By Joseph Kabuleta
As top universities around the Western world continue to discuss ‘Christian Privilege’, the latest phrase being used in the liberal agenda to secularise the world, a Christian woman in Pakistan, Aasia Bibi, has nearly exhausted her legal appeals to avoid the gallows.
In 2009, she got into a religious argument with her fellow workers and her views clashed (of course) with those of her Muslim co-workers who then accused her of blasphemy. She was sentenced to death and could be hanged if her last appeal fails.
In majority-Muslim countries, Christians are serving long prison sentences for the simple “crime” of proselytising. In Indonesia, nearly 1,000 churches have been closed since 2006 when the nation passed a “Religious Harmony” law which requires churches to obtain several signatures from Muslims before they can obtain a permit. Nearly 85% of Indonesia’s 255 million population are Muslims. Only seven percent are Christians. Needless to say, very many churches failed to garner the requisite signatures and were promptly shut down. Even the few that got the necessary endorsement have since been torched by radical Islamist groups.
In Iraq and Syria, Islamic State fighters were beheading Christians who refused to convert to Islam in the territories they captured. The remains of 21 Coptic Christians dressed in orange suits whose throats had been slit by ISIS in Libya were discovered in October last year. It’s likely many more will be unburied at some time in future.
In Europe, Christianity is under attack both from an increasing Muslim community on the continent but mostly from an aggressive secularist agenda that dominates academia. Humanism is a religion in all but name and, like every other religion; it seeks to win converts through overt campaigns that include public bus adverts and crusades. At one of those open air rallies, Richard Dawkins, the High Priest of Humanism whose best-selling book ‘The God Delusion’ is seen as some kind of bible, was asked by his followers how they should deal with believers. “Mock them, ridicule them, in public….with contempt,” he replied to thunderous cheers.
But it’s more than just mockery. Their crusade has become pernicious in its attempt to use laws to stifle Christianity. The International Think Tank Gatestone Institute reported that over 500 churches have been closed in London since 2001, while 423 mosques have been opened in the city in the same time. The same report said there are as many 100 Islamic sharia courts officially operating in London.
In America, Christianity came under unprecedented attack during the eight years of Barack Obama. The former president set himself out as a champion for homosexual rights and his solicitor general told the Supreme Court that churches and universities could lose their tax-exempt status if they opposed same-sex marriage. Several churches were forced to put up the rainbow sign for homosexual rights or face discrimination charges. Several businesses were swiftly closed down for making a conscience-backed decision not to offer their services to homosexuals.
Hillary Clinton promised to escalate those attacks. In 2015, she declared at the Women In The World Summit that “some religious beliefs … have to be changed” — perhaps the most radical threat to religious liberty ever delivered by a major presidential candidate.
Her target, of course, were Evangelicals and ultimately they were the one group that made sure she never became president as they rallied behind Donald Trump.
In Africa, Christianity is under attack from leaders who put up a religious face, but are in reality traditionalists who practice witchcraft. They are the kind that close hundreds of churches by decree citing reasons such as hygiene, poor building plans or lack of theological education by the pastors.
In Uganda, Christianity is under attack from so-called traditional churches which are nothing more than dead orthodoxies, practicing a kind of Christianity that is academic and devoid of any spirituality or power. They are the modern day Pharisees who try to lock God’s miracle-working power in the past. And when that power threatens to invade the present and free people who have been held captive in dead religion, these people fight hard, not to protect the truth but to secure their influence. And just like the Pharisees of old, these people attribute anything supernatural to Beelzebub (or cult), yet deep down they know it is in fact the power of God.
And just like the original Pharisees, these people will form an alliance with the government to enforce laws that infringe on religious liberty. And just like the original Pharisees, these people will fail miserably because the move of God cannot be caged.
The writer is the founder and pastor of Watchman ministries in Kampala