What did you say you wanted for Christmas? Many Christians around the world just wanted safety and justice...
Christmas in Nigeria: There were multiple attacks by Islamic militants on churches and other Christian sites in several states of Nigeria which claimed 38 lives on Christmas eve. In Borno State, 30 men armed with knives and guns attacked a Baptist church dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him to death. Choir members were also slain, after which the church and the pastor’s house were set ablaze.
Christmas in the Philippines:
Christmas in Iran: This week a story leaked out of Iran about two pastors who will be spending Christmas behind bars. They face the death penalty on charges of “apostasy” (i.e. for abandoning Islam). (Verkort)
Christmas in Iraq It will be a Christmas of mourning for many Iraqi Christians. Christmas services were cancelled in Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk following what appears to be a never ending stream of kidnappings, assassinations and mass killings of Iraqi Christians. Attacks seam to spike at Christmas.
Christmas in Jordan: Meanwhile, Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan are mourning. “Christmas is not for us,” they said. This is because some of them just fled Baghdad two months after their homes were stormed by masked men who ordered them to leave, saying “you Christians (will) have no bread in this country; you have two days to leave.”
Christmas in China: On the day before Christmas there was a report that police raided numerous Christmas eve services, especially of house churches in the southwestern city of Chengdu detaining believers there.
Christmas in Pakistan: Christians in Pakistan faced a tense week because of the on-going possibility of violence by Islamists. The tension surrounds an event in the Punjab province regarding a Christian mother of five who has been sentenced to death by the regional court for negative speech to her neighbor that criticized Muhammad.
Christmas in India: Hindu fundamentalist attacks on Christians mounted as Christmas approached. Reports came in this week from different parts of India of a half dozen brutal attacks. Said one church leader, “around Christmas and other major Christian festivals, we have noticed a sudden spurt in anti-Christian violence in recent years.”
Christmas in Europe: In the UK there was a large poster campaign against Christmas launched by a radical Muslim group. The nationwide campaign denounced Christmas as evil and aimed at converting Britons to Islam.
Also this week, one of England’s largest malls blocked the signing of Christmas songs in order to avoid religious bias.
In parts of France this month there has been the usual opposition for wearing a cross or putting up nativity sets.
On the 16th of this month, Roman Catholic Pope Benedict voiced his deep concern over the persecution of Christians worldwide, but saved his strongest words for Europe where he said that the church is under assault by national governments and European institutions. Europe, he said, is taken with “Christianophobia.” According to the pope, there is a growing hostility and prejudice against Christianity in Europe. Legislation under the name of equity aims to force Christian doctors to perform abortions and churches to hire practicing homosexuals. But these things he says are contrary to Christian conscience. He called for an end to this hostility and prejudice saying that this aggressive secularism is as bad as the religious fanaticism we see in other parts of the world which persecutes Christians outright.
All these abbreviated stories can be found in greater length at http://www.persecution.org/
-Don Sweeting; The Chief End of Man - Reflections on theology, worship, culture, history and the church A bomb exploded during a Christmas service in a southern region of the Philippines. The area is known to be a center of Muslim extremism. The bomb exploded right after the gospel reading. The roof over the church collapsed. The falling beams and debris fell on parishoners wounding ten.