The actual war against Christianity

As Christians are preoccupied with the thought that the culture is carrying on a war against them, an actual war is being waged in the Middle East that exterminating whole populations of Christians.  And yet, not the American government nor even American churches are doing or even saying much about it.  An article in Foreign Policy, excerpted and linked after the jump, tries to understand why.

It would seem that Democrats are concentrating on improving relations with Muslims and Republicans are so committed to Israel that they overlook Mideast Christians, who tend to be anti-Israel.  I would add that both Western Catholics and evangelicals often find these ancient sects to be alien, asking “but are they really Christians?”  In the meantime, this article accuses ISIS/the Islamic State of the “g” word:  GENOCIDE. [Read more…]

ISIS abducts 150 Assyrian Christians

The Assyrian Church, which is neither Catholic nor Eastern Orthodox, traces its history to the first century, all the way to the Apostles Thomas, Thaddeus, and Bartholomew.  Now, these Syrian Christians, as in those early days, are experiencing brutal persecution and martyrdom.

ISIS has rounded up 150 Assyrian Christians from Syrian villages.  Their fate is unknown at this time.   We should pray for them.   Are you seeing much outrage at what the jihadists are doing to Christians, either from the world at large or even from Western Christians? [Read more…]

The faith of an ISIS captive

Kayla Mueller was a 26-year-old American who worked to help Syrian refugees.  She was captured by ISIS, held hostage for 18 months, and then killed.  (ISIS claimed she was the victim of an allied airstrike, but military officials deny that this was possible.)   At any rate, Kayla was a Christian.  Now letters have been released that testify to her faith, even as an ISIS prisoner. [Read more…]

More martyrs for faith & freedom

ISIS now has a presence in Libya, and the group has beheaded 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt, a dramatic modern-day example of Christians dying for their faith reminiscent of early church martyrdom.

Also, a Danish discussion of the free speech controversy–including one of the Danish cartoonists whose life was threatened a few years ago for his depictions of the Muslim prophet, but including also voices more sympathetic to the jihadists–was shot up by a terrorist, killing two and wounding five. [Read more…]

Persecution rates

Open Doors has released statistics about the persecution of Christians in 2014:  how many Christians were killed because of their faith (double what it was last year, and triple what it was the year before that); the number of attacks on churches; and the different ways Christians are being persecuted (including “cultural marginalization”).  It also lists the top reasons (#1: militant Islam; #2: dictator paranoia; #3: organized corruption).  Also of interest is a ranking of the countries according to their intolerance of Christianity. [Read more…]

Why Christians in Iraq won’t go back

There are more Biblical sites in Iraq than in any other nation other than Israel:  Eden (maybe), the Tigris & Euphrates rivers, Abraham’s home town of Ur, the city that Jonah evangelized Ninevah, Babylon, the place of the Hebrews’ exile.  And there have been Christians there since the days of the New Testament, with the Apostles Thomas and Thaddeus said to have evangelized the region.  The Assyrians have been Christian since the 1st century, the oldest continual Christian community in the world.

But the persecutions of Christians in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein–by Sunnis, Shi’ites, and now by ISIL–have been so horrible that Christians are leaving.  And they say they are not coming back.  After the jump, Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams gives a chilling summary of what Iraqi Christians have been going through. [Read more…]