Is It News When Christian Blood Is Spilled?

Anti-Christian violence is a significant piece of 21st-century reality. It should be getting considerably more attention from 21st-century journalists.

In raw numbers, Christians are the most persecuted religious group on Earth and have been for years. Evidence abounds — from the steady disappearance of Christian communities in the Middle East to the demented repression of Christians in North Korea, from the barbaric penalties imposed on Christians in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to the way they have been publicly lynched in India, from the bombing of Catholic churches in the Philippines to, yes, the suffering and slaughter of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

The horrifying massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October was front-page news, and rightly so: The murder of 11 worshipers during Sabbath prayers was the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in US history. The antisemitic rage that drove the gunman — who shouted “All Jews must die!” as he opened fire — was the very quintessence of evil, and it would have been journalistic malpractice to ignore it.

The same is true of the even more deadly slaughter this month at two Muslim mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 men, women, and children dead and 50 others wounded. The terrorist indicted for the atrocity has made no secret of his white supremacist ideology and his hostility toward immigrants. It’s no wonder his ghastly crime made headlines the world over. How could it have done otherwise?

Meanwhile, an estimated 120 Christians have been butchered in northern Nigeria since late February — double the death toll in Pittsburgh and Christchurch combined. The killers are reportedly members of the largely Muslim Fulani militia, whose violence against predominantly Christian Nigerian farmers has increasingly “taken on an ethnic and religious character,” according to World Watch Monitor, an independent Christian news service that focuses on human rights.

In early March, the Christian Broadcast Network, citing local reports, described one of the recent spate of massacres, and provided context:

Fulani herdsmen assaulted the Christians around 4 a.m. in Karamar village in the Maro district of Kajuru. The herdsman reportedly set fire to several houses and a church. The terrorists then sporadically shot at families trying to escape the blaze, killing at least 28 people. . . .

Last June, Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslim, attacked six predominantly Christian villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state. Many of those killed were Christians, and they were reportedly hacked to death.

According to the Global Terrorism Index, Fulani herdsmen have killed more than 60,000 people since 2001.

Bosun Emmanuel, secretary of the National Christian Elders Forum and a prominent Nigerian Christian leader, says the Muslim community has done little to protect Christians and believes Christianity will go extinct in Nigeria if no one helps.

Other reports have detailed a recent Fulani attack on the villages of Inkirimi, Dogonnoma, and Ungwan Gora, in which 143 homes were destroyed and 52 people killed. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a United Nations-accredited NGO that concentrates on the plight of persecuted Christians, the victims included women and children. Survivors of the attack said the attack was conducted by three separate groups — one to shoot and kill victims, a second to torch their homes, and a third to hunt down anyone attempting to flee.

Why hasn’t this deadly violence against Nigerian Christians attracted anything like the avid media attention that was instantly given to the savage brutality against Jews in Pittsburgh and Muslims in New Zealand? Is the blood of Jewish and Muslim victims redder than that of Christian victims? Is murder less newsworthy when those who die are Christian?

To some Christian activists, the almost unbroken failure of the Western press to report on the Nigerian atrocities is proof of rank anti-Christian bias.

“The mainstream media has a political agenda, and the persecution of Christians plays no part in it,” a group called the Coalition of African-American Pastors bitterly complains. “That’s why there’s a double standard when it comes to anti-Christian prejudice.”

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