Brian Stanley reviews Rupert Shortt’s latest, Christianophobia , in the TLS , and has this to say:

“For Christians in Western Europe and North America, freedom of belief and worship is universal and unquestioned. For perhaps 200 million of their fellow believers elsewhere – principally in Asia, the Middle East and some parts of Africa – this is not the case. Rupert Shortt, Religion Editor of the TLS , has written this book out of a conviction that this state of affairs “ought to be a major foreign policy issue for governments across a vast belt of the world” (it is in fact governments in the Western world for whom this ought to be a foreign policy issue). That it is not so, Shortt maintains, ‘tells us much about a rarely acknowledged hierarchy of victimhood’ in which Christians occupy a low rank. That indifference to their predicament, Shortt suggests, is due to the lingering but largely false impression prevalent in the post-Enlightenment West that human conflicts can more often be traced to religion than to struggles for power, resources or status.”

Shortt’s book is carefully focused: He aims “to give a voice to those Christians whose experience of more or less direct oppression appears to be wilfully ignored by the rest of humanity. He draws on sources from fact-finding groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and (particularly) Christian Solidarity Worldwide, but has also made his own visits to some of the countries he writes about. With such an aim, it is perhaps inevitable that the book becomes something of a catalogue of cases and statistics of religious persecution: the frequency and seriousness of such cases constitute in themselves the argument that Shortt wishes to advance, and he is content to let the evidence speak for itself.”