Category Archives: Religious Persecution

How will Muslim Nominee Protect Other Faiths?

Christianity Daily  11/21/2021

A Colorado-based group promoting religious freedom asked President Joe Biden’s Muslim nominee, Rashad Hussain, how will he and the administration protect other faiths and their rights.

WND said JihadWatch, through its director Robert Spencer, highlighted the 7-page open letter sent by Save The Persecuted Christians Coalition to Hussain questionimg his capacity to be truthful to his role as an “Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom” even to other religions, especially those being persecuted by Muslims.

The coalition is comprised of 124 American Christians and Jews that aims “to engage public officials and spread news of persecution” at the grassroots.

“He is, by all accounts, a devout Muslim. As Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, will he speak out and act for the religious freedom of non-Muslims in Shariah states who are discriminated against according to Shariah provisions? The establishment media will never ask him. So Save the Persecuted Christians has done so,” Spencer said.

The open letter pointed out some unaddressed areas on Hussain’s nomination to the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. The coalition raised the said areas out of its desire that clarity be made on the matter prior to Hussain receiving the United States Senate’s vote on his nomination.

Save The Persecuted Christians’ letter pointed out that one of the areas that were not addressed was Hussain’s beliefs on “certain tenets of Islamic Law.” One of the said tenets pertain to Islam having a “supremacist position” over other religions. This tenet compels Muslims adherance to the treatment of “infidels” or those who are non-Muslims as “inferior” to them such that they have limited rights and are subject to “severe punishment.”

Another tenet involves considering converts as “apostates” subject to death penalty. While another considers Muslims with a different interpretation of Islam as “apostates” who are similarly subjected to the same punishment as converts.

“As a committed Muslim, in the execution of your office as AAL, will you be able to consider members of all faiths or of no faith equally worthy of U.S. protection from persecution by state and non-state actors?” Save The Persecuted Christians said.

“In light of differences in the understanding of personal rights and freedoms under Sharia rules versus those protected under international laws concerning human rights and religious freedom, what standard would you advocate for when issues arise affecting the freedom of non-Muslims to practice their faith–especially in Muslim-majority nations–if confirmed as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom?” they added.

The letter also sought clarity in 17 other areas on Hussein’s history, ideologies, and statements, such as using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as his guide in implementing his role. The coalition said that this differs significantly” from the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights that was used by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to which Hussein was appointed to by former President Barack Obama as a Special Envoy.

The difference lies in the “legal and practical implications of its caveat that all human rights are to be observed only to the extent they are consistent with Sharia,” which is the Arabic name for the Islamic Law.

The coalition particularly cited that as OIC Special Envoy, Hussein was one of those who promoted a false narrative that a jihadist attack in Benghazi was “spontaneous” instead of it being “murderous and pre-planned.” The said attack actually led to the death of a U.S. Ambassador to Lydia among others. The coalition asked Hussein if he still holds the same position today.

The group also cited several instances that Hussein acted against justice by defending Muslims even though it was not the truth such as silencing those who spoke against persecution done by Islamic groups as “Islamophobic” during his stint as OIC Special Envoy.

https://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/13874/20211109/group-promoting-religious-freedom-asks-biden-administration-how-muslim-nominee-will-protect-other-faiths.htm

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Christians: Stop being passive

Christians: Stop being passive

It will be interesting to see if enough “people of faith” can common ground in a way and push back ‘civilly’ in a unified manner. mrossol

American Faith, By Jon Fleetwood, 11/20/2021

A national survey conducted by McLaughlin & Associates-Summit.org found 75% of Americans believe the government does not have the right to force people to participate in practices that violate their religious beliefs. Sixty percent say that religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine should be protected. Only 27% disagreed.

Americans of all political parties and religious beliefs are increasingly concerned that the government is exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine religious liberty. From forcing churches to remain closed while casinos reopened, to threatening the jobs of those objecting to the COVID-19 shot, people of faith no longer have the luxury of remaining passive.

Religious liberty is the first freedom protected in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It is a freedom nearly all Americans hold dear. Yet the Biden administration seems out of touch. How many Blue states will turn Red before the administration realizes that Americans’ concerns over COVID-19 do not trump their love of freedom and the rule of law?

Consider this example. In September, just days after Biden’s mandate announcement, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy promised the federal government would “monitor” religious exemption claims. If you are looking for scientific proof that the small number of people claiming religious exemptions are a danger to the public, you’ll almost certainly come up empty-handed. The Biden mandate seems more like a cynical power play than a medical imperative.

During the Clinton administration, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by a nearly unanimous vote. President Clinton signed it into law. RFRA states that the government must prove that any action or regulation they pursue does not place an undue burden on Americans’ practice of their religion. Yet the Biden administration’s overarching mandate makes little sense given less burdensome alternatives such as assessments of natural immunity and regular COVID-19 testing.

