View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Christianity: Still a risky business

North Korea ranked top persecutor of Christians

Santa Ana, Cal, Mar. 02, 2006 (
CNA) - For the fourth straight year, North Korea has made the top spot on the 2006 Open Doors “World Watch List” of 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

The annual list ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith.

It is believed that the communist country has detained more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world and that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps where they face cruel abuses, according to the 2006 World Watch List report. Though no exact figures can be given, Open Doors’ staff estimates that hundreds of Christians were killed by the regime in 2005.

Open Doors USA is partnering with the North Korea Freedom Coalition for North Korea Freedom Week, April 24-30, in the U.S.

Saudi Arabia holds the second spot on the list. Rounding out the top 10 are Iran, Somalia, Maldives, Bhutan, Yemen, Vietnam, Laos and China. In addition to North Korea, countries with communist governments include Vietnam, Laos and China. Islamic-dominated countries are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Maldives and Yemen. Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan.

With our freedom of religion in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that being a Christian is still a risky thing in the world.

In these nations, we face prison, torture, even death.

Here in the U.S. (and other Western nations where “freedom of religion" exists), we face ridicule and social pressure.

Of course, sometimes that’s far more insidious than direct physical threats.

It’s also interesting that our “ally,” Saudi Arabia is number 2 on the list.

1 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

It is really difficult to read about the trials and ordeals that other Christians face within their countries.

I find that I am truly unable to comprehend what it must be like for them to be persecuted for their faith. Many times I find myself thinking that I would still adhere to the principles of my faith no matter what the consequences, but I realize that I don't have any idea of what true persecution is all about.

I am thankful for the fact that I live in a "free" country but I must admit that my worldview is somewhat limited because of those freedoms. As a citizen of the United States I expect everyone to enjoy freedom and liberty and it is difficult to truly understand the pain and suffering that others undergo for their faith.

7:33 PM  

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