Leaving the Ox in the Well, Pakistan Edition

Leaving the Ox in the Well, Pakistan Edition February 13, 2017
Bodies of Christians killed at All Saints Cathedral, Peshawar, 2013 (Photo: Legal Evangelical Association, Pakistan)
Bodies of Christians killed at All Saints Cathedral, Peshawar, 2013
(Photo: Legal Evangelical Association, Pakistan)

 

Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” And they had nothing to say.
Luke 14: 5 & 6

 

Last fall a sixteen year-old boy “liked” and “shared” a photo on Facebook. The photo in question was of the Kaaba in Mecca, the structure at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque. The boy was a Pakistani Christian, Nabeel Masih, and he is now in prison, accused of blasphemy for this simple action.

A February 13 report from World Watch Monitor revealed that Nabeel Masih had been refused bail, even though his attorney argued that he is a minor, and that he has never had any prior convictions. The attorney for the complainant, Akhtar Ali, responded in the typical manner that Pakistan’s Muslim majority responds to the cases of Christians — with lies and threats.

In a story on September 20, 2016 , World Watch Monitor quoted from the report Akhtar Ali filed with the police on September 18, 2016, who then arrived by the van-full at Nabeel Masih’s house to arrest him:

“On 18 September, I was with my friends Bakht Khan and Saddam … We took our friend Waqar’s mobile phone and started seeing pictures of his various friends on Facebook. But when we opened Nabeel Masih’s profile, there was a picture posted in which the Kaaba is defamed and disrespected. Seeing that picture, our religious feelings were hurt.”

And of course, in Pakistan when a Muslim’s feelings are hurt, there is hell to pay. Mobs burn down the houses of Christians, or burn the Christians themselves. People get arrested and charged with blasphemy. Attorneys and judges are threatened, intimidated, and sometimes killed.

There is a long list of Pakistani Christians (along with Muslims against whom the blasphemy accusation is also used as a weapon — in property disputes, personal animosity, etc.) that have been accused of blasphemy. Some never made to their trial — died in prison or shot on the steps of the courthouse.

Others were somehow released/exonerated/pardoned because the absurdity of the situation was too much — even for the theater of the absurd that is Pakistan. Such a case was that of Rimshah Masih, a mentally-disabled teenage girl accused of blasphemy by an imam who had actually concocted the evidence against her.

Another teenager was accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death (even though Pakistan was a signatory to the UN covenant on the rights of the child) in the 1990’s. Salamat Masih (Yes, same last name, no relation — Christians in Pakistan use the name Masih because it means “Messiah” aka Jesus. It’s like painting a target on your back in lovely, tolerant Pakistan!) was younger than Nabeel. He was accused of writing blasphemies about Mohammed on the wall of a mosque. Didn’t seem to matter that he was illiterate, or that no Christian in their right mind would write anything on the wall of a mosque.

Salamat was released after an outcry that included the voice of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, along with Christians and others from around the globe.  It may have even included some American evangelical leaders — they weren’t busy writing full-page ads in The Washington Post back then. Nor were they anxious about anyone erroneously assuming that they were a homogeneous bunch of Republicans, an assumption that is anathema to some evangelical leaders today. The ox was in the well and they had to pull it out. It was their ox.

Salamat and his family had to flee the country, to get away from the outraged offended ones. Fortunately, even though they were Christians, they were still considered refugees, and were able to find asylum and a new life.

It remains to be seen if Nabeel Masih, or others such as Christian wife and mom Asia Bibi, convicted of blasphemy and now over seven years in prison awaiting a possible death sentence, ever get treated like refugees (legal definition: having a well-founded fear of persecution), since, G-D forbid, we can’t show any favoritism (or acknowledgment of their existence) to Christians.

Thousands of Pakistani Christians who fled from the insanity in their own country are seeking asylum in Nepal, Thailand, and elsewhere, trying to find a place where they can survive. The UN does not push these actually-persecuted people to the VOLAGs (the “voluntary” agencies that have been resettling migrants across the United States). Instead it exhibits hostility, making it extremely difficult for Christians to navigate the refugee waters.

Meanwhile, suddenly seized by an urgent sense of social justice over the Trump Administration’s recent Executive Order, hundreds of evangelical Christian leaders have joined the Soros globalists, the mainline churches, the ACLU, and others, expressing a deep concern and outrage based on the media’s overblown and faulty narrative about the temporary ban.

Their volume of their cry for “anyone fleeing persecution and violence, regardless of their faith or country,” is framed in a full page Washington Post open letter to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The Trump Administration has, commendably, shown compassion and concern for the actual ox in the well. But the VOLAGs fought against previous legislation that gave special consideration to actual victims of persecution — Christian and Yazidi — and they are doing it again, with help from a few thousand evangelicals.

In a Philos Project article convictingly entitled “Middle East Christians Feel Betrayed by American Christians,” Iraqi American Luma Simms urges Americans not to play a zero-sum game saying, “No one is asking you to stop having compassion for non-Christian refugees.” In fact, CNS News reported the statistics of the State Department Refugee Processing Center that of 12, 587 Syrian refugees admitted in fiscal year 2016, 12, 486 were Muslim, 68 were Christian, and 24 were Yazidi.

As a token, a deja vu, in the Washington Post ad assures, “As leaders, we welcome the concern expressed for religious minorities, including persecuted Christians,” and expresses horror at the persecution and genocide. It then rushes on to return to the actual issue it wants to address, leaving the global Church, including Pakistan’s tormented and beleaguered Christians, with that cold comfort.

When it comes to equal compassion for members of the global Church, our Christian brothers and sisters, let there not be the indictment, “And they had nothing to say.”

 

 

 

"yes, I believe it is time to ask 'how can this be?' of those who ..."

On Those Christian Millennials Who Believe ..."
"A profound and wonderful comment. I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you....and a bittersweet and beautiful story. ..."

On Those Christian Millennials Who Believe ..."
"I am sure that 'witness' involves more than lecturing people about 'their sins'. I am ..."

On Those Christian Millennials Who Believe ..."
"Thanks so much, Chris! I had Diocesan synod and several Sudan, South Sudan, North Korea, ..."

Blogging My Way Through THE COPPER ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Evangelical
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment