Christians in West increasingly targets of ‘polite persecution’

Attacks ‘may not be as immediate or acute, but they can be culturally lethal’

Beneath the cloak of “progress,” an increasingly hostile secularism is threatening Christians in the West with a “polite persecution,” contends an annual report on religious freedom worldwide.

“If Christians in the Middle East need to fear the machete, Christians in the Western world need to fear the media, higher education, activist organizations and government,” says Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, in a commentary on the report. “They are the ones advocating, or imposing, a secular agenda on religious institutions.”

The 2021 report on Religious Freedom in the World is published by Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic pastoral aid organization headquartered in Germany.

The persecution of Christians takes two forms today, the report says. Everyone is familiar with the violence against people and property, but there is a more subtle form, Donahue said, “relying on restrictive measures encoded in public policy and law.”

The second form is called “polite persecution,” the ACN report explains, because it hides under a veneer of “enlightened” secularism.

Donohue says attacks of that kind against religious believers “may not be as immediate or acute, but they can be culturally lethal.”