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Christian organizations in the United States declare solidarity with Christians in India



“The great moral evil that will be remembered in the year 2022 is the persecution of the millions of Christians in India,” declared Fr. Steve Macias, a priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church, as he joined fellow clergy-members to raise awareness about the escalating persecution of Indian Christians. “The religious persecution that many Christians refuse to look at, refuse to pay attention to, refuse to stand up for, refuse to be advocates for.”

Six clergy and one lay-leader representing seven different churches and ministries from five separate traditions — Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical, Lutheran, and Pentecostal — attended the 24 February event hosted by Bethel Lutheran in Roseville, CA. Pastor Eric Eurén of Riverside Christian Church noted that, when he raises the issue of Indian Christian persecution with colleagues, “many of them are shocked to hear that there is Christian persecution going on in India.” Yet, referencing India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, Pastor Paul Sunkari of Indian Christian Church of Sacramento explained, “The persecution has increased four-fold since the time when BJP has taken over the country, and it’s going to increase more, and it’s continuing.”

Father Joshua Lickter of the Anglican Church in North America recalled how his congregation helped organize a vigil for Pastor Sultan Masih after he was assassinated outside his Punjab, India church in 2017.

“There’s a hurricane-level right now cultural storm that’s brewing in India, and it’s one that could potentially decimate the Indian Christian population,” said Lickter. “Things were bad when Pastor Masih was killed. I mean, the situation wasn’t exactly ideal in India at that time. But since then, things have gotten so much worse…. Extreme religious leaders in India right now are advocating, they’re telling their people to go out and harm Christians, burn churches, degrade their religious icons, do all kinds of horrible, atrocious things.”

Eurén described how, because his father owned a jewelry company that did extensive business in India, it gave him a chance from a young age to become familiar with the country and its people. “I know that the India of the 1980s, 1990s is very different from the India of today,” he said. “My experience is, from the people suffering persecution, their number one request is for prayer. That is often followed by the comment: ‘Why are none of our brothers and sisters in Christ in America talking about what’s going on in India?’”

The general lack of awareness was highlighted in opening remarks by Pieter Friedrich, a freelance journalist who set the stage by describing how the rise of Hindu nationalism has impacted Indian Christians. “Persecution of Indian Christians is skyrocketing, but we here in America generally remain not only unaware of the severity of the situation, but are all too often — especially as American Christians — totally ignorant of the reality that there is even any persecution occurring at all,” said Friedrich. Describing how the persecution is perpetrated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or its affiliates, he noted that the BJP is the political wing of the RSS. The RSS, he said, is a paramilitary with historical links to the fascist movements of Europe. The organization believes that only Hindus have a birthright to Indian citizenship and views Christians as well as Muslims as “traitors” because they choose not to be Hindus.

“This is the ideology of the paramilitary whose political wing, the BJP, has been in complete control of India since 2014,” warned Friedrich. “Every year since 2014, the total number of violent incidents reported against Indian Christians has increased, reaching an all-time high in 2021 of 505 attacks.” Adding that most of these were mob attacks, he pointed to how Open Doors USA, a nonprofit monitoring persecution of Christians around the world, has ranked India as the 10th most dangerous country in which to be a Christian every year since 2019.

“Notably, while there are nine other countries where persecution of Christians does rank higher, India has three distinguishing factors from them all,” explained Friedrich. “First, it is the only legitimate, officially secular democracy on the list; second, as the second-most populated country in the world, its population is more than twice that of all the other nine combined; third, it is the only country which is an ally of the United States.”

“There is a difference between a Christian in the United States and a Christian in India,” said Macias. “We have the use of our freedom to advocate for those who have no voice. We have the use of our freedom to speak for those who are silenced by violence, by economic oppression, by political movements that would like to see them either not worship or not live in their nation.”

He continued: “The reason why I am here today is because what we are recognizing is a great evil: the persecution of religious minorities, specifically the Christians who are being attacked, and mobbed, beaten, and robbed because of their religious affiliation. We have a responsibility to contend against such evil…. Not only are we to see it, recognize it, hear it, but we are to make no peace with oppression. Make no peace. As a Christian, I pray this wholeheartedly: make no peace with oppression, make no peace with those who hold the idea that Hindu is the faith of all people, make no peace with those who say that their political nationalism must be oppressive towards all people, make no peace with the oppression that says we cannot fully express who we are.”

“We never felt threatened because of the religion,” said Sunkari about growing up in India. “We never felt constrained to express who we are as Christians.” Lamenting that “those good old days have gone,” he explained, “Looking at the past eight years or so, whenever I hear the news about persecution, I feel sad, I feel agitated, I feel I need to do something about it. But it is primarily not because I’m an Indian, because I was born and raised in India. That is one of the reasons. But primarily, they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

“We are all connected with Christ as head,” concluded Sunkari. “We are one body. If my pinky gets hurt, my whole body notices it. Suffers. So if one person somewhere in India gets hurt, we should feel it, because we are all connected as one body in Christ. It is my humble request and appeal to all of you to educate people about what is going on and expose these militant organizations.” Calling for international attention to the issue, he added, “We need to have advocacy. We need to raise our voice, and we need to bring it up. This is where the American Church comes into play.”

The theme uniting the speeches by all clergy was a consensus both that the American Church knows very little about the persecution of their brothers and sisters in India as well as that there’s a duty for them to begin learning about, praying for, and speaking about it.

Pastor Wally Magdangal of Christians in Crisis delivered a powerful testimony about how, after 11 years leading the largest underground church in Saudi Arabia, he was arrested and sentenced to death in 1992 only to be miraculously given a reprieve at the last minute. “I’m alive today, I live in the most prosperous, most freedom-loving people on the planet Earth, all because of prayers,” declared Magdangal. “During my incarceration, I was sentenced to die, I was on death row, I was tortured every day, but at the closing of my days approaching to the day of execution, there was a global prayer network. It started in Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s secret followers of Christ were our number one prayer partners. They were praying for my freedom. For my release from the death sentence.”

Yet Magdangal had strong words for the Church in America. “I traveled all over the fifty states,” he said. “My message was only one: Jesus Christ and the persecuted Church. I tell you this, less than one percent were interested. Mind you, I drew big crowds — anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 in America — and yet nobody came back to us to support the persecuted Church.” Noting that God works through prayers, he concluded, “The increase of persecution is simply the fact and the reality that not many care and pray for Christians in crisis situations. That’s the simple truth.”

“Prayer is the fundamental, the first thing that we should do when it comes to this news of persecution,” said Sunkari. He was echoed by Lickter, who stated, “We need to pray faithfully for the persecuted Church in India. And more than that, we need to educate our colleagues and our parishioners…. We need to get the word out so that people realize what’s happening in India right now.”

“The members of the body in India that are facing persecution are equally as important as any other member of the body of Christ in America, and when one member of the body is suffering, all the members of the body are affected,” exhorted Eurén. “We need to have the same compassion, love, tenderness, zeal for each other that we have for other members in our own families, our blood relatives. That is the level that we should be praying for, and speaking up, and letting other people know about the persecution that’s going on in India. So that is my calling and request of you: to actively engage in prayer.”

Carmon Conover, a local marriage and family therapist, emceed the event. “I can’t image the trauma lived by those faithful Christians who have experienced this persecution or witnessed it happening to their brothers and sisters in Christ,” she said. “I am trained to use many interventions to relieve the suffering of my clients. The most powerful intervention, however, and this is confirmed by many studies of the efficacy of therapeutic interventions, is being a witness to their story and sitting with them as they tell it. The power of being seen is one of the most effective things we can offer to those who suffer.”

Speaking directly to the Church in India, Lickter stated, “If there are any Indian Christians who hear me right now, I want you to know that you’re not suffering alone. We hear you, we’re praying for you, and we’re standing in solidarity with you.”

“It’s been wonderful to hear the various perspectives on what’s happening in India tonight,” he added. “It’s been educational. It’s also been a little bit emotional. And I’m just thrilled that there are people willing to gather and to speak up about this. Our numbers might seem small tonight, but, you know, Jesus started with 12, right, and the entire world was ultimately impacted by those 12 people. So don’t lament our smallness in numbers. Let’s take action together, let’s be faithful in prayer, and let’s lean upon the Lord and trust that He will take care of the situation and multiply awareness. And we can be agents that He will use to bring about change.”

“Persecuted Christians matter to God,” said Magdangal. “If they matter to Him, they should matter to us.” He concluded, “I pray to God that this will grow in momentum. What you started tonight, I pray to God that this will be used by the Lord to recruit more Christians to pray for our brothers and sisters from India. We’re talking about one nation, but there are many throughout the world.”

Pastor Carolyn Brodt of Bethel Lutheran, who provided the venue, noted how happy she was at the opportunity to host a “clergy event for solidarity with the persecuted Church in India.” Brother Sam Benet of New Testament Church closed the event in prayer, specifically praying for the “extremists,” the RSS, and the BJP, an echo of Lickter’s opening prayer, in which he asked that God would not only “encourage the persecuted Church” in India” but also “change the hearts of those leading the persecution.”

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Louisiana Becomes First State to Mandate Display of 10 Commandments in Schools



Louisiana has become the first state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom.

Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed HB71 into law on Wednesday after it passed in the Louisiana Senate in a 30-8 vote and then passed in the state House by a 79-16 vote last month.

The American Civil Liberties Union vows to challenge the law, and the case could go to the US Supreme Court.

