A dear brother called my attention to Michael Carl’s recent article, World Ignores Worst Human Rights Offense, in which various North Korea ministry leaders lament the lack of world outrage toward North Korea as it persecutes Christians. “No nation is planning a military strike against the tyrannical rule of the North Korea,” observes Pastor Douglas Riggs.
The article is part of an emerging media theme: Why does the world seem to not notice that Christians get persecuted more than just about everybody else put together? Molly Hemingway’s piece is representative and worth quoting at length:
In recent weeks, we have Muslims killing Christians in Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan and Syria. Again.
It’s time to ask an important question that many of us have successfully avoided for far too long:
Can we finally start talking about the global persecution of Christians and other non-Muslims?
As Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea write in Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, “Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. This is confirmed in studies by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, the Pew Research Center, Commentary, Newsweek and the Economist. According to one estimate, by the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, 75 percent of acts of religious intolerance are directed against Christians.”
How well does the media tell that story? And how did they cover this weekend’s events? As Anglicans and other Christians worldwide grieved the brutal attack in Pakistan, the media… did not. The worst attack on Pakistani Christians in history didn’t make the front page of the New York Times. The Washington Post buried the story on page A7 of Monday’s paper. On the front page of the BBC web site, a small headline “Pakistan church blast kills dozens” was below stories on Angela Merkel and the Emmys. By the next day, the story was nowhere to be found.
Unreported but worth noting is this Scriptural reality:
Persecution is not the result of bad government but rather of good Christianity.
“In fact,” observes the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV), “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” And the world–because it is, you know, the world–will not rise up in outrage against this reality but will instead alternate between ignoring it and contributing to it.
So to be outraged by the world’s lack of outrage at the persecution of our brothers and sisters overlooks the role of persecution in the Christian life. Persecution is not the sign that something is going wrong for Christians. It is the sign that something is going right.
This is the basis for our fall campaign, 100 Days of Worship in the Common Places with the North Korean Underground Church. The idea is not to raise outrage over the persecution of Christians in North Korea but rather to raise the likelihood of persecution of Christians North America as we carry out the simple but (to the world) outrageous and disturbing act of worshiping God in the common places of our lives: homes, schools, workplaces, coffee shops, parks, malls, and restaurants.
It is not too late to join in the campaign now by requesting the free kit, which includes communion cups and a simple booklet containing the blood-stained order of worship of the North Korean underground church. It seems like an innocent enough project–after all, there’s no megaphone or Chick Tracts in there, so how dangerous could it be?
But Christian history in general and the history of the North Korean underground church in particular demonstrates that few things are as threatening to the world as when the church worships out in it. Try such for the remainder of the year with one or two brothers and sisters and see how the world around you responds.
Don’t be surprised–or outraged–if you are greeted with disapproval and the world does not step in to intervene on your behalf.
According to the Apostle Paul, that is a very likely sign that you are on the right track.