The author of a major study on worldwide Christian persecution said that the tragedy of the recent slaughter of Christians in Sri Lanka is how unsurprising it is.
“On major Christian feast days, somewhere in the world, some number of Christians are likely to be killed for no reason other than that they chose to attend religious services,” wrote John L. Allen Jr., author of The Global War on Christians, in a Tuesday op-ed in the Washington Post.
“Because Christmas and Easter are the holiest days on the Christian calendar, churches tend to be especially full, presenting ripe targets for anti-Christian hatred,” Allen noted.
While world leaders like Angela Merkel declare that the attacks are “shocking,” Allen wrote, in reality “the shocking thing about the carnage is that it is not shocking – and instead forms part of an ugly, predictable global pattern.”
Although Christians today are the most persecuted religious community on the planet, much of the persecution goes unreported in the western media, Allen noted.
“Estimates of how many Christians are killed daily around the world because of their faith vary widely, from thousands to the tens of thousands, but it is certain that at any hour of the day, a Christian somewhere is being martyred. Much of this violence, though, occurs in places the Western media typically overlook,” he said.
Allen is not alone in calling out the widespread, under-reported scourge of anti-Christian persecution. In a Spectator article this week titled “Sri Lanka and the global war on Christians,” Stephen Daisley noted the staggering figures associated with this worldwide phenomenon.
“The number of Christians who experience high levels of persecution has risen 14 per cent in a year, taking the number to a staggering 245 million. Globally, one in every nine Christians is a victim of persecution,” Daisley wrote.
“Whether conducted by Islamists, totalitarian atheists or religious nationalists, we are witnessing a global war on Christians. Only we don’t seem all that interested in witnessing it,” he lamented.
According to John Allen, there are no signs that violent Christian persecution will be dying down any time soon.
If states were serious about combating Christian persecution, Allen suggests, they would promote “systematic education in religious tolerance” as well as instituting “aggressive security measures at Christian sites on major feast days.”
“Until such a mobilization occurs, Christians will continue to be forced to celebrate Christmas and Easter in the grim and certain knowledge that some of their fellow celebrants around the world will not live to see the next day,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome