The war on Christianity
There's a war going on -- against a religion whose name is often treated as an embarrassing footnote. It's a war against Christianity, and while its tentacles of hatred reach across the globe, they were seen most horrifically in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday with multiple deadly suicide blasts.
On one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar, Islamic State (IS) jihadists left at least 359 innocents dead at churches and Western-style hotels. Perhaps the only reason the Western media took much notice was the scale of the carnage. They will likely soon revert to form and forget this was not an isolated incident, but part of an unprecedented era of attacks on Christianity.
Sri Lanka is not the first instance of suicide bombers targeting Christians at Easter. The list is long: Egypt in 2017 (45 murdered by IS), Pakistan in 2016 (75 slaughtered by the Taliban), Kenya in 2015 (147 dead), Nigeria in 2012 (41 killed). Bombings at churches in Indonesia, most recently in May last year in Surabaya, left 28 dead. in January this year in the Philippines on Jolo island, 20 were slain. Few dare call out the sickening trend.
Persecution of Christians in North Africa is routine, with the Copts regular targets in Egypt. In much of the Middle East, ancient Christian populations are being eradicated. China's Communist government will only "tolerate" the religion, and Christians who belong to unregistered churches face detention camps. In India, Hindu nationalist mobs frequently turn on Christians.
Of course, Christianity is not the only religion targeted with violence. The horrific massacre of 50 at two New Zealand mosques provides a grim reminder of anti-Islamic extremism, and it rightly received blanket media coverage. Myanmar has seen the terrorising, killing and expulsion of Rohingya Muslims. But in these cases, governments, global bodies and the media have at least tried to right the wrongs. The plight of the Rohingya is regularly in the news, with global pressure put on Nay Pyi Taw, while New Zealand wants to stamp out hate speech aimed at Muslims. If only similar actions were taken against governments whose official policies target Christians, or which turn a blind eye to terrorists.
The opening shots many years ago in the war against Christians were either ignored or sneered at in the West. In Britain and other European countries, the relentless decline of religious affiliation, post-colonial guilt, an odd kind of self-loathing, and the fashion among the intelligentsia, politicians and the media to treat traditional beliefs with mockery, led to an almost total disinterest in the persecution of Christians around the world.
But why is this? According to the respected Pew Research Center, Christians are the most persecuted people of faith in 144 nations across the globe, Muslims in 142 countries and Jews in 87. Shouldn't mainstream journalists be doing their jobs properly, providing a full global picture of all religious attacks and harassment?
Western politicians also side-step the word Christianity, maybe to avoid offending migrants who follow other religions. The response in the US to the Sri Lanka attacks by ex-president Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton highlights this puzzling trend. Neither mentioned Christianity. Instead they referred to the dead and injured as "Easter worshippers". Imagine the fury if there were similar attacks on Jews and Muslims and the victims were labelled Hanukkah and Eid worshippers.
All religiously inspired violence is wrong, but this blatant lying by omission and failure to recognise the global assault on Christianity is becoming increasingly obvious to the general public in the West. If it continues to be ignored, the result will inevitably be a fierce backlash against the very concept of multiculturalism that their new societies are supposed to be founded on.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org