5 Myths about Christian Persecution

Given the interest in this subject, let’s go to the invaluable John Allen as he debunks a few myths. (via the also-invaluable New Advent)

French intellectual Régis Debray, a veteran leftist who fought alongside Che Guevara in Bolivia, has observed that anti-Christian persecution unfolds squarely in the political blind spot of the West — the victims are usually “too Christian” to excite the left, “too foreign” to interest the right.

As a contribution towards erasing that blind spot, let’s debunk five common myths about anti-Christian persecution.

Myth No. 1: Christians are vulnerable only where they’re a minority

Myth No. 2: It’s all about Islam

Myth No. 3: No one saw it coming

Myth No. 4: It’s only persecution if the motives are religious

Myth No. 5: Anti-Christian persecution is a right-wing issue

Okay, those are the myths as identified by Allen. Now, go read how he fleshes them out. It’s a keeper.

A little hate-chaser: thanks to the NY Times.

. . .priests’ wives should beware a religious tradition that views them, in the words of Damian, as “the clerics’ charmers, devil’s choice tidbits, expellers from paradise, virus of minds, sword of soul, wolfbane to drinkers, poison to companions, material of sinning, occasion of death … the female chambers of the ancient enemy, of hoopoes, of screech owls, of night owls, of she-wolves, of blood suckers.”

In our family we have a rule: you can argue with another once you can accurately articulate your opponent’s views back to him. This Times Op-Ed — which apparently was not opened for online comments — couldn’t manage it, and apparently did not want to be told so. Carl Olson tells them, anyway, in no uncertain terms.

And a Palate Cleanser to wash it all down with:

For almost all of her 40 years, a Suffolk-born psychiatric nurse-turned published poet and passionate atheist felt little but contempt for Catholicism. But then, in less than a year, after a springtime epiphany she was received into the Church. This is her journey.

I was most struck by her harrowing description of trying to find an open church in London:

I tried to find a church to stop in. St Patrick’s in Soho was closed for renovation. Churches around Liverpool Street were being used as art galleries or were only available for private hire. People were drinking out on the streets outside bars, in the early evening heat. I had never felt more hungry. I knew I couldn’t be a Quaker, sitting in a circle, untouched. I knew I couldn’t be a Protestant, pretending a wafer was the body of Christ.

I walked down street after street, feeling, for once, a foreigner in London. There were no churches open. The miracle of finding an open door with a lit candle at the tabernacle was suddenly nothing small. I was already attending Mass in Italy and praying through Communion, often in tears, sometimes simply awed. The most important part of all this, I realised, was being with Christ, was the liturgy itself. I walked for an hour without hope even of a Mass, just wanting to sit by the Blessed Sacrament (I hadn’t yet heard of adoration) but every church was closed, or given over to some other denomination or purpose.”

The nightmare of not being able to find an open church. Coming soon, to a place near you.

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

    Number 5 is good. But Mr Allen is biased because his media organ of origin has certainly covered Christian persecution for decades, despite Fr Barron’s recent (and questionable) dismissal of it.

  • Thomas R

    Neat article, but I think calling South Sudan “overwhelmingly Catholic” is not that accurate. From what I find it’s plurality Catholic at 39.7%, but that’s not even a majority. They have a fair amount of Anglicans and also still have a good deal of non-Christians, largely/mostly of indigenous-African religion.


    That’s a minor flaw I suppose, it’s just Sudan is something I researched a good deal so I noted it. Anyway the article also gives some mention to Catholics and Christians doing persecution, which Todd should like and that I maybe underestimated.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Oh I saw that conversion story yesterday. I love conversion stories, and that was a moving one. I am especially fascinated by converts who come from a scientific background, since I relate to that. Unfortunately I didn’t understand fully what caused her to see the light. It could have been fleshed out more.

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

    I enjoyed the conversion story as well–looking forward to reading more by her.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I’m frankly puzzled by this article.

    He seems more interested in making opposing Christian persecution palatable to the Left—and reminding the left of the “Liberation Theology” marytrys (apparently in hopes of winning their sympathy; ordinary Christian martyrs apprently not being good enough)—than he is in actually, well—opposing Christian persecution.

    He also spreads his net too wide. When everyone’s guilty, nobody is.

    Not a real robust response.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Fighting “Extremism” and “Intolerance” is really too vague, and sweeping, a goal—and won’t do much to help actual Christians, suffering actual persecution. (Or anyone else suffering persecution, for that matter. We all agree that “Extremism” and “Intolerance” are bad things; okay. But who, and what, are we opposing here, and what exactly are we supposed to do, and what particular group of Christians needs our help the most at the moment, and how can we best help them?)

  • Greta

    Did Christ ever preach anywhere calling for tolerance? Was this on his lips when he was overturning tables and chasing the moneychangers from the temple? Or how about when he told Peter to get behind him Satan? Is calling Peter Satan like those who compare the holocaust of abortion in the USA supported by the Demcrats to the holocaust in Germany supported by the nazi’s? Mention that and you are guilty of the sin of intolerance. To some it would seem that chisled on the tablets by God long ago was the eleventh commandment of tolerance even in the face of pure evil like abortion. Some confuse love your enemy with never standing up for solid Church teaching or speaking ill when 54 million babies are being slaughtered. To me, the greatest persecution of all time are indeed these babies being slaughtered and the fact that a majority of voting Catholics supported the most abortion loving president in our countries history. If this is not stopped soon, even the rocks will cry out and if we say anything to those who vote to support this, we are not being tolerant.

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

    “I’m frankly puzzled by this article.”

    Of course. Mythbusters often get this response.

    “He also spreads his net too wide. When everyone’s guilty, nobody is.”


    According to my understanding, when everyone’s guilty, Christ saves. When everyone’s guilty, it’s a human thing, not a we-elder-sons-are-virtuous thing.

  • Peggy

    I was in London in 2010 and attended mass at Corpus Christi on Maiden Lane in the West End. That church and others were being targeted by vandals—statues smashed (some dumped on the altar), paintings ripped from frames , etc. Corpus Christi hoped to remain open during the day, although the police were recommending against it. It wouldn’t surprise me to find locked doors in such an environment, but how sad that would be. I guess Westminster Cathedral would likely always be open.

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    The persecution of Christians and specifically Catholics is becoming more and more persistent and more overt. All you need is a few Bill Maher types to roil the waters. Then there are questionable Catholics like John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi giving scandal and preaching sacrilege to make us look even worse. Newt’s conversion hasn’t redeemed him at all in the eyes of most (I’m excluding myself because I’ve always loved him, warts and all – but don’t necessarily see him as presidential). There is so much hypocrisy poisoning our national well right now – and political correctness is going to absolutely destroy our nation. We don’t need a failed presidency to do it!

    I have faith, however. God has protected us for the most part and there are enough of us of faith to perhaps continue to attract His kindness. I hope. And pray!