Sunday, June 8, 2008

Christian Freedom International Advocates for U.S. Marine Accused of Proselytizing in Iraq

Christian Freedom International Advocates for U.S. Marine Accused of Proselytizing in Iraq

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., June 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- Christian Freedom International (CFI), a Michigan-based humanitarian organization, is speaking out on behalf of the U.S. Marine who was removed from his military duties in Iraq last Friday for distributing "Christian" coins to Sunni Muslims in Fallujah.

The coins, which were handed out to approximately 10 Fallujah citizens as they passed through the military checkpoint that controls access into the city, bore the Arabic inscription "Where will you spend eternity?" on one side, and the words of John 3:16 on the other: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." The incident sparked outrage among local residents as well as Sunni leaders, who met with U.S. officials to demand "the harshest punishment" possible for those who were responsible for the coin distribution.

CFI, whose mission is to provide humanitarian aid and advocacy for persecuted Christians in countries such as China and Bangladesh, has condemned the military's disciplinary measures, asserting that the United States has an obligation to defend the soldier's personal right to share his faith without fear of persecution. In a June 4th letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, CFI President Jim Jacobson also argued that "the incident in Fallujah did not involve harassment or coercion of any kind by the soldier, did not seek to disrespect Islam as a religion, did not cause harm to anyone who received the coins, and certainly did not warrant the harsh punishment carried out against him by his own government as a result of his actions."

The controversy is yet another indication of a growing anti-Christian sentiment worldwide-including in the United States, where a Dearborn, Michigan wrestling coach was recently fired amid allegations that his former assistant, an evangelical pastor, was accused of using his position on the wrestling team to proselytize to Muslim students. For decades, Christianity has been illegal in dozens of countries around the world, where millions of believers routinely suffer from discrimination, harassment, abuse, torture or martyrdom for the acts of praying, worshiping, owning or reading a Bible, proselytizing, or simply professing personal faith in Jesus Christ.

For more information about the persecuted church, visit or call 800-323-2273.

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