Category Archives: Christian Persecution

#PressRelease: Remember North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

North Korea

Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
June 12, 2018
Contact: Chelsen Vicari, Cell: 540-239-2170, E-mail: cvicari@TheIRD.org

Washington, DC—Tuesday’s historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un resulted in promises of nuclear disarmament and security. However, it is uncertain if protecting and advancing human rights was among the leaders’ commitments. There are deep concerns, and reports, that the summit between the presidents of the United States and North Korea would not touch on North Korea’s egregious human rights abuses.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2018 report ranks North Korea as a “Tier One” country. The situation remains especially alarming for Christians living under North Korea’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Examples of North Korea’s atrocious persecution of Christians cited by IRD International Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell include:

  • A former DPRK prison guard testifying before Congress confirmed the regime’s intense hatred for Christians. In one incident he recounted a woman, in prison because she was a Christian, was kicked repeatedly and left for days because a prison guard overheard her praying for a child (Yes, children are in prison camps because the regime imprisons three generations of a family for the transgression of one member.)
  • In prison factories, guards poured molten steel on Christians to kill them because believing in God instead of Kim Il-sung was the biggest crime in the eyes of the officials.
  • 2004 BBC documentary Access to Evil interviewed several defectors, former prison officials, who revealed that North Korea conducts deadly experiments on prisoners with gas chambers and chemicals. They indicated that those prisoners the regime considered “enemies of the state,” particularly Christians, were selected for the experiments. The former prison camp official watched a Christian family die in the gas chamber, with parents trying to shield their children from the fumes to the very end.

McDonnell commented:

“Try as it might, North Korea’s government has never wiped out Christianity. Some experts say that there are as many as 400,000 secret believers, most of whom became Christians in China or through contact with Chinese or South Korean Christians. They live in constant threat of imprisonment or execution.

“Few American Christians lose sleep over their fellow Christians in North Korea – if they even know they exist.

“Perhaps American Christians don’t know that the same regime that threatened to turn the United States into a pile of ash turns its own wretched citizens who die in political prison camps into piles of ash? It then uses them as fertilizer. In that appalling action, North Korea demonstrates one way in which it wipes out the very existence of Christians, as well as other political prisoners.

“While U.S. Christian organizations like the National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals have ignored the plight of Christians in North Korea and focused on a pacifistic approach to the summit, those who track North Korea’s human rights abuses approached the summit as an opportunity to help the country’s Christians, and indeed, all of the beleaguered citizens of the DPRK.

“We urge the Trump Administration to follow the example of President Ronald Reagan who rightly linked the advancement of human rights, including religious freedom, with nuclear disarmament.

“Barring divine intervention, only a drastic, verifiable change in the way that Kim Jong-un treats his own people, including the so-called ‘hostiles,’ the Christians, may indicate the possibility of North Korea ending its own hostility towards the free world.”

Source: #PressRelease: Remember North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

Persecution of Chinese Christians Worse Now Than Under Bloody Mao

Bibles are being confiscated, decorative crosses destroyed, churches closed and attendance monitored by government authorities
— Read on www.lifezette.com/polizette/persecution-of-chinese-christians-worse-now-than-under-bloody-mao/

Global Christian Persecution Summit: Why Don’t Christians Care about Christians? — Juicy Ecumenism

Institute on Religion and Democracy Media Advisory April 17, 2018 Contact: Chelsen Vicari, cell: 540-239-2170, e-mail: cvicari@TheIRD.org Who: Institute on Religion and Democracy What: A summit examining why American Christians have failed persecuted Christians overseas and aiming to inject concern for the Persecuted Church into the very DNA of American churches. Where: Dirksen Senate Office…

via Global Christian Persecution Summit: Why Don’t Christians Care about Christians? — Juicy Ecumenism

Pray for North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

North Korea flag

On March 27, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) released a statement urging Christians everywhere to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula.  Evangelicals can surely unite on the issue of peace. But unfortunately, it seems the NAE’s call to prayer glosses over North Korea’s egregious human rights violations, including the persecution of Christians.

The statement reads:

We pray for wisdom for our political, diplomatic and military leaders as they work across differences toward a goal of peace, security and freedom. We pray that God will bless the efforts of citizens who seek to bridge the vast differences between our countries.

And:

Decades of people-to-people contact between North Korea and the United States- through business, educational and other humanitarian exchanges – have put a human face on those who are sometimes characterized by one another as enemies. So, we pray with empathy and in a spirit of friendship, noting the image of God in every human being. However profound the differences between our governments, we do not view the North Korean people as our enemies. On the contrary, we desire only the best for the people of North Korea.

