Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List to Reveal How COVID and Technology Accelerate Spread of Anti-Religious Bigotry; Digital Press Conference Jan. 13

SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — This week, persecution watchdog Open Doors USA will announce the 2021 World Watch List, its anticipated annual ranking of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian – and provide a surprising update on significant shifts in the landscape of Christian persecution worldwide. Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry will address media and viewers at an online press conference at 10 a.m. ET, Wednesday, January 13th.

Research-based and highly-cited, the 2021 World Watch List report will reveal disturbing new trends including an opportunistic expansion of extremist violence from Nigeria into Sub-Saharan Africa, implications of technology’s increasing role in the persecution of religious minorities, and new data indicating one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide. The report will also reveal how and why after several years in an otherwise static position, China’s ranking on the list jumped significantly.

Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry will also release the organizations’ research and findings on the specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on religious minorities worldwide. According to Open Doors, the confluence of COVID and technology in 2020 had ominous consequences across the globe, opening avenues for the spread of violence, discrimination and oppression against religious minorities, and gave rise to a surveillance state.

Curry will be joined by Dr. Chris Meserole, a fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and director of research and policy of the Brookings Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative. Meserole will share trends, projections and implications on religious freedom and censorship.

“The COVID pandemic has been used as a justification to exact religious terror. The interconnectivity of technology, in the hands of evil actors, has massive human rights implications for everybody with a smartphone,” Curry said.

US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, will also make a statement to viewers.

Open Doors’ findings will be illustrated by multiple firsthand narratives from recent victims of religious persecution, including a Nigerian healthcare worker widowed by Boko Haram, a former pastor in China’s Three-Self Patriotic movement church, a Uighur-American whose family is detained by China, and an Iranian Christian surveilled by secret police. The organization will issue a challenge Americans to pledge to pray for the persecuted by visiting ODUSA.org/PLEDGE.

Press may register for the 2021 World Watch List press conference HERE. For more information and interview scheduling, please email [email protected].

About Open Doors USA
For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world’s most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and to mobilize the Western church to pray and advocate for the persecuted. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.

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Source: apnews.com


Christian persecution in China and India expected to increase in 2021

Christian charity Release International is forecasting that persecution of Christians in China and India will increase in 2021.

The report says China has managed to avoid the scrutiny of the international community thanks to its strong trading relationships.

Chinese authorities “have bought freedom from censure due to trade with China. Many countries now regard this trade as essential to their own economies,’ International Release partners say.

“The government of President Xi Jinping is increasing its “clean up” of anything that does not advance the communist agenda. They appear to believe that they can achieve this by systematic opposition,” they continued.

Non-registered churches have been raided and closed in 2020 and increasing numbers of registered churches have been made to install CCTV cameras.

Earlier this month, Bob Fu, one of the leading advocates for persecuted Christian in China, faced bomb threats against his family in the US.

According to Mr Fu, the Chinese government has taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to strengthen restrictions on underground believers.

“The Chinese government is trying every way to take advantage of the virus by increasing the crackdown against Christian churches,” Mr Fu said. ‘It has accelerated particular campaigns, such as the forced removal of crosses,” he continued.

In India, there is also a growing intolerance towards Christianity. In September 2020, Hindu extremists gathered crowds of up to 3,000 people to attack Christians in three villages.

It is believed that prejudice against Christians increased following the landslide victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2019.

According to India’s Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Christians suffered 225 incidents of religiously motivated violence during the first ten months of 2020 – compared to 218 incidents in the same period in 2019.

Chief Executive of Release International, Paul Robison said: “Our partners tell us that attacks are on the rise under Communism in China, Islam in Iran and Malaysia, and under militant Hinduism in India.

“Yet despite persecution and pandemic, we see clear evidence of the boldness, courage and trust in God of Christians under pressure around the world,” he concluded.

Source: premierchristian.news


Over 42.6M abortions conducted in 2020, surpassing world’s leading causes of death

People participate in the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 2020. | The Christian Post/Samuel Smith

Over 42 million abortions occurred in 2020, far surpassing the totals of people who perished as a result of the world’s leading causes of death.

According to data compiled by the Worldometer, a reference website that monitors statistics on health, the global population, the use of resources and deaths in real-time, over 40 million abortions are performed worldwide annually.

The website tabulates statistics on abortion made available from the World Health Organization. The last available snapshot of the Worldometer as it appeared on New Year’s Eve, captured by the internet archive tool The Wayback Machine, reveals that more than 42.6 million abortions were performed worldwide in 2020.

By comparison, communicable diseases killed more than 13 million people worldwide in 2020. About 8.2 million people worldwide lost their lives to cancer while nearly 5.1 million people and 2.5 million people succumbed to death as a result of smoking and alcohol, respectively.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 1.8 million people worldwide died of coronavirus in 2020.

