This Christmas brings us closer to the final expulsion of Christians from the birthplace of Christ and the homeland of his followers. While Christianity expands around the world, Christians in the place of its birth are facing expulsion or death. Why this is so demands an explanation.
How is it that the USA, a majority Christian nation that actively asserts itself in the Middle East, is so deaf to the fate of Christians? How can a nation that celebrates Christmas with such gusto, ignore the murder of Christians in the land of the Saviors birth? And what of the persecution and murder of Christian’s worldwide?
A cursory look at the world scene will show that almost wherever the borders of Islam and any Christian land meet, Christians are under attack. This is true in the Balkans where Christian Serbs are driven from lands that were theirs for centuries, In Africa where Muslims are advancing against their Christian neighbors in South Sudan, Niger and Nigeria. And it is true in Pakistan, Afghanistan in Central Asia and to lesser extent in India where Christians are attacked by mobs with impunity.
For fear of seeming to be a Christian power to the world, are we bending over so far backwards as to be actually hostile to Christians? Of course, Muslims overseas see us as a Christian country. No matter how secular and decadent our movies, music etc are, we are seen as Christian. So why don’t we factor in the interests of Christians in our foreign policy? I suspect that it is a sad but not be mentioned fact that the US doesn’t speak up against the persecutions of Christians in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because if we did, it would only get much worse. It is as though the ACLU were in charge of our foreign policy. Hostility toward Christians is seen as a manifestation of native culture and thus not our business, yet such hostility toward other groups is treated with horror. Why?
Why is it that our foreign adventures always seem to cost the local Christians so much. Before we decided to “liberate” Iraq, there were about 800,000 Christians living there. At least half have had to flee, many to Syria where they are once again subject to our policy of destroying regimes including coalitions including Christians. Indeed, we are in an alliance with two non-Christian states to destroy the last safe place for Christians in the region. Lebanon, once a Christian haven, is no longer so, and is a shadow of its former self. Egyptian Christians were part of the middle class professional order of the old Egypt. Their churches are now burned and their daughters are abused. Many have fled with more to follow.
Part of our lackadaisical mentality towards the Christians of the Middle East may be our lazy assumption that Christians residing there are the residue of the colonial era. This is profoundly wrong. In fact the opposite is more true. Egypt was about half Christian well into the late Middle Ages. When the Crusaders swept into Syria the majority of the peasantry had remained Christian. All over the Middle East the people of the countryside remain Christian for centuries after the Muslim Conquest. Christians and Jews made up the majority of Doctors, Scribes and other learned professions for yet more centuries. Indeed they served as such right up to 1919 and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The Churches of the Middle East date to a period when Rome had been rendered into ghost town by the barbarians. When the armies of Islam invaded the Persian Empire, the population of what is now lower Iraq was majority Christian.
So the Christians are not some exotic growth on the body of Islam. They, and the Sephardim, are among the original people of the Middle East.
Our policy in the Middle East is all the more evil considering that it walks lock step with that of the Saudi Royal family and the oil statelets of the Gulf who all adhere to a Christian hating wing of Islam that only dates to the 18th Century. These oil states provide the lion’s share of the funding for that maniacally primitive from of Islam that propels terrorism throughout the region and the world. And yet they are our allies. In order to bring down Assad and to precipitate a war with Iran. They even ally with Israel. So no avenue is to narrow for them if it leads to the slaughter of Christians.
I am not suggesting a crusade here. It does seem to me that of the three Abrahamic faiths, Christians have learned a singular lesson; that faith is a thing that fare transcends land. If Christianity means anything, and it does, it is that there is no holy land. God lives wherever people live and in the hearts and the lives of his, and all people. Alone among the religions of the Middle East, Christians demand no homeland of their own. They want no armies or navies and no flag. They want to be left alone and to live according to Our Lords message.
So in this season let us pray for them and also let our government know that we want the humane treatment of Christians to become a real policy. We cannot continue to do business as usual with regimes that slaughter or abuse our coreligionists.