Hindu militants in the Orissa state of India have mounted a campaign to eliminate as many Christians as possible from their state.
Dozens, possibly hundreds, have been murdered, thousands of churches and homes destroyed. Tens of thousands of Christians have been left homeless by the destruction. Local police make little effort to protect them or may actually join the persecution.
Christians in Orissa claim that pastors have a price on their head. Anyone who kills a pastor is promised the equivalent of $250 reward. For destroying churches or property belonging to Christians, one can get a chicken, liquor, or weapons.
This is not the only place Christians are suffering. In Iraq, about 20 percent of the population professed some brand of Christianity under Saddam Hussein. Now, with the government largely controlled by Muslim factions, hundreds of thousands of Christians are being driven out of the country.
In most countries in the northern half of the African continent, Muslims are attempting to gain full control and any who are not Muslim are forced to convert or die for their faith.
Churches are burned, homes destroyed, pastors executed, women raped and children kidnapped and placed in Islamic training schools. Civil war has erupted when non-Muslims attempt to defend themselves.
Muslims Main Persecutors
The Hindu persecution is unusual in that most pressure is coming from societies where Islam has some dominance. However, in nations where they are in a minority, they are using legislation, courts and human rights tribunals to discourage Christians from speaking out.
In the United Nations, a conference of Muslim nations led by Saudi Arabia are pushing a declaration on "religious freedom" that would make it an offence to "blaspheme" another religion.
The goal is to criminalize "insulting" speech or activities. Islam`s definition of "insulting" was displayed recently when street riots broke out in Muslim nations over some cartoons published in Europe disparaging Muhammad.
Christians in so-called "democratic" nations are not immune. Many have "harmony laws" put in place to prosecute violations of "civil rights" or "discrimination." In Singapore, for example, two Bible believers are to stand trial in January for distributing Chick tracts presenting the truth to Muslims.
They are charged under the Sedition Act for promoting "feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore."
The two were also charged under the Undesirable Publications Act, which defines "objectionable" material as an item which depicts "race or religion in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to cause feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different racial or religious groups."
Four charges are placed against the couple. Each can draw a fine of up to $5,000 and three years jail time.
The U.S. is almost alone in protecting freedom of speech and religion against such restrictions on biblical truth and gospel witness. Several cases in Canada are being fought against charges of discrimination and hate speech by "human rights tribunals." These pseudo-courts are empowered to hear complaints of "offended" individuals and even impose fines.
These tribunals have even showed up in cases in California and New Mexico where Christian businesses have refused service to homosexuals or individuals have distributed literature that someone felt "offended" by. American culture is rapidly shifting toward "tolerance" of just about anything but biblical truth.
As soul winners, we still have a window of freedom to seed the gospel into our communities. But we need to hurry. If we don`t wake up enough people to the danger, that window may close.
We can`t witness verbally to everyone we meet but we can take a few seconds to put a tract in their hands and let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts.