Category Archives: Religious Persecution

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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Mass Rape, Sexual Abuse: Communist China’s Genocidal Tool to Eliminate Faith

What is the United States doing to pressure China on this issue? Whatever we are doing, we should be doing more. I fear that the current administration will significantly ease up; not good. mrossol

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3/8/2021  The Epoch Times  – BY JOCELYN NEO

As the world is celebrating International Women’s Day, let’s not forget the horrifying abuses that mothers and sisters, and even grandmothers, are subjected to in the land of communist China.

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949, it has been employing unethical ways to persecute citizens and suppress spiritual groups. Recently, several reports have confirmed how the CCP is using sexual abuse as a tool for re-educating and transforming prisoners of faith, regardless of their age.

Rooted in atheism and materialism, the communist regime has been brutally suppressing Uyghur Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners for years. Those who refuse to comply with the CCP’s orders are detained and taken to secretive “re-education camps” where they are subjected to unimaginable abuses, including gang rape and electrocution.

 

Sexual Abuse of Uyghurs

To condemn the CCP’s grave human rights violations, the Trump-era administration said on Jan. 19, 2021, that the communist regime has committed “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” in its repression of the Uyghurs Muslims.

The then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the CCP has incarcerated over a million Uyghurs, subjecting them to forced labor, forced sterilizations, and torture.

“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC [People’s Republic of China], under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said. He added, “I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state.”

Two weeks later, the BBC published a detailed report on the systematic sexual torture happening in Xinjiang’s tightly-guarded re-education network. The report that is based on first-hand interviews of several Uyghurs who were previously detained in the internment camps revealed the torture and gang-rape horrors they witnessed or lived through.

Epoch Times Photo
A watchtower on a high-security facility near what is believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, on the outskirts of Hotan, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, on May 31, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Tursunay Ziawudun, 42, who fled to the United States after escaping from Xinjiang following her release, recounted to the BBC the sexual abuses she underwent and witnessed while detained for nine months in China’s secretive camps in Xinjiang.

Ziawudun, who is married to a Kazakh and had returned to Xinjiang for work in 2016 after staying in Kazakhstan for five years, detailed how she was shocked with an electric baton and “gang-raped on three occasions,” the BBC reported.

“The woman took me to the room next to where the other girl had been taken in,” Ziawudun told the BBC. “They had an electric stick, I didn’t know what it was, and it was pushed inside my genital tract, torturing me with an electric shock.”

“They don’t only rape but also bite all over your body, you don’t know if they are human or animal,” she said. “They didn’t spare any part of the body, they bit everywhere leaving horrible marks. It was disgusting to look at. […] And it is not just one person who torments you, not just one predator. Each time they were two or three men.”

Talking to Fox News, Ziawudun said: “Any woman under 40 was raped. Every one in the camp experienced this … I was also beaten—I was kicked and stamped on—once so much on my private parts that I was bleeding, and I since had to have my ovaries removed.”

The BBC report said that even the elderly women detainees were not spared. Ziawudun recalled seeing an elderly Uyghur woman being humiliated.

“They stripped everything off the elderly lady, leaving her with just her underwear. She was so embarrassed that she tried to cover herself with her arms,” Ziawudun told BBC. “I cried so much watching the way they treated her. Her tears fell like rain.”

Epoch Times Photo
Members of the Muslim Uyghur minority hold placards as they demonstrate in front of the Chinese consulate on Dec. 30, 2020, in Istanbul, to ask for news of their relatives and to express their concern after China announced the ratification of an extradition treaty with Turkey. (Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images)

Ziawuden’s claims were backed by Qelbinur Sedik, an Uzbek woman from Xinjiang who was coerced to teach the Chinese language to the internment-camp detainees. Sedik told the BBC that a camp policewoman confirmed, after Sedik once secretly asked her, that sexual abuse is indeed happening in the camps.

“Yes, the rape has become a culture. It is gang rape and the Chinese police not only rape them but also electrocute them. They are subject to horrific torture,” Sedik recalled the policewoman’s words.

