Category Archives: Religious Persecution

Caesar, God and the Lockdowns

I don’t understand all the motives, but there are elements in the USA that are inclined to restrict religious activity more strictly that non-religious activity.  This is unconstitutional and the people should push back.  mrossol

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WSJ. – 5/12/20

As governors consider how to ease their lockdowns, they might take a moment to read a pair of unanimous opinions this month from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. They rebuke the idea of giving office parks greater pandemic leeway than churches.

A March order by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear barred “mass gatherings,” including religious ones. Offices and factories were exempt if they followed “appropriate social distancing.” Other orders said that only “life sustaining” enterprises could stay open. That included law firms, laundromats and liquor stores, but not churches.

When Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville held an Easter service, some worshipers went inside. But a loudspeaker in the parking lot allowed sequestered faithful to stay in their cars. State police placed notices on vehicles, including occupied ones, explaining that congregants were breaking the law. The police took down license-plate numbers. The church sued.

“It’s not always easy to decide what is Caesar’s and what is God’s—and that’s assuredly true in the context of a pandemic,” a Sixth Circuit panel wrote on May 2. That said: “The Governor has offered no good reason so far for refusing to trust the congregants who promise to use care in worship in just the same way it trusts accountants, lawyers, and laundromat workers to do the same. Are they not often the same people, going to work on one day and attending worship on another?

Or this comparison: “Why is it safe to wait in a car for a liquor store to open but dangerous to wait in a car to hear morning prayers?” The question “is more difficult,” the court concluded, for gatherings inside a sanctuary. But it temporarily blocked Kentucky from prohibiting the drive-in service. The Governor, in a subsequent court filing, pointed to news reports of 50 to 100 people inside the church.

The Sixth Circuit followed up with another opinion on May 9 freeing the church’s in-person services. “Assuming all of the same precautions are taken, why can someone safely walk down a grocery store aisle but not a pew?” the court wrote in Roberts v. Neace. “While the law may take periodic naps during a pandemic, we will not let it sleep through one.”

Gov. Beshear has now excluded churches from his original order. Kudos to the judges for a reminder that the Constitution requires neutral treatment of religion, even in a pandemic.

Source: Caesar, God and the Lockdowns – WSJ

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‘Nobody can hurt me’ | WORLD News Group

Well, President Trump? How big are your cajones?
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On the night before her final hearing before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Asia Bibi had a dream. “I saw in a dream that all the doors of the prison are open,” she described, “and I’m worrying that if the jail superintendent comes she will be very furious.”

Hope can burn from the faintest wick. For Bibi the dream was a fresh fire. A field worker who does not read and a mother of five, Bibi is in her late 40s or early 50s and has been jailed since 2009. From a dispute with two Muslim women, who alleged she blasphemed Islam after one asked Bibi to bring her water, she has been on death row.

Her children, including one who is mentally handicapped, have grown up without her. Pakistan has had four prime ministers while Bibi has been behind bars. And multiple courts upheld a death-by-hanging sentence in her case, which has been pending before Pakistan’s Supreme Court since July 2015.

But on the eve of an expected ruling in October, she told her attorney, Saiful Malook, “From my dream I am very, very certain that my appeal is going to be accepted and I am going to be free.” Then she said, “I have such a full faith in God that I have [a] strong feeling that nobody can hurt me.”

To Malook, Bibi said, “I assure you, sir, you also don’t worry.”

The following day the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, saying she had been accused falsely and ordering her freed, but her ordeal was far from over. Islamic hard-liners sparked widespread protests, shutting down roads and services. Bibi was not guilty, but not free, and clearly needed to leave the country. On Nov. 7 authorities reportedly flew Bibi from the detention center in Punjab to Islamabad, where she remained in an undisclosed location. The government caved to the hard-liners, agreeing to review the Supreme Court’s decision for technical issues.

Malook told the story of Bibi’s dream at a church in the Netherlands, where he was forced to seek temporary shelter after threats against his own life. For offering to shelter him, the Netherlands faces threats too: On Nov. 13 Dutch officials had to close their embassy in Islamabad and withdraw staff over threats against Dutch diplomats.

