Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Across the United States, atheist groups are taking cases to the courts in an attempt to remove all references to Christianity from the public sphere of American life. Using a twisted and grossly over-extended interpretation of the "separation of church and state" clause in the 1st Amendment, these groups argue that even a cross pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center should not be allowed a place at the World Trade Center memorial funded in part by public funds. The cross was a source of hope and inspiration in the first few days after the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has signaled it will allow the Romeike family to stay in the U.S. only days after the Supreme Court rejected to hear their case for asylum. The family fled German several years ago when faced with legal challenges for attempting to home-school their children according to their Christian belief system. Home-schooling in Germany has been illegal since legislation created under the Nazi regime mandated that all German children attend public schools. The announcement by DHS comes as a relief to rights groups and the Romeike family, who faced heavy fines and the loss of their children if they were forced to return to Germany. The Obama administration had previously argued that their case did not qualify as one of religious persecution.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
In yet another legal blow to religious freedom in the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected hearing the case of the Christian Romeike family, paving the way for the German family to be deported. The Romeike family fled Germany several years ago in order to provide a Christian home-schooled education for their children. Thanks to a law established under Adolf Hitler, homeschooling is illegal in Germany and almost all German children must attend public school. The Obama administration has concluded that the Romeike's case does not amount to religious persecution and has fought to deport the family back to Germany, where the children may be taken into state custody and the parents my face severe fines.
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
An important piece of legislation that would create a position for a U.S special envoy on religious freedom issues in the Middle East and South Asia has stopped just short of passage in the Senate after being put on hold by two Senate offices. ICC has strongly supported the creation of the position, pointing out that religious freedom issues are far too low of a priority for U.S foreign policy and that the horrific conditions for religious minorities in the Middle East call for special attention. U.S influence in the region should be used to promote greater protections for the millions of Christians and other faith adherents facing violence and intimidation as a result of their religious identity.
Friday, February 28th, 2014
Some twenty-five Protestant families in Southern Mexico have had the water and electricity to their homes cut off and have been placed under virtual house arrest. The families’ refusal to participate in the traditional ceremonies of the Catholic Church has drawn the anger from village authorities for refusing to participate and fund the celebrations. A similar situation occurred in the same state in 2010 again targeting Protestant Christians.
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
For several years, ICC has monitored conditions for religious freedom in the United States. While American Christians today live with far more freedom than their brothers and sisters in the majority of the rest of the world, alarming developments, including a marked increase in hostility towards traditional Christian values, has many concerned that religious liberty is being eroded. Legal attacks have also increased. Senator Ted Cruz's (R-TX) father, Pastor Rafael Cruz, placed the majority of the responsibility on pastors in the U.S, who he said often fear losing their tax-exempt status too much to speak out on civic or political issues.
Monday, February 17th, 2014
In a hearing last week, Elliot Abrams of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that the United States consider using targeted economic sanctions against nations who violate basic standards of international religious freedom. While the U.S. does report on violations of religious freedom around the world and does list certain nations as "Countries of Particular Concern", actual sanctions are almost never placed against nations for persecuting religious minorities. Every year millions of Christians living around the world face government restrictions and social hostility, often including extrajudicial killings, rape, and torture, simply because of their religious identity.
Friday, February 14th, 2014
Mark Felder, a Christian music artist based in Houston, Texas, is receiving death threats after the release of a song opposing homosexual lifestyles and gay marriage. Felder's song was a direct response to a popular track entitled "Same Love" released by artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The highly intolerant response Felder is receiving to his music is emblematic of a prevailing culture in the United States which is increasingly critical of Christians and orthodox Christian values. ICC continues to monitor incidents of anti-Christian sentiment throughout the United States.
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
The Marriage and Religious Freedom act, authored by Republican Raul Labrador and currently co-sponsored by 100 Congressmen, is designed to protect from intimidation those who hold an orthodox Christian view of marriage. The bill specifically blocks federal agencies from targeting or discriminating against those who espouse a traditional definition of marriage. Christians across the United States have become increasingly concerned at the level of intolerance towards Christian values and beliefs that permeate both politics and popular culture.
