Christian persecution

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Christian persecution has occurred from the very beginnings of Christianity and continues today. Currently more than 200 million Christians around the globe suffer imprisonment, abuse and sometimes death because of their faith.[1]

Ancient Rome

Early Christian persecution was severe in Ancient Rome. Christians were most commonly executed by crucifixion and being put in arenas with lions. The emperor Nero was one of the most notorious persecutors.

This persecution continued up through the fourth century, when Constantine's Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. promulgated a doctrine of religious tolerance. In 391 A.D., Christianity became the state religion of Rome, gaining strength after Constantine's conquest of Rome from his fellow caesars of the time.[2]

Persecution generally ended in the Roman Empire in 313 A.D., with the Edict of Milan.

Reformation Europe

During the Protestant Reformation many martyrs to the faith on both sides were persecuted and killed.

Modern world

In contemporary period, Christians continue to be attacked by governments in communist countries like China and North Korea, and by hostile religious forces including Muslims in Africa, and by Hindus in India. Luckily, however, most first-world countries do not persecute on the basis of religion anymore.


Large scale rioting and violence between Muslim and Christian communities are common in parts of Africa, such as Nigeria and Sudan.


In Bulgaria, there have been incidents of persecution of Christians. In 1998, local Church of God in the town of Vratza was attacked by skinheads.[3] On July 21st, 2004, the Bulgarian police force invaded the Bulgarian Orthodox churches across the nation and forcibly dragged out over 160 priests.[4]


As with all forms of public assembly, the Chinese Communist Party keeps a tight rein on all religious activity, including those of Christians. While thousands of state-sanctioned churches exist in China, the process for obtaining a permit for a new church is cumbersome, and to be approved, clergy must also take exams over communist ideology.[5] There is a shortage of Chinese-born ministers who would pass state qualification, and Chinese citizens are forbidden by law to worship at churches with foreign-born pastors.[5] For all of the above reasons, the vast majority of Christians in China opt to worship at underground "home churches." Leaders and members of these churches face fines, imprisonment, and confiscation of church property.[6] In some extreme cases, an underground church is labelled a cult, which the CCP uses to justify some of the worst of its persecution, including torture and forced labor.[7]


The Coptic Orthodox church is the largest Christian group in Egypt.[8] Majority of the violence against Christians in the 1990s were from Islamic extremists.[8] However there have been some incidents of violence against Christians due to communal tensions.[8] In 2007, Coptic Christians in Egypt were attacked by some Muslim rioters.[9]


See also Hindu fanatics

Hindus form the religious majority in India. Proponents of the Hindutva ideology, often called Hindu fascism, want to convert India into a Hindu nation in which other religions must assimilate to the Hindu religion, race and culture and seek to establish a cultural hegemony of Hinduism at the expense of other religions.[10] In India, Christians have faced repeated attacks from Hindus.[11] Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, aged 8 and 10, were burned to death in Orissa in 1999 by Hindus.[11] In 2007, Hindus attacked Christians in the state of Orissa.[11] Ninety-five churches were destroyed in the attack.[12]


Persecution of the country's Christian minority has increased dramatically since the 2003 American invasion of Iraq. Christian archbishops were abducted in January 2005 [13] and February 2008[14]. The Pope told President George Bush that "Particularly in Iraq, Christian families and communities are feeling increasing pressure from insecurity, aggression and a sense of abandonment."


Myanmar also known as Burma is ruled by a highly repressive, authoritarian military regime. The country was placed under concern by the International Religious Freedom Act in 1999 and a wide array of sanctions are in place for its violations of human rights. Population estimated 6 percent Christianity and rapidly growing. The junta has not allowed permanent foreign religious missions to operate and confiscated all remaining assets since the 1960's. Proselytizing is forbidden, and the printing of Bibles in the country is strictly prohibited. Disobeying the juntu and Burmese Christians will be killed, imprisoned and other human rights violations. [15]

North Korea

There are approximately 12,000 practicing Christians in North Korea.[16] Christians often face torture, imprisonment, and are often murdered.[17] According to human rights organizations, outside the officially sanctioned churches, Christians in North Korea can face harsh penalties.[16]


Christians in Pakistan have come under increasing attack in recent years.[18] In 2004, three Christians were killed due to attacks by Islamists.[18] Several Christian leaders in Baluchestan received threats.[18] The Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code is used as a tool for Christian persecution.[18] Some of the madrassas in Pakistan promote Islamic terrorism.[18] President Pervez Musharraf recently in a speech called for scrutiny of the Blasphemy laws and to reform the madrassas.[18]


In Turkey, there have been incidents of persecution of Christians. In 2006 and 2007, one Catholic Priest and three Protestant evangelists were killed; churches were also attacked.[19] In 2007, one German and two Turkish Christians were killed by Islamic extremists in Southeast Turkey.[20]

United States

Persecution mainly exists in ridicule, liberal bias or religious discrimination of traditional Christian family values by Hollywood[21] [22] If this is further tolerated, there is a distinct possibility that violence against Christians could be next.

Don Feder, founder of a group called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, used his condemnation of the 2005 film "V for Vendetta" to say, "It's very much in keeping with what has become Hollywood's standard anti-Christian message – that Christians are hypocritical hate-mongers, with tendencies toward violence, who are waiting to seize the reins of government and persecute unbelievers."[23]

David Limbaugh says, "This anti-Christian bias manifests itself in unflattering portrayals of Christians in Hollywood films and entertainment television."[24]

Further reading


  1. International Persecution of Christians
  2. "... in 391 AD, Christianity became the official, and only, state religion of the empire." The Legacy of Rome
  3. Bulgarian Christians under attack from skinheads and ultra-nationalists
  4. Bulgaria
  5. 5.0 5.1 [1]
  6. Persecution Of Christians Around The World
  7. Torture testimony of Liu Xianzhi
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Egypt
  9. Egyptian Coptic Christians Attacked by Violent Mobs
  10. A submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review: India
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Hindu Extremists Attack Indian Churches, Torch Home of Prominent Christian
  12. Communal violence in Kandhamal District, Orissa: India
  13. Archbishop abducted in Iraq
  14. Iraqi Chaldean archbishop seized
  15. The Demand for Bibles in Burma is Growing Despite Enormous Persecution of Christians Christian Freedom International
  16. 16.0 16.1 Eyewitness: Christianity in North Korea
  17. North Korea
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Religious freedom update - Pakistan
  19. Turkey
  20. One German and two Turkish Christians killed in Southeast Turkey
  21. Survey: Americans Believe Religious Values Are 'Under Attack' Anti-Defamation League, November 14, 2008
  22. [Brad Pitt proclaims he is for gay marriage and against traditional American Christians, August 2009]
  23. see [ David Hinckley, "Is Hollywood anti-Christian?" New York Daily News May 15th 2009]
  24. The Media and Hollywood War Against Christianity NewsMax, October 2, 2003