Persecution, not Divorced and Remarrieds, is the Most Serious Issue Facing Christianity Today

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

My colleague Kate O’Hare interviewed Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Bahai Soro about the holocaust of Christians that is taking place in the Middle East. 

To be honest, reading this interview put the hijinks of the Synod on the Family in perspective. It made the whole thing seem a little bit like an exercise in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It would have been better to hold a Synod on Christian persecution in much of the world, coupled as it is by increasing harassment, bashing and legal attacks on the rights of Christians in the so-called Christian West.

Christianity is under attack as it has not been since the Muslim wars of conquest in the Middle Ages. Today’s line of attack is even more aggressive because it has not one, not even two, but several fronts. Christians are being subjected to genocide in their ancient homelands. Christians endure violent persecution in places like North Korea and certain parts of India. Christians are subjected to government control and abuse in places such as China, and Christians are under social and legal attack in an attempt to drive them from public forums and banish their ministries in much of the West, including the United States.

That is the most serious issue facing Christianity today.

From Angelus:

Many, if not most, of the Christians will be forced to leave Iraq forever, but some are determined to stay and see that Christianity maintains a living presence in some of the places that first heard the message of the Apostles.

In America, there are those determined to help. They can’t work a miracle, but you have to start somewhere.

Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Bawai Soro resides at the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle in El Cajon, in San Diego County. It serves approximately 60,000 Catholics in several western states who are part of the Chaldean or Assyrian Rite. Many are immigrants from the Middle East, especially Iraq and Iran.

Bishop Soro was formerly a bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East. A longtime advocate of the primacy of the Apostolic See of Rome — he proudly displays thick albums of photos of the times he has met Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis — Bishop Soro was received into the Catholic Church in January 2008.

He recently joined forces with Kingdom Special Operations, a Las Vegas-based private security company. Staffed by former intelligence officers and military Special Forces members, it goes on assignments worldwide for the U.S. government and other entities.

But the CEO of Kingdom, Orange County native Roger Flores, is a Catholic and a Knight of Columbus, and he has always maintained that part of Kingdom’s mission is to help his fellow Christians.


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All the Christians Stand Up

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jo Naylor

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jo Naylor

If a shooter said All the Christians stand up to you, what would you do?

Sadly, this is not a hypothetical. It happened yesterday in Oregon.

What would you do, if this happened to you?

I wrote about this for CatholicVote. Here’s part of what I said.

shooter says, All the Christians stand up. 

Would you stand? Would I?

I’ve lived long enough to learn a few things about myself. One of them is that when I am under physical attack, I tend to freeze. I do really well if the situation requires moral courage. But physical courage, not so much.

I’ve had a couple of life-threatening experiences in my life where I was attacked from out of nowhere. Every single time, I froze.

So … would I stand if a shooter walked into a room in which I sat with other people and said, All the Christians stand up?

I honestly don’t know. I do know that this happened to real people yesterday in Oregon and a number of them did stand up. The gunman told them Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second. Then, he shot and killed them.

The irony in this is that he didn’t lie. These brave Christians went directly to God. They are martyrs, and their blood cries out from the ground the same as Abel’s, with the distinct difference that theirs is a cry of victory.

I cannot imagine what demon-possessed hatred inspires people to kill other human beings. But I do know that Christians are subjected to an extraordinary amount of hate speech and bashing in these United States. Read the rest here.

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Lone Vet Returns to Iraq to Fight ISIS

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by  G.obal Panorama

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by G.obal Panorama

60 Minutes covered the plight of Iraqi Christians Among other stories, they found an American military veteran, in Iraq, training Iraqi Christians in self defense.  He’s there because he’s a Christian who wants to help Christians defend themselves in this time of genocide.


Lone vet returns to Iraq to fight ISIS

|“I’m not here serving my country–I’m here serving Christians,” says former U.S. soldier Brett Felton, who returned to Iraq to train Christians how to defend themselves from ISIS

I applaud this. One of the necessary components of genocide always seem to be that the victim population can not or does not defend themselves.

Go here to see the story.

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ISIS Desecrates, Demolishes Syrian Monastery. Priest Missing.

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My colleague Tom McDonald posted a story about another atrocity against Christians at the hands of ISIS. Everywhere, all over the world including here in the USA, Satan is on the move.

