Appreciation for the grave plight of many Christians worldwide has increased by six percent during the course of just one year, a poll reveals.
An annual survey conducted by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN-USA) and McLaughlin & Associates among U.S. Catholics found that 46 percent believe that the persecution of Christians around the world is “ very severe,” up from just 40 percent last year.
Another 46 percent consider Christian persecution “somewhat severe,” meaning that 92 percent believe it to be either severe or somewhat severe, according to the survey published this week.
When this same poll was conducted in 2018, results showed that U.S. Catholics were more worried about “climate change” than about global Christian persecution, which seems to no longer be the case. Whereas 57 percent of American Catholics still say they are “very concerned” about climate change, this trails slightly behind the 58 percent who say they are “very concerned” about Christian persecution, up from just 49 percent in 2018.
Just more than half (51 percent) of U.S. Catholics think that Pope Francis is “very engaged” in the issue of the persecution of Christians, whereas only 24 percent think their local bishop is “very engaged,” and only 19 percent believe their parish is very involved with the issue.
The survey, whose first stated goal is to measure the “extent to which American Catholics are aware of the persecution of Christians around the world,” would seem to indicate that Catholics have grown in their awareness of the situation facing fellow Christians around the world.
Nonetheless, few people realize the severity and extent of Christian persecution globally, in part because it is dramatically underreported.
In point of fact, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world by far. “Christians are the victims of at least 75 percent of all religiously-motivated violence and oppression,” according to a 2017 report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and “the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.”
In its 2018 report, ACN lamented that in the eyes of Western governments and the media, “religious freedom is slipping down the human rights priority rankings, being eclipsed by issues of gender, sexuality and race.”
Nearly 300 million Christians around the globe face severe persecution, which takes the form of executions, rapes, and other forms of violence, as well as harassment, threats to employment and personal livelihood, and social ostracization.
During the year 2016, for instance, about 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith across the globe, according to a 2017 study from the Turin-based Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR).
The director of CESNUR, Dr. Massimo Introvigne, told Breitbart News at the time that whereas atheistic communist regimes were the greatest persecutors of Christians in the last century, “Islamic ultra-fundamentalism” has taken its place as the prime driver of persecution.
“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, editor of ACN’s report.
Pontifex credited a “PC agenda” among Western governments and mainstream media for curbing the attention that persecuted Christians require.
“The UN and western governments send strong messages of support – but that’s not matched by action,” he said. “To date, the response of the UN has been too little too late.”
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