Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 29 February 2012
Lent Prayer - Colombia
Country/Region: Colombia, South America
In this fifth most violent country in the world, Christians are not only caught in the crossfire of a decades-long conflict but are also deliberately singled out and persecuted for their faith. It is estimated that approximately 200 churches are forcibly closed down and 20 to 30 church leaders assassinated every year.
An Amerindian mother and daughter in Colombia. Amerindians who become Christians can experience harassment from their indigenous leaders
Most of the problems occur in rural areas that are controlled by illegal armed groups and drug lords, who are still powerful despite the government’s success in recent years in regaining some of the territory previously lost to them. These groups target Christians because a Christian lifestyle contradicts their ideologies or agendas. Sometimes all Christian activity is forbidden; sometimes it is severely regulated and monitored. Those who resist orders, for example by holding secret prayer and Bible meetings in the jungle, risk being murdered or being forced to flee and live in a different part of the country. Entire Christian communities have been displaced as a result.
Pastors are frequently targeted for extortion, kidnapping and murder, often because of their work amongst the downtrodden. Early in 2011 a pastor and his daughter were murdered by right-wing paramilitaries outside a church where a Sunday morning service was going on. On 12 September 2011 the body of a church leader was found in his house in Capurganá covered with stab wounds, just hours after the conclusion of a “Week of Peace”. Nothing in the building had been disturbed or stolen.
Many Amerindians who find Christ have to pay a high price for their new faith. Some have reported that when they refused pressure from their indigenous leaders to reconvert to their ethnic religions they were beaten, denied access to medical care, forced to stand all day in the sun or banished from their lands. The state does little to help them.
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.