Why Are Progressive Christians AND Right Wing American Fundamentalists Lying to Ourselves About the Islamic Destruction of Christianity in the Middle East?

Why Are Progressive Christians AND Right Wing American Fundamentalists Lying to Ourselves About the Islamic Destruction of Christianity in the Middle East? July 23, 2015
The American evangelical right wing gave George W. Bush and the Republicans a pass for founding ISIS. ISIS is the only real “result” from our so-called War on Terror. The War on Terror is a creation of big oil married to Saudi lies, radical Islam, and neoconservative pro-Israel stupidity. The big loser is twofold– the credibility of the US Military and the Christians of the Middle East. And both right and left have preferred to believe their own lies rather than admit the truth: We helped unleash a true war of religion into the twenty-first century.
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Post the Bush Iraq invasion-for-no-reason we Americans have been accomplices in destroying what was left of Christianity in the Middle East. The destruction has spread.
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And here is the ugly truth: The West may call itself secular but it is in a religious war whatever it is called. Calls for ecumenism aren’t going to solve that war. And blindly defending Israel won’t either. What we need to do is admit the truth: Radical Islam is the norm, not the exception now on the ground–thanks W! Thanks Big Oil! Thanks neoconservatives! Thanks Israel! Thanks lying two-faced Saudi Royals!
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Genocide is the result. And Israel is becoming an apartheid state, just another nasty little religious exclusionary Middle Eastern despotism. We’ve played games with the evil Saudi oppressors, we’ve played games with the Israel lobby and we’ve deluded ourselves into meddling in the Middle East. The result is ISIS.
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The left with its politically correct delusions and the right with its war making, created ISIS. It is time for the left to call out Militant Islam coming from the Saudis. It is time for the right to admit that American military might can’t “solve” this. We American have run into something we are scared and ignorant of: ACTUAL HISTORY!
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So for both the right and left here is a dose of actual fact, history and truth as a wake up call to a more honest discussion of what is really happening to us. This quote below comes from a very important article in the New York Times magazine. The article is “Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?” (July 22, 2015).
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Most of Iraq’s Christians call themselves Assyrians, Chaldeans or Syriac, different names for a common ethnicity rooted in the Mesopotamian kingdoms that flourished between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers thousands of years before Jesus. Christianity arrived during the first century, according to Eusebius, an early church historian who claimed to have translated letters between Jesus and a Mesopotamian king. Tradition holds that Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles, sent Thaddeus, an early Jewish convert, to Mesopotamia to preach the Gospel.

As Christianity grew, it coexisted alongside older traditions — Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the monotheism of the Druze, Yazidis and Mandeans, among others — all of which survive in the region, though in vastly diminished form.

…When the first Islamic armies arrived from the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century, the Assyrian Church of the East was sending missionaries to China, India and Mongolia. The shift from Christianity to Islam happened gradually. Much as the worship of Eastern cults largely gave way to Christianity, Christianity gave way to Islam. Under Islamic rule, Eastern Christians lived as protected people,dhimmi: They were subservient and had to pay the jizya, but were often allowed to observe practices forbidden by Islam, including eating pork and drinking alcohol. Muslim rulers tended to be more tolerant of minorities than their Christian counterparts, and for 1,500 years, different religions thrived side by side.

One hundred years ago, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and World War I ushered in the greatest period of violence against Christians in the region. The genocide waged by the Young Turks in the name of nationalism, not religion, left at least two million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks dead. Nearly all were Christian. Among those who survived, many of the better educated left for the West. Others settled in Iraq and Syria, where they were protected by the military dictators who courted these often economically powerful minorities.

…For more than a decade, extremists have targeted Christians and other minorities, who often serve as stand-ins for the West. This was especially true in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, which caused hundreds of thousands to flee. ‘‘Since 2003, we’ve lost priests, bishops and more than 60 churches were bombed,’’ Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, said. With the fall of Saddam Hussein, Christians began to leave Iraq in large numbers, and the population shrank to less than 500,000 today from as many as 1.5 million in 2003.

