Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups are criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her assertion that Christianity is the most persecuted religion worldwide.
Merkel, the daughter of a pastor, made her comments during a meeting of the German Protestant Church.
She emphasized that Germany needs to protect Christian minorities as part of its foreign policy.
She also spoke out against strict separation of church and state and said Europe was built on Christian foundations.
Human rights activists say ranking faiths according to how persecuted they are is pointless, pointing out that some Muslims, Jews, and others also face persecution.