75% of those killed for faith are Christian

Father Robert Barron on a persecuted church and its heroes. Of those killed for their beliefs, in the world, 75% of them are Christian.

Can’t help but wonder why someone like this is a less compelling choice for “person of the year” over an author whose book (wail-and-gnashing-of-teeth) met with some disagreement.

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About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    My daily stinkbomb, but some honest questions: What percentage of killers are Christians? How much is Christian-on-Christian violence? Should Christians be more concerned about the 25, rather than the 75?

  • vox borealis


    Does it really matter *who* is doing the killing? Those dying *for the faith* are doing so regardless who pulls the trigger. That being said, I have a hard time believing that interdenominational violence (i.e., Christians against other Christians) is the source of many faith-related deaths these days.

  • vox borealis

    Oh, and I forgot, what an awesome video from Fr. Barron. But do we expect anything less?

  • http://www.sherryantonettiwrites.blogspot.com Sherry

    We in the west who often feel very uncomfortable discussing what have become political hot buttons (homosexual marriage, birth control, abortion) do not have a drop of the courage of these witnesses. Pray for a martyr’s drop of courage for all of us.

  • David F

    I love Father Barron. Todd why don’t you research your question – no doubt the answers are available.

  • SKay

    Thanks so much for posting this video. We truly need to be aware of what is happening to Christians around the world–as well as what is happening to Christianity and the Church within our own countruy right now.

  • doc

    Todd, you seem to assume that if Christians make up 75% of the victims here, Christians must be doing the killing the other 25% of the time. This is certainly not the case. Let’s see, what world religion is known for killing those who don’t “submit”? Starts with I and ends with SLAM. The remaining 25% are likely primarily composed of non-Christian victims of the “religion of peace”.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Christian-on-Christian killing has been a sad part of post-Reformation Europe. I remember reading about the Thirty Years’ War, which began as a Catholic-Protestant thing and got worse from there.

    Christian-on-Christian violence has been a part of American history, too.

    Honor Christian martyrs? Certainly. Honor Roman Catholics who follow the missionary apostolate as taught by the Church. Grieve evangelicals who are somewhat more aggressive about proselytizing, even among fellow Christians. Of course we should. For the sake of our public witness, though, is it wise to lament too much the 75%, even as we value and honor the witness of martyrs, and ignore the 25%, many of whom suffer at the hands of professed Christians?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, Todd, try researching your own question—then you can get back to us, on who is doing the killing, and where, and why. You can tell us which Christian country at the moment is killing its own Christian citizens—because they’re Christians. You can name the names of the government officials involved, name some of the Christian martyrs who’ve been killed and give us some history of the conflict.

    Please get back to us on this.

    Rule #1:

    1. Christian persecution by non-Christians does not exist.

    2. In the event that Christians are being persecuted by non-Christians. . .

    See Rule #1.

    (Seriously, Todd—do you just drop stinkbombs in order to stir up trouble? Or are you really trying to make some sort of point? If it’s the former, aren’t you wasting your own time, as well as ours?)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    As David F. says, the answers are available, Todd. Research them. Then get back to us. You might want to start with a group called “Boko Haram”.

    (Oh, and no, you try passing the wars of the Reformation, the Inquisition, etc., as something that’s supposedly happening now; it has to be contemporary.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Also, Todd, you can’t use American, or European, criminal statistics; yes, sometimes nominally “Christian” criminals (members of American street gangs, for instance) sometimes attack other Christians, for whatever reason: because they’re trespassing on their turf, because they want to steal their car, etc. but this isn’t the sort of persecution we’re talking about, here.

    Go for it, Todd!

  • http://elizabethk-fthnfort.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth K.

    I don’t believe that Fr. Barron was suggesting we “ignore” the other 25% of people who are killed for their faith who are not Christians–quite the contrary. He was drawing our attention to a fact that will never, ever make it into the mainstream press. It would be unwise not to take note of this fact, and to understand what it means for all of us. (And I, too, would be very interested in ow many of those 25% are killed by Christians, which is your implication–innuendo does not serve as argument.)

    [It seems to me that Todd drops his "stinkbomb" as he acknowledges it to be, and then sits back and enjoys the attention. I'm weary of it. Bored, frankly. If you stop running to his promptings, perhaps he'll stop this tiresome and habitual "I-play-Peck's-Bad-Boy-on-every-post" thing. It's frankly lost its charms, for me -admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Um, Todd?

