The president of one of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations fighting against religious persecution around the world is calling in a new op-ed the for the American church to “wake up” while our international counterparts endure unfathomable persecution.
Open Doors CEO David Curry wrote Tuesday in a column for USA Today that the leaders of the Christian church in the U.S. are “whistling through the graveyard” as violence against believers continues to rise.
“Like most of the culture,” Curry wrote, “the American church is more concerned about college entrance scandals and ‘Game of Thrones’ than persecution.”
He continued, “Inoculated by entertainment and self-absorption, they are completely detached from the experience of the global church. The American church is feeding itself to death while the worldwide church is being murdered.”
Curry is absolutely right about the uptick in Christian persecution worldwide. In 2019 alone, we’ve seen believers in Sri Lanka bombed on Easter Sunday, attacked violently in West Africa, targeted in Japan, detained in Eritrea, bulldozed in Eastern India, and kidnapped in Nigeria.
According to data compiled by Open Doors, one-in-nine Christians are persecuted in some way for their faith. And in Nigeria alone, 3,731 Christians were killed for their faith in 2018. And the numbers are continuing to trend in the wrong direction.
Despite all this, Curry said he continues to watch America’s “malaise” in response to the onslaught of violence against Christians around the globe.
“My prayer,” he wrote, “is that we will soon be shocked from our sleep and jolted into action. We must educate American congregations about global religious rights abuses, and then engage this crisis together.”
Furthermore, the Open Doors leader pointed out the American church has a lot to learn from the global church, particularly from those facing violent persecution.
Our brothers and sisters facing oppression and violence, Curry wrote, are “giving us clues on how Christians can survive, and in some cases, thrive in the face of danger.”
“When believers in Nigeria began to face persecution, they dropped the denominational infighting that is more common to the West and recognized that everyone suffering for their faith in Jesus is our family,” he wrote. “The American church can learn from their example and rally the world to care about the religious persecution and rising intolerance for all faiths, if it chooses to care.”
To learn more about Opens Doors USA and the work it does around the globe, click here.