photos have emerged of the victims — people like 68-year-old Lakhpati Devi, who was covered in bloody bandages after being beaten with an ax. Pastors like Eswara Rao Appalabattula describe being surrounded by angry mobs, punched and whipped by poles until their hands are broken. “I was lying there on the floor screaming for help," Appalabattula told Morning Star News. "My wife came running and begged them to stop beating me — it was traumatic.” Other Christians say they live in constant fear, some even renouncing their faith to stop the abuse.
President Trump will have an opportunity to address the crisis when he meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in late February. And it won’t be a moment too soon. Religious freedom conditions in India have been deteriorating, especially with the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) at the end of last year. Under the CAA, Muslims are almost entirely excluded from naturalizing to India, sparking a huge protest and deadly police crackdown in response. “Close to two million long-time residents… may soon be deemed stateless,” my fellow USCIRF commissioner, Anurima Bhargava, explained.
Just east, the Rohingya aren’t faring much better. More disturbing reports from Bangladesh confirm that attackers did beat, loot, and vandalize innocent people in the refugee camps. A Christian school and church were destroyed, and the whereabouts of a father and 14-year-old daughter are still unknown. “No one can give me any clear information," the girl’s mother cries, "but my relatives told me that my daughter has been forced to convert to Islam and marry.” As for her husband, the widespread concern is that he’s dead, killed by armed militants.
The news doesn’t get any brighter for Christians in Hong Kong either, where a hardline political chief is about to replace Zhang Xiaoming. Xia Baolong, a fierce ally of the Chinese president, is set to take the reins in a city roiled by democratic protests. For men and women of faith, “If the central authorities want a crackdown, he would not spare any efforts," a divinity professor warns. "This would definitely have an impact on Hong Kong’s civil society.”
Baolong, “who is known for removing hundreds of crosses from churches,” will be an enemy of religious freedom at a time when the region desperately needs a champion. According to the Christian Post, “A pastor in Zhejiang, who was not named due to security concerns, told the U.S.-based group International Christian Concern, ‘This shift [from Zhang to Xia] is not a good situation. It is possible that Xia will oppress the churches in Hong Kong.’”
The situation is a powder keg — not just in Hong Kong, but India and Myanmar as well. Join me in praying that the Lord would use the United States to bring hope and help to our brothers and sisters in dark places. “He is simply asking us to follow in His footsteps,” Arjun says humbly. Thousands of miles away, may we follow those footsteps to our knees.
Originally published here.
On Infanticide, Dems Use Scarce Tactics
You never happened. Imagine sitting down to that headline if you’re Melissa Ohden, Gianna Jessen, or one of a thousand other victims the media says don’t exist. Vox even put the phrase “abortion survivors” in scare quotes, as if the punctuation would help convince America the documented cases aren’t real. Of course, there’s a reason Democrats are desperate for people to believe this is a “fake issue.” They’re hoping the country will ignore their inhumanity. It isn’t, and we haven’t.
“Senate Republicans want to protect babies ‘born alive’ after an abortion," Vice scoffed. "That doesn’t happen.” Writing for the site, Carter Sherman goes on to argue that pro-lifers are somehow conflating infanticide with “end-of-life care.” But “end-of-life care” that ends in death isn’t care at all — a fact that isn’t lost on most reasonable people. And if the end of life is at its start, then let’s not fool ourselves. We’re talking about infanticide, not “letting the infant pass naturally,” as Vice so blithely puts it.
At one point, Sherman, realizing the facts are bound to catch up with him, admits there are, “exceedingly rare situations where infants show signs of life after attempted abortions.” So we’ve gone from “that doesn’t happen” to “the casualties are too few to worry about.” He points to the 143 born-alive deaths listed in the CDC’s report with a shrug, never mentioning that these only are the numbers from six U.S. states. The government couldn’t factor in the other 44, like Virginia, where infanticide is common enough that Governor Ralph Northam (D) referred to it as “comfort care.”
But the reality is, it shouldn’t matter how many babies were left to die. Rareness doesn’t equal rightness. Terrorism doesn’t happen every day either. Does that mean we leave the country completely unprotected? Absolutely not. A life is a life. If taking an innocent life is wrong, then it’s wrong every time.
Tell that to the 2020 candidates. With the exception of Donald Trump, not one person vying for the job is willing to admit that walking away from a table, while a baby struggles for life, is wrong. “I respect where you’re coming from,” former Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “and I hope to earn your vote, but I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you.” Buttigieg said. “I am pro-choice. And I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision.” By “that decision,” the Indianapolis Star points out, he means any decision.
As “the moderate," James Briggs writes to his fellow Hoosiers, "You might expect such a candidate to have staked out some sort of middle ground on abortion, Buttigieg has not — and his position reveals why many people who are otherwise open to voting for Democrats find the party so hostile to their values that they are sticking with President Donald Trump despite many reservations.”
Even Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who’s only being considered a moderate because she’s not a socialist, couldn’t bring herself to say that an infant who’s born alive deserves the same care as a wanted baby. She’s already voted once to make infanticide the new “choice.” Yet, despite all of her support for late-term abortion, birth day abortion, and taxpayer-funded abortion, she tells pro-lifers they’re welcome to join the party. Welcome to be ignored, maybe.
As for Buttigieg, his closing argument to primary voters in Nevada is the promise of free abortions. His health care plan, he argued, “support, reimburse, and fund” abortion. But the idea, Slate has warned, isn’t as popular as Democrats think. The majority of Americans (54 percent to 39 percent) don’t think taxpayers should be financing the killing of innocent children. Obviously, Briggs warns, the Democratic Party has stopped listening to voters’ sincere concerns, “as evidenced by Buttigieg’s unwillingness to bend even rhetorically toward the right.”
That’s bad news for a party whose November hopes are entirely dependent on the undecided middle. “It’s not hard to find people who both oppose abortion and are dissatisfied with Trump’s performance as president,” Briggs agrees. “But if Buttigieg’s position on abortion is indicative of the choices conservatives will face in November, it might be hard for Democrats to win any of them.”
Originally published here.
A West Coast Sit-Down about Standing
Sunday morning, I joined my good friend, Pastor Jack Hibbs, at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills for their three morning services. While I was there, we did something we’ve never done before: the two of us sat down and had a conversation about how we as followers of Jesus should respond to government and politics. The basis for our discussion wasn’t our opinions but what Scripture says. We answered questions like, “As Christians, what should our stewardship look like as it pertains to government?” “How do you respond to family and friends who say, ‘I don’t discuss religion and politics?’” Pastor Jack also asked me to respond to President Trump’s leadership style and whether or not he has been able to get things done.
The response to our discussion has been overwhelming, as so many Christians try to understand and respond to today’s political and cultural environments from a biblical perspective. I encourage you to watch this unique teaching and share it with your friends and family.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.