It’s not something you’re likely to see on CNN, or on the cover of Time magazine or any other popular media outlet.
In the past century all by itself, more Christians were murdered just for being Christians than at any other time in the history of the world. Most estimates put it at over 200 million.
In places like Indonesia, India, many parts of Africa, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, believers are oppressed economically, they are denied education for their children, they’re beaten, tortured, raped, imprisoned and even murdered because they’re Christian, and it is almost exclusively ignored by popular media outlets. In the rare case that an incident does receive attention from a major media outlet, it is either downplayed considerably or recast as a conflict between opposing factions.
Egypt is a good example of this. Within the past few years, preceding the so-called “Arab Spring”, media outlets reported on “clashes” between Muslims and Christians in Egypt, characterizing Christian persecution as some sort of para-military battle between warring factions and effectively ignoring the history of violent oppression of Christians by Muslims in Egypt. When Christians do try justly to defend themselves they are mischaracterized by the media as the antagonists.
“Today’s Middle East Christians fall prey to some of the most egregious human rights abuses and blatant religious persecution on the planet” says Justina Uram Mubangu, Esq., founder and editor-in-chief of The Human Rights Blog. “Although a well-known issue in human rights, religious, and academic communities, the longstanding persecution and mischaracterization of Egypt’s Christians has largely gone unreported by mainstream American media.”
Similar things can be said for Christian persecution around the globe, where in many places the plight of Christians is far worse than the situation in Egypt. If not for the presence of Christian organizations dedicated to the Persecuted Church worldwide, it is quite conceivable that Western Civilization would know nothing of the plight of Christians in the “Third World”.
Recent situations in Iran and Pakistan have come to the attention of media outlets and world leaders only through the work of organizations such as Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, International Christian Concern and others who are willing to faithfully dedicate themselves to their Christian Brethren abroad. In my estimation, the only reason that Hillary Clinton and others attempted to intercede on behalf of persecuted Christian Asia Bibi in Muslim Pakistan is because of God’s people applying pressure to otherwise ungodly authorities in an attempt to hold them accountable to God’s Law.
In his ground-breaking book, Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand devotes a whole chapter to what Christians in the free world can do to help their brethren in the underground church. He writes, “Every Christian in the free world can help at once in the following ways…”. Contained within the list are actions you may or may not expect to see, such as prayer for the persecutors along with the persecuted, living a life of consistency and sacrifice before God, loving the persecutors as we love ourselves and “…protesting publicly as often as Christians are persecuted”.
This where we come in. It is our responsibility to be a voice for those who cannot speak out on their own behalf, whether it be because of bias, oppression, physical restraint or any other reason. When we speak up for the Underground Church, then we make known their plight to many who may have had no knowledge of their sufferings. When we speak out for the Underground Church, then their needs are made known and many more can begin working to stop the heinous injustices suffered at the hands of oppressive authorities and hostile populations. When we speak out for the Persecuted Church, then pressure can be applied to our leaders to intervene on their behalf.
We have a duty before God to intervene on behalf of innocent victims, especially our brothers and sister in Christ. Psalm 82:4, Proverbs 24:11-12 and Isaiah 1:17 all exhort us to be concerned with the ill treatment of our fellow man. James, in his explanation of the relationship between faith and works, tells us, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15). In other words, we are required to take action.
If God’s people do not intervene on behalf of their own, then who will speak out for them?
*Tortured for Christ, by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand © 1967, 1998 by The Voice of the Martyrs, Persecution.com/