There are increasing concerns regarding the persecution and death of Christians because of their faith around the world. Whilst there appears to be some doubt regarding numbers and who’s actually persecuting them , any number is too many and it is good that it is coming to light. There’s something about the whole discussion that’s not sitting right with me though.
Last month after one such doubting article appeared in the Huffington Post , I got into a discussion regarding persecution on wider scale. When I asked about the laws in parts of Africa where engaging in gay-sex can carry punishments up to the death penalty , I got told that it’s not persecution and that it’s acceptable and legal! Something being sanctioned by the government does not make it OK. By this logic, Stalins systematic destruction of the Russian Orthodox church wasn’t persecution and was acceptable. My ill ease is not helped by the fact Christianity does not have a stellar history (or indeed present) when it comes to the persecution of others, many Ugandans supporting the country’s anti-homosexuality bill do so citing their religious beliefs . I will admit it sounds a bit hypocritical for a Christian to complain about persecution, not to mention that Jesus warned that it would happen and we as Christians are to expect it. Very adamant that we shouldn’t do it to others though.
I think my main problem is the way the discussions are taking place. I get why certain groups highlight certain aspects, we want to stand up for those we have an affinity with (Christian community standing up for the Christian community, LGBT community standing for the LGBT community etc.) but it does run the danger of becoming a game of one-ups-manship; “We’re more persecuted than you”. To me, the conversation would be better served by all groups coming together to fight persecution; instead of groups banding together looking after their own. We should be sticking up for everybody. The parable of the Good Samaritan is often cited in times like these: “Who is my neighbour? Well, everyone” is the overall message of that one. This is the message that needs to be put into action, it’s a beautiful sight when it is.