    You’re not researching, you’re waffling.

    You’re dragging in older Christian conflicts, which don’t apply here—we’re discussing contemporary persecution, not the Protestant Reformation, the Cathars, early american history, etc. (we know about the No-Nothings, Todd); didn’t you see my earlier post? We’re talking about what’s going on in the world today.

    And what, exactly, do you mean by “grieve evangelicals”? Are you saying that it’s okay to give them grief? Why? How much grief are we supposed to give them? What sort of grief? Argue with them? Insult them, when we see them? Punch them in the face? Aren’t they free to practice their religion, just as we are? I don’t like the sound of this. You sound kinda like that 25% here that you say we’re not supposed to support.

    By the way, no evangical has ever persecuted me, or tried to harm me, because I’m not evanglical myself; I think you’re confusing earnest evanglism with persecution; they’re really not the same.

    And what is this 75%-25% of good/bad Christians you keep talking about? You say you support Catholics who follow the “missionary apostolate?” Why them? Do you support any other Catholic/Christian groups? Why do “missonary apostolate” Christians deserve support, but others don’t? Name some names, please; and please, name those countries where Christians are now making war against their fellow Christians; name some of the Christian generalissimos who are persecuting fellow Chrisians, and some of these Christians who have been killed, for their faith. Is it Protestants killing Catholics, or vice versa? Is it some new Christian denomination that’s producing that allegedly evil 75%? Please name it, and tell us where it’s operating.

    1. It has to be contemporary; this is modern persecution we’re talking about, here.

    2. You can’t drag in ordinary street crime, and claim it’s “persecution”.

    3. It has to be real persecution—a 7 Day Adventist showing up on your doorstep doesn’t count. We’re talking persecution as in being killed, or beaten up because of your faith; having your church burned down. Holding Christmas/Easter services in secret, lest the police show up, and arrest you all. Being a second-class citizen in your own country, because you’re Christian. Being sent to a work camp, because you’re Christian.

    That kind of thing.

    Go for it, Todd!

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “It seems to me that Todd drops his “stinkbomb” as he acknowledges it to be, and then sits back and enjoys the attention.”

    Hardly. I usually get criticized for poking too much into a thread. Quite frankly, life beckons and doesn’t always center around internet Catholics.

    I question the source of the 75-25. I *have* done research online and I can’t find any actual numbers. Maybe if I were to count up the top 200 Google sites on religious violence. There’s a lot of that. There’s also a staggering amount of Muslim-on-Muslim violence. There always has been. So where did the Vatican get its numbers?

    I do know that even in Muslim countries, Christians are not the only martyrs. India has a continuing bloody situation between a more militant Hinduism and a substantial number of Muslims in the nation.

    Christians are targeted in the Middle East, but how can anyone tell that violence is not connected to a simmering hatred of the world’s most powerful, pro-Israel, and, admittedly Christian, nation.

    I’m suggesting the situation is a lot more complicated than simple Christian persecution. That’s not to say that people are not being unjustly killed–far from it. But I’d like to do more than wring my hands and look for someone to blame. Does the US accept Christian Iraqi refugees who have nowhere else to go? Do we advocate for totalitarian governments friendly to Christians and give up our nation’s democratic principles?

    And as much as my foil RS would like to forget history, Spain is illustrative of a more recent Christian-on-Christian violence that likely simmers in the memory of people alive. The late 30′s saw a lot of anti-Catholic presecution. But the post-civil war crackdown was pretty brutal against Protestants. It seems rather self-serving for today’s Catholics to cry foul when their grandparents were evicting Protestant clergy and confiscating non-Catholic publications.

    “I’m weary of it. Bored, frankly.”

    Don’t read me. Approve my comments, then ignore. Sometimes the whole truth is harder to stomach, my friend. ;)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Honestly, Todd, I think the Anchoress has you pegged just right.

    You enjoy throwing stinkbombs.

    Then you want our approval of the same.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And the way you manage to blame Christian persecution on Israel—and America—is a really nice touch. /Sarc.

    And that’s the last I have to say to say to you. Enjoy your little bombs.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “Honestly, Todd, I think the Anchoress has you pegged just right.”

    I think you and she and others would like to believe this. It helps to reinforce your own views.