The Arab Spring only made things worse. As dictators like Mubarak in Egypt and Qaddafi in Libya were toppled, their longstanding protection of minorities also ended. Now, ISIS is looking to eradicate Christians and other minorities altogether. The group twists the early history of Christians in the region — their subjugation by the sword — to legitimize its millenarian enterprise. Recently, ISIS posted videos delineating the second-class status of Christians in the caliphate. Those unwilling to pay the jizya tax or to convert would be destroyed, the narrator warned, as the videos culminated in the now-­infamous scenes of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya being marched onto the beach and beheaded, their blood running into the surf.

The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is now uncertain. ‘‘How much longer can we flee before we and other minorities become a story in a history book?’’ says Nuri Kino, a journalist and founder of the advocacy group Demand for Action. According to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history. ‘‘ISIL has put a spotlight on the issue,’’ says Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, whose parents are from the region and who advocates on behalf of Eastern Christians. ‘‘Christianity is under an existential threat.’’

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In the long reach of history Bush will be remembered for only one thing: W. Bush completed the destruction of Christianity in the Middle East begun by Muslims in the seventh century. So much for his Billy Graham-inspired evangelical faith.
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On the other hand the American left including so-called progressive Christians, have been so anxious to not be labeled “Islamophobic” that progressives have more or less given a pass to ISIS by pretending that they only represent a few “extremists” and that Islam itself has nothing to answer for. They are careful to never honestly talk about the fact that militant Islam is not new but the real deal. It is inclusive peaceful Islam that is the historic exception.  Admit it: Christians too were nothing but violent fundamentalists until we had the Enlightenment in the West. Islam’s problem is that they haven’t been enlightened by secular rationalism that in turn modified Western Christianity into something passably nice.
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Progressives– like me– have been far louder in their (our) denunciations of right wing commentators and political leaders’ calls for getting tough on terror than they (we) have been in honest comments on the actual situation on the ground in the Middle East. Where is the outrage? Why aren’t there more articles on the genocide of Christianity in the Middle East than on the rights of transgender actors and athletes? Where’s the left’s sense of proportion?
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On top of that evangelicals on the right don’t even view Middle Eastern Christians as “real Christians” because they aren’t American-style evangelicals. And progressives are far more comfortable defending say, gay marriage against bakers in Texas who won’t bake a cake for a gay couple, than defending millions of women, men and children being expelled, slaughtered like animals or enslaved by the vast and growing Islamic State now spreading through Africa and the Middle East.
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Neither the right nor the left seem to have the moral courage to rethink the issue of radical Islam based on fact. The right can’t admit that George W. Bush and the neoconservative Israel lobby is really the creator of global terror. The left can’t admit that Islam really does often breed horror, and that this isn’t just an “extremist” aberration but a direct religious result of Islam itself. We’d rather talk abut how terrible Christians were in the crusades than how terrible radical Islam is today.
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Yes, there are millions of good neighbor peaceful Muslims. But until the left admits that the world has an Islam problem and until the right admits that the Republicans, the Israel lobby and George W. Bush have destroyed the Middle East, we can’t even begin to tell the truth to ourselves.
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Meanwhile the American left and progressive Christians seem more concerned with correcting FOX News-type Islamophobia here than showing any real solidarity with the Christians being exterminated by ISIS. And the right would rather listen to Franklin Graham denounce American Muslims without admitting the truth: George W. Bush is a war criminal and has the blood of the entire Christian population in the Middle East on his hands. Your local mosque isn’t the problem. Your local fundamentalist Southern Baptist church is.
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Here’s what I think: human primates evolved to deal with immediate and simple threats. We hide from big long range problems. For instance we don’t admit that climate change will destroy us. For the same reason the left and right can’t deal with the truth: we are in a war of religion that won’t go away and we don’t have the moral courage to step out of our right or left comfort zones and even admit it is happening. Meanwhile right wing and left wing “Christians” don’t seem to care that millions of other Christians are being killed or driven from their homes. Shame.
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