There is a disturbing trend emerging in Western nations, a trend of hostility toward Christians and a growing sense of secularism that seems to be contributing to the hostility. Christians are being persecuted in, what have traditionally been considered, Christian nations. Employers have fired employees for carrying Christian symbols or living their beliefs on a daily basis as they see fit.
Paul Marshall of the Center for Religious Freedom sees the trend as a shift from a plural society, one in which religion is a part of a society that recognizes that religion can coexist beside non-religious aspects of life, to a society with an ideological sense of secularism, which does not tolerate religion. Archbishop Dominque Mamberti wants to discredit the “erroneous and outdated notion that Christianity is the enemy of personal freedom”, and emphasized the link between Christianity and freedom.
These Western nations are where Christianity firmly took root two thousand years ago, and grew into the worldwide religion it is today. No other religion can claim to have reached as many people, and set them free, as Christianity can. But as nations move toward a more “progressive” posture, religion has begun to be pushed aside. As people’s lives are filled with things other than religion, they no longer feel the need to turn to the beliefs that their ancestors held so dear.
In the less-developed world, where Christianity is beginning to take root and grow, people tend to be more reliant on their beliefs. However, these nations in Asia, Africa, and South America are capable of demonstrating the plurality of a secular society that still holds tight to deeply-rooted religious beliefs. In some instances, these people have nothing more than their beliefs, and that is what gets them through each day.
Religion, but especially Christianity, in the 21st century is a choice. To call oneself a Christian is a personal choice, and it should be treated as such. Carrying a cross to work, or praying over your lunch in the break room is by no means forcing your religion on someone else. How we choose to express our individual beliefs is up to us, and no other person or institution should take that away. Yes, the world is changing. Yes, Christian nations are moving to a more secular point-of-view. But that does not mean that a person should be ridiculed or punished for their personal beliefs.
We live in a world where developed nations work to prevent less-developed nations from persecuting or killing people for any reason. Yet these same developed nations are the ones where persecution of Christians is taking place. If a nation wants to stop the violation of basic human liberties across the world, then maybe these nations need to start with their own people, who are violating a right to free practice of religion.