Earlier this year I reviewed The Myth of Persecution, by Candida Moss, who argued that historically Christians have experienced a lot less persecution than generally is thought.
It was a cautionary story about how the idea of martyrdom spread much faster than martyrdom itself, and it's useful background to this new story, which casts doubt on the widely used figure that some 100,000 Christians are martyred now each year.
You can read there how that figure was determined and why it almost certainly balloons the real figure out of proportion, perhaps by as much as 90 percent.
None of this, however, is to suggest that persecution of Christians isn't happening today. It surely is, and where it's happening it can involve true martyrdom and much else that disrupts the lives of Christians in many countries.
If you want country by country breakdowns of the ways in which religious liberty is being violated around the world, I recommend two sources -- the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Relgious Freedom and the annual report on religious liberty from the U.S. State Department.
The picture those two reports paint is bad enough without having to exaggerate conditions.
The lesson here, of course, is simply to verify what is alleged and to dig into numbers that sometimes are used for purposes beyond protection of people of faith. One of the uses of the 100,000 annual martyrdom figure, of course, is to blame Islam. And although clearly some Muslims and Muslim leaders in some countries are guilty of persecution of Christians (and vice versa) it's important to understand the true scope of the problem, not the scope someone imagines.
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ANOTHER CRUZ MISSILE
The father of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says atheism leads to sexual abuse. When I was writing a humor column for The Kansas City Star I used to complain that some days it was hard to be funnier than the news. Obviously, it still is.