It was Easter Sunday and I had been invited to participate in Radio 702’s program Believe It Or Not, hosted by Kate Turkington. The subject was: Christophobia. Little did I realise that the explosive, and mostly hostile, reactions from callers would demonstrate the reality of Christophobia better than anything I could have said on the programme.
The program host, Kate Turkington, began by expressing her surprise that I had written an article on the subject of Christophobia. She said that she had never heard of such a thing and challenged me to justify the statement, that she quoted from our article on the www.christianaction.org.za website:“Many of our freedoms are at risk. There is a rising tide of anti-Christian intolerance worldwide.”
The World Wide War Against Christianity
I responded by pointing out that it is a fact that there is a growing worldwide war against Christianity. Last year over 160,000 Christians were killed for their Faith. Christians had been beaten, imprisoned and killed for the crime of being a Christian in Red China. In Sudan, Christians have been bombed, massacred and sold into slavery. In Indonesia, Muslim mobs have wiped out entire villages of Christians, burning down many hundreds of churches. Christians have been targeted and assassinated in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Missionaries in various parts of the world have been kidnapped, murdered and, in India, even burned alive by mobs of Hindu militants.
Kate Turkington expressed the opinion that surely this is an exaggeration, and the situation could not possibly be that bad, and haven’t I inflated the figures, because this was just “too unbelievable”. What were my sources?
Firsthand Eyewitness Experiences
I replied that as a missionary who has been dedicated to serving persecuted Christians in restricted access areas over the last 26 years, I had personally witnessed the destruction of literally hundreds of churches. I had documented in books, such as: In the Killing Fields of Mozambique, Holocaust in Rwanda and Faith Under Fire in Sudan, the systematic government organised persecution of Christians in Marxist Mozambique and Rwanda, and in Sudan at the hands of the National Islamic Front government. I personally had experienced aerial bombardments and artillery and rocket attacks on churches where I was preaching in Sudan.
Documenting the Facts
As for the statistics, Operation World, The Christian World Encyclopedia, Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, The World Evangelical Fellowship, International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, and numerous other books, organisations and websites provide exhaustive documentation of the persecution of Christians worldwide.
Exceptions or a Pattern?
But surely, the presenter insisted, these statistics cannot possibly be so high. Aren’t we dealing with a few isolated exceptions?
The Soviet Holocaust
No, I insisted, it is calculated that over 42-million Christians died at the hands of anti-Christian governments, mostly Communist regimes, in the 20 th Century alone. The Black Book of Communism, written by ex-Communist leaders themselves, documents, using the Soviet Union’s own archives, that under Joseph Stalin up to 690,000 executions a year were carried out. Over 20-million Christians were slaughtered in the Soviet Union alone, mostly by Joseph Stalin’s regime.
Over 1 million Christians were slaughtered in Red China under Mao Tse Tung’s purge. Colonel Mengistu’s Marxist regime in Ethiopia killed another million. At least 300,000 Christians were murdered under Samora Machel’s Frelimo regime in Mozambique…
Christians Deserve to be Persecuted
Before I could give more statistics I was interrupted and told that this just didn’t seem possible and there were many callers waiting to challenge my assertions. She then read out several SMS’s including one that stated: “It’s good that Christians are being persecuted. It shows that something right is being done in the world. Christians deserve everything they are getting!”
Christian Minorities Should be Persecuted
The first caller identified himself as “Muhammad” and he stated that Christians should expect to be persecuted as they are a minority in another country which holds a different religion. He specifically referred to my report on Christians being killed in Indonesia and said that as Christians were a minority in Indonesia, they should expect that, just as Muslims expect to be discriminated against in the USA. “Why do Christians go to countries which have another religion? They should stay in their own countries. They are just asking for trouble if they go into other lands that have their own religions. Why are they interfering? They are bringing this upon themselves. They should stay in their own countries.”
What About Sudan?
When I had the opportunity to respond I pointed out that one cannot say that the Christians in Sudan are foreigners who have come into Sudan to interfere. The very name Sudan means “the land of the Black people.” For many centuries Black Christians were the majority in Northern Sudan. Christianity long pre-dates Islam in Sudan and was established already in the 1 st Century. For nine centuries the Black Christians in Sudan managed to resist the Arab invasions, and when they finally crumbled before the Islamic offensives, a remnant of Christians continued to hold on tenaciously to their Faith. Today they are suffering Jihad from the National Islamic Front government which has been trying to eradicate their Faith. Let us face it, the Arabs were not originally indigenous to Sudan. The Arabic language comes from Saudi Arabia. The Black Christians were the original inhabitants of Sudan and, even though they had been massacred and enslaved into a minority position now, you cannot claim that Islam was in Sudan first.
Indonesia vs USA
As far as comparing the persecution of Christians in Indonesia with possible discrimination that some Muslims were experiencing in the USA, I did not think it was morally equivalent to dismiss the beheading of Christian school girls in Indonesia by referring to some discrimination that individual Muslims may experience at the hands of some citizens in the USA. As far as I knew no mosques had been burned in the USA, as many hundreds of churches have been burned in Indonesia. Nor do I know of any Muslims who had been massacred in the USA, although many hundreds of thousands of Christians had been massacred in Indonesia.
Christian Witnessing in School is Criminal
Another caller related how a Hindu girl at a local school had asked a Christian scholar whether she really needed to believe in Jesus in order to go to Heaven. The caller was most irate as she related that the Christian child had told this Hindu girl that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one could go to Heaven except through Jesus. “It’s a crime. It shouldn’t be allowed. This kind of scare mongering, preaching on hell, telling people that Jesus is the only way to God, children should not be allowed to talk like that. Some censorship is justified. We have to stop this kind of thing. It’s hurtful and disturbing.”The caller repeated in many different ways how she was convinced that nobody should be allowed to suggest that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
What About Religious Freedom?
I responded that surely we must uphold freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of religion. This is the fruit of the Christian Faith. Religious freedom was a Christian innovation. It came out of the Protestant Reformation. Throughout history, in every culture, civilization and religion, people were expected to conform to whatever the state religion demanded. However, it was the Protestant Reformer, Dr Martin Luther, who in his courageous stand before the Emperor declared: “My conscience is captive to the Word of God, here I stand, I can do no other…” This speech laid the foundations for freedom of conscience and religious liberty.
Freedom of Conscience
We are not here talking about some teacher forcing a certain party line on students, but a conversation between individual scholars. Was she really suggesting that governments should legislate and interfere with personal opinions, privately expressed?
Christians Would Also Abuse Power
Another caller opinioned that “Christians can also be irrational. If Christians obtained power then they would do the same abuses of power as everyone else. So, what’s the difference?” In response I pointed out that before the Protestant Reformation authoritarianism prevailed. Whatever the chief, king, pharaoh, caesar or emperor said, was law. However, the Protestant Reformation introduced the whole concept of the Rule of Law, Constitutional Authority, Representative Governments and Separation of Powers. Previously, governments were only changed by violent overthrows and assassinations. It is a fruit of Christianity that some countries have the opportunity to peacefully replace their governments. While many examples could be cited of Atheist states murdering millions, there is no example of Protestant Christians committing such atrocities.
To this there was quite an explosive reaction. How could I suggest that anyone has ever been killed in the name of Atheism?
The Greatest Killer
Well, far more people have been killed in the name of Atheism than by all other religions combined. The 20 th Century has been the bloodiest century in all of history. Secular Humanism has proven to be the most destructive religion of all time. Secular Humanist states, espousing Atheism and Darwinian social theories, killed over 160 million of their own citizens in the 20 th Century.
In the Name of Atheism
But, protested Kate, surely none of these governments were committing such atrocities in the name of Secular Humanism or Atheism?
The Deathtoll of Humanism
Yes, indeed, that is exactly what they were doing. In the name of Atheism, and as officially Secular states with Humanism as their state ideology, Marxist regimes, such as the Soviet Union, slaughtered tens of millions of their own citizens. Now, we are not here talking about soldiers killed in war by foreign invaders. We are talking about unarmed civilians being massacred by their own governments, mostly in peace times. Death By Government and The Black Book of Communism document conclusively that in the name of Atheism, Secular Humanist governments killed over 160 million of their own citizens - in the 20 th Century alone.
The Worst Disaster
The Secular state has proven to be the greatest killer ever, and Secular states made the 20 th Century the bloodiest century of all time. The bitter harvest of Atheism proves that Humanism is the most destructive religion in all history.
It was about at this time that I was informed that my contribution was over, and someone came on the line to thank me for my participation. As I did not have a radio available I don’t know what else was said on the program after they disconnected me, however, it would appear from the vitriolic reactions of many of the callers that Christophobia is alive and well.
War Against God
This radio programme gave fresh impetus to a book I’m working on along with a number of other Christian leaders: War Against God. You may be interested in reading the article which inspired this radio programme: Christophobia on www.frontline.org.za. You may also be interested in an article which I wrote on a previous interview on this secular station: Why is there so much hostility against the Bible and Christianity?
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you….If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…” John 15:18-20
Dr Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands, 7725
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: (021) 689-4480
Fax: (021) 685-5884