- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson wasn’t expected his Facebook post on persecuted Christians to go viral — but it did.

After seeing news of the Islamic State group’s slaughter of Christians in the Iraq, Syria and Libya, the NFL player posted his thoughts on his social media page, which were then shared close to 20,000 times and resulted in an invite to speak with Fox New’s Greta Van Susteren.

“I had no idea this was going to happen,” Mr. Watson told the Fox News host on Tuesday. “Seeing Christians being slaughtered merely because they believe in Jesus Christ … I realize, you know what, in America sometimes feel like we’re separated from that — like that just happens over there — but it won’t be long, I believe, until we maybe face some of the same things here,” he added.

The attention for Mr. Watson started Feb. 28 when he wrote:

The images keep flooding our timelines and news feeds. Men being burned alive or beheaded by masked assassins. Stories of families on the run, fleeing their homes while they are pillaged and burned. Their testimonies hold a familiar chord. “Convert, Pay or Die! …

As I sit here in a 21st century United States, I can’t help but wonder when we too will face martyrdom for our faith. On this very day nearly 50 countries have laws that restrict or outlaw Christianity, leading to the harassment, imprisonment and death of those who follow Christ. On this day, in countries like North Korea and China, Christians gather for church underground to avoid being arrested by police. On this day, in Nigeria thousands mourn the deaths of their loved ones killed by Boko Haram in their quest to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. On this day, in Cuba, Christian ministries continue to risk their freedom as the countries continues to feel the effects of Communist rule.

When the football star was asked by Ms. Van Susteren whether he was astounded by what he was seeing, he replied that history is littered with instances of Christian persecution.

“As we look throughout history, there have been people who have been marginalized or killed or martyred for their faith. But throughout that whole ordeal, it’s amazing how Christianity has kept growing,” Mr. Watson said.

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