The confinement in our homes is forcing millions to stop abruptly, cancel all our plans, and take time to look in the mirror.
Millions face a ‘double crisis’ as the Covid-19 epidemic grows. “Migrant workers are walking hundreds of kilometres desperated to reach their home villages”, says an evangelical pastor. “Thousands of Christian doctors, nurses and paramedics are serving in the frontline”.
Muslim government officials attended the Christmas service of Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, a congregation the previous government harassed for years.
Pastor Wang Yi is accused of “subversion and illegal trade”. He will be deprived of his political rights and his personal assets will be seized. Another elder of his church has been sentenced to 4 years.
Requests for government intervention were ignored, and nearby churches are providing the displaced believers with emergency supplies and lodging.
Ethnic Wa rebels closed the churches in September 2018, destroyed at least 10 church buildings and detained more than 200 Christians who were later released.
A letter was delivered to the ambassador “in favour of religious freedom in Algeria and in support of the evangelical churches in that country”.
The EU adopted a resolution which calls “for an end to violations against the freedom of Christians and other religious minorities to worship”
This year International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is on November 10th. One out of every nine professing Christians face persecution, isolation and violence worldwide.
Around 200 evangelicals participated in a peaceful demonstration to denounce the closure of the Punto Luce church in Milan and demand “freedom of worship for all”.
The Luhansk People's Republic (Ukraine) has banned all Protestant worship, and believers try to meet in small gatherings. Uzbekistan raids worship services that have not been approved by the authorities.
The closure of at least 12 Protestant church buildings gets international attention. Algerian Christians share their situation in videos posted online. 63,000 have already signed a petition defending religious freedom.
“Venezuela, your time of freedom has arrived”, the pastor said at the begining of the march. The military prosecutor ordered his arrest for “crimes of misuse of decoration and disobedience”.
Peaceful demonstrations call authorities to “stop closure of worship places”. Churches re-organise themselves in houses as the government threatens to close more buildings.
Algerian Christians think the governmental campaign against Protestant churches will continue. But “the churches of Algeria have a very firm and mature leadership with a clear vision of God”.
The regional High Court rules that it is not lawful for the Madrid City Council to ask an evangelical church to meet the requirements of recreational activities. The ruling could create a legal precedent.
“The government has passed laws that blatantly violate religious freedom”, Swiss Christian NGO HMK says. Christian natives and foreigners have been arrested because of their faith.
“Protestant communities find it practically impossible to get permission to build churches”, a lawyer says. Up to 90% of places of worship are officially recorded as residential property.
August 22 is the International Day commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief. More than 4000 Christians were killed in 2018 because of their faith.
Local authorities in the state of Hidalgo “prohibit the entry of Protestants”. Those who refuse to fund Catholic festivities are threatened with big fines and water cuts.
“Many more churches are threatened with closure, amid denial of formal registration and recognition by authorities”, the World Evangelical Alliance says in a statement.
Citing a law that requires authorization for non-Muslim places of worship, authorities in North-central Algeria ordered the closure of the church and its Bible school.
“There is neither a primary nor a secondary church like before”, President Evo Morales said. Some evangelical denominations reject the law, arguing that it entails an interference by the state.
The Algerian Protestant Church “fully shares the aspirations and the legitimate demands of the Algerian people in their peaceful fight for a modern and democratic Republic”.
Churches pray that the tensions caused by the postponement of the presidential election will result in a peaceful political transition.
The government of Emmanuel Macron is working on a modification of the religion law of 1905.