For first time in 1,600 years, there were no Christian services in the ancient city of Mosul, as believers in Jesus were hounded out of the city with barely the clothes on their backs.
In other parts of Iraq, Christians are seeing their front doors marked with the Arab symbol for “Nazarene,” as Jewish businesses were marked with a Star of David by the Nazis during Kristallnacht.
Throughout Nigeria, the thugs of Boko Haram (“education is evil”) are kidnapping Christian girls and selling them into slavery.
The Christians of Syria rest their slender hope of survival on the outcome of a brutal civil war.
Iraqi Christians leave Saint-Joseph church after a mass on July 20, 2014 in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Hundreds of Christian families fled their homes in Mosul on July 20, 2014 as a jihadist ultimatum threatening their community's centuries-old presence in the northern Iraqi city expired. AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED
Christians were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo by the Islamists whom the West helped put into power.
There has not been such a widespread, unchecked attack on Christians for being Christian since the Russian Revolution and the Armenian Genocide.
And what is the U.S. government under President Barack Obama doing about these atrocities? Virtually nothing.
It is, however, issuing executive orders to deprive Christian charities of billions of dollars in federal contracts unless they are willing to hire avowed homosexuals—which means acknowledging and insuring their same-sex “spouses.” There are some human rights that are sacrosanct, after all.
The values of contemporary Westerners are so contorted and self-destructive that they would have baffled our grandparents, and might well poison our grandchildren. We can’t unpack the moral baggage of modern man in a single column; it would take an entire book. So we wrote one.
In our upcoming "The Race to Save Our Century," we warn that the genocides, wars, and tyrannies that bloodied the 20th century might very well happen again—unless the West wakes up and embraces the core principles of a truly humane moral code. The first of these principles is the infinite dignity of the human person, the image of God. Here is how this principle takes root in the human soul:
We start as absolute solipsists in the cradle, then slowly come to realize that our mothers are separate human beings. Through patient discipline, we overcome the primal selfishness that marks every 2-year-old and come to recognize the humanity and the rights of our parents and siblings.
A Christian woman grieves during Mass at a church in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. Iraqi Christians are marking a somber Christmas in the face of repeated violence by militants intent on driving their beleaguered community from Iraq. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
The next lesson in altruism comes in the classroom, when we are forced to extend this recognition to strangers in our little tribe of schoolmates. As we mature and expand our experiences, we encounter people who look and act quite alien, and must learn to respect them as well—even (this is the last and highest stage of humanism) to feel solidarity with human beings as human beings, though they live in foreign countries and hold opposing views.
Empathy expands like a drop of ink in a glass of water. It is meant to be “thickest” for our close family, neighbors, friends and fellow believers—but never to spread out so “thin” that we do not respect the full humanity of people who are distant and different from us.
So it makes sense for Jews to feel concern about anti-Semitism on other continents, even more concern than they might about other kinds of hate and human rights abuse. They are part of an international family—one which has suffered cruelly over the centuries.
So are Christians. Why don’t we realize that and act accordingly? Why aren’t outraged Christians marching in streets across the world, demanding rescue and protection for their hunted fellow-believers? Do we feel that Christians in underdeveloped countries, who are racially and culturally thoroughly “un-American,” are somehow second-class Christians? Would we care more if they worshiped in modern megachurches, or if they had red hair and freckles and sang their hymns in English?
Iraqi Christians protest the Oct. 31 attack on Iraqi Christians in Baghdad during a rally Monday in Chicago. (AP Photo)
It’s entirely possible. It is sad but true that ethnic fellow feeling sometimes outweighs the much deeper solidarity that comes from being fellow disciples of Christ. Churches throughout American history have themselves been divided along frankly racist lines—a scandal that we must acknowledge, and try to heal.
But we can’t just leave things like that. If we want the Judge of Souls to recognize us as His own, we must overcome our shallow, sinful prejudices and see our fellow Christians for who they are: our brothers and sisters, who share with us a bond that is deeper than even kinship. We share the same Blood, which when Jesus shed it washed us clean, and we must act accordingly.
We are proud to be part of a new movement called “I am a Nazarene,” which co-opts the symbol of shame and discrimination that Iraqi jihadists have imposed on believers in Christ. We urge every Christian, whatever his denomination, to adopt and display this sign of solidarity with the most endangered Christians on earth—and to generously support the charities and aid agencies that are working to create safe places where the persecuted can find refuge and freedom for faith.
“For I was hungry, and you gave me food: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in.” (Matt 25:35)
Jason Scott Jones and John Zmirak are co-authors of the upcoming "The Race to Save Our Century."
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