The Blood of the Martyrs Today

ChristianophobiaRupert Shortt is Religion Editor of the TLS (Times Literary Supplement). In this 54-page synopsis of his case he takes the reader on a tour of global persecution of Christians. He begins in Egypt by contrasting current conditions with Egypt’s tradition of relative toleration. The survey continues through Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Burma, and China.

We might dispute the relatively optimistic account of the history of Islam and the their assessment of what the Qur’an actually teaches. The paper argues that it is not the Qur’an per se that is hostile to Christianity but later Islamic traditions. As always the Mohammad v the Mohammadans argument has to be sorted out on the merits of the case but the method has often led to less than historical results.

We might also question with some of the assertions made about Christian crimes against humanity. They have certainly occurred but their nature has often been exaggerated the modern period as part of a larger Enlightenment-fueled narrative about the evils of historic Christianity. Some of the numbers Shortt cites in his white paper (linked above) seemed exaggerated.

Nevertheless, the quick tour of the world in the white paper and the more extensive case in the book is a bracing reminder that we are followers of the Crucified One and we too are called to take up a cross. It’s also a good reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters in those places Shortt surveys and that their blood might be the seed of the church (HT: Commentary Magazine)

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