"Christianophobia"—New Word (And New Book) For An Old Thing
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.