If the law survives legal challenges, every Louisiana classroom from kindergarten to the university level, which receives state funding, will be required to display the commandments “on a poster or framed document that is at least eleven inches by fourteen inches.” The commandments displays would be paid for by private donations so the state isn’t funding them.

Louisiana State Rep. Dodie Horton (R) introduced the bill and said implementing the Ten Commandments is the “basis of all laws in Louisiana” and honors the country’s religious origins, according to The New Orleans Advocate.

“I hope and I pray that Louisiana is the first state to allow moral code to be placed back in the classrooms,” she said. “Since I was in kindergarten (at a private school), it was always on the wall. I learned there was a God, and I knew to honor Him and His laws.”

All the “no” votes to the bill came from Democrats. “I didn’t have to learn the Ten Commandments in school. We went to Sunday school,” said Sen. Royce Duplessis (D-New Orleans) who identifies as a practicing Catholic. “You want your kids to learn about the Ten Commandments, take them to church.”

Duplessis also doesn’t want to deal with the legal challenges. “We’re going to spend valuable state resources defending the law when we really need to be teaching our kids how to read and write,” he said. “I don’t think this is appropriate for us to mandate.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have released a statement calling the mandate unconstitutional. “Our public schools are not Sunday schools,” it reads, “and students of all faiths—or no faith— should feel welcome in them.”

Texas, South Carolina, and Utah have recently attempted to approve similar legislation, according to a Higher Ed Dive report.

In March, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed an amended bill that allowed the Ten Commandments to be studied in school. An initial version of the bill required the Ten Commandments to be posted in public schools.

A similar bill requiring public schools to display the Ten Commandments was introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature in February but has since stalled.

Last year, South Carolina and Texas also failed to pass similar measures.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that a Kentucky law requiring all public schools to post the Ten Commandments in each classroom was unconstitutional. In Stone v. Graham, the justices ruled 5-4 that the law violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause and was “plainly religious in nature.”

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ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് ക്രൈസ്തവര്‍ തങ്ങളുടെ ക്രിസ്തീയ വിശ്വാസത്തെ പ്രതി പീഡനവും വിവേചനവും നേരിടുന്നു :വോയ്‌സ് ഫോർ ജസ്റ്റിസ് യുകെ



ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് ക്രൈസ്തവര്‍ തങ്ങളുടെ ക്രിസ്തീയ വിശ്വാസത്തെ പ്രതി പീഡനവും വിവേചനവും നേരിടുകയാണെന്ന് പുതിയ റിപ്പോർട്ട്. ക്രിസ്ത്യൻ ഗ്രൂപ്പായ വോയ്‌സ് ഫോർ ജസ്റ്റിസ് യുകെ പുറത്തിറക്കിയ റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട് പ്രകാരം 56 ശതമാനം പേർ തങ്ങളുടെ ക്രിസ്തീയ വിശ്വാസത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് ചർച്ച ചെയ്താൽ ശത്രുതയും പരിഹാസവും അനുഭവിക്കുമെന്ന് വെളിപ്പെടുത്തി. ഇത് യുവാക്കളിൽ 61 ശതമാനമായി ഉയർന്നു. 1,562 പ്രതികരണങ്ങളെ അടിസ്ഥാനമാക്കിയായിരിന്നു ഫലം. ക്രൈസ്തവ വിശ്വാസമാണ് ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് സമൂഹത്തിൻ്റെ അടിത്തറയെന്നു വോയ്സ് ഫോർ ജസ്റ്റിസിൻ്റെ ഡയറക്ടർ ലിൻഡ റോസ് പറഞ്ഞു.

നമ്മുടെ സഹിഷ്ണുതയ്ക്കും വൈവിധ്യത്തോടുള്ള സ്വീകാര്യതയ്ക്കും അടിവരയിടുന്നതാണിത്. എന്നാൽ തങ്ങളുടെ സർവേ കാണിക്കുന്നത് യുകെയിലെ ക്രൈസ്തവര്‍, ജോലിസ്ഥലത്തും സാമൂഹികമായും, വിവേചനത്തിനും പാർശ്വവൽക്കരണത്തിനും കൂടുതൽ വിധേയരാകുന്നുവെന്നാണ്. ഇത് ഖേദകരമാണ്. ക്രൈസ്തവ വിശ്വാസത്തോട് സജീവമായി ശത്രുത പുലർത്തുന്ന ഒരു പ്രത്യയശാസ്ത്രത്തിന് സമൂഹം ഇരയായി മാറിയിരിക്കുന്നു. നമ്മുടെ സഹിഷ്ണുതയും സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യവും സംരക്ഷിക്കണമെങ്കിൽ ക്രിസ്തീയ വിശ്വാസത്തെ തന്നെ സംരക്ഷിക്കേണ്ടതുണ്ടെന്നും ലിൻഡ കൂട്ടിച്ചേര്‍ത്തു.