    I make light of dissenting from the groupthink, attempt to aim humor in my own direction and you two harp on it. Fine.

    You think you have me, and other people pegged? You don’t know me. You, RS, have made no attempt to get to know me–at least the Anchoress and I have corresponded personally. She concedes publicly I seem “better behaved” are Greg’s site, and others. Why is that?

    I don’t mind conceding I often take the minority viewpoint. I’ll keep doing it. Fr Barron does himself no credit harping on a tired meme of “persecuted” theologians. This is not one of his better video segments. “Pay no attention to misbehaving bishops; focus on Christians who are being killed for the faith.” I object to the use of the misfortune of others to score ideological points. I challenge you, RS, as I’ve done my research today, to look at CCC 2478, and consider your own journey toward orthodoxy. You don’t seem there yet, my friend.

  • Thomas R

    To try to answer the issue from what I recall reading the worst offenders of religious freedom, as well as the places with the most inter-religious hostility, are not majority Christian nations. (The following deals with Indonesia in specific, but others are discussed)


    Inter-religious Christian-on-Christian violence still occurs. Belarus and Russia have had some pretty intolerant stuff against minorities Christians. There are inter-Christian brawls in Israel over holy sites. Still most Christian-on-Christian violence is from before the twentieth century or at least not so much in the twenty-first century.

    Anti-Christian violence is largely committed by Radical Islam, Communism, and Ethnic Nationalism. Possibly elements of “Ethnic Nationalism” relates to even the other two. In some nations Christians are deemed, or maybe historically are, “foreign influences” and undesirable when a group wishes to more strongly proclaim its ethnic or cultural distinctiveness. There’s also anti-colonial feeling as many lands were ruled by “Christians.” (The Third Republic of France was quite secular, but possibly Vietnam’s history of persecutions relates to association of Christianity to “The West” and also to Communism)

  • Thomas R

    I should add religious persecution of non-Christians is also largely Radical-Islam, Communism, and a kind-of Ethnic-Nationalism. Radical-Islam is often harsher on polytheism than anything. In the 1980s one of the Sudanese rulers even wrote to Pope John Paul II to ask him to help convert “the pagans” of the South as Catholicism was a “Religion of the Book.” So he was like “If they can’t be Muslim…” His successor was not as open to that.

    Christian persecution of non-Christians may still happen. I think several Christian nations of the former Iron Curtain curtail the rights of non-Christians to enter. However I can’t think of much in the way of violence offhand.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “However I can’t think of much in the way of violence offhand.”

    Certainly not on the scale of Nigeria or Egypt. But we have suffered race violence against Black churches in this country. Texas in 2010: about a dozen cases. Race hatred crimes in the US have traditionally not been hung on radical Muslims or communists. I don’t think the mainstream of racists are looking to establish a White state, just intimidate Blacks into submission.

    I think we also have to look at the impact of the well-publicized anti-Islam gestures in the past ten years: disrespect for Muslim books, and mistreatment of corpses come to mind as two recent ones. Islam may be iconoclastic, but a great symbolic import is given to matters one would think we Christians would understand.

    I think its difficult to dismiss history too easily. People and peoples have long memories. RS’s pro-Israel antennae may be quivering, but American foreign policy in the Middle East has not always been coherent in the past century. I don’t know that a rabid pro-Israel stance is in our nation’s best interest, nor do I think it is always morally good.

  • Brian English

    “Race hatred crimes in the US have traditionally not been hung on radical Muslims or communists. ”

    What do you consider anti-Jewish crimes?

    “disrespect for Muslim books, and mistreatment of corpses come to mind as two recent ones.”

    So Christians in Iraq, Turkey and Egypt deserve to be killed because of a fabricated story that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Gitmo and an obscure minister in Florida threatened to burn a Koran?

    And what mistreatment of corpses are you referring to?

    ” RS’s pro-Israel antennae may be quivering, but American foreign policy in the Middle East has not always been coherent in the past century.”

    What does US foreign policy in the Middle East have to do with the murder of indigenous Christians, who were there long before the Muslims were?

  • dry valleys

    The alleged “disrespect” shown to Islam is generally deserved, and certainly most of us would consider the Muslim reaction to be far too zealous. There was a case quite recently:


    What I would support is a totally secular state which neither sponsors religion, as in a theocracy, nor persecutes it. Isn’t the US government secular, by this definition? You don’t, for example, prefer Seventh-Day Adventists to Jehovah’s Witnesses, or have state-sponsored persecution of Morons.

