Are All These Christians' Complaints of Religious Discrimination Just So Much Empty Whining?
Should we just shrug off the alarming daily reports of persecution of people who follow Jesus? After all, He warned His followers that they would be hated, right?
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Catholic journalist John L. Allen Jr. describes what he sees as a "growing epidemic." He is the senior Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and a Vatican analyst for CNN and National Public Radio. He is the author of such books as The Rise of Benedict XVI, All the Pope's Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks, and A People of Hope: The Challenges Facing the Catholic Church and the Faith That Can Save It.
“We’re not talking about a metaphorical ‘war on religion’ in Europe and the United States, fought on symbolic terrain such as whether it’s okay to erect a nativity set on the courthouse steps,” says Allen. “But a rising tide of legal oppression, social harassment, and direct physical violence with Christians as its leading victims. According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular observatory based in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. Statistically speaking, that makes Christians by far the most persecuted religious body on the planet."
According to the Pew Forum, between 2006 and 2010 Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 nations -- three-quarters of all the countries on earth. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed in what the center calls a "situation of witness" each year for the past decade.
"That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour," writes Allen, "for reasons related to their faith."
What about the United States? “The majority of Americans are Christians,” but when they are discriminated in America’s government-funded public schools or by the nation’s politicians, writes John Hawkins on the conservative site Townhall, Christians seldom fight back. That’s a big mistake, he says, because what is happening elsewhere is headed here – unless American Christians push back, he says.
“The habitual wimpiness of so many Christians is particularly grating because when Christians shine a spotlight on these attacks and say, ‘That’s enough,’ more often than not we win.
“So, if Christians across the country were consistently willing to speak out and take action, you’d be surprised at how quickly our culture would begin to change.”