നമ്മൾ നിസ്സാരമായി കാണുന്ന പല മൂല്യങ്ങളുടെയും അടിസ്ഥാനശിലയാണ് ക്രിസ്തീയ വിശ്വാസമെന്ന് 2019-ൽ കൺസർവേറ്റീവ് പാർലമെൻ്റ് അംഗമായി തിരഞ്ഞെടുക്കപ്പെട്ട നിക്ക് ഫ്ലെച്ചർ പറഞ്ഞു. ക്രിസ്തീയ വിശ്വാസം ഇല്ലായിരുന്നെങ്കിൽ നമ്മുടെ സഹിഷ്ണുത, വൈവിധ്യം, മനസ്സാക്ഷി, അയൽക്കാരോടുള്ള സ്‌നേഹം എന്നിവയെല്ലാം ഭൂതകാലമായി മാറുമായിരിന്നു. സമൂഹത്തിൽ ക്രൈസ്തവ വിശ്വാസത്തിനെതിരെയുള്ള ആക്രമണം കൂടുതൽ ദുഷിച്ച ഒന്നായി മാറുന്നതിന് മുമ്പ് നാമെല്ലാവരും ഉണരേണ്ടതുണ്ടെന്നും ഈ റിപ്പോർട്ട് മുന്നറിയിപ്പ് നൽകുന്നതിനുള്ള ഒരു സുപ്രധാന ഘട്ടമാണെന്നും അദ്ദേഹം കൂട്ടിച്ചേര്‍ത്തു.

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ശുഭ വാർത്ത: കുടിയേറ്റക്കാരായ അഞ്ച് ലക്ഷം പങ്കാളികൾക്ക് പൗരത്വം നൽകാൻ അമേരിക്ക



അമേരിക്കൻ പൗരന്മാരുടെ, കുടിയേറ്റക്കാരായ പങ്കാളികൾക്ക് പൗരത്വം നൽകാൻ ഒരുങ്ങി രാജ്യം. പ്രസിഡന്റ് ജോ ബൈഡൻ ആണ് അഞ്ച് ലക്ഷം പേ‌ർക്ക് പൗരത്വം നൽകുന്ന പദ്ധതി പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നത്. നിലവിലെ ഇമിഗ്രേഷൻ നിയമങ്ങൾ കാരണം വേർപിരിഞ്ഞ് താമസിക്കേണ്ടി വരുന്ന കുടുംബങ്ങൾക്ക് സഹായമാവുകയാണ് ലക്ഷ്യം. നിയമവിരുദ്ധമായി അതിർത്തി കടന്നെത്തിയവർ സ്വന്തം രാജ്യത്തേക്ക് മടങ്ങി ​ഗ്രീൻ കാർഡ് നടപടിക്രമങ്ങൾ പൂർത്തിയാക്കണമെന്ന് സർക്കാർ ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു.

പുതിയ നയത്തിന്‍റെ ഗുണഫലം അഞ്ച് ലക്ഷത്തോളം കുടിയേറ്റക്കാര്‍ക്കാണ് ലഭിക്കുക. കുടിയേറ്റക്കാർ 2024 ജൂൺ 17 ന് അമേരിക്കയിൽ താമസം ആരംഭിച്ചിട്ട് 10 വർഷമെങ്കിലും ആയിരിക്കണം എന്നതാണ് പൗരത്വത്തിന് യോ​ഗ്യത നേടാനുള്ള പ്രധാന മാനദണ്ഡം. ഇവര്‍ അമേരിക്കൻ പൗരനെ വിവാഹം കഴിച്ചിരിക്കണം.

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ഫേസ്‌ബുക്ക് പ്രൊഫൈൽ ലോക്ക്‌ അല്ലേ? ; ശബ്‌ദം ഉൾപ്പെടെ കൊള്ളയടിക്കും

സൈബർ തട്ടിപ്പുകാരുടെ വിവരശേഖരണം 
സമൂഹമാധ്യമ പ്രൊഫൈലുകളില്‍നിന്ന് തട്ടിപ്പിന്‌ നിർമിതബുദ്ധിയും ഡീപ്‌ ഫേക്ക്‌ 
സാങ്കേതികവിദ്യയും കോഴിക്കോട്:ഫേസ്‌ബുക്ക്, ഇൻസ്റ്റ​ഗ്രാം ഉൾപ്പെടെയുള്ള സമൂഹമാധ്യമ അക്കൗണ്ടുകളുടെ പ്രൊഫൈൽ ലോക്ക്‌ അല്ലെങ്കിൽ ‘പണി’ കിട്ടിയേക്കുമെന്ന്‌...