Category Archives: persecution of Christians

Muslim clerics alarmed over ‘exponential’ increase of Christian converts in Iran

Something extraordinary and wondrous is happening in Iran.

It is the Light of Christ.

Mohabat News, the Iranian Christian News Agency, reports on August 11, 2017, that “Christianity has been growing at an exponential rate in the last couple of decades in Iran, causing the Islamic government a great deal of concern.”

Senior Islamic officials, such as Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, one of the most senior Islamic Shi’ite clerics, repeatedly have expressed their concern over the spread of Christianity especially among young Iranians, including the son of an Islamic cleric. Other officials are:

  • Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, a “high profile Islamic seminary official,” recently bemoaned that “accurate reports indicate that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches”.
  • Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani said he had received reports about the exponential increase in popularity of Christianity amongst the youth in the Islamic city of Qom.
  • Another Ayatollah, based in Tabriz, said he had received reports that at one time, 600 residents of one of the cities in Khorasan province had converted to Christianity.

The “high rate” of conversion of Iranian youth to Christianity is in spite of the government’s two fold plan to stop the spread of Christianity:

(1) Propaganda and indoctrination:

The first front is the allocation of millions of dollars for Islamic propaganda across the country and to support Islamic organizations that promote Islam among the youth within and without Iran’s borders, especially in cities such as Mashhad and Qom. Last year, after Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi expressed his deepest concern over the popularity of Christianity in the suburbs of Mashhad, the city’s religious and political officials immediately sent a vast number of Islamic teachers and preachers to Mashhad’s suburbs to turn the youth away from Christianity.

(2) Suppression:

The second front is a crackdown campaign on newly converted Christians in order to plant fear in those who are interested in learning more about Christianity and possibly becoming Christians themselves. Young people who resist indoctrination and became Christian converts are arrested and harassed by the government’s law enforcement and intelligence ministry, and subjected to long term prison sentences and heavy bails for their temporary release. Churches, including house churches are disbanded. As examples, the government closed down the Central Assemblies of God (AOG) church and Janat Abad church in Tehran, and the AOG church in Ahwaz. Publication of anything related to Christianity or any material referring to Christianity is  restricted, and books about Christianity already in the market are confiscated.

But the government has failed on both fronts — a failure that is obvious as Iranian Islamic authorities continue to express their concern over the rapid growth of Christianity in the country.

Another indicator of the failure of the government’s anti-Christian campaign is the “significant” increase in the number of house churches in Mashbad. Mashbad is the Islamic capital of not just Iran, but the Shi’ite Muslim world. Other Iranian cities with “a record number” of house churches are Tehran and Karaj.

One of Tehran’s imams said in an interview, “today Christians present their gospel to our youth in the most appealing way. They gather in many neighbourhoods across the city, including Bani Hashem neighbourhood (in Tehran) where tens of homes have been turned into house churches which evangelize their neighbours”.

Pray for the Christian converts of Iran!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Take up your cross and follow Him

Matthew 16:21-27

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

What a grim reading for today.

For the first time, Jesus predicts His impending persecution, terrible suffering, and death by execution. Then, He warns that being His follower is not a path of roses, but one of self-abnegation and suffering:

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

Christians actually have had it good in America, compared to both the early Church and the many persecuted Christians across the world today, especially in the Middle East where Christianity is near extinction. See:

But the days of the comfortable U.S. Christian are rapidly fading, as the light of Christ dims in post-Christian America. See:

No matter what the future brings, we are to heed the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 6:10-16:

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

In the meantime, we take strength and solace from our Lord’s words and promise:

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? . . . For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

May the peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Federal judge orders IRS to reveal identities of employees who targeted conservatives for audit

Amidst the flood of bad news is a piece of very good news.

In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status. Lerner said:

“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. … The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

Lois Lerner

As usual, Congress was totally useless in their investigation and hearings, as NOTHING happened to Lerner (she had already resigned from the IRS) or the other IRS employees who engaged in the criminal harassment of conservatives, Christians, and Tea Party groups by singling them out for special scrutiny and audit.

