Christian pastor assaulted in New Jersey over religious beliefs

A Christian pastor is currently recovering from a spinal injury after he was attacked on a street in Newark, New Jersey by a man who asked him about his religious beliefs.

(REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz)Police vehicles are present at the entrance of the Port of Newark to investigate reports of stowaways in a container aboard a ship in New Jersey June 27, 2012.

On Saturday evening, 63-year-old pastor Mensah Ledlum was waiting for a bus in downtown Newark when a man named Michael Healy approached him and asked if he was a Muslim or a priest. The stranger then began beating him, leaving him with a spine injury which required his use of a walking cane during his recovery, ABC7 NY details.

"He asked, are you Muslim or are you a priest and then he started punching... punching me," said Pastor Ledlum. "This is my first time in my life of ministry this has ever happened."

The minister was hit in his chest once, but the first attack was apparently still not enough for the assailant. Despite the shock that the pastor experienced due to the unprovoked attack, the man once again attacked Ledlum.

Fortunately, Good Samaritans helped Pastor Ledlum escape. They also followed the attacker until cops arrived and arrested him. The 32-year-old Irvington resident was reportedly subjected to mental evaluation.

For Pastor Ledlum, no person with mental problems would go around asking about one's religious affiliation. However, he said he will just pray for his attacker if he indeed has mental issues.

In a recent post on Facebook, Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini warned that Christians could be jailed or punished "for standing for their biblical beliefs" if the judicial system continues with the way it handles some issues in the country. He cited the cases of conservative business owners who were sued for turning down same-sex marriage ceremonies as examples of these issues, The Christian Post relays.

In addition, Pastor Abedini said Christians are not only being persecuted by extremists, but also by "liberals and secularists." Citing 1 John 4:3, he said the Bible predicts that the anti-Christ will grow more powerful through "globalism" in the coming days. In light of the situation, he called on Americans to strengthen the country's nationalism, military, borders, and economy to fight the looming rise of the anti-Christ to power.