Georgetown Prof Tells Bishops Religious Liberty [for Christians] Is in a “Global Crisis.”
Religious liberty for Christians is being threatened in the Middle East, Europe, and even the United States. That dire warning was delivered to the U.S. bishops by a Georgetown University professor during their spring national meeting in Atlanta, Ga., according to The National Catholic Register.
Thomas Farr teaches at Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and is the director of the Religious Freedom Project at the university’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Farr called the persecution of Christians “a global crisis” and backed up his claim with facts:
Let me give you the evidence for labeling this phenomenon “a global crisis.” In 2009 and 2011, the Pew Research Center presented two comprehensive reports that measured in every country of the world government restrictions on religion and social hostilities toward religion. The two reports covered the years 2006 to mid-2009.
The first report revealed a profoundly disturbing statistic: 70% of the world’s population lives in countries in which religious freedom is either highly or very highly restricted, either by governments or private actors. That is almost three out of four human beings on the planet.
Most of those people live in 66 countries. Of those, most are either Muslim-majority nations, communist regimes such as China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam, or large non-Muslim states such as India, Burma and Russia.
The second report demonstrated that the problem is getting worse. Between the first and second reports, restrictions on religious freedom increased in twice as many countries as those in which restrictions decreased. And because the problem countries tend to be populous, the increasing restrictions affected some 2.2 billion people, or about a third of the world’s population, whereas the small numbers of improvements affected only about 1% of the world’s population.
The religious minorities most subject to harassment in these and other countries were Christians, who were harassed in 130 nations, and Muslims, who were a close second at 117.
Farr pointed out to the bishops that, while much of the persecution of Christians is happening in Muslim countries, it’s also becoming increasingly prevalent in Europe.
Europe, he said, has the largest proportion of nations in which social hostilities toward religion are rising. “Hostilities in the United Kingdom, for example, increased so much that the U.K. now stands in the company of Iran and Saudi Arabia in the category of ‘high social hostilities,’ ” he said. “That is quite extraordinary. French government restrictions increased enough to move France ahead of Cuba in that category.”
Europe, he said, should act as a cautionary tale for the United States, which appears intent on traveling the same road.
You can read Farr’s entire testimony at The National Catholic Register: www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-catholic-church-and-the-global-crisis-of-religious-liberty/