Persecution and the problem of western indifference

By February 12, 2020

USA (MNN) – Over 260 million Christians live in places with high levels of persecution. Every day they face danger and struggles, yet most of the West is ignorant or indifferent. Why?

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs, USA says the problem is two-fold. There are problems both with the Church and the government.

The Church’s Neglect

1 Corinthians 12 talks about the Body of Christ. The Church should be eagerly watching and caring for every member. However, often the Church does not see or seek out those actively suffering with persecution.

(Image courtesy of VOM USA)

Nettleton says, “It’s a misapplication of Scripture, which calls us when one part of the body is suffering, the other parts of the body are supposed to feel that. If we are cut off, [we] can’t feel that and so there’s the aspect of the Church and why doesn’t the Church pay more attention?”

Some of that answer may be ignorance. Voice of the Martyrs, USA seeks to change that. One of their purposes is, “To promote the fellowship of all believers by informing the world of the faith and courage of persecuted Christians, thereby inspiring believers to a deeper level of commitment to Christ and involvement in His Great Commission.”

However, the Church is not alone in a quiet response.

The Government’s Disinterest

Government leaders do not often actively pursue these issues for several reasons. Nettleton details two of those reasons.

  1. Government officials work for re-election. Many elected officials do what they believe voters want to see. Nettleton says, “I think in some cases, it is, they don’t think their voters care about that. And they work for voters. And so we as voters, we need to let them know this is a priority to us. This is something we think about when we go to the ballot box.”
  2. America is in debt. Telling a foreign government to change their laws and treat Christians better is tricky when we owe them more than we can pay. Nettleton explains, “It’s hard for us to do that because the borrower is the servant of the lender. And so, there is an economic reason why some of our government officials are hesitant to raise the issue of persecution with foreign governments.”

“This is a chance for us to affect their behavior.”

(Image courtesy of VOM USA)

There are ways to help believers around the world who are facing persecution. One way is by seeking change through political means. Voters in democratic nations wield a lot of power.

Nettleton says that after speaking with a congressman he realized that seeking out officials and calling or writing letters really does matter. Each call is recorded and cataloged. Officials are given a record on what constituents are asking about and eventually it affects their actions.

“So it really does make a difference, that we have a voice and that we let them know and we ask questions we ask educated questions about you know, special cases.”

Get Involved

You can make a difference. Go to to learn more about Christian persecution worldwide and how you and your Church can help.

Also get involved politically. Nettleton states, “You know, as Americans, we have an opportunity to have a voice in our political process. Hopefully, our faith in Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him affects how we see the issues that we get an opportunity to have a voice in. And so hopefully, the things we believe the Scriptures that we’re reading, and our prayer life is going to affect how we interact with our politicians. It’s also going to affect how we vote for our politicians.”

Call your congressman with specific requests for helping persecuted Christians around the world. Make your voice heard.

But most of all, pray. Pray for the encouragement of believers facing trials. Pray that those who have a voice would stand for those who are being silenced.

(Header image courtesy of VOM USA)

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