Religious Hatred Here and There
How can we place the following statistics on worldwide Christian persecution into perspective?
- 3,066 killed;
- 1,252 abducted;
- 1,020 raped or sexually harassed;
- 793 churches attacked or destroyed.
After all, aren’t we in the United States bombarded with media reports claiming that, particularly in the “Age of Trump,” our society is saturated with religious hatred that manifests itself in hate crimes? Were that claim found to be true then we would have no moral right to point our finger at others.
2017 FBI Hate Crime Data
It turns out that, so concerned is our federal government about the occurrence of hate crimes that the FBI has been directed to collect and publish data in this area. The FBI publishes this data on an annual basis, the most recent year being 2017. Thus it is easy to find and assess the level of hate crimes across many years and for many groups including religious, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, etc.
The following figure shows the total number of murders, rapes and arsons identified as motivated by hate against Muslims in the United Stated between 2008 and 2017. Note that so unheard of is abduction motivated by hate that there is no category for this crime.
The results are likely surprising to some readers. Please keep in mind that these are results across our entire nation of 320 million inhabitants. Some of my observations are:
- The hate crime statistics against Muslims are identical between the year of Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” Presidential campaign and Trump’s 2016 “make America great again” campaign (i.e. 0 murders, 0 rapes and 5 arsons);
- In the ten years covered not a single rape occurred against a Muslim due to hate in the entire United States;
- In the ten years covered six murders occurred against a Muslim due to hate in the entire United States, which is well less than one per year on average;
- In the first year of Trump’s Presidency there were zero murders, rapes and arsons against Muslims due to hate, a result that never occurred during Obama’s Presidency.
What can we conclude but that, in spite of massive Progressive propaganda to the contrary, the United States is an exceedingly tolerant country? Yes, we are deluged with accusations of Islamophobia, but the actual hate crime data shows the opposite. The reason for this falsehood’s persistence is that any criticism of the Muslim faith or of some Muslim individuals and organizations is attributed to Islamophobia. In other words, the Progressives have placed Muslims outside the realm of criticism by designating any concern about their religion or behavior as a kind of mental illness.
And yet Progressives criticize, mock, condemn and yes, hate Christians on a massive scale without being accused of “Christaphobia.” I must ask, from the Progressive multicultural perspective are only Western Civilization, Christianity and Judaism capable of sin? Were we to examine the history of Islam, Hinduism, etc. would we find only sweetness and light in their past and present? Are the past and present for all countries and ethnic groups outside of Western Civilization beyond reproach, beyond criticism? The apparent Progressive multiculturalist answer is YES!
So, when we note that thousands of Christians are murdered, abducted and raped throughout the world because of their faith we in the United Stated do have moral standing to care and criticize. For, if the religious tolerance that exists in the United States were replicated throughout the world the number of hate crimes against all people for all reasons would be massively reduced.
Yes, we are far from perfect. Yes, we sin in a many ways. Yes there are many and deep reasons to criticize our nation. But for goodness sake, why can’t we acknowledge and celebrate that a level of tolerance has been achieved here that enables human flourishing at a remarkable level?
We can and must. For to do otherwise is to become complicit in the Progressive multiculturalist lie that only the West, Christianity and Judaism are capable of sin. All other religious, ethnic and country peoples are presumed to be either incapable of or justified in their sinful acts. We Christians have doubly no excuse for supporting this lie.
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
Romans 3:10-12 (ESV)
Am I saying that because Western Civilization is more tolerant then it must be more righteous than all others? Not at all. For the righteousness of which the Apostle Paul speaks is the perfect righteousness demanded by God. As is well said by R.C. Sproul:
Good is a relative term. It is defined against some standard. If we establish what that standard is, we can congratulate ourselves and take comfort in our attainment of it. But if God establishes the standard, and His standard includes outward behavior (that our actions conform perfectly to His law) and internal motivation (that all our acts proceed from a heart that loves Him perfectly), then we quickly see that our pretended “goodness” is no goodness at all. We then understand what Augustine was getting at when he said that man’s best works are nothing more than “splendid vices.”
There are aspects of Western Civilization in which we are far worse than others, with abortion being a particularly shameful and stark example. But there are other areas, such as religious tolerance, where we have achieved far better results. We must not denigrate our successes because in other areas we have failed.
Thus we should in clear conscience and loud voice speak up for out brothers and sisters in Christ who are experiencing brutal persecution. While so doing we must also look at ourselves and recognize that there is great sin at work in the West as well. But it is inherently unjust and unsustainable to apply one standard to ourselves and another to anyone else.