It took a lone federal judge to do what Congress should have done.

Brooke Singman for Fox News, Aug. 21, 2017, that after years of litigation by conservative groups against the IRS’ targeting, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the IRS to:

  • Release the names of specific IRS employees involved in targeting Tea Party groups.
  • Provide information about which groups and individuals were targeted and why.
  • Provide assurance — a strategy — that such targeting doesn’t happen again.
  • Search for further related records in other agency databases for the time period spanning 2009 to March 27, 2015. Judge Walton gave the IRS until Oct. 16 to complete the search.

Chris Farrell, director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch whose organization is also involved in litigation with the IRS on this issue, told Fox News that the IRS owes litigants “real accountability”:

“This was creepy, chilling stuff. Judge Walton has accomplished more with one ruling than all of the rest of the federal government—all three branches—over the last six years. The IRS is one of the most feared government agencies, and they’ve gotten a pass, in part. Walton is looking for real accountability and that’s so important.”

True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said:

“We’re thrilled the judge has taken this step and it feels good to have it recognized that they need to be held to account. What happened to me was very personal—my name was thrown around the IRS, and the names of the people involved need to be known. What they did was criminal.”

Engelbrecht also said that “the fight” under the Trump administration has been “every bit as difficult” as it was under the Obama administration:

“They are still entrenched on the idea that the IRS did nothing wrong and all of America now knows that is not the case. What we’re fighting for is we want to see a policy that prohibits viewpoint discrimination. Holding the IRS accountable and personalizing it is a great step forward to coax each one out of their den of thieves. We are fighting on behalf of all Americans, because if it could happen to us, it can happen to anyone.

A Justice Department spokesperson told Fox News:

“We are reviewing the order and will respond accordingly. We do not comment on pending litigation.”

See also:

~Eowyn

French rabbi Rav Touitou applauds Muslim invasion of Europe

I saw this meme on an Internet chat forum:

Rav David Touitou, a Haredi or ultra Orthodox Jew, lives in Ashdod, France. His Facebook page is here.

By “Messiah,” Rabbi Touitou means the long-awaited Jewish messiah, not Jesus Christ. (See “Prophet Zechariah foretold the coming of Jesus Christ” on why Jews don’t believe Jesus is Christ.)

Touitou’s belief is eerily similar to that of ISIS or the Islamic State, who maintain that we are in the end days and that the role of ISIS is to hasten the apocalypse and the arrival of the Muslim messiah, Mahdi, who will lead Muslims to victory before the end of the world.

Here’s the text of what Rabbi Touitou said in the above meme, and the Google Translation from English into French:

“The Messiah will come only when Edom, Europe, Christianity has totally fallen. So I ask you, is it good news that Muslims are invading Europe? It’s excellent news! It means the coming of the Messiah! Excellent news!”

“Le Messie ne viendra que lorsque Edom, l’Europe, le christianisme est totalement tombé. Je vous demande donc, est-ce une bonne nouvelle que les musulmans envahissent l’Europe? C’est une excellente nouvelle! Cela signifie l’arrivée du Messie! D’excellentes nouvelles!”

I don’t like secondary sources, and always strive to find the primary source for something.

So I went searching and found this video of Rabbi Touitou saying those words:

https://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=4b2c56491272

Some comments on the above video from the video’s LiveLeak page:

“rare glimpse into the modern jew and how they see goyim. i tell ppl all the time they are no better than muslims, and they just stare at me like wtf”

“Zionism = Wahhabism = Salafism the same shithole. Israel make war by proxy in Iraq and Syria for making their satanic agenda.

“Again it is the Jews benefitting.”

“and some people ask themselves why so much nations persecuted or kicked the jews out in the last 5000 years.”

“See, people. I’ve told you this. You block me. You tell me I’m a ‘racist’ or ‘anti-Semitic’. Jews are the biggest racist there is. While keeping their culture safe in gated communities, they want to flood yours and mine with madness and then call you a racist when you say anything about it. These jews are hell-bent on destroying all other people.”