Gulzira Auelkhan, another Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who was forced to help the camp guards by stripping women, also confirmed to the BBC that gang rape is common in the camps.

“They forced me to take off those women’s clothes and to restrain their hands and leave the room,” Auelkhan said. “You can’t tell anyone what happened … It is designed to destroy everyone’s spirit.”

Epoch Times Photo
Gulzira Auelkhan, who spent close to two years trapped in China, speaks during an AFP interview at the office of the Ata Jurt rights group in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Jan. 21, 2019. She is pictured with her 5-year-old daughter. (Ruslan Pryanikov/AFP via Getty Images)

In the recent past, several previously detained Uyghurs had also described similar harrowing tales of torture and rape from the Xinjiang camps.

Gulbakhar Jalilova, an Uyghur and Kazakhstan national who was detained in 2017 for 15 months in an all-female camp, told The Epoch Times that rape happened on a daily basis in the camps. “Young girls are taken out and raped all night long. If you keep resisting, they will inject you with something and kill you,” Jalilova said.

In 2019, Sayragul Sauytbay of Kazakh descent, who was forced to teach the Chinese language in the camp, told Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, that she once witnessed a female detainee being raped by policemen, “one after the other,” in front of 200 inmates. The incident left Sauytbay traumatized.

“While they were raping her they checked to see how we were reacting,” Sauytbay told Haaretz. “People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again. It was awful.

“I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, of not being able to help her. After that happened, it was hard for me to sleep at night.”

Sexual Abuse of Other Spiritual Believers

Apart from targeting Uyghur Muslims, the CCP also employs such horrendous torture methods on Falun Gong practitioners, Buddhists, and Christians.

Female adherents of Falun Gong are routinely subjected to sexual abuse and rape for not renouncing their faith. Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) is a spiritual meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, tolerance; it is freely practiced by over 100 million people worldwide but is being violently persecuted in China, and has been since July 1999.

Reenactment of sexual torture.
An illustration of one of the sexual torture methods employed by the CCP officials to coerce female Falun Gong adherents to renounce their faith. (Minghui.org)

Detailing the torture and routine sexual abuse faced by Falun Gong practitioners, a two-part report (warning: article contains graphic content) has been compiled by Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website dedicated to documenting the persecution of Falun Gong.

At the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, 18 female practitioners were thrown into the men’s cells and the guards encouraged the inmates to rape the spiritual adherents, Minghui.org reported. The elderly or young, no one was exempted from these abuses.

In 2001, Zou Jin, 70, of Changsha City, Hunan Province, was gang-raped at the Changsha City First Detention Center and sentenced to nine years before she passed away. A 9-year-old girl, who was the orphan child of a Falun Gong practitioner, was gang-raped at the Changping Mental Hospital in Beijing in 2002. “Her screams and cries were heart-wrenching,” the Minghui.org report said.

The report said the authorities also forced pregnant practitioners to abort their unborn babies, beating and shocking them with electric batons which eventually lead to miscarriage.

The CCP hasn’t shown any leniency in abusing Buddhist nuns or Christians either.

The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy has reported on the personal account of an anonymous Tibetan monk who was detained for four months in a re-education center, in Sog County, Tibet Autonomous Region, in 2017. The monk recounted seeing nuns being sexually abused after participating in military drills.

“Many nuns would lose consciousness during the [military] drills,” the monk wrote. “Sometimes officers would take unconscious nuns inside where I saw them … grope all over their body.”

“Who knows what else they did to the nuns?” the monk wrote.

Citing the sexual abuse account of a Chinese Christian, the editor-in-chief of the Bitter Winter magazine, Massimo Introvigne, wrote that Jiang Guizhi, a member of The Church of Almighty God in China, was raped by policemen and later died after the severe torture.

