On May 18, extremists in Nigeria interrupted a church choir practice and abducted 17 Christians. They are being ransomed and might never see their families again. Some of the Christian women may be sold into slavery or raped and forced to marry the jihadist. It’s the latest attack in the escalating violent war on Christians within Nigeria, where 3,731 Christians were killed last year.
If such violence had occurred in Nashville rather than Nigeria, it would dominate nightly news broadcasts and saturate social media feeds. American churches would be launching fundraising campaigns for victims’ families and addressing it in their weekly gatherings. In this case, however, the American church has barely acknowledged it. Unfortunately, when violence occurs somewhere “over there” instead of in our backyard, it is often dismissed as just another story. American churches must do better.
I constantly bear witness to this sort of violence and the corresponding malaise by the nature of the organization I lead, Open Doors USA. We track such incidents of Christian persecution around the world through our annual World Watch List, a comprehensive ranking of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. To us, this is more than just “another story”; it is another data point in a global crisis of persecution. One of every nine Christians experience high levels of persecution and suffer for their faith, and it’s picking up pace.
It’s not just in Nigeria.
Violence against Christians is increasing
In Sri Lanka, with families still mourning the more than 320 lives lost during bombings on Easter Sunday, government officials are awakening to the reality of Islamic State infiltration into Asia. The ideology of hatred and violence against Christians by the terrorist organization is no longer contained to Iraq and Syria.
China, waking up to a stunning realization that there could be more Christians in China than members of the Communist Party soon, has begun an Orwellian crackdown. They’re now using facial recognition, social scoring, imprisonment and monitoring to bring Chinese churches under the boot of the government.
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been governing India, the country has relegated its 30 million Christians to second-class citizens. Extremist Hindu groups are attacking Christians — with violence increasing 400% since 2014, according to Zenit — and some have called for expelling all Christians from the country.
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SOURCE: USA Today, David Curry