John Allen, noted columnist for the NCR, writes… “Egypt is one of the front lines in what I’ve come to call the “global war on Christians,” meaning mounting anti-Christian violence in various corners of the world.
The latest symbol is Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children, all of whom have been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a court in Beni Suef, a city of 200,000 people located 75 miles south of Cairo. Technically, the charge is falsifying identity documents, but in reality, their crime is converting to Christianity.”
“Here’s what that has to do with Washington: Two members of Congress, Virginia Republican Frank Wolf and California Democrat Anna Eshoo, have introduced a bill to create a special envoy in the State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia (H.R. 301 ). The idea is that this official could mobilize the government to help victims such as Ali and to raise public awareness. The sponsors cite envoy positions created for Sudan and North Korea as precedents.
The tandem of Wolf and Eshoo demonstrates how concern for the global war on Christians cuts across the usual divides.
Wolf is a strong pro-lifer, given a 100 percent score by the National Right to Life Committee; Eshoo is pro-choice, rated 100 percent by the National Abortion Rights Action League. Wolf voted for the Defense of Marriage Act while Eshoo, a major gay rights supporter, opposed it. Wolf, a Presbyterian, has backed the U.S. bishops in opposition to contraception mandates as part of health care reform, and co-sponsored the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.” Eshoo, a Chaldean Catholic who once worked at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif., supports the mandates. It’s not her first time jousting with the bishops. In 2004, she signed a letter from 48 Catholics in Congress complaining about withholding communion from pro-choice politicians.
I could go on, but you get the picture: In many ways, this is a political odd couple.
Still further on
Speaking of the global war on Christians, the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) this week issued its “Persecution Watch Yearly Report
EFI once again expressed alarm over “uninterrupted and increasing hostility against the Christian minority community.” For 2012, the group recorded 131 acts of violence against Christians — one attack every 2.7 days. Incidents included intimidation, harassment, false accusation, arrests and detention, vandalism and assault on churches, and direct physical attacks on individual believers.
…Just to provide a sense of the daily drumbeat, here’s the rundown in the EFI report for the month of November alone:
- On Nov. 1 in Pitlam, Nizamabad, Hindu extremists accused an evangelical Christian named Elish of forceful conversion while he was distributing Gospel tracts.
- On Nov. 7 in Ujjain, police arrested Pastor R.K. Badodiya after Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal who were shouting anti-Christian slogans barged into a prayer meeting Badodiya was leading, beat up the Christians gathered in the church, and accused Badodiya of forceful conversion.
- On Nov. 12, Hindu extremists beat up Pastor Abraham Koshy from the Indian Pentecostal Church, burned up Bibles kept in the church, and damaged its door and windows.
- On Nov. 20 in Chippagiri, Yellapura Taluk, extremists demolished the Blessing Youth Mission Church.
- On Nov. 23 in Kammadahalli, Hindu extremists accused Pastor Girish of forceful conversion, disrupted the dedication of a new prayer hall and installed a statue of a Hindu deity inside the hall.
- On Nov. 25 in Chindwada, extremists beat up Pastors Rajkumar and Nanaswor and accused them of forceful conversion.
- On Nov. 27 in Huzurabad, police arrested an evangelical Christian named Abraham after Hindu extremists shouted accusations of rape while he was distributing Gospel tracts.
- On Nov. 30 in Machewa village, Mahasamund, Hindu extremists attack four Christians, accusing them of forceful conversion and of arranging intercaste marriage for three newly converted girls from the Sahu community.
- Also on Nov. 30 in Boothpada, Ratlam, extremists assaulted Pastors Govind Meida and Sharad Pargi, seriously injuring the latter.
That’s nine attacks in 30 days, right in line with the statistical average for the year. Perhaps if the special envoy position floated by Wolf and Eshoo gets off the ground, whoever lands it ought to take a hard look at India, too.