DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - For the first time ever, the United States joins Russia and North Korea on the 2016 Hall of Shame of the world's worst countries for religious freedom, especially persecution against Christians.
International Christian Concern published the annual shame list in early January. The report highlights 18 of the more than 100 countries in the world where Christians were persecuted in 2016.
The report is broken into three categories: "Worst of the Worst," "Core Countries" and "New and Noteworthy." Topping the worst list are Syria, North Korea and Nigeria, where hundreds of thousands of Christians have been murdered or are currently in prison camps.
The United States for the first time was listed as a "New and Noteworthy" country for persecution of Christians. The United States made it this year because Christians are "facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist and closed-minded."
The report listed several examples, including the Orlando gay nightclub shooting in June 2016 where a Muslim gay man killed 49 people. Christians were scapegoated and accused of creating an environment of "fear" that caused the attack.
The report also cited the examples of Christian U.S businesses being shut down for refusing to participate in celebrating sodomite marriages. Church Militant reported closely on the business Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Southern Oregon, fined $135,000 by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries after a lesbian couple sued because the Christian-run bakery refused for religious reasons to bake them a cake for their wedding.
Added to the particular individual cases, there has also been an increase in legal action against Christians.The report adds:
Anti-Christian entities have been able to leverage the growing secularization of society and culture to their advantage, utilizing the courts as a preferred venue to gradually marginalize and silence Christians. Using the cudgel of "equality," secular forces in and out of the courts have worked to create a body of law built from one bad precedent after another.
Catholics in particular have been the target of bad legislation, despite President Obama's being touted as the "most Catholic president" by certain political elites.
In 2012, Obama yanked government funds from a Catholic organization aiding victims of human trafficking because of a refusal to provide the intrinsic evils of abortion, contraception and sterilization.
In Obama's last year in office, homeless shelters in the United States were forced to accept transgender ideology by housing males with females or risk closure. In the same year, Obama threatened Catholic hospitals by promising to withhold federal dollars if they didn't perform abortions or sex changes.
In summary, the report states: "While there is no comparison between the life of a Christian in the US with persecuted believers overseas, ICC sees these worrying trends as an alarming indication of a decline in religious liberty in the United States."