April 2, 2015
As I write, militants from the Islamist Al-Shabab terrorist organization are holding Christian students hostage at a university in Kenya. They are reported to have killed about 20 people so far. Here’s a link to this breaking story: Al Shabab militants target Christians in Kenya university attack.
The violent persecution of Christians around the world is one of the crises of our time. Doubt it? Consider the following headlines from the past 10 days or so:
Suicide bombers kill 15 people outside Pakistani churches, mob attacks suspects in aftermath – U.S. News and World Report
New Evidence of War Crimes, Genocide against Iraqi Christians, Yazidis – Christianity Today
Christians in the Middle East May Disappear Within Two Years: Lebanese Leader – Assyrian International News Agency
Here at home? Consider this story, published this morning, about a restaurant in Indiana:
A small-town pizza shop in Indiana has closed its doors after the owners' support of the state's "religious freedom" law and pronouncement they would not cater a gay wedding brought fierce backlash. Kevin O'Connor, 61, who owns Memories Pizza with his two children in Walkerton, Ind., has closed the shop's doors in hopes the furor will die down, but the family fears it will never reopen … O'Connor's daughter, Crystal, says the family is considering leaving the state. On Tuesday, WBND Channel 57 interviewed members of the O'Connor family, who said they agreed with Gov. Mike Pence's decision to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The family said the pizzeria is a "Christian establishment." "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," Crystal O'Connor said. "We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything." The family said it would serve gays or a non-Christian couple in the restaurant.
Brutal physical attack, imprisonment, and cutting-off water are persecution of a different type than that experienced by the Hoosiers described above. But the O’Connors are being non-violently persecuted for their commitment to living-out their faith.