“Radical Judaism is not unlike radical Islam. The Jews who are Zionists instigate and perpetuate there long term plan to destroy the order of the world through there corruption of the global order. Chaos.”

“Why would god choose the people who murdered his son? Make any sense?”

Les Brigandes, an all-female French nationalist, anti-globalist pop group, quoted Rabbi Touitou at the beginning of their song, “The Great Replacement”.

In an interview with the blog European Civil War, Les Brigandes said their purpose is to defend French culture:

“We defend the freedom of peoples and communities to organize and live in accordance with their consciousness, their customs, and their beliefs. We thus defend diversity against the standardizations of globalism….

[T]the globalist oligarchy continues to advance by crushing all national, religious, familial, and natural obstacles. One thing particularly new that can be noted is the madness of the immigrant invasion: for the first time, governments organize the invasion of their own countries, and pay the invaders with their own peoples’ money!

There is a purpose to this, obviously. An economic purpose (lower salaries, a new class of rootless people more disposed to buy and consume in the West than in Zimbabwe or Libya), a cultural purpose (pauperizing the masses and destroying their identity), but also, which is never said, a messianic purpose. In truth, the oligarchy, in concert with the global religions, is getting ready to unify internationally the masses of the entire world, including their religious motivations, for the purpose of definitively consolidating the New World Order. We see this in the ecumenical politics conducted by personages like the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis. The migratory crisis accelerates the process. There are two possible solutions to the crisis:

1) A progressive fusion of these Muslim masses with the European peoples (both adopting the new American conformity). This would pertain to a syncretist evolution. In current conditions, this hypothesis is highly unlikely, given the orientation of conquering Islam, which is not participating in the dialogue.

2) A crisis that will never stop growing and which could culminate in a declared civil war. Such a crisis can only favor a yet louder cry for global unity, religious as well as political, just as the last two world wars favored the emergence of a world government to keep the peace. A crisis always calls for a solution, and the masses are always more disposed to accept the tyranny of peace and ‘love’ after a war that might have robbed them of life.

In either case, massive immigration will further the program of worldwide political and religious unification, which the Christian tradition names ‘the reign of Antichrist.’

See also:

~Eowyn

Christian leaders trash President Trump and his supporters

File this under “No good deed goes unpunished”.

On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order promoting free speech and religious liberty by enabling religious groups to speak freely on politics without losing their tax exempt status. In the words of the executive order:

“All executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech. In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective, where speech of similar character has, consistent with law, not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office by the Department of the Treasury. As used in this section, the term “adverse action” means the imposition of any tax or tax penalty; the delay or denial of tax-exempt status; the disallowance of tax deductions for contributions made to entities exempted from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of title 26, United States Code; or any other action that makes unavailable or denies any tax deduction, exemption, credit, or benefit.

This is how Pope Francis’ close advisers and a Protestant minister reward President Trump for his religious liberty executive order.

(1) Pope Francis’ Advisers

In a recent article in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the contents of which are vetted by the Vatican in advance of publication, two close advisers to Jesuit Pope Francis lashed out at American conservatives and the political alliance between conservative Catholics and Evangelical Protestants which elected Donald Trump to the White House.

As reported by Catholic World News on July 13, 2017, the article is co-authored by:

  1. Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of Civilta Cattolica, who is a regular adviser to Pope Francis.
  2. Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor who was recruited by Pope Francis to launch an Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Roman, the Vatican’s daily newspaper.

Spadaro and Figueroa maintain that American conservative leaders, including Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, have been heavily influenced by fundamentalist Protestant thought — an influence that shows itself in a noxious Manichean worldview that “divides reality between Good and absolute Evil” and encourages confrontation.

The two close advisers to Pope Francis write that many American Catholics have been drawn into that Manicheanism, and that their alliance with Evangelical Protestants as “values voters” is worrisome because these Catholics are a departure from Pope Francis’s “ecumenism”:

“Clearly there is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions. Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church.”

(2) Protestant Pastor William Barber

On July 10, 2017 in the White House, a group of evangelical leaders laid hands on and prayed over President Trump, asking God to give him guidance, wisdom and protection.

That sent Rev. William Barber II, the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, NC, and president of North Carolina NAACP. into a spitting rage.

Rev. William Barber II

Abbie Bennett reports for The News & Observer that on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” on Saturday morning, July 15, Barber called the evangelicals’ prayer for the President “theological malpractice”:

“It is a form of theological malpractice that borders on heresy when you can p-r-a-y for a president and others when they are p-r-e-y, preying on the most vulnerable, you’re violating the most sacred principles of religion.”

Next day, in a news release, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP) Robin Hayes said:

“In the strongest possible terms, the NCGOP condemns the hateful actions of Dr. Rev. Barber, who cast tens of millions of people, of all faiths, who pray for the president, as sinners in a nationally broadcasted interview. As a pastor in North Carolina, Rev. Dr. Barber has crossed the line this time. Using his role as a supposed faith-based leader to falsely drive citizens away from praying for the good of our nation and our nation’s president, is absolutely grotesque. The idea that it is a sin to pray for any individual, much less the commander-in-chief of our country, goes against any religious teaching that I have ever heard of. Rev. Dr. Barber is spreading a repulsive lie, and he should apologize immediately.”

During the 2016 presidential election, neither the Vatican nor Rev. William Barber had a problem with Hillary Clinton, who is so pro-abort that she favors the legalization of late-term or partial-birth abortion (i.e., up to the 9th month). In contrast, President Trump has been true to his campaign promise, having defunded International Planned Parenthood, as well as signed a law restoring states’ right to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S.

“Reverend” Barber and Pope Francis’ close advisers “Father” Spadaro and “Pastor” Figueroa, are no more Christian than the devil himself.

~Eowyn

Belle Plaine, MN approves satanic monument for veterans park

Belle Plaine, Minnesota, is a small city of 6,661 residents in 2010, about 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

In the name of “free speech,” the city government has conceded to satanists in their demand to erect a satanic monument in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park.

Liz Sawyer reports for the (Minnesota) Star Tribune that the people of Belle Plaine wanted to honor fallen U.S. veterans with a modest 2-foot steel war memorial called “Joe,” which features a cross.

In January 2017, fearing a lawsuit rooted in the constitutional separation of church and state, Belle Plaine city leaders ordered the cross to be removed.

But the decision to remove the cross proved deeply unpopular in the predominantly Christian city. For nearly a month, more than 100 flag-toting protesters occupied the park each day, often staking their own handmade crosses into the ground in defiance. Almost overnight, small wooden crosses popped up in business windows, on mailboxes and front lawns.

At a February City Council meeting, Belle Plaine resident Andy Parrish, who led the protests, told an overflow crowd:

“The residents feel a sense of duty. Our veterans defended us and it’s our duty to defend them.”

That same night, city officials withdrew its cross-removal order with what they thought to be a solution — designating a small area in the park as a “free speech zone” that would accommodate 10 or fewer temporary memorials, as long as they honor veterans.

So the cross was reinstalled on the monument in April.

The city’s reinstatement of the monument’s cross is criticized by:

  • Jane Kirtley, director of the University of Minnesota’s Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, who says that even when speech is favorable to a majority — as the cross appears to be in predominantly Christian Belle Plaine — the state cannot impose that view on others. Religious symbols, like a cross, carved onto individual grave markers are treated as Constitutionally-protected free speech. But religious symbols in a public cemetery does not have that right.
  • Similarly, Freedom From Religion Foundation objects to religious monuments on other public property. Foundation attorney Rebecca Markert calls the Belle Plaine case an “egregious violation” and questions the constitutionality of the city’s decision to establish a limited public forum in the park so the cross memorial could be restored. The foundation may submit its own “Atheists in Foxholes” monument.

The Satanic Temple was first in line to test Belle Plaine’s free speech zone with an application to erect a satanic memorial allegedly to honor nonreligious service members — a black cube, inscribed with inverted pentagrams and crowned by an upturned helmet.

