Sunday, Nov. 10, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
In 2005 three Indonesian Christian girls — Theresia Morangke, Alfita Poliwo and Yarni Sambue, all teenagers — were beheaded on their walk to school by jihadist terrorists.
Back in April, one of the perpetrators was allowed to escape from incarceration when he was given a home visitation. After being released, he made a statement, according to frontpagemag.com: “He claimed he was sorry, ‘not just from my mouth but from deep in my heart.’ But he nevertheless joked and laughed as he described how it took two swipes of his machete to lop off the head of one of the girls.”
I know, it’s not pleasant.
In April, terrorists attacked a mall in Nairobi, Kenya — near an airport where thousands of Americans have flown in and out of on mission trips — and during a four-day reign of horror murdered 67 people who would not profess Islam but were Christians and Hindus.
“Two people with guns were casually walking and shooting their way through a supermarket in the mall,” CNN said in describing a video. The news organization also reported these two and other attackers took time to remove their shoes and pray. Other sources report the victims were brutally tortured before being killed.
In September, suicide bombers connected to the Pakistani Taliban entered All Souls Anglican Church in Peshawar during services. The resulting explosion killed 78 men, women and children, reported breakpoint.org, the media ministry founded by Chuck Colson.
Then just a couple of weeks ago in late October, gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on celebrants at a wedding outside a Coptic Christian Church in Egypt, killing three people including an 8-year-old girl, according to examiner.com.
Several major media outlets have reported on these terrorist attacks, but are the majority of Americans paying attention since attacks on churches here, by and large, have not occurred?
BreakPoint believes persecution of Christians specifically is “part of a larger global pattern.”
“Christians around the world are often harassed, arrested, jailed, tortured, raped, beaten and killed,” the outreach noted. “Christian churches and homes are bombed or burned to the ground. Children are even taken from their Christian parents lest they become too tainted with faith in Jesus ... Yet the vast majority of Americans, and American Christians, would be surprised to hear we’re living in what’s been called ‘The Age of Martyrs.’”
Kirsten Powers, a pundit who writes for a left-oriented Internet website called The Daily Beast — but who also appears on (God forbid!) Fox News — cuts to the chase in the lead to her Sept. 27 column, “Where’s the Outrage?”
“Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity,” she wrote. “One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so.”
Powers mentioned a slogan popular among jihadists, but chilling to non-Muslims: “First comes Saturday, then comes Sunday,” which means, “On Saturday we kill the Jews; on Sunday we kill the Christians.”
As BreakPoint notes, “This is the world in which millions of Christians live.”
Next Sunday — the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church — will any of us hear anything about it from our pulpits in America, much less a moment of prayer? If you’d like to share resources with your pastor or other leaders, go to idop.org.
John Stonestreet of BreakPoint refers back to the U.S. when he says the ministry is “concerned about preserving religious liberty here in America.”
“While we’re not at the point of shedding blood, Christians in this country are under enormous pressure — from government, from activist groups, and increasingly, from a judge’s bench — to compromise our faith,” he wrote. “And if the freedom to speak out is lost here, who will be left to advocate on behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world?”
Where do you stand? If you’re concerned, tell your pastor and talk to others. It could be that even a small prayer might make a difference.
Mark Millican is a former Daily Citizen staff writer. You can follow him on Twitter, @ExtraByMark.