Witness the recent Easter Sri Lanka slaughter of hundreds. On Mother’s Day, a Catholic priest was killed with six others during a mass in West Africa. The ruling Chinese Communist party has destroyed churches and jailed evangelical preachers. There is a near genocide of Christians in Iraq.
Vice President Mike Pence recently gave a speech at Liberty University and warned the graduates there of Christian persecution. And he was pilloried.
Lest you think all this is hyped, a recent study by the Anglican Church, ordered by Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, found that 80% of religious persecution is against Christians.
We may also recall, near and far, present and past: Chik-fil-A boycotts. Beheadings in the Mediterranean. Nearly 300 girls abducted and enslaved by Boko-Haram in Nigeria. Southern Baptist worshippers killed by a racist- nationalist. The Sudan-Darfur massacres.
Add to the above, the Christian baker in Denver persecuted. Terrorists bombing Catholics in the Philippines. The recent ransacking of churches in France. Tim Tebow, football star, ridiculed for his “Christian purity,” and the Little Sisters of the Poor in California being pushed to act against their religion.
I recently said mass in Washington, and a young man vibrantly decried the lack of leadership regarding our Catholic Church abuses and cover-ups, “I want someone to get angry and speak about this!”
He is right. But where is the outrage for Christian persecution?
There is discrimination and persecution against Muslims and Jews, for sure, but not at the level Christians around the world see. Both in number and proportion, no other religion or group has been persecuted and killed like Christians.
Perhaps we neglect or reject that fact because Christians have been dominant in the West for nearly 2,000 years, and some think it’s time for a change. And so, media under-report Christian persecution. Basically, as Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Mr. Hunt, said, it’s “political correctness” that silences the outcry against Christian persecution — along with charges of “colonialism” against Christianity.
And yet, the British Anglican report outlined discrimination against Christians through destruction of Christian symbols, abduction of clergy, biased education textbooks, hate speech targeting believers, arrests and intimidation.
Further, Mr. Hunt said that most of the persecutions today are against poor and non-white persons. Could the media and the West now be biased against minorities, even Christian ones?
Every month, about 345 Christians are killed and 105 churches or Christian buildings are razed or pillaged, according to Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute. Ten percent of Christians worldwide experience persecution. There is the “hard-core” kind, including physical violence against Christians, usually overseas; and the “soft-core” kind, such as religious discrimination and bigotry as we see more of in our country.
But acknowledging it is somehow seen as an affront to “multi-culturalism” or anti-modern.
Meanwhile, people are dying.
Where is the passionate cry of that young man I met in Washington, that combines courage and wisdom for Christians today, minority and otherwise?
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. John J. Lombardi is pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in Hancock, Md.
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