The world became an increasingly dangerous place in 2013 for Christians to practice their faith in foreign lands and for the rise of anti-Christian attitudes in the United States. The following is a synopsis of the top stories for 2013.http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2013/CBN-News-Top-Stories-of-2013/
(1)-Persecution worldwide by Islamic radical extremists
The top subject by far is the stratospheric increase of persecution to Christians worldwide according to Open Doors International and the United States Commission of Religious Freedoms. The habitual worst offenders as China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Iran have been replaced by more severe instances of religious persecution being perpetrated by countries with Islamic Sharia law in place.
The lack of concern from both the United Nations and American media on extremely severe Christian persecution being done in Nigeria, Central African Republic, and Eritrea demonstrates selective outrage is clearly a matter of policy if the victims are Christian and tormentors are Islamic extremists.
In the unique case of the Central African Republic, you have a violent Islamic Seleka minority element attempting to dominate a Christian majority. Ten of thousands of Christians fearing for their lives are hostages in their own country after an Islamic strongman overthrew the Christian president in an armed insurrection by a minority Muslim group wanting Sharia law.
(2) Christian Hostility in America
The rise of Christian persecution in America led to the convening of the American Civil Rights Commission in 2013 to deal with the problem. Although largely ignored by the media, federal agencies as the Pentagon have implemented training provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other anti-Christian and anti-religious zealots to promote anti-Christian cultures.
Meanwhile the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has received a marked increase of complaints from people being suppressed or intimidated from articulating religious expresslon.
(3) US Supreme Court axes portions of DOMA/Refuses to rule on Prop 8
The United States’ Supreme Court ruled portions of DOMA that discriminated against same sex couples were illegal. Penalizing same sex couples in areas as taxation, insurance coverage, medical coverage, or inheritance were declared unconstitutional.
After agreeing to hear Prop 8, the Supreme Court strangely refused to rule on California’s maligned Prop 8 which allowed a lower court ruling to stand. Making gay marriage illegal was never petitioned in the first place after California’s attorney general office changed the wording of California’s Marriage Initiative signed by California voters.
(4) Religious organizations file lawsuits based on Obamacare
Both religious freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution and the often used separation of church and state are grounds for numerous religious organizations and non-profits to sue the government for mandating abortion coverage.
The Unites States’ Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases which were filed in objection to the establishment clause of the First Amendment for religious expression being violated.
(5) Pope Francis elected new Pontiff
The election of the first non-European Pope in over 1300-years has triggered excitement and has reinvigorated the Catholic Church. Visitors to the Vatican have tripled since Pope Francis was elected in March of 2013.
Pope Francis has eliminated the standard protocol that defined other popes before him and is cutting a simplistic identity based on true humility.
The importance of Israel continues to dominate the Middle East peace process. The ongoing antagonism from Iran and its terrorist surrogates Hezbollah and Hamas still plagues any meaningful agreement that may be forged.
Secretary of State John Kerry has been shuttling back and forth between the Israelis and Palestinians in an attempt to put a framework for peace together.
The role Iran is playing in the Middle East with a newly elected president, the nuclear question, and the ongoing plight of American citizen Pastor Saeed Abedini being imprisoned for his Christian faith has generated interest for possible diplomatic relationship with the United States.
The stalemate was created with the storming of the American embassy in 1979 and the departure of belligerent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has created hope for a potential breakthrough.
(8): TBN Founder Paul Crouch passes away
The man most credited in shaping the concept of television evangelism Paul Crouch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network died in November at the age of 79.
Crouch purchased a fledgling television station and transformed it as a platform to one of the biggest privately owned television empires in the world. TBN became an internationally known brand viewed globally on 70 satellites and over 18,000 TV and cable affiliates
Crouch never deviated from his vision to use mass media to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(9): Abortion losing ground
Many abortion clinics continued to close its doors as states began putting tighter requirements and time frames for the practice of abortions.
Some education institutions as the University of Santa Clara dropped health care programs rather than violating religious ethics. The dignity of human life and rights of the unborn may finally be addressed.
(10): Harold Camping dies
Family Radio founder and doomsday prognosticator who was based out of Oakland, California passed away in December. Camping hosted a radio program called “Open Forum” which was immensely popular for decades. At the height of Camping’s success over 150 radio stations were owned by the Family Radio.
Camping’s teachings were controversial even before his failed doomsday prediction which gave him worldwide notoriety in 2011 in which Family Radio invested millions of dollars in billboards predicting the end of the world on May 21, 2011.