The case already has become a watershed moment for Pakistan and the Muslim world, something like the 1979 Revolution in Iran. Hard-liners threaten Christians using the blasphemy laws, while their tactics threaten Pakistan’s democratic government. Two leading statesmen—Muslim Salman Taseer and Christian Shahbaz Bhatti—were assassinated in 2011 for defending Bibi.

The only thing more astonishing than the bravery and faith of Asia Bibi in the face of so much hatred and violence is the cowardice and retreat of nations more powerful than Pakistan. The United Kingdom granted shelter to those calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie and has allowed rallies parading the Hezbollah flag, but British leaders stayed silent on Bibi’s future.

The United States took in the very publicly threatened Russian Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Chinese democracy movement leader Wei Jingsheng, yet made no offer of asylum for Bibi. Privately U.S. officials say the situation is too sensitive to talk about, but while they remain silent the hard-liners are winning.

Besides wanting to kill Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Islamist parties and their mullahs want to silence Western powers through fear and intimidation. They want to threaten violence in such a way that they get their way. Until Bibi is fully freed, they have made a sham of Pakistan’s rule of law and its court system. Unless the traditional protectors of freedom step forward in a public and profound way to offer safe passage, it will appear the greatest powers in the world can be lassoed by a jihadist-ruled street.

Weeks after a brave verdict, few are looking brave beside the farm worker and mother, Asia Bibi herself. Attorney Malook told the Dutch congregation: “I have not seen such a strong woman in my life, nor in any book story, who is behind the bars for more than nine years … and still can be so strong.”

https://world.wng.org/2018/11/nobody_can_hurt_me

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Egyptian Christians Fearing Terror Flee

Notice who is protesting??
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Feb. 26, 2017 AP

ISMAILIA, Egypt—Egyptian Christians fearing attacks by Islamic State militants fled the volatile northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for a fourth day on Sunday, after a string of sectarian killings there sent hundreds packing and raised accusations the government is failing to protect the minority.

More than 100 families from the town of el-Arish and nearby have come to the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Cairo, since Friday, Nabil Shukrallah of the city’s Evangelical Church said.

Families arrive scared and in need of supplies, which are being stockpiled at the church via donations from several parishes, he said. They are then transported to be housed in and around the city, in private homes and now also accommodation provided by the government.

“They’re exhausted, with urgent needs for food and children’s clothing,” he said, as one father carried off a sick infant to be evacuated by ambulance. “They’re terrified of the violence and brutality of the terrorists.”

Northern Sinai has for years been the epicenter of an insurgency by Islamic militants, and the area’s few Christians have slowly been trickling out. But departures rose in earnest after suspected militants gunned down a Christian plumber at home in front of his family on Thursday in el-Arish. It was the seventh such killing in recent weeks and stoked panic among Christians.

Egyptian Christians fearing attacks by Islamic State militants are fleeing the volatile northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for a fourth day.
Egyptian Christians fearing attacks by Islamic State militants are fleeing the volatile northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for a fourth day. PHOTO: FAYED EL-GEZIRY/ZUMA PRESS
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate, which is based in north Sinai and which in December carried out a devastating suicide bombing against a Cairo church, vowed in a video earlier this week to step up attacks against Egypt’s embattled Coptic Christian minority. It described them as “infidels” empowering the West against Muslims.

The Cairo church bombing and the recent killings point to a shift in Islamic State’s tactics in Egypt, with the group now also attacking Christian targets that are less protected than military installations, in an attempt to isolate them and embarrass the government.

Before Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising, some 5,000 Christians lived in northern Sinai, but the number has since dwindled to fewer than 1,000, priests and residents say. Egypt doesn’t keep official statistics on the number of Christians in cities or across the country.

Many rights activists say the displacement is a clear sign the government has failed to provide a minimum of security for the embattled minority in the volatile region, where they have faced public threats before.

The government only agreed to put up the fleeing Christians in government housing in Ismailia after pressure on social media, which they underline as another disturbing sign.

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Non-Catholics for Church ‘Reform’

A totally objective press. Right.
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By Robert P. George

Arthur Schlesinger Sr. said that anti-Catholicism is “the deepest bias in the history of the American people.” I don’t know if that’s true anymore, as I don’t run into much anti-Catholicism from ordinary Americans.

