Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC) has revealed authorities have demolished crosses, burned Bibles, raided Christian homes to remove religious symbols, arrested church members and seized churches.
Chinese Communist Party crackdowns in Henan province escalated after the revised regulations on religious affairs were published last February.
Under new religious regulations introduced in February, churches have to be officially registered in the state and adhere to the rules set by Chinese authorities.
However, the ICC reported that even government-sanctioned churches in Henan could not escape being destroyed.
Henan province has one of the largest Christian populations in China, with several million living in the region, including approximately 300,000 Catholics.
In March footage emerged of Communist Party officials using a crane to rip a cross off an iconic Catholic church in Henan province.
Last month, police stormed a summer camp in the northern Gansu province where 80 children between the ages of 10-14 were staying.
Catholic news agency UCAN claimed the police accused the two summer camp organisers of holding an illegal Christian event.
Charity Open Doors said scores of Christians have been detained and sent to 're-education' camps in the first few months of 2018.
They were being taught to be loyal to communist ideology instead of religion.
Unofficial figures suggest there could be as many as 85,000 people detained in re-education camps.
#Christianity #ChineseChristians #ChineseCommunistParty #HenanProvince #Life2TheFull #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: Express News
Commitment to prayer, church attendance and religion is highest among Christians in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, Pew Research Center said Aug. 22 in an analysis of data collected over the past 10 years.
In the U.S., Christians register comparatively high levels of religious commitment among the most developed countries, Pew said in its analysis of 84 countries with Christian populations deemed sizable. Here, 68 percent of Christians deemed religion "very important" and just as many said they pray daily. Weekly church attendance was registered among 47 percent of U.S. Christians.
In 35 of the countries studied, at least two-thirds of Christians said religion was "very important" in their lives. All but three of those 35 countries are in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America, namely the U.S., Malaysia and the Philippines.
"These findings reflect the broader pattern of Christianity's 'march southward' from wealthy countries to developing ones," Pew said at pewresearch.org/fact-tank. "This phenomenon is particularly evident in sub-Saharan Africa, where Christianity is rapidly growing, largely due to high fertility."
#Christianity #Life2TheFull #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: Baptist Press
Yoga is not a religion. It is nonsectarian, but contains the ability to deepen anyone’s faith. Aspects of yoga have been incorporated into many groups and various organizations, including religions, for thousands of years. However, yoga is not a religion in and of itself, nor do you have to be religious to practice yoga. Some have used the practice of yoga, meditation and times of stillness to reflect on self enlightenment, a source they believe in, or as an act of worship.
There are many misconceptions as to why a Christian can or cannot practice yoga. As with anything, it is a matter of intentionality. What are you meditating, contemplating or dwelling on? What are you setting your heart and mind toward at any given moment? Scripture says, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Colossians 3:23 reads, “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” Christians, no matter what we choose to do to honor our “temple,” do it all for the glory of God. When we take care of ourselves, we are honoring and glorifying Christ.
Let’s get real. You do not have to be Brazilian to do Zumba, you do not have to be Buddhist to practice martial arts and you do not have to be Hindu to practice yoga. A person of Christian faith no longer has to fear doing yoga.
When was the last time that you created a space and time to simply be still? You do not have to be a person of faith to know that in a loud and chaotic world you need to decompress and exhale some junk daily. As a Christian, I cannot find anywhere in the Bible when God shouted He wanted to speak to His disciples. We cannot and will not be able to hear His still, small voice if noise is cluttering the frequencies. As a Christ-follower, you can’t afford not to find stillness and meditate with Him daily. He isn’t trying to keep anything from you. Perhaps it simply has been too long since you completely surrendered and exhaled “you” to create space for God.
#Namaste #YogaLife #SweetLife #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: Seattle Yoga News
The U.S. Supreme Court today handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.
The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
The vote was narrow not because of the number of justices for and against, but because of the slim precedent it sets.
The justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution's free speech guarantee.
"Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack's religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that," said lawyer Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips.
Waggoner said the decision "makes clear that the government must respect Jack's beliefs about marriage."
#SupremeCourt #ChristianBaker #Colorado #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: CNBC
Why does the Christian right speak so much about the unborn and ignore policies that throw the ones who are born under the bus?
“The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” This is the answer White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly gave NPR in response to a question about whether it’s “cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children.”
He was defending a new policy from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security that separates parents (who arrive at the US-Mexico border with their children and have no visa) from their kids. These families are coming to the United States because they fear for their lives in Central America.
OK. I know that 80 percent of the Christian right voted for this president, and I’ve heard that this support seems to be holding steady. I understand this group of Christians supports the president because of his current stance in regard to abortion. Fair enough. But tell me, why does the Christian right speak so much about the unborn and ignore policies that throw the ones who are born under the bus?
One thing that made Jesus so unique in the 1st century was his love for children. In an age when people tended to ignore anyone below their kneecaps, Jesus saw them, and this makes him unique among the great spiritual exemplars of the world.
Jesus saw them trying to keep up with caravans of people on pilgrimage. He liked to set them on his knee when he taught. Maybe it was because he was the oldest of Mary’s many children. He knew how to hold their wobbly little heads in his carpenter’s palm — how to pass them carefully back to their mothers without dropping them.
Jesus saw children. Once in a while, we see them too. A photo of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy wearing a red T-shirt, shorts and sneakers went viral. For a moment the whole world took notice. And all he and his parents wanted was a place where he could grow up in safety; the same thing Central American families want for their children; the same thing our immigrant ancestors wanted for us; the same thing Jesus wanted for every child born.
#Jesus #FosterCare #Children #JohnKerry #NPR #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: Salt Lake Tribune
While the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem has triggered violence and political debate this week, it also stands as a sharp reminder of the close ties between the Trump administration and evangelical Christians — and of the victories that Mr. Trump has delivered for his evangelical base.
Against a backdrop of violence on the Gaza border, with Israeli soldiers killing dozens of Palestinians, a who’s who of Mr. Trump’s evangelical backers were present in Jerusalem to celebrate the formal relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv on Monday. The split-screen images of fury and jubilee were striking, with many of the American guests trying to keep the focus on the achievement of their long-held goal.
Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, said she has been praying for 20 years that this day would come. As she walked out of the opening ceremony, she saw hugs and smiles all around.
“There’s a sense of unity,” she said on her way to a party at the David Citadel Hotel that was hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Christians United for Israel, and the Jewish Policy Center.
For the religious right, opening an American Embassy in Jerusalem is as significant as when Mr. Trump nominated Neil M. Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice. Evangelicals viewed the conservative-leaning judge as likely to advance their anti-abortion cause.
But Mr. Trump has taken other steps that have gratified his evangelical supporters. He personally supported the March for Life, an anti-abortion group; increased the ability of churches to organize politically; and moved against transgender protections throughout the government.
Mr. Trump’s policy promises helped convince reluctant evangelicals to vote for him in 2016 when they were turned off by his language and sexual morality. Social conservatives largely gave Mr. Trump their support, in spite of their moral qualms, because he has championed their policies, especially on abortion and support for Israel.
#MarchforLife #ChristiansUnitedforIsrael #ConcernedWomenforAmerica #EvangelicalChristians #Trump #AmericanEmbassy #Jerusalem #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: New York Times