Open Doors, the watchdog organization that monitors Christian religious persecution worldwide, released their annual report on the 50 worst countries in the world back in January, but it’s only gotten some air time recently.
What kind of reactions?
Well, let’s look at an editorial that ran Tuesday in USA Today by Open Doors CEO David Curry with this attention-grabber of a headline: “Global Christian persecution is worsening while American Christian churches slumber.” It opened with the latest anti-Christian outrage in Nigeria, where 3,731 Christians were killed in 2018.
We usually don’t talk about opinion in these blog posts, but the complaint here is directly related to press coverage about persecution.
The bottom line: If people don’t know something’s happening, they can’t very well protest it.
If such violence had occurred in Nashville rather than Nigeria, it would dominate nightly news broadcasts and saturate social media feeds. American churches would be launching fundraising campaigns for victims’ families and addressing it in their weekly gatherings. In this case, however, the American church has barely acknowledged it. Unfortunately, when violence occurs somewhere “over there” instead of in our backyard, it is often dismissed as just another story. American churches must do better…
Yet the leadership of the American church, with its superpastors and megachurches, is whistling through the graveyard. The beast that we have created, which relies on upbeat music and positivity to attract donors to sustain large budgets, leaves little room for pastors to talk about the suffering of global Christians. Like most of the culture, the American church is more concerned about college entrance scandals and "Game of Thrones" than persecution.
Inoculated by entertainment and self-absorption, they are completely detached from the experience of the global church. The American church is feeding itself to death while the worldwide church is being murdered.
You can also substitute “American media” in there, too, although it’s accurate to note that most U.S. readers are notorious for not caring about international news. Christians are basically the same with the possible exception of news about Israel.
What the editorial is asking for is something on the line of what happened in 40 years ago when a quarter million people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., in December 1987 on behalf of Soviet Jews.