CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Why Won’t We Help Persecuted Christians?

Apr 22, 2011

We expect non-believers not to be too worried about the ongoing persecution of Christians around the world. Indeed, some of them may in fact take some delight in this. But what is a real worry is the fact that so many Western Christians don’t seem to give a rip about this as well.

Every day Christians are being persecuted, tortured and put to death around the planet, yet we Western Christians act as if they don’t even exist. We don’t seem to care, and we don’t even seem to want to know about this. But we had better care, and we had better take some notice about this.

Jesus made it clear that what we did to the suffering brethren we do to him. We have an obligation to be aware of what is happening and at least pray. But much more can be done. However the first step is to snap out of our ignorance and apathy.

There are plenty of groups which report on the suffering church, such as Barnabas Fund and Open Doors. And there are plenty of examples taking place right now of horrendous persecution of Christians. Let me just focus on one such example, quoting from a recent article:

“Radical Muslims in Africa’s Ivory Coast are perpetrating a massacre on Christians while the Obama administration stands by and does nothing, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports. Now, Ivory Coast President-elect Alassane Ouattara’s largely Muslim forces have kept Christian Laurent Gbagbo, the current president, in his Abidjan residence under siege.

“In retaliation, Gbagbo forces launched two mortars and a rocket at the residence of the French ambassador and French helicopter gunships responded by attacking Gbagbo forces. In its most recent report, Human Rights Watch documented that forces loyal to Ouattara killed hundreds of civilians and raped more than 20 alleged Gbagbo supporters as they burned at least 10 villages in the Ivory Coast’s western region.

“‘People interviewed by Human Rights Watch described how, in village after village, pro-Ouattara forces, now called the Republican forces of Côte d’Ivorie (Forces Républicaines Côte d’Ivorie, FRCI) summarily executed and raped Gbagbo supporters in their homes, as they worked in the fields, as they fled, or as they tried to hide in the bush,’ the report noted. ‘The fighters often targeted people by ethnicity, and the attacks disproportionately affected those too old or feeble to flee’.

“Reports from the Ivory Coast published by the London Evening Standard indicated that more than 200 bodies, some of them burned alive, have been found in the country. The newspaper reported the concern of the International Rescue Committee that even if the military showdown in Abidjan were to end, the looting, hostility, bloodshed, reprisal killings and sexual assaults will continue to escalate in communities across the country.

“‘The silence of the Obama administration on the violence in the Ivory Coast makes hypocritical the president’s declaration in his May 28 speech on Libya that U.S. military action there was necessary to prevent a massacre by Gadhafi that “would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world”,’ Corsi wrote.

“‘The truth is that Obama, like the French and the U.N., support the radical Muslims that have taken over the “rebel forces” in Libya, just as Obama, the French and the U.N. support the Muslims in the Ivory Coast trying to remove from power the current Christian president, even if the Muslim supporters of Ouattara engage in massacres and mass rape against Christians’.”

This is just one example of the horrible atrocities taking place, but so few believers actually know about it or are seeking to do anything about it. Indeed, the silence of Christians has been deafening. And you know things are getting out of hand when in fact non-Christians have to speak up for these persecuted Christians.

Jewish commentator Dennis Prager is one such voice, putting Christians to shame, as he tells the truth while so many of us remain silent. His newest column is entitled, “Why Don’t Christians Help … Christians?” It is a very good question indeed. Here is what he has to say, in part:

“In the Muslim world, Christians are being murdered, churches are being torched, entire ancient Christian communities – the Iraqi and Palestinian, for example – are disappearing. And, again, 2 billion Christians react with silence. There are some Christian groups active on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world. They do important work, and are often the primary source of information on persecuted Christians. But they would be the first to acknowledge that the Christian world is overwhelmingly silent when it comes to the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world.

“This is true despite the fact that the most powerful Christian in the world, Pope Benedict XVI, has not been silent. For example, on Jan. 10, in his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, he spoke of ‘the Christian communities in (the Middle East) which suffer greatly because of their fidelity to Christ and the Church … the attacks which brought death, grief and dismay among the Christians of Iraq.’ He appealed directly to the Muslim world: ‘To the Muslim religious leaders I renew my heartfelt appeal that their Christian fellow-citizens be able to live in security’.”

Prager concludes, “But aside from the pope and some activist groups, the Christian world is as silent today as it was when Christians were imprisoned and killed in the Soviet Union. It is time to change this pattern. Christians should organize an international day or week of solidarity for persecuted Christians in the Muslim world. And not only Christians should attend these hopefully large events. Jews and Muslims should also be in attendance, and their representatives should speak. Jews should because it is right and because of all Christians did for Soviet Jewry and do for Israel; and Muslims should because it is right and because nothing would protect the good name of Muslims like joining non-Muslims in voicing solidarity with the many Christian victims of persecution in Muslim countries.”

