Where Complaints About Christian Persecution Fall Flat

Where Complaints About Christian Persecution Fall Flat February 6, 2017

Catholic blogger Rebecca Hamilton writes often about international Christian persecution, and I’d like to critique her post “Christian Persecution: What Can We Do?” Her outrage perplexes me, but let me return to that in a moment.

Persecution in the West

In the West, Hamilton admits, Christians aren’t being killed. Still, she says that they are being censored, mocked, reviled, harassed, silenced, marginalized, and forced to violate their faith.

She doesn’t make clear the insults that she’s talking about, so I can only guess. But let me be clear: I’m a strong supporter of free speech. Where a Christian can’t speak freely, neither can I. Where she shows me Christians denied the right to free speech, we’re on the same side. (But where Christians are being denied the “right” to impose their beliefs on others, I have no sympathy.)

Lord Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, put claims of Christian persecution in the West in perspective:

I am always very uneasy when people sometimes in [Britain] or the United States talk about persecution of Christians. . . . I think we are made to feel uncomfortable at times. . . . But that kind of level of not being taken very seriously or being made fun of; I mean for goodness sake, grow up. . . .

Don’t confuse it with the systematic brutality and often murderous hostility which means that every morning you get up wondering if you and your children are going to make it through the day. That is different, it’s real. It’s not quite what we’re facing in Western society.

Third World persecution

Let’s return to Hamilton and her post about Christian persecution. She says:

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, one hundred thousand Christians have died for their faith each year in the last decade.

No, that’s not quite what it says.

“Dying for your faith” brings to mind a pastor, calmly speaking his Christian truth, being attacked and beaten to death. Yes, this would fit, but this study casts its net much more broadly than that. In fact, by their definition of martyrdom, anyone simply living as a Christian—whether or not they ever evangelized or even made public their Christianity—who was killed by “human hostility” counts as a martyr. This can be Christians dying in a Soviet prison camp or Nazi death camp, or killed during a war. They don’t have to be killed because they were Christians, they just have to be Christian and killed.

Hamilton marvels at this number, and, yes, it is huge. So huge, in fact, that I wonder where it comes from. Have I not been paying attention?

The number turns out to be almost exclusively from a ten-year period of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A decent fraction of the 5.4 million people killed were Christians. Do a little math, and you get 100,000 per year. A less hysterical Catholic blogger cites another study that gives 2,123 Christians killed that year for their faith, not 100,000.

The problem

Hamilton looks at this tragedy and is shocked and outraged at the deaths of one million Christians. But why is this the takeaway? Why not be shocked and outraged at the deaths of 5.4 million people?

I can only interpret her message as, “A million of my people were killed! We must take action! (Yes, millions of non-Christians were killed as well, but I’m not much concerned about them right now.)”

Following her lead, I should be uninterested in this million Christians. They’re not my people, after all. I guess she’s pushing me to care only about atheists killed?

I’m confident that Hamilton would reject this interpretation. I don’t for a moment think that she cares nothing of the non-Christians killed. But then why does she write only about tragedies befalling Christians when the tragedies befalling people are much greater? I’m not a Christian, but I do fit in the category of “people.” Broadened in this way, her message would speak to everyone, including me. As it is, she’s deliberately excluded me.

Take action!

And what action does she recommend? Prayer. No, I’m not kidding. Pope Francis encouraged Christians to pray for persecuted Christians, and that’s where she’s putting her money.

While prayer may help lift your burden of worry about tragedy around the world, I’ve seen no evidence that it will actually improve things on the ground. Isn’t that what you’re concerned about? In this instance, bearing that worry, instead of relieving it through prayer, might keep the pressure on us to find solutions in the here and now.

Christians think the entire world was created solely for them
in the same way that the Eiffel Tower was built solely to hold up a flag.

— commenter Avicenna

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 9/30/13.)

Image credit: Wikimedia

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sophia Sadek

    Christian prayer can improve conditions on the ground by distracting them from doing something more damaging.

  • Kevin K

    Interestingly, I just looked up the refugee statistics…and the largest percentage of refugees entering the US in 2016 were from Congo.

    Go figure.

  • Lucy

    It seems to me as though much of the “persecution” the Christians here talk about is nothing more than the fact that it is not considered “cool” to worship in public – it’s something that goody-two-shoes Christians do.

    I’m sorry, but being labeled a goody-goody, goody-two-shoes, or even an asshole, and being teased accordingly, is not persecution. Especially when your group has more power. Even bullying is not necessarily a part of persecution – persecution happens to groups, and bullying often happens to individuals, so even when bullying is severe, it is more likely to be an individual hate campaign than persecution. Yes, bullying often plays into marginalization because it is more likely to happen to marginalized individuals than privileged ones, but calling Christians goody-goodies or uncool, telling them their talk of hell isn’t very nice, or not allowing them to discriminate as much as they want, is not, even at its worst, the type of bullying that plays into marginalization of Christians (there can’t be – Christians are not marginalized), let alone persecution, which is a problem of much greater magnitude than even severe bullying. Speaking of severe bullying of marginalized groups, it seems that a lot of these Christians who cry persecution are not too concerned about that, either, and even actively encourage it (Good News Club, anyone?)

    If you are a Christian who does not buy into the false persecution narrative in which Christians in Christian majority countries, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about those Christians who believe Christians are persecuted here in the USA or other Western countries as well as in the countries where they actually are persecuted.

  • lady_black

    Christians are not persecuted in the West, PERIOD.
    Here in the United States, we hold certain principles that are, IMHO, far too deferential to fundagelicalism. The old adage about giving an inch and taking a mile could have been written about them.
    We have free speech here, and freedom of religious thought and action. It applies to all religions, and no religion at all. But here’s the thing about free speech… It doesn’t come with the right to an audience, and it doesn’t come free from consequence. Only the government is prevented from punishing you for your speech, and even then, not when the government is functioning as an employer.
    Others are free to walk away from you, mock and revile you, insult you, shame you, censure you, and even fire you for your speech. If you want to test that theory, walk into your boss’s office and tell him/her what you really think of him/her. See, EVERYONE has the same freedom of speech as you have. That is not “persecution.” And you are not religiously free to force others to adhere to your beliefs, either. EVERYONE has freedom of religion. That is not “persecution” either.

    • Dangitbobby

      You can certainly walk into your bosses office and tell him off. He’s also free to unemploy you.

      And neither your boss nor you can be arrested for what transpired, assuming everything was done legally.

      That’s the key here – free speech is free because the government can’t toss you in jail for it.

      I’ve seen it on both sides, liberal and conservatives wine when they are “censored” on a private blog or forum; I swear people need a good civics class – freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences and nor does it mean you can just say what you want when you want. You can’t be tossed in jail for what you say – you CAN be fired, mocked, made fun of, told to go away, kicked out out of a private establishment and more – because not only does the other person have freedom of speech, we also have freedom of and from assembly.

  • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

    I might have “persecuted” a Christian a couple of weeks ago. There we were, my friend and I, enjoying Happy Hour with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Well, okay, it was chicken wings and a nice Chianti, because they don’t serve fava beans.

    So we’re minding our own business at a table, when the single guy with a pitcher of beer and one glass invades our scene and starts spouting off about ‘good news’ and ‘saviors.’ Worse, our disinterest seemed to drive him on.

    Yeah, I went all Satanic on him, playing the Vox Satanas bit I do online. He ultimately fled, leaving his pitcher and full beer behind.

    I’m SURE he felt persecuted, but please note, HE started it with unsolicited proselytizing. I enjoyed it way too much, then I felt kind of bad for him. I was not nice. I was not kind. If I wanted to hear that shit I’d go to church, not Happy Hour.

    • Kevin K

      Good grief, I would have called the manager and had him bounced.

      • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

        He bounced himself, and left all that beer behind. Betcha he ran for his pastor, having come in contact with a self-described Satanist. 🙂

        • Another option to mess with his head would be to pretend to be sexually aroused by him (assuming you’re a guy). Tell him how well a good-looking guy like he could do in the gay community. I imagine that would remind him of an appointment he’s late for elsewhere.

        • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

          Nope, not a guy, not sure I could fake attraction to his fuzzy-faced New Yorkishness.

        • Kodie

          You know, fucking with people in the wrong way is just not everyone’s style. Sometimes, you have to come right out and say it. That’s been my problem all along – they feel completely free to speak out loud, at any time, in any setting. They are used to nobody telling them simply to fuck off with that nutshit. They are used to people listening politely and going away with the false idea that anyone cares. Why do we have to coddle these overly sensitive deadweights? We are socially trained to offer them more respect than they offer us.

        • Agreed. “Leave me alone” will be the best response for many people.

        • Realist1234

          Do you normally tell strangers you are sexually aroused by them?

        • Richard Olson

          Do you, Realist1234, normally tell strangers you are sexually aroused by them? Why? Do strangers invite this sort of unwarranted intrusiveness from you? Don’t you think you are a creep when you do this?

          Oh, what, you don’t do this? Then why the fuck do you come from out of nowhere and ask Bob if he does it?

          If you have some pertinent point you wish to make, are you not capable of clearly stating it? Is it necessary to go the juvenile immature asshole route?

          P.S. It is not good for your image, and as a Christer engaging on a non-religious forum the content of your remark does not represent your faction well.

        • Realist1234

          I would suggest you read the thread, particularly Bob’s advice to dagobarbz.

          ‘A non-religious forum’ that constantly talks about religion, particularly Christianity. Right.

        • Kodie

          Maybe it goes over your stupid shit head, but we’re really talking about Christians, the people, who invade our lives. Why shouldn’t we talk about them and their delusions? Bob made a suggestion to respond to an inappropriate conversation with inappropriate conversation. You only see one type as inappropriate, that’s what’s wrong with CHRISTIANITY. You lose your ability to act civilized, you are basically in favor of walking right up to strangers and humping them.

