Being Aware Of Christian Persecution

The Catholic News Agency reports that Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican’s top diplomat, stated today, “It is well-documented that Christians are the most discriminated and persecuted religious group.”  This was part of his report to a summit of international leaders meeting in Kazakhstan.  He continued, “Worldwide more than 200 million Christians ‘live in difficult conditions’ because of legal and cultural restrictions on worship and religious freedom.”

In this time of difficulties in the United States between groups of believers and non-believers, political groups vilifying Christians as well as those who hide behind their Christianity, it is hard to fathom the levels of persecution in other parts of the world.  Here, we struggle to hold on to our faith without upsetting the apple cart of political correctness.  Some groups do promote their agenda to unsuspecting Christians, and twist their logic to build a culture of exclusion.  But the opposite is also true.  Many groups point their collective finger at all Christians, saying that they have nothing but hate in their hearts for those who fall outside of the moral code they embrace. 

It’s beginning to seem to me that we need to really practice that Christian custom of discernment.  As Christians it is our duty to use discernment to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our actions, words, and choices.  In allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can make wise choices in how to spend our time, whether it’s in the friends we keep or in the organizations where we spend our time and money.  We are well served to consider in what way the Holy Spirit really is guiding us.   Are our choices building up our communities, or are they tearing apart the relationships that Jesus wants us to foster?  If we are only building those relationships which are popular, might we deserve the finger of bigotry pointing in our direction? 

Keep in mind, too, that self-education is key in determining which way to vote; which organizations to support that promote peace and understanding, not just an agenda; and where you can put your best foot forward to remind others of what Christianity really is.  If we are pro-active in our Christian discernment, we may not have to face a future of overt persecution.  But if we simply sit back, and vote for popular candidates, we may be opening ourselves to a difficult existence shared by those 200 million other Christians worldwide.

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  1. Chris Vogel said:

    Gosh, Mary, this is a very odd concern (although maybe predictable Karma and possibly untrue): for centuries christians, especially Roman Catholics, were notorious for their unrelenting and vicious persecution of everyone, inside or outside the church, who were even suspected of disagreeing with its dogma. Today, conservative christians, and especially Roman Catholics, constantly persecute those with whom they disagree on matters of doctrine, especially in their obsession with sexuality. In modern secular nations, they are not permitted their traditional response (torture, brutal execution, mass murder), but they constantly try to use the power of the state to inflict their doctrines on women and homosexuals, for example. They oppose even the mildest forms of birth-control and non-discrimination legislation, not to mention trying to prevent same sex-couples living normal lives. Sounds like christians have made their bed, so to speak, in this.

    December 3, 2010
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  2. Mary Boscaino said:

    That you for your comment. It’s true that history has shown many atrocities in the name of faith – many faiths. Part of my philosophy is that, while there currently are radical beliefs (and this is just one example) against homosexuality, the Roman Catholic Church has taught that homosexuals deserve to be treated fairly, and should not be discriminated against where housing, jobs, and basic treatment are concerned. The lifestyle may be what the Church opposes, but the individual deserves all the love that Christ would give. Currently, however, Christians face much more scrutiny than other groups simply because they believe and teach a particular way of life, based in Biblical principles. Radical groups are really who deserve the focus in the “hate group” classification, and these are only nominally Christian. Many of these groups hide behind a Christian mask and don’t really express the beliefs of Christians who seek to live as Christ lived. It’s my feeling that we simply need to remember that the United States has the freedoms that other countries do not have, and that we need to be aware of forces that would seek to mute the ability to simply worship as we choose.

    December 3, 2010
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  3. Chris Vogel said:

    Hi Mary, Your sentiments about the doctrine of the Roman church are very nice, but they are falsehoods. (Perhaps you know someone who has lied to you about this.) In fact, their current doctrine is that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and that homophobic assault is, while regrettable, perfectly understandable in view of homosexuals wanting equal treatment. As for non-discrimination, the archbishops and cardinals have never failed to oppose every attempt to prohibit it, here, and last month in Wisonsin, for example. Of course, once discrimination is actually prohibited, they then pretend they favoured that, in order to justify whatever comes next: controls on the encitement of hatred and same-sex marriage, for example. No doubt, when and where these become common, the church will pretend that it did not oppose these, too. My point, however, is that Romans, like conservative christians generally, are not satisfied by insisting that their congregants follow whatever they are teaching, but also that the powers of the state enforce their beliefs on everyone else. This is persecution, and their complaints of being victimised are opportunistic and dishonest.

    December 3, 2010
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  4. Mary Boscaino said:

    Chris, there are so many points of doctrine that could be argued, but I’ve never been a person to argue. All I can say is, I pray for you, for a release of any anger you might harbor toward organized religion, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Thank you for your comments, and may God bless you with patience, understanding, compassion and love.

    December 4, 2010
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  5. Chris Vogel said:

    You are very welcome, Mary, but, as for the prayer, I neither need or want it. My contribution to this conversation was not a discussion of doctrine, but an attempt to inject some sense of reality, in pursuit of peace and understanding. Predictably, I guess, that was wasted, for the reasons I have noted. What is needed, to achieve your ends and mine, is to persuade religious individuals to keep their theological and political hands to themselves.

    December 4, 2010
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