Exactly right. Jesus said the very stones would speak out if his own followers would not. Thus he is raising up even Jewish voices to defend persecuted Christians. So when will we Christians start speaking up?

www.wnd.com/?pageId=285417#ixzz1JH2KQNZP
townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2011/04/19/why_dont_christians_help__christians

[1039 words]

22 Responses to Why Won’t We Help Persecuted Christians?

  • The persecuted Christians are always on my mind, thanks to you and others. But in one of my Church bulletins, under the heading of pray points recently, it lists plenty of things, but never on the plight of Christians overseas.

    One occasion a few weeks back it prayed for I kid you not the “Scientific research in Australia and overseas”. I took one look and thought “who cares” when it doesn’t mention violence against our Christian brothers and sisters. I mean, there are hundreds of things more important to pray about instead of “science research.” I wonder if the people who think up pray these points are really thinking about anything at all.

    Carl Strehlow

  • Hi Bill,

    My family supports Barnabas Fund and prays for Christians suffering overseas.

    I wonder, however, whether we Christians should be doing more, in what may at first sound like an unconventional way, to help our suffering brothers and sisters overseas.

    Given that our governments have eschewed all responsibility for practically helping these people by protecting them with our armed forces; perhaps we Christians need to use our money to start an organisation to engage and direct mercenaries to provide protection for Christians in danger? There are many such companies currently willing to do this such as Executive Outcomes and Sandline International. And in time, perhaps a specifically Christian group, like a modern day Knights Templar, should be formed.

    I would be willing to do a tour of duty myself and send my sons to do the same.

    What do others think?

    Mansel Rogerson

  • There is a couple of good interviews on Counterpoint recently on just this subject;

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/counterpoint/stories/2011/3193004.htm

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/counterpoint/stories/2011/3178648.htm

    Damien Spillane

  • An interesting option Roger. David the shepherd youth, the psalmist, had blood on his hands, also had a heart after Yahweh. Jesus had blood on His hands but for a radically different reason.

    Historically, the Muslims were not in Europe because “the Christian” states met sword with sword. Given the racial hatred that is honoured in the Qur’an and the means by which they choose to rule one finds it difficult to posit other solutions even to just hold the line.

    Now they come into our ” secular” western nations with exactly the same weaponry and philosophy. Little appears to have changed in third world countries with respect to Islamic brutality against innocents.

    The futility and ignorance of western states of managing the “refugee” flood is almost debilitating hope for recognition of long term impacts on our society. If our governments cannot handle that which impacts on their sovereign soil what hope is there for any meaningful policies and action for supporting persecuted Christians in the third world?

    Thank God [Yahweh] for the Pontiff, as he appears to be the only political voice with any authority. The Protestants appear to have gone to sleep.

    I hang my head in shame as I did not know that the Ivory Coast war was along the Christian and Muslim divide.

    Ray Robinson

  • Thanks Ray

    Yes if we went only by the MSM we would not know about the Islamic component.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks guys

    More recent examples of horrible persecution of Christians, again from the ‘religion of peace’: http://barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/nigeria-christian-pastor-and-wife-burned-to-death-by-muslims/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi there,

    Our church regularly prays for the persecuted Christians using material from the Voice Of the Martyrs, which I appreciate. However, I feel more must be done. I’m thinking of emailing the foreign minister and the opposition foreign minister, as well as people like Andrew Bolt to try and raise awareness and get something done. Has anyone got better suggestions?

    David Roberts

  • David, you are doing the right thing now at your church with your prayers. we have a regular prayer meeting at our church for this cause. We have two major causes/ministries at our church and this is one of them.

    What I do to give the prayer meeting some structure and something practical to work with, is to collect the names of as many martyrs as I can (from VOM, Barnabas Fund, China Aid etc) and compile a monthly news sheet of names and the basic background of their story of martyrdom. We use the news sheet as our prayer focus – names are grouped into countries, so we work down the list praying for one country at a time, and the names we have for that country. Each month, I add new names to the list, and the list gets longer. At the beginning of each new year, I start the newsletter from scratch.

    Over the years we have seen many of those we have prayed for released, but of course that is when earnest prayer begins again, because release is often a signal for persecution to intensify again as people are closely monitored.

    The main problem we have noticed though in our church is that we have been meeting like this for many years now, but the prayer group size remains consistently small. Getting other believers to see the urgency of this is difficult. I came up with a solution which works reasonably well in that it has picked up a few extra people to pray. Using my newsletters as a template, I laminate each individual martyr’s details onto cardboard.I then covered two shoe boxes with persecuted prayer slogans,and filled each box with the laminated cards, which the whole church uses for prayer. We use them during the service (each person picks up a card on the way in) or we take one or two cards home , committing to pray for the people on our cards during the week. One shoe box is for adults and the other for children. The children’s cards have thee martyrs’ names and some details, but I have deliberately omitted a lot of the graphic detail of what has happened to them, offering instead some suggested prayer ideas.