        • Realist1234

          ‘you are basically in favor of walking right up to strangers and humping them.’ eh?

          Im not the one who suggested pretending to be sexually aroused by a stranger. You’ll see from my previous post that I did think this Christian probably was being inappropriate, so Im not sure what you are talking about.

          You seem like quite a violent person, both in language and suggested action to others who dare to disagree with you. I suggest therapy.

        • adam

          “You seem like quite a violent person, both in language and suggested action to others who dare to disagree with you.”

          YEAH, tell her about her violent ideology: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg

        • Kodie

          No, I’ve been folliowing your dumbass end of discussion for a while you’ve been here. BOB DIDN”T SUGGEST STARTING IT. You religious idiots don’t fucking get it through your fucking skull. Walking up to strangers to proselytize them is as seriously fucked in the head as walking up to someone and telling them they sexually arouse them. Bob never suggested that, he was talking about a strategic response to the uninvited Jesus-fucker. You seem to think something Bob said (he didn’t say it, he merely suggested it as a response) was wrong, but you are too delusional and uncivilized to understand that proselytizing to strangers in a bar is what started the whole encounter, your tribe started it, and it’s as unwanted as a stranger walking up and humping on your body. That’s what idiots like you don’t fucking get.

        • Richard Olson

          Oh, shit, I just read the comment by Bob you are responding to. I said to you (only using more words) what you said to Bob. So, it is I who is in the wrong in this instance, and I offer my apology.

          I don’t believe in supernatural nuthin’, but I do believe in accountability for my actions. But then, Socrates set the whole matter to rights in his instruction about how to think to Euthyphro, didn’t he?

        • adam

          Hey, it happens.

          but you get credit for coming clean, and an upvote for the same.

        • Realist1234

          Apology accepted. Its a pity more people didnt accept accountability for their actions.

        • adam

          I dont normally, but then again, I dont barge into other peoples conversations telling them about imaginary beings that can save your imaginary soul either…

        • Realist1234

          ‘barge into other peoples conversations’ – seriously? You think making a comment on a blog is doing that?

          Btw you have just done the same.

        • Kodie

          Christ, you fucking dumbass, he’s talking about the stranger at the bar suddenly approaching to talk about Jesus. You want to comment on “inappropriate” sexual advances, but you don’t notice how rude your fucking tribe can be. Why don’t we, as a society, consider bring religion up as shocking and rude and presumptious and asking for a punch in the face, like we would a sexual advance? You didn’t even notice it. You think that’s normal. Go fuck YOURSELF.

        • Realist1234

          Ah, I thought he was talking about me and my comment. My mistake.

          But it doesnt say much for you that you advocate violence against a person who dares to talk about God. Sounds like an atheist regime like North Korea. Maybe you’d feel at home there.

          As for your last instruction, I think thats anatomically difficult.

        • Kodie

          You’re “glad to hear” that Bob doesn’t normally tell strangers that he is sexually aroused by them, BUT you don’t think joining strangers at their table at a bar to tell them about Jesus is just as inappropriate? You’re going to tell me about North Korea, we’re just talking about being polite and stuff. Why do you clutch your pearls at Bob’s solution, but you still justify sitting with strangers to tell them about Jesus and that shouldn’t invite some kind of response, such as Bob suggests, or a punch in the face, or the get the fuck out, go fuck yourself kind of comment? That’s why we talk about your fucked up religion, you have no boundaries, but you judged Bob for making an idea about how to respond to uninvited proselytizing.

          I sense that you still don’t have a fucking clue what’s wrong with the picture.

        • adam

          “But it doesnt say much for you that you advocate violence against a person who dares to talk about God.”

          Advocating violence?
          Where does Kodie do that?

          “Sounds like an atheist regime like North Korea.”

          Well THIS sure does:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8405941ed9f5c1c9bf717f00591e0b5455633b20f6c5705754c71d7decaa52be.jpg

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fbee2ae71608c49ff6cd3778051384d5ac950eab0a8c65082bd7d40a20822ade.jpg

        • Realist1234

          ‘Advocating violence?
          Where does Kodie do that?’

          – ‘Why don’t we, as a society, consider bring religion up as shocking and rude and presumptious and asking for a punch in the face,’

        • Kodie

          Would you punch someone for making remarks about their sexual arousal to you? You imply that it’s something we should not do, but you don’t think approaching strangers to market the lord to them is equally offensive. Plus, you missed the part where the proselytizing came first, and instead of punching them in the face, or telling them to go fuck themselves, or ignoring him which seemed to encourage the religious idiot who actually did it, Bob suggests telling the intrusive Christian stranger that they sexually aroused him.

          You are fucked in the head if you don’t understand who started it and why it might be finished in a way that makes you uncomfortable. It’s supposed to, you fucking dick.

        • adam

          “As for your last instruction, I think thats anatomically difficult.”

          Yeah, but you can usually find a friend: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65b51a914367249f1fd520e931d29188c14c827b7462e26b4f1560c5ae20d920.jpg

        • adam

          “But it doesnt say much for you that you advocate violence against a person who dares to talk about God.”

          Personally I advocate mental health help for delusional people. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3641484758a605f709b7a067bee6bed3f832a3ee135e160e4a32b93e19bfabd3.png

        • Michael Neville

          How would you react if you were sitting in a bar with friends and an insurance salesman came up to you with a pitch for life insurance? Especially after you told him to go away and he continued to explain the difference between term and whole life insurance, you might feel somewhat annoyed at this guy. Quite likely you’d never buy insurance from him even if you were in the market for it.

          But certain Christians have no problems barging into a conversation to tell complete strangers about Jesus. You probably feel they’re persecuted if someone tells them to fuck off.

        • Realist1234

          ‘Especially after you told him to go away’

          – It seems they didnt do that.

          ‘You probably feel they’re persecuted if someone tells them to fuck off.’

          – no, not at all.

        • Michael Neville

          ‘You probably feel they’re persecuted if someone tells them to fuck off.’

          – no, not at all.

          I’m surprised. You certainly were happy to throw around accusations of advocating violence against Christians and comparisons to atheist North Korea. So I was sure you’d see a proselytizer being told to fuck off as extreme persecution, almost as bad as Christians not being allowed to stick a 10 ton stone Ten Commandments memorial on the courthouse lawn.

        • adam

          “‘barge into other peoples conversations’ – seriously? You think making a comment on a blog is doing that?”

          No,
          From the post we are responding to from
          dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

          :

          “So we’re minding our own business at a table, when the single guy with a pitcher of beer and one glass invades our scene and starts spouting off about ‘good news’ and ‘saviors.’ Worse, our disinterest seemed to drive
          him on.”

        • No, not normally.

        • Realist1234

          Im glad to hear it.

    • Realist1234

      Perhaps it wasnt appropriate of him, but if it turns out, as I think it will, that Christianity is true, you might regret treating him like that. But I take your point.

      • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

        Not entirely, I don’t. I feel a teeny bit sorry for him is all.

      • adam

        ” but if it turns out, as I think it will, that Christianity is true, you might regret treating him like that.”

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d21cb1651757d20bee5dab96978ec207bd12f3b92353b07cfb82eae1e96cbe43.jpg

        Ahhhhhhh……………..the love of Jesus.

        How sweet!

        • Realist1234

          Judgement comes to us all. You can hardly blame Him if you continue to reject His offer of life. If you dont want any part of Jesus now, then your will will be granted.

        • adam

          “Judgement comes to us all.”

          Unless you can demonstrate this, it is IMAGINARY.

          ” You can hardly blame Him if you continue to reject His offer of life.”

          I know he is supposed to be a God, but do YOU really accept this kind of THREAT as ‘Love’?

          ” If you dont want any part of Jesus now, then your will will be granted.,”

          Yes, in the same way I dont want to worship Spiderman, Thor or Ganesh or any IMAGINARY characters from stories.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e71894366d405a2560c124d806904b75ddf8371641ab58bc4449b6c60b966fb8.jpg

          Of course, you can ‘cure’ my atheism, by demonstrating that YOUR “God” is anything but IMAGINARY….

        • Richard Olson

          You are aware that adam is an atheist, and yet from your presumed superior perch you patronize with a passive-aggressive lecture cloaked as good-Christian concern.

          Round up evidence, even just a scintilla of same, that your supernatural faith creation is real. Then bring that evidence with you when you choose to come and preach, and demonstrate it before the sermon.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Seriously, fuck sermons. If their god is not non-existent/dead/an invalid/unaware of humanity/uninterested in humanity, then it can set up a universal forum with all of humanity at once and get the Q&A over with.

        • Realist1234

          I was commenting on his mockery of Jesus. I stated the facts.

        • Kodie

          You asserted your delusion. There’s a difference.

        • Richard Olson

          Your comment states your faith beliefs, and that is the only fact it contains.

        • Realist1234

          No its a fact, you just dont realise it yet.

        • Susan

          No it is a fact

          Stating that something is a fact doesn’t make it so.

          On what basis can you demonstrate that it is a fact?

        • Richard Olson

          And the elevator conveying the respect I have for your conversational/dispute acumen ends its descent-accelerated-into-plummet with a thundering slam onto the base at the bottom of its shaft.

        • Realist1234

          I think you mean ‘lift’.

        • Richard Olson

          I could barely read your remark through all the swirling dust and bits of debris. On this side of the pond the maintenance superintendent will google “elevator” because “lift” would result in a list of height enhancement devices for a pair of shoes, Uber phone listings, or some other damned things useless for the task at hand.

        • adam
        • adam

          #alternatefacts

          The lifeblood of the DELUSIONAL and DISHONEST.

        • adam

          “No its a fact, you just dont realise it yet.”

          Well ‘facts’ can be demonstrated, so demonstrate that it is a fact and not a product of human IMAGINATION.

        • adam

          ” I stated the facts.”

          Then YOU can demonstrate that these are #realfacts and not #alternativefacts?

        • adam

          Well ‘facts’ can be demonstrated, so demonstrate that it is a fact and not a product of human IMAGINATION.