(You can read the full statement here.)

Signatories include the left-leaning Jim Wallis, founder and CEO of Sojourners, Robert Zachritz, Vice President of World Vision, Pastor Lee Younghoon, senior pastor of a megachurch in South Korea, as well as several Korean-American church leaders. Others include Kyle Healy, pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and more.

While Evangelicals differ in their approaches to justice and security, surely all agree the threats posed by North Korea exceeds the definition of “differences.” The NAE is correct in noting there are profound differences between the United States government and North Korea’s oppressive regime. North Korea’s government views the spread of Christianity as a pernicious, criminalizes evangelism, and tosses Christians into cruel labor camps where they are starved, beaten, and worse.

Writing at Providence magazine, Robert S. Kim noted, “North Korea’s efforts to eradicate Christianity in Pyongyang and elsewhere in its territory have been so ruthless and systematic that today few outside of Korea know that it was ever there.” American Evangelicals can’t imagine the horrors our fellow Christians face in North Korea, but we should work to understand their reality and highlight their plight.

I am thankful for the NAE’s well-intentioned call to pray for peace but am disappointed the statement is silent on Christians suffering under the oppressive regime.

As a Korean-American, I have witnessed the emotional pain of a divided Korean Peninsula. I’ve listened to my grandparents tell of their families separated by the Korean War. My grandparents routinely remind me to pray that one day Korea will unite as a peaceful nation state. I have met North Korean defectors and heard their stories of fear and torture experienced in labor camps. I have listened to fellow Christians testify of the pain and misery they faced because of their faith. Although it is emotionally distressing to hear of their suffering, it encourages me to know that they held even tighter to their faith in Jesus Christ.

I join the NAE in prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula. But I also pray that North Korea’s government leaders are convicted of their sinful human rights abuses and that they find salvation in the Prince of Peace. I earnestly pray that God is with our fellow Christians persecuted by an oppressive regime. May the Lord watch over them, protect them, and reward them for their undaunted faith in the midst of persecution. May the Lord bless them and keep them as they spread the Gospel in North Korea.

Source: Pray for North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

‘Save The Persecuted Christians’ Campaign Launches

Save The Persecuted Christians

Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
February 14, 2018
Contact: Jeff Walton Office: 202-682-4131, Cell: 202-413-5639, E-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org

“Caring for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, and knowing that we are one body of Christ with them, should be in the DNA of every church and every individual follower of Jesus Christ.”
– IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell 

Washington, DC—The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) is joining with the Save The Persecuted Christians (STPC) campaign, an informal alliance of individuals and non-profit organizations dedicated to using their expertise, skills, and energy to protect Christians worldwide suffering discrimination, torture, rape, slavery, banishment and murder simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.

The campaign is modeled after the extraordinary work of the campaign to Save Soviet Jewry, which began in 1970 with banners and signage in front of synagogues and churches. Save The Persecuted Christians hopes to spawn a similarly powerful movement that will be a catalyst for change in the minds and hearts of American Christians – to wake the sleeping, transform the apathetic, ignite the passive, and empower all those who care but don’t know how to take action.

Dozens of churches will hang the official “Save The Persecuted Christians” banner in front of their place of worship beginning today. Churches can continue to join the effort at any time, by ordering a free banner and information/resources kit from the website, http://www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org.

IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith McDonnell, with 24 years of experience in advocacy work for persecuted Christians, coordinates IRD’s partnership in STPC.

IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

“IRD is proud to be part of the Save The Persecuted Christians coalition, and to re-energize a movement that 20 years ago led to the International Religious Freedom Act and other policy efforts to help the persecuted.

“A day that is both St. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday is especially appropriate to launch a campaign that we hope will become a gift from the heart of American Christians to their brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith, and a time to remember that although the Lenten road experienced by persecuted Christians is so long and hard, it leads to resurrected life.

“It is my hope and prayer that churches that look to IRD for counsel on having a truly Biblical social witness in the world will immediately reach out to the STPC website and join the campaign. Caring for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, and knowing that we are one body of Christ with them, should be in the DNA of every church and every individual follower of Jesus Christ.

“This initiative is truly on the heart of God. IRD has planned a conference for May 10 of this year on Western Christian apathy to the plight of persecuted. With the work of the STPC campaign, we envision more Western Christians empowered to daily intercede for and to take action on behalf of their persecuted fellow Christians.”

http://www.TheIRD.org

Source: ‘Save The Persecuted Christians’ Campaign Launches