May 07, 2019
To a lot of us in the first world, the idea of Christian persecution seems far-off and unreal. Most of us go about our day without any thought to the dark shadow of oppression that holds our brothers and sisters captive. Despite the challenges that Christians have faced in this country over the last decade, it's hard to wrap our minds around that kind of evil and suffering that many are facing. It's not that we mean to be complacent -- it's just human nature. We all take our health for granted until pain strikes. We also take our freedom for granted until we can't exercise it. And a new report has just reminded us that for 245 million Christians around the world, that day has already come.
Most people don't need a lengthy study to tell them what the headlines already do -- that followers of Jesus Christ are the most persecuted people in the world. Four out of every five people suffering for their faith around the globe are Christians, the British government is warning -- 80 percent. It's "an inconvenient truth," Bishop Philip Mounstephen has said, but an important one.
The tide of intolerance is rising, and people on every continent are paying the price. As U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt points out, this isn't just violent persecution, but social persecution, violations of privacy, government discrimination, and unjust trials. From sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia, the predictions by groups like Open Doors USA have all come true. The hostility toward Christians is rising everywhere.
Like most lengthy analyses, the U.K.'s reads like a horror story, explaining that Christians are at risk of arrest, torture, and even death simply because they live and practice a faith their leaders despise. "In 2016, various political bodies including the U.K. parliament, the European Parliament and the U.S. House of Representatives, declared that ISIS atrocities against Christians and other religious minority groups such as Yazidis and Shi'a Muslims met the tests of genocide," Mounstephen wrote. In places like Iraq, he warns, "Christianity is at risk of disappearing, representing a massive setback for plurality in the region." So much so, that the population is known to some as "the vanishing."
"I think we've all been asleep on the watch when it comes to the persecution of Christians," Hunt told reporters. "There are various reasons for this but... combined together, they've crept up on us." Juliana Taimoorazy, the president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council told Fox News over the weekend that she appreciates the emphasis of the Trump administration -- especially U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback's involvement -- but much more needs to be done.
"I believe the death of most people suffering today is truly because of political correctness, because the world turns a blind eye to this, and when we are politically correct, we are sympathizing with those terrorists that are destroying communities and erasing history," she warned.
We have a responsibility to both speak out in defense of our brothers and sisters in Christ and reach out to aid those who are being targeted for their faith. By defending and even winning their freedoms, we are preserving our own.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.