“While the year 2014 will go down in history for having the highest level of global persecution of Christians in the modern era, current conditions suggest the worst is yet to come.”
So begins the 2015 Open Doors World Watch List, released on January 7. The annual report is made each year by the Open Doors organization of Santa Anna, California. That group, founded by famed Bible smuggler Brother Andrew in 1955 has, for 60 years, monitored the persecution of Christians throughout the world. According to the latest report, more than 100 million Christians in the world are facing some degree of oppression either by antichristian governments or non-governmental extremist groups.
The report lists the world’s fifty worst countries for persecution using four levels of ranking categories: extreme; severe; moderate, and sparse. At the top of the list, as it has been for many years, is North Korea (NK). There Christianity is violently suppressed by the Communist/Stalinist government of Kim Jong-Un. The NK government absolutely does not tolerate any alternative to his totalitarian rule and cult of personality.
As bad as last year was, the report indicates that 2015 may be worse, especially in predominantly Islamic nations. The report shows that of the twenty-five countries listed where persecution is extreme or severe, eighteen of them are Islamic. Thirty-six nations on the whole list of fifty have majority Muslim populations.
Four of the fifty have Communist governments: North Korea; Vietnam; Laos; and China. Not listed is Cuba where freedom of religion has made major gains in recent years. Two of the countries, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, are dominated by antichristian Buddhist leaders. Three of the countries, Central African Republic, Colombia, and Mexico are predominantly Roman Catholic but have powerful anti-protestant and anti-evangelical factions at work in their societies. For example, Mexico is on the list because of organized crime violence against resistant Christians.
“Even Christian-majority states are experiencing unprecedented levels of exclusion, discrimination and violence,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “The 2015 World Watch List reveals that a staggering number of Christians are becoming victims of intolerance and violence because of their faith. They are being forced to be more secretive about their faith.”
To read the whole Open Doors report, visit its website: www.opendoorsusa.org.