I remember when I was a child learning Bible stories about how Christians were persecuted. The stoning of Stephen was scripture that all children growing up in Christian churches remember. I also remember thinking how wonderful it was that we no longer had to worry about persecution like those early Christians experienced. I was a child and didn't really understand the world.
Missionaries serving in foreign countries would regularly visit our church and tell of their experiences as they made friends with and witnessed to the local people. I don't remember truly hearing about organized killing and torture of Christians around the world. (image via SlantRight)
As years went by, I heard about Christian persecution, but for me it wasn't until recently, after September 11, 2001, that I really started seeing for myself the truth of the plight of Christians around the world.
With 24 hour news networks, the internet, access to what was happening live and in color, there is no excuse for not knowing the truth.
Unless you're living in a cave, and even if you are, it was hard to miss the graphic video of our soldiers being beaten, tortured, dismembered, hung from bridges, dragged behind vehicles, and beheaded. Video of women and children being burned in their churches. Video of women being buried alive or buried up to their necks and stoned for some contrived insult to Islam.
Pick most any country with majority Muslim population and Islamic rule and the story is the same. Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia (where Christian churches are not allowed at all). In Egypt we saw the systematic and organized sexual attacks on female and male non-Muslim journalists in the so-called Arab Spring. The list goes on and on.
We are not little children any more, reading Bible verses and thinking we are lucky because that kind of persecution no longer exists.
Which brings me to the following article and video from Gatestone Institute.
Liberal talk show host Tawfiq Okasha recently appeared on "Egypt Today," airing a video of Muslims slicing off a young man's head off for the crime of apostasy -- in this instance, the crime of converting to Christianity and refusing to renounce it. The video—be warned, it is immensely graphic—can be seen here (the actual execution appears from minute 1:13-4:00). For those who prefer not to view it, a summary follows:
A young man appears held down by masked men. His head is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. He does not struggle and appears resigned to his fate. Speaking in Arabic, the background speaker, or "narrator," chants a number of Muslim prayers and supplications, mostly condemning Christianity, which, because of the Trinity, is referred to as a polytheistic faith: "Let Allah be avenged on the polytheist apostate"; "Allah empower your religion, make it victorious against the polytheists"; "Allah, defeat the infidels at the hands of the Muslims," and "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."
Then, to cries of "Allahu Akbar!"— Allah is greater!"—the masked man holding the knife to the apostate's throat begins to slice away, severing the head completely after approximately one minute of graphic knife-carving, as the victim drowns in blood. Finally, the severed head is held aloft to more Islamic slogans of victory. [snip]
The video referenced above is truly gruesome, but sometimes it takes viewing something like this to make people understand what Christians are facing today, 2012.
Here in the United States Christians face a very subtle form of persecution. Don't believe me? Ask the Catholics. Under Obamacare and our current administration, they want to determine what people can believe, where they can believe and practice that faith. They want to limit our religion to the 4 walls of a church. This subtle form of persecution may not hit the heart and soul like seeing a man's head sawed off, but it is just as dangerous - maybe more so.
Your responsibility today is to stand up against these attacks here at home.