Category Archives: Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi–Wife & Mom; Catholic/Christian and "Blasphemer"; Sentenced to Death for Loving Jesus

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

 Asia Bibi is a Catholic wife,  mother of five and our sister in faith. She will stand before the Supreme Court of Pakistan during the month of October, 2016, and hear the final verdict as to whether or not she should be executed by hanging. You see, Asia has been convicted  of being a “blasphemer”. She has been in prison for the past seven years.

Imagine being this woman. You have been living amidst the filth and squalor of a Pakistani prison. You wonder about your children You miss them so much. You need to hug them, touch them, feel their hair or just squeeze their hands(s). Then a distant memory floats to the forefront of your worn out mind. You remember that day in 2009…was it June..no, maybe August.  You remember being out in the field picking berries. There are other women working alongside you but…there is a difference. They are Muslim and, to them, you are “unclean”. They despise you. You are a Catholic.

Asia Bibi & Children  courtesy gatestoneinstitute.org

These other women demanded you fetch them water from a nearby well. You were not their “equals” and did what you were told. You went to the well, filled a jug for the women and brought it back to them. But you made a mistake. You knew you could not drink from the same jug so you found an old tin can and poured water into it for yourself. You remember the momentary relief as the water slid down your throat..

Alas, using the dirty, rusted cup to drink from mattered not. A field hand angrily tells you that you are forbidden to drink the SAME water as a Muslim. You are already considered “unclean” because you are a Catholic/Christian. The other workers hurriedly gathered around you and started cursing you and your religion. Your faith must have been exploding in you because you defended it immediately. You summoned your resolve and remember saying, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”

The other women exploded with rage. You were beaten and arrested. Under the country’s Sharia Law you are not equal to a Muslim so what you had to say was only considered “half” as important as what they had to say. Trying to defend yourself was an effort in futility. They hold you in a local jail for one year and then you are found guilty of blasphemy. Your sentence is death by hanging. You are shocked and horrified and helpless. Your husband is sickened and your children lost inside themselves. You can do nothing.

You are sent to prison and placed on death row. Five years later the Pakistani Supreme Court upheld the verdict. That was appealed and the hanging was put on hold. It has been announced that sometime during the middle of October, 2016, the High Court of Pakistan will render a FINAL verdict. Asia Bibi, Catholic “blasphemer “, lover and defender of Jesus Christ, will hear whether or not she lives or dies.

I cannot help but feel a deep affinity for Asia Bibi and all those who live under such incredibly hateful conditions.. After all, we are all part of the same spiritual family. They are people just like you and I. They love their spouses and children and their moms and dads. They get the flu and upset stomachs. They get rashes and toothaches and they have wants and desires. They want a nice home that is safe and secure. They would like to have a church they can go to without a fear of being killed or maimed for doing so. They just want to worship the God they love and have some peace in their lives. Yet, they are hated and despised. Why–because they are just like us. They are Catholic/Christian and believe in Jesus Christ.

This morning, I was able to drive over to my church and attend morning Mass. No fuss, no muss, no anxiety existed. No one mocked me. No one cursed me. On the contrary, going to Mass in America is a beautiful experience that is filled with peace and love. After all, we are free Americans allowed to practice our religion unencumbered (so far).

Asia Bibi is just one of thousands of our brothers and sisters in faith whose lives are in jeopardy at this very moment. Just like us, they love Jesus Christ. There is a glaring difference. We Americans  can pour another cup of coffee and say another prayer. Our brothers and sisters in faith, living in the lands of the persecuted,  can be brutally killed for doing the exact same thing.

The winds of secularism are growing stronger and stronger, blowing  against the doors and walls of America’s churches. Behind those doors and walls our religious freedoms are still secure. Venturing outside those walls we find that across America those freedoms are being eroded right before our eyes. We had better be careful. As St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) said, The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.”  

We must fight to stay who we are, inside and out.

 Please pray for our sister, Asia Bibi. She faces a horrible death because she loves Jesus. A different place or a different time, that could be any one of us.

                               Copyright ©Larry Peterson 2016

The "Sin" of Blasphemy Is NOT "Free Speech".

