John L. Allen Jr.: Francis poses both/and approach to fighting anti-Christian persecution

(Crux) That there’s a rising tide of anti-Christian persecution around the world in the early 21st century is an empirical fact. Christians are hardly the only ones facing threats, of course, but because of their numbers and the zones of their greatest growth, numerically they tend to be more exposed to risk than virtually any other minority group.

In January, Open Doors International, a non-denominational advocacy group on behalf of persecuted Christians, released its annual “World Watch List.” Once again, it found that over 200 million Christians face high, very high, or extreme persecution.

The question isn’t whether anti-Christian persecution is real, but what to do about it, and on that score well-intentioned people can and do disagree.

One instinct, widely shared among the activist community, is to go on the offensive – to insist on sanctions for offender countries, to denounce the architects of persecution, to support robust military and security crackdowns on terrorist groups and militants that target Christians, and to demand that when the source of the persecution is religious, leaders of that faith step up.

To take a concrete for-instance, many activists would like to see the United States and other Western nations impose sanctions on nations such as China and India that have a dubious record on religious freedom generally, and their Christian minorities in particular. [More]