    I am unable to keep up with the newsletter and the cards so that every martyr is covered, as unfortunately, martyrs are dying at a far greater rate than I can type and produce the prayer cards. I would be working full time on the cards and newsletter just to keep up. Every now and again, I laminate a few more and swap them with ones that have been in the box for a while.

    So maybe, David, you could get the ball rolling in your church with something like that. I would be happy to send you a copy of our May news letter if you like- it’s almost complete ready to email out to my church next week.

    Kerry Letheby

  • Use http://www.prisoneralert.com/ to write to prisoners in numbers of countries from data assembled by VOM. They even enable you to translate texts to use. I send cards with pictures of Australia, $1.45. Do they get through? who knows but whatever, they have an effect at least by increasing solidarity with our suffering family. I have committed to sending one card to a Christian confessor every day this year.

    Every church service every Sunday should make reference to a country, person or situation of persecution, upholding before God. An ancient liturgist declared that you have not worshipped unless the martyrs are remembered. You can use Kendalls weekly piece http://elizabethkendal.blogspot.com/2011/04/cry-from-abidjan-christians-imperilled.html

    The martyrs are the ‘tungsten tip’ of righteousness in the world. They best ensure a humaneness and goodness touches the world in God’s grace.

    Yes lets as well do some mass solidarity on this.

    Ian Clarkson

  • One thing that American Christians need to do is to start making sure that we elect Christians to public offices so that when these dastardly events crop up America will be prepared to give a proper response.. this is a dangerous world we are living in, and we need to become prepared for it.
    Bud MacGuire

  • Writing to pollies is a good thing. Keep badgering till they respond.

    Which reminds me that K Rudd has not responded to my letter to him about the Christians in Egypt and the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Marion Isham

  • Thanks Marion

    For what it is worth, your comment is the 23,000th to appear on my site. Take a bow!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Is there a chocolate frog for a prize? 😉 Cos I can’t eat chocolate 🙁
    Marion Isham

  • I’m sure we can think of something!
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I have fired off emails to K Rudd and J Bishop as well as posting the news on Andrew Bolt’s blog. I’ll monitor what sort of responses I get.
    David Roberts

  • Thanks for this article. My daughter, Jacquelynne, and I have been voice volunteers for The Voice of The Martyrs for many years. VOM has a network of trained volunteers throughout the U.S. who will speak free of charge informing others about the persecution of Christians around the world. As you say, many Christians do not want to know. Many are just not informed and would like to be. While we have nothing against the coffee bar……it is sad that so many churches put more attention on it and everything else and no attention to our brothers and sisters in chains. As Christians, we must be aware of what verses such as Hebrews 13:3 mean. If more churches would become “friendly” with the Persecuted Church, many more Christians would have the opportunity to be informed. There are several good ministries out there, some of which are mentioned in comments above, to keep us well informed.
    Judith Titus

  • I would encourage you to be careful when suggesting that Christians do not care or want to take action regarding things like the persecution happening in the Ivory Coast. Just a week ago, I was alerted for the first time about this… since then I have talked about it to our church and the response is the same – we didn’t know. The only reason I am responding today is because I am trying to find more info on this situation. Traditional and even conservation news media are not giving us this news. Don’t write off the Church for not being aware. Criticism should go to USA leaders who know but still support those who are responsible for the persecution.
    Kevin Garman

  • You’re right about American Christians not giving a flip about the persecuted, and it makes me furious. I left my church because the pastor just does not care. The church cared about a bus wrap, bus garage, and a $50 grand digital sign. I have better things to do with my time, so I am searching for a church that cares about more than itself and the local area.
    Tony Harkin

  • Forgot to add – when I passed out VOM magazines at church most people just left them. One nice lady told me, “I don’t like to hear bad news.” Later I thought, “I don’t want to hear about and pray for your relatives’ health problems either if you don’t want to pray for your brothers and sisters.” The attitude is, “Stinks to be you!”
    Tony Harkin

  • Bill,

    I have been in the ministry for 36 years. I have pastored churches for over 24 of those years. The persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world has always been a major burden on my heart. I have always tried to make people aware of what is happening around the world…yet I have experienced the same thing as you have. People sitting here in the US in their plush pews underneath million dollar buildings seem to be totally insensitive to the persecution of others. Our lack of concern may bring upon us the same persecution one day. God help us! Thanks

    JM Turner

  • You are saying absolutely right.
    LEAD is the Organization which stand up and ready to defend persecution in Pakistan. Pray for LEAD.
    Service In Christ,
    Missionary Pastor Mushtaq Gill
    leadpakistan2009@gmail.com
    http://leadfamily.blogspot.com/2012/03/now-pakistani-court-will-decide-fate-of.html

Leave a Reply