In the wake of the horrific Easter terrorist attack against churches in Sri Lanka, The Washington Post published an article slamming “far-right” political leaders for saying that Christians are under attack. The Orwellian article suggested there was something untoward about reporting on global Christian persecution — by selectively quoting far-right European and American leaders on the issue and ignoring the broader discussion.
The bombings, which claimed the lives of at least 321 people and wounded more than 500 others, took place on the most important holiday for Christianity, the day Christians remember the Resurrection of Jesus. They targeted Christian churches, and according to Sri Lanka’s defense minister, a radical Islamist terror group carried the attacks out in “retribution” for the Christchurch mosque shootings last month.
The Washington Post suggested that reporting on this terrorism against Christians is far-right paranoia. “To some, it was further proof that Christians in many parts of the world are under attack,” foreign affairs correspondent Adam Taylor and Berlin-based international reporter Rick Noack wrote.
“Several churches were targeted in Sunday’s bombing attacks, along with hotels and a banquet hall. At one Catholic church in Negombo, more than 100 people were killed. The attack took place on Easter, one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar,” the Washington Post writers conceded.
Yet, rather than acknowledging the clear anti-Christian animus behind the attacks, the writers quoted far-right leaders like France’s Marine Le Pen, Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, British provocateur Katie Hopkins, and Frank Gaffney.
“Le Pen, like some other European far-right leaders, had initially offered only vague condolences to victims of the bombings on Sunday. However, after Sri Lankan officials blamed a local Muslim militant group, National Thowheed Jamaath, for the attack on Monday, European far-right groups and activists began to describe the attacks in specifically religious terms,” the Post writers reported.
Taylor and Noack also noted Gaffney’s statement that “followers of Jesus worldwide are being killed and otherwise terribly persecuted every day.”
“Similar sentiments were stated on a page on Reddit devoted to support for President Trump, with multiple posts criticizing [former president Barack] Obama and [former Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton for using the phrase ‘Easter worshippers’ rather than Christians,” the Post writers added.
Taylor and Noack completely overlooked the fact that confusion and complaints about the “Easter worshippers” phrase were widespread, and that even Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz condemned a double standard: Obama and Clinton decried terrorism and Islamophobia after the Christchurch mosque shooting, but refused to use the words “terrorism” or “Christian” in responding to Sri Lanka.
“The theme of Christianity under attack has been a recurring one for many activists in the United States and Europe,” the Washington Post‘s crack reporters revealed. “Although Christian minorities are targeted around the world, analysts say that the vast majority of terrorism victims globally are Muslims.”
Muslims do suffer a great deal from terrorism, as many sectarian radical Islamist terror groups often target Muslims from other denominations: Sunnis against Shi’ites. The Islamic State (ISIS) killed a great deal of fellow Muslims in terror attacks. As illustrated by the Christchurch terror attacks, Muslims do face threats from outside their religion as well.
However, Christians are also persecuted across the world, and The Washington Post‘s decision to cast complaints about Christian persecution as some misleading attack from the “far-right” is disgusting, especially in the wake of the Easter church bombings.
Also in 2017, the Catholic organization Aid to the Church in Need reported that persecution and genocide of Christians across the world was worse “than at any time in history.” Christian persecution worsened between 2015 and 2017, and has grown more violent than at any point in modern times.
“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution,” the report said.
Open Doors and Aid to the Church in Need are not “far-right” politicians out to gin up anti-Muslim hatred, but Christian charities that help their fellow believers suffering from persecution every day.
Yet The Washington Post ran its story with the headline “Christianity under attack? Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West.” This headline suggests that Christianity is either not under attack or that the threats to Christianity are trumped up in order to stoke “far-right anger.”
In fact, this Washington Post article may reveal an animus against Christians at the newspaper. George Yancey, a sociology professor and co-author of the book So Many Christians, So Few Lions: Is There Christianophobia in the United States?, has documented animus against Christians — Christianophobia — in the United States. This animus is just as real as Islamophobia, yet many overlook it because they think of Christianity as the majority religion in the West.
In fact, The Washington Post tweeted an article arguing that Jesus did not exist — on Christmas Day 2017.
Christian persecution is real, and The Washington Post‘s decision to minimize this evil shortly after a terrorist attack against Christians on Easter is utterly disgusting.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.