According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power
is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. - anon

Friday, May 16, 2014

CNN - The 8 Worst Places in the World to be Religious


Rohingya Muslim children at a refugee camp in Burma, where authorities
have incited violence against them, according to the State Department.

The 8 worst places in the world to be religious
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/15/the-worst-countries-to-be-religious/?sr=fb051514worstreligiouscountry7pStoryLink

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor
May 15, 2014

(CNN) - Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world's worst abusers of religious rights.

As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.

Among the most worrying trends, according to the State Department, are "authoritarian governments that restrict their citizens’ ability to practice their religion."

In typically bland bureaucratic language, the State Department calls these "countries of particular concern." But the designation can come with some teeth.

Sudan, for example, where a Christian woman was sentenced to death this week for leaving Islam, is ineligible for some types of foreign aid.

In addition to Sudan, here are the State Department's "countries of particular concern." You might call them "The Worst Places in the World to Be Religious."

Burma: The Burmese government puts a stranglehold on every religion except Theravada Buddhism, says the State Department.

Some government officials even enticed non-Buddhists to convert, and Muslims in the state of Rakhine, particularly Rohingya Muslims, are subject to discrimination and lethal violence, according to the State Department.

China: "The government harassed, detained, arrested, or sentenced to prison a number of religious adherents for activities reportedly related to their religious beliefs and practice," the State Department says.

That includes jailing Uyghur Muslims, one of whom was sentenced to 10 years in jail for "selling illegal religious material," and Catholic clergy who were arrested for not belonging to the state-run Catholic Patriotic Association.

That pales compared with the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, according to the State Department, who suffered through "an intense official crackdowns at monasteries and nunneries resulting in the loss of life, arbitrary detentions, and torture."

Eritrea: Just four religious groups are officially allowed to openly practice their faith in this African nation; the rest are out of luck, subject to jailing or worse.

So if you're not an Eritrean Orthodox Christian, a Sunni Muslim, a Roman Catholic or an Evangelical Lutheran, life could be tough for you here. Harsh detentions for religious dissenters are the norm, according to the State Department.

Iran: This Muslim-majority country's respect for religious rights has actually declined in recent years, according to the State Department.

"There were increased reports that the government charged religious and ethnic minorities with moharebeh (enmity against God), 'anti-Islamic propaganda,' or vague national security crimes for their religious activities," says the department's report.

Specifically, the government has imprisoned numerous members of the Baha'i faith and Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor who has been physically and psychologically abused, according to the State Department.


North Korea: Human rights groups provided numerous reports that members of underground churches were arrested, beaten, tortured or killed because of their religious beliefs, the State Department says.

The authoritarian nation has jailed as many as 200,000 political prisoners, according to the State Department, many on religious grounds. The country discourages any religious activity not sanctioned by officially recognized groups.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American reportedly accused of spreading Christianity in North Korea, has sentenced in 2013 to 15 years of hard labor.


Saudi Arabia: The oil-rich monarchy doesn't even pretend to respect religious rights for any faith other than Islam.

Sunni Islam is the official religion, and the country's constitution is based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. The public practice of any other religion is prohibited, according to the State Department, and Arabian authorities beheaded a man in 2012 for engaging in "sorcery."

Sudan: This country has been on the State Department's naughty list since its inception in 1999.

Sudan penalizes blasphemy and conversion from Islam, sentencing a Christian woman to death this week. It has also arrested and deported Western Christians suspected of spreading their faith.


The country's "morality police" require strict obedience to its interpretation of Islamic law, beating and stoning women accused of acting "indecently."

Uzbekistan: Technically, this country's laws respect religious rights.

But in practice, the Central Asian nation maintains strict control of its majority-Muslim population, according to the State Department.

"The government continued to imprison individuals based on charges of extremism; raid religious and social gatherings of unregistered and registered religious communities; confiscate and destroy religious literature, including holy books; and discourage minors from practicing their faith," the department said in its 2012 report.

People jailed on charges of "religious extremism" have been beaten, tortured and even killed, according to the State Department.

Daniel Burke - CNN Belief Blog Editor








* * * * * * * * *

Note: The following article below speaks specifically to Christian religious persecution. However, this author here feels it is equally reprehensible to persecuted ANY religious person based upon ANY religious faith held. Whether Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Pagan, or whatever.

Religious freedom must mean that any individual may decide by his/her own conscience and heart what faith or belief to follow without the interference of a sect, cullt, religious body, or state organ of government. Even if it be one of agnosticism or atheism (no religion at all).

To be free is to choose. That is the perogative of every man, woman, and child. And to respect the faith of another - especially if that faith is different from your own. A respect that would cause one to defend and even fight for the respect of another different from ourselves. This is true freedom.

And if we disagree with another than let it be a disagreement bound-and-fraught with tolerance, respect, education, and irenic debate. Not physical or psychological abuse brought on by victum  or hatred, intolerance or disrespect, hatred or anger.

The idea of "tolerance" means love and respect for another - even for someone whom we might disagree with and do not wish to abide with. These are hard words. Words that Jesus most honored in the beatitudes pertaining to one's heart and conscience. And they are hard words percisely because they are the hardest to follow and to practice.

Peace,

R.E. Slater
May 16, 2014

* * * * * * * * *


The Most Widely Persecuted Religion
In The World
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-persecuted-religions-in-the-world-2012-9

by Joshua Berlinger
September 20, 2012

The Pew Forum released its 2012 report, Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion
and ranked which religions were the most persecuted.

And despite the fact that Islamic protests have dominated the news, it's Christians that have been persecuted in the most countries between 2006 and 2010.


Here's how many countries people were harassed in a specific year:


Here's how the harassment breaks down in terms of government harassment and social harassment:


Of course, the data doesn't take into account how severe the harrassment was, or how widespread it was within the countries recorded, but it's certainly surprising.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-persecuted-religions-in-the-world-2012-9#ixzz31sVj5xiv


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