Here’s a recent post from Chelsea Gruenwald of the College Conservative that’s worth your time.

Frequently, the freedom and security that we enjoy as Americans can blind us to the issues faced by many other people in the world. We either don’t know that they are a problem, or underplay the severity of those issues because they don’t line up with our own experiences. However, simply because we don’t see those problems doesn’t mean they aren’t there, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. One such problem has started to creep back onto some Americans’ radar because of the atrocities committed by ISIS: religious persecution, in particular the persecution of Christians.

Religious persecution was a common theme in early Christianity. In fact, Jesus warned his followers of inevitable persecution many times in the New Testament, such as in John 15:18: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Thankfully, in much of the Western World including America, Christians are free to practice without religious persecution. However, religious persecution, of any type, is not a thing of the past in the entire world, and as the Lenten season begins, it is important to recognize the need to pray and help other people of faith who suffer.

The Lenten season is a period of 40 days within the Christian calendar where Christians remember the time leading up to Jesus’s passion and resurrection. This season is also marked by increased prayer, repentance, and reflection. One Catholic Church leader, the Archbishop of Detroit calls for believers to pray for not only the persecuted Christians of the Middle East, but all peoples.

On February 17, 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. In the video released by ISIS, the Christians are seen declaring their faith and praying to Jesus moments before their death. Following their death, the Coptic Pope in Alexandria declared the 21 Christians to be martyrs and honored in a way similar to Catholic saints.