Wearing a Cross Can Get You Killed in Burkina Faso

BANI, BURKIN FASO – Wearing a Christian cross on a necklace is common. For some, it is a mere prettification. Others wear one as a talisman of sorts. But, for believers, it is a witness to their faith in the finished work of Christ on Calvary.

Wearing a cross on a necklace is common. For believers, it is a witness to their faith in the finished work of Christ on Calvary.

It is, for the most part, a perfectly acceptable custom. Nonetheless, there are incidents, although relatively infrequent, where government and private business employees have been told they must cease wearing the most prominent icon of the Christian faith. These incidents typically end up in litigation in which the civil right of the citizen is upheld.

However, in the western African country of Burkina Faso, wearing a cross on a necklace could mean facing death. On June 27, four people were brutally murdered by “unidentified armed men” simply because they were wearing a necklace with a cross.

The armed group entered the village of Bani and ordered everyone to lie on the ground. The attackers left no doubt as to their intentions. They were seeking out Christians with the intent of killing them.

Survivors of the incident told representatives of Open Doors,

“The deadly search yielded four men: David Zoungrana, his younger brother Philippe, Theophile Ouedraogo and Ernest Kassoaga. They were all wearing crosses. Contacts on the ground tell us that when they saw crosses, the assailants singled them out. All four were taken aside and executed.”

American Christians have had to cope only with polite “persecution,” such as removal of the 10 Commandments from public buildings, elimination of crosses from public property, and prohibition from displaying manger scenes at Christmas. So far.

Meanwhile, for our brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world, merely wearing a cross or in any other way identifying with Him can mean summary execution, imprisonment, and disappearance.

In countries from Burkina Faso to North Korea, believers know what it means to commit their lives to Jesus Christ, come what may. It is time for us to wake up and realize that “come what may” means much more than “Que será será.” It means “life or death” for some. And, it may not be much longer before it becomes life or death for us.

Let us be aware and be prepared as persecution against believers intensifies around the globe. Let us be prayer warriors for those who already face the ultimate price for following Christ.

May we be ready, willing, and able to say, along with the Apostle Paul,

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” – Galatians 6:14


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