Thankful for the religious freedom we have in the USA!
We take for granted our freedom to pick up our Bible, head to our car on Sunday morning and walk into church without any fear of being killed, or hauled off to prison. Everywhere I look in my town I also see Jewish centers, Muslim mosques and even Hindu temples. On their religious days, there are no rioters standing outside threatening them for their beliefs.
Not everyone enjoys that religious freedom – especially Christians!
Open Doors International, a charity that supports Christians under pressure for their faith recently released a report noting that nearly twice as many Christians died for their faith in the past year than in 2013.
- 2012 – 1,201 Christians killed
- 2013 – 2,123 Christians killed
- 2014 – over 4,000 Christians killed
In Syria alone more Christians were killed than were killed world-wide in 2013.
This is only the minimum count
These numbers are only the ones who were documented as killed. Estimates of the total number killed range from around 7,000 or 8,000 (International Institute for Religious Freedom) to 100,000 (Center for the Study of Global Christianity-Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary).
“Christians aren’t always directly killed, but are so much squeezed with regulations and vulnerabilities that they just perish – not at once, but in the course of years. If we would include them in the counting, it would be an enormous number of people. However, the precise number of Christians who die due to these factors is very difficult to quantify.” – World Watch List.
Countries leading the list of persecution
- Syria – 1,213
- Nigeria – 612
- Pakistan – 88
- Egypt – 83
- Kenya – 20
- Angola – 16
- Niger – 15
- Central African Republic – 9
The numbers killed in North Korea are difficult to confirm since public information is very limited. The World Watch List believes the number of Christians killed in the Central African Republic is probably also much larger than reported.
These number killed does not include
- physical aggression
- destruction of churches or other Christian buildings
- attempts to destroy churches or Christian buildings
- closure of churches or Christian buildings
- house expulsion or destruction
- kidnap for ransom or intimidation
- sexual assault
What should Christians in the USA do?
- I would suggest that we start by understanding how fortunate we are – and not take our freedom for granted. How many times do we stay home from church – or go grudgingly because “we need to” without stopping to think of those who will be risking persecution – maybe even death – by going to church. Maybe we should see it as a privilege and not a duty.
- Pray – pray – pray for our fellow Christians in these countries. Pray for protection, for boldness, for encouragement.
- Become informed about what is going on in the world. There are websites that can help you understand the persecution taking place so that you are more aware of how to pray.
- Pray – pray – pray for those who are persecuting the Christians. God loves them also – Jesus died for them also. Realize that they are not the enemy – Satan is. They need our prayers as much – maybe more – than our fellow Chrsitians. Pray that they will come to know the love of God found in Jesus. Pray that their hatred will end.
- Finally, make sure we show respect and love to those in our country who are not Christians whether they are of another belief – or just non-believers.