Archives For Christians

It’s stating the obvious to say that the persecution of Christians isn’t taken seriously by elites, and the general public in the West.

The persecution of Christians worldwide, is taken about as seriously as the Egyptian authorities take the abductions, abuse and trafficking of Coptic Christian women.

Such abuses are either quietly acknowledged, well hidden, or don’t exist.

In a #metoo Western world, human rights abuses against Egyptian Coptic Christian women should be front page news. It’s not.

The #metoo movement melt into spectators whenever news reaches Western shores. Suggesting the ineffectiveness of a hashtag, and the docility of a complacent, selective activism.

A movement which appears more concerned with placating the “approved” image of Islam for the Muslim majority, than it is in ‘raising the visibility of violence against Coptic women in Egypt.’(CS)

2011-2013 (the infamous Arab Spring) saw some of the worst persecution of Egyptian Coptic Christians in decades. Religious freedom radically declined under the Muslim Brotherhood. Churches were burned, or bombed. Priests were gunned down, and monasteries were attacked.

In 2012 a United States Congressional Hearing into human rights violations in Egypt also heard of

‘…the disappearance, forced marriages and forced conversions

of Coptic women. [Noting that] the vulnerability and abduction of Coptic Christians is not new. Going back to the 1970s, there were many accounts of Coptic women and girls being abducted by Muslims, forcibly conducted and forcibly married.’

This was before the June 30 2013 revolution, tripped by mass protests calling for the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Accompanying this was the outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood, who had been quietly backed by the then Obama/Biden/Clinton administration’s foreign policies. (By comparison the Trump administration has expressed interest in following Egypt’s lead in designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, but is yet to act in any meaningful way on behalf of Egypt’s Coptic Christians).

Suspension, then reform of the 2012 Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian (Shari’a influenced) constitution followed. However, much of the law was retained.

As cited by Coptic Solidarity in their 2020 report, ‘while no apostasy law exists per say. The 2nd article of the Egyptian Constitution, states that Islam is the religion of the state and the principles of Islamic Shari’a are the main source of legislation.’

According to the report, the Egyptian government’s tactic is to ‘deny the extant of trafficking.’ Their official response is that the women freely chose to leave Christian families and convert to Islam.

The 2012, United States Senate Congressional hearing uncovered some legitimate cases where this had occurred, but even in those cases ‘legal hurdles made it extremely difficult for a woman to escape the marriage and convert back to Christianity.’

Despite government denial. Evidence, and testimonies collected by Coptic Solidarity from a range of reliable sources over many years, contradict the official Egyptian government party-line.

For instance, evidence provided by Christian Solidarity International to the 2012 Congressional hearing comes from ‘Egyptian lawyers, real life cases, family members, and police reports.’

Despite government denial. Evidence, and testimonies collected by Coptic Solidarity from a range of reliable sources over many years, contradict the official Egyptian government party-line.

For instance, evidence provided by Christian Solidarity International to the 2012 Congressional hearing comes from ‘Egyptian lawyers, real life cases, family members, and police reports.’

In addition, ‘attorneys, social workers and members of the clergy interviewed for this and the previous report all attested to organized and systematic planning in the cases of missing Coptic women.’

The 2012 Congressional hearing heard of how the human trafficking of Coptic Christian women occurred.

‘Many [Coptic women] were lured into false relationships through fraudulent means or forcible abductions. These women were coerced into converting to Islam and married to their abductors against their wills.’

The few Coptic Christian women who are found testify that they’d ‘been drugged and kidnapped or kidnapped with violence. Reporting forced conversion, rape, forced marriages, beatings and domestic servitude.’

According to Christian Solidarity International, ‘abductors target vulnerable women and girls, and girls in vulnerable and unprotected moments.’

‘Captors sever contact between victims and their families. The first task of the captor is to come between a young woman and members of her family. They can do this by force, by taking away her phone, by denying her any contact with her relatives. They lock her up. They deny her mobility. They threaten her by telling her that her family would disown her. Conversion is the ultimate goal of captivity.’

This includes married women, and married women with children. One significant reason for this is that under 2012 Egyptian law, if a woman converts to Islam, her children, by law would be considered Muslim.

Coptic Solidarity’s apt term for this is ‘jihad of the womb.

The Christian Post published the report’s long list of trafficking victims, which included damning testimonials of widespread corruption, with law enforcement turning a blind eye, creating a culture of shame, silence, and powerlessness which enables Islamist people traffickers to carry out abductions with almost 100% impunity (p.8).

For instance, ‘if an adult married woman converts to Islam, courts immediately annul her existing marriage (unless the husband agrees to convert likewise) and the woman becomes free to marry a Muslim man.’ This law doesn’t apply if the married woman was a Muslim looking to marry a Christian man (p.7)

This isn’t just an issue for Egypt or the Egyptian Coptic Christian community.

In January, Ben Davis wrote of how British police have been accused of ‘turning a blind eye to the grooming of 57 young female children for sexual exploitation by a coordinated group of Muslim men.’ According to ‘former GMP detective Maggie Oliver, “girls were lost in the wind’ due to what the Daily Mail reported as being a concern from law enforcement that ‘arresting the perpetrators would result in the “incitement of racial hatred.”

The blasé response from the West has shown how naïve we’ve become. Like Chinese Communists, if the Egyptian government’s official party-line states that “no human rights abuse crisis exists”, then it must be true.

Any crimes committed under the banner of Islam is candy-coated for a gullible public, made numb by a decades long misinformation campaign that portrays Islam simultaneously as a “race” and a “religion of peace.”

It’s no wonder that widespread testimony, and any evidence that contradicts the well-built facade is easily dismissed as the fairy tales of racists, bigots and Islamophobes.

Crimes against humanity are hidden behind the gaslighting of the global community.

This is on par with what the 2020 Coptic Solidarity report – summarised here by Christian Headlines contributor, John Paluska – called the Egyptian Government’s ‘victim blaming’ (p.3).

Impunity for Islamists matches the free ride given to Communists by Western academics, some politicians and most of the mainstream media.

Tragically, like the Uyghur ethnic minority in China, this means that on the world stage, up to 12 million of Egypt’s approx. 80+ million people are essentially voiceless.

12 million people, who no matter how hard advocates scream in order to waken a docile, manipulated world, to their suffering, are left behind by the Western part of that world, because it’s paralysed by fear through the navel gazing of intersectionality (CRT) theory, and a toxic obsession with political correctness.

There’s now no plausible excuse for ignorance or inaction.

Coptic Solidarity’s 2020 report on the ‘Trafficking of Coptic Women & Girls in Egypt’ requires a response.

Related material:

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4666101/user-clip-kio


First published on Caldron Pool, 24th September 2020.

Image credit: Vatican & Reuters.

©Rod Lampard, 2020

The tally of the Sri Lankan bombings on Resurrection Sunday now stands at 290 people with around 500 more wounded (many of that number include Sri Lankan Christians).

CNN reported that ‘two (now revealed to be 8) suicide bombers perpetrated the attacks hitting three churches and four luxury hotels.’  The Wall Street Journal noted official statements from the Sri Lankan government, who said that the attacks were perpetrated by an Islamist group known as National Thoweeth Jamath.

Apart from some formal condemnations from countries such as Indonesia, the Muslim world remains largely silent. While there are live updates from news organizations, including CNN, there’s no outrage about Islamism, or widespread sympathy from Muslims.

In addition, as was done to right-wing groups after the Mosque attack in New Zealand, there are no extensive editorials, and little to no panels filled by Leftist academics, sitting down to examine the issues and dangers pertaining to Islamism, and how the Islamic faith is interwoven with political ideology, or how events like the mass murder of Sri Lankans in church celebrating Easter, proves that the political dogma which permeates Islam is a tyrannical antitheses to Biblical Christianity (Judeo-Christianity), it’s progeny Classical Liberalism and Western Civilization[1].

With over 500 wounded and 290 dead, the outpouring of support, outrage and sympathy has been well short of that which was seen after a lone wolf, “eco-fascist”, attacked the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, killing 50 and wounding another 50.

One of the few examples of unprecedented support for Christians, came from Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament President, who hours after the Islamist terror attacks in Sri Lanka, issued a message of condolence, and solidarity. Tajani stated that the “attacks on Sri Lankan churches testify to a real genocide perpetrated against Christians.”

Tajani called a spade a spade, arguing for a renewal of the pursuit for religious freedom. Part of this was an implied condemnation of violent attempts to eradicate Christians from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Tajani’s response is a direct contrast to the begrudging sympathy issued forth by leading Democrats in the United States. Democrats fell in line with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, falsely referring the victims of the Church attacks as “Easter worshippers”.