Thursday, February 6th, 2014
International Christian Concern (ICC) applaudes remarks made by U.S. president Barack Obama on the topic of international religious freedom and religious persecution. In his remarks, made in a speech at the annual national prayer breakfast in Washington D.C. earlier today, the president pledged to elevate religious freedom as a part of U.S. foreign policy and addressed specific cases of religious persecution.
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Idaho are looking at a new bill which would protect licensed professionals from having their credentials revoked for refusal to provide services that would violate their religious beliefs. The proposed law comes at a time when Christians in the United States are increasingly concerned about issues of religious liberty. The requirement under the Health and Human Services mandate passed early in 2012 that business owners, including those of faith, provide certain types of insurance for employees, including insurance that covers abortion or abortion inducing drugs, has caused serious alarm.
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
This brief article takes a glimpse at the role that U.S. foreign policy plays in addressing the plight of persecuted Christians around the world. ICC regularly works with the State Department to help inform U.S. foreign policy and provide timely, accurate information on incidents of violence or discrimination against Christian communities. While the United States does recognize international religious freedom as an objective, this issue is often a very low priority for the U.S., even among other human rights issues.
Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Protestant Christians displaced from their homes have been asking the government to provide them land, all to no avail. When the believers attempt to return home they are met with mobs who often stone and/or kidnap them, and re-ousted.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
On Thursday, a conservative Christian law group filed an argument with a U.S. Court of Appeals in favor of the use of "In God We Trust." The filing was necessary because an atheist organization is currently suing to remove the motto. Across the United States efforts are being made in the legal arena to remove references to Christianity from public view. This attitude towards separation of church and state has also heavily influenced the public school system, where there have been several incidents of Christian students being silenced when attempting to share their faith in recent months.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
A Baptist Reverend in Cuba, named Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, has been placed under house arrest. This follows a day-long detention in which DNA and "scent samples" were forcibly taken from him during interrogation. The Cuban government has recently begun "cracking down" on those they view as political dissidents including Reverend Barroso and, earlier this month, Pastor Yordani Santí.
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has found that Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian owners of a bakery in Portland, are guilty of violating the civil rights of a lesbian couple after refusing to bake a cake for their wedding. The Klein's refused on the basis of their Christian faith and now face possible fines. The Klein's have already moved their bakery out of its location and into their home after pro-LGBT groups targeted the business and its supplies with threats and intimidation. The Klein's children were also issued death threats at school.
Sunday, January 19th, 2014
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has, in what is perhaps the most in-depth survey of its kind, reported that hostility towards religion continued to rise across the globe throughout 2012. Hostility rose the most in countries where radical Islamic theology has grown. This alarming development does not bode well for Christian minorities, who faced restrictions or hostility in more countries around the world than any other faith. The following article takes a look at some of the statistics reported by the Pew Forum.
Friday, January 17th, 2014
The following opinion editorial takes a look at the underlying issues that, according to the author, are eroding the foundation upon which the United States as a nation is based. ICC regularly monitors incidents of anti-Christian discrimination in the U.S. and has reported a marked rise in hostility towards Christianity in the public sphere. What this means for the United States in the long-term is uncertain, but this author contends the results will be anything but good.
Friday, January 17th, 2014
In yet another incident of anti-Christian sentiment being expressed in the U.S. public school system, a 1st-grader in Southern California was recently ordered to halt giving a Christmas presentation as soon as she began to recite John 3:16. The student, Brynn Williams, was the told to return to her seat and was the only one in the class not allowed to finish her presentation. In a meeting with civil liberty advocates after the incident, the school principal defended the teachers actions, saying " ‘Brynn can write about her beliefs in her journal, in her class work and on her homework, but she is not allowed to share her beliefs aloud to other students.'"
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
The following opinion article by Mathew Clark of the American Center for Law and Justice examines the response given by the Department of Justice to the Supreme Court regarding the Hobby Lobby case and the HHS mandate. The Department of Justice is arguing that business owners of faith will not be able to decline paying for abortion medication for their employees, even if this violates their religious convictions. The case has many in the United States concerned about what appears to be a steady decline in protections for religious freedoms.
