Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

We can't downplay persecution of Christians

THERE are some points raised in the article on Christian persecution (Saturday Review, August 16) I feel should be addressed.

One is the suggestion that the reason Christians are the most persecuted group on the planet is because Christianity remains the world's largest religion. By that logic the persecution of Muslims should, therefore, run a close second; as far as I am aware that is not the case.

Another was that we shouldn't try to plead a special case for Christians, as other religions are persecuted as well. It is true that others suffer for their faith also; and because of that we should feel impelled to build a world where everyone's right to religious freedom is respected.

However, I fail to see how that goal is aided by downplaying the fact that Christians are the most persecuted of all. Indeed, if the largest faith of all can be targeted with impunity, what hope is there for the smaller ones?

Finally, there was a suggestion that we must see things in context and that much of what is claimed as persecution is really just Christians unlucky enough to be living in places where there is war or strife, rather than being targeted for their faith.

Perhaps that might account for some cases; equally, in many other cases, civil unrest provides the cover under which persecution is launched.

Christians in Syria were unlucky enough to be living there at a time of civil war; does that mean we should contextualise the ultimatum those in Mosul received to convert or die into something less than religious persecution?

REV PATRICK G BURKE

Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny

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