Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea have long experience in drawing attention to the widespread and increasing hostility that religious believers face across the globe. Between them, they have now written so many books, given so many talks, and appeared on so many radio and television shows that their newest contribution, Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson) isn't just an isolated argument. It's a part of a movement.
The book focuses on Christians—and rightly so, they argue, because Christians are, by some estimates, the target of as many as 75 percent of the acts of religious persecution worldwide. But this is not an isolated argument. Nor do the authors make the mistake of imagining Christians are the only victims. In fact, their deliberate appeal to American Christians on behalf of Christians is every bit a strategy for combating persecution in general. Religious freedom is not a zero-sum game.
Part of the problem they are addressing is the persistent myth that Christianity is an essentially Western, or American, thing. But there are more Christians going to worship every week in China than there are in all of Western Europe. Slowly, painstakingly, we are awakening to the realization that Christianity is not, essentially, a Western thing (if it ever really was). If your game is Christianity, the action isn't in America. It's not even in North America.
The average Christian on the planet is likely a Brazilian or Nigerian woman or a Chinese youth. And nowadays, given where most of the world's Christians are, being a Christian, or becoming one, can be a very, very bad choice if peace and security are your goals. In an ironic inversion, the religion of colonialist ...