There is a genocide against Christians going on in the Middle East.
In addition, Christians who live in India, our “trading partner” China, and elsewhere, are subjected to discrimination that often rises to the level of violence and loss of basic civil rights. The list of places where Christians must live as second-class citizens, or where they live in fear and under unjust discrimination, is too long for this short post.
These are crimes against humanity. They occur in areas of the world where United States’ business interests are heavily invested.
But no one has raised the issue in the presidential and vice-presidential debates. If any of the religious/political leaders who are attempting to influence the candidates’ positions have raised the issue of Christian persecution, I’ve not heard of it. So far as I know, no one in this general election campaign — which will be over in just a few short weeks — has raised a meaningful voice on behalf of persecuted Christians in the world today.
I realize that traditional Christians are battered by the difficulties of dealing with these two really terrible candidates. From what I’ve seen in comboxes, some are over-invested in the candidates to the point that it’s making them a little crazy.
I believe we should vote our faith commitments as well as we can. But the truth is, no matter who wins, our work is in front of us. We are facing a difficult world when the dust settles.
However, I think it’s lax to the point of desertion to ignore the issue of Christian persecution and the on-going genocide of Christians in the Middle East. It’s a little akin to American Jews who did not speak out against Hitler during the 1930s, when their fellow Jews were suffering increased persecution and loss of civil rights in a run-up to genocide.
But Christians around the world are in a much more fraught situation today than they were in the 1930s. This isn’t the run-up to genocide. It isn’t the tightening of the legal screws that destroy a group of people’s ability to seek redress through the courts, elections and normal government channels. The genocide is now. Today. As I type.
And we have not raised the issue in this on-going presidential election, an election which will determine America’s response to this horror for at least four years to come. It’s a strong thing to say that this one election will carry so much weight. It would not be true if Congress were not so absolutely and determinedly derelict in its duties. But the facts are the facts. Congress has neutered itself, and it refuses to be anything other than a useless side show dedicated to raising “issues” to be used in elections. Governance does not interest our United States Congress.
That makes the president far too powerful. It also means that this time, right now, is our best chance to raise the issue of Christian persecution in a way that will shape America’s policy in the years to come.
We’ve done a lot about abortion in this campaign, and we needed to. Given the candidates we’re dealing with, I think we’ve been both stalwart and as effective as we could be.
On the other hand, we haven’t done much of anything about the civil and violent persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. I think we should get the question in front of these candidates, now, while they still need our votes.
I know that we’re confronted with evil coming at us from many directions. This electoral campaign itself, with the choices we have been given, is a manifestation of the dominance of an evil narrative in our public debate. The shameless lack of character in these two candidates for our highest office coarsens and degrades public sensibilities.
It is easy, under these circumstances, to become overwhelmed and either sit down and do nothing, or run in circles and scream and shout. Internet comboxes tend to attract the run-in-circles-scream-and-shout crowd while the sit-down-and-do-nothing folks don’t get heard from at all.
Neither of these is the Christian response. Following Jesus Christ clarifies things. He gives both peace in chaotic times and sanity. Following Jesus is choosing sanity in an insane world. There is no reason to run in hysterical circles, screaming vitriol. There is also no reason to withdraw from the battle and hide.
Simply follow Him.
Among other things, that means that it is incumbent on us to speak up for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to raise their plight in this political campaign. We need to make an issue of it and insist that the candidates address it.
There are a lot of lives at stake. We need to do something to save them while we can.