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 teaches at Penn State and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is the author of The Great and Holy War and The Many Faces of Christ.