International (MNN) — Persecution will probably continue to
intensify in the year 2009, as nations struggle through economic troubles and
the Untied States inaugurates a new president.
"I think this is an extremely volatile time, and I think
Christians around the world are more and more subject to persecution in the
name of false gods and false philosophies," said Carl Moeller of Open
"Of course we're not prophets, but we do sense that there
will be an increasing amount of tension, an increasing amount of violence
against Christians, increasing to a fever pitch in some parts of the world like
the Middle East."
Moeller said the world should particularly watch the countries
of Iran, North Korea, Nigeria,
and India. Although the violence has thankfully abated
in recent days, Christians in Orissa have been suffering severe persecution at
the hands of Hindu radicals in the latter half of 2009.
The country of Nigeria is also showing signs of
serious religious division.
a very extended line of demarcation religiously between Christians in the south
and Muslims in the north, and all along that line. Sort of like a California grassfire, there
have been explosions of violence," Moeller explained.
Free countries are able to support and stand up for
persecuted Christians around the world, not only because their citizens have
the freedom to do so, but also because many of them have the economic ability
to do so. Moeller is concerned that the
current economic instability could interfere with this support.
"As governments are increasingly faced, worldwide, with
turning inward to domestic issues, their economy, and helping to prop up
industries, and to create some sort of stability economically at home, they're
going to be less and less available to turn the world's attention on
totalitarian governments and their treatment of the minority religions like
Christians," he said.
"Frankly, as western governments are less and less able to
economically intervene on behalf of those persecuted minorities, or even
militarily if the case arose, that's going to expose more Christian communities
to a greater amount of persecution in the years to come."
However, Moeller is hopeful that the administration of Barak
Obama is willing to work for religious liberty. He anticipates that Open Doors will "have the opportunity to help shape
some of that discussion," he said.
"We believe that there is an openness to that in the new
administration," Moeller said. "If you
remember the civil forum that Pastor Rick Warren had, he brought up the
question of religious liberty around the world. And Barak Obama had a response that said, 'We
would pursue and support those who will be persecuted around the world and pursue
those forces that would persecute them.'"
Moeller is thankful for the Bush administration's commitment
to religious liberty.
"There's never been as open and positive an administration
towards religious persecution specifically than the Bush administration," he
said. "The Bush administration took a
great deal of heat because it took a positive approach, a pro-active approach
to promoting Christian rights within the context of persecution around the
Overall, Moeller believes that Christians will always live
with persecution because the Bible teaches that persecution will only worsen
as time goes on.
"The Bible tells us that there will come a time that people
will kill Christians and persecute Christians and think they're doing God's
work," he said. "Around the world, in
the Middle East and places like Iran,
in North Korea, and in
Africa, and in Nigeria,
Christians are being killed, and people think they're doing the work of
benefiting society by ridding their culture of the Christians."
"So unfortunately, as Brother Andrew likes to say, our work
is increasing, because we have many more places around the globe where
Christians are subjected to extreme persecution — everything from harassment,
denial of basic human rights, all the way to torture and martyrdom."