The prime minister has said the British government should stand up against the persecution of Christians abroad.
Speaking at an Easter reception in Downing Street, David Cameron said that: “It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world. We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can.”
According to Bloomberg media, Mr Cameron said his “moments of greatest peace” come “perhaps every other Thursday morning” when he attends Eucharist at St. Mary Abbots, High St Kensington, which is attached to the school his children attend. “I find a little bit of peace and hopefully a bit of guidance.”
He also paid tribute to the work of churches, and said that after the death of his son Ivan in 2009 the local vicar Mark Abrey, was “the person who looked after me”. He said: “I can’t think of anyone who was more loving or thoughtful or kind.”
Earlier this week Fr van der Lugt, a 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit who has spent 50 years in Syria, was murdered in Homs by an unknown gunman.
Referring at one point to Jesus Christ as “our savior,” he also went further than any recent prime minister in talking about his Christian faith publicly…
U.K. prime ministers are usually reluctant to speak publicly about faith, which is treated as a private matter in British politics. Tony Blair, who after leaving office was received into the Roman Catholic church and set up a Faith Foundation, was told not to talk about his beliefs by advisers. When Vanity Fair magazine asked him about it in a 2003 interview, Blair’s press chief Alastair Campbell interrupted. “We don’t do God,” he was reported to have said.
:eek: what? I would like to think that christianity flourished because of people’s faith that Jesus is the Messiah and that He fulfilled the old testament. There are people that would be happy if christianity were wiped out all together. There are very bad things happening to christians around the world now. It is real.
Christianity flourished and became dominant in the Roman Empire after the persecutions stopped. Before then, it was hanging on by the skin of its teeth.
After the Muslims took control of the greater part of the Roman Empire, what were once predominately Christian countries now have populations of 2 % Christian and less, and receding more with each passing decade.
The eastern parts of the Europe, where Christians were persecuted under atheistic communism has left the people of the Soviets nominally Christian, but not to the extent to where they believe in Christianity as anything other than a cultural identity.
Persecutions erase Christianity, for the most part.
All the Apostles (except one) were martyred and yet Apostolic Succession reigned throughout the Roman Empire by the 3rd century and today in almost all parts of the world. Would that have happened had the Apostles all died natural deaths? Maybe but I doubt it to the extent it has today.
I would say that more people definitely disagree with Christianity more now than in the recent past and don’t consider themselves “Christians”…and that some current laws today–like same-sex marriage–don’t align with the beliefs of some Christian denominations.
But this is true for many religions, and has always been true on and off throughout the last 2000 years and more.
Persecution does not mean disagreement, i.e., persecution means persecution, and other organizations have corroborated what David Cameron has stated, i.e., 80% of all those persecuted are Christian (in more than 100 countries).
WASHINGTON – Some of the top fighters against persecution from all over the world came to Capitol Hill this week to sound an alarm at a House hearing about the global war against Christians.
Their bottom line: the 2.3 billion Christians alive today may form the world’s largest religion, but they are also the most persecuted religious group.
“It is a huge problem and it’s getting worse, not just in the Middle East, though it’s getting worse there, but in China, in North Korea and elsewhere,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., told CBN News.
“There’s an explosion of persecution against Christians, including martyrdom, torture, and harassment of all kinds,” he said.
Boston Globe Associate Editor John Allen traveled the world to gather the horrific facts for his book The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution.
Allen said a major problem for Christians is they make such a convenient target for those angry at the West.
A new study by the Pew Research Center found that restrictions, harassment and intimidation towards people of faith increased in every major region of the world in 2012 with the exception of the Americas. Interestingly, the study found that Christians are more likely to be persecuted worldwide than any other religious group.
In many countries the situation of Christians has sharply deteriorated. This is the finding of Persecuted and Forgotten? the 2013 report on Christians oppressed for their Faith. The report examines the situation of Christians in 30 different countries, including Afghanistan, China, Laos, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. In particular it analyses the situation in a number of majority Islamic countries and in those states whose political systems have a pronounced authoritarian character.
