Christian Persecution Around The World
From National Review, The World’s Worst Religious Persecutors, written by Nina Shea:
This year, Uscirf named 16 countries as the most egregious and systematic religious freedom violators in the world and recommended them for official “Country of Concern” (CPC) designation by the U.S. State Department. They are:
Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, (north) Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
I thought Afghanistan should be on the list as well and said so in my dissent, which is excerpted further down in this column.
What to do? If the United States government—largely the President and the State Department—cares about this issue, they can address it through U.S. national power. The most common national power “model” is the DIME, an acronym representing the diplomatic, information, military, and economic elements of national power.
Of the nations on the list, the U.S. government would likely categorize the Saudis, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Egypt as allies, either current, recent, conditional, or historical. It’s also interesting that bad actors like Somalia and Syria are not on the list, nor, as Shea notes, is Afghanistan.
But the fact Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq are on the list is a compelling reason to develop our existing energy resources to the maximum extent practicable (meaning solar, wind, algae, electric cars, etc. no longer receive preferential treatment and oil, coal, nuclear, and natural gas do). Why? To use our own economic power to be able to create more effective diplomatic pressure.
What DIME options remain for the others? China is significantly more difficult based on their vast manufacturing capability, their military power, and the large amount of U.S. debt they hold. Vietnam lives in a shadow of fear of China and would like the U.S. as a counterbalance. Turkey is a NATO member who has been trending Islamist for some time. Pakistan is a nuclear weapons power and little else; North Korea has nuclear weapons without the numbers or delivery systems like Pakistan. And Egypt: how’s that U.S. endorsement of the revolution working out?
Nigeria is oil-rich and has been feeding at the Chinese buffet for some time. The others are fourth-rate powers the U.S. is unlikely to care about, except perhaps to counter China, or possibly, Russia.
More from Shea’s column (and emphasis added):
Christians are far from the only religious group persecuted in these countries. But, Christians are the only group persecuted in each and every one of them. This pattern has been found by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and The Economist, all of which recently reported that an overwhelming majority of the religiously persecuted around the world are Christians. Globally, this persecution is experienced by all Christian faith traditions from Pentecostal and evangelical to Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.
Is the reason the overwhelming majority of the persecuted are Christians because a) Christians are more likely than other religions to take the persecution these states dish out, b) because these nations view Christianity as dangerous, c) some combination of the above, d) something else, like there simply are more Christians?
Personally, I suspect “b.” Christianity can be dangerous, and as Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew, costly. That’s why the National Socialists created a state “church” on behalf of the Third Reich, the German Christians. The German Christians—who were Christian only in name and arguably, heritage—did not observe the essential tenets of historical Christianity and were part of an attempt to create a non-Biblical and state-approved religion that would instead, benefit its masters.