Every year, in November, we recognize those who have suffered for following Christ with the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s an important way of raising awareness on this crucial issue. But a new report hints that the problem is getting worse.
A new survey out of the U.K. indicates that Christian persecution is on the rise. The British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs asked the Bishop of Truro to set up an Independent Review into the global persecution of Christians.
According to the report, “persecution on grounds of religious faith is a global phenomenon that is growing in scale and intensity. Reports including that of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief’ (FoRB) suggest that religious persecution is on the rise, and it is an “ever-growing threat” to societies around the world.”
It’s impossible to get exact numbers on those who are persecuted for their faith but the report states that it is estimated that one third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group.
Freedom of religion—the idea that you can believe what you want and you can change what you believe—is a universally recognized liberty. The UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in Article 18 defines religious human rights in this way:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Globally, in today’s world, religious freedom is far from being universally enjoyed right.
The British survey reported that “the evidence suggests that acts of violence and other intimidation against Christians are becoming more widespread. The reporting period revealed an increase in the severity of anti-Christian persecution. In parts of the Middle East and Africa, the “vast scale” of the violence and its perpetrators’ declared intent to eradicate the Christian community has led to several Parliamentary declarations in recent years that the faith group has suffered genocides according to the definition adopted by the UN.
Christian genocide—the government directed report has identified not just persecution but the outright genocide of Christians.
The report also stated “today, Christians constitute by far the most widely persecuted religion.” Finding once again that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, the Pew Research Center concluded that in 2016 Christians were targeted in 144 countries – a rise from 125 in 2015. According to Pew Research, “Christians have been harassed in more countries than any other religious group and have suffered harassment in many of the heavily Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa.”
According to Open Doors, approximately 245 million Christians living in the top 50 countries suffer high levels of persecution or worse”, 30 million up on the previous year.
Christian genocide is a harsh reality that must be stopped. Use the voice that God has given you to petition Him first—and then use that same voice to speak up to governments to end this brutality.
That’s my opinion. I’m Janet Parshall.
Does a state Attorney General have the constitutional right to defend a pro-law law in that state? That is a question the U.S Supreme Court will be answering soon. I’ll share some thoughts—straight from my heart.
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Janet Parshall has been broadcasting from the nation's capital for over two decades. Her passion is to "equip the saints" through intelligent conversation based on biblical truth. When she is not behind her microphone, Janet is speaking across the country on issues impacting Christians. She has authored several books, including her latest, Buyer Beware: Finding Truth in the Marketplace of Ideas. Parshall and her husband, Craig, live in Virginia, and have four children and six grandchildren.
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