Monthly Archives: May 2013

American Jailed by North Koreans a Missionary?

By Martin Roth

The NK News organization says that Kenneth Bae – the American recently sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea after taking photos of starving children – was in fact a China-based missionary.

According to NK News, he was attached to YWAM, with a home church in St Louis. In China he had established a small travel agency aimed at promoting visits to North Korea.

Western media reports suggest that Bae’s arrest and imprisonment is aimed at enticing a high-ranking Western dignitary to visit North Korea, to boost the reputation of Kim Jong-Un.

Religion vs Religion in New Zealand

By Martin Roth

I grew up in New Zealand where rugby football often seems to have the status of a religion. So it is interesting to view a conflict in Christchurch, NZ, between a local rugby club and Coptic Christians, who plan to build a new church nearby.

The whole issue is complicated, but the club is aggrieved that it may lose access to facilities it had taken for granted.

“It’s a community asset and it’s been that way for so long . . . I know we don’t really have a leg to stand on because it’s privately owned by the church now but the whole thing is just disappointing.”

He felt the club had been locked out of a facility that “is part of our history” and the council had not considered the “loss of services” to park users.

But not everyone feels aggrieved:

Deb Jackson, from the Airport Guesthouse opposite the clubrooms, said she had “no problem whatsoever” with the proposed church. “When that was a rugby club, we had issues with drinking and people throwing bottles . . . and peeing in letterboxes.”

Nigeria – The Most Lethal Country for Christians by a Huge Margin

By Martin Roth

The Baptist Press publishes an excellent, lengthy, in-depth account of the persecution of Christians  in Nigeria, mainly by Boko Haram. The introduction is harrowing:

The publicly reported Christian casualties in Nigeria last year were greater than the Christian casualties of Pakistan, Syria, Kenya and Egypt combined. In fact, Nigeria alone accounted for almost 70 percent of Christians killed globally. This makes Nigeria the most lethal country for Christians by a huge margin.

But then there is this:

While Boko Haram’s bloody terrorist tactics certainly merit serious concern, the focus on this group has overshadowed a pattern of systemic religious violence in Nigeria. It obfuscates the pervasive history of the killing of Christians by Muslims in northern Nigeria going back over a quarter century.

…Consider the street level. The most serious attack on the Christian community in Nigeria’s recent history was not carried out by Boko Haram or any organized Islamic sect. Rather, it was an act of ordinary Muslims across most northern states. This anti-Christian pogrom, referred to as the “post-election violence,” deserves examination as a bellwether of the real conditions in Nigeria’s tottering political union.

In April 2011, in what was dubbed one of the “freest and fairest” elections in Nigeria’s recent history, Goodluck Jonathan was elected president. Before his victory was announced, violence erupted in the 12 northern sharia states — again.

The final toll for the Christian community was staggering. In a 48-hour period, 764 church buildings were burned, 204 Christians were confirmed killed, more than 3,100 Christian-operated businesses, schools, and shops were burned, and more than 3,400 Christian homes were destroyed. While there have been similar death tolls in certain incidents in terms of scope and coordinated scale of destruction, there has been no equivalent attack against the church in recent decades, with the possible exception of government-backed genocides in Sudan.

Please read – if you can bear it – the entire excellent article.