The world may be getting better, but not for increasingly abused Christians

Mar 21, 2019 by

by Gavin Matthew, The Scotsman:

Every year, the charity Open Doors publishes their “World Watch List”; the definitive list of the places where Christians face the most severe persecution. The 2019 list contains some familiar names, but also some surprises.
The fact that the rollcall of shameful governments is headed by North Korea is a surprise to no-one; it has occupied this position of notoriety for 18 years. For the Christian minority, persecution is severe, but precise statistics about the numbers involved remain hard to establish. Best estimates suggest that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians in North Korea, of whom between 50,000 and 70,000 are currently toiling in the brutal labour camps.
Steven Pinker points to global trends in healthcare, education, and violence and argues that the world is getting substantially better. While there are many reasons to celebrate progress, this should be matched by concern that for many of the world’s Christians, persecution is getting substantially worse. Henrietta Blyth of Open Doors said: “Our research uncovers a shocking increase in the persecution of Christians globally. In China our figures indicate persecution is perhaps the worst it’s been since the Cultural Revolution. Worldwide, our data reveals that 13.9 per cent more Christians are experiencing high levels of persecution than last year. That’s 30 million more people.” That includes one in three Asian Christians facing a violation of their human rights. No wonder that British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt estimated that 80 per cent of religious persecution in the world is targeted at Christians.

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