In 2019, the Association for the Defense of Human Rights and Religious Freedom (ADHRRF) reported a more detailed account of the torture experienced by Jiang. After being repeatedly asked by a cellmate, Jiang revealed that “the police had taken her to a private room in a hotel where she was interrogated, raped, and had objects stuffed inside her vagina,” the ADHRRF reported.

Arshdeep Sarao contributed to this report.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mass-rape-sexual-abuse-communist-chinas-genocidal-tool-to-eliminate-faith_3716865.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-03-08-1

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The Astonishing Shredding of the Constitution by California-Based Judges and the Legislature

If the executive, or legislative, or judicial branch of government can suspend rights enumerated in the US Constitution “at will” than we have no “rights”; only “permissions”. mrossol

 

May 27, 2020 The Epoch Times. Thomas Del Beccaro – CONTRIBUTOR
 
 

As the nation prepares to reopen, the response to the COVID-19 crisis has taught us many lessons, not the least of which is that politicians and judges are willing to run roughshod over the Constitution if it suits their purposes.

Nowhere is that more true than in California.

Recently, a panel of 9th Circuit judges based in California, in a split opinion, upheld a ban on church services. Two judges who are sworn to uphold the law suspended the Constitution and wrote that if a “court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”

Meanwhile, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom has “required” “Mortgage Payment Relief During COVID-19 Crisis.” Courts have suspended eviction and foreclosure proceedings and the legislature is considering a law that would allow “bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to renegotiate rent prices with their landlords if they’ve experienced a 40-percent drop in revenue or have limited their capacity by at least 25 percent to safely reopen their doors,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

In plain terms, our Founding Fathers would be horrified. But then again, they never imagined government spending topping 50 percent of the economy either—and that is just where we are headed with the response to COVID-19.

We would do well to remember that one of the main reasons we have a Constitution was the reaction of the post-Revolution politicians to a depression. After the Revolution, the colonies were deeply in debt and taxes were far higher than those imposed by England. Combined with lost trade and private debt, a deep recession ensued.

Debtors were suffering during those bad economic times and politicians came to their rescue by enacting various laws that permitted them to repay their debts in installments, shut down courts to prevent judgments, and printed paper money so that debtors who took out their loans in gold could pay it back with paper of lesser value.

The states were enacting laws at such a fast and furious pace that our founders saw the economic uncertainly and damage the reaction to the crisis was causing to trade across state lines and internationally. Alexander Hamilton thought Americans were “growing tired of an excess of democracy.” Others identified the problem as “a headstrong democracy,” a “prevailing rage of excess democracy,” or “democratical tyranny.”

The solution the founders fashioned, and again, a central reason we have a Constitution, was the famed contract clause. Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 states: “No State shall . . . coin Money . . . or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts . . .”

Keep in mind that our founders were often short and blunt with their words. They needed few words to convey that the states wouldn’t change the terms of the existing contracts by “impairing” them.

They enshrined that law in the Constitution precisely because states were passing laws that permitted debtors to get out from their debts, delay payments, or pay their debts with dubious paper money.

Who among us today thinks a state court would cite that history or that language?

As for not allowing church services, it must be said that judges sworn to uphold the Constitution can’t do so by suspending the Constitution. It is also worth remembering that the Revolutionary War was fought amid the deadly smallpox epidemic.

At the time, and to this day, there is no known cure. The mortality rate for those who contracted smallpox was 30 percent overall and 80 percent among children. Nevertheless, the founders fashioned the First Amendment that says, quite bluntly: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

According to the two liberal judges who backed Newsom’s dubious restrictions on churches, “We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure.” The court opinion, of course, cites no evidence to back its “scientific” conclusion.

Of course, COVID-19 is nowhere near as dangerous as small pox, which was estimated to have killed somewhere between 300 and 500 million people. Such perspective, however, is lost today.

The legendary historian Will Durant once said, “History is an excellent teacher with few pupils.” It appears that many politicians and judges have missed class, too, and we are all the worse for it.

Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer, and the former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives, “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-astonishing-shredding-of-the-constitution-by-california-based-judges-and-the-legislature_3366419.html

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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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