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Religious Persecution, Violence, Hatred, and Intolerance

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Recent in our memory are the attacks and senseless injury and loss of life in Christchurch, NZ and Pittsburgh, PA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rose in the House of Commons to express condolences and condemnation of such atrocities, and rightly so. Religious persecution, violence, hatred, and intolerance are indefensible and are always an expression of inherent evil in the perpetrator(s) and those who support and enable them. Two mosques and a synagogue intentionally targeted by individuals (possibly groups) dedicated to the cause of evil and motivated by hate and intolerance toward fellow humans. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

On an almost daily basis we hear of attacks, violence, persecution, and hate directed at one group or another. We must always and actively oppose this; we must never ignore it in silence and indifference. We hear much from politicians, academics, and media condemning antisemitism and Islamophobia. These voices need to be heard and heeded.

I would add that we need more public voices calling out and opposing persecution of Christians world-wide. On this widespread global evil there is relative silence; a guilty silence that produces intensified persecution of Christians simply because of their religion. We need leaders in all sectors to stand up and be heard on this scourge. Where are the voices of our politicians, journalists, academics, religious leaders, and society in general?!

Recent attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria have taken many hundreds of Christian lives. More than 12,000 Christians were attacked in India in 2018 alone. North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan currently are among the current lead offenders of barbaric treatment of Christians. However, Christians and Jews are unwelcome and face serious persecution and intolerance in most Islamic countries.

Coptic Christians are targeted. Yazidis are persecuted at alarming rates. Other Muslims attack Muslims. Where does it end? Much of the persecution mentioned is “officially” denied and almost entirely ignored by the very same politicians, journalists, and academics who raise their voice loudly for other similar causes. It’s time we ask why and expect better! There is ample reliable data available for those honest enough to investigate, report, and speak out. One Free World International, Voice of the Martyrs, and Open Doors and are good places to start.

Radical Islamists, extreme left or right ideologists, communists, dictatorships, and Hindu nationalists are among the primary sources of persecution, terrorism, intolerance, and hate-motivated atrocities against Christians. Many have a religious element propelling them. Most acts are not only premeditated but also precisely calculated with like-minded individuals and groups

The ideas and ideologies behind these attacks spreads like cancer infecting societies and otherwise fair-minded people. Experts wrestle with the complex factors that lead to this behaviour. Many people are uncomfortable with the characterization of evil as the ultimate motivation behind such calculated actions, but that is the most accurate description of such incitement. True, many other factors are at play, but evil is at the core. Have we reached a point of no return with the proliferation of such evils? Not at all. God has designed us humans to be able to choose between good and evil. If the family and civil institutions of society uphold good the environment which produces such violence, hatred, persecution, and intolerance will have less influence.

Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34 Amplified Bible)

Similar advice can be found in other religious and non-religious literature. Anne Frank wisely said,

Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First, we make our choices. Then our choices make us.

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