Beset on All Sides

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  May 6, 2019   

New reports confirm Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'

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Recent reports are showing that Christian persecution around the world is surging.

One of two such reports titled the "Interim Report" was commissioned last December by U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt.

Released in April, it shows Christian persecution is now approaching the level of "genocide" as defined by the United Nations. The report found not only is Christian persecution spreading geographically but it's also escalating in severity.

Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity. In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN. The eradication of Christians and other minorities on pain of "the sword" or other violent means was revealed to be the specific and stated objective of extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-east Nigeria and the Philippines.

The report wasn't limited to Christians when finding one in three people affected by religious persecution. It did confirm, however, that Christians were the  predominant target in its estimate that "one-third of the world's population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group."

Hunt said he believes "political correctness" played a role in the escalation of religious persecution by not effectively confronting it.

The second report to confirm the global surge in religious persecution was the annual report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The USCIRF is a federal commission that began with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

This year's 20th annual report released last month also found religious persecution at a historical high and made a special mention of Christian persecution by Communist China. One of the commissioners drafting the report, Johnnie Moore, criticized the Vatican deal signed with Communist China last September as a catalyst for ramping up persecution of China's faithful Catholics.

[O]ne of the most alarming incidents as it relates to religious freedom in the entire year was the decision by the Vatican to negotiate a diplomatic relationship with China that resulted in the recognition of government-appointed bishops. … Literally, within days of the Vatican negotiating its deal, the Chinese used it as cover to embark upon the closure of several of the nation's largest and most prominent unregistered church communities. That has continued. … The Vatican made a terrible mistake, which it must take seriously. This debacle must be dealt with urgently and seriously.

The report found that shortly after the Vatican signed the agreement with China, persecution of Catholics and Protestants increased and various forms including:

  • Priests and laity arrested
  • Hundreds of churches closed or demolished
  • Shrines and pilgrimage sites bulldozed
  • Catholics under 18 barred from attending Mass
  • Bibles burned
  • Communist re-write of Scripture underway

Watch the panel discuss the global surge of Christian persecution in The Download—Beset on All Sides.

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