A recent study produced by the organization “Aid to the Church in Need” found that Christians make up the largest population of persons persecuted for their faith in the 21st century. The senseless carnage unleashed by Islamicist terrorists against Christians on Easter Sunday unfortunately strengthens their argument. In addition to Christians, the global terrorist group allegedly responsible for these crimes also targeted Sunni Muslims, fueling the fire of their hatred for those who disagree with their religious principles. The tragic shooting at a San Diego synagogue this weekend during Passover shows us that violence and hatred towards religious groups sadly continues.
These events are a horrific testament to the presence of hatred in our world. Those who argue that events like these are the result of economic instability, or retaliation against hegemonic Western prowess, fail to understand the depth of such horror: evil exists, and it has no intention of disappearing. The Christians in Sri Lanka were not attacked merely because weak democracies don’t instill values of tolerance and acceptance. These Christians are killed because they bear the name of the Savior, who told his disciples, “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (Jn 15:20).
Everything should be done to eradicate extremist groups and destabilize their holdings over unstable regions. But failure to recognize the root causes of blatant evil will render every other response inadequate. The truth that God is love must be proclaimed from the rooftops, as well as the doxology those Christians proclaimed on Easter Sunday: We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again.