From God and the Machine:

In 284 St. Elian, a physician, refused to renounce Christianity and was killed by his father. The site of his death in Homs, Syria soon became a locus of miracles and devotion, and a Church was was raised there in the late 5th century. A stone sarcophagus was built in side chapel to house his remains. A monastery grew at the location.

Some time this month, all of that history and devotion was ground into dust by barbarians. ISIS has released photos (and possibly a video, though I haven’t been able to find it) that show them destroying the site. They allegedly smashed their way into St. Elian’s tomb, then brought in heavy machinery to do the rest.

There are pictures circulating showing uncovered bones. Some are saying these are the bones of St. Elian, but I don’t think they are. It’s unclear at this moment what became of St. Elian’s remains, but from the reports I’m reading it appears that the entire site was bulldozed. That would include the tomb, the church, the remains, and the frescos uncovered during restorations:

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Pope Francis: We are Living an Ecumenism of Blood

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann

The “father of lies” is the one how is persecuting Christians today says Pope Francis. “We are living an ecumenism of blood.”

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Persecution of Christians in America: It’s Not Just ‘Over There.’

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

I’ve been saying for a long time that violent persecution of a group of people doesn’t just appear one day from out of nowhere. It grows from one stage of disregard and attack to another.

There is a continuum that leads to violent persecution. Hazing, bashing and societal acceptance of such are big steps down that road. Government attempts to limit the rights of specific groups and to use the law to harass them are a step even further down that road.

President Obama has managed to convince me with his determined attempts to limit the First Amendment freedoms of Christians that he has a personal prejudice against Christians and Christianity. I say that reluctantly. But his behavior concerning the beheading of an innocent women here in Oklahoma a few months ago was the final straw with me.

This president’s personal bigotry concerning Christians has led the government into a full-on attempt to limit the First Amendment freedoms of all religious people by attempting to use government coercion to force people of faith to violate their beliefs. The prime example of this is the iniquitous HHS Mandate, which is a scar on President Obama’s entire presidency.

No matter what else President Obama does, he will always be the president who lied to Congress and then put the full prestige of the Presidency behind an ignominious attack on religious liberty.

America is far down the way on the continuum of persecution against Christians. We are subjected to this totally unnecessary fight with the government of the United States to protect our First Amendment rights. We are constantly bashed and reviled in the media and on Christian bashing hate blogs which seem to have no other purpose for their existence than to spit hatred toward Christianity and Christians into the blogosphere.

Any misdeed by any Christian anywhere is immediately labeled as a Christian crime and “typical” of every single one of the 2 billion Christians on this planet. Christians are labelled bigots for standing by 2,000 year old beliefs that were held universal just a decade ago.

Christian speakers, bloggers and teachers who continue to stand for traditional Christian teaching are hazed, attacked and buzz-bombed by the many Christian-bashing trolls on the internet. Nowhere is this more common than during discussions of persecution of Christians. Any discussion of Christian persecution immediately gets a large number of hateful comments and usually competing blog posts attacking the author personally. I believe that these attacks are meted out as punishment for having the temerity to write about the persecution of Christians.

The purpose of this is to silence any discussion of the behavior of those who are doing these things. They don’t want to be called out for what they are doing for the simple and obvious reason that fair-minded people might not tolerate such thuggery if they were forced to see it for what it is.

This article from American Thinker talks a bit about these things. I’ll put a bit of it below, but I think the whole article is worth reading.

From American Thinker:

Numbed Christians in America assume they are safe from persecution.

But they are not safe.

As Msgr. Charles Pope and Johnette Benkovic point out, persecution of a hated segment of society begins gradually and accelerates stage by stage.  Christians in America should recognize they are well into the first stages of persecution.

The first stage begins with attempts to stereotype the targeted group.  Our current president summed up the Christian-hating left’s views of people of faith when in 2008, he categorized working-class voters in the following way: “[I]t’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

For Obama, as well as for nearly all the left, people of faith are the inhibitors of “progress,” and they deserve being caricatured as Bible-thumpers, and therefore ignorant, uneducated, backward hicks and rednecks.


Read more:
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What’s the Threat to Christians Worldwide?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

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The Murderers Got Away With It.

Photo Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? Adolph Hitler

The murderers got away with it.