For Christians the so-called “Arab spring” has in many cases become what the report calls a “Christian winter”. Although the political upheavals have brought suffering to people of all faith communities, nonetheless it is above all the Christian confessions that have experienced the most open hostility and violence. They have become victims of every kind of political, economic, social and religious conflict - for example the conflicts between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. As a result, a great many Christians have been forced to flee. The report describes the exodus as reaching “almost biblical proportions”.
According to the information presented in Persecuted and Forgotten? the influence of fundamentalist Islamist groups has increased markedly in the past two-and-a-half years. They represent possibly the greatest threat to religious freedom in the world today. Their goal is the elimination, or at the very least the subjugation, of Christians. In communist countries to the efforts have increased to exert control over the Christian population. However, in these countries Christians tend to be persecuted above all on account of their contacts with dissidents and with the West, and not so much on account of their faith alone. In North Korea there is no official recognition of any religious activities, while those that are tolerated are strictly controlled. China continues to insist on asserting its authority over all Christian groups, especially over those not registered with the State
As the saying goes, “The blood of the martyrs, is the seed of the Church”.
I think that’s what ProVobis was referring to.
Quite frankly, whatever your opinions on whether persecution is good or bad for the Church, it is coming folks. It is coming. And we need to prepare. Is our faith as strong as the English recusants who hid priests in their homes?
Is our faith as strong as the faith of the Christians in Syria right now?
We need to be preparing for violent persecution. The HOly Spirit will see us through, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be ever vigilant. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be as innocent as doves and as shrewd as serpents…
As Cardinal George said recently, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
And, that quote, whether or not its an accurate prediction, does still show hope. The Church will always survive. But, we need to ask ourselves, if we are ready for persecution in this country. I think we all know the answer is no. Well… the less ready we are, the worse its gonna be.
But of course, as the thread suggests. At the present moment, we, as the American Church, as Catholics in the world’s superpower (for the moment), need to be giving money to the Church in places like Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” results in wailing about persecution for days. Is that the kind of “persecution” we’re talking about here?
Something substantive. If people are claiming that Christians are being persecuted then they need to prove that crimes are committed against them because of their religious beliefs not count every crime against someone who is incidentally Christian. I think Josie posted an article about John Allen and this actually makes my point. John Allen readily admits that he never established the motive for the crimes he noted so how does he know that they constitute persecution against Christians? This is where such assertions start to unravel.
For example, he counted Christians killed as a result of the drug wars as persecution yet admits that they were killed simply because they are influential people in their communities who openly oppose the drug trade and challenge the drug lords. They’d be just as dead if they were Pastafarians because religion has nothing to do with it so why should that count as persecution of Christians? Many conflicts around the world (primarily in Africa and India) are also misinterpreted as persecution of Christians, including by John Allen, even though religion isn’t even the point of contention. Others are tit-for-tat conflicts with barbarous acts of terrorism committed by both sides, yet the Christians are portrayed as dewy eyed innocents. In short, a lot of the supposed examples of “persecution” lack context. Christianity is a religion based on martyrdom so its only natural that its followers would want to be connected to that or imagine as if they are martyrs themselves in some way.
In earlier threads, I have accused my fellow Catholics of sophistry with regards to defining everything from being forced to serve all customers to simply no longer receiving the favor of lawmakers as “persecution”. There is no persecution of Christians in the United States of today; there may be laws that are unjust towards Catholics (the HHS mandate is one example), but injustice does not equal persecution. There might even be a certain anti-Catholic sentiment in some areas, but prejudice does also not equal persecution.
However, if I understand you correctly, you are guilty of the same, by effectively trying to deny the existence of persecution of Christians as such. When churches are burned, priests are killed and faithful are lynched, simply because of their status as Christians, it is rightly called persecution. (And if you need sources, Google - there are plenty of news reports readily available).
In a sense (again, if I understand you correctly), you are committing the same fallacy as those who claim no evil ever can be ascribed to Christianity, since the crime in question always had another, additional motivation. It’s always interesting to see agnostics/atheists point this out, just to go on to denying the existence of anti-Christian persecution using the exact same line of (fallacious) reasoning. In reality, those crimes committed by Christians often were a product of additional factors not related to religion, and ideologized Christianity. In the same way, persecution of Christians is generally a product of other motives and anti-Christian sentiments. It can’t be reduced to only one factor.