Questions That Beg for Answers
Here we go again. Just as they exploded with rage over 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September 2005, Muslims again are demonstrating that they will not extend freedom of the press and expression to people of other persuasions.
Muslims across the world reacted violently after Pope Benedict XVI quoted a 14th-century, Byzantine Christian emperor who spoke of Muhammad’s call to jihad against his enemies and his command to spread the Islamic faith by the sword. Among other things, angry Muslims firebombed five churches in the West Bank and Gaza, murdered a nun in Somalia, compared the pope to Hitler, and ludicrously blamed Israel and the United States for the remarks.
Although there is a smattering of Muslim moderates who do not stand on their rooftops hailing such deadly events as 9/11, Madrid, London, and other bombing bloodbaths as triumphs for Islam, the question is, Where among the billion-plus Muslims on this planet are those who aspire to live in peace?
Some say the “moderates” dare not speak out for fear of those who claim that a few terrorists have “hijacked” a peace-loving religion. If Islam is so peaceful, why haven’t responsible Muslims risen up to deal with the miscreants and preserve their religion’s credibility?
But a question much closer to home is this one: Where are evangelicals when it comes to addressing the threats against us? Here in America, the media and so-called Hollywood elite routinely vilify us as the world’s worst threat to peace. We are consistently compared to Nazis and the Taliban and are accused of being worse than Osama bin Laden and the most despicable types on the planet.
Meanwhile, Christians around the world are suffering and dying for their faith at unprecedented rates. A recent report stated that 200,000 more have been slaughtered in Darfur since the vaunted peace agreement in the Sudan. This tally does not take into account the well over 1 million Nuba Christians who have been slain, displaced, starved, or sold into slavery by the Islamic government in Khartoum. And Darfur is merely one example of the carnage that Christian organizations report daily.
It is a wonder the secular media completely ignore such horrific attacks. But the pressing question is why the vast majority of our evangelical brethren aren’t getting or articulating the facts and reaching out to help.
How long has it been since your church has said anything about persecuted Christians? How long has it been since specific incidents of crimes against Christians in other countries have been brought up for prayer? How long has it been since major international incidents that threaten the future of your church, children, and grandchildren are explained for what they are?
We are not asking why churches are not involved in partisan, political activities. We are asking why they show so little empathy for their Christian brethren who live in constant danger outside the Western democracies.
What can you do to make a difference? Here are some suggestions:
Become informed about Christian persecution. This is not difficult to do. Reputable organizations post verified accounts of persecution daily. Use your computer to search on the words Christian persecution. One reliable source is International Christian Concern at www.persecution.org.
Use bulletin inserts to post information of specific instances of persecution, or run brief accounts in your bulletins or church mailers. These would be constant reminders.
Make persecuted Christians a serious matter of corporate prayer. Incorporate into church prayer gatherings the specific needs of fellow Christians who are under the gun in other places.
Pray for our leaders and the troops defending us in the war against terror. This is a type of combat we have never known before. But it is real and deadly. The lives of our brave men and women in uniform—and our future as a nation—are at stake.
We live in a time when most of us in the West are still comfortable and secure with our lifestyles. Hearing unpleasant things often puts us off. But we cannot forget that our spheres are not restricted to our immediate environments. We are called to be Christians with the world in view. The Lord insists that our sphere extend in love, compassion, and service to all members of the body of Christ.