“I thank God for the book you are now holding,” scholar Eric Metaxas writes in the foreward of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians by Hudson Institute religious freedom scholars Lela Gilbert, Paul Marshall, and Nina Shea. As Metaxas elaborates, Persecuted “focuses on a scandalously underreported fact, that Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today,” a “terrible trend…on the upswing.” The authors chronicle in detailed fashion all manner of religious repression against Christians, such as laws inhibiting conversion to Christianity, state destruction of unapproved churches, torture of Christian dissidents, and often socially sanctioned vigilante violence. Among other countries, the authors focus on Marxist-legacy regimes such as China, Hindu and Buddhist hostility in South Asia, and majority-Muslim nations. The authors stress, however, that “it is in the Muslim world where persecution of Christians is now most widespread, intense, and, ominously, increasing.” With other religious communities facing persecution along with Christians, Philadelphia Catholic Archbishop Charles J. Chaput concludes in the afterword that there is a “global crisis in religious liberty.”
The three-fourths of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians in the developing world face hostility from various quarters. Among atheist Marxist-regimes, for example, Christianity’s “claim that Caesar is not God challenges every authoritarian regime, ancient Romans and modern totalitarians alike, and draws their angry and bloody response.” South Asia’s predominantly Hindu and Buddhist countries, meanwhile, “have a reputation, in many cases well deserved, for peaceful religious coexistence with their stunningly varied neighbors.” Yet even here various “strong militant traditions” persecute Christianity.