Death by a thousand cuts

Perceptions of the nature and intensity of secular intolerance in Western Europe


  • Dennis P. Petri
  • Ronald R. Boyd-MacMillan


secular intolerance, perceptions, religious freedom, persecution, Christians, Western world


In this study, we systematize the main areas of concern related to secular intoler- ance, based on interviews conducted in fall 2018 with representatives of more than 20 faith-based organizations in Western Europe. We conclude that although some Christian advocacy organizations exaggerate the intensity of secular intolerance in the West, the phenomenon is indeed widespread and getting worse. We discuss practical responses to secular intolerance in the fields of research, advocacy, reli- gious literacy training and raising awareness within the church. Some of the trends that we categorize under secular intolerance are reversible, but most seem more difficult to reverse.

Author Biographies

Dennis P. Petri

Dennis P. Petri is international director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom; founder and scholar-at-large at the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America; lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (UNESCO); and director of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation.

Ronald R. Boyd-MacMillan

Ronald R. Boyd-McMillan has been teaching and learning from persecuted communities around the world for forty years. He is Visiting Professor of Practical Theology with Persecution Studies, Lahore College of Theology, Pakistan; and Adjunct Professor, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.



2022-03-03 — Updated on 2022-03-03