Friday, January 10th, 2014
In yet another incident of Christianity facing discrimination in the U.S. public school system, a California 1st-grader was told by a teacher late last month that "Jesus is not allowed in school." The first-grade student, Isaiah Martinez, was handing out candy canes as Christmas gifts to fellow classmates with a small story attached to each candy cane that referenced Jesus. Isaiah was then confronted by his teacher, who reportedly took the candy canes and ripped the story from each, throwing the stories in the trash before handing the candy canes back to the student. The incident is only one of several reported across the U.S. last year as hostility towards orthodox Christianity continues to grow in the nation, especially in the public sphere.
Monday, January 6th, 2014
A school district in California has agreed to refund thousands of dollars of fees charged to a Christian club for the use of its facilities. The school's policy of charging for facility use appeared to apply only to Christian clubs, even as secular clubs were allowed to use the school for free. The reversal of the decision comes after the school was confronted by a religious liberty organization that pointed out the policy was discriminatory. Americans have become increasingly aware of efforts around the country in recent years to remove all traces of Christianity from the public sphere, especially in the education system.
Saturday, December 28th, 2013
The following opinion editorial by Dr. Halee Gray Scott takes a look at a few of the major incidents of Christian persecution over the past year and asks why their is a lack of outrage on the part of the Western church. Dr. Scott points out the enormous amount of support received by Christian celebrity Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) and Christian owned business Chick-fil-A but the seeming lack of concern at violent persecution taking place around the world. With a very minimum of 100 Christians martyred for their faith every month, most of the Western church seems unaware of or unwilling to speak out about the issue.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Yesterday, the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013 was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Introduced by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, the bill would provide for the creation of a State Department Special Envoy to promote religious freedom in the Middle East. The legislation comes at a time when the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East is gaining widespread attention, both in the United States and in the UK. The bill was introduced and passed overwhelmingly in the House back in September, and now awaits a floor vote by the Senate.
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
The Mt. Soledad Veteran's Memorial Association has joined with the Liberty Institute to appeal a recent court decision ordering the removal of a cross at a prominent war memorial near San Diego. The battle over the cross has gone on for several years and defenders of the memorial are hoping the case will be taken up by the Supreme Court. A ruling by the nations highest court in the case may have a significant impact on other public memorials around the country with religious symbols. The battle over the memorial is a part of a wider effort by anti-religious organizations to remove religious symbols from public in the United States.
Monday, December 16th, 2013
In yet another small victory for anti-religious groups in the United States a district judge has ordered the removal of the Mount Soledad cross, although the order may simply be a move that allows for an appeal with the hope of the case being taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. In recent years atheist groups have actively pushed for the removal of all Christian symbolism from public property, arguing that monuments such as the Mount Soledad cross are the equivalent of a government endorsement of religion.
Sunday, December 15th, 2013
In an effort to protect religious organizations from facing legal discrimination for publicly opposing gay marriage, a new bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Mike Lee of Utah. The bill would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from removing the tax exempt status of churches and other religious non-profit organizations that oppose gay marriage. Although churches have not yet faced this kind of discrimination in the United States, the rising trend of prosecuting groups or individuals who oppose gay marriage has alarmed conservative law makers.
Friday, December 13th, 2013
In response to a court ruling allowing a monument of the Ten Commandments to remain on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Satanist and Hindu groups have submitted applications to place memorials on the grounds as well. The applications are likely geared towards having the Ten Commandments removed, rather than in the interest of actually placing Hindu or Satanist memorials on the grounds. Battles over religious symbols placed on public property are being waged across the United States as increasing pressure from various groups to marginalize Christianity in the public sphere are underway.
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to call for the release of American-Iranian Saeed Abedini. December 12th marks 444 days since Saeed was taken to an Iranian prison, simply because of his Christian faith. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) co-chaired a joint subcommittee hearing on Iran’s continued persecution of Pastor Saeed. The dangers that Saeed faces in the brutal prison are real and it is crucial that the American people and the American government remain fully engaged to see this father and husband brought home to his family.
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
The following opinion piece by the president of the American Family Association provides an insightful look into the debate over a "war on Christmas" in the United States. President Tim Wildmon responds to comments made by leading Christians that belittle complaints of a war on Christmas, pointing out evidence of the cultural battle taking place and concluding firmly that a war is taking place to marginalize Christmas and Christian teachings in society.