[Watch] Global Research Team Releases New Documentary on Christian Persecution
Under Caesar's Sword: A documentary about how Christians respond to persecution has just been released by a group of scholars out of Universities including Notre Dame in hopes of inviting believers and concerned individuals to step into the lives of Christian families, refugees, and leaders facing persecution.
The film shows how believers facing persecution are coping and urging support from believers around the world.
Though Jesus expressly told his followers that they would indeed face persecution for following him, some disciples clearly are facing dire circumstances and extreme pain while seeking to follow Jesus.
The documentary specifically highlights the pressure believers in India and Turkey are facing, how they are responding and what you and I should think and do in response.
The Under Caesar’s Sword program is a collaborative, global research effort to discover and draw attention to the ways in which Christian communities around the world respond to the severe violation of their religious freedom. These strategies vary widely, ranging from nonviolent protest movements of the kind that Pope John Paul II led in communist Poland, to the complex diplomacy of Christian churches in China, to simply fleeing from persecution en masse, as Christians have done in Iraq. Further, the project aims to raise solidarity with persecuted Christians worldwide and to help them respond justly and effectively. The team of 14 scholars, representing the world’s leading scholars of Christianity in their respective regions, has traveled around the world to study some 100 beleaguered Christian communities in over 30 countries including China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, and India.
Some key facts from the film
The four ancient Christian patriarchates in the East (Antioch,Alexandria, Jerusalem, Constantinople) are all in danger of disappearing as Christian centers.
A century ago, 1/3 of Istanbul’s population was non-Muslim (Christians and Jews). Today, it is less than 1% non-Muslim.
The Ottoman Empire got rid of most of its Christians by population by genocide (early in the twentieth century), expulsions, and expulsions.
Today, as the pastor from a small town tells us, Christians may face death threats. Meanwhile, the cultural and religious heritage of Christianity is threatened, as iconography (sacred depictions of Christ, biblical figures, and saints) is destroyed, and churches like the Hagia Sophia are at risk. Turkish Christians respond by implementing safety measures and reaching out to the community while continuing their practices.
76% of the world’s population lives in a country where religious freedom is seriously curtailed (Pew).
Under Caesar's Sword highlights hardships of Christians in India where believers have been since at least the third century. For a millennium or more, coexistence between Christians and others in India was relatively peaceful. Christian schools and other institutions were embraced, and Christmas became widely celebrated. But though India is a constitutionally secular democracy, the state has always been in favor of the Hindu religion.
During the Indian independence movement, leaders began to suggest that to be truly Indian one must have “Hindutva,” Hindu-ness. Over decades, this ideology took root, and since 1998, there has been a rise in incidents of violence against Christians. Hundreds have been attacked by Hindu extremists whose violent efforts have been encouraged by the rise of a Hindu nationalist government.