Saturday, July 25, 2009

North Korean woman executed for handing out Bibles

Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, here's something to ponder as you decide tomorrow morning whether you're going to get up and go to church. From North Korea:

SEOUL | A Christian woman accused of distributing the Bible, a book banned in communist North Korea, was publicly executed last month for the crime, South Korean activists said Friday.

The 33-year-old mother of three, Ri Hyon-ok, also was accused of spying for South Korea and the United States, and of organizing dissidents, a rights group said in Seoul, citing documents obtained from the North.

The Investigative Commission on Crime Against Humanity report included a copy of Mrs. Ri's government-issued photo ID and said her husband, children and parents were sent to a political prison the day after her June 16 execution.

Note the woman's crime, handing out Bibles. And for this she was murdered and her husband, children and parents all rounded up and slapped into a "political prison." I'm willing to bet that prisons for criminals are very bad in North Korea and that political prisons are even worse.

And this is no isolated incident. God only knows how many other Christians are being persecuted and killed in North Korea.

"What religious practice or venues exist ... [are] tightly controlled and used to advance the government's political or diplomatic agenda," the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in a May report. "Other public and private religious activity is prohibited and anyone discovered engaging in clandestine religious practice faces official discrimination, arrest, imprisonment, and possibly execution."

The commission report cited defectors as saying an estimated 6,000 Christians are jailed in "Prison No. 15" in the north of the country, with religious prisoners facing worse treatment than other inmates.

Mrs. Ri reportedly was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon, near the border with China.

The South Korean rights report also said North Korean security agents arrested and tortured another Christian, Seo Kum-ok, 30, near Ryongchon. She was accused of trying to spy on a nuclear site and hand the information over to South Korea and the United States.

It was not clear whether she survived, the report said. Her husband also was arrested and their two children have since disappeared, it said.

Pray for the Christians in North Korea and while you're at it, pray for persecuted Christians around the world. We don't appreciate the freedom to worship we have here in America.

And when the sun comes up tomorrow, get out of bed, get ready and go to church.

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