The truth is that persecution against Christians, ideologically speaking, is an equal-opportunity enterprise. One thinks, for instance, of the famous martyrs of the liberation theology movement, such as Archbishop Oscar Romero, or the six Jesuits and two women murdered in El Salvador in 1989. There’s also Guatemalan Bishop Juan José Gerardi, beaten to death in 1998 two days after releasing a report on his country’s civil war that heavily criticized the army and right-wing paramilitary groups. More recently, there’s American Sr. Dorothy Stang, murdered in Brazil in 2005 for advocacy on behalf of poor and indigenous Amazonians; or Indian Sr. Valsha John, slain this past year for defending members of the tribal underclass against expropriation of their land by coal mining companies.

Defending persecuted Christians, in other words, is hardly an effort that should concern the political and theological right alone. Styling anti-Christian persecution as a political football is not only an obscenity, but it’s factually inaccurate.