American people of faith are now in the unfamiliar position of having to stand against their own government to uphold their basic liberties. Many Christians are uncomfortable with this. Some say that biblical passages such as Romans 13 insist that we do whatever our government demands.

But our government authority is not the Roman Empire or a Caesar. It is the Constitution and our representative republic. As Abraham Lincoln famously stated, the United States is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Bureaucrats are not the government, weare.

In this country, if you want to obey the governmental authorities as the Bible says, you must be an involved citizen.

Christian involvement with government isn’t just an American imperative, however. A millennium and a half ago Augustine of Hippo argued that citizens of the kingdom of Heaven are the best citizens in the kingdoms of humanity because they have an allegiance to a truth that is higher than the state. Government is not God.

During World War II, Corrie ten Boom’s faith inspired her defiance of Nazi rule as she smuggled Jews to safety. And Martin Luther King Jr.’s appeal to God’s authority as the moral foundation for the civil rights movement cemented his legacy despite laws mandating segregation based on race.

Pushing back against government overreach sometimes requires civil disobedience. This is to be sharply distinguished from un-civil disobedience such as rioting.

In the McLaughlin/Summit.org poll, 57% of Americans who expressed an opinion said that civil disobedience is an appropriate response when the government oversteps its legal authority or engages in immoral behavior against its citizens.

Peaceful but firm resistance does carry a cost. People of faith have often faced persecution for simply putting their faith ahead of government mandates. The Apostle Paul himself insisted on obeying God rather than man and shared openly about suffering at the hands of Jewish and Roman authorities for proclaiming the Gospel.

Instead of retreating from the public sphere, Christians have an obligation to engage, especially when guaranteed rights are threatened by unjust overreach.

The McLaughlin/Summit.org poll shows that Americans are seriously concerned about such overreach. Some 73% percent of those who expressed an opinion believe that “our rights are given to us by our Creator and not by the government.” But will they follow through when that belief costs them something?

Regardless of our personal views on vaccines, Christians are obligated to stand up for constitutional freedoms such as religious liberty, and to find ways to support those who are harmed by standing firm for their religious beliefs.

A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. People of faith are a bulwark against those who insist on swearing allegiance to the government rather than to God.

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Big Tech Censors Religion, Too

WSJ  3/29/2021  by Josh Holdenried

It’s not only politics. So far this year, religious groups and figures have been silenced by tech companies at a rate of about one a week, according to a new report from the Napa Legal Institute.

Consider LifeSiteNews, a popular religious news website. In February its YouTube channel was permanently banned by Google, which deleted all its videos. Google claimed its action was a response to Covid-19 misinformation but wouldn’t tell LSN which video had offended its standards. The tech giant had flagged LSN for a video of an American Catholic bishop criticizing vaccines developed with fetal cells. The website’s editor in chief said “our best guess is that the channel was taken down for our frank and factual discussion of the controversy around abortion-tainted medicines and vaccines.”

In January, Bishop Kevin Doran, an Irish Catholic, tweeted: “There is dignity in dying. As a priest, I am privileged to witness it often. Assisted suicide, where it is practiced, is not an expression of freedom or dignity.” Twitter removed this message and banned Bishop Doran from posting further. While the company reversed its decision after public opposition, others haven’t been so lucky.

The previous month, Twitter blocked a post from the Daily Citizen, which is run by Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian nonprofit, and suspended its account. The reason: a tweet that respectfully challenged the underlying premise of transgenderism. Twitter made a similar move against Catholic World Report, though the company later said it had acted in error. Ryan T. Anderson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center saw Amazon ban his book criticizing transgenderism, “When Harry Became Sally.” Amazon shows no signs of changing course.

Books from specific publishers are often targeted, such as Catholic TAN Books. One of its authors is Paul Kengor, who wrote an anticommunist tract called “The Devil and Karl Marx. ” TAN Books can’t advertise his work on Facebook, or that of Carrie Gress, who wrote a book on “rescuing the culture from toxic femininity.” Facebook has also banned ads for Kimberly Cook’s book, “Motherhood Redeemed.” The offending ad called it “a book that challenges feminism in the modern world.”

When posts are removed, ads are blocked, and accounts are banned, public pushback and media criticism often lead tech companies to rethink their actions. Last October, after the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List was targeted by one of Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers for “misleading claims” about Joe Biden’s policy on late-term abortions, the group went on a media blitz, securing both a reversal and an apology.

It seems likely that religious groups and individuals will face mounting threats from tech companies. Their views on marriage, sexuality, life and other moral issues are unpopular among the Silicon Valley set. Religious groups should refuse to silence themselves, change their views, or otherwise back down. Censorship is a symptom of a national collapse in civic culture. Curing the deeper disease will take all the courage and conviction we can muster.

Mr. Holdenried is vice president and executive director of Napa Legal Institute, which educates and protects faith-based nonprofits.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/big-tech-censors-religion-too-11616959164?mod=trending_now_opn_4

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