On the anniversary of Lepanto it is good to remember that persecution of Christians is not a long ago phenomenon, but something that occurs routinely around the globe. The reaction of most Christians in the West is to resolutely ignore this sad fact. One of the reasons that Christians are so persecuted is because they are perceived as a safe target. The mightiest nations on Earth, ostensibly with majority Christian populations, will not lift a finger to aid Christians in non-Western lands. Would that we were today having a Synod about this.
Andrew Klavan does a first rate job demonstrating how much reliance persecuted Christians around the globe can place on the Obama administration. The answer is quite a bit if the reliance consists of the conclusion that Obama and his gang of merry incompetents would sooner eat ground glass than help them. However, some Christians in the Middle East are beginning to realize the truth of the admonition of Benjamin Franklin: God helps them who help themselves.
Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council, an Assyrian Christian militia, said the fight was existential. “[We are] like a tree that you uproot from its land,” he said. “We are a people with a historic lineage. We have been contributing to human civilisation for five or six thousand years, and we can still give.”
The fighters, along with modest Kurdish reinforcements, are trying to defend Tal Tamr, a town that straddles a tributary of the Euphrates river. The Assyrians in the area had taken refuge there three generations ago, fleeing the Simele massacre of their people by the Iraqi kingdom.
The Isis attack on the villages appeared tailored to draw forces away from Tal Hamis, where it is battling a Kurdish push aimed at forcing the group further to the east. The fate of the hostages remains unclear, with some members of the community believing Isis intends to trade them for its own captured fighters, or use them as human shields. Others though, mindful of public executions of Egyptian Copts by Isis militants in Libya, fear a similar grisly spectacle.
“We will defend ourselves,” said Gabriel. “We will not allow another Seyfo to happen to us [in reference to a pogrom perpetrated by the Ottoman’s early last century]. We will sacrifice everything.”
“We want help and support from all the democratic forces in the world that are fighting the extremism in the Middle East, to stop these enemies of humanity,” he said. “Their targeting of our people, the Syriacs, has been ongoing. What they did in Iraq … and [elsewhere in] Syria shows that this is what they want.
“After a couple of generations, the culture will disappear. Nobody will remember us.”
The Assyrians say they deserve support like the Kurds in Kobani, the peshmerga in Iraq and the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar. “We stood with Kobani and supported the resistance there and we are now facing the same thing,” said Gabriel.
I hope they will receive support, if not from the feckless governments of the West, then from private Christians. I recall the “Beecher Bibles” shipped to free soil settlers in Kansas during the 1850’s.
“He (Henry W. Beecher) believed that the Sharps Rifle was a truly moral agency, and that there was more moral power in one of those instruments, so far as the slaveholders of Kansas were concerned, than in a hundred Bibles. You might just as well. . . read the Bible to Buffaloes as to those fellows who follow Atchison and Stringfellow; but they have a supreme respect for the logic that is embodied in Sharp’s rifle.” Continue Reading
A sad story coming from Egypt where a father and daughter recently converted from Islam to Christianity. They have been attending a different church each Sunday and have slept in a different home each night in fear of the government.
In Egypt it is illegal to convert to Christianity.
The fourth and final part of my presentation of the four sermons on the Anti-Christ delivered by John Henry Cardinal Newman before his conversion during Advent in 1835. Part I is here, part II is here and Part III is here.
In this last sermon Newman speaks of the persecution that will attend the reign of the anti-Christ. In Newman’s day, living memory could recall the savage persecution that the Church endured dring the initial years of the French Revolution. In our time, we have the blood-stained last century when millions of Christians were martyred for their faith. It is all too easy to suspect that those terrible persecutions were trial runs for the persecution of the Anti-Christ. The last century brought to reality these words of Newman: “Let us then apprehend and realize the idea, thus clearly brought before us, that, sheltered as the Church has been from persecution for 1500 years, yet a persecution awaits it, before the end, fierce and more perilous than any which occurred at its first rise.” Certainly all prior persecutions pale before what Christians experienced in the Terrible Twentieth.
This is an interesting passage from Newman’s sermon: “Again, another anxious sign at the present time is what appears in the approaching destruction of the Mahometan power. This too may outlive our day; still it tends visibly to annihilation, and as it crumbles, perchance the sands of the world’s life are running out.” I assume that Newman was thinking of the decline of the Ottoman Empire of his day, the sick man of Europe. Freed from this adversary, perhaps Europe would unite behind one man, reform or revive the Roman Empire, and bring about the conditions for the Anti-Christ. Small wonder that Hitler was frequently deemed the Anti-Christ during his lifetime. Of course Hitler was not the Anti-Christ, but perhaps merely one of myriads of anti-Christs who have arisen and fallen in the centuries since the coming of Christ, or perhaps he is a precursor of the Anti-Christ.
Hattip to Southern Appeal. The executions of Saint John Cardinal Fisher and Saint Thomas More as portrayed in The Tudors. It was largely because of the courage that these men showed, and the courage hundreds of other men and women demonstrated who were martyred under the Crowned Monster Henry VIII, his son, and Bloody Elizabeth, that a remnant of the Catholic faith survived for centuries in England, Wales and Scotland, in the face of bitter persecution, until Catholic Emancipation in 1829.
A very liberal friend in California challenged my support of Proposition 8 and homosexual “marriage” by stating that the faithful would still be able to “discriminate” against them in churches. Well, beside the utter ridiculousness of her statement, it looks to me like she was wrong. Los Angeles saw a massive gathering in front of the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Blvd. From what I saw in the video tape, there were folks trying to scale the gates surrounding the building. Now from World Net Daily comes proof that the most militant of homosexual rights activists are calling for violence against Christians and destruction of our places of worship. One person quoted in the article stated: