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Christian Political Engagement and Its Critics: Populism, Nationalism, and Patriotism

In by vaughn_admin

When & Where: Location: Museum of the Bible Date: December 6, 2022 Pre-Reception: 5:30-6:30PM EST Panel Discussion and Q&A: 6:30-8:00PM EST Event Summary: Over the past decade a range of elected officials, activists, and scholars have expressed alarm about the threat of “Christian nationalism.” Indeed, some sociologists argue, “Christian nationalism is an existential threat to American democracy” and the “single biggest threat to America’s religious liberty.” Is this …

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Annual World Watch List Highlights Scale of Global Persecution of Christians

The annual World Watch List from Open Doors documents the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most severe.

As Jeremy Barker, RFI’s Middle East Action Team Director said in an interview, “In places with extreme persecution, it is often a combination of a failure of governments to protect the rights of all citizens linked with extremist ideologies that drive persecution of vulnerable individuals and communities.”

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Persecuted Christians Need You Now More Than Ever

In a recent article published in Providence, Thomas Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, and Toufic Baaklini, president and chairman of the board of directors of In Defense of Christians, point to the ongoing persecution of Christians throughout the world. While Christians in America understandably feel the strain of physical separation and an inability to gather, especially on Easter, “We are blessed to live in a nation that upholds the God-given right of religious freedom.”

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Catholic Herald Features Coverage of Under Caesar’s Sword Documentary

The Arlington Catholic Herald published an extensive article on the issue of global persecution and the new documentary Under Caesar’s Sword produced by RFI and the Notre Dame Center for Culture and Ethics.  “Tens of thousands of Christians and Catholics, facing death or forced conversions, fled their homes in Iraq when the Islamic State group took control of the region. …

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Kent Hill Delivers Institute on Religion and Democracy Annual Diane Knipper’s Lecture

RFI Executive Director Kent Hill delivered the Institute on Religion & Democracy Diane Knipper’s Annual Lecture on Tuesday, October 4. His lecture examined the past, present, and future of the Middle East, considering the question of whether Christianity will survive. The question is relevant not just for Christians, but for the region’s other minorities. The question ultimately looks at the entire …

“How Do You Survive Your Life With Christ?” Moroccan Christians Speak

By: Leah Farish

For the approximately 8,000 Christians living in Muslim-majority Morocco, restrictions on religious freedom are not as severe as in many other Muslim cultures, but are still an everyday source of instability, fear, and alienation. In recent interviews summarized below, Moroccan Christians spoke out about how this persecution severely limits not only their right to worship freely and openly, but also their ability to engage in economic activity and contribute to the social flourishing of their communities.

The “Sayfo” Continues

By: Alberto M. Fernandez

The horrific sectarian carnage in Syria and Iraq, with chauvinistic Shia regimes arrayed against suffering Sunni Arabs, has been a key element in attracting foreign fighters, which has in turn ramped up the vitriolic appeal of Salafi-jihadist groups like ISIS. That has translated into extreme action on the ground. Posing as defenders of an embattled Sunni Arab Islam, they seek to crush anything in their path different from themselves. The result is a rending of the region’s social and ethnic fabric not seen for a century, if not longer. The anti-Christian animus of ISIS has long-standing establishment enablers and is something that US foreign policy must confront if a more humane and tolerant region is to emerge.

Attitudes Towards Religious Minorities in the Arab World

By: Michael Hoffman

In recent weeks, much attention has been paid to the fate of Christians and other religious minorities in the Arab World. Recent events such as ISIS’s spread in Iraq and Syria have driven legitimate concern regarding the rights of non-Muslims in this volatile region. The expulsion of Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul  is particularly alarming.

But what about the so-called “Arab Street”? Do ordinary Arab Muslims support anti-Christian or anti-minority policies? Are the actions of ISIS a reflection of the preferences of ordinary citizens, or simply the behavior of an isolated extremist group?

Missing the Woods for the Trees

By: Mariz Tadros

Can’t see the woods for the trees? Religious Pluralism and Islamist Political Movements Worldwide

Mounting evidence of the genocide of the Christian and Yazidi minorities in Iraq has stirred debate once again as to the nature of the assault and the motives behind its perpetrators. If one were to exclusively view the annihilation of Christian, Yazidi, Sabean, and other religious minorities in Iraq as a case of the collapse of state power, and therefore a domestic problem, then one need not worry about any spill-over effects beyond national boundaries. 

Patterns of Anti-Christian Persecution

By: Paul Marshall

The contemporary Christian church exists in every country; in most it is growing, and in many it is persecuted. Currently Christians are the most widely persecuted religious group in the world, suffering discrimination, harassment, repression, and violence in approximately 133 countries, and, in some areas, particularly in the Muslim-majority world, this is increasing. This persecution is also often underreported or downplayed.

There are currently five major patterns of anti-Christian persecution: while these do not include all the instances, they cover over 90 percent of them.

The Shifting Patterns of Global Christian Persecution

By: Todd Johnson

Over the past year, Northern Nigeria has been marked by a series of ongoing and appalling events: churches burned, Christians killed, and, more recently and tragically, over 200 young girls (mostly Christian) kidnapped by Boko Haram militants. Unfortunately, situations like these occur all too frequently in a host of other countries around the world, including China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sudan, and Syria. All of this is somewhat surprising, considering that we have now left behind what historian Robert Conquest termed “The Ravaged Century”—the twentieth century, the bloodiest in human history. Nonetheless, we are still experiencing Christian persecution in the twenty-first century, and there are discernible changes in the patterns of persecution and killing in terms of geography, Christian tradition, and persecutors.