Just a Declining Ratio

Gregg Brekke’s important article “A Holy Land Without Christians?” (July 2013) draws attention to an issue that should concern us all—the decreasing Christian population throughout the Middle East. The free fall of the Christian population in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere is alarming. Brekke states that the Christian populations in Ramallah and Bethlehem “are nearly extinct [compared to their respective majorities of 90 and 80 percent prior to 1948].” If true, that would be tragic and devastating. Fortunately, it is not.

Brekke points to a drop in the percentage of Christians for his evidence. A diminished percentage does not signal extinction, just a declining ratio. The actual number of Palestinian Christians has increased. Since 1967, the Christian population has increased by 11 percent in Bethlehem and grown by 21 percent across the West Bank. This data should have been factored into Brekke’s article.

Ethan Felson
New York, New York

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