The Global Persecution of Christians

There is one group today which is experiencing more persecution worldwide than any other group. And at the same time this seems to be one of the most ignored stories by the mainstream media. If you had only the MSM to rely on, you would for the most part not even be aware of all this.

Yet this global persecution of Christians needs to be made widely known. This website regularly reports on anti-Christian bigotry and persecution in the West, but here I want to look more specifically at the non-Western world, and highlight these constant and horrific acts of persecution.

Of course plenty of great Christian groups already exist, reporting on such persecution. Barnabas Fund, Open Doors, and Voice of the Martyrs are just three examples of groups doing excellent work in this area. But they would not be well known by the great majority of people. So let me here mention two recent articles where the plight of Christians around the world has been covered.

Just today Conrad Black, writing in National Review Online, has highlighted this issue. He is worth quoting at length: “Perhaps the gravest under-publicized atrocity in the world is the persecution of Christians. A comprehensive Pew Forum study last year found that Christians are persecuted in 131 countries containing 70 percent of the world’s population, out of 197 countries in the world (if Palestine, Taiwan, South Sudan, and the Vatican are included). Best estimates are that about 200 million Christians are in communities where they are persecuted. There is not the slightest question of the scale and barbarity of this persecution, and a little of it is adequately publicized. But this highlights the second half of the atrocity: the passivity and blasé indifference of most of the West’s media and governments.

“It is not generally appreciated that over 100,000 Christians a year are murdered because of their faith. Because Christianity is, by a wide margin, the world’s largest religion, the leading religion in the traditionally most advanced areas of the world, and, despite its many fissures, the best organized, largely because of the relatively tight and authoritarian structure of the Roman Catholic Church, the West is not accustomed to thinking of Christians as a minority, much less a persecuted one.

“The ratings of offending countries always put North Korea as the worst, followed by Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Laos, Pakistan, Sudan, and, farther back but still prominently odious, Libya, Syria, Oman, Egypt, Kuwait, the Palestinian Authority, Vietnam, Cuba, and China. While there is no shortage of incidents in India, where there is serious religious friction between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs as well, most offending countries are Islamic or Communist.”

He rightly queries why the free West is hardly making a whimper about all this: “The reluctance of the leading predominantly Christian countries to speak out against these outrages is remarkable.” It certainly is. It seems many Western countries would rather defend brutal and tyrannical Muslim regimes than actually come to the aid of suffering Christians.

And Muslim nations are among the main sources of this global persecution of the church. “The recent Muslim attacks on Egypt’s Christian Copts caused the military to intervene against the Christians, killing dozens of them, which action the military government then blamed on the ‘inexperience’ of the soldiers involved. (Unlimited experience is not required to foretell the consequences of firing automatic weapons and rifles at unarmed demonstrators at point-blank range.)

“Many of the outrages are perpetrated by groups the West is conditioned to thinking of as minorities, especially Muslims in general. But the response of the Western secular leaders to these monstrous events has been achingly slow.”

Of course there are other places where the church is suffering greatly. China is a good case in point. But the church there, despite the persecution, is also growing: “In general, secular oppression strengthens the Christian churches, a lesson the Chinese are already starting to learn, to their embarrassment. They admit to 80 million Christians in China, though the real number is probably about 120 million, or almost 10 percent of the country’s population.

“There are about 30 million people combined in the Protestant front organization and the Catholic Patriotic Association, the state-dominated Catholic ‘Church’ that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have refused to acknowledge (causing the Vatican to continue, with commendable unconcern for diplomatic fashion, to recognize Taiwan as China). This official framework conforms exactly to Napoleon’s famous dictum that ‘of course, the people must have their religion and of course, the state must control it.’ But as many as 90 million Chinese are in ‘house churches,’ semi-secret Christian, mainly Roman Catholic, congregations that evade the overlordship of the Communist state and are growing rapidly.”

Black offers a good reason for the West’s silence: “The shameful truth is that most Western media are atheistic and consider Christianity fundamentally no better than the Muslims who attack and kill Christians and desecrate the moral and religious foundations of the West.

“The diverting but insubstantial gadfly Christopher Hitchens was more widely mourned in the Western media than any Christian victim of the Muslims or Communists in recent memory. The atheism of most of the Western media and academia has made the West vulnerable to the outrageous allegations of the Muslims that the West is an anthill of infidels. And it has left our political leaders relatively indifferent to Islamic and Communist oppression of Christians, as their electorates are under-informed of these atrocities by the media and don’t require a robust official response to them. This encourages the Islamists and Communists to believe that they may continue to impress their followers and gratify their own ideological and intellectual inferiorities by beating up the local hostages of the brand leader with impunity.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has written extensively about oppression and lack of freedom in the Muslim world, and her own defection from it, has also just written a piece on the persecution of Christians, but focusing on its occurrence in the Muslim world. She begins, “We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.

“The portrayal of Muslims as victims or heroes is at best partially accurate. In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania. In some countries it is governments and their agents that have burned churches and imprisoned parishioners. In others, rebel groups and vigilantes have taken matters into their own hands, murdering Christians and driving them from regions where their roots go back centuries.

“The media’s reticence on the subject no doubt has several sources. One may be fear of provoking additional violence. Another is most likely the influence of lobbying groups such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation—a kind of United Nations of Islam centered in Saudi Arabia—and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Over the past decade, these and similar groups have been remarkably successful in persuading leading public figures and journalists in the West to think of each and every example of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination as an expression of a systematic and sinister derangement called ‘Islamophobia’—a term that is meant to elicit the same moral disapproval as xenophobia or homophobia.

“But a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim-majority nations from one end of the globe to the other. The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity—and ultimately of all religious minorities—in the Islamic world is at stake.”

After looking in detail at a number of Muslim nations and their war against Christians, she says this: “It should be clear from this catalog of atrocities that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem. No, the violence isn’t centrally planned or coordinated by some international Islamist agency. In that sense the global war on Christians isn’t a traditional war at all. It is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities.”

She concludes with these words: “Instead of falling for overblown tales of Western Islamophobia, let’s take a real stand against the Christophobia infecting the Muslim world. Tolerance is for everyone—except the intolerant.”

Quite right. If the secular left MSM is reluctant to cover this vitally important story, then I for one will cover it. We need to get the word out about our suffering brothers and sisters around the globe. There are many things we can be doing on their behalf, but at the very least, we all should be regularly praying for them.

[1516 words]

2 Replies to “The Global Persecution of Christians”

  1. Bill,

    We need you to continually write articles on his horrible situation. I pray about this often but I wish I could actually do something. Not just pray about it. Sadly, it is hardly ever in my church bulletins, never mind the newspapers.

    Carl Strehlow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *