Displaying items by tag: democracy
With the first steps towards a democratic government in 2019, Tunisians hoped their political institutions and politicians would respond to the needs of the population. The Arab Spring called its leaders to account, looking for diversity and accountability. President Kais Saied was elected. They wanted democracy, but it takes time. On 25 July, after nationwide violent protests over economic and social turmoil and the government's poor handling of Covid cases, Tunisia's president sacked the prime minister and suspended parliament. When Saied announced he was taking over, opponents immediately accused him of staging a coup. Sadly, Arab Spring has not led to a stable economy or politics. Saied said he took these decisions ‘until social peace returns and we save the state.’ He vowed to respond to further violence with military force.
After the storming of the Capitol building when President Trump incited aggressive moves to overturn the 2020 election result, the House voted for an article of impeachment against him. Nations are commenting on US events. The Archbishop of Wales said that Trump is a person of questionable morals, judgment, and wisdom who believes he can ignore democratic processes and the will of the people. ‘No politician has a right to be unaccountable for their behaviour.’ See Meanwhile the FBI have called for assistance in securing Washington as the inauguration nears. They believe the attack on the Capitol will potentially motivate additional follow-on attacks by extremists throughout 2021 and will very likely serve as a significant driver of violence for domestic extremists.’The range of potential future targets of attack was varied, extremists could zero in on government officials and institutions, as well as racial and religious minorities, journalists and more.
Beijing’s new laws will disqualify state elected legislators if they support Hong Kong's independence, refuse to acknowledge China's sovereignty, ask foreign forces to interfere in the city's affairs, or in other ways threaten national security. Four legally-elected legislators have been ejected, causing a mass resignation of most of Hong Kong's pro-democracy lawmakers from parliament. This is an ‘open challenge’ to China’s authority. Many now see Hong Kong's limited democracy as in its death throes. The UK government accused China of breaching its commitments to protect Hong Kong's autonomy. They were promised they could keep some unique freedoms for fifty years. Dominic Raab said, ‘Beijing's imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration, breaking its promises again and has undermined Hong Kong's special degree of autonomy.’ The USA called it a move towards one-party dictatorship.
In the aftermath of China's new national security law for Hong Kong, which ends the autonomy of the former British colony, the US, UK, Australia and Canada immediately protested. However the EU representative for foreign affairs ruled out sanctions against China and decided not to use its leverage as the world’s biggest trade bloc to support Hong Kong. The French foreign minister announced that Europe must not get carried away in a clash between US and China, and that ‘a new cold war’ must be avoided. The German parliament said, ‘A policy aimed at isolating China is not in Germany's or Europe's interests’. A European diplomat confessed that Europe is sacrificing Hong Kong to protect its economic relationship and investments in China.
Until now, Hong Kong has enjoyed freedoms not allowed on mainland China. On 28 May, Beijing announced it will press on with a national security legislation on Hong Kong’s autonomy that overrides the ‘one-country-two-systems’ principle granted to Hong Kong in 1984. The bill will now pass to China's senior leadership. It could end Hong Kong's unique status and see China installing its own security agencies in the region for the first time. Thousands of protesters have been demonstrating against the bill and China’s new national anthem wording. Chris Patten, the last governor of the former British colony,says that China has betrayed the people of Hong Kong and the UK has a moral, economic and legal duty to stand up for them. Hundreds are in custody for unauthorised assembly. Chinese media reported police using tear gas, pepper spray, and water cannon. Washington has called the laws a ‘death knell’ for the city’s autonomy. See
After months of unrelenting demonstrations led to the fall of President Omar al-Bashir last year, Sudan entered a three-year transition towards democracy with a new cabinet in September. Hope accompanies this situation as people look for a fresh approach that will respond to their needs. Many believe only time will show whether this hope will stand. Pray that the preliminary peace deal with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement will stand and end 9 years of fighting in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas. Meanwhile, efforts to conclude a peace agreement with rebels in Darfur and Eastern Sudan are also under way. Important progress was made this month when Sudan announced that it was willing in principle to hand over ousted President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes and genocide in these areas.
In 1989, the longest human chain in history (675 kilometres) was formed from north Estonia across Latvia to south Lithuania, as a moral protest against the illegal occupation of those lands by the Soviet Union. Thirty years later, thousands of protesters formed an unauthorised but peaceful human chain across Hong Kong in a movement against the erosion of liberties under Chinese rule. On 29 August, at 3 am, Hong Kong became alarmed as Chinese troops, armoured personnel carriers and trucks poured into the city in what Beijing called 'routine' troop rotation. China has made it clear recently that it considers a military intervention in the crisis a viable option, despite US warnings that this might lead to a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. On 30 August, three prominent protesters were arrested. See
“Our Father in Heaven, your Kingdom Come…” -Matt 6:10
This second petition of the Lord’s prayer began to explode in me in our recent gathering in Hong Kong, July 22-27th. Several thousand Chinese came to pray in unity together as family from Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
We joined with these precious saints to seek First God’s kingdom in the midst of a swirl of political chaos, turmoil, and increasing violence. Many protests have been launched against the Chinese government asking for democracy, religious freedom, and autonomy in the city. Several times during our gatherings, we cried out, “Father Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” with a great sense of urgency. To pray this second petition of the Lord’s prayer is one of the most radical things we can pray as human beings. It turns out that in this petition we are asking God to bring about the most massive revolution imaginable.
In using the term Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven the Hebrew writers were not just thinking of a place over which God would rule, but rather it was a way of expressing, “God is acting as King.” The Hebrew prophets longed for the day when God would impose his kingly rule over all of creation, ushered in by God’s Messiah, ‘the anointed one.’ On the final day, the ‘Day of the Lord,’ God would judge human wickedness, and wipe away all evil, forever reversing the effects of the fall of man! He would vindicate those who trusted in him and fill them with his Holy Spirit, bringing about the restoration of all things according to God’s original design!
Jesus asks to pray this way “Your Kingdom Come.” We are given the amazing privilege of inviting God’s glorious future, heaven invading and occupying earth! Not only is God’s kingdom coming, but Jesus declared in Mark 1:15, “the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand.” The term at hand literally means, ‘come near.’ Jesus means that the reign of God, God acting as King has come near!
Does Jesus mean it is about to arrive and therefore we should get ready? Or does Jesus mean it has arrived and we should grab hold of it and enter in?! I believe he means both! It is here right now -already- and it is yet to come! Jesus is announcing that in him and because of him the future reign of God has now broken into the present!
When Jesus healed the sick, cast out devils, raised the dead, calmed the winds and the waves, multiplied bread and fish to feed the hungry, championed the poor and the needy, filled ordinary people in and with the Holy Spirit- that is the Kingdom – the blessing of the future breaking into the present! And yet Jesus also says several times that the Kingdom was still to come, sharing with his disciples several parables to be waiting and watching – ready for his return! Therefore, in Jesus, this glorious, redeeming, restoring ‘reign of God’ is already -not yet!
In another sense it might be compared to ‘veiled’ versus ‘visible.’ The already – not yet is a matter of ‘hidden’ versus ‘manifest.’ The really good news is that in Jesus, the Kingdom is already among us but often in a veiled and hidden form. When the King is present, so is the Kingdom! Indeed, the Kingdom is present only where Jesus Christ is King! Certainly, the King is here- right where you and I are – in our everyday lives, in our homes, at our workplaces, in our hospitals- and yet just behind that thin veil of hiddenness. At any point God could pull back the curtain and we would all fall on our faces and worship!
One of the interesting keys to understanding this prayer is to see how Jesus uses the verbs, ‘hallow, come, be done, give, forgive, deliver.’ Surprisingly the verbs are in the imperative. They are commands not requests. To pray the Lord’s prayer is to command not to request, “Be done - your will, Hallowed – be your name, Come - Your Kingdom” This may seem a bit audacious, but this is how Jesus taught us to pray. These verbs are also in the passive voice, which means only God can hallow his name, bring his kingdom, do his will!
The prayer is not what many believers have thought it to be, ‘let us hallow your name.’ ‘let us bring your kingdom,’ ‘let us do your will.,’ important as those things may be. Rather the prayer is, ‘Father you do it! You hallow your name on earth as it is in heaven. You bring your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. You do your will on earth as it is in heaven!
Professor Stendahl of Harvard university reminds us that the prayer, “asks for the establishment of the kingdom of God, by God for us, not by us for God.” We are asking God to do what only he can do!
So then how ought we to pray, “Your Kingdom Come?” Of course, with each of these simple phrases you can include the who, when, where, of places, circumstance, situations and peoples as the Spirit leads! It might sound something like this:
“Father before the coming Day of the Lord, Revealwhat is invisible, Manifest what is hidden!”
“Father Unveil your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Father let your Kingdom come in me, so it can come through me!”
“Father act as King! Extend your sceptre, reign and rule on earth as you do in heaven! May your Kingdom be established, be expanded, and be embraced!”
“King of Kings manifest your splendor, power and glory on the earth! Break through any darkness King Jesus! Make wrong things right! Heal the sick, bind principalities and powers, raise the dead, free the captives, reconcile enemies, reverse the effects of sin, restore broken humanity, Come and Reign without Rival on the earth!”
And at the end of each of these prayers as you add specific places, situations, peoples as the target of your prayers, you can also add, “So that’ your name might be hallowed! ‘So that’ your name might be honoredand treasured! ‘So that,’ your name might be treated as infinitely valuable here on earth (in your home, school, church, city, nation, etc.) as it is in heaven!
Come Thy Kingdom!
Dr. Jason Hubbard – IPC Executive Coordinator
Please pray for resolution between Hong Kong's pro-democracy people and China’s government. After police firing as many rounds of tear gas in one day as during the entire months of June and July, a general strike, and days of disruptions at Hong Kong Airport, protesters are now being called terrorists and China’s ambassador to the UK has warned that troops will intervene to restore order if necessary. Videos show a massive number of Chinese military vehicles gathering along the border. Hong Kong has its own legal system, borders, and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech, which are all meant to be protected. But things are changing. Rights groups accuse China of meddling in Hong Kong with legal rulings that disqualify pro-democracy legislators; also, five Hong Kong booksellers and a tycoon disappeared, all eventually re-emerging in custody in China. Artists and writers are under increased pressure to self-censor.
Many observers are saying that the fresh wave of protests across Sudan could be pivotal. On 30 June at least seven were killed and 200 injured in clashes when thousands took to the streets demanding that the ruling military council hand over power to a civilian government. For Christians, the revolution initially brought hope of religious freedom, but now there is a keen sense of disappointment. A local Christian said, ‘If there is more of a democracy, hopefully, prayerfully there will be more freedom to be able to evangelise, and to share the message of Jesus’ love. What can we do? We need to be praying for the situation in Sudan.’ Pray for definitive peace and stability between the people and military commanders who continue to vie for power. Ask God for government leaders to rule with integrity and justice. Pray for the church to grow spiritually strong despite intense suffering and persecution.