Mourning the victims of a recent attack
Gilbert wrote recently that her Jewish friends and neighbors in Israel “are shocked but not entirely surprised” by the attacks on Christians in the Middle East. “They are rather puzzled, however, by what appears to be a lack of anxiety, action, or advocacy on the part of Western Christians” and the disinterest of the media.
“It’s no surprise that Jews seem to understand the gravity of the situation the best,” notes Powers in the Daily Beast. “In December 2011, Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, addressed Parliament saying, ‘I have followed the fate of Christians in the Middle East for years, appalled at what is happening, surprised and distressed that it is not more widely known.
“‘It was Martin Luther King who said, In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,’” said Sacks. “That is why I felt I could not be silent today.’”
Mourning the loss of a loved one
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.”
Food bank told to choose between Jesus and government help
For example, he tells how over the past 31 years, a Christian ministry has been providing food to the hungry in Lake City, Florida. “But all that changed when they said a state government worker showed up to negotiate a new contract.” A state agriculture department official “told them they would not be allowed to receive USDA food unless they removed portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments, a banner that read ‘Jesus is Lord’ and stopping giving Bibles to the needy.
“When the government tells the Christian Service Center it has to give up on Christ or quit using USDA food to help the poor, that’s religious discrimination. But that’s just an isolated instance, right?”