PODCAST: 1,202 Nigerian Christians Killed in 2020 (International Christian Herald 7.15.20)

This is the International Christian Herald podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to Christian Post A Nigerian civil society group estimates that 1,202 Christians have been killed in Nigeria in the first six months of 2020 by jihadists, radicalized herdsmen and others as 22 more Christians were reportedly killed in the Kaduna state last weekend. As rights groups continue to voice concern about “genocidal” crimes being committed in Nigeria, the Anambra-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has released a new report stating that no fewer than 1,202 Christians were killed between January and June 2020.

According to Christianity Today In one of a wide-ranging series of legislative reforms, apostates from Islam no longer face the death penalty in Sudan. “We will drop all the laws violating the human rights in Sudan,” Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari said Sunday during an interview on state television. “We are keen to demolish any kind of discrimination that was enacted by the old regime, and to move toward equality of citizenship and a democratic transformation.” The post-revolutionary reforms have been an encouragement to Sudanese Christian believers.

According to the Christian Post, An 88-year-old underground Chinese bishop, who was arrested for refusing to join the state-approved Catholic Church, is feared dead as state officials urge the Vatican to recognize his assistant as a bishop in his place. Bishop James Su Zhimin was last seen 17 years ago by a Catholic in a hospital in Baoding, Hebei province — six years after he was arrested for his refusal to join the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and charged with conducting “unregistered” religious activities. Bishop Su’s nephew, Su Tianyou, told UCA News that the Chinese Communist Party had asked the Vatican to appoint Coadjutor Bishop Francis An Shuxin in his stead, leading some to believe Bishop Su is dead.

According to Religion News Service China said Monday it will impose sanctions on three U.S. lawmakers and one ambassador in response to similar actions taken by the U.S. last week against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Muslims in the Xinjiang region. U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Rep. Chris Smith and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback were targeted, as was the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The four have been critical of the ruling Communist Party’s policies toward minority groups and people of faith.

According to Religion News Service For years, Donald Trump and administration officials have championed protecting religious freedom abroad — including for Christians persecuted for their faith — as a key foreign policy goal. But according to a new report released Friday (July 10) from two Christian groups, the president is falling short of that goal when it comes to Christian refugees. “The number of persecuted Christians to whom protection is available through the U.S. refugee resettlement program and the application of asylum laws has still been dramatically curtailed,” the report reads.

According to Religion News Service Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday (July 10) formally reconverted Istanbul’s sixth-century iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open to Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum. The decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia — a former cathedral that was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire and had served as a museum for 86 years — sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians.

According to Religion News Service The Vatican Museums normally host over 6 million visitors a year and on some days up to 45,000 tourists fill its galleries. Images show people packed together in the majestic halls, with only disembodied limbs sticking out from the crowd, occasionally holding out phones or umbrellas. During the coronavirus pandemic, things have changed. The museums shut down for three months and only reopened June 1. Visitors can stop and take in the beauty of the recently restored Raphael Rooms and the jaw-dropping ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Tourists now can enjoy the museums as they were originally intended, with pause and contemplation, she said.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!