The persecution of Christians is generally ignored because, unlike Muslims and Jews, Christians have no good word to describe it, said a UK archbishop this weekend.
There is no Christian equivalent for words such as “anti-Semitism” and “Islamophobia,” said Anba Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, so in a mediatic world the problem is not perceived as “the phenomenon which we know it is.”
The Archbishop contended that because there is no agreed-upon expression to describe Christian persecution, it is simply “left to happen.”
“We know it’s a phenomenon in many countries, just as deplorable as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anything else that targets people precisely for their faith and so therefore must be addressed at the same level,” Angaelos said.
What is needed, he continued, is a particular expression by which people could easily grasp Christian persecution, which would allow people of “all faiths” to come together to combat it.
While people are generally aware of the scope of problems like anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the archbishop said, such is not the case with the widespread persecution of Christians, which is largely ignored and undiscussed.
In point of fact, some 75 percent of all religiously motivated violence worldwide is committed against Christians, making it the most persecuted religious group in the world.
A 2017 report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) found that the situation of Christians around the globe is worsening, and yet “the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.”
“In terms of the number of people involved, the gravity of the crimes committed and their impact, it is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history,” said John Pontifex, the editor of the report titled “Persecuted and Forgotten?”
In the 13 countries where Christians suffer the most intense persecution, the situation has worsened in all but one—Saudi Arabia—in the last two years, the report found.
“In almost all the countries reviewed,” the report reads, “the oppression and violence against Christians have increased since 2015.”
Other studies suggest that over 200 million Christians face severe religious persecution on a daily basis, more than any other religious group.
Even among Christians themselves, ignorance abounds regarding the extent and severity of Christian persecution.
According to a nationwide 2018 poll surveying the views of American Catholics on global Christian persecution, 40 percent of U.S. Catholics believe that Christian persecution around the world is “severe,” and yet they are more concerned about climate change and the global refugee crisis than the sufferings of their co-religionists.
The poll found that U.S. Catholics are less concerned about Christian persecution than about human trafficking, poverty, climate change, and the global refugee crisis.
Asked to rank the intensity of their concern regarding global issues, U.S. Catholics placed Christian persecution dead last on the list, with human trafficking garnering 86 percent, poverty 86 percent, climate change 74 percent, refugee crisis 74 percent, and Christian persecution just 69 percent.
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