Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, said on Thursday that “no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than followers of Christ.”
Yes, you read that right. The same “followers of Christ” who make up 31 percent of the world and about 75% of the United States are members of the most persecuted religion on the planet, according to the second most powerful man in the country (who, to state the obvious, is also Christian).
Echoing statements made by Donald Trump himself last year, Pence said the Christian faith is “under siege” across the “wider world.”
Throughout the world, no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than the followers of Christ. In more than 100 countries spread to every corner of the globe –- from Iran to Eritrea, Nigeria to North Korea –- over 215 million Christians confront intimidation, imprisonment, forced conversion, abuse, assault, or worse, for holding to the truths of the Gospel. And nowhere is this onslaught against our faith more evident than in the very ancient land where Christianity was born.
It’s absolutely fair to say Christians in certain other parts of the world are persecuted. It’s not easy being a religious minority in nations that are, say, Islamic theocracies. Those Christians need our help and support.
The problem, as we know all too well, is that people like Franklin Graham (who organized the event) routinely act like Christians are being persecuted in the United States. When Trump signed an executive order last week weakening the Johnson Amendment, he even talked about how he would “not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.” As if Christians are ever silenced by the government in America.
Pence perpetuated that same idea yesterday when he said, “The Bible tells us: ‘All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.’”
All. That includes Christians in the U.S. where they are objectively not persecuted.
Pence was citing 2 Timothy 3:12 when he made those remarks, and, to be fair, it really does say that. It was even true… at one point.
When Christianity started off as a minor cult of Judaism, its adherents were persecuted. This is a well-known historical fact. But does it hold up today? No. Not here. Not now. Everything changed when governments began adopting Christianity as the official state religion at the expense of other beliefs.
So while there are undoubtedly people (and even some governments) who discriminate against Christians today, the tide has largely turned in the other direction. But can we expect Christians, who believe in a book that says they will always be persecuted, to understand that?
Not in this administration. They’re too busy using their faith to actively discriminate against others.