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In Theory: Why is the church silent about religious persecution?

October 10, 2013

Persecution affects some 600 million Christians annually, according to a study by the Hudson Institute, and the Pew Forum says Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. In countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and Kenya, Christians are being murdered, raped and kidnapped.

Writing in the Daily Beast, Kirsten Power says, “One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.” She wonders why U.S. churches are not doing more — or, in some cases anything — to help their fellow believers.

In a column in Religious News, Jonathan Merritt identifies three reasons for the silence: the media under-reporting persecution; the effect of the economic slump on American congregations; and the “culture war” on such issues as gay marriage. He says, “Some [American Christians] are so worried about the drummed-up pseudo-persecution of the American church that they are ignoring the actual persecution of the global church, particularly in the Middle East.”

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Q: Why do you think American congregations are not speaking out about the persecution of Christians across the globe?
  

Several factors contribute to our silence about world-wide Christian persecution. Most American congregations don’t realize it’s happening because we just don’t hear about it. Secondly, it’s difficult to sort through all of the bad news that bombards us every day. There are countless serious needs all around us and we realize we can personally only help a select few of them. We get overloaded and focus only on those needs that are right in front of us and affect us the most personally. I also believe many people in American churches are overwhelmed by their own difficulties, which include oppressive financial worries, medical problems and relationship problems of their own. It’s hard to ease another’s burden when your own has you pinned down.

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