SBC Life Articles

National Columnist Spotlights Christian Persecution

A February 11 column, "Persecuting the Christians," by New York Times syndicated columnist A.M. Rosenthal references a book published by the Baptist Sunday School Board's Broadman & Holman Publishers on the worldwide persecution of Christians.

The syndicated column also was published Feb. 13 in newspapers throughout the country.

In the Lion's Den, released Jan. 15, was written by Nina Shea, director of the Puebla Program of Freedom House. Shea is a human rights attorney who has devoted the last ten years to the issue of persecution of Christians.

In the book, she notes more Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined.

"This column is late, not because so much has been written about the subject and everybody knows, but for exactly the opposite reason," Rosenthal wrote. "A few journalists have written about the persecution of Christians in Communist or religious dictatorships. A few legislators have risen to protest. A few clergymen and their religious organizations try to arouse congregations, but astonishingly few, compared not only with the spread of the persecution, but what could be done to fight it, if the political, religious, business and press leaders of the world had the will and courage," he continued.

He noted persecution of Christians is taking place in the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and China, to name a few.

"If I were Christian I would complain that Christian leaders, political, religious and business, around the world have failed in their obligations to right oppression of their co-religionists," Rosenthal said. "I am complaining anyway."

He urged greater action from Jewish organizations as well. He cited lessons learned from protesting persecution of Jews that should be taken to heart by those concerned about persecution of Christians.

"Organize congregations to pay attention, more and continuously, to co-religionists outside America. Make sure every American official, meeting any Communist or Islamicist, protests and warns every time. Fight for legislation strengthening the rights of religious refugees and use of economic pressures," Rosenthal said.

"And, personal note: Once awake, don't fall asleep again," he concluded.

Baptist Sunday School Board President James T. Draper, Jr. echoed Rosenthal's sentiments about the need for action during his Feb. 10 report to agency trustees.

"We need to fall to our knees and pray for these brothers and sisters," he said. "We need to call this tragedy to the attention of public officials."

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  • Linda Lawson