Churches on their toes with more raids

By August 11, 2009

Vietnam (MNN) — The hopes that Christians had four or five years ago are beginning to wane. According to the Open Doors country report, at that time, newer religious regulations were being put in place that seemed to offer more freedoms.

However, Compass Direct News reports that today church members are on their toes as police raids are on the rise. In Hanoi, four police officers and two government officials interrupted a Sunday worship service in Tran Phu Commune.   One officer told the members that if he found them meeting next Sunday, "I will kill you like I'd kill a
dog."

The house church had already been denied registration once.  After the raid, pastor Dang Thi
Dinh attempted to register a second time. This time, he was sent away, being told that there are absolutely no Christians in that commune. The pastor was following the Prime Minister's 2005 Special Directive Concerning Protestants.

At a nearby house church, raids took place throughout June. To make matters worse, the
pastor's wife was beaten until she fainted in late June. The attackers took her into a nearby field where fellow Christians picked her up and took her to get medical care. 

When asked what they think of the recent flare-up of attacks on Christians, Vietnamese leaders agreed that it must have been approved by the top levels of government because it is so widespread. They believe that though it is unwritten, it is a policy of the government to stop the expansion of Christianity. 

Strikingly similar stories have come out of several churches in the south as well. Each church has attempted to register as the law requires but has been denied, without a legitimate reason.  Vietnam has been removed from the U.S. religious freedoms black list and recently won accession into the World Trade Organization. Christian leaders believe that this has caused Vietnam to stop caring much about international opinion. 

Catholic believers have held prayer vigils as the persecution protestant churches have been enduring is similar to the church property disputes that they faced last year.  

Pray with brothers and sisters in Vietnam as they pursue their faith despite sometimes violent oppression.  

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