The fate of Christians in Iraq

A Catholic mission organization reports that since 2003, the year Saddam Hussein was overthrown, 1,960 Christians have been killed in Iraq and nearly half have fled their homes, either to safer regions of Iraq such as Kurdistan or have left the country entirely.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    Christians actually had a role in Saddam’s government. This slaughter is payback from the formerly repressed Shia.

  • Jonathan

    Christians actually had a role in Saddam’s government. This slaughter is payback from the formerly repressed Shia.

  • Pingback: Was the War in Iraq Bad for Christianity? « Echoes from the Past…Reflections for the Present

  • Pingback: Was the War in Iraq Bad for Christianity? « Echoes from the Past…Reflections for the Present

  • Joe

    Jonathan you are correct, Christians participated in the murderous and deplorable Saddam regime. And, sadly we have not done enough to ensure their protection after Saddam was toppled.

  • Joe

    Jonathan you are correct, Christians participated in the murderous and deplorable Saddam regime. And, sadly we have not done enough to ensure their protection after Saddam was toppled.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith, thanks for posting on this. One of the “liberal” commenters around here frequently points out this statistic as well, though I can’t remember who.

    Either way, the generally quiet response so far is, sadly, not surprising. Those who favored the war in Iraq made lots of noise about the people being killed while Saddam was in power, but have been disappointingly silent about what’s happened since we went in and took control.

    It’s enough to make one think that they were more interested in throwing a war than in preventing deaths.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith, thanks for posting on this. One of the “liberal” commenters around here frequently points out this statistic as well, though I can’t remember who.

    Either way, the generally quiet response so far is, sadly, not surprising. Those who favored the war in Iraq made lots of noise about the people being killed while Saddam was in power, but have been disappointingly silent about what’s happened since we went in and took control.

    It’s enough to make one think that they were more interested in throwing a war than in preventing deaths.

  • Jonathan

    Are we only lamenting the treatment/lack of protection of Christians, or do we also include the Suni, or the ethnic Kurds?

  • Jonathan

    Are we only lamenting the treatment/lack of protection of Christians, or do we also include the Suni, or the ethnic Kurds?

  • Joe

    tODD – in general I agree with what you wrote, but as always generalizations go only so far. In the circles I travel in: Christian, conservative/libertarian the continuing violence is often lamented and Bush’s refusal to modify the strategy for so long is often blamed. We try to respond by giving to care organizations and missions who are working there and we did respond by trying to influence those who could help change the policy to bring more security to Iraq. Unfortunately, that changed strategy which lead to much better security took far to long to be implemented.

    As for whether the war was a plus or negative on the whole of Iraq, I have pretty much given up trying to figure it out. A web search will give you statements are divergent as the civilian death rate is down 87% to it has increase from a range of 25,000 to 50,000/year to 66,000/year. It is interesting to see that it appears pretty well accepted that the infant mortality rate has significantly improved since the invasion with an approximate 15,000 more babies a year surviving.

    Jonathan – I don’t think anyone is trying to ignore all groups but the article link was focused on the tiny Christian population. Is it okay to take a note of that? While it is always said to hear of these deaths, isn’t it okay to take special note when the small Christian foothold in a Muslim country is being destroyed? I think it is.

  • Joe

    tODD – in general I agree with what you wrote, but as always generalizations go only so far. In the circles I travel in: Christian, conservative/libertarian the continuing violence is often lamented and Bush’s refusal to modify the strategy for so long is often blamed. We try to respond by giving to care organizations and missions who are working there and we did respond by trying to influence those who could help change the policy to bring more security to Iraq. Unfortunately, that changed strategy which lead to much better security took far to long to be implemented.

    As for whether the war was a plus or negative on the whole of Iraq, I have pretty much given up trying to figure it out. A web search will give you statements are divergent as the civilian death rate is down 87% to it has increase from a range of 25,000 to 50,000/year to 66,000/year. It is interesting to see that it appears pretty well accepted that the infant mortality rate has significantly improved since the invasion with an approximate 15,000 more babies a year surviving.

