U.S. makes list 1st time ever for Christian persecution
The United States has for the first time been named among the top 12 nations where Christians are targeted for their faith by a persecution watchdog group in its “Hall of Shame” report for 2016.
“We felt it was very important this year that we highlight three countries where religious discrimination and persecution are deemed unusual but have reached a certain threshold of concern. These are Mexico, Russia, and sadly, the United States,” explained in a press release Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern.
“While conditions in the US are in no way comparable to other countries on the list, a certain segment of the culture and the courts seem to be intent on driving faith out of the public square. There have been too many court cases with bad decisions to miss the clear trend line.”
The ICC report divides the 12 countries into three categories. Nigeria, Iraq and Syria were listed among “the worst of the worst” countries for Christians, due largely to the rise of Islamic extremism and the ongoing terror attacks throughout these nations.
North Korea was also included in this category, although government crackdowns, executions and the mass imprisonment of between 40,000-70,000 Christians were the prime drivers of persecution.
India, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt were listed as “core” countries of persecution, where Christians are targeted often by blasphemy laws, while the rise of Christian populations is suppressed, as it is seen as a threat to the government or religious majorities.
Finally, the U.S., Mexico, and Russia were identified as “new and noteworthy” nations where Christians are facing increased persecution.
The entry for the U.S. points out that supporters of Islamic radicals have managed to carry out a number of lone-wolf attacks in the past year, but Christians are also being targeted by culture and by the media.
“Christians in the U.S. are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and close- minded,” the report argues, highlighting in part the battle between traditional marriage and LGBT-supporting groups.