Yet I can’t say I’m surprised by the noxious anti-Catholic bigotry contained in emails exchanged between leading progressives, Democrats and Hillary Clinton operatives. These WikiLeaks-published emails confirm what has been evident for years. Many elites, having embraced secular progressivism as not merely a political view but a religion, loathe traditional faiths that refuse to yield to its dogmas.

John Halpin of the Center for American Progress, writing in 2011 to Democrat bigwig John Podesta, was exercised over the fact that Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thomson, then-managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, “are raising their kids Catholic.” The horror!

“Friggin’ Murdoch,” Mr. Halpin went on, “baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.” He evidently has a problem with Mr. Murdoch wanting his kids to be baptized where Jesus was. But Halpin’s complaint went further: “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the [Supreme Court] and think tanks to the media and social groups.”

Mr. Halpin also offers his half-baked theory of what draws people to Catholicism. “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and the severely backwards gender relations.” Surely something must be done about those backward Catholics.

Mr. Halpin, in another message, this one to his Center for American Progress colleague Jennifer Palmieri, continues the tirade: “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they are talking about.”

Thus does Mr. Halpin dismiss what Cornel West, a man of the left but one who is admirably critical of anti-Catholicism, describes as “a deep and powerful tradition of thought.” Mr. Halpin also tosses aside an idea, subsidiarity, that Catholic and non-Catholic political theorists have long found compelling. Though it isn’t shocking that progressives are threatened by a principle of decentralization which posits that decisions should be made where possible by non-governmental institutions of civil society or local rather than central governments.

Ms. Palmieri wrote, “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.” Apparently it is inconceivable that people become or remain Catholics from honest reflection. The contempt Mr. Halpin and Ms. Palmieri exhibit for faithful Catholics is matched only by their loathing for the faith itself—and perhaps their maligning of evangelicals as uncouth bumpkins.

But what about Mr. Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman and himself a Catholic? Another email went to him, this one from Sandy Newman, founder and president of the liberal activist group Voices for Progress. “There needs to be a Catholic Spring,” the non-Catholic Mr. Newman ordered, “in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church.”

Was Mr. Podesta offended by Mr. Newman’s effrontery? Did he rise to defend the honor of the faith he professes to hold? Did he protest the proposal to subvert its teachings? To instigate a rebellion for political reasons?

Mr. Podesta endorses the suggestion and even assures him that organizations bearing the name “Catholic” (but, of course, unapproved by the church and outside its authority) have been created. He claims that the “Catholic Spring” Mr. Newman has called for is already being planned, though it’s not quite ready for execution: “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.” Mr. Podesta and his associates had already set up and funded the front groups to foment the rebellion that they hoped would whip the Catholic Church into line.

Speaking to a trusted colleague, Mr. Podesta felt no need to hide the fact that these groups are political operations constructed to masquerade as organizations devoted to the Catholic faith. He and his allies created them to subvert the church’s teachings and witness—produce the rebellion—not advance them. The groups are progressive and Democrat—not Catholic.

Where do you suppose Mr. Podesta and his friends went to get the money to fund the phony “Catholic” groups? The Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights discovered, to no one’s surprised, that the effort was backed by progressive billionaire George Soros, another non-Catholic.

The bigotry on display in the emails is that of people who claim to perceive bigotry everywhere, even where it does not exist. Some on the left have perfected the technique of smearing their political opponents by dismissing dissent from the dogmas of secular progressive ideology— on, say, abortion or marriage— as bigotry. This tactic has only bred more hatred toward traditions of faith that uphold traditional moral values, such as Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism.

Neither presidential candidate has an admirable record of respect for religion. Mr. Trump has been rightly called out for whom he associates with, and Mrs. Clinton should be held to the same standard.

She vowed in the second presidential debate “to be the president for all Americans,” regardless of politics or religion. Given her closest advisers’ animus toward faithful Catholics and evangelicals, millions of Americans ought to be skeptical—especially if they’re unwilling to put politics before faith and common decency.

Mr. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, was chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2013-14 and 2015-16).

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