Category : Globalization

What You Should Know About ‘Freedom Sunday’ and Modern Slavery

This…Sunday (September 24), thousands of churches around the world will dedicate their service to fighting modern-day slavery as part of International Justice Mission’s annual Freedom Sunday. Around 2,700 churches from 16 countries will share stories about the reality of slavery and call on their congregants to partner with IJM until all are free. The call to act on slavery will go out in 10 different languages as Christians worldwide unite to fight for more than 40 million men, women, and children who are in slavery today.

I corresponded with Mike Hogan, IJM’s national director for church mobilization, about Freedom Sunday and the evil of modern slavery.

What exactly is modern day slavery?

Most people think slavery is a thing of the past, but there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. It’s hard to grasp, but millions of men, women, and children all around the world are considered someone else’s property. Simply put, slavery is the use of lies or violence to force another person to work for little or no pay—also because there’s no one there to protect them. In many places, the laws against slavery just aren’t enforced by the police and courts so slave owners and traffickers know they can prey on the poor without fear of any consequences at all. Think what it would be like if someone picked up the phone to call 911 and either no one was there to take the call or the operators said they couldn’t help. That is the reality millions face.

What parts of the world is slavery a problem?

Slavery is an international problem stretching around the globe, but for IJM specifically, field offices are located and case work occurs in the following places: Guatemala, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, India, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. Just because IJM doesn’t operate in a specific country does not mean slavery does not exist, but rather our knowledge and resources are best utilized in these locations.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(WEF) The world’s most atheistic places, mapped

China is the world’s least religious country, according to a survey by WIN/Gallup International. Only 9% of the country considers itself religious, while 67% claims to be atheist – more than twice the amount of any other country.

The data, which is based on a survey of more than 66,000 people in 68 countries, suggests a further 23% of Chinese people are non-religious. The results reflect attitudes towards religion in the country, as education rules introduced in China last year said parents should not promote hardline religious beliefs in children or make them dress in specific clothing. The new regulations also banned any form of religious activity in schools.

Sweden, the Czech Republic and the UK are the next least religious countries. In Sweden, 18% of people define themselves as atheist and 55% as non-religious, while the Czech Republic is 25% atheist and 47% non-religious. In the UK, 11% of people claim to be atheist and 58% non-religious.

Read it all.

Posted in Atheism, Globalization, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A look at America’s latest report on religious persecution

Lobbying for human rights, in a universalist spirit that holds all countries to the same standards and avoids singling out any particular group or country for attention, is not something that comes naturally to the Trump administration. Civil-liberty advocates were disappointed back in March, when Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, failed to turn up in person to present his department’s annual survey of human rights all over the world. But they were pleased to observe that he did make a personal appearance this week to deliver another encyclopedic document: an annual survey of freedom of religion and belief, taking in more than 190 countries and territories.

Mr Tillerson’s strongest words were reserved not for any recognised government but for an ultra-militant movement, the so-called Islamic State (IS). Both in the report he unveiled and his own remarks, he stated that it was “clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled”. The terrorist faction was also deemed responsible for “crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing” (that is, misdeeds which do not fit the term “genocide”) against fellow Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other groups.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

Philippa Rowen–The Church can be the eyes and ears that spot modern slavery

A new report from the National Crime Agency says modern slavery is now “prevalent” across the UK, affecting “every large town and city in the country”. The more they look, the more they find according to William Kerr, NCA Director of Vulnerabilities. He says “we need those communities to be our eyes and ears”. People in the UK may be shocked to hear that this crime is so widespread, but for those working to raise awareness of modern slavery, today’s revelations from the National Crime Agency are not surprising.

For years, the numbers of potential victims found have climbed, in 2016 hitting 3805. They came from 108 different countries, including the UK, and were exploited in all sorts of ways; from car washes, to fruit farms, to brothels.

