In a major blow to persecuted Christians living in oppressive nations, the U.S. State Department for the first time removed the section on religious persecution from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released at the end of May 2012. The report, which this year highlighted the success of the “Arab Spring” – the assisted “revolutions” for a democratic society in several Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, purged the sections which discuss the rampant abuse, persecution and loss of freedom for the Christians who live in these countries under their new “democratic regimes” in these predominately Muslim countries.
For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011 and instead referred the public to the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – a full two years behind the times – or to the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which was released last September and covers events in 2010 but not 2011.
Leonard Leo, who recently completed a term as chairman of the USCIRF, says that removing the sections on religious freedom from the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Roghts is a bad idea.
Since 1998, when Congress created USCIRF, the State Department has been required to issue a separate yearly report specifically on International Religious Freedom.
But a section reporting on religious freedom has also always been included in the State Department’s legally required annual country-by-country reports on human rights–that is, until now. And this is the first year the State Department would have needed to report on the effect the Arab Spring has had on religious freedom in the Middle East–had its reports, as always before, included a section on religious freedom.
“The commission that I served on has some real concerns about that bifurcation, because the human rights reports receive a lot of attention, and to have pulled religious freedom out of it means that fewer people will obtain information about what’s going on with that particular freedom or right. So you don’t have the whole picture because they split it up now,” Leo told CNSNews.com. (source)
Christian Persecution Victims: The World Turns a Blind Eye
As Beginning and End has detailed, Egypt, one of the initial nations involved in the Arab Spring, has had some of the worst atrocities committed. Egypt ranks first among Arab Spring nations on Open Doors USA “World Watch List” for the rampant Christian persecution. Christians in Egypt are routinely subject to physical attacks, churches being burned down and discrimination in society. The worst of all the incidents was the October 2011 “Maspero Massacre” in which a group of peaceful Christian demonstrators were attacked by Muslim objectors and Egyptian military forces who soon opened gunfire, killing 28 and leaving over 200 wounded.
Nigeria – In the month of January 2012 alone, the Islamist group Boko Haram was responsible for 54 deaths in Nigeria – this following an attack that killed 42 at church on Christmas Day. In 2011, the group was responsible for the murder of more than 500 people and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches in 10 northern states of Nigeria. (source)
Jesus Christ prophesied that Christians would be persecuted as the world approaches the end times:
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” — John 15:18-20.
Jesus Himself was persecuted and executed because of the Words He Preached: the Gospel. He openly and freely taught God’s Holy Word and that He was the way to eternal life and forgiveness of sins. And many hated Him for it. And just as He prophesied, today many Christians are hated, attacked and killed just because they choose to believe in Jesus Christ. And persecution only continues as society as a whole moves farther away from God and Biblical values in favor of rebellion, New Age religion and subtle preparation for the false Messiah. And thus not only is there little being done about Christian persecution by the governments of the world, they do not even want it mentioned. President Obama, who has been very vocal in his support of the Arab Spring (which he has hailed as a great success), has been oddly silent on the Christian persecution that is taking place in these new regimes.
Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Farr says it’s possible that the move to totally separate religious freedom from the human rights reports could simply be a bureaucratic maneuver. But another possibility is much more likely.
“The other possibility is the Obama administration is downplaying international religious freedom,” Farr said.
Farr, who served in the State Department under both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, was the first director of the Office of International Religious Freedom.
“I mean, it is important to note here that I do not know–I have no personal knowledge of the logic that went into removing religious freedom from the broader human rights report; but I also have observed during the three-and-a-half years of the Obama administration that the issue of religious freedom has been distinctly downplayed,” Farr said
(T)he ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, for example, who is the official charged by the law to lead U.S. religious freedom policy, did not even step foot into her office until two-and-a-half years were gone of a four-year administration,” he said.
“Whereas other human rights priorities of the administration, such as the ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, were in place within months. So that tells you something. t tells me that this has never been a priority for the Obama administration, and it’s not now,” he said. (source)
Pray against the efforts of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and others who brutalize and attack Christians in restricted nations all over the world just because they believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And pray for the Christians in these nations to maintain their faith in the midst of these attacks and continue to trust in The Lord to watch over them, guide them and protect them eternally through this struggle. Even if the world is turning a blind eye, God is watching.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. – 2 Peter 2:12-14