Tempting as it was to weigh in on the “Duck Dynasty” dustup last month, there are much bigger apples to bite.
Some Christians are certain that there’s a conspiracy afoot to strip America of its religiosity. As far as they’re concerned, the suspension of Phil Robertson from his family’s A&E reality-TV show because of his views on the Bible and homosexuality only served up further proof.
Did the people at A&E overreact? Yep.
However, let’s not make martyrs of a family who made $80 million last year — thanks to A&E.
American Christians who are up in arms over a marketing muck-up have virtually ignored the current, real-life tragedy afflicting believers across the world: Thousands are dying for no other reason than that they are Christian.
In fact, observers are calling 2013 the Year of Martyrdom, when the systematic killings of Christians doubled round the world.
Long, Dark Winter
Open Doors International, which keeps track of Christian persecution, reports that 1,213 Christians were killed in Syria last year alone. Though Syria is one of Christianity’s foundational cultures, Orthodox bishops and priests there have been kidnapped, and entire Christian communities have been destroyed since civil war erupted two years ago.
Throughout the Middle East, the Arab Spring has regressed into a Long, Dark Winter. Churches that have stood for centuries are being turned into fire-bombed, blackened hulls by Muslim extremists, though the two faiths have co-existed for centuries.
Christianity has existed in Africa since the Apostle Philip ventured into Ethiopia, yet some parts of the continent have become killing fields as communities fall prey to religious fanatics.
It’s estimated that North Korea has imprisoned as many as 50,000 Christians for such “crimes” as owning a Bible. Among them is American missionary Kenneth Bae.
It still works
But what’s happening is not just an issue of religion, it’s also one of human rights, which is why free people should be actively concerned.
We live in a nation where faith is well-protected, where churches still hold some societal value. Even nonbelievers are disturbed when a church is vandalized or desecrated.
Even so, we forget that Christianity isn’t supposed to be “popular,” because it goes against everything that secular society has come to value.
Despite their continued dominance, some American Christians equate even a modicum of criticism with persecution, but it isn’t even close. In a different country, the entire Robertson clan might have been arrested and never heard from again. According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, the United States isn’t even listed among the world’s persecutor nations.
If being called a Bible thumper is the worst thing that happens to millionaires who only stand to make more money for being criticized, it means the First Amendment still works. For everyone.
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