Suffering for Christ: Today's Persecuted Global Church

Perhaps when you think of persecution of Christians, images of Nero's gladiators feeding early Christians to the lions before cheering Romans comes to mind. Yet, hasn't society largely evolved beyond that? Isn't religious persecution confined to extremist and Marxist pariahs like Iraq and Red China?

It is reported that the 20th Century has seen more Christian martyrs than all other centuries combined. In America, a renewed interest in the persecution of Christians has emerged, among Congressmen and everyday citizens alike. And for good reason: our special focus highlights reports of persecution of Christians just this month from around the globe. Christians are increasingly targeted by governments, other religions and secularists for harrassment, enslavement, torture and sometimes even death.

What should we think? How should we respond? Might God have a special purpose in this suffering? Our special focus highlights some opinions and answers.

—Leadership University Editor/Webmaster, Byron Barlowe

Feature Articles:

Atrocities Not Fit to Print
Nina Shea
The persecution of Christians around the world has been given little attention in many major media outlets. Foreign correspondents of many newspapers have not released enough significant information about these atrocities. Despite this fact, awareness of this issue continues to grow.

Last Testament
Christian de Cherge
On May 24, 1996, a group of Islamic terrorists announced that they had "slit the throats" of seven French Trappist monks whom they had kidnapped from the monastery of Tibherine in Algeria and held as hostages for two months. Prior to the kidnapping, the superior of the monastery, Father Christian de Cherge, had left with his family this testament "to be opened in the event of my death."

Their Blood Cries Out: The Growing Worldwide Persecution of Christians
A. J. Bacevich
The inflicted suffering endured by Christians throughout the world is the story told in Their Blood Cries Out: The Growing Worldwide Persecution Christians by Paul Marshall with Lela Gilbert. A. J. Bacevich provides this review. Is it true that discrimination against Christians causes the largest pattern of persecution in the world today?

Current International News on Persecuted Christians
(July 1998):

The Bones of Faith (Bangladesh)
Tom White
Feature story from The Voice of the Martyrs, which as been a voice for the persecuted church around the world for 30 years.

Revival and Persecution: Economic Unrest Spawns Muslim Rampage in Indonesia
Cynthia White
Violence erupted in Jakarta in mid-May and continued for two days. Thousands of foreigners have since fled Indonesia. More are departing daily in the wake of the latest round of violence in a nation plagued by economical and political instability.

Maldives Update
Mark Albrecht
Article from the Religious Liberty Conference email correspondence.

India Update
Manini Chatterjee
Article distributed by the Religious Liberty Conference email correspondence.

Saudi Arabia Starts Deporting Expatriate Christian Prisoners
Barbara G. Baker
A Flash News report from Compass Direct.

American Professors Suffering a Subtler Persecution:

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Bishop
John Myers
This is the first in a two-part series on the facts and implications of, and reactions to, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the Dr. Phillip Bishop case. The U.S. Supreme Court denied University of Alabama professor Dr. Phillip Bishop a review of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, leaving experts confused about the limitations of academic freedom and Christian professors wondering if it affects religious expression in the classroom. In a sweeping decision in June, the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of physiology professor Bishop, along with several cases involving bans on religious freedoms. Christian faculty in the 11th circuit--Georgia, Florida, and Alabama--and across the country question how this will affect expression of their faith in the classroom.

For They Loved the Approval of Men
Dr. Phil Bishop
Dr. Phillip Bishop, Professor of Physiology at the University of Alabama, was involved in an academic freedom case which made its way through the system to the Supreme Court. Dr. Bishop shares the impact the experience had on him and challenges faculty to continue to take opportunities to minister. Part II of a series.

When Faced with Opposition
Dr. Scott Luley
Dr. Scott Luley, Director of The Free Speech Project, gives suggestions for faculty members who face a challenge to academic freedom.

A Scopes Trial in Reverse
John Myers
Dr. Dean Kenyon, Professor of BioPhysics at San Francisco State University, was censored by the chairman and dean of the biology department for teaching intelligent design. Serious issues about academic freedom have been raised on Kenyon's behalf by the American Association of University Professors.

An "Agenda of Intolerance"
John Myers
Dr. Dilawar Edwards, professor of educational media at California University of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, was summarily relieved of his teaching duties. A student lodged an informal complaint with the academic vice president against Edwards, a tenured professor and former chairman of the department of education, claiming he was indoctrinating the class with his Christian beliefs.

Related Articles:

Politically Correct Education
Don Closson
This essay considers the impact that affirmative action, multiculturalism and speech codes have had on education. It also argues that the heart of the issue is the rejection of both the Judeo-Christian worldview and Western civilization.

Trial and Error: The ACLU and Religious Expression
George Grant
George Grant, founder of HELP Services and the executive director of Legacy Communications, explores the ACLU's position against the Christian faith. He documents what he calls "their discriminatory intolerance" towards Christianity.

"I've Been Obeying Laws That Don't Exist!"
Dr. Scott Luley
Scott Luley, Christian Leadership Ministries' East Region Director and Director of CLM's Free Speech Project, explains the Free Speech Project. He says, "We have put this material together so Christian educators do not worry about possible challenges to their faith, but know how to respond." This article discusses various resources available to university faculty.

Feature Sites and External Resources:

The Voice of the Martyrs

Remember the Persecution Campaign

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Religious Persecution Links

State Department Report Decries Persecution of Christians
Article from Christianity Today

Religious Freedom: A Report of the U.S. Religious Leaders Delegation to the People's Republic of China
February 1998

Statement of Conscience of the National Association of Evangelicals Concerning Worldwide Religious Persecution
January 23, 1996

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