The L.A. Times is one of the first major media outlets to run a major piece on the genocide against Christians in Iraq. In a hard-hitting op-ed piece, the Times sheds light on the reality of the massive persecution, Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq have endured since the start of the second Gulf War:
As much of the world once more prepares to celebrate the birth of Christ, it is a melancholy fact that many of the most ancient churches established in his name are being pushed to the brink of oblivion across the region where their faith was born.
When America intervened to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s Christians — mostly Chaldeans and Assyrians — numbered about 1.4 million, or about 3% of the population. Over the last seven years, more than half have fled the country and, as the New York Times reported this week, a wave of targeted killings — including the Oct. 31 slaying of 51 worshipers and two priests during Mass at one of Baghdad’s largest churches — has sent many more Christians fleeing. Despite Prime Minister Nouri Maliki promises to increase security, many believe the Christians are being targeted not only by Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has instructed its fighters “to kill Christians wherever they can reach them,” but also by complicit elements within the government’s security services.
In light of the horrific October 31st attack that left over 50 dead, we must not stop letting the world know about the atrocities that are occurring and continue praying for persecuted Christians around the world. The Islamic State of Iraq, the group claiming responsibility for the attack, alleges that it was prompted by the conversion of two women to Christianity “against their will.” Even following the horrific attack, they stated on their website: “We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood,”
The Bible of course gives us repeated warning of these days. Jesus Christ Himself prophesied to His disciples: Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
One wonders where President Obama is in the midst of this? The White House statement condemned the October 31st attacks but made no mention of the fact that the victims were specifically targeted because of their Christian faith. Nor has he commented on the exodus of Christians forced to flee because of persecution. And the L.A. Times minces no words in describing the administration’s response to the repeated Christian persecution:
The United States, meanwhile, does nothing — as it did nothing four years ago, when Father Boulos Iskander was kidnapped, beheaded and dismembered; or three years ago, when Father Ragheed Ganni was shot dead at the altar of this church; or two years ago, when Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was kidnapped and murdered; as it has done nothing about all the church bombings and assassinations of lay Christians that have become commonplace over the last seven years.
But that does not mean we cannot pray for a better day for Iraqi Christians and for leaders to have a change of heart on this issue if God so wills it. The Bible instructs us to: “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”(Hebrews 13:3). If it turns out that this violence must persist against those who proclaim the glorious name of our Savior Christ Jesus, let’s pray for the Christians in Iraq to keep their faith and rejoice in the victory that Jesus has already won for them.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.