Religious Freedom, And Persecution

January 30, 2023

The threat to religious freedom has increased worldwide. Christians are persecuted and discriminated against. People of faith should be concerned and if called upon, must speak out. 

Open Doors is a global organization established in 1955 by Christian Brother Andrew van der Bilj, and it monitors religious freedom across the world. In its 2023 World Watch List, the threat to religious freedom, particularly Christianity, has never been more intense. The report contains 50 countries where people of the Christian faith face persecution and oppression. Returning once again to the top of the list is North Korea, where Christians can be arrested for what is termed the “Anti-reactionary thought law.”

In last year’s 2022 list, Afghanistan took the top spot, this had its genesis in the aftermath of the United States withdrawal in August of 2021 and the takeover by the Taliban. Many Afghan Christians were forced to seek refuge and went into hiding. This year’s report however shows the country falling to 9th place, as the Taliban’s concerns have partly ceased searching out Christians, and now focus on seeking out anyone with links to the former government.

According to Open Doors, since 1993 when the first World Watch List was issued, the level of persecution increased by almost 100%, and the intensity has also increased markedly. The extremely high levels of 2022, as reported, were based on over 360 million Christians worldwide reporting persecution and discrimination increased in their respective countries.

The list is determined by the levels of pressure that Christians and churches suffer; this would include family, public and national lives, and the violence they are subjected to. Over the course of its existence, thousands of people from many walks of life have come to rely on Open Doors. Researchers, doctors, lawyers, academics, and politicians who support religious freedom have reviewed and contributed data to the Open Doors cause.

The CEO of Open Doors USA is Lisa Pearce, and in a recent statement said, “It has been (Open Doors Watch List) a tremendous tool and very much welcomed, generally, by governments in the countries where we are mobilizing prayer support and advocacy because of that recognition that there’s an in-depth, deep dive, underground church, village level picture and lens of what is happening in countries.”

The persecution of Christians is not confined to one area; it is worldwide. This year’s data reveals the top ten countries: North Korea in the number one position again, followed by Somalia, Yemen, Eretria, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan. There has been a troubling trend of persecution and violence against Christians in sub-Saharan Africa by Islamic extremists. 

In the nation of Nigeria, the number of religiously motivated killings for 2022 was 5014, an increase from 4650 the previous year. This represents approximately 89% of all religiously motivated killings worldwide. This latest World Watch list covers the period of October 01, 2021 - September 30, 2022.

In the midst of all the persecution, discrimination, and violence inflicted on Christians, there is still hope. According to CEO Lisa Pearce, “Partly, it’s extraordinary - but incredibly encouraging and challenging - that a number of countries in the world where it is hardest to live as a Christian, where the consequences are most grave, the church is continuing to grow.” 

The United States is not on the World Watch list, yet. Lisa Pearce commented with regard to religious freedom in the U.S., “I would say to American Christians that relative to many, many, many places in the world, you have extraordinary freedom,” she said. “Use it well.” Regrettably, I believe otherwise. On its current path, we may one day find in the not-too-distant future, the U.S. included on the Watch List. 

Many of the faithful in the U.S. have expressed concern and apprehension at the current trend of anti-Christian bias and discrimination that has grown over the last several decades. This is especially manifested by the ideological left, the Democratic Party, the media, big business, and especially Hollywood. These entities will take any opportunity to disparage Christianity and the church, and its roots in Western Civilization.        

Comments: 0
  1. Email address is REQUIRED, in case we need to contact you about your comment. However, we will not display or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact you about this comment.
  2. Nickname should be a short nickname that you choose to use. Please do NOT enter your full, real name. Nickname will be displayed along with your comment.
  3. Comments will not appear on our website until they have been reviewed by our Editorial Team. Inappropriate messages will be rejected by the Editorial Team. Free speech is important here at ConservativeTruth, however, the Editorial Team reserves the absolute right to determine what content appears on this website.
    • Comments that contain foul language, profanity or vulgarity will be rejected.
    • Comments that contain links will be rejected. (send email to the editor if you wish to let us know about another website)
    • Comments that advertise a product or service will be rejected.
    • Comments that contain email addresses will be rejected.
2500 characters max
Copyright ©2023

Visit Bob Pascarella's website at