A just-released study reveals that Christians are persecuted in more countries around the world than any other religious group, with religious restrictions imposed by governments hitting a record high in 2018.
The Pew Research Center reports that the 145 nations persecuting Christians in 2018 (approximately 3 of 4 nations on the planet) was an all-time high, with 139 nations harassing those practicing Islam, followed by 88 countries persecuting Jewish believers.
"As in previous years, Christians and Muslims experienced harassment in more countries than any other religious groups in 2018 – [a] pattern [that] has remained consistent since the study began in 2007," Pew reported last week in its latest study. "Harassment can include a wide range of actions – from verbal abuse to physical violence and killings – motivated at least in part by the target's religious identity."
Not getting any better for Christians …
Over the past decade, things have only gotten worse for followers of Christ around the world.
"[From the first to last years of this study (2007–2018), there has been a] substantial rise in government restrictions on religion, [such as] laws, policies and actions by officials that impinge on religious beliefs and practices," the Pew report explains.
A 62% increase was found in Government Restrictions Index scores over the 12 years since Pew started recording in 2007, when it was 1.8, to the last compiled numbers in 2018, when an average of 2.9 was determined – with 10 being highest in a scale based on 20 indicators of persecution.
The highest level of persecution in the world, according to the Pew study, is dealt out and endured in Asia along the Pacific and across the Middle East, as well as in North Africa, which is reflected in Pew's top-10 most restrictive nations list (below) that rates countries on a 10-point scale to determine where it is the most difficult to live out one's faith.
- China (9.3)
- Iran (8.5)
- Malaysia (8.2)
- Maldives (8.2)
- Tajikistan (7.9)
- Turkmenistan (7.9)
- Indonesia (7.7)
- Vietnam (7.5)
- Uzbekistan (7.5)
- Burma (Myanmar) (7.3)
Some of the accounts of persecution reported by Pew included Christians being martyred for not making concessions when it comes to their faith. For example, Pew documents that in Burundi, a Christian man "died after he was imprisoned and allegedly beaten by police for refusing – on the basis of his religious conscience – to register to vote."