Their success encouraged Adolph Hitler in his assumption that what had been done to the Christians by the Turks could be done by the Germans to the Jews, and no one would remember it later. Every time I publish a post on the Armenian Genocide, I have to delete a few comments claiming that it never happened. The “explanations” are spurious, the comments are full of rage.

I assume that the people who make these claims have been brainwashed by lies.

It is a miserable experience to face what you have done when what you have done is a crime against humanity. But it is a necessary beginning to forgiveness and healing.

Turkey has been running from its own history for 100 years. This not only dishonors the dead, it creates a climate in which others who are inclined to practice genocide feel that they can get away with it. After all, there is precedent of a million-and-a-half cold-blooded murders that not only went unpunished, but were swept under the rug of history and forgotten for a century of bloodshed.

I began this post by saying that the murderers got away with it. But, of course, no one ever gets away with anything. This life is a short experience. Eternity awaits. In that eternity, everything we do is known. No one gets away with anything.

There is only one Way out of the misery of our sins, and that Way is the Cross. Only the death of God could be sufficient to pay the price of sins such as those that we humans can commit.

If the Turks lived out their days wallowing in the muck of thinking that they got away with it, they were deluding themselves. God is not mocked. They paid the price, in full and for eternity.

Part of our call as Christians living on this side of eternity is to erect and maintain barriers that fence in the bestial impulses that prey on all of us. No person, anywhere, is so pure that they can, of their own thinking and good intentions, prevent themselves from falling into the trap of their own fallen nature.

The vast hubris of telling ourselves that we can be good, that we are, essentially, good, is just that: Hubris. The people who claim this are oftentimes advocating and committing crimes of blood guilt while they say the words.

Jesus said that there is none good except God. He did this to point out to the rich young man who sought to follow Him that he was, in fact, addressing God in the flesh. But the point He made transcends that conversation.

There is none good but God. When we try to pretend otherwise, we doom ourselves to the anguish of constant self-justification. Any contradiction of the life lies we use to pretend that our sins are not sins pushes us to rageful attack. We live today in a society that is rotting with the rage of those who deny the real God so that they can be their own god.

Righteousness and self righteousness are two different things. Without the Cross, without the redemption that only Christ offers, all our righteousness is self righteousness, which is to say, that all our righteousness is a pose, a sham and a lie.

The Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the Christians of Armenia. This crime was not just a crime against the individual people who were murdered. It was not just murder, committed one and a half million times. It was a crime that struck to the heart of what it means to be human. It was a crime so vast and so evil that it is a crime committed against every human being who ever walked, or who will ever walk, this planet.

The call to bring this genocide into the light is not just a call for justice. It is a necessity of human survival. There are some crimes that we must not ignore and can not tolerate if we are to survive as a species. Genocide is one of those crimes.

ISIS is in the process of committing new genocides today. Their targets are Christians and the followers of the ancient religions that predate Christianity. But their ultimate victim is Islam itself.

By committing genocide and claiming that it is an Islamic practice, they are also claiming that Islam is of the devil. No one outside Islam is defaming the faith in this manner. It is coming from its own violent adherents.

Only the harsh cleansing of truth can scrub away the stains of sin this deep.

The truth is that the Armenian genocide was genocide. The truth is that it was committed 100 years ago by the Ottoman Turks.

The truth is that this crime is so vast, so deeply threatening to our claims of humanity, so portentous in its capacity to kill without limit, that human beings as a race, a tribe, a species, can not, ever, allow anyone to get away with it.

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ISIS Releases Video of Themselves Murdering 30 Christians by Shooting and Beheading Them

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tjebbe van Tijen

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tjebbe van Tijen

You will not have safety even in your dreams until you accept Islam. Masked ISIS murderer just before killing Christian prisoners.

ISIS released another video today. It showed masked murderers marching bound and unarmed prisoners onto a beach and beheading them. It also showed the murder of another group of prisoners by gunfire. According to reports, all of the murdered were Christians martyrs.

What is different about this video is that it directly threatens Christians in a specific manner and states that the reason for the murders is that the Christians did not convert to Islam.

From CNN:

ISIS Executes More Christians in Libya. (CNN)ISIS operatives have executed two groups of prisoners, believed to be Ethiopian Christians, in Libya, according to a video released Sunday by the terror network’s media arm.

The al-Furqan Media video — which is highly produced and titled “Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence” — shows two groups of men, one in orange jumpsuits and the other in black, being killed at different locations in Libya, according to the video’s narrator.

One group is beheaded on a beach along the Mediterranean Sea, while the other group is shot in Southern Libya, hundreds of miles away.

“All praise be to Allah, the Lord and cherisher of the world and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Mohammed. To the nation of the cross, we are back again on the sands, where the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have stepped on before, telling you: Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap,” the narrator says in Arabic on the 39-minute video.

The narrator continues, “In fact, their blood is the purest blood because there is a nation behind them (which) inherits revenge. And we swear to Allah: the one who disgraced you by our hands, you will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”

Quoting Mohammed, the narrator says that those who “perform prayer and pay alms” will have “their blood and property” protected by the Prophet unless Islam dictates otherwise.

“You pay (tax) with willing submission, feeling yourselves subdued. Our battle is a battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood, until there is no more polytheism — and obedience becomes Allah’s on its entirety,” the narrator says.

Earlier in the video, a different speaker says Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul were given the choice to embrace Islam or maintain their Christian faith and pay a tax.

“The Islamic state has offered the Christian community this many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated,” the speaker says.

From New York Post:

ISIS Video Shows Execution of Ethiopian Christians  ISIS terrorists released their latest blood-drenched video on Sunday, showing the shootings and beheadings of two groups of Ethiop​i​an Christians in Libya.

“You will not have safety even in your dreams until you accept Islam,” says a masked fighter with a pistol, who insists Christians must convert to Islam or pay a tax prescribed by the Quran.

“Our battle is a battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood.”

Earlier in the video, a different speaker says Christians in Mosul, Iraq, were given the choice of embracing Islam or paying a tax.

“The Islamic State has offered the Christian community this many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated,” the speaker says.

So victims were then rounded up to pay the ultimate price, being executed by gunfire in a desert and by beheadings on a beach, the video shows.

The sickening propaganda video was released almost exactly two months after 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded by extremists.

In the latest recorded executions, about 12 victims appear to have been lined up and shot to death in the desert. Another 16 appear to have been massacred on the beach.

From AllAfrica:

Ethiopia Announces Three Days of National Mourning for Its Citizens Killed by IS  Ethiopian government spokesperson Redwan Hussien said the country will observe three days of national mourning for 28 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya and three of its nationals killed in South Africa following wave of xenophobic attack against African migrant workers.

From Miami HeraldVideo: Islamic State Kils Ethiopian Christians in Libya. 

Islamic State militants in Libya shot and beheaded groups of captive Ethiopian Christians, a video purportedly from the extremists showed Sunday. The attack widens the circle of nations affected by the group’s atrocities while showing its growth beyond a self-declared “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.

The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan’s president blamed the extremists for a suicide attack in his country that killed at least 35 people – and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

It also mirrored a film released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group’s suspected positions in Libya. Whether Ethiopia would – or could – respond with similar military force remains unclear.

The video starts with what it called a history of Christian-Muslim relations, followed by scenes of militants destroying churches, graves and icons. A masked fighter brandishing a pistol delivers a long statement, saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran.

It shows one group of captives, identified as Ethiopian Christians, purportedly held by an Islamic State affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barqa Province. It also shows another purportedly held by an affiliate in the southern Libyan calling itself the Fazzan Province. The video then switches between footage of the captives in the south being shot dead and the captives in the east being beheaded on a beach. It was not immediately possible to estimate how many captives were killed or confirm their identities.



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Pope Francis Describes the Massacre of Armenians as ‘Genocide.’ Turkey Recalls Its Ambassador.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann

In his morning homily today, Pope Francis described the courage to proclaim the Gospel as grace born of the Holy Spirit.

He exercised a bit of that grace in the mass described in the video below in which he called the massacre of Armenians early in the 20th century what it was: Genocide.

Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador to the Holy See.

There’s no surprise in this. No one likes to face the realization that there is a monster in themselves or in their national history. But this realization is the first step toward true conversion. Without the truth, we are forever stuck in our sins and inside the pitiable excuses we give ourselves for having committed them.

Pope Francis did the only right thing by saying that truth about the Armenian Genocide. Hopefully, the day will come when Turkey can acknowledge the truth of its past and begin the process of healing itself and its heritage of this crime against humanity.

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