Heroic Christians Pay Terrible Price for Refusing to Convert to the Religion of Peace

March 23, 2010 by  
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I get a sick feeling in my stomach as I think, “what if this kind of thing ever started happening here in the U.S.?” I wonder what I would do if ever faced with such a terrible choice.

Of course, I tell myself I’d stand firm. Yes, that’s what I tell myself. But . . . I know how weak I can be. Aside from hoping that a bloody persecution of Christians in America never rears its head in my lifetime (or ever), all I can do is implore God’s grace and protection and really, really mean it when I pray the Our Father and say, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Maybe the Lord will deliver us from the evil of persecution. Maybe he won’t. I’m reminded of another passage as I ponder that thought. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but have confidence, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The more things unravel and deteriorate in this country, the more likely it seems that that bloody persecution is not far off. If it is, I hope the Lord will give me the courage and grace necessary to witness to the truth, come what may.

My prayer for that is: “I do believe, Lord. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN — A Christian man was fighting for his life in Pakistan’s Punjab province Saturday, March 20, after Muslim leaders backed by police burned him alive for refusing to convert to Islam, while his wife was raped by police officers, Christian and hospital sources familiar with the case told BosNewsLife.

Arshed Masih was burned Friday, March 19, in front of a police station in the city of Rawalpindi near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, following apparent death threats from his Muslim employer Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, an influential businessman, and religious leaders, said the Rawalpindi Holy Family Hospital.

His wife, Martha Arshed, was allegedly raped by police officers. Their three children — ranging in age from 7 to 12– were reportedly forced to witness the attacks against their parents.

“Both [Masih] and wife were rushed to the Holy Family Hospital and are under treatment,” the hospital said.

He was listed in serious condition with about 80 percent of his body burned.


Local police officials said they were “aware” of the attacks carried out by Muslim leaders and apparently at least some officers and added that an investigation was underway. No arrests were rep
orted yet late Saturday, March 19.

Sheikh Mohammad Sultan could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not clear whether he had been in contact with police Saturday, March 20.

Before tensions emerged about their Christian faith, Masih worked as a driver and his wife as a maid for the Muslim businessman since 2005, Christians said.

The couple apparently lived with their children in the servant quarters of Sultan’s estate in Rawalpindi, a key trade and tourist destination. In January, religious leaders and Sultan allegedly asked Arshed to convert to Islam with his whole family. After he refused, the group reportedly threatened him with “dire consequences”.

Arshed offered to quit his job, but the businessman allegedly said he would “kill” him if he were to leave.

He apparently also told Christian mediators that he would never allow the Christian family to live somewhere else.

This week tensions rose after Sultan reported a theft of 500,000 Pakistani Rupees (5,952$), according to a document seen by BosNewsLife.

The Christian family members were not named as suspects in the so-called ‘First Information Report’ from police.

Sources familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, told BosNewsLife that the businessman had offered the couple to drop the case if they convert to Islam or “else that both would not see their children again.”

However, “Arshed refused to convert and stood firm in his faith. Arshed`s wife was raped by the police and he was burned alive,” Friday, March 19, local Christians said, speaking on condition of anonymity. . . . (continue reading)

St. Killian Patrick Hangin' on St. Patrick's Day

March 23, 2010 by  
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Life is good!

The look of love

March 23, 2010 by  
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Let’s take a quick trip back to 1967, shall we? I’ve loved this song ever since I first heard it on the radio, way back then.

A Self-Explanatory Public Service Announcement

March 23, 2010 by  
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I'll bet you've never thought of this use for a magazine before

March 22, 2010 by  
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Hawaii? Earthquake? Was Dear Leader "Futuring"?

March 18, 2010 by  
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My visit to Gate 32 at Boston's Logan Airport

March 15, 2010 by  
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Part of my work-related activity involves crisscrossing the country conducting parish seminars and speaking at conferences on Catholic themes. This past week, I was speaking at multiple parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston and returned home last night.

The weather in Boston the last few days was raw, rainy, dreary. This is why, perhaps, as I waited a few hours in the American Airlines terminal at Boston Logan Airport for my (weather-delayed) flight home, my mind turned to somber things.

