A Litmus Test for Syria

There’s plenty of argument amongst Christians whether or not the last decade the US has spent in the Middle East has been good or not. I stand firmly on the side that it has been disastrous for a variety of reasons.

But whatever the stance you take, whether or not you believe that what we did was necessary to keep Americans safe, i think there is a simple litmus test Christians should all adhere to: what is happening or going to happen to our fellow Christians in the Middle East.

While we think of the Middle East as a purely Muslim place, every good Christian has heard of the 10-40 window all but centered on the Middle East, but there are in many countries substantial Christian minorities. Percentages run as high as ten percent. They literally number in the millions: or at least they did.

The sole effect of our Middle Eastern policy has been to crush minorities. Following Western interventions like a shadow, is the spectre of minority oppression. And in particular, persecution against Christians. It’s well documented, but entirely ignored. Iraq:

The lot of Iraq’s Christian population is particularly glum. Though a steady trickle had been leaving for decades, the exodus became a flood after the American invasion in 2003, when radical Islamists unleashed a sectarian onslaught against Shia Muslims, Christians and others.The Economist

Afghanistan, where we’re ready to declare mission accomplished, our supposed successful attempt at nation building:

A democracy enthusiast would anticipate that the Christian community would be thriving now that a “democratic” Afghan government was installed by American military power after the ouster in 2001 of the Taliban regime. After all, Afghanistan’s constitution, adopted in 2004, guarantees freedom of religion. But Afghan Christians today are compelled to worship in secret lest they be accused of apostasy for converting to Christianity from Islam, a charge punishable by death. -The National Interest

And most recently Syria where we are about to start actively providing weapons to the same people who have kidnapped Catholic Priests and beheaded others:

The monastery in which he resided was burnt and looted, echoing the events of a massacre in Homs last month which resulted in the entire population of a Christian village being wiped out and their houses and possessions burnt. Two Christian bishops who were kidnapped by Chechen gunmen in Aleppo earlier this year, are still missing and are not the same persons that were beheaded.-RINF

And the idea that we can control the flow of weapons where it’s not even clear who is who and amidst myriad coalitions and alliances is just nonsense. Not only that, but our weapons aid is so unsubstantial that all it can possibly do is prolong the conflict and the torture of Christians. :

Although the US government isn’t saying how many rebels will be vetted, the program’s success could dramatically impact how the situation in Syria turns out. Three former CIA officials who have spent decades on the ground doing it say the upcoming campaign will be a crapshoot at best. -Quartz

Nor will I forget the Indonesian Priest we had on loan at St. Peter and Paul in Waimea explain in his first introductory homily how the Islamist vandalized his church and destroyed a Christian cemetery because of US foreign policy. Three girls in Indonesia, consider vandalism a light price to pay:

The three girls, Theresia Morangke and Yarni Sambue, both 15, and 17-year-old Alfita Poliwo, had their heads cut off. One of the heads was placed in a bag along on the steps of a church along with a note reading, “We will murder 100 more Christian teenagers and their heads will be presented as presents.” -Frontpage Mag

It is the same in Pakistan where our drone attacks have resulted in further persecution of Christians. It is the same all over the Islamic world and the reason is abundantly clear. Christian’s in the US are firm in their claim and in their belief that the US is a Christian nation. (I wish it was, but don’t agree with this that much.) We proclaim this, and so Muslims lash out at what the Christian nation is doing or perceived as doing to their brethren. And regardless of whether or not we are a Christian nation, if we want to claim it, if we want to hope for it, we might at least in our foreign policy try for something that doesn’t result in Christians the world over dying.

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