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Asia Bibi, a mother of five and a Catholic, languishes in a Pakistani prison. She has been there for five years.  She waits for them to come and drag her to the gallows where she will be hanged by the neck until dead. Why? Because to the Muslims working alongside her in the fields, she was an “Infidel”. They demanded that she bring them water and she “defiled” them by drinking some of it. They mocked her and cursed her religion and Jesus and she defended Him and her faith. She was summarily accused of “mocking” Allah. Her crime? Blasphemy.  In Pakistan “Blasphemy” is a capital crime punishable by death. Asia Bibi’s death sentence has been upheld by the Pakistani Supreme Court.  May the God of Love help her.

We are quite the interesting species, aren’t we? The fascinating twist in all of this Blaspheming thing is that our highly sophisticated and secular world mocks the idea of “Blasphemy” as a non-existent  “sin” and “crime”. Instead, when people of this upscale, modern era blaspheme, they choose to call it “free speech”.  The French publication, “Charlie Hebdo”,  mocked and ridiculed Allah. They also have mocked and ridiculed Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pope,  and all connected to Jesus. This publication continually strikes and cuts deeply at the very heart of a person’s innermost core beliefs. But hey, it is OK because it is “Free Speech”. This is an absurdity.

Blasphemy is defined as an “impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things” or “an act of cursing or reviling God”. Freedom of Speech is defined as “the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc. Seems to me that they are two totally different things.

We sojourn back 2000 years and we remember a certain High Priest named Caiphas, symbolically tearing his robes when Jesus, asked if he was the Son of God, answered, “I am”.

“Blasphemer!” he screamed. “Blasphemer!” And they took the Man who simply preached love and forgiveness away to be tortured and crucified. They even traded Jesus for the release of a convicted murderer and seditionist. Ah, Blasphemy, so vague, so ambiguous, so diabolical and so convenient to use as an excuse to do murder and/or get rid of political foes.

 Asia Bibi loved Jesus and her Catholic faith. Who do these people think they are to judge her and condemn her to be hanged for thinking differently than they do? Whoever gave them the right to deprive her five children of their mother? Who do they think they are to be able to decide her faith makes her a Blasphemer? The fact is, their actions make them the Blasphemers. This mind set is not only distorted and twisted it is just plain wicked. No God of love and mercy approves of this viciousness.

How many  people have been tortured and murdered over the centuries as Blasphemers because they followed Jesus Christ? We could never count that high. Ironically, as we have journeyed past the Age of Enlightment and onward into the 21st century with incredible advances in science, medicine, literature and civility, we can look over our shoulders and see people being hanged, beheaded, crucified and killed in unimaginable ways because of the ancient ‘sin’ of Blasphemy.

 There is an old  cliche that says, “Never discuss politics or religion with your friends”. There is simple wisdom for you.  But today, a satirical publication like Charlie Hebdo, can ridicule and mock the things that demean and debase the very core of a person’s heart and soul. And it is not only Charlie Hebdo. It is the entertainment world (Bill Maher says people who believe in God are “idiots”), school systems, city council men and women, school administrators, judges, lawyers, congressmen, senators and all who reject and trample on a person’s religious beliefs by passing rules against these beliefs. When people do this they are, like it or not, blaspheming. So an outraged group of world leaders gather together and march together and suggest it is “Free Speech” that is under attack. The fact is Free Speech had nothing to do with the attack on “Charlie Hebdo”. The paper is a blaspheming publication hiding behind a mask called ‘satire’.

The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written with God’s Natural Law as their foundation. We have been given by our Founders, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Yet, we have all of these people in power at all different levels trying to squash religion within the same country that, by law, gives them that freedom and to which many swear allegiance and loyalty.

Comes a new day and these same people will turn around and be outraged when blasphemers are viciously attacked and murdered by psychopathic killers who have had their core beliefs mocked and trampled upon and believe that killing the “Blasphemer” is justified. These radical Islamists seem to forget that they also are Blasphemers the only difference being they carry automatic weapons and kill people they have passed judgement upon. It is sure a good thing that Christians believe in forgiveness.

Blasphemy and Free Speech are two different things. Free Speech never was put in place so people  could  dishonor and publicly mock and defile those whose religious beliefs they disagree with. NOT doing that is called respect. Whatever happened to that? The “sin of blasphemy” needs to be tossed back onto  the ash heap of historical hubris and buried forever under all the pain and heartache it has wrought. Those of us who are protected by laws allowing Free Speech need to once again incorporate some common decency and respect in the words we use  about those folks we do not agree with. You know, there was a time not too long ago where a mutual respect did exist among people.