    And I do think a lot of the anti-Christian sentiment we’ve seen stems from a perception that Christians are associated with the ancien regime, in former dictatorships. The clearest example is Syria, where Christians are not wel liked, but chiefly because they aare seen as a pillar of the regime. At the same time, the sect to which the president belongs is far more unpopular, because it’s viewed as more culpable.

    That is the sad state a country will end up in when it pomotes sectarian and tribal traditions, when one group is in favour and is in its own turn persecuted.

    What, in short, the Middle East and North Africa need is what we have, a government which treats individuals as men and women. This is denied by both secular tyrannies, of the kind which still exist in the likes of Syria, or Algeria, and theocracies, where they ddon’t just persecute non-Muslims, but people they deem heeretical, which staggeringly enough happens to be whichever school of thought the ruling elite doesn’t belong to.


    As we have seen, to summarise, worldwide, the best hope for a fervent Christian or any other person is a secular liberal order. And the reason this order struggles to take root in the Middle East and North Africa is another thing which can be laid at the door of the former rulers, who despite no longer being literally present have utterly remade their countries in their own image.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Now, now, Brian, you must understand the rules:

    Problems with Israel in the Middle-East are what cause Moslems in the Philippines to attack Christians, Moslems to attack Hindus in India, Moslems to attack Buddhists in places like Indonesia, and to attack the Chinese, in China; ya see, it’s all Israel’s fault. Mumbai out of Palestine! It’s also what makes Shi’te Moslems attack Sunni Moslems—and for both sets to pile on the Ba’hai, and the Kurds.

    It’s also the Christians’ fault, because of European colonialism, even though Christian groups such as the Copts, and the Assyrians, are indigenous to the area, and pre-date the Moslem invaders, as well as the French, English and Americans (pretty much the western world, actually, except for the American Indians.)

    Christians are also to blame because Spain had the Inquisition, and General Franco was a bad man; he’s still dead by the way.

    Also, some Christians and non-Christians don’t respect the Koran, so they deserve to be attacked—even when the rioters happen to kill fellow Moslems as well—um, okay, forget that! That part doesn’t fit the narrative! Anyway, it’s all America’s fault. And Israel’s. And the lingering bad effects of colonialsm.

    Makes sense, no? (Okay, okay, that was sarc.)

    Okay, no, it really doesn’t make sense. I’ll put the Rules a simpler way!

    1. It’s always Israel’s, and America’s fault.

    2. If it’s not America’s, or Israel’s fault. . .

    3. See Rule #1.

    That’s basically what it boils down to.

  • dry valleys

    Those who take an interest in the history of Christianity in the Middle East may wish to go here:


    As you can imagine, a book written in the 1990s has been superseded by recent events, but is still worth reading to understand the historical context.

    I don’t know if there are any Christians in Israel, but there are quite a few in the West Bank, and there was apparently a bit of fighting between rival sects in Bethlehem (again) this year.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “What does US foreign policy in the Middle East have to do with the murder of indigenous Christians, who were there long before the Muslims were?”

    Nothing, logically. But I’m not the apologist for Islam you should be addressing on this point. As for race hatred crimes against Jews in the US, there haven’t been as many as against Blacks.

    As for your timetable, I’m aware that Christianity predates Islam by six centuries. But people seem more focused on recent events, as this thread bears out. It’s also the extremists of any religion or ideology who are the likely suspects for hate crimes. May I ask your point?

  • Brian English

    “Nothing, logically. But I’m not the apologist for Islam you should be addressing on this point.”

    Since you are the apologist for Islam who made this point, I would think you are the apologist for Islam I should be addressing.

    “May I ask your point?”

    Actually, l am trying to determine what your point is. What do any of your points have to do with the fact that 75% of those killed for their faith worldwide are Christians?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    This is no point, Brian—except for yet another attempt to put the blame on Israel/America, instead of the actual perpetrators—and gain attention, and stir up trouble.

    Do not engage, and don’t waste your precious time.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Brian, Sultan Knish has an excellent article at his website today, “Three Fundamental Mistakes in Dealing with Islam”; if you want a much more sensible change of pace, I highly recommend it. (When I last checked, it was the top post).

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