We need communities that have their eyes open, who are aware enough of their surroundings that they can say when something doesn’t look right. When the man cleaning their car has no safety equipment, and looks underfed and tired. When their neighbours live-in nanny never seems to leave the house, and is too frightened to talk to them. When the holiday let at the end of the road is being visited by different men all through the day and night.

The Church of England, with a presence in every parish, is uniquely placed to be those eyes and ears, and to spread this message further.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Commentary) Sohrab Ahmari–When ‘Freethinkers’ Persecute the Faithful: Soft totalitarianism

The State Department on Tuesday released its annual International Religious Freedom Report, and the grim upshot was that people of faith face persecution around the globe. This year’s report, the first under President Trump, called out usual suspects such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. It also notably used the “G” word–genocide–to describe Islamic State’s crimes against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

Authoritarian regimes and jihadists aren’t the only ones who mete out anti-religious repression these days. Nominally free societies, particularly in Europe, are increasingly guilty of it as well. Yet because it is less visible, carried out by governments with impeccable liberal credentials, such persecution receives far less attention, including in the State report.

Consider tiny Belgium, which has been roiling with controversy this month over whether Catholic hospitals can be required to permit euthanasia on their premises. Belgium’s pro-euthanasia lobby and its political and media allies seek to bring to heel the country’s last bastion of opposition, the Roman Church.

Read it all.

Posted in Belgium, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture

(60 Minutes) A young American who grew up in the heartland tells Scott Pelley what made him try to join ISIS in Syria

Abdirizak Warsame learned the theology of murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota…

Scott Pelley: YouTube became more real to you than your neighborhood in Minnesota?

Abdirizak Warsame: Yes.

Scott Pelley: How could that be?

Abdirizak Warsame: It kind of takes control of you. And you think you’re doing something for a greater cause. And you think you’re doing it for good.

Scott Pelley: And what was that?

Abdirizak Warsame: Most of the videos would talk about how if you would engage in jihad you would be doing your family a favor. And that you would be saving their lives from eternal hell fire.

Scott Pelley:That if you died as a martyr you would not only go to paradise your whole family would go with you?

Abdirizak Warsame: Whole family would go to paradise.

Read (or better watch) it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

(CEN) Foreign Office report ‘could cause threat to evangelicals’

Christian aid agency the Barnabas Fund haslodged a formal complaint against the Foreign Office over concerns that implementation of recommendations in a report may cause a ‘threat’ to evangelical churches.

The report, Opportunities and Challenges: the intersection of faith and human rights of LGBTI+ persons,’ was the result of a meeting convened by Wilton Park, an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in September 2016.

Barnabas Fund has claimed that the report ‘describes evangelical Christians in disparaging terms’.

The report, a result of a roundtable discussion between 64 people from 27 countries including faith communities,sought to focus on practical ways to promote greater understanding of, and tolerance for, sexual minorities in the context of faith and the inter-face between LGBTI rights defenders, religious leaders and LGBTI people of faith.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, England / UK, Evangelicals, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(PR FactTank) Christians faced widespread harassment in 2015, but mostly in Christian-majority countries

Christians were harassed by governments or social groups in a total of 128 countries in 2015 – more countries than any other religious group, according to the report. But there also were 2.3 billion Christians in 2015, more than any other religious group. Large populations of Christians are present in all but a few parts of the world: Roughly two-thirds of the world’s countries, for example, have Christian majorities

By contrast, smaller religious groups may not have been harassed in as many countries simply because they are not present in as many countries. For instance, because of their dense concentration in a small number of countries, 99% of Jews and Hindus lived in nations where members of their groups were harassed. And despite being one of the most geographically dispersed religious groups, 97% of Muslims lived in countries where harassment of Muslims occurred in 2015. (By comparison, 78% of Christians lived in places where Christians were harassed.)

Due in part to the large number of Christian-majority countries, Christians were actually harassed mostly in Christian-majority countries.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Church Times) Thy Kingdom Come’s ‘wave of prayer’ goes global

Prayer has the power to carry all who are suffering alone towards “healing and renewal” in Christ, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Thursday.

