(/sites/default/files/uploads/2015/03/cross-Niger.jpg)In spite of what Barack Obama would have us believe, he was as much in tune to Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress this week as was anyone and everyone else in the world. But exclusive focus on American/Israeli and Israeli/Islamic relations threatens to blind us to the fierce, unrelenting oppression with which Christians throughout the world are routinely forced to reckon courtesy of their Islamic neighbors.
Throughout the Islamosphere in Africa and the Middle East, men, women, and children have been subjected en masse to unspeakable acts of cruelty. Jihadists, while pillaging and burning homes and churches, have laid waste to whole communities. Families have been destroyed as husbands and fathers were bludgeoned, beheaded, and burned to death; wives and mothers raped, beaten, and starved; young boys forced to convert to Islam and take up arms on behalf of their captors; and young girls enslaved and sold off to become either wives to grown men or human missiles—i.e. suicide bombers.
Meanwhile, stateside, the historical and theological illiterates of the left—exemplified by none other than our 44th President—spout as a matter of course vacuities designed to imply moral parity between Islam and other religions. Worse, the American left reserves not a fraction of the condemnation for Islam, or even ISIS, that it regularly unleashes on Christianity.
But there is no moral parity here.
And it is profoundly offensive for anyone, least of all self-avowed Christian leaders, to suggest otherwise.
People like none other than the titular head of my church, Pope Francis, sought an explanation for the mass murderers that attacked Charlie Hebdo that came dangerously close to sounding like a justification. To be clear, the Pope doubtless abhorred this ghastly deed as much as anyone. But he expressed an understanding of these Islamic killers that he never would have dreamt of extending to Christians whose sins were far less grave.
That there is a glaring contrast between Christianity and Islam is gotten quickly enough when we consider just how the legions of Christian victims of Islamic persecution have responded to their tormentors.
In Niger, where ISIS incinerated 45 churches, the Christians who survived the rampages (which left at least 10 dead and roughly another 170 people critically injured) still managed to gather to worship together. According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a teenager remarked: “I guess God found us worthy.”
Open Doors reports that following the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christian by ISIS, churches in Egypt “united” to pray for the murderers. This organization dedicated to serving persecuted Christians shares a letter penned by an Egyptian “Christian leader” whose name remains anonymous. “The sound of prayers requesting mercy and life, not revenge and destruction, calling on God’s name to come and change the hearts of the killers, is loudly heard across Egypt.”
The letter relays that the “heartbroken wives, mothers, fathers and children of the martyrs,” while interviewed on national and other television shows, offered “simple expressions of love and forgiveness” that “brought down so many tears on air and surely delivered a mind blowing message about what the Christian faith is all about.” Pastors of Egyptian churches are “calling their congregations to wake up and pray for the persecutors of the church to come to meet with the Savior” so that “God will remove their stone hearts…and give them hearts of flesh and blood, capable of loving.”
Organizations like Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs ask Christians around the world not to take up arms and avenge their subjugated brethren, but, rather, to pray for them.
The Christian News Wire reports that Christian Freedom International asked three Christians from three different Muslim-majority countries about their thoughts on Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast remarks. Their responses are telling.
A Pakistani Christian replied: “I strongly condemn this statement by US President Obama… Christianity has always preached to love our neighbor.” The person added: “I know of no Christian extremist groups attacking people of other faiths.”
An Egyptian Christian said that he or she—the lives of these believers depend upon their anonymity—disagreed with Obama. “Coptic Christians in Egypt are very much pacifists and considered the most vulnerable minority [.]” Thus, “we cannot persecute people of other faiths. We Christians do not persecute Muslims. But we Christians are persecuted.”
A Muslim convert to Christianity living in Bangladesh had some particularly revealing things to say.
“But, the basic difference [between Christians and Muslims] is that Muslims today are being influenced and taught by their religious books to persecute the people of other beliefs.” In contrast, you can’t find “a single word in the New Testament that influences Christians to persecute others. The New Testament teaches [about] loving others.”
This convert from Islam mentions that while Christianity has produced numerous people, like Mother Teresa, who have made enormous sacrifices to serve others, “there is not a single example in the Muslim World of a Mother Teresa.” Instead, “Muslims have examples like Osama bin Laden.”
This person doesn’t stop here though. He or she identifies as the inspiration for Obama’s comments an Indian Muslim scholar by the name of Dr. Zakir Nayak. The latter, according to this irate Christian, “defends al Qaida activities by saying, ‘Christians and Jews did terrible things in the past.” Obama, he thinks, was exposed to Nayak while in India. At any rate, this interviewee poses a “challenge” to Obama to “find a single word in the New Testament that influences people to persecute others, where there are thousands [of such words] in the Muslim book, Quran.”
If Islamic militants can be said to pose an “existential threat” to anyone today, it is to those Christians living in Islamic lands.
Only don’t expect for Obama or John Kerry to ever bring this up.
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