Tony Perkins / September 17, 2021

Deep in Hiding, Afghan Christians Cling to Faith

The Taliban are tracking them, stalking them, warning them they know where they are.

They take turns staying awake, praying and walking the floor while others sleep — blissfully unaware, at least for a few hours, that they are being hunted. They have no passports, no visas, and very little of what they need most of all: hope. For these Christians, in a safe house deep in Afghanistan, time is running out. Together, they live in fear of a single knock on their hiding place door — from the Taliban.

“It happened so fast,” Sarah said. “We had many plans for preaching the gospel with other brothers and sisters…” Now, their plan is to just survive. Even that, they know, will be difficult. To the despair of rescue groups and humanitarian workers, the small population of Christians in Afghanistan has seemed to vanish — almost overnight. Some have fled to the hills, others have retreated into the shadows — turning off their phones and hunkering down in whatever undisclosed locations they can find. Some have just gone missing completely.

For people like Jean Marie Thrower, those are the ones that haunt her. “People… are going missing and getting killed every day.” On the ground, her Afghan Rescue Crew hears the harrowing stories of desperate parents. “We have had people shot, beheaded. They’re taking the kids. If you’re on the run, and they find your family, they’ll hurt your family and put the word out in the neighborhood that ‘we’ve got your brother or son or daughter.’ They cut off the heads of two boys that were nine and ten.” The Taliban is executing Christians faster than her organization can find them. “We started out with 300 three weeks ago, and we’re down to 55.”

The orphans, if they’re lucky enough to be left behind, are starving. Thrower talks about two little girls who managed to hide after their parents were murdered — but eventually, they got so hungry that they ventured out to the market. “The Taliban found them, raped them, and beat them.” In villages where the families didn’t have time to escape, “The Taliban are going door-to-door taking women and children. The people must mark their house with an ‘X’ if they have a girl over 12 years old, so that the Taliban can take them. If they find a young girl and the house was not marked they will execute the entire family.”

While this White House is busy patting itself on the back for Afghanistan, calling it an “extraordinary success”, 7,000 miles away fathers are handing guns to their wives and daughters so that they can kill themselves if the terrorists come. Even hiding is a double-edged sword. “Every day,” one Christian told his American contact, “I receive a phone call from a private number. A soldier warns me that if he sees me again, he’ll behead me.” The Taliban are tracking them, stalking them, warning them they know where they are. “Even within the networks we have, a number of people have changed their phone numbers, because it’s simply not safe anymore,” International Christian Concern’s William Stark lamented. Others have gone completely dark, making it impossible for rescue workers to find them. “It’s just an utter and complete humanitarian disaster,” one activist said helplessly.

The families fortunate enough to connect with an outside group are huddling in undisclosed hotels, listening to the manhunt outside. “But they’re running out of food and water,” Thrower shakes her head. “They’re afraid to leave the house for the past ten, twelve days. But the cost — the cost is, for some of our groups, $10,000 to $15,000 a week. We have people in our organization paying, and I’m sending them money through Western Union. If I don’t give them money, they won’t be able to stay in this hotel for another week.” All of her teams, she says, are going 24 hours without sleep — desperate to keep these endangered people alive. They all understand what one church leader has warned: “They will kill the known Christians [to] spread fear.”

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, the Biden administration has already moved on. They’re fighting abortion laws and ordering vaccine mandates — not giving a single thought to the thousands of people they abandoned and left behind. Whatever time they do spend on Afghanistan is reserved for their victory propaganda, declaring the withdrawal a huge success. Tell that to Jaiuddin and the other Christians huddled in Kabul, wondering if this night will be their last.

He is not afraid to die. Like many there, he is more afraid the world will forget them. Pray for us, he asked. “We are praying… that the Lord would put his angels around our house for our protection and safety.” God has a plan, another Christian leader in hiding insisted. “He knows what’s best for His children in Afghanistan.” “The church has been united. Fear is the biggest thing. If leaders are afraid, the people in the church will be afraid. People are struggling to trust their own God. Through this hardship, the church will grow. But there will also be an exodus of Christians from Afghanistan,” he predicts.

Join FRC — and believers all around the world — in praying that he is right. For specific ways to pray for Afghan Christians in this dark hour, click over to Open Doors, Voice of the Martryrs, and the FRC blog.

Originally published here.

Vaccine Mandate Takes Cheap Shots at Freedom

If Joe Biden thought his vaccine mandate would send Americans racing for the nearest CVS — boy, was he wrong. People who were hesitant to roll up their sleeves before are outright adamant about it now, thanks to the heavy hand of government. Intimidation won’t increase vaccinations, doctors are warning. But it will increase lawsuits — and Arizona’s is just the beginning.

Just when you thought the White House might have maxed out on bad decision-making, the president’s outrageous vaccine mandate (which was no doubt meant to distract from his outrageous Afghanistan exit, his outrageous border crisis, his outrageous inflation problem, and his outrageous tax plan) hasn’t just turned the public against the shots, but Biden himself. If the administration hoped its COVID overreach would turn Americans into vaccine believers, they’ll be disappointed to know that polling is headed in the exact opposite direction.

A majority of states, already furious with the slew of radical policies being pumped out of Washington, erupted. “The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID vaccine,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich insisted. “Under our Constitution, the president is not a king who can exercise this sort of unbridled power unilaterally.” He may say he can push governors “out of the way,” but that’s not how our system works.

And Brnovich aims to prove that in a 14-page lawsuit in federal court. On “Washington Watch,” he said it all comes back to this foundational point: “Our rights come from God, not from the government. And [yet]… the Biden administration has this idea, this old progressive notion, that they know what’s best for everybody.” But it’s time to look at what the Constitution says, he argued. And nowhere in that guiding document can the president “force anyone to inject anything into their body. It’s as simple as that. The Ninth Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, prohibit that president from doing it…”

Of course, the great irony, Brnovich pointed out, is that even if Biden had that authority, it’s a violation of the equal protection clause, because he’s not forcing illegal immigrants to get vaccinated. “But if you’re a federal employee, if you’re a marshal, a Border Patrol agent, wherever you work, you have to get it. And we think that not only violates the equal protection clause, but it’s just fundamentally wrong.”

Like most people, the Arizona law enforcer took issue with even how the president framed the mandate. “I think that was one of the worst speeches by a president in the history of this country,” Brnovich said of Biden’s disrespectful, paternalistic lecture. “[He’s] acting like a Third World dictator… And I think the reason why so many people are so worried about this is that not only is it a massive concentration of power in Washington, D.C., but if we let Joe Biden get away with this, then in the future, what’s to stop any president from basically telling you what you can and can’t do with your own personal health care decisions?” Liberal elites did not create our fundamental rights, he warned, and so it’s incumbent on the states — for the sake of our liberties — to fight back.

At the end of the day, he insisted, this isn’t an issue between Right versus Left. It’s an issue of right versus wrong and the dignity of every human being. That’s why so many leaders are getting their battle plans together: our most basic freedom is at stake. “This is just the first torpedo in the water,” Brnovich promised. “There will be more.”

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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