Blaspheming others is NOT the exercise of Free Speech. It is the perversion of that God given right. May the  God of Love help us all.

                                                               Copyright © 2015 Larry Peterson

Mother of Five, Sentenced to be Hanged, Pleads, "Please Do Not Abandon Me!"

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Back on October 22, I wrote a blog  about a wife and mother of five kids who lives in Pakistan and has been sentenced to death by hanging for the crime of “blasphemy”. That’s right; BLASPHEMY. And how does one commit such a heinous act in Pakistan? Asia Bibi drank some water that was only supposed to be for Muslims to drink. She is a Catholic/Christian and is therefore considered “unclean”. It followed that she defiled the drinking water. An argument between her and her Muslim co-workers ensued. So, since she was a Catholic, she was accused of blasphemy for insulting Muhammad. They beat her, tried her and sentenced her to death.  That was five years ago and she is still in prison waiting to be hanged. This sentence has been upheld by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. How civilized some of our ‘friends and allies” are.

 I cannot help but feel a deep affinity for these people. After all, we are all part of the same spiritual family. They are people just like you and I. They love their spouses and children and their moms and dads. They get the flu and upset stomachs. They get rashes and toothaches and they have wants and desires. They want a nice home that is safe and secure. They would like to have a church they can go to without a fear of being killed or maimed for doing so. They just want some peace in their lives. Yet they are hated and despised. Why–because they are just like me and maybe you. They are Catholic and believe in Jesus Christ.

 Yes, like us, they believe in the “golden rule”. Unlike us and  for believing this they are called “infidels”. They are defiled as “unclean”. For this they are killed. For this they are blown up by maniacs. For this Asia Bibi will be hanged by the neck until her twitching body stops moving. Where is the outcry? Where is the outrage from all of us here in America? Where are the reproaches by the National Organization for Women? Why does our government help a government that allows such medieval acts to be inflicted on its own people by its own people?  Why not demand the Pakistani government end these atrocities or we will remove their seemingly bottomless U.S. money pit?

As a Catholic man I know that these people are also our brothers and sisters in faith. We belong to the same church and Pope Francis is our spiritual leader. We are “extended” family. The only difference between them and us is location. We are greatly blessed and still have full stomachs from our Thanksgiving feast. They are in dreaded fear of any day being imprisoned and tortured and murdered. This morning, I was able to drive over to my church and attend morning Mass. No fuss, no muss, no anxiety existed. I am a free American man allowed to practice my religion (so far) unencumbered. Cross over an imaginary line called a boundary and things can change quickly.

Recently a 28 year old pregnant Christian woman, our sister in faith, was dragged from her home by her employer’s sons and his friends, stripped naked and forced to parade up and down the streets of Rana Town in Pakistan for a half hour. Her offense? The man did not think she was doing her work properly. She  lost the baby. Never doubt this fact, to be a Catholic/Christian in Pakistan and Sudan and Iran and other places takes tremendous faith and courage.

For me and you, blessed to be living in America, we have never been faced with the threat of torture, mutilation, hanging, beheading, or being starved because we believe in God differently than someone else. Yet, around the world, our brothers and sisters in faith live with this reality every minute of their lives. They must TRULY love their Savior, Jesus Christ. I do not know if I could be as brave and courageous if faced with the same everyday circumstance.

God bless them all. They make me SO proud and humbled to be part of their Christian family.

We Christians are the World's Most Persecuted People

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The persecution of our brother and sister Catholic/Christians continues unabated all over the world. In the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Minor, thousands upon thousands of our brothers and sisters in faith have been summarily tortured, raped, beheaded, hanged, burned, shot and even buried alive simply because they love Jesus Christ. Men and women, (including priests and nuns), and innocent children are the victims of this carnage. How can their fellow human beings hate so much that they would do these things to them? There can be only one answer. They have sold their very souls to the “angel of pride”, Lucifer aka Satan.

Where is the outrage? Why is this happening? Why does the western world’s newsmakers, print and broadcast, seem to ignore these atrocities? Where are the voices from the leaders of the west in speaking out in contempt and disdain against those who commit these heinous acts and proclaim them virtuous? How can the United States of America know these things and still give billions of dollars in aid to nations that allow such things to happen within their own borders?

