70 million – that is the estimated number. But no one talks about it, not even the parish priest or the community pastor. Don’t expect the news media to enlighten you on the subject.
70 million Christians killed – martyred, executed, murdered – because they believe in Christ. The number has steadily grown in the last 20 centuries, but it has escalated in the last two decades. The blood of these innocents stains the land in 238 nations. For them, there is no memorial, no museum, no mourning, no protected status, no recognition of their social contributions. The new constitution for a United Europe doesn’t even mention the Christian heritage and history on that continent.
If you average the number – it represents 3.5 million in each of the last 20 centuries, 350,000 in each decade, almost 100 christians dying for the faith every day for the last 2,000 years. The Crusades were horrible, deployable – but they represent an anomaly. Christians have more often been the victims, rather than the violent.
Christian vocation in certain parts of the world is dangerous occupation with a 3% murder rate. The most vulnerable are bishops, evangelists, Bible distributors, catechists and missionaries.
Today, the media mentions martyrdom almost exclusively in terms of Islamic martyrs. There is no comparison between a suicide bomber and the death of Christians, quietly suffering, forgiving others as they die. The quiet deaths of Christians around the world is not even on the radar screen of American Journalist.
Amost 2 million Christians were murdered in Sudan by Islamic extremist. Christian voices were lifted in protest. Madelyn Albright, then Secretary of State, said the idea of intervention in behalf of Christians was not “a marketable idea” to the American people- too difficult to explain? Too difficult for them to understand? Something that they would not be interested in? The late D. James Kennedy was incensed – “not a marketable idea?” Since when did the State Department operate on the basis of marketable ideas and not ethical principles?
Later she commented that when critical nation-state conflicts were being discussed around some table in the White House and underlying religious concerns were brought up, someone would inevitably say, “This is complicated enough already, let’s not bring religion into it.” The lazy and short-sided diplomacy of irreligious leaders has and is placing Christians at risk around the world. The genocide of believers has begun. We may have stepped into the early pages of the Revelation.
In the United States, on February 26, 1993, the first World Trade Center bombing in New York City killed seven, including an unborn child. More than 1,000 innocent people were wounded by the blast, debris, and smoke. It was only a prelude of what would come. The driving force behind the bombing was the world’s foremost Qur’anic scholar, the Egyptian Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. He was no fringe element to Islam, but respected and revered leader – never censored. When his apartment was raided and materials confiscated, extensive amounts of materials were boxed, sealed and marked “irrelevant religious materials.” Actually, it was the most relevant material the government confiscated.
Many, if not most liberal politicians for whom faith is peripheral, certainly not central to their lives, can hardly understand how driven people of faith can be. They dismiss such people. They see all religions as essentially the same. Their fundamental disinterest undermines the motivation necessary to see that there are actually profound differences between religions. Since faith is virtually irrelevant in their lives, at least as a central and pulsating dimension, they assume the same for all. So they make their assessments of critical issues and differences on a superficial understanding of what for others are deeply held convictions. The result is disasterous for the nation and often perilous and deadly to Christians around the world.
Pray for the martyrs. More fell today. Many are inprisioned. Martyrdom is not something from long-ago. It is happening now – probably in record numbers.