- Dec 10, 2019
“It is more dangerous now than any time in history to be a person of faith,” said Ambassador Sam Brownback at an event marking the second anniversary of U.S. recognition that the Islamic State committed genocide against religious minorities, including Christians, in Syria and Iraq.
Once more Pope Francis speaks up in defense of persecuted Yazidi communities in the Middle East.
The United Nations special investigator on religious rights called for the repeal of all laws that undermine the exercise of the right to freedom of religion or belief — or discriminate against that right. “Increases in unlawful government restrictions against religious groups remain one of the primary and most fundamental factors resulting in higher levels of religious intolerance in any given society,” Ahmed Shaheed said.
Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister, told the United Nations in New York that although every recognized faith group experiences some form of oppression globally, Christians remain the most persecuted. The archbishop was citing findings from a number of extensively researched reports.
New regulations in China stipulate that if a religious group holds an activity without permission, authorities could impose a minimum fine of more than $15,000. Revenue from gatherings and property could also be confiscated. In addition, government religious authorities could demand that church officials, or those in control of venues, be removed from their positions.
Holy Week is a time of prayer and celebration around the world, but several local Churches are facing particular hardships during the most sacred time of the liturgical year. Even in predominantly Catholic countries such as Venezuela and Spain, the Church is facing hostility from government authorities.