Persecution of Christians can be traced historically based on the biblical account of Jesus in the first century of the Christian era to the present time. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both Jews from whose religion Christianity arose and the Roman Empire which controlled much of the land across which early Christianity was distributed. Early in the fourth century, the religion was legalized by the Edict of Milan, and it eventually became the State church of the Roman Empire.

Christian missionaries, as well as the people that they converted to Christianity, have been the target of persecution, many times to the point of being martyred for their faith.

There is also a history of individual Christian denominations suffering persecution at the hands of other Christians under the charge of heresy, particularly during the 16th century Protestant Reformationas well as throughout the Middle Ages when various Christian groups deemed heretical were persecuted by the Papacy.

In the 20th century, Christians have been persecuted by various groups, and by atheistic states such as the USSR and North Korea. During the Second World War members of many Christian churches were persecuted in Germany for resisting the Nazi ideology. Hitler expressed a desire to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Third Reich, seeing it as absurdity and nonsense founded on Jewish lies. He planned to do this after the war, and not during it, believing “that suited his immediate political purposes”.

In more recent times the Christian missionary organization Open Doors (UK) estimates 100 million Christians face persecution, particularly in Muslim-dominated countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. According to the International Society for Human Rights, up to 80% of acts of persecution are directed at people of the Christian faith… read more ….

 

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