"Christianophobia"—New Word (And New Book) For An Old Thing
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October 12, 2013, 03:23 PM
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"Christianophobia"—New Word (And New Book) For An Old ThingIn January, 2012, I wrote an article headlined “Christophobia”—The Prejudice That Barely Has A Name.

We`ve had readers question the word “Christophobia”, (meaning hatred, fear, and contempt for Christians and Christianity) which we`ve been using for years, but I can trace its use back to the late 19th and early 20th century, when it referred to Chinese and Indian resistance to missionaries. This was  caused by a combination of xenophobia (theirs, not ours) and a desire to cling bitterly to old ways like ancestor worship and suttee.

Rupert Shortt in England has written a book talking about the same phenomenon under a slightly different name, Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack . (There`s a 54 page PDF version here.)

That means that this prejudice not only barely has a name, we can`t even agree on the name it barely has.

Here`s Shortt  being interviewed in Fathom Magazine:

Alan Johnson: Let’s start with some big questions about the word ‘Christianophobia.’ First, what does it mean?

Rupert Shortt: It covers a multitude of sins really. I grant you that the word ‘phobia’ implies something rather passive, unlike the more active evil of antisemitism. But ‘anti-Christianism,’ just like ‘anti-Muslimism,’ hasn’t really caught on as a term, so I thought I would adopt a coinage used by other people – I can’t claim a monopoly on it or on its meaning. But it is something I hoped would be reasonably eye-catching and would draw people’s attention to what I see as a neglected human rights issue.

And of course, what he`s talking about is not things like the War On Christmas, or what happened to Mel Gibson`s movie about the Passion, but more direct forms of persecution in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Burma, and China.

Still, it`s a good effort—I just wish he`d gotten the name right.