By AMANDA MURPHY c. 2014 Religion News Service
The global persecution of Christians has gone from bad to worse, said
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill on February
Smith, a New Jersey Republican, along with other U.S. House
subcommittee members and various speakers gave testimony about religious
hostilities against Christians worldwide. Speakers noted that religious
persecution violates basic human rights.
Smith likened the persecution of Christians in Iraq to genocide. “Christians
remain the most persecuted group in the world and thus deserve special
attention,” he said.
Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the
Council on Foreign Relations, explained that past administrations have not
taken the issue of Christian persecution seriously enough. “The system isn’t
working properly,” said Abrams, who serves on the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom. “It sends a message to other countries that we
Abrams held up several photos of Christians who had either been
harassed or killed for their faith. “These images reflect a disturbing
reality,” he said.
Other countries such as Nigeria, Vietnam, Burma, and Egypt are
notorious for persecuting Christians.
Abrams and Smith stressed that those countries that experience
religious liberty must hold other countries to a higher standard.
John Allen, an associate editor at The Boston Globe, agreed by saying
that in the Western world, Christianity is seen as a “social institution.”
“It is hard for Christians to wrap their minds around persecution that
takes place around the world,” Allen said.