The Obama administration may be reluctant to call the Middle East situation Christian genocide, but Open Doors USA is not. This week, the well-known advocacy group for the persecuted church released its annual “World Watch List,” highlighting the countries where Christian persecution is highest. Unfortunately, the predictions from 2014 had come true — hostility and violence toward Christians increased on every continent in the last year. While much of the attention on recent persecution of Christians is on certain Islamist hot-spots such as ISIS-controlled areas, the threat of radical Islam is also growing in less-likely countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti (among others).
What some people may not realize is that the majority of countries on the World Watch List have a variety of motivations and ideologies behind their persecution of Christians. For example, perennial offenders like #1 North Korea (which has been #1 for 13 straight years) continue to make a chilling impact with their incredibly repressive state-sponsored, atheistic persecution. According to the list, the ten worst nations for persecution of Christians throughout this past year were:
- North Korea
Two of those countries — Iraq and Syria — have been front and center in the debate, largely because of ISIS. Their atrocities have been committed against a number of groups, but Christians are certainly high on ISIS extermination list. And that’s a fact even Secretary Hillary Clinton has now recognized, pitting her against one of the world’s only holdouts on labeling the horrors against Christians “genocide:” President Obama. Some within our State Department seem to understand the gravity of this problem, but the White House has been too sluggish to respond.
History will not look kindly on the injustice of nations with the power to act instead standing by and watching these atrocities apathetically. We need only look back to the regret of failing to prevent such atrocities in Rwanda when we could have — what were we thinking then? What are we thinking now? It’s time for America to act and that begins with us, Christians, who have the ability to speak out on behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters.
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