Some American Christians are claiming that they are persecuted by 'the secular left' and other 'self-described' Christians, writes Martin Marty. There are real issues about how particular faiths should relate in a crowded and tense world; but they will not be resolved by over-heated rhetoric, or by confusing disagreements in plural societies with the suffering and even death faced by minorities in other parts of the world.
In the Indian State of Orissa's Kandhamal district, residents say it is hard not to be afraid. The ash heaps and metal frames are all that remain of the contents of the two-storied office of World Vision, a Christian development organization.
Christian groups and churches in Indian's eastern state of Orissa are demanding urgent protection, saying they have been hounded by Hindu extremists, with reports of nine people being killed in attacks since Christmas.
Christmas is offensive, and always will be, says Jonathan Bartley. It legitimates the undermining of those in authority. But it is also about looking after not just those who are “deserving” of love, but those who appear disreputable and unworthy.
Pope Benedict XVI has declared in one of his key Christmas messages that believers facing persecution, torture and death in some parts of the world and those who die forgiving their killers are a sign of hope and faith for humanity.