Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 21, 2008


News of Christians being killed in India is alarming


      Nowhere is it front page news but it is alarming to hear that Hindu militants are killing Christians in India. The location is Orissa, a state in eastern India.

          The extremists are using the assassination of a Hindu leader and four associates as their reason for attacking and killing Christians at random. They have incited at least 90 incidents of mob violence that have resulted in the deaths of innocent Christians. The number of persons killed is unknown.

          Several Christian pastors have been killed. One pastor was burned to death. Many Christian homes have been burned down. Christians have been pulled from their homes and killed or beaten as their homes were torched. Reports indicate some Christians have fled into the jungles to save their lives. Militants have even attacked the police for interfering with their violence.

          An orphanage in one village was set on fire, leaving the priest severely burned. A mob torched a home in which a paralyzed man stranded inside burned to death. Another orphanage, home to 150 children, was burned to the ground.   Last Sunday a pastor and other Christians were forcibly removed from their home and taken to a Hindu temple where militants demanded they convert to Hinduism.

          This violence against Christians is not peculiar to India. It occurs in other countries such as China and North Korea. In both these communist nations Christian pastors are routinely harassed and imprisoned for such “crimes” as holding worship services, organizing Sunday school classes, and distributing Bibles. Hundreds of Christians in China reportedly are in “re-education through labor” camps.

          Christians in Iran are often threatened, arrested, imprisoned, or tortured because of their faith. There it is a criminal offense to convert from Islam to another faith. Christian worship is forbidden by law in Saudi Arabia. No practice of the Christian faith is allowed there.

          In many places in the world Christians are persecuted, and sometimes put to death, simply for professing their faith in public. While on a missions tour in Nepal, I was reminded by our tour guide that it was against the law to proselyte in that country.

          Some may argue that the recent killing of Christians in India is an isolated incidence. And that may well be true. But it is rather sobering to realize that more Christians have been martyred for their faith in the last 100 years than were martyred in the previous 1900 years.

          Strangely the church prospers in an environment of violence and persecution. Reports indicate that in China more than 30,000 people are becoming Christians every day.

          Jesus came to bring love to a world filled with hate. He was met with rejection, persecution, and death. Across the world Jesus is still rejected by millions of people. Today barely 30 per cent of the world’s population is Christian.

          Hatred is still an ugly reality within the human family. Persecution goes on. And it is possible for those of us who live in a free society to pay little attention to the killing of Indians on the other side of the world. But as surely as day follows night, it is true that “none of us is truly free as long as anyone, anywhere is being persecuted.”

          Take a moment to give thanks for the freedom we enjoy in America. Offer a prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters in other lands. And in this intense election year, choose not to engage in hatemongering. There already is enough hatred in the world.  + + +