Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why We Christians Must Pay Attention to Iraq & Radical Islam

It has been a few weeks that many of us in the Christian community have been aware of a genocide. It has been unfolding in the international news. It has finally gotten President Obama's attention. Many of us, who follow the news of persecuted believers worldwide, have been aware of this growing war for awhile before that. One nonprofit states that they saw this exact thing coming years in advance. This is being driven by a radical element. An element that shows signs of impacting us in the West if we do not become proactive in educating ourselves and speaking up.

I'm talking global persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, and radical Islam.

According to my Facebook experience, persecution nonprofits have hundreds of thousands of page "likes" on their pages. That is good. But there are millions of people, in the US alone, who call themselves Christians. In over the past week, in my Facebook Newsfeed, I have seen far more posts about the police shooting of eighteen year old Michael Brown than I have about the atrocities going on in Iraq at this time, let alone the crimes against our brothers and sisters in Jesus (and other religious minorities) in other parts of the world. Yes, Michael Brown was a young man whom Jesus loved and died for, and God's heart was broken, is broken, at his death. He is grieved at is what has been going on in Ferguson, Missouri, for over a week. But our national and international media, which was faithfully covering the radical Muslim (known as ISIS) atrocities against the Iraqi people last week, has been covering the Michael Brown case far more now. What does this say about us, whether Christians or non-Christians?

Obviously, many of us are much more drawn to or energized by sensational and controversial cases like Michael Brown. Persecution against religious minorities, mostly our brothers and sisters in Jesus, cannot be sensationalized like many of our domestic celebrity scandals or many of our true crime stories. Coverage of radical Islamists and their acts of terror cannot be sensationalized and we universally denounce their acts of terror. The media give us what we want to hear, what fascinates us. The horrors of global persecution of fellow believers and the terrorist acts of radical Islamists plain do not fascinate even most of us Christians. Maybe it is because these terrorists and their victims seem distant and unreal to us. Maybe it is because it is all so depressing to think about it. I know that many of us and our families are facing real problems. Though we believe God, we may not want to hear any more problems. We may not feel that speaking out against the atrocities of radical Islamists or persecuted fellow believers, are "our calling." After all, as Christians, we are focused on other worthy missions. That is wonderful. But does that rule out taking time to educate ourselves about global religious persecution and about probably the greatest world religion enemy of Christians (and of all people, including moderate Muslims)--radical Islam.

Besides, what does radical Islam have to do with us in the West? How does it affect us, anyway?

Sadly, it has taken the recent beheading of a courageous American journalist, to bring this home and get more of us to take seriously the atrocities that have already been going on for many weeks. Guess what? Radical Islamists do not wish to stop there, either. Noise is being made about their plans to bring more of this to the West. Plans are made to traffic girls in parts of Western Europe, and to attack more and more interests of the US. Will we ever learn, not only nationally, but also spiritually?

We know, as Christians, that we have been called to care for those in need. We are called to "Remember those in chains, as though bound with them." And yet, it seems that many, maybe most, Pastors and members are silent on global religious persecution. I have never heard it preached from a pulpit, ever. I have never heard it discussed in any Bible study. I suspect that many in my network on Facebook, who call themselves believers, appear not to see my posts that pertain to the persecution of our global Church family, or my invitations to join my Facebook group. I read a recent book about the radical Muslim war against Christians, with many, many heartbreaking stories about atrocities against Christians all over the world, including children. The author, Raymond Ibrahim, states that ignorance of global religious persecution not only enables radical Islamists to persecute Christians all the more, but this can empower these terrorists to Islamize us in the West! Is that what we want? There are graphic, heart-wrenching photos of instances of this savage persecution, including adults holding a child's dead body. Some of us may have heard of the stories of the genocide of religious minorities, mostly our brothers and sisters in Christ. But we may believe we are helpless and unable to do a thing, so why bother trying? But there are things we can do to educate ourselves about radical Islam and about global religious persecution. May I share a few with you?

Educate yourself about radical Islam here.

If you use Facebook, join this group.

To learn about persecuted Christians and how to show them your support, go here.

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