Experts: Democracy Fails without Religious Liberty

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Christians are the most widely persecuted religious group in the world. This week, three of the top experts in the field released a new book detailing Christian persecution worldwide.

Authors Lela Gilbert, Paul Marshall, and Nina Shea of Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom have written Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians. The book chronicles this persecution and analyzes patterns of repression, abuse, and violence against believers.

Few are surprised that one of the worst areas for Christians is the Muslim world, made even worse by the so-called "Arab Spring." But the authors say the most repressive single country in the world is North Korea.

"We have cases we discuss in our book about North Korean Christians being summarily executed for possessing a Bible," Shea said.

The deadliest nation for Christians last year was Nigeria, where thousands died at the hands of Muslim terrorists.

"Last Easter a series of churches were bombed when they were full of worshippers, and this has happened repeatedly," she said.

The authors blame "misguided multiculturalism" and a politically correct culture for caring less and less about the rights of Christians.

"What we as Christians used to call 'witnessing' or 'evangelizing' is now called 'proselytizing,' and it's become a dirty word," Gilbert said.

The authors blame both the Obama and Bush administrations for turning a deaf ear to the plight of Christians in the Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Under the Bush administration, two-thirds of the Christians in Iraq were driven out," Shea explained. "And we have in our book about conversations we had with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at the time, saying, 'Please speak up for them.' And she said 'No, we cannot get involved in sectarian affairs.'"

Marshall warned that democracy building will ultimately fail without protection of religious liberty.

"Religious freedom is regarded as something 'On the side.' It's what you do on Sunday," he said of prevailing attitudes. "But if you do not have religious freedom, you will not have democratic development in any country in the world. " 

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A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.