Vietnam (MNN) — In most Western countries, when the construction of a new church building is necessary, people are excited, not scared. But in Vietnam, there is clearly reason for caution.
After several youths stole 60 million dong (about $3,091 USD) from evangelist Mang Vuong and burned his Christian literature in June, police came to "investigate." A month later, when the same youths attacked the house church of Vuong, Christians are saying it's become evident that public officials spurred the attacks.
Voice of the Martyrs, Canada reports that the money the attackers stole in June was intended for the contractor who was building Vuong's new house. This house would double as a church–a common practice amongst Vietnamese Christians, according to Compass Direct News. The house church was being built because the Hroi community had reached full capacity in its current building.
The new house church was almost complete when attackers raided it during the middle of a worship service. The youths tore down walls and destroyed the interior while rallying against Vuong. Police did not attempt to intervene during the daytime raid.
Compass Direct has been contacted by sources who claim that on the night of the original burglary, the youths were given alcohol by local officers and encouraged to commit the crime. Several in the group were the sons of commune officials. Local Christians are now convinced that during the police investigations of the burglary, police were actually trying to identify Christians in the village.
This is not the first breach on religious freedom for Christians in Vietnam. Compass Direct says two Christians have been held in detention since January without charge or trial. When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Vietnam two weeks ago to discuss human rights in the country, Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem is reported as labeling them as "a difference between the Vietnam and the U.S."
It is clear that Christians are being targeted in Vietnam, and public officials could be in on it. Pray for Christians to be courageous as they continue to live out the Gospel and that the officials themselves might be drawn to the Lord. Pray that God would provide for Vuong's church and new home, which are no longer in new condition.