    Jonathan – I don’t think anyone is trying to ignore all groups but the article link was focused on the tiny Christian population. Is it okay to take a note of that? While it is always said to hear of these deaths, isn’t it okay to take special note when the small Christian foothold in a Muslim country is being destroyed? I think it is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan (@5), I was thinking about that, too. Of course, we do (or should) lament all such wrongdoings, no matter what group is subjected to them.

    But I think it’s fair for us as Christians to consider especially how our actions affect our brothers and sisters in the faith.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan (@5), I was thinking about that, too. Of course, we do (or should) lament all such wrongdoings, no matter what group is subjected to them.

    But I think it’s fair for us as Christians to consider especially how our actions affect our brothers and sisters in the faith.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@6), I wish I could say that you were typical of the Christian conservatives that I encounter (most of the ones I talk to about such things, though, are to be found online, for what it’s worth; the people in my church don’t talk much about world events and politics, at least not with me), but sadly, it isn’t so.

    That said, thanks for what you wrote, for your thoughtfulness, and perhaps most of all, for your giving.

    And I think it’s impossible to evaluate whether a given event is a net plus or minus for any given population. America’s Civil War: good or bad? I could make an argument either way, but that’s because of who I am and when I am. Others would see it differently. All we can say for sure is that God is working all things — even ill-considered wars — for the good of those that love him, even if they lived in Iraq.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@6), I wish I could say that you were typical of the Christian conservatives that I encounter (most of the ones I talk to about such things, though, are to be found online, for what it’s worth; the people in my church don’t talk much about world events and politics, at least not with me), but sadly, it isn’t so.

    That said, thanks for what you wrote, for your thoughtfulness, and perhaps most of all, for your giving.

    And I think it’s impossible to evaluate whether a given event is a net plus or minus for any given population. America’s Civil War: good or bad? I could make an argument either way, but that’s because of who I am and when I am. Others would see it differently. All we can say for sure is that God is working all things — even ill-considered wars — for the good of those that love him, even if they lived in Iraq.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s surprising that it’s a Catholic mission that is reporting this story, and I hope it gets greater attention from American Catholics, of whom I am one. Catholics tend to be (but not always) less parochial than American protestants when it comes to observing international matters.
    I wonder what the response to the war would have been had these Iraqi Christians been affiliated, oddly as it sounds, with an American denomination, such as the So. Bapt. Convention or the LCMS. Perhaps more noise would have been heard on their behalf as the religious right cheered on Bush’s ill-conceived war. Bad enough that so many American Catholics ignored these Christians.
    Aren’t Christians first Christians then Americans, Chinese, French, etc.? I guess not.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s surprising that it’s a Catholic mission that is reporting this story, and I hope it gets greater attention from American Catholics, of whom I am one. Catholics tend to be (but not always) less parochial than American protestants when it comes to observing international matters.
    I wonder what the response to the war would have been had these Iraqi Christians been affiliated, oddly as it sounds, with an American denomination, such as the So. Bapt. Convention or the LCMS. Perhaps more noise would have been heard on their behalf as the religious right cheered on Bush’s ill-conceived war. Bad enough that so many American Catholics ignored these Christians.
    Aren’t Christians first Christians then Americans, Chinese, French, etc.? I guess not.

  • Garry

    tODD @4/Anonymous @9.
    Very well said.

  • Garry

    tODD @4/Anonymous @9.
    Very well said.

  • Jon

    This news is heart breaking. It’s much more satisfying to condemn ‘online churches’ today than it is to hang our heads in shame over the fate of our Iraqi brethren, whose deaths and suffering can surely be laid in large part at the feet of uncaring Americans, who say they believe in the communion of saints. I’m one of them. I voted for Bush in 2004, when I should have known better.
    God forgive me.

  • Jon

    This news is heart breaking. It’s much more satisfying to condemn ‘online churches’ today than it is to hang our heads in shame over the fate of our Iraqi brethren, whose deaths and suffering can surely be laid in large part at the feet of uncaring Americans, who say they believe in the communion of saints. I’m one of them. I voted for Bush in 2004, when I should have known better.
    God forgive me.


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