International (MNN) — Christians are facing increasing amounts of persecution in India. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in the most recent violence.
In Iraq, Christians have left the country because of the violence they're facing. The list goes on and on. Sadly, however, many Christians in the west aren't concerned about it, says Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs, Canada.
But, why is that? Penner says, "There's probably any number of reasons. Everything from, 'Well, it's happening far away to people we really don't know.' [Also], the preoccupation with national events lately [took away from the news]. Both Canada and the United States have just come off of federal elections, and both of them were highly-controversial and very popular, and I suspect that may be part of it."
However, Penner says, "Persecution is not really on the radar screen of a lot of local churches at the best of times."
He's been pleased by the secular coverage. "Groups like BBC, CNN and Fox [have] been actually covering the persecution in Orissa very well. In fact, recently I wrote a blog on this subject as to who's really silent. I really think that in some regards, the secular media is doing a far better job than some of the Christian media."
"[For] many Christian radio stations and television stations, that's not a big part of their mandate. It's either playing music or sermons. Also, part of the problem is that, as a rule, Christian leaders in North America very rarely say very much about persecution."
More and more radio, television and newspapers are giving more attention to local events rather than world events. Penner thinks that's true of many churches, too. "We're very interested and preoccupied with reaching out in our own neighborhoods for Christ, which is laudable. But at the same time, we forget our obligations to the world."
That's not to say individual Christians aren't showing an interest. Penner says many Christians continue to contact VOM for information about the persecuted church. VOM Canada and others are responding to that. "Most organizations do have their own news services. And certainly that's probably the better way of getting it any how, [because] we say, 'Here's the real news, and these are ways in which you can be praying and getting involved in letting our brothers and sisters know that they have not been forgotten.'"