At the beginning of this month, two Pakistani Christians—a husband and his pregnant wife—were beaten for three days, stoned by an angry mob and dragged behind a vehicle. Finally they were thrown into a brick kiln and burned alive. The crime: Shahzad Masih, 28, and Shama Bibi, 25, were falsely accused of desecrating a copy of the Quran.
More than 100 people participated in this brutal murder on Nov. 4 in the Pakistani city of Kasur. It’s unlikely that anyone will be convicted for the attack. That’s because freedom of religion—something Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years—is not guaranteed in Pakistan.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I hope you are grateful that someone cannot drag you into an oven heated to 1,470 degrees simply because they believe you blasphemed their holy book. I encourage you to make a list of blessings you may take for granted. My list for 2014 might help you think of others:
1. Do you have religious freedom? The majority of the world’s population—75 percent—live in areas with severe religious restrictions. And Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ. About 1.6 billion people in the world live in repressive societies where they have no say in how they are governed.
2. Do you make your own decisions? There are 29.8 million people living as slaves today, according to the Walk Free Foundation. These people live as forced laborers, forced prostitutes, child soldiers and child brides in forced marriages. Walk Free investigated 162 countries and found slaves in every one.
3. Do you have money in a bank? More than 2.5 billion adults around the world are unbanked, according to data based on Gallup polling in 148 countries. Two-thirds of people without accounts said they simply don’t have enough money to use a bank.
4. Do you own shoes? About 300 million children around the world don’t own a pair of shoes. It is estimated that two billion people worldwide are currently plagued with parasitic diseases that could be prevented simply by wearing proper footwear.
5. Do you drink clean water? About 1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Because of that, about 9 million people will die this year because of water-related illnesses. The next time you open a bottle of Dasani or drink from your tap, remember that millions of women around the world spend an average of four hours daily walking to get water.
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SOURCE: Charisma News
J. Lee Grady