Western Europe is thought to be the only part of the world where Christianity is in decline, and Christians within its borders face pressure to hide their faith to degrees not felt in even nominally Christian countries elsewhere. The reason lies not in open persecution, but in privatization. In Europe, a sharp dividing line has been drawn between religious belief and religious practice, so that Christians are frequently reminded that they can believe whatever they like and do what they like inside their churches”they simply cannot speak about or act on those beliefs in public. Christians are being told to keep their faith quiet, out of the workplace, and out of the marketplace.

Clearly the best way to keep Christianity private is to keep Christians quiet. Europe now has dozens of laws to stop Christians from speaking out on controversial issues, not just in public spaces but in pulpits and private conversations as well, enforced vigorously through the criminal code.

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