This is Whyte House Report podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Charisma News, Human rights advocates are calling for investigations and aid as Christians are oppressed in Nigeria’s Kaduna State after the Fulani Muslim Governor Nasir El-Rufai forcefully balkanized its Adara Chiefdom. El-Rufai’s 2018 order for the dissolution of the Adara Chiefdom, the largest Christian community in Kaduna State, has escalated discrimination and violence as appointed leaders, including an emir selected by the Muslim governor, have been given authority over the previously self-governed people. “The indigenous, predominately Christian, Adara are victims of inequalities arising from differences in ethnicity and religion between their community and that of the governor and his administration,” the report states. “The Adara are subjected to illegal arrests, religious persecution, intimidation and unrestrained violence.” One documented violent outbreak occurred just days after Adara sued El-Rufai for unlawfully reapportioning the Adara Chiefdom. Suspected Fulani Militants attacked an Adara village, murdering 11 people—mostly women, children and the elderly. The report indicates attacks like these are not uncommon and regularly threaten lives of the ethnic minority. “More than 300 Christians were killed in Nigeria in July,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians. STPC’s coalition partner, the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) released a comprehensive report, “Nigeria’s Silent Slaughter: Genocide in Nigeria and the Implications for the International Community,” on July 28. Using data from January 1, 2000, to January 31, 2019, ICON’s report exposes how one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups, Boko Haram, has killed more than 43,000 Nigerians, the vast majority women and children. Additionally, it raises awareness of the continuing onslaught by Fulani Militants, who have killed nearly 19,000 Nigerians, primarily Christian farmers. Based on data collected, between 2000 and 2019, deaths resulting from Fulani Militant attacks include 17,284 across the country, 13,079 in predominantly Christian states (Benue, Kaduna, Plateau and Taraba). That means three of every four Fulani Militant victims during this time were Christians.
According to Christian Post, A new survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, reveals that Americans are turning to TV and movies, rather than the Bible, to keep them occupied during the coronavirus pandemic. The survey, which featured responses from 10,211 adults, was conducted between July 13 and July 19. It asked respondents what activities they participated in on a daily and weekly basis as they deal with the stress and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The most popular activity for coping by far was watching television and movies. “Nine-in-ten U.S. adults say they watch TV or movies at least weekly to cope with the outbreak, including roughly three-quarters (73%) who say they do this daily,” Pew reported. On the other hand, far fewer Americans have turned to reading Scripture on a daily or weekly basis as a way to cope with COVID-19. Just 29% of Americans said that they read Scripture on a weekly or daily basis. Among Christians, less than half (42%) said they read the Bible regularly to help cope with the outbreak. Broken down by religion, a majority of evangelical (57%) and historically black (59%) Protestants claimed that they read Scripture at least weekly. Far fewer Catholics (22%) and mainline Protestants (29%) said that they have turned to the Bible at least once a week. While the share of respondents who admitted to reading Scripture at least once a week was quite low, a much higher proportion of those surveyed said that they engaged in prayer regularly.
According to Assist News Service, SAT 7’s Arabic Christian channel is continuing to minister to the people of Lebanon through a series of special live broadcasts following the devastating Beirut explosion. Their largest television production studio is around 10km from the blast site. Immediately following the Beirut blast SAT-7’s Arabic channel urged prayers for the wounded and for families who have lost their loved ones. They also asked for prayers for politicians in their decision making and for Lebanon to continue as a hub for coexistence and freedom in the Middle East. Through a series of live broadcasts church leaders and guest speakers are invited to give insight and pray for the country’s people and future. In one of SAT-7’s live shows called You Are Not Alone presenter Sirene Semerdjian speaks via video link to Father Majdi Alawi as he and volunteers prepare and distribute food parcels for those who lost homes and are without food as a result of the explosion. His message was: “Pray for the victims. We want to love today. Let’s be humane…Don’t place blame.”
According to Mission Network News, Christian girls desperately need justice in Pakistan. A Muslim man kidnapped 14-year-old Maira Shabaz in April and tried to marry her, claiming she was 19, The Telegraph reports. Local officials placed Maira in a shelter when family proved she was a minor, but that’s about to change. The Lahore High Court just ruled in favor of Maira’s captor, saying she willingly married him and converted to Islam. According to FMI’s Nehemiah, stories like Maira’s are tragically all-too-common. “The concept is not new, it’s very old. Muslims treat Christian women as animals,” he says. A 2014 report from Movement for Solidarity & Peace estimates 400 to 1,000 forced marriages and conversions occur each year. Huma Yuonnus, also 14, is now pregnant with her captor’s child. FMI partners with indigenous church planters and evangelists in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nations. Sometimes, that partnership looks like 1 Corinthians 12:26. Ask the Lord to intervene and protect Christian girls in Pakistan. Pray for justice for Maira and others like her.
According to Christian Post, Authorities in China replaced a cross in the home of an elderly Christian man with an image of Xi Jinping and ordered him to pray to the country’s president instead of God as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity. The 84-year-old man in Shanxi Province, China, was among a number of Christians in several provinces ordered to remove Christian imagery from their homes and replace them with pictures of Communist leaders, religious rights magazine Bitter Winter reported. “The township [Chinese Communist] Party [CCP] secretary asked me to take down and throw away the cross and told me to pray to Xi Jinping from then on,” the unidentified Christian told Bitter Winter. “Xi Jinping is a man, not God. I feel saddened for the cross being taken down, but there is nothing I can do.” Similar reports have emerged from at least five provinces over the last few months, with authorities urging believers — often low-income households reliant on government assistance — to replace crosses and images of Jesus in their homes with posters of Communist Party leaders, or lose welfare benefits.
According to Assist News Service, Oppression and discrimination against Christians has increased during Covid, says Release International, which has launched an appeal to help Christians suffering during the pandemic. The charity reports many Christians have been denied food and relief aid and excluded from support systems during lockdown. They have been abandoned by families because of their faith and refused relief by governments and NGOs. At the same time, several countries have stepped up persecution against Christians. Release says one of the worst offenders is China, where Christians have been arrested for holding prayer meetings online. ‘The situation has got much worse for many Christians during lockdown,’ says Release International CEO Paul Robinson. ‘COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the lives of many poor Christians. In places hostile to the faith Christians are experiencing increased hardship. ‘Food is now in short supply. They are unable to work and can’t earn, and support is being withheld because of their faith. Their cries for help are being ignored by local charities who are distributing food packages only to families of other faiths. We can’t afford to delay. These Christians need our help.’
According to Mission Network News, Nigerian Christians are facing intense persecution, and Mission Cry hopes to bring these believers encouragement through the power of God’s Word. Jason Woolford of Mission Cry explains the crisis in Nigeria centers around Islamic persecution of Christians. Some reports state over 1,000 Christians have been brutally murdered since the beginning of the year. Even those working to help others such as aid workers aren’t safe. “The devil seems to be overactive in Nigeria,” Woolford says. Many of these believers feel alone, especially with recent focus shifting to the pandemic. “They feel cut off and forgotten. Whether they’re foreign missionaries or our Nigerian brethren, [they] hear and read about the body of Christ, and it’s silent,” Woolford explains. In the face of all these atrocities and discouragements, Woolford believes putting Scripture into the hands of persecuted believers remains vital. “We’re going to be giving people the Word of God, the only thing that doesn’t return void,” he says. “[We’re] sending the word in hopes that it will encourage our brothers who are believers, our sisters in Christ, that [it] will encourage them to read about the God they’re being martyred for.”
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “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 on the cross for your sins, 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 you.