In the midst of our pastor’s sermon yesterday morning, entitled “The Normal Christian Life Includes Persecution,” he made a statement that I had to check out. I found this at The National Catholic Reporter (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit to read all of this part of that article. Here’s the salient statistic):
Aid to the Church in Need, a German-based Catholic aid agency, produces a widely trusted annual report on global threats to religious freedom. It estimates that somewhere between 75 percent and 85 percent of all acts of religious persecution are directed against Christians. In a report to the European Parliament last month, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said that while Muslims and Jews face significant persecution, “Christians faced some sort of harassment in two-thirds of all countries,” or 133 states.
Most of the persecution, according to a map of restricted countries at Voice of the Martyrs, is taking place in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Which implies that we enjoy much more religious freedom here in North America.
But is this a good thing?
And will we recognize persecution when it comes? And how will we respond?