        • adam

          “and yet from your presumed superior perch you patronize with a passive-aggressive lecture cloaked as good-Christian concern.”

          What a poetic analysis of a veiled threat.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I asked Jesus if he ever made such an offer. No reply after continuous asking for years up to the posting of this comment… nothing… The Jesus approved criticism of God (as used by Elijah against people claiming the existence of God) is to ask, “Jesus, are you on the shitter?”

        • Kodie

          “Jesus are you on the shitter” is going to be my new “goddammit”.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Add, “F***ing smells!” (stars depending on where profanity is prohibited)

        • MNb

          He is dead. So he doesn’t offer anything. So there is nothing he can be blamed of.
          Atheist thinking is usually simple.

        • Realist1234

          nah.

        • adam
      • Giauz Ragnarock

        “you might regret treating him like that”

        Oh, goodie! You can’t get any God to peddle your dishonest authoritarian bullshit, so you go about making threats.

  • Kevin K

    Christians killed during war are “persecuted.” Muslims killed during war are “getting what they deserved.”

    • A lot of Muslims do the same thing, counting any Muslim killed due to war as a martyr (this includes simply soldiers who were KIA).

      • Kevin K

        Of course, this is from the perspective of the modern American Christian…true followers of all that is moral and good and true, including the short-fingered Oompah Loompah occupying (as in an “occupying force”) the Oval Office.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, that’s the thing I think of first when Christians are persecuted. I mean, overseas, certainly Christians are treated very poorly and persecuted in lands where Christianity doesn’t dominate, for the same reasons we permit acting like an asshole to anyone who might be a Muslim in the US. I just find it hard to sympathize with hypocrites, first of all, but the idea that people anywhere are treated poorly for whatever shitty reason, bottom line, they’re shitty reasons all over the world, including here. Whenever I hear Christians bringing up Christian persecution in other countries where it’s not just the War on Christmas kind of bullshit, I feel like…. it’s just a form of ignorance. If there is some religious group being the majority and working its will over minority Christians in a violent way, the irony just misses them. They would blame it on some orthodox non-Christians, just like we tend to do about Muslims here, and why they hate us! It’s just a vicious stupid cycle. Religions that hate other religions because those religions hate them creates a stupid and violent “cause” because those Christians we are supposed to sympathize, but not anyone else.

    • Realist1234

      As a Christian I certainly view the numerous Muslims being targeted by IS as being persecuted. Its a shame that because of the image that certain Christians in the US have, all are tarred with the same brush.

  • busterggi

    Prayer – when the least you can do is the least you can do.

    • Benny S.

      OMG! My new favorite sentence!!! xox

    • Michael Murray

      Excellent. You could even go shorter:

      “Prayer – the least you can do”

      It would fit on a T-shirt.

      • Jim Jones

        We should start a list of dual meaning phrases:

        “Prayer is the least you can do.”
        “No evidence is good enough for believers.”

        • Michael Murray

          Very good!

          I cycled past a church tonight with a chalk board outside saying “This is a sign God loves you”. Tempted to get my own chalk board.

    • Greg G.

      Prayer – when the most you can do is the least you can do.

    • Halbe
    • epeeist

      Prayer – how to do nothing and still pretend you are helping.

  • eric

    And what action does she recommend? Prayer. No, I’m not kidding

    Given the extent of Christian persecution in the first world/west, the recommended action fits the need.

    • Kodie

      Yeah, there are a ton of situations I wish they most they would ever do is just pray than complain and alter policies and threaten people or act in violence or aggression. Just pray is fine a lot of the time, actually!

  • eric

    I found this bit somewhat amusing:

    Christian bashing is far more popular in today’s world than defending the human rights of Christians. Every time I post on the issue, I get a spate of comments telling me that no such problem exists. There are usually a few profane and truly ugly comments mixed in with them. I delete these things the same way I would swat a fly; the same way I delete Holocaust deniers and gay bashers and woman haters; with speed and quickness.

    Now I know: private blog, not the same as censorship, no violation of free speech rights, etc. Yet it seems hypocritical in spirit if not in the letter, for someone to complain about how Christian human rights aren’t defended “in today’s world” and then gleefully talk about how they delete comments they find objectionable like swatting a fly. Perhaps what she objects to is people treating her words the way she treats theirs?
    ***
    I’m also a little wierded out by her implicit assumption that Christians *aren’t already* praying for those who suffer for their faith. I still occasionally go to my parents’ church, and as far as I can tell there has never been a service where they *didn’t* pray for them. Granted, standard services are weekly while she’s asking people to pray daily, but really, that’s kind of like telling people they ought to hope for world peace.

    • Kevin K

      Yeah, I wandered over there to see if there was anyone who even offered up the slightest bit of “why not do something IN ADDITION TO prayer”, but decided not to bother posting the obvious. That without human action, prayers are worthless.

