In just the last few weeks, two mass kidnappings took place, both at schools in northwestern Nigeria. In the first, “unidentified gunmen” attacked a boarding school in Niger state, killing one student and kidnapping 42 others — 38 of the abducted were rescued a week later, presumably by government forces. The day before that rescue, “unknown gunmen” in neighboring Zamfara state kidnapped over 300 girls from a boarding school. On Tuesday, the AP reported the release of 270.
Three Years is Too Long
Three years ago, 110 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by terrorists from Boko Haram. After a month of negotiations with government authorities, 109 were returned to their families. The girl who was not returned was also the only Christian, 14-year-old Leah Sharibu.
According to Boko Haram (or, as it calls itself, the Islamic State West African Province), Sharibu refused to convert to Islam, their precondition for her release. A few months later, Boko Haram announced that Sharibu and Alice Loksha Ngaddah, a Christian nurse kidnapped in March 2018, would be enslaved for life.
The last time the world heard from Leah, she begged to be “treated with compassion” and asked “the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation.” Three years later, Leah remains a prisoner, a “captive for Christ.”
Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste
How COVID has Enabled Religious Persecution.
The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic is still being tallied, both in terms of lives and livelihoods lost. In addition to the millions dead, the millions more who’ve been infected (including some who face long-term physical damage), there’s the psychological and emotional harm of extended isolation, and the millions who face financial ruin. In the midst of all of that, we are now learning of another, less obvious, but just as deadly fallout from the pandemic.
Each January, Open Doors, an organization committed to “serving persecuted Christians worldwide,” releases their World Watch List. The list documents the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian, highlights global trends in religious persecution and provides unique insights into the global persecuted church…
A COVID-Free China Still Isn’t Free
Recently, police in Hong Kong arrested 53 pro-democracy activists for holding a primary election. The Communist Chinese government made the sweep of political opponents under cover of its new national security law. The same day as these arrests, China-based tech firm Alibaba’s stock jumped 30 percent when word circulated that Jack Ma, Alibaba’s eccentric founder, might actually be alive. Ma vanished two months ago after publicly criticizing China’s banking system. Apparently, stockholders had assumed the Chinese Communist Party killed him…
The Case for Accepting Refugees
Among the commitments made for his administration’s first 100 days in office, Joe Biden has promised to reverse Trump-era policies on the admission of refugees into the United States. Specifically, Biden has promised to raise the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. during his first year in office to 125 thousand, a significant increase from the current levels of around 25 thousand per year.
Today’s BreakPoint: Disney’s Mulan and the Backdrop of Genocide
JOHN STONESTREET WITH DAVID CARLSON
Disney’s newest live-action movie, “Mulan,” was released Friday. So far, reviews have ranged from mostly positive to absolutely glowing: “an exciting, well-crafted action movie,” a “robust” and “family-friendly, live-action Disney fantasy,” and an “epic-scale tribute to female empowerment.”
However, the feedback on Mulan has chilled considerably after reports that Disney filmed substantial portions of the movie in China’s Xinjiang province, with the blessing and cooperation of the Chinese Communist government.
Xinjiang is the home province of some 12 million Muslim Uighurs. According to the U. S. State Department, over one million of them have been moved to concentration camps where “they are starved, abused, tortured, electrocuted, raped and even killed.” Uighur women have been “forcibly sterilized . . . [and] made to use intrusive birth control methods.” There have even been reports of forced abortions and even infanticide.
…The only secure basis for human rights, of course, is the Christian belief that humans are created in the image of God…
Today’s BreakPoint: No Christianity, No “Human Rights”
JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA
In July, the U.S. State Department’s “Commission on Unalienable Rights” released a draft report that attempted to provide a grounding for our country’s commitment to human rights. Fundamental among those rights, the report declared, are freedom of religion and the right to private property.
The Commission sought comments from the public, and they’ve gotten them. While the part about property rights garnered little response, the insistence on religious liberty has sparked a firestorm of protest, including from a “group of academic and religious leaders.”…