Responding to the U.S. Catholic bishops "Fortnight for Freedom" and the surrounding rhetoric of an Obama-led "war on religion," John Allen points to the reality of actual, brutal persecution of Christians around the world:

There are undeniably important church/state issues in play in America, but if they constitute a "war," it's a metaphorical one, waged in legislatures and courthouses. Too often lost in the shuffle is the fact — not a hunch, theory or conjecture, but hard empirical fact — that in a growing number of other places, there's a decidedly literal war on religion under way. Its victims don't just lose government contracts or debates over insurance mandates; they're threatened, beaten, imprisoned and even murdered.

Allen goes on to list harrowing stories of repression abroad that were occurring at "the precise moment" the bishops were grandstanding.