The Orthodox Christian Advocacy Institute (OCAI) researches, investigates, and reports incidents involving the persecution of the Orthodox Christian Church. They focus on contemporary events in locations throughout the world, wherever persecution of the Orthodox Church exists and present this information to the Christian community, human rights groups, and governmental organizations.
An article compiled by the OCAI addressing the persecution of Orthodox Christians can be read below.
The Other War
By D. Hunter Haynes
The ongoing war against the Christian Church is gaining momentum throughout the world. According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 176,000 Christians will suffer martyrdom this year--an average of 480 per day, and the number is expected to climb to 210,000 by 2025. These figures do not include the living, who have been arrested, tortured, or otherwise persecuted for their Faith.
For Christians living in America these statistics merely testify to an unfortunate reality elsewhere, in distant lands void of democracy. After all, Christian persecution is not a new phenomenon, it began in the first century AD and has continued ever since, albeit with varying intensity. What is difficult to comprehend is a US Foreign Policy that perpetuates cozy relations with the worst violators of religious freedom.
In the minds of most American Christians, supporting foreign regimes that wantonly kill Christians is wrong, hypocritical, if not grievously sinful. For many of our elected officials in Washington, however, ethically correct policy is frequently subservient to other interests. Our leaders have convinced themselves, and a certain portion of their constituency, that economic profit and military convenience trump human rights.
Our foreign policy makers are fully aware of which countries are the most egregious violators of religious freedom. The US Department of State's Office of International Religious Freedom publishes an exhaustive annual report describing the status of religious freedom in every country and forwards this information to Congress and the President. Nevertheless, our representatives continue to support rabidly anti-Christian governments around the world.
The latest Department of State report lists China and Saudi Arabia as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), as they have "engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom." Yet China and Saudi Arabia continue to receive billions of US dollars every year.
There are numerous, lesser-known persecutor countries, but I mention two, as they are especially dear to the US government. The first is Turkey, which has been and continues to be, a close US ally and NATO member country. Since its establishment in 1923, the Turkish government has pursued a relentless ethnic-religious cleansing campaign targeting the Christian communities there.
Of special concern is the Greek Orthodox Church. Today, there are less than 2,500 Greeks living in Turkey, compared to 200,000 in 1923. Tragically, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Christian Church in Istanbul is facing elimination--should immediate, corrective action not be taken to protect this ancient Christian institution.
The second country is the pseudo-state of Kosovo. The new Kosovar government--the illegitimate spawn of Washington and Brussels--has nearly managed to rid itself of a 12-centuries-old Christian presence. More than 1,000 Christians have been killed, 250,000 displaced, and 150 churches destroyed. The Christian Serbs of Kosovo are fast becoming modern Europe's non-people.
The Kosovo situation is especially distressing since the eradication of the Christian community there, begun in 1999, has taken place while under the "protection" of 16,000 NATO troops. Contrary to popular belief, the new Kosovo administration has absolutely no intention of allowing the Christian Church to exist. Regrettably, the US is offering the new Kosovo security forces equipment and training--which will be used against the Faithful should it become necessary.
Approximately 150 million Christians live in America and yet the matter of Christian persecution is not mentioned during major political campaigns. Neither is there a collective, popular voice that demands that the issue be brought to the fore and addressed by potential representatives. Due to this collective silence, Washington has pursued whatever agenda is most expedient, even if it is diametrically opposed to Christianity.
I submit three questions to this Christian nation: How do citizens, in a country that generally identifies itself as being Christian, reconcile the fact that their democratically elected government is facilitating the eradication of Christianity elsewhere? Why are they not protesting on behalf of their fellow Christians around the world? Why are they not demanding change in US Foreign Policy?
Ignoring this war will not make it go away. It is up to the American Christian community to address this issue and demand that our elected officials refrain from alliances with governments that persecute the Christian Church. No other country has the Christian base--combined with the economic and political clout of the United States--to bring about meaningful, effective change in this area.
D. Hunter Haynes is the Founder & President of the Orthodox Christian Advocacy Institute (OCAI). He served as a Police Commander in southern Serbia, as part of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo in 2001. Visit the OCAI website at www.ocai.info for more information.