Pondering the fact that, at 7:45 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Flight 11 pulled back from gate B32 and commenced its journey into death, I realized that though I had flown in and out of that airport many times over the years, I hadn’t stopped to think of its historical importance as one of the starting points of the terror attacks on the United States that terrible morning. (The doomed United Flight 175 also departed that morning at 7:58 from Gate C19).

I approached a cluster of idle TSA workers standing near the security checkpoint and asked which gate Flight 11 had departed from on 9-11. Without hesitating, they pointed out the window to an American flag in the distance, fluttering in the stiff, rainy wind atop a departure ramp way down at the far end of terminal. Thanking them, I headed in that direction, passing through throngs of passengers and airport workers toward an historical monument it seemed nobody else was conscious of.

Surely, many others in the airport knew the significance of Gate 32 — American Airlines gate agents, pilots, flight attendants, TSA folks — but as I made my toward the end of the terminal, I felt as if I might be the only one, at least at that moment, to be preoccupied with the grim memory of what happened in that place on September 11th. I realized that Gate 32 will forever be to Boston what the Sixth Floor is to Dallas.

I tried to imagine myself there that morning, seeing the five murderers walking toward Gate 32, their minds brimming with hatred for America and Americans. A line from “Riders on the Storm,” The Doors’ anthem of doom, came to mind as I tried to envision the hijackers going about their deadly errand:

There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin’ like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah
When I got to Gate 32, I was not surprised to see how completely ordinary it was. People were coming and going, a gate agent stood at the counter typing on the computer. It could have been any other nondescript gate at any other nondescript airport.

In the years since 9-11, untold numbers of passengers and flight crews have passed through that very doorway and over that very jet-bridge within which the killers and those they killed walked that fateful morning. Do they feel anything different? Do they realize where they are?

There is no commemorative plaque or sign to signify what happened there, just the understandable, real-world obliviousness of all those anonymous passengers, endlessly arriving from and departing to points unknown.

iv>Just that and a forlorn yet defiant American flag snapping in the wind and rain.

Post Script: I have been a loyal frequent flyer with American Airlines since 1988, logging over 2 million miles with them. Sometimes, as I settle into my seat for a flight, I wonder if I might ever have flown in the particular 767 aircraft which was Flight 11 on 9-11. Was I ever aboard a flight served by any of the pilots or flight attendants who perished that day? It’s possible. I hope so. I have prayed for them and their passengers many times since.

I will, I will rock you

March 12, 2010 by  
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Yes, I know, this is frivolity at its most frivolous, but a dear friend of mine with a twisted sense of humor created this little video, and I just can’t resist showing it to you. I’ll get serious again soon. Promise.

Happy Friday. No cheeseburger for you today.

March 5, 2010 by  
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A Prayer to Be Freed From the Seven Deadly Sins

March 3, 2010 by  
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Perfect for Lenten penance and reflection:
O Jesus, meek Savior and Prince of Peace, implant in me the virtues of gentleness and patience. Let me curb the fury of anger and restrain all resentment and impatience so as to overcome evil with good, attain your peace, and rejoice in Your love.

O Jesus, Model of humility, divest me of all pride and arrogance. Let me acknowledge my weakness and sinfulness, so that I may bear mockery and contempt for Your sake and esteem myself as lowly in your sight.

O Jesus, Teacher of abstinence, help me to serve You rather than our appetites. Keep me from gluttony – the inordinate love of food and drink and let me hunger and thirst for Your justice.

O Jesus, Lover of purity, remove all lust from my heart, so that I may serve You with a pure mind and a chaste body.

O Jesus, Father of the poor, help me to avoid all covetousness for earthly goods and give me a love for heavenly things. Inspire me to give to the needy, just as You gave Your life, that I might inherit eternal treasures.

O Jesus, Exemplar of love, keep me from all envy and ill-will. Let the grace of Your love dwell in me that I may rejoice in the happiness of others and bewail their adversities.

O Jesus, zealous Lover of souls, keep me from all sloth of mind or body. Inspire me with zeal for your glory, so that I may do all things for You and in You.

O Jesus, my Merciful Redeemer, my Loving Savior, my Divine Healer, all this I humbly pray and ask in confidence, and filled with faith, hope and trust, in Your Holy and Mighty name, Amen.

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