U.S. Vice-President has recently claimed that Christianity is the most persecuted faith. At first glance it seems ridiculous that someone as privileged as Mike Pence would say that his religion is the most persecuted, but is it? The honest approach is to examine the truth of the statement. According the Pew research center Christianity is still the most widespread religion. (source)
How persecuted is each religion?
It’s hard to say, ‘religious restrictions’ are on the increase worldwide but depends on what part of the world you are talking about. The issue is complicated by the fact that Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. It is also hard to find reliable numbers but according to some estimated 90,000 to 100,00 Christians die in violent conflict each year but those numbers are skewed by armed conflicts in which Christians and other faiths are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you crunch the numbers it is likely that around the same percentage of Christians are killed as any other religion but again hard to find solid evidence to support this. Assuming Christians do suffer more violence, what about quality of living?
Quality Of Living
This depends where you go. Obviously the more impoverished the country the more it’s population, religious, or other wise suffer a low quality of life. Like this study that shows the most religious restrictions are in African countries that are suffering from poverty and war. By comparing the countries that have the most Christians with standard of living they have we can get some insight into quality of life for Christians worldwide.
|1||United States||230,000,000||71.0%||Quality Of Life Rank||19|
|2||Brazil||175,700,000||91.4%||Quality of Life Rank||46|
|3||Russia||117,640,000||83.6%||Quality of Life Rank||75|
|4||Mexico||113,500,000||93%||Quality of Life Rank||51|
|5||Nigeria||92,281,000||52.8%||Quality of Life Rank||119|
|6||Philippines||86,500,000||85.8%||Quality of Life Rank||68|
|7||Congo, Democratic Republic of||68,558,000||95.6%||Unranked|
|8||Ethiopia||54,978,000||64.5%||Quality of Life Ranking||126|
|9||Italy||54,070,000||91.5%||Quality of Life Ranking||24|
|10||Germany||50,000,000 Ranking: 15|
(Courtesy of Wikipedia and Pewforums.org) and the 2016 Social Progress Index
Of the top ten countries with the most Christians only two ranked above 20 and three were 75 or lower and The Congo was unranked. The list seems to show the entire spectrum of living conditions for Christians around the world from very good (United States, Germany and Italy) to very bad (Nigeria and Ethiopia and the Congo).
To say that Christians are the most persecuted is only correct if you also claim that it is likely because they are the most populous. Far more serious research would be needed to conclusively show that they are the most persecuted proportionately, as Pence and many others seem to claim.