Archbishop Welby was speaking to Christian journalists about the “extraordinary” growth of the Pentecost prayer initiative, Thy Kingdom Come, at Lambeth Palace.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians of many denominations in 85 countries around the world are taking part in the second annual “great wave of prayer” during the ten days between Ascension Day, on Thursday of last week, and Pentecost on Sunday.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England, Globalization

(PRC FactTank) Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam.

Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years…

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Islam, Religion & Culture, Sociology

The Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern on modern slavery (Human Trafficking)

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, has been at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness of modern day slavery. We joined him at a conference hosted by the Clewer Initiative – a three year project that aims to assist dioceses with detecting human trafficking – and spoke to him about the unique pastoral work dioceses are carrying out to support victims of modern slavery.

Listen to it all (about 6 1/2 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(Economist 1843) The Law of Unintended consequences Dept–Social media is enabling a golden age of scamming

On the face of it these seem like tough times for financial scammers. The crash of 2008 burned investors, exposed fraudsters and has forced regulators to toughen up. Yet dodgy “pyramid” investment schemes that promise huge returns before inevitably collapsing are going strong, especially those targeting women. In late 2015 British regulators jailed the leaders of a plot that had duped over 10,000 women. In June 2016 authorities in Belize warned of a scam sweeping the country. America, India, Mexico and Indonesia have seen similar stories.

Read it all.

Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

(FT) Hackers prime second classified US cyber weapon

Criminal hacking groups have repurposed a second classified cyber weapon stolen from US spies and have made it available on the so-called dark web after the success of the WannaCry attack that swept across the globe on Friday.

The hacking tool, developed by the US National Security Agency and codenamed EsteemAudit, has been adapted and is now available for criminal use, according to security analysts.

As with the NSA’s EternalBlue, the tool on which WannaCry was based, EsteemAudit exploits a vulnerability in older versions of Microsoft’s Windows software in the way in which networked machines communicate with each other.

Microsoft issued patches for vulnerable versions of its Windows software over the weekend — though experts warn many organisations have yet to apply them.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

(WCC) Ending famine in India depends on all religions and cultures

Fr Nithiya Sagayam, national coordinator of the Association of Franciscan Families of India (AFFI), is gravely concerned that the global response to extreme poverty is too low in almost every country while, he says, “corporations continue to grow richer and richer.”

This doesn’t just affect some people and not others, Sagayam believes. “The social security of every last person is at risk,” he says.

As the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches and other partners invite churches, organizations and individuals to join a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine on 21 May, Sagayam said he is grateful for the opportunity for fellowship and public engagement. He believes the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine provides a way of getting in touch with what he describes as “the forgotten people.”

Read it all.

Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecumenical Relations, Globalization, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Facing the future without fear, together: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks speaks at TED2017

“These are the times that try men’s souls, and they’re trying ours now,” begins Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, quoting Thomas Paine, in an electrifying talk about how we can face the future without fear if we face it together.

It’s a fateful moment in history. We’ve seen divisive elections, divided societies and a growth of extremism — all of it fueled by anxiety, uncertainty and fear. The world is changing faster than we can bear, and it’s looking like it’s going to continue changing faster still. Sacks asks: “Is there something we can do to face the future without fear?”

One way into this question is to look to what people worship. Some people worship many gods, some one, some none. In the 19th and 20th centuries, people worshiped the Aryan race, the Communist state and many other things. Future anthropologists, Sacks says, will take a look at the books we read on self-help, at how we talk about politics as a matter of individual rights, and at “our newest religious ritual: the selfie” — and conclude that we worship the self.

This worship of the self conflicts directly with our social nature, and with our need for friendship, trust, loyalty and love. As he says: “When we have too much of the ‘I’ and not enough of the ‘we,’ we find ourselves vulnerable, fearful and alone.”

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, History, Judaism, Psychology, Religion & Culture