Open Doors, Religious persecution and human rights

November 30, 2009

I had a presentation from Open Doors a few days ago which really didn’t resonate with me at all. I heard about the 66 countries where Christians is being persecuted, and some alarms went of. Mexico (94% Christian), Colombia (95% Christian), Peru (90% Christian) is all on the list. Sub-Sahara Africa is on one of the lists, one of the growth points of the church in the world at the moment (figures taken from Operation World book), and he couldn’t really explain why this is so (except for a short comment about Roman Catholics persecuting Christians in Latin America…).

But my discomfort grew as time went on, and I started wondering WWJD (What Would Jesus Do/Deconstruct).

The world is a battlefield of religious, ideological, gender related, class related, race related persecution. A reality which we have to fight with everything in us. But I struggle to imagine a Jesus who would fight against the persecution of only one religious group. I struggle to imagine a Jesus talking about the persecution of Christians without mentioning the persecution by Christians (and since Open Doors doesn’t limit itself to institutionalized persecution, but include what happens on a local or even personal level, persecution by Christians should also make out a long list on their website).

If we stick to fighting for our own, we are misunderstanging Luke 4 completely! God cares about the other, the outsider, those who are different. From a different nationality, and, in Luke 4 and the Jewish world, from a different religious background.

If only my friend from Open Doors would have told me about religious persecution, about human rights violations because of lack of religious freedom, we would have had much to talk about. But now he sound more like the Sanhedrin of olds, working for the protections of their own against Roman religious persecution, than Jesus that was nearly killed in Nazareth because he was preaching about a better world for all.

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