“Christianophobia” is a relatively new word that refers to two fairly old, and distinct, phenomena. The first is the antipathy for traditional Christianity among cultural leaders in the West, especially Europe. This antipathy dates from the Enlightenment, but has gained strength in the last few decades. The second, and far more pressing, matter is the outright persecution of Christians in many other parts of the world.  Later this month, Eerdmans will release Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack, by Rupert Shortt, religion editor of the Times Literary Supplement. Shortt’s book focuses on the latter problem. Here’s the publisher’s description:

On October 29, 2005, three Indonesian schoolgirls were beheaded as they walked to school — targeted because they were Christian. Like them, many Christians around the world suffer violence or discrimination for their faith. In fact, more Christians than people of any other faith group now live under threat. Why is this religious persecution so widely ignored?

In Christianophobia Rupert Shortt investigates the shocking treatment of Christians on several continents and exposes the extent of official collusion. Christian believers generally don’t become radicalized but tend to resist nonviolently and keep a low profile, which has enabled politicians and the media to play down a problem of huge dimensions. The book is replete with relevant historical background to place events within their appropriate political and social context.

Shortt demonstrates how freedom of belief is the canary in the mine for freedom in general. Published at a time when the fundamental importance of faith on the world stage is being recognized more than ever, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in people’s right to religious freedom, no matter where, or among whom, they live.

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