Thursday, December 23, 2004
Battle Against Christmas in the US - Small Compared to Global War on Christians
Michelle Malkin: Christians in the crossfire enumerates the ongoing, sometimes bloody war on Christianity.
In Iraq, Islamist rebel troops have declared open season on Christian churches, priests and missionaries. In February, four American pastors were traveling in a taxi near the capital when terrorists ambushed them. Rev. John Kelley, pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in rural Rhode Island and a former Marine, was killed in the attack. The missionaries were starting up a new church south of Baghdad.
A friend of Rev. Kelley's noted upon word of his murder that "he wanted to be a witness for Christ in a part of the world where there aren't a lot of witnesses for Christ."
On March 15, Southern Baptist missionaries Larry and Jean Elliott of Cary, N.C., Karen Denise Watson of Bakersfield, Calif., and David McDonnall of Rowlett, Texas, were killed in a drive-by shooting in northern Iraq. McDonnall's wife, Carrie, survived the attack. The group, one of several Christian aid groups helping with reconstruction efforts, was scouting out locations for a water purification project
On Dec. 1, Christian pastor Zhang Rongliang disappeared from his village apartment in Zhengzhou, China. According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a non-profit charity that tracks religious persecution, state police confiscated all of Pastor Zhang's Christian DVDs, materials and photos. Three other Christian churches were reportedly raided after Pastor Zhang's arrest -- part of a nationwide crackdown on the Chinese "house church" movement. More than 100 other Christian pastors were arrested in Kaifeng city in September. Many have been beaten, sentenced to "re-education through labor," and accused of being "leaders of an evil cult."
In Vietnam and North Korea, followers of Christ have been arrested, beaten, tortured and forced to renounce their faith. In Nigeria, an Islamist terrorist group named after the Taliban conducted religious pogroms in the northern part of the country this fall -- kidnapping, raping and killing Christian villagers as part of a radicalization program that government officials suspect is being funded by Saudi Wahhabists. In Sudan, Muslim radicals have perpetrated mass slaughter and enslavement of Christian men, women and children, some of whom have been literally crucified.