Three nations make surprising appeal for church’s help

Just as the Obama Administration is actively excluding Christian institutions from traditional roles in American society, the governments of two of the most populous nations in Africa and Asia are seeking help from local congregations – and one of Europe’s former Communist states has handed its schools over to local churches.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

The President of Nigeria says that without the church, his oil-rich African nation would have disintegrated during years of military rule. His comments came as the government of Communist China startled Christians there by requesting they help over-extended government officials to care for the elderly.

Meanwhile, Hungary has turned its schools over to local churches – saying the formerly Communist nation lacked the funds to keep the schools open.

Meanwhile in the United States, the Obama administration seems headed in the opposite direction – forcing chaplains in the armed services to quit praying in the name of Jesus, banning the distribution of Christian literature in Walter Reed hospital and forbidding religious ceremonies in a number of national cemeteries.

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Nigeria is officially 50 percent Christian, 50 percent Muslim – making the Nigerian president’s comments even more remarkable. And in China, as recently as a year ago, the Communist government was jailing church leaders – a practice it began in the 1950s. Its client state, North Korea, last week held public executions for 80 people, many convicted of owning a Bible.

Chinese police arresting members of Beijing's Shouwang Church in 2012

Chinese police arresting members of Beijing’s Shouwang Church in 2012

In Hungary, local government officials have been handing state-owned schools over to churches for more than a year. Hungary’s Heti Valasz weekly newspaper said shrinking state subsidies, heavy municipal debts and a declining birthrate has prompted Hungary’s move.

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