Kirsten Powers explains in the leftist Daily Beast, of all places.
In their annual report of the worst 50 countries for Christian persecution, Open Doors found that Christian martyr deaths around the globe doubled in 2013. Their report documented 2,123 killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. In Syria alone, there were 1,213 such deaths last year. In addition to losing their lives, Christians around the world continue to suffer discrimination, imprisonment, harassment, sexual assaults, and expulsion from countries merely for practicing their faith.
Once again, the worst persecutor of Christians is North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 followers of Jesus are suffering in prison camps for “crimes” such as owning a Bible, going to church, or sharing their faith. In November 2013, it was reported that 80 prisoners were publicly executed, many for possessing Bibles. Last year, North Korea sentenced an American missionary, Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor in a prison camp.
[…]It’s chilling to imagine worse treatment than what the average North Korean prisoner has reported, including a mother forced to drown her own baby in a bucket, and tales of subsisting on nothing more than rats and insects. According to first-hand accounts from former prisoners reported by Amnesty International, “every former inmate at one camp had witnessed a public execution, one child was held for eight months in a cube-like cell so small he couldn’t move his body and an estimated 40% of inmates die from malnutrition.”
Syria, ranked as the third-worst country by Open Doors, has devolved in the last year to a horror show for Christians. The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea noted in December 2013 a message she received from a contact in Syria who reported, “Kidnapping, killings, ransom, rape . . . 2013 is a tragedy for Christians in Syria. All Syrians have endured great suffering and distress. The Christians, however, often had to pay with their lives for their faith. Our bishops and nuns have been kidnapped, our political leader killed by torture. After our Christian villages have been occupied, our churches have been destroyed and even mass graves were found in Saddad. [T]he Islamists have put [to] the Christians the alternative: Islam or death. Why [is] the West just watching?”
Some of the most harrowing stories about how Christians are persecuted have come from the African country of Eritrea, which Open Doors lists as the twelfth worst country in the world for Christian persecution. In his 2013 book, The Global War on Christians, reporter John L. Allen Jr., writes that in Eritrea, Christians are sent to the Me’eter military camp and prison, which he describes as a “concentration camp for Christians.” It is believed to house thousands being punished for their religious beliefs.
Prisoners are packed into 40’x38’ metal shipping containers, normally used for transporting cargo. It is so cramped that it’s impossible to lie down and difficult even to find a place to sit. “The metal exacerbates the desert temperatures, which means bone chilling cold at night and wilting heat during the day….believed to reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher,” Allen writes. One former inmate…described [it] as “giant ovens baking people alive.” Prisoners are given next to nothing to drink so “they sometimes end up drinking their own scant sweat and urine to stay alive.” The prisoners are tortured, sexually abused, and have no contact with the outside world. One survivor of the prison described witnessing a fellow female inmate “who had been beaten so badly her uterus was actually hanging outside her body. The survivor desperately tried to push the uterus back in” but couldn’t prevent the inmate’s excruciating death.
Lately, I’ve been blogging quite a lot about the difference between the Judeo-Christian morality and atheist morality. Christians have a objective standard to condemn what is going on in these other countries. Christians believe in human rights. Christians believe in religious liberty. Christians are grieved when we hear about these crimes being committed against followers of Jesus. On the Judeo-Christian view, every human being is made to be in a relationship with God – a relationship that lasts into eternity. That means that when Christians see someone in distress, we are rationally compelled to try to try to help them. In fact, the earliest Christians used to take in abandoned babies, because of that reasoning. If Christianity is true, then what these people are doing to persecute Christians for their beliefs is really wrong.
But on atheism, you can’t condemn violence against Christians in other countries as wrong:
Rule #1: Relativists Can’t Accuse Others of Wrong-Doing
Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies that there is such a thing as wrong- doing. In other words, if you believe that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you can’t ever again judge the actions of others. Relativists can’t even object on moral grounds to racism. After all, what sense can be made of the judgment “apartheid is wrong” when spoken by someone who doesn’t believe in right and wrong? What justification is there to intervene? Certainly not human rights, for there are no such things as rights. Relativism is the ultimate pro-choice position because it accepts every personal choice—even the choice to be racist.
And that’s why in the secular mainstream media, crimes like this are seldom talked about. Secularists have no basis to condemn these actions, they would rather crusade for late-term abortion and same-sex marriage, which is nothing but the celebration of the selfishness of adults at the expense of children.
If you would like to the difference that Christianity makes when dealing with a real threat of danger, then click through to this National Review article, which talks about Christians living in Syria.