Friday, December 20, 2013
A book review by the book by John Allen is appropriate at a time when a Christian is being persecuted in the US for quoting the Bible by people who are trying to drive Christianity underground here; as has been done in other countries.
On Oct. 31, 2010, a dozen Islamist gunmen stormed the Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation, in Baghdad. Striking during a service, they butchered some 60 priests and worshipers, notionally in revenge for insults to Islam. Ghastly as that crime might be in its own right, atrocities of this kind are quite commonplace around the world. Mobs sack churches in Egypt, Nigerian suicide bombers target worshiping congregations, and Eritrea has its hellish concentration camps for Christians. "Christians today," writes John L. Allen Jr. , "indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet." So widespread and systematic are the attacks, he explains, that they amount to a global war, which he proclaims "the transcendent human rights concern" in the modern world.Mr. Allen's main point, though, is less to report the persecutions than to ask in bafflement why the West seems to care so little about them. Yes, the American media report individual attacks, provided they cause some critical minimum number of fatalities—20, say—but they offer no sense of generalized mayhem, any awareness that the same groups and denominations are being victimized in India and Sudan, in Indonesia and Kenya. Would such silence prevail in the face of a global campaign against any other group, ethnic or religious?
This silence is another example of the political and religious orientation of the press and the media in the West. If they were simply neutral, they would report the atrocities. Since they are actively opposed to Christianity (see the uproar caused by the Duck Dynasty Robertsons) they cover up that active persecution.
In cruder hands, "The Global War on Christians" could easily have turned into an anti-Islamic rant. Yet while Mr. Allen devotes full attention to the evil deeds of Islamists in Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere, he also refutes the myth "that it's all about Islam." Over the past century, some of the very worst anti-Christian persecutors have been fanatically anti-religious, commonly driven by Marxist-Leninist ideology. Islam, evidently, has nothing to do with the atrocities of the North Korean regime, which has made its country perhaps the worst single place in the world to be a Christian: The government has killed thousands of Christians and imprisoned tens of thousands more, in hideous conditions. Nor does Mr. Allen succumb to the common temptation to concentrate so much on Muslim misdeeds that we ignore savage and persistent persecutions by Hindu fanatics—the pogroms, the forced conversions, the mob attacks against churches, often committed with the tacit acquiescence of police and local governments.Mr. Allen's list of other myths surrounding the war is just as thoughtful and has important policy implications. He is properly scornful of the common post-atrocity response that "no one saw it coming," that attacks like the Baghdad cathedral massacre are all random and unpreventable rather than "the predictable result of a mounting pattern of hatred." If law-enforcement agencies aren't expecting such crimes, and aren't seeking to prevent them, they should be roundly condemned. They have blood on their hands.
The biggest butchers of Christians were Communists and Nazis; people whose religious views closely match those of modern Liberals who wish to create their own Gods and find the Cristian God too much competition.