How many more attacks until the world does something about anti-Christian persecution? – Washington Examiner
On Easter Sunday, coordinated terrorist attacks killed at least 290 people worshiping at churches and staying in nearby luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. At least 500 people were wounded. Sri Lankan authorities have officially blamed an Islamist militant group for the attacks. As the world grapples with how this could have happened, particularly because officials were warned of the brewing terrorist attacks, it’s clear that Christians were targeted on one of their holiest days of the year.
Of course, the attacks were just the latest in a string of anti-Christian persecution events worldwide.
While the Notre Dame Cathedral fire seems to have been an accident, French authorities believe an arsonist set fire to the Basilica of St. Sulpice on March 17 just following midday Mass. The fire caused more than $1 million in damage.
Churches in the United States have been targeted as well. A 21-year-old white man was arrested this month for allegedly setting fire to three African American churches in Louisiana in late March and early April.
It’s time for the media, politicians, and everyone else to recognize that religious bigotry is still alive and well and takes many forms (from harassment to arson to suicide bombers) against many religious groups, especially Christians. Although it may not seem like it in the West, Christians are among the most persecuted religious groups in the world, according to Pew Research Center. Yet, this is hardly ever discussed or addressed by the public, despite mounting evidence.
Nathan Wineinger, Director of Policy & Coalitions at 21Wilberforce, told me in an e-mail, “The church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka are a shocking attack on the Sri Lankan people’s religious freedom. The [attacks]…were highly coordinated demonstrates that a sophisticated attack took place to threaten, intimidate, and scare Christians from practicing their faith. There has been a history of marginalization of Christians at the local level – it is our hope that the horror of this violence will move national and local government leaders to more seriously consider the rights and claims of marginalized and persecuted people even as they work to bring justice to the greatest example of persecution we have seen in Sri Lanka.”
While there are most certainly proposed solutions on how best to address religious persecution, it’s vital that authorities around the world acknowledge that religious bigotry and persecution exists. It always has and it always will.
The Apostle Paul forewarned this. Many Christians expect it and are even prepared for it. But that doesn’t mean the world should turn a blind eye to it.
Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota.