Catholic author and journalist John L. Allen, Jr., gave testimony Tuesday before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, on why he believes the “Global War on Christians” is the premier human rights issue of the early 21st century.
Allen offered statistics and examples from time spent on the front lines of anti-Christian persecution around the globe. Allen addressed the issue of why he thinks the worldwide persecution of Christians is so often wrapped in silence.
“I believe we have a problem with narrative,” noted Allen. “In the West, we are conditioned to think of Christianity as an all powerful, all controlling, wealthy, vastly influential social institution, which makes it very difficult for ordinary Americans to get their minds around the idea that Christians can actually be the victims of persecution. “
“The demographic and practical truth is that the typical Christian in this world is not an affluent, American male pulling up to church in a Lincoln Continental,” Allen said. “The typical Christian in the early 21st century is a poor woman of color and mother of four in Botswana or a poor, Dalit grandmother in Orissa.”
Allen is author of The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution. He points out that underlying the global persecution of Christians is the reality that, demographically, more than two-thirds of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West.
“We’re not talking about a metaphorical ‘war on religion’ in Europe and the United States, fought on symbolic terrain such as whether it’s okay to erect a nativity set on the courthouse steps,” says Allen. “But a rising tide of legal oppression, social harassment, and direct physical violence, with Christians as its leading victims.”
In The Global War on Christians, Allen exposes the threats facing the world’s population of Christians and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.
Allen is an associate editor at The Boston Globe, covering global Catholicism. He is a Vatican analyst for CNN and National Public Radio and a former senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. Among other works, Allen is the author of The Rise of Benedict XVI, All the Pope’s Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks,