I don’t know if I have the statistics to demonstrate a genuine increase but it certainly feels as if I’ve been reading more and more often of accounts of persecution recently. Certainly there are those that think there is a definite increase. What follows are just the articles that I’ve come across without having to go look for them and it might give you a sense of why I feel that way. We need to think about how should we respond to the persecution of Christians.
Globally these are The Countries Where It’s Most Dangerous to Be a Christian in 2019 (and here’s the top 50) and 9 Things You Should Know About Global Persecution of Christians. In some places it’s the result of religious extremists but governments everywhere are increasing their restrictions on religious freedom (the report is from 2016 but I believe remains a consistent trend still) enough so that The Economist can pen this article: Could state-guided faith be a trend of the future?
In the West the picture is (as usual) complicated which is why the answer to Ross Douthat’s question Are Christians Privileged or Persecuted? is yes. To complicate things further on the one hand Western Governments protest religious persecution but on the other hand often give these countries significant sums of money.
It also remains true that the ‘blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church’ so how would you answer Stephen McAlpine’s question: Would You Accept More Gospel Hostility If It Also Meant More Gospel Openness?
Before we get to the countries, I think this is an important article worth noting: For Christian Women, Persecution Looks Like Rape.
Responding to Rumors and Rumblings about the Chinese Church:Jackson Wu gives good advice on how to respond & also “Sinicized Christianity” is Not Christianity
The Muslim World
There is a clear problem here which is beginning (finally) to be acknowledged beyond Christian circles.
- ‘Muslim’ Nations and The Problem of Christian Persecution – the author of this piece Qasim Rashid is a Muslim.
- The global war on Christians in the Muslim world – this by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a must read.
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.
The Middle East
- The Impossible Future of Christians in the Middle East
- A pivotal time for embattled religious minorities in the Middle East
- Iranian Christians refuse to renounce Christian faith in exchange for freedom from prison
- Persecution of Christians ‘coming close to genocide’ in Middle East – report
- In China, they’re closing churches, jailing pastors – and even rewriting scripture
- The new normal- for Christianity in China
The Communist government in China has cracked down on Christianity repeatedly in 2018. Pew Research found China to have more government restrictions on religion than any other nation.
Some top stories this year on China’s persecution of Christians, include:
Not all bad news
- The Rise of Women’s Rights and Religious Liberties in the Muslim World
- Worth a Thousand Years of Waiting – the staggering rise of the church in Iran. “In fact, more Iranians have become Christians in the last twenty years than in the previous 1,300 years, since Islam came to Iran.”