Is Christian Persecution as bad as some are saying world and is Christian Genocide really happening?
The short answer is "yes." We are currently living in a time of global Christian growth, but also of ramped up Christian persecution. A 2011 Pew Forum study found that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world with problems in 130 countries (The U.S.A. is not one of them, sorry to disappoint). In the Middle East, the number of Christians has dropped to just .06% of the World's total. That is a 20% decrease in the last 100 years in an area that was once the center of Global Christianity before it shifted to the West. In the world today, there is both Hard Persecution and Soft Persecution. Both make life very difficult for Christians.
Hard persecution entails blatant attempts to kill, torture, and extinguish Christians and their churches. In some countries, like North Korea, this has been going on for decades. The persecution is brutal and an entire family and all their relatives will be wiped out if one Bible is found hidden in a home. Christians in North Korea are killed or languish in the world's worst and most brutal prison camps. "Genocide" is a strong word, but ISIS in Iraq and Syria have a scorched earth policy. Unlike Al-Qaeda, they decided that they would establish a Caliphate that ruled by terror intentionally and that meant wiping out other religions and Islamic sects. Christian communities are being decimated in Iraq and Syria.
The bombing of Christians in South Sudan is both anti-Christian and ethnic. We see the same thing in northern Nigeria. Pakistan and Bangladesh are both places where Christians are routinely attacked violently just for being Christian. There are many cases of Hard Persecution currently around the world.
But there are also places that are much more subtle in their way of persecuting Christians. It may involve making it near impossible to open churches, or keep buildings open. It may be changes in laws that make it hard to register Christian communities. In some countries, you may not be considered employable if you are a Christian. "Christians Need Not Apply" can literally be found on the door. Just earning a living can be difficult in some of these countries if you are a Christian. Or Christians may be spied on or monitored at all times. Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and surprisingly, even Western Europe have places where things are intentionally made difficult for Christians. Try opening a church, getting a building permit, registering a denomination, opening a bank account etc. It can all be made very difficult in these countries where the goal is to eradicate Christianity under the world's radar.
India is currently an example of a country that practices both Hard and Soft persecution. Under Prime Minister Narenda Modi, India is passing laws making it more difficult for Christian missionaries to enter the country. Not adverse to stoking Nationalism, Modi encourages (or looks the other way) as fundamentalist Hindu groups plan the complete eradication of Islam and Christianity. Overtly, there are Christian villages, churches, and pastors routinely attacked throughout the country. India's many religions have co-existed remarkably harmoniously in the world's largest Democracy, but that is now being challenged and Christians are targets.
As for the United States, what Christians here are experiencing is a loss of privilege and blind-trust in their intentions. That is not the same as Christian persecution. As one who has spent times in truly persecuted communities around the world, it rings very hollow when Americans claim that they are oppressed. Even in England things are more difficult for churches. All American religious groups have tremendous freedoms and options, and that is thankfully preserved because of its clear separation of church and state. It is these other nations where church and state co-mingle and create persecution and kill the dynamism of religion where persecution truly exists. Other countries should be so lucky as to have America's "persecution" problems.
Believe it or not, civilizations (even Western Civilization and its secularism) owe a lot to religion. The persecution of Christians or any other religious group does not help the world. While that is a subject for another day, what is clear is that many innocents are being hurt, terrorized or killed. Christian persecution is real and it is a danger to the world entire. It behooves Christians to never themselves be the ones doing the persecuting and stand by those that are persecuted.