US Christian leaders must compel president to act on genocide in Iraq
Where are America’s moral clarity and outrage?
Where is the shock and awe that will compel President Barack Obama to react to the Christian genocide in Iraq?
U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., understands how desperate this situation is. He spoke three times on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last week calling the situation a genocide and demanding action. Two weeks ago, he asked: “Where is the West? Where is the Obama Administration? Where is the Congress? The silence is deafening.”
I would add the question: Where is the church in America?
Recently, the Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), rolled into Mosul and gave thousands of Christian residents of the ancient city of Nineveh an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay an expensive tax, or die. Christians in the city where the prophet Jonah witnessed mass repentance around 793-753 B.C., ran for their lives to Kurdistan or elsewhere in northern Iraq. Many have died at the hands of barbarians who have demonstrated they will use crucifixion, and if a report from the United Nations is accurate, female genital mutilation. Now that’s a war on women. This has created a humanitarian crisis. Emer McCarthy of Vatican Radio reported the following last week from an interview with Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad Shlemon Warduni:
“More than 1.2 million people are now believed to have fled their homes in the last month. As violence and instability continues to spread, and as summer temperatures reach (113°F), those displaced are in urgent need of assistance. Moreover, there are more than 225,000 refugees from Syria already in northern Iraq.”
Since then, the Islamic State has burned and looted churches and blew up what is believed to be the tomb of the prophet Jonah. Just the other day, the organization beheaded James Foley, an American journalist, before returning attention to religious minoirities.
Some para-church groups are responding, attempting to get aid into the region, and leaders of missionary organizations could be intentionally silent because they have people in that dangerous region. I don’t seek to be critical of fellow believers in Jesus Christ, but what about the evangelical Christian churches, and even Catholic churches, in America? Where are the pastors, bishops, and priests? Breitbart.com’s Katie Gorka reported Sunday that Iraqi Christians flocked to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to gain the president’s attention. They had better not be alone because every federal building across America should be flooded with waves of Christian protesters because of Obama’s inexplicable silence. If evangelical Christians and Catholics in America are condemning and responding to this crisis, it is time to make it public. Where’s our collective righteous indignation to this brutal and unjustified attack on the Christian faith?
Based on other examples of religious persecution, no American should believe President Obama will be compelled to dynamic decisiveness on his own because he has displayed a stunning indifference, insensitivity, and lethargy to this human crisis. That’s why it may require American Christian leaders descending on Washington, D.C. and demanding he take action. Or waves of protesters shutting down federal buildings would get his attention. Or perhaps it will require a discussion of religious persecution on the back nine.
- Meriam Ibrahim and her family left Sudan last week after a harrowing few months. The wife of an American, who gave birth to a second child while in prison, was sentenced to death for apostasy. She refused to recant her Christian faith. Obama made an obligatory plea for Sudan to respect human rights, but the heavy lifting to secure the family’s freedom came from Pope Francis, according to multiple reports.
- Saeed Abedini is an American-Iranian pastor who has been in an Iranian prison for two years. Obama’s spiritual advisor Joel Hunter traveled to Iran recently to seek clemency for Abedini, according to the American Center for Law and Justice. That is a positive development, but Iran is a terrorist state that may gain access to nuclear weapons. Why would you not demand the release of Abedini, and all Iranian prisoners held for reasons of religious persecution, as a pre-condition to talking to the mullahs in fall 2013?
- The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has been engaged in its own Christian genocide in Nigeria, killing or maiming thousands, and kidnapping others. The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point wrote a report in April 2012 that identifies Boko Haram’s escalated attacks on Christians. The Obama Administration’s hashtag diplomacy on Twitter, #BringBackOurGirls, gained attention this spring after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 230 girls, a majority of them reportedly Christians, from a school. Obama sent a small team into Nigeria, and it has generated no noticeable results.
The harsh reality is Jesus Christ warns believers in Matthew 10:28-33 that they will be persecuted because of their faith.
28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. 32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
But silence to these groups of bloodthirsty murderers makes us complicit and guilty.
If America does not react to this Christian genocide, we will relinquish all moral authority to respond to any international crisis. And if the church in America fails to respond and stand in solidarity with Christian martyrs, American Christianity’s condition is far worse than anything described of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
The blood of Christian martyrs in Iraq, and throughout the Muslim world, cries out. We must act … immediately!
Curt Olson is a former journalist, who was in the industry for more than 20 years. He is writing his first book. He lives in South Carolina.