For the first time ever, the U.S. has been listed by a watchdog group as one of the top 12 nations where Christians are targeted for their faith at a concerning level.
International Christian Concern listed the U.S. in its recently released “2016 Hall of Shame” report, mentioning both private and government actions that have caused concern and alarm for the persecution watchdog.
“In short, Christians in the U.S. are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and close-minded,” the report reads.
More specifically, the document alleges that Christians are “being marginalized through the law,” detailing a number of concerning cases that have emerged in recent years. The text continues, “From the case of a Christian football coach suspended for praying at the 50-yard line, to Christian business owners forced to pay a $135,000 fine for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, the number of troubling cases directed towards Christians has exploded.”
The document also mentioned Christian organization InterVarsity and its past problems with official recognition on public college campuses in California, a public health official named Eric Walsh and his purported termination due to sermons he uttered, among other examples.
In the end, International Christian Concern believes that “anti-Christian” forces have been using “claims of intolerance and inequality” to “fundamentally distort the clear intent of the First Amendment.”
With that in mind, the organization was careful not to equate the brand or level of persecution it believes is unfolding in America with the horrific conditions that Christians and other minority groups face in other countries.
“This trend is extremely worrying in the country that has long held the ideal of religious liberty,” the document continued. “While there is no comparison between the life of a Christian in the U.S. with persecuted believers overseas, ICC sees these worrying trends as an alarming indication of a decline in religious liberty in the United States.”
Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, reiterated in a press release that the organization felt it was important to highlight a few countries where persecution is “unusual,” but has reached a level of concern, noting that the U.S. was joined by Russia and Mexico in making that short list, the Christian Post reported.
“While conditions in the U.S. are in no way comparable to other countries on the list, a certain segment of the culture and the courts seem to be intent on driving faith out of the public square,” he said. “There have been too many court cases with bad decisions to miss the clear trend line.”
International Christian Concern explained in the report that the organization has turned away from its previous top 10 ranking system and has, instead, opted for three categories. The first — “Worst of the Worst” includes countries like Syria and North Korea. The second group includes “Core Countries” such as Egypt and China, and the third and final group is comprised of the “New and Noteworthy” — nations like the U.S. with events that “indicate declining religious freedom.”
Read the report in its entirety here.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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