Pope Francis, at the conclusion of his November 12 general audience said, “I turn to those who have political responsibility both on a local and on an international level, as well as to all persons of goodwill, with a heartfelt appeal to engage in a vast mobilization of consciences in favor of persecuted Christians. They have the right to once again find security and serenity in their own countries, freely professing OUR faith.”

Pope Francis intentionally used the word OUR. OUR is a possessive pronoun. We are part of them and the Pope wants us to be aware of that fact. Is anyone LISTENING? These are OUR brothers and sisters in faith. They have the same belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior as we do. But OUR Christian relatives are being slaughtered because WE all are hated. If we were over there with OUR brothers and sisters our life expectancy would drop dramatically.

History repeats, over and over and over. Genocide(s) have accounted for millions upon millions of deaths to people just like all of us. Just in the 20th century alone there have probably been 100,000,000 people murdered and oftentimes it was for “religious” beliefs. The Nazis alone accounted for the extermination of 6,000,000 people simply because they were Jewish. From 1915-1918, Christian Armenians in Turkey were slaughtered by those who had come to power. Three Muslim men, known as the Young Turks, had seized control of the government from the Sultan and orchestrated this horrendous slaughter so as to expand their empire. When they were done 2,000,000 Christian Armenian men, women and children had been killed.

Today the group known as ISIS, a band of Islamic maniacs, are rampaging through the Middle East killing Catholic/Christians by the thousands. These “people” do not even have a country of their own. They are wanting to start a Caliphate, a completely Muslim world ruled by Sharia Law. In their hate filled, bloody-thirsty quest to accomplish this they have “cleansed” entire cities of Christians. Where is the outrage from the civilized world? Why is the American press so silent about these atrocities? Could it be that those in power also want Christianity obliterated and show their approval by their deafening silence?

If you happen to read this I would ask that you remember the following Catholic/Christians and say a prayer for them,whether or not they are dead or still alive:
Father Frans Van der Lugt; a Catholic priest who spent over 50 years in Syria helping the poor. He was beaten and shot to death by ISIS last spring. He was 76 years old;
Salem Matti Kourk; because of a heart condition he had to stay behind in the town of Bartella as ISIS overran it. After three weeks in hiding Salem left his hiding place in a quest to find some food and water. He was caught by ISIS maniacs and beaten to death with clubs. They took his mangled body and placed it in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary which they had already destroyed.
Asia Bibi: has been in prison in Pakistan for five years. Her crime? Drinking the same water that the Muslims were going to drink. After being mocked as a Catholic she defended Jesus. She was immediately accused of “blasphemy” and sentenced to be hanged. She has five children and this sentence may be carried out any day as the Pakistani Supreme Court upheld the verdict.
“Little Christy”: this was a baby, (less than two years old) who was used as a photo-op by ISIS before being killed. One of the most horrendous photos I have ever seen. See the Christy link for the full story.
Miriam Ibrahim: is alive and back in the United States. But she was held in prison in Sudan for months, chained to a bed and forced to give birth to her baby that way. Her two year old son was imprisoned with her. Her ‘crime’. She became Christian and did not know that her long, lost father, had been a Muslim. Thus, she became a “blasphemer” and was sentenced to be hanged. World pressure finally forced her release. One good ending interlaced amongst the bloodthirsty madness.

As the Christmas season approaches we must accept the fact that a war against all Catholic/Christians, including you if you believe in Jesus Christ, is raging. We must be ready to defend our faith at all times. Let us join together in prayer, every day, for all our brothers and sisters, being persecuted all over the world, including in the USA.  We ask our heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, His Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit to hear our prayer(s).                                                                                          

Meet Asia Bibi; A Catholic/Christian Mom Sentenced to Death for Being a "Blasphemer"

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

                                                               
by Larry Peterson
We are so blessed to be living in the Unites States of America. The freedoms we have enjoyed are beyond compare. Yet there are those Americans who will fight to have these very freedoms we enjoy stripped away to satisfy their own ideologies. How sad this is and what fools they are. Especially those who try to strip away religious freedom from those who disagree with them.

They call Christians  “intolerant” because Christianity stands against their preferred mantra of  hedonistic, secular “virtue”. I wish that some of these people would try to imagine what it is like for so many people who live in countries without these freedoms.  I wish they could get out of their own comfort zones, remove their shoes or sneakers, and try on the shoes worn by Asia Bibi.

