Christian killed every 5 minutes

Published: Friday, Sept. 2 2011 2:38 p.m. MDT

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GODOLLO, Hungary — It happens every five minutes.

On average, a Christian is martyred every five minutes — killed because of their faith.

Zenit.org and CatholicCulture.org reported on a presentation by Massimo Introvigne of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that he gave in this summer at the "International Conference on Inter-religious dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims."

Introvigne told the conference gathered near Budapest the number of Christians killed every year for their faith is about 105,000. And these are only those who were put to death because they were Christians. It does not include those killed as victims of war.

"If these numbers are not cried out to the world, if this slaughter is not stopped, if it is not acknowledged that the persecution of Christians is the first worldwide emergency in the matter of violence and religious discrimination, the dialogue between religions will only produce beautiful conferences but no concrete results," Introvigne said according to Zenit.org.

Introvigne wrote an article for the Center for Studies on New Religions website that explained more behind the numbers. The statistics came from the late David B. Barrett and the Center for Study of Global Christianity.

Barrett and Todd M. Johnson said from AD 30 to 2000, 70 million Christians died as martyrs. The majority of those martyrs were not in ancient times. There were 45 million Christian martyrs in the 20th century. Introvigne emphasized these figures "exclude those killed for national, ethnic or political reasons who just happened to be Christian but were not killed because of their being Christian."

Barrett and Johnson's figures attribute 31.6 million of those 70 million Christian martyrs to atheist persecutors. Muslims killed another 9.1 million Christians. Another way they broke it down was that 63.9 million of the deaths were at the hands of non-Christians and 5.5 million were from other Christians. Their data available on the Internet did not appear to break martydom down by geographic area and did not have an analysis for just the 20th Century.

The numbers peaked at 160,000 in 2000 and are expected to be at about 100,000 this year.

Introvigne also referred to the book "The Price of Freedom Denied" by Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke. He said the book indicates the number of martyrs may be even higher and is between 130,000 and 160,000 per year.

"Assuming, conservatively, that the situation will deteriorate only slightly in 2011 with respect to the figure offered by Barrett and Johnson for 2010, we can estimate that the figure for 2011 will be 105,000, i.e. between 287 and 288 martyrs per day: twelve per hour, or one every five minutes," Introvigne wrote. "Perhaps we should downsize the figure to the Barrett and Johnson estimate, which would make one martyr every five and a half minutes. Or, if the figures quoted by Grim and Finke are accurate, go up to one every four minutes. At any rate, figures are horribly high."

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com

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