Over the past 20 years the worldwide persecution of Christians has
entered the consciousness of American believers. Religious freedom has
become a potent rallying cry. That is an excellent development—provided
we avoid turning the issue into a partisan weapon in the confrontation
between Christianity and Islam. While those two faiths often do
encounter each other violently, most world religions, including those
faiths that Westerners view quite favorably, have their own disturbing
records of persecution and violence.
India, in particular, has a
troubled record on religious freedom, and the offenders are Hindus, not
Muslims. And the violence seems bound to increase.
Philip Jenkins is professor of history at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion and author of The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade and The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand-Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels.