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Religious Freedom

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ICE Deports Christian Who Fled Persecution Back to Indonesia

Man who sought asylum in New Jersey church caught up in 100-day surge in non-criminal arrests.
ICE Deports Christian Who Fled Persecution Back to Indonesia
Image: Reformed Church of Highland Park / Facebook

Four years ago, eight Indonesian Christians living in a New Jersey church received some encouraging news: despite overstaying their visas for more than a decade, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would not be deporting them.

This year, ICE changed its mind.

Four ...

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You Can Debate Franklin Graham on Martyrs, But Not the World’s Persecution Problem

DC summit rallies victims and advocates from 130 nations, including Vice President Pence.
You Can Debate Franklin Graham on Martyrs, But Not the World’s Persecution Problem
Image: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Franklin Graham condemned the “Christian genocide” that’s killing “over 100,000 a year because of their faith in Christ” at a Washington, D.C., gathering of 600 persecuted believers and their advocates from 130 countries.

“I am sure the number ...

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Why US Christians Risk Their Lives to Teach in North Korea

Two arrested from private university in Pyongyang that gives evangelicals a way in.

The recent arrest of two American citizens working in North Korea has brought attention to the curious case of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), an American-founded, evangelical-affiliated school in the capital city of the world’s most notorious dictatorship. ...

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For the First Time, Russia Ranked Among Worst Violators of Religious Freedom

USCIRF annual report expands countries of particular concern.

Russia’s ongoing crackdown on religious minorities, foreign missionaries, and evangelists has earned it a spot among the worst countries in the world for religious freedom.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which flags religious freedom violators ...

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Blasphemy Blocks Re-Election of Indonesia’s Top Christian Politician

But after losing Jakarta race, Ahok finds some favor in court.
Blasphemy Blocks Re-Election of Indonesia’s Top Christian Politician
Image: Oscar Siagian / Getty

The blasphemy charges that cost Indonesia’s top Christian politician his re-election race won’t send him to jail.

Just a day after Basuki Purnama—popularly known as Ahok—conceded the runoff for governor of Jakarta, prosecutors recommended a light sentence ...

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Russia Bans Jehovah’s Witnesses as Extremists

High court ruling puts pacifist faith in same category as terrorists.
Russia Bans Jehovah’s Witnesses as Extremists
Image: World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses

It’s official. Jehovah’s Witnesses can no longer practice their faith freely in Russia, where the Supreme Court on Thursday declared the pacifist religious organization an “extremist group” and banned all of its activity.

The judge ordered all 395 local ...

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Here’s the Million-Dollar Answer to How Persecuted Christians Persevere

Under Caesar’s Sword researchers release final analysis of 25 countries.
Here’s the Million-Dollar Answer to How Persecuted Christians Persevere
Image: Under Caesar's Sword

When faced with persecution, Christians worldwide employ more strategies than just fight or flight.

Today at a DC symposium, 17 researchers released the final version of a $1.1 million study exploring how Christians respond to persecution in 25 of the hardest places for them ...

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ISIS Attacks Major Christian Monastery in Egypt

Security stops Sinai assault on St. Catherine and its biblical library, but symbolism matters more.

Two weeks after killing 47 Egyptians in twin church bombings on Palm Sunday, the Islamic State claimed a fresh attack on the ancient monastery of St. Catherine on the southern Sinai peninsula.

One policeman was killed and four injured during an exchange of gunfire at a checkpoint ...

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ISIS Church Bombings Kill Dozens at Palm Sunday Services in Egypt

(UPDATED) Christian leader: ‘During this week of Jesus’ suffering, we will pray to God to give us protection and healing.’
ISIS Church Bombings Kill Dozens at Palm Sunday Services in Egypt
Image: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

Attacks at two Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt’s Nile Delta killed more than 40 people and injured more than 100 others during Palm Sunday services—including the one where Pope Tawadros II was worshiping.

ISIS claimed responsibility. In February, the Egypt chapter ...

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Counting the Cost: DR Congo Demonstrates Difficulty of Measuring Martyrdom

(UPDATED) How to classify Christian deaths in DRC is crux of persecution debate.
Counting the Cost: DR Congo Demonstrates Difficulty of Measuring Martyrdom
Image: AFP

Why do calculations of Christians killed for their faith worldwide each year range from 1,000 to 100,000? The reason largely comes down to one country: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Researchers disagree on what to do with the approximately 4 million people who died ...

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This Unpaid Pensions Case Could Crush Christian Hospitals

Supreme Court will decide if religious organizations qualify for IRS church exemption.

Today the US Supreme Court heard a trio of lawsuits on pension plans at Christian hospital systems. So far, the panel of justices seems torn over whether religiously affiliated employers fall under federal requirements for pension benefits.

Churches are exempt from the US Employee ...

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Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot

Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Image: Alexander Aksakov / Getty

[Update: On April 20, Russia’s high court banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremists.]

Jehovah’s Witnesses have never held much clout in Russia, where the Orthodox Church dominates both the religious and political landscape. But a government lawsuit now threatens ...

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China Kicks Out Korean Missionaries in 'Unprecedented' Numbers

Scores of Protestants expelled near North Korean border as tensions rise over THAAD missile defense system.

In the past few months, China has expelled dozens of South Korean missionaries from Jilin, a northeastern province that neighbors North Korea.

News media reported the raids, with estimates of the total expulsions ranging from 30 to 70.

"Chinese authorities raided the homes ...

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Trump’s Revised Refugee Ban Won’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians

White House softens executive order; Andy Stanley joins evangelical leaders urging compassion.
Trump’s Revised Refugee Ban Won’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians
Image: Jeremy Weber

Christians fleeing the Middle East will not take first priority under an updated version of President Donald Trump’s executive order on travel and refugees, which he signed Monday morning after weeks of debate and holdups in federal court.

The new order does away with explicit ...

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Sudan Frees Czech Missionary Imprisoned for Life

President pardons Petr Jasek, but local ministry partners remain in prison.
Sudan Frees Czech Missionary Imprisoned for Life
Image: Voice of the Martyrs

Last month, missionary Petr Jasek was sentenced to life in prison by Sudan for allegedly spying and waging war against the state.

This weekend, he returned to his native Czech Republic as a free man.

The Czech Republic had broken off relations with Sudan in protest of Jasek’s ...

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