Consciousness-Raising on Religious Persecution
In all too many places around the world, believers of various denominations and sects are unable to freely practice their religion. Often, they are forced to give their lives for their faith. In some countries, Christianity is viewed as a threat, and persecution is commonplace. Legislation soon to be introduced in Congress offers at least some hope of a more effective way to combat what has always been and remains repugnant: denying people the right to practice their religion.
In China, Christians are forced to practice their religion underground, risking torture if they are caught. The Catholic Bishop of East Timor was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for protesting Indonesia's murder of Catholics in his country. And in the Sudan, Christians and anamists are enslaved, forcibly converted to Islam or murdered.
The situation in some Middle Eastern and Islamic countries is still worse. The Coptic Christians of Egypt are attacked by bands of Muslim extremists, and the police do nothing to catch the attackers. The Christian community of Lebanon, once the most vibrant in the Middle East and comprising half that country's population, has been decimated by civil war and persecuted by the now Muslim majority in the country, which is backed by Syria. In Saudi Arabia, the most severe punishment is handed down to anyone convicted of attending a Bible study class. Some Saudi officials have gone so far as to boast that as long as the Saudi authorities do not go after American Christians living in Saudi Arabia, Americans at home are not bothered. …