Founder Doug Mesner disingenuously claims that the Satanic Temple does not worship Satan, but only seeks equity for nonbelievers, and aims to “encourage reason and empathy, reject tyrannical authority and promote justice”.

City Administrator Mike Votca said the Satanic Temple memorial meets all of the town’s requirements and was swiftly approved: “Nothing is bulletproof, that’s for sure. But I think it’s as fair as it can be, which is really what we’re trying to achieve to eliminate the chance of lawsuits.”

Although Andy Parrish acknowledges that “Everyone understood this could happen” and that the satanic monument is “more annoying than it is offensive,” other Belle Plaine residents accuse groups like Satanic Temple and Freedom From Religion Foundation of preying on small towns that lack the resources to fight back.

Katie Novotny, a vocal cross proponent, said the majority of residents have accepted the idea of a monument that includes satanic symbols because “If you’re truly a Christian, how can you be offended by someone wanting to honor our veterans even though they don’t believe in the same things we believe in?”.

To sign a petition asking Belle Plaine to reverse their approval of the satanic monument, click here.

H/t Will Shanley

See also:

~Eowyn

Report confirms government hostility to Christianity spiked under Obama

When Obama was elected POTUS, he promised to “fundamentally transform” America.

And transform he sure did — to the worse.

A new report confirms what many of us suspect — that the 8 years of Obama in the White House were hostile to Christianity, which spurred and encouraged anti-Christian forces in America, as seen in a whopping 76% increase in religious freedom violations since 2014.  (Read the report in PDF format here.)

Although the 66-page Family Research Council report is entitled Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in America, the title really is a misnomer because it is not hostility to any and all religions. The surge in government hostility is directed not at Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or Satanism, but at one particular religion — Christianity. By logical inference and implication, that makes Barack Hussein Obama an anti-Christ.

That the 76% increase since 2014 in hostility to religion is specifically against Christians and Christianity is made clear in Todd Starnes’ Fox News report of June 29, 2017, in which he provides the following examples of government hostility to “religion”:

  • An 11-year-old student in Hattiesburg, Mississippi was penalized for mentioning Jesus in a Christmas poetry assignment.
  • A Christian acapella group at James Madison University was told they could not perform “Mary Did You Know” because it was religious. They were directed to only sing secular songs.
  • An Ohio library banned a Christian group from meeting to discuss natural marriage unless the group also included supports of same-sex marriage.
  • An Oklahoma bank was forced to remove religious Christmas decorations under orders from the Federal Reserve.
  • Allstate Insurance Company fired a Christian staffer for allegedly using a company laptop to write a column against homosexuality. The company said the column violated its diversity standards.
  • In 2011, the class president at Hampton High School in Tennessee wanted to deliver a prayer at graduation. The principal issued an edict that any child who attempted to pray would be stopped, escorted from the building by police and arrested.
  • Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freedom were charged with criminal contempt because they prayed over a meal. The pair was later found not guilty of violating an injunction banning the promotion of religious events at school.
  • San Diego firefighters were threatened with disciplinary action if they refused to participate in a gay pride parade. The firefighters were subjected to verbal abuse and sexual gestures during the parade.
  • A woman who rented out rooms in her home was sued after she refused to rent to a same-sex couple.

Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins said:

“The recent spike in government driven religious hostility is sad, but not surprising, especially considering the Obama administration’s antagonism toward biblical Christianity. This report is designed to quantify the threat to our First freedom and to challenge Americans to use their God-given freedoms to protect these freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”

Travis Weber, FRC’s director of the Center for Religious Liberty, said he hopes the report will be a wakeup call for all people of faith:

“In a society like ours, we must be the guardians of our own freedom. Anyone who desires freedom in the future must take note of what these trends tell us about our freedom right now – relative to where we have come from – in order to protect freedom from going forward.”

Perkins said the hostility to religion Christianity report underscores the legitimacy of the actions taken by President Trump to end polices in federal agencies that “fan the flames of this religious intolerance.” Perkins points out that despite the increase in hostility, there is some good news in “the growing courage of Christians, especially young Christians, to defend both their faith and their freedoms.”

~Eowyn