"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Christian Pakistani minister shot dead in Islamabad

By Reuters
Shahbaz Bhati, Christian Pakistani Minister
(Photo Source: Let Us Build Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who had called for changes in the country's controversial blasphemy law, was killed in a gun attack in Islamabad Wednesday, officials said.

Police said the shooting took place near an Islamabad market. Bhatti was the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet.

"The initial reports are that there were three men who attacked him. He was probably shot using a Kalashnikov, but we are trying to ascertain what exactly happened," said Islamabad police chief Wajid Durrani.

A hospital spokesman said Bhatti had several bullet wounds.

The anti-blasphemy law has been in the spotlight since last November, when a court sentenced a Christian mother of four to death.

On January 4 the governor of the most populous province of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who had strongly opposed the law and sought presidential pardon for the 45-year-old Christian farmhand, was gunned down by one of his bodyguards.

The anti-blasphemy law has its roots in 19th-century colonial legislation to protect places of worship, but it was during the military dictatorship of General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s that it acquired teeth as part of a drive to Islamize the state.

Liberal Pakistanis and rights groups believe the law to be dangerously discriminatory against the country's tiny minority groups.

Under the law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty, but activists say the vague terminology has led to its misuse.

Christians who make up about two percent of Pakistan's population have been especially concerned about the law saying it offers them no protection.

Convictions hinge on witness testimony and often these are linked to personal vendettas, critics say.

Blasphemy convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but angry mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy. (Reporting by Zeeshan Haider and Chris Allbritton; Editing by Robert Birsel and John Chalmers) (For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: http://www.reuters.com/places/pakistan.

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