Jack Kerwick, And a harrowing glimpse at their victimizers.
Now that the year is behind us, Open Doors provides a recap of some of the most telling stories of global anti-Christian persecution from 2019.
It’s important to look at specific accounts of this endemic phenomenon, lest appeals to statistics, which despite being quite revealing themselves, threaten to obscure the ugliness of the suffering daily endured by Christians the planet over.
Anecdotal proof of this oppression also permits a study in contrasts between the religious bigotry to which Christians are subjected and that claimed on behalf of the members of other religious groups.
A third virtue to be had from familiarizing ourselves with victimized Christians is that it brings into focus the true nature of a Western media elite that is silent in the face of real anti-religious persecution while acting apoplectically when, say, it is Muslims who, upon allegedly being viewed suspiciously at an American airport, claim to have suffered “Islamophobia.”
Some genuinely, thoroughly, bad stuff has been happening to Christians in various parts of the world multiple times a day, every day, and for a very long time.
(1) Last year, on Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian calendar, Christians who were in the midst of their religious services in Sri Lanka experienced the bombing of three of their churches.
Three hotels were also bombed.
Over 300 people were killed, with 176 children losing either one parent or both.
Islamic militants were responsible.
(2) In Burkina Faso, in West Africa, one particular church was repeatedly besieged. On one specific Sunday, its pastor and five congregants were shot immediately after a service.
Pastor Pierre Oult, an 80 year-old man who had spent the previous four decades serving his church and village community, was talking with his congregants after the service outside of his church at around 1 P.M. In other words, the Pastor was here of one spirit with his brothers and sisters in the faith around the planet who, as a matter of course, through friendly conversation, continue their celebration of the oneness of God and His creation after official services have ended.
This one Sunday, however, would be different.
A dozen men on motorcycles—men who had been “radicalized” by Islam, according to the members of the Pastor’s village—surrounded the Pastor and his flock. They gathered them under a tree and took their Bibles and cellphones. Then, one after the other, the Islamic militants shot dead Pastor Pierre Oult and five of his congregants.
A seventh victim was “seriously injured” and taken to hospital.
The six who were murdered were buried on the very same day that they were killed.
The Pastor’s son was among the victims, as was an elementary school teacher.
The killers, however, weren’t yet finished. Before fleeing, they ignited the church in flames and stole from his home the now late Pastor’s belongings (a sheep and a bag of rice).
Locals reported that the very next day the same predators returned to the village “searching for Christians.”
(3) In Nigeria, Islamic thugs entered a church during choir practice and abducted 17 worshippers. Open Doors reported that the Pastor, his daughter, and at least nine other women were among those taken.
The attackers opened fire and began “shooting sporadically.”
A witness expressed the sheer terror, a terror the likes of which few people reading this will ever have to undergo, experienced by the victims:
“It was about 12:30 midnight. We had a combined choir practice in the church with other neighboring communities. Everybody was terrified but there was no how [sic] we could run because they had already surrounded the church.”
The kidnappers demanded the equivalent of $83, 100 in ransom money.
(4) In June of last year, in Mali, Islamic zealots murdered 95 Christians.
Men, women, and children—totaling one-third of a village—were killed.
It is worth quoting Open Doors at length:
“On Sunday evening, June 9, Fulani Muslim militants fired shots and set fire to the central Mali village of Sobame Da, near Sanga in the Mopti region. Many of the bodies were found burned.
A survivor of the attacks who called himself Amadou Togo told the AFP news agency: ‘About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups. They first surrounded the village and then attacked—anyone who tried to escape was killed.
He added: ‘No one was spared—women, children, elderly people.’
According to a government statement, the attackers also killed animals and burned down houses.
A Malian security source at the site of the massacre said: ‘A Dogon village has been virtually wiped out.’”
(5) Among the more heartbreaking and difficult accounts of the virulent anti-Christian persecution plaguing so much of the planet that I’ve yet to encounter involves the victims of the Islamic terrorist organization, Boko Haram.
Now, Boko Haram—which literally means, “Western education is forbidden”—is responsible for no small share of human suffering. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Conflict Tracker estimates that, since 2011, these vermin have murdered nearly 38,000 people and displaced some 2.4 million others.
Yet is also is responsible for having kidnapped 8,000 children.
According to a UNICEF report, a minimum of 117 kids from 2017-2019 Boko Haram has used as suicide bombers.
Of these, about 80% have been young girls.
Last June, two girls and one boy—Christian children who had been stolen from their families by Boko Haram—were forced to enter a tea hall in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram placed them in suicide vests. After the vests had been detonated, at least 30 people lay dead.
Tragically, when it comes to instances of anti-Christian persecution, we could continue endlessly in this same repetitive vein.
If only the Western media elites would allude just once, not to the violence of Boko Haram and that of other brutal oppressors of Christians, but to the fact that this violence is anti-Christian.
Somehow, this last detail always seems to get cut from what relatively little coverage exists.