      Prayers didn’t stop Hitler from gassing the Jews, nor Stalin from murdering 20 million of his own people, nor did it prevent Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” (or whatever else). Prayer didn’t cause the airplanes to miss the World Trade Center towers, nor extinguish the fires before they collapsed.

      And on and on and on. 5000 years of evidence of the futility of prayer in the absence of human intervention.

      How do people even think that this kind of declaration is the slightest bit helpful? I’m genuinely flummoxed.

    • adam

      “I’m also a little wierded out by her implicit assumption that Christians
      *aren’t already* praying for those who suffer for their faith.”

      Why would they?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/da97513ded992878f70d716a46b1d083ee748a342fee4fca91634ecf854646be.jpg

      Dont they trust the “God” they ‘believe’ in?

      • Joe

        Dont they trust the “God” they ‘believe’ in?

        Would you, given his alleged track record?

        • Jack Baynes

          But wouldn’t it be impolite to pray for God to relieve the suffering of people if it turns out that God’s playing out bet with Satan over whether his mistreated followers will still love him?

      • Realist1234

        Prayer is about talking to God, why is that so strange? Jesus Himself said your Father already knows what you ‘need’, but we are still to talk to Him. Perhaps you dont bother talking to your wife or friends, but if you are supposed to have a relationship with them, most would find that pretty strange.

        • adam

          “Prayer is about talking to God, why is that so strange?”

          Think about it:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e71894366d405a2560c124d806904b75ddf8371641ab58bc4449b6c60b966fb8.jpg

          “Jesus Himself said your Father already knows what you ‘need’, but we are still to talk to Him. ”

          I talk to my Dad all the time, he is still alive though.

          “Perhaps you dont bother talking to your wife or friends, ”

          Now that would almost be as strange and claiming to communicate with the supernatural.

        • Joe

          Perhaps you dont bother talking to your wife or friends, but if you are supposed to have a relationship with them, most would find that pretty strange.

          In a relationship, I’d expect them to talk back. Most would find it pretty strange if they didn’t.

        • Greg G.

          I talk to my wife and my friends and they talk back to me. That’s how I know we have a relationship. I talk to Carrie Anne Moss but she never responds. That’s how I know our relationship is a figment of my imagination.

        • busterggi

          Maybe Carrie Anne is quietly nodding so slightly that you can’t see it?

          Maybe if you kill a goat for her..;.

        • Greg G.

          I have sacrificed chickens at KFC. We don’t have any Kentucky Fried Goat restaurants near me. How about if I sacrifice a Greek salad with extra feta?

    • Pofarmer

      Pretty sure she doesn’t allow comments any more. As this is a link to an old article. I’m sure that she did get many hateful comments, she belongs to a hateful organization.

    • Great point about the free speech/persecution hypocrisy. I’m collecting blogs that I’m banned at.

      • Herald Newman

        I take it this is some kind of personal challenge? What do you do once you’ve hit a milestone?

        • oh, no–nothing formal like that. It’s an inverted world where honest dialogue is punished.

        • Jim Jones

          It’s not so much punishment as capitulation.

      • T-Paine

        It is an honor to be banned at Charisma News and Breitbart.

        • Michael Neville

          It only took two posts for me to be banned at FREEP. It took five posts to be banned at Conservapedia. My conservative friend brags that he got banned at Conservapedia after only one post (he may be politically conservative but he’s not a YEC).

        • Joe

          While I never got banned from the FaceBook pages of Frank Turek and William Lane Craig, I eventually gave up posting due to the futility of trying to have a discussion with presuppositionalists. “Reasonable Faith” my ass. There were very few who were reasonable on that page.

    • katiehippie

      She has deleted most of my nicer comments where I was respectfully disagreeing with her. She left my nastier ones to “prove” the persecution she endures. She is a piece of work.

      • Joe

        Mine never made it to the page in the first place. On was simply What about all people?.

        Considering we have to deal with people like SeeNoEvo, Frank and $teele on a regular basis, the hypocrisy is maddening.

        • T-Paine

          I just checked. Your comment is posted.

        • Joe

          Well, a Christian has made a liar out of me for the first time.

        • Jim Jones

          Christians brag about how with Jesus they are so brave they can walk through the valley of death and fear no evil. But atheists (and others) make their peepees hurt.

          Psalm 23:4? Hah!

      • The Christian story doesn’t play well without tipping the field to its advantage, hence the appeal of trading votes for getting favors from government.

      • eric

        That’s really bad, and I had no idea. Thanks for letting us know!

  • eric

    Last comment for a while, as I’m over contributing:

    The number turns out to be almost exclusively from a ten-year period of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A decent fraction of the 5.4 million people killed were Christians.

    …and that makes complete sense, when you realize that 80% of the Congolese population is Christian. That means that most of the armed militia factions are composed of Christians. So when they kill each other, they’re killing mostly Christians. And when they kill civilians, they’re killing mostly Christians. This whole argument is as silly as saying that in one four year period in the US, 155,000 Christians per year died for their faith. That period was our civil war, and that number of Christians dying is approximately true, but saying “for their faith” gets the motives and reasons of the conflict largely wrong.

