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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

A pastor in India reportedly miraculously survived after being beaten nearly to death by a Hindu communist group.

According to Faithwire, Pastor Tilak was captured by a group of Naxalites and “mercilessly beaten.”

The group asked him:” Will you leave your Christian faith or not?”

“I cannot leave my faith … No,” Tilak said.

The group bound his arms and legs together and continued to beat him with a large stick. They then forced Tilak to crawl up a mountain path of rocks and thorns.

When they thought he was dead, the men threw Tilak’s body in a ditch.

They then went to the homes of other Christians, saying “See, as your Jesus was beaten and killed, so have we killed your pastor now. His body is in a ditch in the forest. Find him and bury him.”

A group of Christian families found his body and brought him back to the village. Tilak then allegedly opened his eyes.

“When his persecutors heard the news, they rushed to the house to see it for themselves,” Open Doors USA reported. “Hindu villagers, the same ones who had urged the Naxalites to silence this man, were shocked. They were the ones who had complained that he was polluting the minds of their neighbors with his gospel, confident that the Naxalites would make quick work of him.”

When Tilak recovered, the Naxalites took him to a forest and told him to leave the area.

“I left the village with my family at once, as I had suffered extreme torture a year ago. I didn’t want the same for my family,” he said.

Tilak and his family were welcomed into their new community and today, share a hut with another family.

“It’s been a few years, but we are still very much traumatized,” he said. “We did not have courage to talk with anyone in the new village or share the gospel. However, when we attended the Persecution Preparedness Seminar, we experienced change in our hearts and minds. We are, however, still in the process of healing.”

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

An Ohio pastor has been charged with coercion and enticement of a minor after he allegedly sexually assaulted a teenager.

According to the Christian Post, Cesar Guerrero of Misión Cristiana El Calvario in Sharonville told police that he had sex with the teenager to “fix her fears.”

Police say the teenage girl had also been sexually abused as a child.

Court documents say he told the 17-year-old to take off her clothes to “clear her head” and made her perform oral sex “in order to free her mouth.” He also asked her to send him sexually explicit photos.

The pastor originally contacted the teenager through Facebook and told her that he had dreamed of her “dressed in white while walking in a dark place.” He said God was speaking to him through the dream.

He also told her that the “cleansing process” for her and the “only way to get out of the dark place” were for her to have sex with him.

The girl’s father told reporters that he was shocked to learn that a pastor had taken advantage of his daughter.

"Angry, frustrated, can't believe. You don't believe in God no more," her father said.

"He's been using God's Word to tell the girls to do sexual things and the girls really thought that was coming from God.”

The teenager isn’t the only one to complain about Guerrero’s behavior.

Another girl says that when she was 14, Guerrero sexually abused her at a conference in New York where she had traveled with other church members.

During the conference, Guerrero allegedly took the then 14-year-old to his hotel room and to “show him how she kissed her boyfriend.” She says he pushed her on the bed and fondled her, telling her “if she was a child of God, she would obey him.”

Photo courtesy: Gbarkz/Unsplash

A 16-year-old lifeguard is praising God after he was able to rescue a two-year-old who nearly drowned.

According to CBS 6 News, 16-year-old Michael Wood was lifeguarding at the Westwood Club swimming pool in Henrico, Virginia when he was alerted to a drowning two-year-old.

Wood told ABC 8 News that he initially believed that the boy was playing a game. He said, “I thought he was actually playing and holding his breath underwater.” 

But according to CBS 6, once Wood saw the child brush up against another swimmer without any reaction, he knew “something was wrong.”

“I knew what I had to do," the teenager said before recalling that he immediately jumped into action.

“I jumped in, grabbed the kid out, and, sure enough, he was completely passed out and he was not breathing,” Wood told ABC 8. 

Wood described the two-year-old as being “pale blue-grey” in color when he pulled him out of the water. The teen administered CPR on the toddler and after four rescue breaths, the color began to return to the child’s face. “His cheeks turned bright red, and color returned to his face,” Wood told CBS 6. “It was scary, but I said, ‘praise God.’ He started crying and I just started crying too,” he added.

“This whole thing could have gone south but quick actions from everyone made this kid be able to take another breath and walk on this earth again,” Wood told ABC 8.

Wood also recalled that the boy’s father ran over to him following the rescue and hugged and thanked him for saving his son.

ABC 8 reports that Henrico County police are investigating the incident but do not suspect foul play or negligence. The boy was doing well when police arrived but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

According to CBS 6, this is the second time Wood has had to rescue a child while lifeguarding. Reportedly, last year, Wood pulled an eight-year-old child out of the deep end of a pool. 

Photo courtesy: Neon Brand/Unsplash

Video courtesy: CBS 6 News