Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 in review

It is common at the turn of a new year to look back and to make lists of the most significant events in the past 12 months.  The result is usually rather subjective and rarely accepted by everyone as being accurate.  This may be a particularly difficult challenge when it comes to religious liberty stories.  How does one determine were the most important stories?  The number of people involved?  The level of violence inflicted?  The long term consequences?

Nevertheless, I am going to venture out and give a brief description of the 10 stories that stand out to me as I think back on 2008.

  • The anti-Christian riots in Orissa, India. Many have killed and thousands made homeless in the riots that broke out in Orissa early in 2009 and again in August.  Probably no single situation has been more on the forefront of The Voice of the Martyrs this year.
  • The continuing controversy here in Canada over what many (including VOMC) consider the abuse of provincial and federal human rights commissions in trying to restrict freedom of expression, particularly concerning criticism of homosexuality and Islam. 
  • China's blatant breaking of its Olympic promises to improve its human rights record, including religious freedom.
  • Algeria's crackdown on Muslim converts and arrests of evangelists.
  • The continuing exodus of Christians in Iraq in the face of threats and violence from Muslim militants.
  • The United Nations' passing of a resolution against the so-called defamation of religion.
  • Hundreds killed in riots in Jos, Nigeria
  • Iran's crackdown on converts and drafting of an law that would legislate the death penalty for apostates from Islam.
  • The killing of aid worker Gayle Williams in Kabul, Afghanistan by the Taliban on the accusation that she "came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people."
  • The continuing kidnapping, rape and forcible marriage of underage Christian girls by Muslim men in Pakistan.

Why don't you tell us what you think is the top persecution story of 2008?  We welcome your comments.

Many of these are ongoing concerns and require your continuing prayers.  Thank you for each of you who prayed for the persecuted in 2008.  May we encourage you to not only continue but to increase in your love for our afflicted brothers and sisters in 2009?  And don't keep this to yourself.  Please encourage others to receive both our weekly email update service The Persecution and Prayer Alert and our monthly full-colour newsletter.  These two tools not only provide the information necessary to be an effective prayer warrior for the persecuted but give a perspective on persecution that few receive today in their churches.  If you are not receiving them already, subscribe today.  Both the newsletter and the email updates are both free for the asking but will call you to a costly walk with Jesus (just as Jesus, Himself, did).


Anonymous said...

Glen,I am thankful for your writings on the website.I learn a lot and please keep on teaching.
i have one question for you and that is :What was the resolution against defamation of religion ?You mentioned that in the overview of 2008.Thanks for answering. Suzanna

Glenn Penner said...

Hi Suzanna. Take a look at the blog on Thursday, November 27, 2008 entitled "Freedom from speech"