    And just to add a bit of irony, the one group in the Congo that we might justifiably claim has been fighting and dying for their Christian faith – rather than fighting a civil war for many reasons and just so happening to be Christian when they die – is…the LRA. Possibly one of the most despicable, murderous, groups of fanatics on the planet. So even if we want to consider the Christians fighting and dying in the Congo civil war, I’d frankly be praying more for the Christians who were victims of the LRA than the LRA fighters who died. If I were to pray for the LRA, I’d frankly be praying that they would give up their particular version of Christianity. Because that would do the Congo a lot more good than them continuing to ‘live according to their Christian faith.’

    • Joe

      That means that most of the armed militia factions are composed of Christians.

      This is no place for logic. Alternative facts only please.

  • Joe

    I get the feeling she’s just finished watching Silence at the cinema.

    • Herald Newman

      Except that the post is 3-4 years old.

      • Joe

        OK then: Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.

        • Jim Jones

          Isn’t that Trump’s “extreme vetting” now?

        • Joe

          I believe so. Only a particular brand of Christian can sit through that movie.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “for goodness sake, grow up. . . .”
    Sense from a cleric.

  • Jack Baynes

    Don’t forget all the Christians that die when God has a temper tantrum about same sex marriage! or Feminism.
    It’s Persecution!

  • epicurus

    Not being allowed to enjoy and exploit long held cultural and institutional privilege and advantage is often viewed as persecution by many comfortable suburban first world Christians. They don’t seem to be concerned as much about fairness and equality as they are about about hanging on to that privileged position.

  • Anne Fenwick

    Wow. Just wow.

    Well, she says Christians are being “mocked, reviled, harassed, silenced, marginalized…”

    I daresay Christians do regularly hear that their ideas are silly, that they foment hate and misery, that we disapprove of them, and that we’re not interested in including the opinions of their god in social and political debates. I expect it does make them feel harassed, and I suppose people under those circumstances may prefer to fall silent. That IS free speech, but I understand that it’s hard to take.

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to add to it by mocking and disapproving of her call to prayer in the face of atrocities, and criticizing the self-righteous narcissism of people who complain about the disapproval of others while displaying an utter dependency on the secular strategies of those others for any kind of help or progress.

    • Michael Neville

      we’re not interested in including the opinions of their god in social and political debates.

      It’s actually their opinions of what their unknowable, ineffable god is thinking. Ever notice that when someone claims to know the mind of their god that this god has exactly the same opinions and prejudices as its mouthpiece?

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        I say no god says anything. It’s quite depressing that none of the people who disagree with me are gods- NONE of them seem to notice! That’s special kind of hopelessness.

  • Aegis

    Christians are being mocked? So…well, let’s face it, Christian ideas have barely changed. What’s changed about society lately that mockery of Christian ideas is happening more?

    For a start, if you’re not Christian, it’s no longer a de-facto social death sentence to say so in a lot of the Western world. Christians used to get a lot of respect, back in the day, sure. But that was a day of monarchies and much more violent dominance, when Christians could kill with the power of the state behind them.

    It’s astonishing the number of people who long for ‘the old days’ when Christianity was treated more respectfully, while ignoring that Christianity kept itself treated well by pulling the kind of shit they now claim makes Islam more evil than they ever were.

    • Michael Neville

      It’s astonishing the number of people who long for ‘the old days’ when Christianity was treated more respectfully

      Many Christians, particularly fundamentalists and evangelicals, are seeing Christian privilege slipping away. The days of Christian prayers in schools, sticking the Ten Commandments on a ten ton block on the courthouse lawn, and the like are going away or are gone. This is persecution as in “we can’t have our way any more, WAH!”

    • eric

      It’s astonishing the number of people who long for ‘the old days’ when Christianity was treated more respectfully…

      Its astonishing to me that baptists and Catholics don’t remember that in the “good old days,” the mainline protestant majority excluded them from society and in some cases made their practices illegal. If the first amendment’s religious clauses are gutted, it won’t just be atheism that gets a knife in the back. Many areas will have sectarian conflicts over which flavor of Christianity gets endorsed and established, and which ones are declared legally blasphemous.

      • Aegis

        See also Ireland, where there are Catholic* schools whose students need an army escort to get there ’cause the route walks them through a Protestant neighbourhood.

        I guess ‘that was then, this is now’ is in force as much as ever. Bottom line is that it can get them power now, and every zealot knows that the world will be juuuuust fine forever once they get into power.

        *This might actually be the other way around. The only people I think care which is which are the people making it dangerous for kids to walk to school, so fuck that.

  • Mr. A

    Hell, in the west, atheists are worse off than christians and I wouldn’t even say we’re being persecuted. Mild discrimination maybe, but persecution? No.

    • Realist1234

      You clearly dont live in the UK.

      • MNb

        Eh? There is no atheist counterpart in the UK for

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_school

        Mild discrimination maybe indeed, but persecution? No.

        • Realist1234

          Sorry I should have been clearer, I was referring to ‘atheists are worse off than Christians’ comment.

