Sri Lanka bombings

“Easter Worshippers” Disrespects Persecuted Christians

on April 22, 2019

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
April 22, 2019
Contact: Chelsen Vicari office: 202-682-4131, cell: 540-239-2170

“Islamic jihadists have no hesitation about slaughtering Christians on the holiest day of the year, the day of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. So why are certain American politicians and talking heads so squeamish about identifying the victims as Christians and now calling them Easter Worshippers?”
-IRD International Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell

Washington, DC—Coordinated bombings targeting multiple churches, as well as hotels, on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka highlight, once again, the growing persecution of Christians in South Asia and around the globe.

The New York Times reports that at least 290 people were killed and 500 others injured by the terrorist attacks, many a part of Sri Lanka’s minority Christian community. Three coordinated suicide bombings took place during Easter Sunday morning services at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo (pictured above), evangelical Zion Church in Batticaloa, and St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and largest city.

The Sri Lankan government suspects the bombings were carried out by the National Thowheed Jamaath, a local Islamist militant group with international ties,
as reported by the Washington Post. 

The Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks, calling it “a very, very sad day for all of us” and extended his “deepest sorrow and sympathy to all those innocent families that have lost someone, and also to those who have been injured and rendered destitute.”

During his Easter address, Pope Francis called the attacks “horrendous” and expressed his “heartfelt closeness to the Christian community, attacked while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such a cruel act of violence.”

IRD International Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

We are deeply saddened by the murders of these innocent people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, celebrating their Risen Lord, as well as all the others. Their families and community, and the entire nation of Sri Lanka is in our thoughts and prayers.

Islamic jihadists have no hesitation about slaughtering Christians on the holiest day of the year, the day of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. So why are certain American politicians and talking heads so squeamish about identifying the victims as Christians and now calling them Easter Worshippers?

This reticence to name Christians as targets of persecution is also seen in Nigeria, where the slaughter of entire communities of Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani jihadists is euphemistically referred to as “clashes between farmers and herdsmen.”

It is time that Christians who are standing and even dying for their faith in Jesus received the honor that they deserve. Four years ago 147 Kenyan Christian young people at Garissa University were murdered by al Shabaab. We at IRD denounced the euphemisms used by President Obama and others that avoided explicitly stating that these students were Christians who were killed because they were Christians.

Christians are tiring of these euphemisms. Currently, #Easterworshippers is trending on Twitter. Christians who still have freedom in the West should speak the truth freely and boldly about the persecution of their brothers and sisters.


  1. Comment by Diane on April 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Note the hypocrisy – conservative Christians in the west just had a field day a couple weeks ago suggesting Episcopalians weren’t real Christians. Guess Episcopalians are just Easter worshippers, too.

  2. Comment by Donald on April 25, 2019 at 10:29 am

    The tepid politically correct response from political leaders is to be expected, since they are the ones who first coined the neologism that Islam is “The Religion of Peace.” However, what about the press releases of the heads of major American Protestant denominations? Did the UMC, PCUSA, TEC, Unitarian, Disciples of Christ, etc. adopt the same generic response or did they expressly condemn the murder of Christians and express solidarity with their fellow Christians who are being persecuted?

  3. Comment by james wiliams on June 6, 2019 at 12:23 am

    The Church is not an human made organization, but a living god man organism that is Divine.(Α Colossians 1:18) “He is the head of his body, the Church; He is the source of the body’s life”

    Baptism which in essence abolishes ALL SIN and at the same time UNITES MAN with creator God takes place because God is present in His Church as High Priest ( Hebrews 5:5) with His Holy Sacrament of Baptism. (Galatians 3:27) “You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, with the life of Christ himself” Spiritual growth is a gift from God that involves the anablasis of man to godman (part man part god) that takes places during Baptism. Baptism unites man with his Creator God, by restoring man to Gods likeness, (Holy) granting him this way the opportunity here on earth to achieve immortality, a life that is eternal, otherwise known as ETERNAL LIFE.

    Ierotheos Metropolitan of Naupaktos about Baptism
    “Through the “rite of birth in God”, holy baptism, man’s nous (mind) is illuminated, freed from slavery to sin and the devil, and is united with God. That is why baptism is called illumination. But after that, because of sin, the nous is again darkened and deadened. The patristic writings make it clear that every sin and every passion deadens the nous from being able to understand the type Spiritual Truths needed for Salvation. In the absence of Baptism as delivered by the Apostles life after death conditions will be the same as befor the coming of Lord Jesus and the creation of His Church where there was no hope no Salvation! [Exodus 33:20] And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

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