The silence of western media about the global persecution of Christians

Many people have noticed that the mainstream media in western nations is ignorant or uninterested in the persecution of Christians which is epidemic in many parts of the world. Secularist prejudices tend them to view the Christian church as an oppressor and they are predisposed to be blind to situations where Christians are the victims. The reasons for this are doubtless much more complex than my remark indicates, but the reality is certainly obvious. Mark Movsesian’s recent comments on this phenomenon in the context of the kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Sudan by Boko Haram, are insightful, I think. He concludes as follows:

Mark MovsesianWhat Boko Haram has done to the schoolgirls is an atrocity. It’s appropriate to condemn the kidnapping and do what we can to bring the perpetrators to justice, and, most of all, get the girls home. But here’s the thing. Boko Haram has been carrying out atrocities for years. The group has murdered thousands and caused thousands more to flee. It has burned churches with people inside them; it has massacred people in the streets. But until now, the Western media has paid little attention. Why the change?

Here’s a possible explanation: the majority of Boko Haram’s targets and victims have been Christians—according to one estimate, something like 60%. In fact, 60% may understate things. Boko Haram considers schools and places of entertainment  “Christian” institutions, so one should see attacks on those places as part of an anti-Christian campaign as well. In fact, although it hasn’t been widely reported, Chibok is a predominantly Christian city, and most of the kidnapped schoolgirls are Christians. That was the point.

It’s sadly very difficult to get the Western media and human-rights activists to focus on the worldwide persecution of Christians. Kidnap schoolgirls, though, and people sit up and pay attention. The War on Women interests us; the War on Christians, not so much. I suppose the moral is, if you’re a terrorist and you want to get the West to notice you, choose victims we care about.


By Terrance Tiessen

I am Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, Canada.

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