        • MNb

          Given that there is no atheist counterpart they are worse off than christians.

      • Mr. A

        Nope. Where I do live there is mild discrimination though.

        • Realist1234

          Sorry I should have been clearer, I was referring to ‘atheists are worse off than Christians’ comment..

        • Mr. A

          Oh? I would think that christians would be good in the UK too, but from your comment, apparently not.

        • Realist1234

          My point is that atheists are not treated badly in the UK. They were, for example, allowed to put a poster on numerous UK buses saying ‘There’s probably no God’, backed by Richard Dawkins. Atheist ‘comedians’ such as Ricky Gervais, Stephen Fry and Stewart Lee etc who have all made their atheistic and rather anti-Christian views well-known, are popular (no accounting for taste, though I find Fry very watchable – if you havent seen his ‘Stephen Fry in America’ Id recommend it).

          When a Christian group subsequently were allowed to put a poster on buses saying ‘There definitely is a God’, it was the most complained about advert in 2009 – around 1,200 people complained to the ASA, compared with 200 against the atheist poster. Apparently some atheists are rather touchy.

        • adam

          “‘There definitely is a God’,”

          Problem is, there is no definite about God or gods at all.

          Sounds like false advertising.

        • Mr. A

          Ohhh, yes, that makes sense. In America, you try to pull off those stunts, you’ll inevitably be met with staunch opposition. Christains here are in power everywhere, and if you try and get people rights equal to thiers, they decry persecution as loudly as they can.

        • epeeist

          They were, for example, allowed to put a poster on numerous UK buses saying ‘There’s probably no God’, backed by Richard Dawkins

          That’s really generous. You do realise that the poster was put up in response to another from a Christian group which pointed you to its website which said that non-Christians would burn in hell.

          When a Christian group subsequently were allowed to put a poster on
          buses saying ‘There definitely is a God’, it was the most complained about advert in 2009 – around 1,200 people complained to the ASA

          And the ground for the complaint was that the claim could not be substantiated and was therefore not factual. As it was the ASA turned the complaints down.

        • Joe

          You do realise that the poster was put up in response to another from a Christian group which pointed you to its website which said that non-Christians would burn in hell.

          I’d say he does, or if not he won’t recognize that fact.

        • Joe

          Complaints by the public are not discrimination, snowflake.

        • Realist1234

          I didnt say it was. But its an indication that more people had a problem with a Christian poster than an atheist one.

        • Joe

          Of course, that must be due to the faith position, not the content of the advert. Right?

        • MNb

          Mr. A didn’t write atheists are treated badly in the UK.

        • Realist1234

          ‘Hell, in the west, atheists are worse off than christians’. I would think that implies not always being treated well or ‘equally’.

        • MNb

          You can be treated well and still not equally to other people – because those others are treated even better. That seems to apply to atheists in many European countries compared to christians. For instance in The Netherlands there are state funded christian schools.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_school_(Netherlands)

          Still non-denominational schools in The Netherlands are treated very well, even if believers are better off (and hence non-believers worse off).

  • Sheila Warner

    I had no idea that many millions died in the DRC! I remember Idi Amin, Chouchescu (whose name I could never spell), Mao, Rwanda, Chile, & too many others. Now we have slaughter all over the Middle East, especially in Syria. No, humans are all too good at killing each other over all kinds of ideology. Crying Christian persecution in the West insults many millions upon millions of the dead.

    • TheNuszAbides

      so far i haven’t seen a band of Romanians insisting that we spell Ceausescu properly. (even i am too lazy to look up the proper accent marks, or copy/paste from wikip.)

      • Sheila Warner

        Thanks. I’ll never remember it. I tried spelling it into Google, and even Google couldn’t figure out what I was trying to find. meh

  • Greg G.
  • Pofarmer

    This sort of explains a lot.

    The cognitive science and linguistics professor joins us to
    discuss the scientific factors behind the suggestive media messaging
    used by the Trump administration.

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/professor-cognitive-science-george-lakoff/

  • Syzygy

    Someone tell her that god has allowed every person on the planet to die, except for the ones that have not yet died.
    I doubt that prayer will change that.

  • MystiqueLady

    Oh the humanity — Quick, how many Xtians were killed in the Bowling Green Massacre?

    • Odd Jørgensen

      You shouldn`t make light of it like that, I lost good imaginary friends in that horrible tale.

      • MystiqueLady

        My condolences. 😉 Did you light an imaginary candle at the nonexistent nonmemorial nonservice?

    • Kevin K

      100% more Christians than Muslims, that’s for sure!!

  • Pat Gilliland

    Bob – why are you responding now to a post from 2013? I agree that the whole persecution thing is greatly overstated but is seems a bit disingenuous to be bringing up now something form 4 years ago.

    Edit – Oh there at the bottom – it’s an update from the original 2013 post. Still….

  • Bob Pattinson

    No wonder people laugh at Christians: they’re mentally ill. They attach more importance to their imaginary friend than to real people; they elevate faerie tales above facts and have one hell of a persecution complex.