Certainly not every victim was a Christian, but this deliberate ambiguity is antagonistic, if not snarky, and manipulative. It’s how the Democratic Left does politics and it’s abhorrent.

Not calling a spade a spade, or politicking with half-truths is why the American Democrats are viewed with suspicion in the eyes of many voters. What voters see and observe, doesn’t match what their politicians are selling them.

That leading Democrats are still continuing to play around with words, and blur distinctions, in order to suit their own narrative, shows that these leading Democrats have learnt nothing from Hillary Clinton’s bitter election loss in 2016.

Calling the Christian victims “Easter worshippers” doesn’t just insult the victims of the Islamist attack on three Sri Lankan churches, it rubs salt into a wound felt by Christians all around the world.

Adding insult to injury, some Leftists and at least one Australian Union mocked Scott Morrison, Australia’s Christian Prime Minister, after video emerged of him attending Church. Inferring that Christians were “Nazi worshippers”. Twitter users falsely equated Christians raising their hands in a sign of surrender and openness to God (and as such an act of humility and worship), with the Hitler salute.

One Twitter user referencing an article in The Age stated: “[A] nazi salute. Have a look at the photo – only two men doing it so it can’t be a religious thing.”

Another: “The only difference to this and a Nazi rally from the 30s are the players and the date… except Murdoch is Hitler and Morrison is Goebbels!”

Then another asserted that: “Scott Morrison is not a Christian.”By their works ye shall know them”. Looks like a Nazi salute to me.”

While all of these users were anonymous, that fact doesn’t delegitimize the severity of the act, the accusation, and the negative pattern of behavior attached to it.

Turning Christians into “Easter worshippers” and Christians worshipping in Church, into “Nazi worshippers”, shows the contrast between reactions to N.Z and Sri Lanka.

It’s another example of how the narrative surrounding “white guilt” is built up to force Westerners to remain silent, where there should be outrage, critique and criticism.

The West is told that Islamophobia is racism. Any challenge to Islamic ideology is to be punished. All moral opposition to Islamism is treated as treason. (It’s now much the same with critiques of homosexuality).

For fear of being accused of white supremacism, many in the West become unable to see how terms like Islamophobia are used to slowly bring the World into submission to what could be rightfully be called Islamist supremacism.

For example, British Philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton lost his U.K Government role as Housing Adviser, after criticizing George Soros and asserting that

“Islamophobia was an attempt to control conversation by making any and all criticism of Islam or Muslims a social pathology. (The same is true with all these absurd, politicized -phobias.)”[2]

There have also been calls for Scruton’s knighthood to be revoked.

As Scruton and Muslim writer, Ismail Royer point out.

“[In the minds of the Muslim Brotherhood it’s] impossible for anyone to write critically about Islam, or the deeds of Muslims, in good faith. The only acceptable angle was flattery” (Scruton)
“The Scruton affair illustrates a mindset afflicting many modern Muslims. As @ScholarsInk points out, this is a man who has engaged in substantive dialogue with Islamic scholars. It’s a problem that many Muslims find anything other than flattery to be absolutely intolerable.” (Royer)

Through the Left’s sycophantic political correctness imposed on Western societies, far too many are having their hands tied and mouths gagged, by falsehoods and lies such as the myth that Islam is an oppressed “race”, and that “all white people are racist.”

Add “Easter worshippers” and “Nazi worshippers” to these falsehoods and you’d have to be blind not to see the negative pattern of behavior and the agenda behind it.

Persecution of Christians isn’t subsiding. Terror Attacks on Christians and churches in Nigeria, the Philippines, Syria, Iran, China, India, Egypt and France, are now common place. Every year another country is added to the list.

Although different and a lot less blatant in The West, intolerance and discrimination against Christians is surfacing, e.g.: Roger Scruton, Israel Folau, Margaret Court.

Just as physical attacks on Churches are coordinated and deliberate, so are the intellectual and verbal assaults against Westerners and Christians in general.

There is an obvious discrepancy between the response to Christians after the Sri Lankan Church bombings and the global embrace that was afforded to Muslims, not just in New Zealand, but around the world.

One such example is when leading American Democrats deliberately refuse to call the victims of the church bombings Christians, and instead refer to them as “Easter Worshippers”; an insult that dehumanizes Christians and waters down the threat. This was exhibited by vile diatribes from Leftists, who also inferred that Christians were “Nazi worshippers”.

There is, however, hope. There are those like Tajani (in this case anyway), Scruton, and Royer who see the gathering storm, and instead of cowering in appeasement before it, choose to do everything in their power to respond to it, by educating people in the truth about Islam’s violent historical path and the deceptive nature that hides the destructive all-consuming agenda of Islamists.

If the Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election, Brexit, Lexit, Blexit, #walkaway, Yellow Jackets, Fraser Anning and the list goes on, say anything, it’s that the age of manipulating the truth, of not calling a spade a spade, of sugar coating, and softening truth to fit into people’s lives in order to win votes, instead of speaking truthfully and allowing the truth to correct people’s lives, is nearing an end.

Therefore the work of the church today is to understand and posit an effective resistance within the context of this new and universal Church struggle, not be defined by it. Resisting the storm comes by standing on the truth. The church speaking God’s agenda for the culture, instead of submitting to any culture that seeks to make itself a god and determine the agenda of the Church. Therefore, ‘[our] reaction should be one of a spiritual and psychological nature, and on a scholarly level.’ (Jacques Ellul, 2015)[3]

For Christians, even those who stand before direct hostility, and who face the possibility of annihilation[4], this means continuing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of the age.

It’s by this Light that Christians can ‘stand and proceed even when they and their neighbours expect to see themselves fall into the abyss. It’s by this Light that Christians can be courageous and patient and cheerful even where not just appearances, but the massive whole of reality forbids them to be so.’[5]

This means following Jesus Christ, the One who despite the world’s violent opposition, and despite falsehood from without and within, guides us by God’s grace, through God’s providence, and fatherly good will, into all Truth (John 14:6, ESV).


References:

[1] See Roger Scruton’s ‘The West & all the Rest’ 2002; and Jacques Ellul’s, ‘Islam & Judeo-Christianity: a Critique of their Commonality’, 2015.

[2] Rod Dreher, The ‘Islamophobia’ Smear Against Scruton April 12th 2019, The American Conservative

[3] Islam & Judeo-Christianity: A Critique of Their Commonality (p.67)

[4] Such as the Egyptians Coptic Christians and Assyrian Christians in Northern Iraq and Southern Turkey; for more see the excellent Documentary ‘The Last Christians’.

[5] Barth, K., Bromiley, G. W., & Torrance, T. F. (2004). Church dogmatics: The doctrine of creation, Part 3 (3rd ed., Vol. 3, p. 250). London; New York: T&T Clark.

(Originally posted on Caldron Pool, 23rd April 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Unexpected Rescue

January 31, 2018 — 4 Comments

There are days when no matter how hard we try to realign our attitude, the overwhelming feelings we might encounter in our situation, become a flood that sinks us further into a feeling of pointlessness. We’re in too deep.

Days come and days go. We watch them pass by from sunrise to sunset. The pace of life smothers us. The things that we felt so qualified to do, no longer make us feel all that qualified.  Instead, we’re overcome by despondency, disillusionment and then despair. Almost breathless, all attempts to make sense of the place we find ourselves in fail.

Though people surround us, there is no one really near us. We hear the noise of those around us, but struggle to process the fact that when we speak, we only find ourselves contributing to that noise. From here we come to the point where we realise that no one can hear us because everyone is listening to the sound of their own voice, answering the applause or condemnation of the world that follows it.

Most are dealing with something, wrestling with their own fears, failures, excesses and successes.  Some give in and slip into a slow motion view of the world.  Faces and facts are distorted. The noise around them drops in pitch. Their world is turned from the sounds of bustling activity into a slow monotonous drone.  Some go faster, live harder, decide to medicate themselves and give their lives over to the consequences.

Surrendering their lives on the altar of human wisdom, both slide into oblivion. Trapped by the cave of their own existence, they refuse to hear any word spoken from beyond it. Creatures of habit, they lean on their own understanding and conclude that any such word is a lie. At best a figment of their imagination, at worst, a tool designed by others to control and deceive them. The word that penetrates the noise of the world around them is too strange, too much of a contradiction, too foreign for them to be comfortable in acknowledging it.