Other leading causes of death in 2020 included road traffic accident fatalities, of which there were nearly 1.4 million. Additionally, suicides are responsible for nearly 1.1 million deaths across the globe.

The total number of deaths worldwide in 2020, excluding abortions, was nearly 59 million.

But if abortions were counted as a cause of death rather than just another health statistic, the global death toll in 2020 would increase to more than 100 million.

The number of pregnancies terminated worldwide in 2020 is greater than the total number of people that succumbed to all other leading causes of death listed.

The year 2020 is not the first where the total number of abortions has surpassed the totals of people who died from the leading causes of death.

As previously reported, Worldometer reported that there were about 42.4 million abortions that occurred in 2019.

While abortion is the leading cause of death worldwide, it has also been the leading cause of death in the United States in recent years.

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, 862,320 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2017. That same year, heart disease which is frequently cited as the leading cause of death in the U.S., took the lives of 647,457 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In 2017, the total number of deaths in the United States, excluding abortions, was 2,813,503.

Already in 2021, Worldometer shows that there have been over 435,000 abortions since the beginning of the new year worldwide as of Monday evening.

As abortion remained the leading cause of death worldwide in 2020, countries across the world elected to take drastically different public policy approaches regarding the polarizing issue.

Last week, Argentina’s legislature passed a bill allowing elective abortions to take place during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.  Previously, the South American country only allowed abortions if a woman was raped or if her life was in jeopardy as a result of the pregnancy.

In October 2020, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, the country’s equivalent of a supreme court, ruled that a law permitting abortions based on fetal defects violated the country’s constitution. The ruling had the effect of making abortions legal in Poland only in cases of rape or incest or if the mother’s life or health were at risk.

A survey conducted last year by Ipsos found that support for abortion has dropped in most countries worldwide since Ipsos first began tracking the world’s attitudes about abortion in 2014. Worldwide, the support for abortion dropped from 72% in 2014 to 70% in 2020.

The strongest decline in support for abortion was recorded in Germany, where support decreased by 9%. Other countries where support for abortion dropped in that time period included Sweden, France, the United Kingdom and Spain. While Belgium, Australia, Canada and Argentina saw support for abortion increase from 2014 to 2020, no country saw as pronounced an increase as South Korea, where support rose by 20%.

Source: christianpost.com


‘LGBT orthodoxy threatens US religious liberty’, warns Albert Mohler

Christian leader Dr Albert Mohler has raised the alarm over an attempt by America’s “most influential LGBTQ organization” to shape US Government policy.

Dr Mohler described the demands being made by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in its briefing ‘Blueprint for Positive Change 2020’ as “alarming” and ‘a threat to religious liberty’.

The president of one of the country’s largest evangelical Bible colleges expressed particular concern about HRC plans to force Christian institutions to comply with “LGBTQ orthodoxy” or face losing government accreditation.

‘Sinister’

In an article published on his website, Dr Mohler warned that the HRC briefing unambiguously calls on President-elect Biden to adopt “a legislative agenda” in keeping with “the LGBTQ movement”.

The respected theologian criticised the report for seeking to eliminate “gender or sex as a meaningful category” and “remake humanity” in its demand for non-binary passports.

He also challenged the HRC view that the State Department should act to protect the “newly invented sexual liberties” of the LGBT lobby.

However, Dr Mohler said the most “sinister” policy proposal in the report was for Christian educational establishments to “meet the demands of the LGBTQ orthodoxy” or be denied government accreditation and funding.

Coercion

Dr Mohler said: “the Human Rights Campaign is effectively calling for religious colleges and schools to be coerced into the sexual revolution or stripped of accreditation”.

He noted that requiring institutions to “get in line” with LGBT ideology would mean them having to abandon biblical authority and standards.

“This is an undisguised attempt to shut down any semblance of a Christian college or university that would possess the audacity to operate from a Christian worldview”, said Mohler.

“This comes with chilling specificity and clarity. We dare not miss what is at stake.”

Religious identity protected

In a separate development, a U.S. department has ruled that faith-based organisations who require staff to abide by a biblical code of conduct will not be discriminated against when applying for government contracts.

Commenting on the new law, U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said: “Religious organizations should not have to fear that acceptance of a federal contract or subcontract will require them to abandon their religious character or identity”.

The Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said the new rule recognised the “essential services” provided by religious organisations, including “feeding the hungry, supporting refugees, and educating our nation’s students.”

Source: christian.org.uk


HHS issues final rule protecting faith-based adoption agencies

Credit: Unsplash.
Credit: Unsplash.
By Matt Hadro