Modern Day LION’S DEN…without the Lions…
Throughout history, Christians have been persecuted for their faith. To follow Christ was never meant to be easy. Some were fed to the lions for sheer entertainment. Today the lions tearing apart Christians is no longer a spectator sport, but the man with the gun and the torture chamber has the same power. To the Western mind, it is hard to understand why someone who goes to bring the message of love…or to set up orphanages…to simply help the local people can be charged with spying or worse charges. Nevertheless, it is happening…not only to someone going from America to a foreign country, but to those who have lived all their lives in a country that allows Christians to be blown to pieces while quietly attending their worship service.
Kristin Powers wrote an article recently about the new martyrdom in the 21st century. She wrote:
“….the worst persecutor of Christians is North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 followers of Jesus are suffering in prison camps for “crimes” such as owning a Bible, going to church, or sharing their faith. In November 2013, it was reported that 80 prisoners were publicly executed, many for possessing Bibles….Christians are obviously not the only North Koreans in prison camps. But former captives have reported that they often attract the worst treatment because the regime is particularly enraged by the worship of any other being than the Supreme Leader, who forces North Koreans to treat him as a deity.”
We know that Korean-American, Kenneth Bae, is now being held in North Korea. The U.S. is trying to find a diplomatic way to have him released.
Ms Powers goes on to say, “Syria, ranked as the third-worst country by Open Doors, has devolved in the last year to a horror show for Christians. The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea noted in December 2013 a message she received from a contact in Syria who reported, “Kidnapping, killings, ransom, rape . . . 2013 is a tragedy for Christians in Syria. All Syrians have endured great suffering and distress. The Christians, however, often had to pay with their lives for their faith. Our bishops and nuns have been kidnapped, our political leader killed by torture. After our Christian villages have been occupied, our churches have been destroyed and even mass graves were found in Saddad. “
We all know about the terrible atrocities of World War II when Jews were killed by the millions…as well as Gentiles who protested the Nazi regime. Did you know there are concentration camps in the modern world? Christians are also persecuted in the African country of Eritrea.
In his 2013 book, The Global War on Christians, reporter John L. Allen Jr., writes that in Eritrea, Christians are sent to the Me’eter military camp and prison, which he describes as a “concentration camp for Christians.” It is believed to house thousands being punished for their religious beliefs.
Prisoners are packed into 40’x38’ metal shipping containers, normally used for transporting cargo. It is so cramped that it’s impossible to lie down and difficult even to find a place to sit. “The metal exacerbates the desert temperatures, which means bone chilling cold at night and wilting heat during the day….believed to reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher,” Allen writes. One former inmate…described [it] as “giant ovens baking people alive.” Prisoners are given next to nothing to drink so “they sometimes end up drinking their own scant sweat and urine to stay alive.” The prisoners are tortured, sexually abused, and have no contact with the outside world.
Iran is also holding an American pastor, Saeed Abedini.
“Pastor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives. Pastor Saeed’s ‘cell’ is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, allowing dangerous prisoners – murderers and rapists – unfettered access to him 24 hours a day,” ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow shared.
“He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene.”
The ACLJ, which represents Abedini’s wife and two children back in America, added that as a result of the “deplorable conditions” in prison and the lack of doctor-prescribed medication, the pastor’s health has deteriorated. His condition had been improving back at Evin prison, where he began serving his eight-year sentence for his Christian faith, but now at Rajai Shahr he is being denied the medical attention that he needs.
In an aritcle by Lee Ferran, he wrote of the courage Pastor Saeed’s wife.
“The wife of an American pastor held in an Iranian prison today challenged President Obama, saying the Iranian government is using her husband to test his resolve when it comes to protecting Americans.
“My husband is suffering because he is a Christian. He’s suffering because he’s an American… Yet his own government did not fight for him when his captors were across the table,” Naghmeh Abedini, wife of pastor Saeed Abedini, told lawmakers today, referring to recent nuclear negotiations between Iran and the U.S. “Iran is curious: How strong is our American president? How serious is he about our American security? Would he act with firm resolve to protect and defend?”
Saeed Abedini, an American citizen who has worked setting up churches in Iran for nearly a decade, was arrested in 2012 “on charges related to his religious beliefs,” according to the State Department. His wife, Naghmeh, told lawmakers in a joint subcommittee hearing for the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that he has been subjected to torture and told that if he converts back to Islam, he would be set free. Saeed Abedini is one of three Americans believed to be held in Iran…”
The few Christians mentioned above does not cover many others who are being held in terrible prison conditions around the world…for just one reason….they have chosen to follow Christ. Pray for them…that they will not be forgotten by the rest of us who sit comfortably in our homes and in our church pews.
Pastor Saeed’s wife gives her story of Christian faith: