Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Real "War on Christians"

Yesterday, I went on at some length about Tom Delay and his appearance at the "War on Christians" conference in Washington. I noted that what the conferees considered "war"--Hollywood, liberal media, political activism, etc.--was weak tea indeed when compared to the real life war on Christians in many parts of the world. An excerpt from Lawrence F. Kaplan's excellent article carried in today's Dallas Morning News is exactly what I'm talking about.

There are about 800,000 believers remaining in Iraq's ancient Christian community, mainly Chaldean Catholics and Syrian Orthodox. There used to be more; many more. It seems that these Christians are "today's victims of choice." In fact, it is the one thing that the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds can all agree on--the brutalization of their Christian neighbors. Even though Christians predated Moslems by over 500 years in Iraq, they are nevertheless seen as emissaries of the West. Because of this, they are especially targetted for kidnappings, executions and beheadings. Many of the churches have been bombed, and more and more Christians are worshipping at home, or even in the crypts (how is that for some 1st Century authenticity!) Anyone that can get out is doing so. Most can't. What is the US government doing? Nothing. What are American evangelicals doing? With typical perceptiveness, they are oblivious to the Iraqi's plight and are actually making the situation much worse.

For the entire article, go here. But at least read the following excerpt:

To the lengthy indictment of Christians, their persecutors have also added the charge of proselytizing. Unlike American soldiers, who mean to save Iraqi lives, the American evangelicals who followed on their heels mean to save Iraqi souls. The infusion of pamphlets and missionaries from organizations like the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention enrages Iraqi Muslims, who, Iraqi Christian leaders claim, increasingly conflate their congregants with "the crusaders" – and, too often, treat them as such.

"The evangelicals have caused such problems for us," says Mr. Kanna. "They make the Sunni and Shia furious."

Even though Iraq's Christians suffer in the name of their American co-religionists, their fate seems not to have made the slightest impression on much of the evangelical establishment. Their Web sites and promotional literature advertise the importance of creating new Christian communities in Iraq while mostly ignoring the obligation to save ancient ones. Nor, with a few exceptions, have mainstream church leaders in the United States broached the subject, either. Dr. Carl Moeller, the president of Open Doors USA, an organization that supports persecuted Christians abroad, pins the blame on Christianity's own sectarian rifts. "The denominations in Iraq aren't recognized by Americans," he explains. "The underlying attitude is, 'They're not us.' "

What have we done?

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