This word in its contradiction speaks of hope, of water in desolate places, of dry bones coming to life, of possibilities within impossibilities. This word contradicts their entire world. It is a word that challenges all human presuppositions about their situation. It is spoken and it speaks to the despondency, disillusionment, despair, and breathless uneasiness.

This word speaks and stands in the way of our own words, answering the applause and condemnation of the world that follows it. It is spoken and it speaks of liberation from both the world’s applause and its condemnation. It is spoken and it speaks of liberation for both the one living in slow motion and the one given over to the self-destructive consequences of their defeatist, live fast, die hard philosophy. This word is a contradiction to their sacrificial slide into oblivion.

They’re in too deep, but this word throws to them a lifeline. Supported in the midst of their impending drift down into the abyss, they are confronted by its strange rescue. This word and its rescue exist despite what they were told and in contradiction to what they were sold. It makes no sense to them. It doesn’t look the way human wisdom says it should. It is an unexpected rescue.

The world’s eloquent words that denied the simplicity of this word cannot save them. Their rescue by this word comes to them out of the act of the One who spoke it, not by the eloquence of the world’s wisdom spoken to them. They are summoned to grasp its grasp of them.  They are summoned to believe, not because human wisdom sold it to them at the “right” price, out of protest, through manipulation or well-crafted words and sugar coated rhetoric. They are summoned by this word to believe because this word is acted upon by the One who speaks it.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.’  (John 1:1-4, ESV)

This Word became flesh and dwelt among us[i].  He now becomes the contradiction to all of our impossibilities and the foundation[ii] for all our possibilities. The Word of the cross is the testimony of God, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This is a word testified to, as God testifies about Himself through it.

‘but neither human resources, nor imperial munificence, nor appeasement of the gods, eliminated sinister suspicions that the fire [of Rome] had been instigated. To suppress this rumour, Nero fabricated scapegoats – and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator , Christ, had been put to death in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But despite this setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief started) but even in Rome.’ (Tacitus, Annals circa 116 A.D)

Committed to His Word, God dived in deep to throw us a lifeline. Days may come and days may go. We may watch them pass by from sunrise to sunset. The pace of life may smother us, but the Word of God stands forever.  The possibilities that come with this Word stand as a living, breathing, defiant contradiction to the threat of oblivion and any despair the threat of irrelevance might throw at us.

In light of this Word, we can stand firm against all that ‘assumes to itself authority, and does not allow itself to be regulated by the word of God, reckoning as nothing all the applause[iii]’, and condemnation of the world. This is because it’s ‘light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5, ESV)


References:

[i] John 1:14, ESV

[ii] 1 Cor. 3:10-15, ESV

[iii] Calvin, J. Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3

Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

#mypeople

June 18, 2016 — Leave a comment
Ambrose of Milan

 

 

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2 Peter 3_9

1962664_10202907183906958_850207938668940473_nIt’s been nearly twenty years since I first heard this album.

Although the song ‘Jesus Freak’ is overdone, something a quick YouTube search verifies, the importance and gravitas of the album is far from having yet been outdone.

Today, in a random shuffle through a scattering of cd’s left on the floor of my car, I rediscovered it and then introduced my kids to a revolution.

From start to finish the lyrical relevance of this album is pertinent. Reaching far beyond the issues that helped make the ’95 release so popular.

Pioneered by bands such as Petra, Stryper, Barry McGuire, Keith Green and numerous others. DC Talk broke through the false dichotomy between the secular and the sacred, as they moved away from comfort zones and stepped into spotlights often hostile to Christianity.

As a band, DC Talk redefined what it meant for Christians to participate within a ”secular” arena in the mid 1990s.

Toby Mac, Michael Tait and Kevin Max, were able to voice an ancient perspective about Christianity and art. Consequently, they sparked a new breed of Christian musician, one respected for the concern they showed towards the quality of their art and the delivery of the message that inspired it.

Utilising a finely produced full sound, featuring a mix of grunge, rap, and rock rhythms, Jesus Freak shattered the kitsch that so often plagues ”Contemporary Christian Music”.

In consideration of the issues we are facing as a global community today, this album is a revolution worth revisiting.

 

Pray for the Ignored

September 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Christian persecution and faith in the Middle East.

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Source: ChristianPost 25th September 2013.