During September we have prayed for —

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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 497 | Wed 24 Sep 2008

WELCOME to the intercessors who have joined the list this month.


'It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in
man.' (Psalm 118:8 ESV) 'Many seek the face of a ruler, but it
is from the Lord that a man gets justice.' (Proverbs 29:26
ESV) 'And he (God the Father) put all things under his
(Christ's) feet and gave him as head over all things to the
church. . .' (Ephesians 1:22 ESV)



INDIA, where the Hindu anti-Christian violence that started in
Kandhamal district, Orissa, on 23 August has now spread across
much of Orissa and into five other states. The violence is the
fruit of years of Hindutva efforts to Hinduise the masses and
demonise Christians as a direct threat to Hindu India. The
situation is extremely serious.

* UPDATE: Anti-Christian attacks persist, even in major cities
like Bangalore (India's 'Silicon Valley'). The Central
government has threatened to invoke Article 355 of the Indian
Constitution against Orissa and Karnataka. This would empower
the Centre to impose a 'national emergency' to address the
'internal disturbance'. It could also be a precursor to
implementing Article 356 whereby the Centre may dismiss a state
government for violating the Constitution. That threat is
intended to motivate the state governments to rein in the Sangh
Parivar (Hindu nationalist) outfits that are presently
orchestrating the violence. The BJP however has denounced it as
a political stunt and retorted that the violence was provoked.
Most doubt the Central government has the will to intervene
against the Hindutva bodies and an ascendant BJP. Please pray
for God's intervention.

VIETNAM, where Catholics and Protestants are seeking the return of
properties seized by the Communist regime. Massive, spontaneous
Catholic prayer vigils in Hanoi -- the biggest public
demonstrations since the Communists came to power -- have the
authorities rattled. Tensions are escalating and the authorities
have warned that a crackdown is imminent.

* UPDATE: At 4 am on Friday 19 September, the government broke its
promise to the Catholic Church and started demolishing the
former nunciature property they promised in February to return
to the church. On Sunday 21 September up to 10,000 Catholics
braved the rain to pray at the site. There was a heavy police
presence complete with dogs. The demolition is an implied
threat: 'This is what happens when you push us too far!' Further
to that, the government is reported to have ordered school
teachers to publically humiliate students who attend the prayer
vigils. Two 11-year-olds told their parents their teachers
forced them to stand in front of their classmates to be mocked
in a 'humiliation session' that dragged on for hours until they
promised not to go to the church again. Please pray for Vietnam
at this strategic time of struggle.



Iranian converts to Christianity, Mahmood Matin Azad (52) and Arash
Basirat (44), were arrested in Shiraz on 15 May. Compass Direct
(CD) reports: 'When their lawyer went to authorities to inquire
about the case in early August, he was informed that the two men
had been formally charged with apostasy [leaving Islam].' On 9
September, Iran's Parliament overwhelmingly passed a bill that if
approved by the Guardian Council will make death mandatory for
those guilty of apostasy or promoting apostasy (including on the
Internet). The bill states they should be punished as 'mohareb'
(enemy of God) and 'corrupt on the earth' and the punishment
'cannot be commuted, suspended or changed'. Iranian Christians fear
the government will test-run the legislation on Azad and Basirat.
Please pray for an outpouring of God's mercy, grace and light.


Laos, a land-locked, poverty-stricken, repressive, one-party
dictatorship, is one of the world's worst abusers of religious
liberty. Whilst most totalitarian regimes use all sorts of false,
non-religious charges as pretexts to imprison Christians, Lao
Christians are imprisoned for believing in Jesus. On 8 September
police in Phonthong district arrested Khambarn Kuakham and Phoun
Koonlamit for 'believing in Christianity, a foreign religion'.
Meanwhile, Pastor Sompong Supatto (32), Boot Chanthaleuxay (18) and
Khamvan Chanthaleuxay (18) have been in handcuffs and foot stocks
since their arrest on 3 August. They are now in considerable pain.
Compass Direct reports that the two teenagers are suffering from
loss of feeling and infection in their legs and feet due to lack of
blood circulation. Pray for mercy, grace, strength, deliverance and
justice. Please pray for God to intervene in Laos for the sake of
his church.


Government forces have been pursuing Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) 'rogue elements' led by commanders Kato, Pangalian and
Macapaar (Bravo) since their attacks against civilians in early
August. On Sunday 21 September Moro terrorist Abdul Basit Usman led
some 50 of Kato's rebels in an arson attack against civilian homes
and community service facilities in Maguindanao. On Tuesday 23
September MILF rejected a deal whereby the government would have
suspended actions against the three rogue commanders if MILF's
Central Committee would take them into custody. According to MILF
chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, Islamic religious leaders in Lanao
del Norte and Lanao del Sur used their sermons on Saturday 20
September to call on the Bangsamoro people to unite and wage a
jihad against enemies of Islam. MILF has threatened to escalate
their jihad after Ramadan, which ends on 30 September. Please pray
for wisdom and peace in the Philippines.


We usually provide a summary to use in news-sheets unable to
run the whole of an RLP. As a summary is not practicable with
this monthly update posting we suggest one or more of the above
items be used instead.

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.