Faith

Christians: The Most Persecuted in the World

In 2016 alone, 90,000 of the faithful were murdered worldwide

One Christian is killed every six minutes in our world today.

Last year, 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith, according to renowned author and sociologist Massimo Introvigne. As the founder of the Independent Center for Studies on New Religions in Turin, Italy, Introvigne spoke of a study that will be published next month through the Center for Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

“Whether it’s through advocacy or financial support, we need to stand in solidarity with those who are being killed simply because they believe in the person who taught us to love one another.”

This research sheds light on the now undisputed fact that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. Introvigne also reported that, shockingly, 2016 was a better year for Christians than 2015, when 105,000 Christians were killed around the world.

In 2016, 70 percent of Christians were killed in African tribal conflicts and 30 percent in government persecutions, attacks on Christians in villages, or terror attacks worldwide.

LifeZette spoke exclusively with Andrew Walther, vice president of the Knights of Columbus, who was on the ground in Iraq just one week ago. “The report is tracking with what we’ve been hearing from Pew and other organizations that track this as well,” Walther said.

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Related: The Pope’s Tribute to Persecuted Christians

“I think it’s important for people to realize that persecution is not just a thing of the past or the kind of stories of the saints from the early church. This is something that’s absolutely ongoing, and that is presenting people with the choice, in some cases of either their livelihood, their worldly possessions or their faith,” he said.

While these numbers are staggering, they also teach a lesson to those in the Western world protected by religious freedom.

“When you live in a Christian majority country … and you live in a country that has guarantees of religious freedom in its First Amendment, often it’s hard to imagine a world where Christians are a minority and are being persecuted for their faith,” said Walther.

Walther, along with many of his colleagues at the organization, have worked tirelessly to aid the persecuted Christians in Iraq.

“It’s absolutely critical people educate themselves and are honest enough to report what is happening globally.”

“When you see people dying for their faith or choosing their faith over everything else in their life, I think that’s an important lesson for those of us who have it easier, to understand the importance of faith, the value of faith, and the sacrifices that other people are willing to make for their faith,” explained Walther. “I think it’s up to us to support those people that are being persecuted.”

“Whether it’s through advocacy or financial support, we need to stand in solidarity with those who are being killed simply because they believe in the person who taught us to love one another,” Walther added.

But that is exactly what’s happening — and 90,000 of them have been killed for that faith in just the last 365 days.

“It’s absolutely critical that people educate themselves and are honest enough to report what is happening globally,” Walther concluded. “The global reality is that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about that. We should absolutely talk about that.”

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