America is a Christian nation. We number about 80% of the population. Yet you would never know it.
An article today in the Washington Post is titled: Christianity in Iraq is Finished. Before we invaded Iraq there were more than a million Christians living peacefully in that country. Now the number is down to at best 200,000. Once we unleashed our dogs of war in part to save the people of Iraq from the horrors inflicted on them by Dictator Saddam Hussein, as President George W. Bush told us, we cracked the shell of a civil society and loosed the tethers restraining evil and the bigoted brutes became emboldened and slaughtered those who held different beliefs.
One Christian member of a congregation in Doura that once had 30,000 families as part of the church membership but is now down to 2,000 said “In Saddam’s time, Christians could worship freely, and as long as you avoided politics you could survive. But since the war we have been attacked, robbed, raped and forced out of both Doura and the country..” That was in December 2013 prior to the Islamic State’s (IS) invasion.
IS forces have driven into the plains of Nineveh where most of the remaining Christians lived and have driven with the support of the Sunni Iraqis the 100,000 or so who remained out under the threat of death.
The relationship between our invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the Christian community that has lived there for 2,000 years is one of those direct “but fors.” But for our decision to do it they would still be living there. My point is that we have an obligation to these Christians Iraqis. Why is it one of the things we are not directly addressing?
Israel is a country that is a Jewish nation. The population of Jews there is about 75%, a little less than the percentage of our Christian population. I can assure you that were the Iraqi Jews driven out as the Christians have been, Israel would be flocking to their aid. If you doubt that, then knowing that it is Israel that is rushing aid to the Christian refugees at this moment should lay those doubts aside.Making the Israeli aid possible are our fellow Americans who are Jewish who belong to the American Jewish Committee.
It seems to me a great irony that the small Jewish nation is helping the Christian refugees while the large Christian nation that caused the problem sits back silently.
President Bush wrote in his memoir. “We had liberated the country from a primitive dictatorship, and we had a moral obligation to leave behind something better.” We’ve now seen the result of having liberated the country from a that dictatorship and throwing it into the arms of anarchy.
We invaded Iraq. Left Iraq. Now are going back to Iraq. This time it looks like we’ll be there forever. But the Christian Iraqis who left Iraq cannot go back. Where they lived will become Christianfrei forever. They had their neighbors turn on them and murder them. They can’t go home again.
As a Christian nation we felt we had a moral obligation to do nation building in the Muslim nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We threw away billions of dollars, and are still doing it, to help these nations get back on their feet. Do we not then have a moral obligation to assist our fellow Christians in their time of plight caused by our actions?
It is not only in Iraq that the Christians are being persecuted. In Egypt and in parts of Africa they suffer for their beliefs. There is not much we can do about that but we should not ignore it. But there is something that we can do to the Iraqis Christians driven from their homes and into desperate straits as a result of our actions
We should open our doors to these people and let them come to the land where people are judged by the content of their character and where there will never be religious persecutions because we have learned to live together as Americans and not tribes. We must immediately send aid directly to those people so that their sufferings are minimized. Especially must we do this because we are the primary cause of it. Then open the doors to them. Why not each church parish take in one or more families.
I suggest, especially to those of us who are fellow Christians to those suffering, we sacrifice a little time on their behalf to write to the president or a member of Congress asking them to help these poor souls. Bring their plight to the attention of others. Contribute something to those NGOs that are aiding them.
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.”