The Dogs Aren’t Barking: Persecution of Christians Is Ignored

By | May 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

ISIS burns down 1800year-old Syriac Catholic church in Iraq, tells Christians, “Convert or Die.”
News Report

West Bank churches burned by Palestinian Muslims protesting remark by pope.
News report

Palestinian gunmen burn down West Bank YMCA, despite YMCA’s pro-Palestinian stance.
News report

Easter Sunday bombing kills at least 69 Pakistani Christians including children.
News report

Nigerian student, age 15, suffers brain injury when machete-wielding Muslims attack Christian students.
News report

Coptic Christian worshipers in Egypt attacked by Muslims on Palm Sunday.
News report

Thousands of Chinese Christians begin hunger strike to protest the arrest of over 50 Christians.
News report

Muslim “refugees” throw 12 Christians overboard when rough weather hits boat.
News report

In the Middle East and Pakistan, churches are burned and thousands of Christians are murdered just for being Christians.
News report

In response to this slow-motion genocide, what has the Western world done? Nothing. What has the Western world, and specifically the Christian world, even said? Very little.
In the seven years he has been president, how many times has Barack Obama uttered the words “Islamist terrorism” or “extremist Muslims”? Zero times. Instead we hear about “workplace violence” at Fort Hood, and “violent extremists” elsewhere. But what kind of “violent extremists”? Orthodox Jews in black coats going to the synagogue? Evangelical Christians coming from Bible study? Feminists demonstrating for equal pay? Mexican Americans celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Obama didn’t say.
With a few exceptions, there has been only one loud voice speaking up for persecuted Christians:

They’re chopping Christians’ heads off in Syria, and they want me to have a nice “tone”?
Donald Trump

But why must we depend on a man with little obvious religious conviction to speak out against religious persecution? Why must we depend on a loudmouth to stand up to terrorists? Perhaps just because he is a loudmouth. Perhaps because a loudmouth is infinitely preferable to those who remain silent in the presence of evil. Perhaps because we have found, to our sorrow, that we can’t depend on spineless leaders who, as Teddy Roosevelt said, “mean well, feebly.”

Courage is the most important virtue because, without courage, it is impossible to practice the other virtues.
− Aristotle

In the story “Silver Blaze” by Conan Doyle, the dog didn’t bark because he knew the intruder. This clue helped Sherlock Holmes solve the case, and “the dog that didn’t bark” became an expression for something that should have happened – but didn’t.
But there are other reasons a dog may not bark. Perhaps he is asleep, lazy, cowardly, or just doesn’t care. This gives no clue about intruders, but it says a lot about the dog.
Lebanon used to be “the Switzerland of the Middle East,” where Christians and Muslims shared power. Perhaps you recall Bashir Gemayel, a Maronite Catholic. He was elected president in 1982 and assassinated shortly thereafter. But now Christians are virtually powerless – that is, those who haven’t fled or been killed in the continual warfare.
In Egypt the Coptic Church, one of the oldest Christian denominations, is seeing its believers persecuted and its churches destroyed. Yet Egypt is the second largest recipient of American aid. We have leverage. Why are we not using it?
Some time ago, terrorists attacked a Protestant church in Pakistan, and five worshipers including two Americans were killed, while at least 40 were injured. This was not the first attack on Christian churches in Pakistan. What was done about this atrocity? You guessed it – nothing.
There are many sources of information about the persecution of Christians, among them The Voice of the Martyrs. Ignorance is no excuse. What, then, is the reason that Christians worldwide are doing so little?
There are practical reasons that Christian leaders say little. When Dutch Catholic bishops spoke out against the deportation of Jews to death camps during World War II, the Nazis responded by also deporting Christians who had Jewish ancestors. The protest made things worse.
There are fears that something similar could happen now. The position of Christians is precarious in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, China, and parts of Africa. Official criticism of these regimes might be counterproductive. But why are there not more protests against the persecutors, or offers of support for their victims, by ordinary people?
These nations have embassies in Washington and missions to the U.N. in New York. Why are there no peaceful demonstrations? Even tyrants are made uncomfortable by hostile demonstrations in a powerful nation. Why should tyrants remain comfortable?
Perhaps some Christians are so used to being at ease and in the majority in America and Europe that they can’t relate to their persecuted co-religionists elsewhere. But if they have little empathy for their own, why would they feel anything for those with different beliefs? Empathy, like charity, begins at home.
Perhaps some Christians see their history of martyrdom under the Romans as an admirable part of their past. But the Roman Empire is no more, and the Colosseum is a tourist attraction, not a place where Christians are martyred.
Martyrdom is meritorious for the martyred. But standing aside idly while one’s brothers and sisters are being martyred is merely apathy and cowardice cloaked in the mantle of nonviolence. One day we will all have to answer not only for what we did that was wrong, but also for what we didn’t do that was right.
Perhaps some Christians take seriously the mantra, “Let’s just get on with our lives.” Yes, we should do our best to live normally, but what about those whose lives are being destroyed? By supporting our military, firefighters, and police, we make it more likely that we will indeed be able to get on with our lives. By helping our brothers and sisters overseas, we make it more likely that they will be able to get on with their lives – or even to remain alive.
Perhaps some Christians see prayer as the only thing to do. This is correct for the very young and the old or infirm. But what of the rest of us? Prayer is admirable, particularly when we ask for the wisdom to know what is right – and the strength to do it. But expecting God to solve the problems of persecuted people, while we sit inert, is treating the Almighty like a waiter: We tell Him what we want and expect Him to bring it.
But the world is not like a restaurant – it’s like a cafeteria. We have to get up out of our chairs, consider the many choices, select what we think is good, and then take it and pay the price for it. We should make our selections wisely.

Nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake.
Leviticus 19:16 (New American Bible)

Unlike Jews, many Christians are unused to being persecuted. But this hard lesson needs to be relearned. If a Jew like me can identify and empathize with persecuted Christians, why can’t many Christians do so?
Matthew 25:36 says, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” It does not say, “I was persecuted and you went to the mall.”
Christians are being persecuted and killed – just for being Christians. The facts are undeniable. The question is what Christian leaders are going to do about it. The question is what American and European Christians and Jews are going to do about it. The question is what we are going to do about it.
The dogs aren’t barking. They certainly aren’t growling or baring their teeth. In fact, they seem to be dozing off. Perhaps they have been so overfed and spoiled that they have become apathetic, lazy, and useless. Perhaps it’s time to feed them less, exercise them more, and train them from puppyhood to be alert and protective.

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