- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of graduates from the Christian-based Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, that they ought to be ready for ridicule because this secular world is about as intolerant of those of the faith as can be.

How right he is.

Christianity is, after all, the most widely persecuted religion in the world. No need to sugarcoat.

“[It’s an] inconvenient truth that the overwhelming majority of persecuted religious believers are Christians,” stated an excerpt from an interim report from the United Kingdom.

Why inconvenient?

Politically, it’s not nice to point out the source of much of this Christian persecution. North Korea leads the charge — but then come the Muslims. The eradication of Christians “on pain of the sword” is a stated mission of radical Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria, for example.

Religion of peace-ers would much rather truths like that be buried.

This U.K. study’s initial findings show that 80 percent of those around the world facing religious persecution are Christians. Eighty percent.

“Though it is impossible to know the exact numbers of people persecuted for their faith, based on reports from different NGOs, it is estimated that one third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted,” said Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, said in the report, Anglican Communion News Service reported.

That’s pretty much how other outlets have reported in recent times as well.

According to a Pew Research Center report published in 2018, restrictions against the practice of all religions was increasing around the world, but persecution against Christianity was at the top of the list. In 144 countries, Christianity was the single most widely targeted religion.

In a joint report published in 2017 by University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute, and Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Research Project, Christians were found to be “the most widely targeted religious community, suffering terrible persecution globally,” the Washington Examiner reported.

Newsweek wrote in 2018 that the “persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today than at any time in history.”

America, even with its God-given rights to freely worship, isn’t immune.

For years, there has been an ongoing struggle over the judicial and legislative interpretation of the First Amendment’s respect of religious freedom, with Christians often getting the short end of the stick. Just ask Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy how he’s faring of late with campus crusaders who see his fast-food franchise in anti-LGBTQ light, worthy of destroying.

As Pence said to graduates: “Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for Christian beliefs. Just be ready.”

That’s not just common sense. It’s good biblical sense.

Jesus Himself warned his followers to expect persecution.

But the good news is this: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

That’s Matthew 5:11 — and in these anti-Christian times, in these times of “inconvenient truth” about the persecution of Christianity taking place both domestically and abroad, it’s a comfort that’s worth repeating and remembering.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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