Eleven: Wake Up, Stand Up, Speak Up

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-wake-upI want to mention the number eleven. There is a reason for that. Eleven is the number of Christians killed every hour of every day or every year and that during just the time span of 2000-2010. If you just take that decade you already have one-hundred-thousand lives.

While a tragedy of unimaginable proportion, the problem with statistics is that they never tell the whole story. With clinical abstract precision, they mask the unspeakable suffering and horror of our brothers and sisters with just plain cold numbers. They fail to even remotely approach the reality of bombings of churches in Bagdad by Islamic militants, or the slaughter of Christians in India’s north eastern state of Orissa where as many as five-hundred Christians were killed, many hacked to death with machetes by Hindu radicals. Other than those who have personally survived such horrors who can really begin to imagine the suffering of the two-hundred-thousand to four-hundred-thousand Christians believed to be living in forced labor camps in North Korea.

The list of atrocities can sadly go on endlessly; however, those of us in the West should be alert to very dangerous realities that go largely unrecognized by most Americans. The first is this chilling global war on Christians, but the second is a war on religion, which is characterized by increasing secular hostility to religion generally and to Christians in particular. It’s time for all of us to wake up. Maybe not just wake up but wake up, stand up, and speak up. For those sufficiently attentive, the danger signals of soft persecution in the West should alert us to hard persecution now being suffered by millions of Christians around the globe and quite possibly or should I say most certainly head our way.

To those who adamantly deny that such persecution could ever happen in the West, I would kindly extend an invitation to consult the instructive realities of history. Just a blink in time ago. Would the American audience watching Leave it to Beaver firmly convinced that marijuana was the Devil’s weed had taken you seriously if you said that in a matter of years, it would be legalized for recreational use in a growing number of states? Would those watching Ozzie and Harriet have taken you seriously if you told them that the Supreme Court will one day legalize same-sex marriage? Reality is full of surprises, and history is not always merciful, which is why we must wake up, stand up, and speak up.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorably put it, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Poignantly and hauntingly, he also realized that “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

—Hank Hanegraaff

Find out more about hard persecution of Christians in The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution by John L. Allen. To learn more about soft persecution of Christians in the West, check out It’s Dangerous to Believe by Mary Eberstadt.

Blog adapted from the October 19, 2016 Bible Answer Man.