Beyond Clan Politics

The shocking, untold story of our time is that more Christians have died this century simply for being Christians than in the first 19 centuries after the birth of Christ. They have been persecuted and martyred before an unknowing, indifferent world and a largely silent Christian community. And as their suffering intensifies, our silence becomes more stark. —Nina Shea

Our modern media have, predictably, tended to ignore the mounting evidence of the persecution of Christians in various parts of our global village. The relative silence of the media about this grim reality speaks volumes about its many unexamined prejudices and deep delusions.

The fact that flares have been thrown up by conservatives on this pertinent issue need not deflect us from the epidemic. When the truth is not spoken by the media pundits, we should welcome with open arms those who come bearing the light. The timely publication this year of Paul Marshall’s Their Blood Cries Out: The Untold Story of Persecution Against Christians in the Modern World and Nina Shea’s In the Lion’s Den: Persecuted Christians and What the Western Church Can Do About It should be greeted with both gratefulness and caution. The conservative community, without much dissent, has lavished these books with many a garland of uncritical devotion.

Marshall and Shea and others involved in the "shatter the silence" movement have sounded the ram’s horn on the persecution of Christians, and this should alert us to our ignorance and apathy on these vital issues. But we need to ask why the persecution of some Christians is frontstaged, and that of others backstaged or ignored? Why are some places targeted and others forgotten? Is there an agenda at work beyond the mere description (selective, at best) of the persecution of Christians?

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 1998
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