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The Suffering Church

ICC Note:

A look at the broad Christian persecution taking place around the world, with an emphasis on the recent events in Indonesia and India, and a call for Christians in America to make the plight of the persecuted church known and an issue to be addressed in the upcoming election.

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1/15/2008 Indonesia, India (Christian Post) Sadly, as you know, there are many examples of this suffering. A recent story in Al Jazeera’s English-language service described how Islamic radicals are “testing” Indonesia’s reputation for “for tolerance and moderation.”

Moderation? I wonder what the Christians of East Timor, an estimated 200,000 of whom died during Indonesia’s 25-year occupation, would say about that reputation. Needless to say, this example of Indonesian “moderation” goes unmentioned in the Al Jazeera article.

Instead, we are told about a Muslim group called the “Anti-Apostasy Alliance.” This group targets churches and Christians throughout the island of Java, Indonesia’s most-populous island.

As its name suggests, the greatest object of the Alliance’s ire are converts to Christianity. A spokesman told Al Jazeera that “Conversions to Christianity in Indonesia . . . have become increasingly serious.” He then added that “in my judgment I think it is a bigger evil than terrorism.”

In the week following Christmas, Hindu extremists burned 14 churches and killed one Christian in the Indian state of Orissa. The attacks are part of a larger campaign of violence prompted by Hindu fears over—that’s right—people converting to Christianity.

As I have told you all before, many of the converts come from India’s lowest castes, particularly the Dalits. Rather than allowing these poorest of the poor the consolation that Christianity offers, Hindu nationalists attack them, their churches, and target their clergy.

Worst of all, they often do so with the complicity of government officials: Orissa is governed by an ally of the Hindu nationalist BJP party. An archbishop told local television that the “government has allowed [the attackers] to continue.”

God has put us in this privileged position so that we will speak out for those around the world who are being persecuted. So, pressure the candidates whom you encounter. They want to know what you think? Tell them.

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