8/26/13

The Plight of Middle-Eastern Christians

Here is a good article (from the British 'Telegraph') about the plight of Christians in the Middle East, following in particular the story of St. George's Anglican Church of Baghdad (the only Anglican church in Iraq).  In previous times ruthless dictator prevented mobs of Muslims or groups like al-Qaeda from targeting churches and Christians (or anyone) with violence.  Then came the social unrest that Western journalists (quite naively) dubbed "the Arab Spring" (the Western intellectuals and journalists that I was listening to on NPR believed they would see an opening up of the Middle East to democracy, freedoms, human rights...basically working from the assumption that every culture in the world must inevitably be progressing toward becoming like us).

Now the "Arab Spring" has turned into an Arab winter, a nightmare with tens of thousands of civilians being  killed in continuous unrest and violence because of the power-vacuum left by the fall of repressive dictators. In the midst of all of this, tiny Christian communities struggle for their very survival as many are targeted by their Muslim neighbors.  As the Telegraph article highlights, with quotes from the well-known Rabbi, Lord Sacks, this crisis amounts to a religious form of "ethnic cleansing" but has not been given the attention it deserves among Western journalists and policy-makers, instead it has gone "almost unremarked" (like the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks?).

I have spoken about the plight of our Middle-Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ from the pulpit (and online) and I believe we all need to be speaking out and praying on behalf of Middle Eastern Christians, while there is still time. 

I am praying not only for their safety and an end to the violence (which will help everyone, not just Christians) but also that believers may make a good witness to the love of Christ in the midst of the chaos: as one of the Easter litanies of our Book of Worship (397) puts it,
"In the peace of the Risen Christ, let us pray to the Lord...that isolated and persecuted churches find fresh strength in the Gospel..."


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2 Comments:

Blogger Rev. Daniel McLain Hixon said...

It might also be worth pointing out that the United Methodist Committee on Relief has partnered with Greek Orthodox Churches to bring relief supplies to refugees (Christian and Muslim) in Syria.

3:37 PM, August 26, 2013  
Blogger Methodist Monk said...

I definitely fear Egypt, Syria, and others have the underpinnings to turning into another Rwanda after the French left.

What was the saying by George Santayana? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We were naive when hundreds of thousands of people died in Rwanda and it looks like we are still just as naive.

10:53 AM, August 27, 2013  

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