When you slip into Asia’s shoes you realize that you are now a poor farm worker, the mother of five children and you worked in the fields harvesting berries. You are 44 years old and your husband is a brick laborer, a man who mixes the mortar and hauls it to the brick layer. You both work very hard and put in long hours to care for your children. You are also Roman Catholic. Your full name is Aasiya Noreen but you are better known as Asia Bibi. The country you live in is Pakistan.
You remember that hot, sunny day in June of 2009. You remember being out in the field working alongside the other women. They told you to go and fetch them water from the nearby well. (They are Muslim and you are a Christian. You are “beneath” their level and must do the menial tasks required). So you dutifully went to the well and pulled up the water. There was an old tin cup nearby and you picked it up, filled it with water and took a drink. You knew you were not allowed to drink from the same cup as the others lest you “defile” it and you made sure you did not. But by taking that simple sip of water the die had been cast.

Alas, using the dirty, rusted cup to drink from mattered not. A field hand angrily tells you that you are forbidden to drink the same water as a Muslim. You are already considered “unclean” because you are Christian. The other workers hurriedly gathered around you and started cursing you and your religion. Your faith must have been exploding in you because you defended it immediately. You summoned your resolve and remember saying, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind.” WOW!

Later that day some of the workers reported to the local cleric that you had “insulted” Mohammed. A  mob came to your home, beat you and your family and you had to be rescued by the police. The police investigated your remarks and arrested you for the crime of “blasphemy”. Under the country’s Sharia Law you are not equal to a Muslim so what you had to say was only considered “half” as important as what they had to say.

Trying to defend yourself was an effort in futility. They hold you in a local jail for one year and then you are found guilty of Blasphemy. Your sentence is death by hanging. You are shocked and horrified and helpless. Your husband is sickened and your children lost inside themselves. You can do nothing. You are sent to prison and placed on death row.

It is now 2014. After a hearing that lasted a few hours, the Pakistani High Court upheld the verdict handed down in 2010. Your impending execution by hanging is affirmed. People and organizations around the world have been clamoring for your release. So far it is to no avail.

If you have had the guts to “try on Asia’a shoes” can you get a sense of what life might be like for Christians and others who have no religious freedom. Can you imagine what this Christian woman, the mother of five, must be feeling? She has been living in a dank, stinking hole for almost five years. The only visitor she can receive is her husband and a doctor. How disgusting and inhumane to do this to someone just because they have a different belief than you do. How reprehensible to vilify a wife and mom simply because she took a sip of water from an old tin cup. Is this what you want someday?

Asia Bibi is a human being just like all of us. She has family she loves. She has children she wants to hug and feed and nurture and tuck in at night and tend to their scrapes and runny noses. She is hard working, kind, and generous to her neighbors. She is not different than most other people. No different except for one thing. She is a Catholic in a Muslim world. Therefore, because of her “beliefs”, she is hated and despised.  In the highly “civilized” world of 2014 we are seeing more vicious and brutal murders of people who follow Christ than at any time in history.

Over 400,000 signatures have been collected on petitions asking for Asia’s release. Pope Benedict XVI called for the charges against her to be dismissed. These pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, a Christian minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti and a Pakistani official, Salmann Taseer, were both murdered for defending Asia. Her family has gone into hiding because of all the death threats they have received. Finally, the word “on the street” is that if Asia is released she will be killed anyway.
Are you tired of walking in Asia’s shoes yet?

I will never understand Americans who “fight” to get rid of religious freedoms. If you do not like religion you do not have to participate in any of it. You are living in a country which accepts and promotes this kind of  freedom. The United States of America was NOT founded so people like you can destroy people who disagree with you. When you do that you are no different than those that want to hang Asia Bibi.  The only difference is you do not use a rope and a gallows as a weapon of choice. The weapon you use to destroy your fellow American “enemy” the U.S. Constitution. You have managed to turn it against itself to defile religious freedom. How clever you all are.

Many people around the world are praying for the safe release of Asia Bibi. Americans trying to destroy religious freedom in America might take pause and think of her also.  She has been imprisoned  for five years and is set to hang because she was a Catholic who took a drink of  “Muslim” water from an old ti
n cup. This could never happen in America. Or could it?