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The Devil They Know

Regime Change and Christian Persecution



Democracy is a good thing, but the persecution of Christians that can result from democracy is not. I’ll explain, next on BreakPoint.

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John Stonestreet

On Holy Thursday, the National Geographic Channel aired a three-part series about the rise of Christianity entitled “Jesus: Rise to Power.” For those of us who are familiar with the history of the period, it was a mixed bag. After all, how can you tell the story of Christianity’s “rise” without once using the word “resurrection”?

Still, one of the talking heads made a point well worth noting: many more Christians have died for the faith during our lifetimes than died for the faith between the first Easter and the AD 313 Edict of Milan, which ended Roman persecution of Christians.

A very sad example of this pattern took place this past week in Egypt. Coptic Christians protesting the killing of four Christians were attacked by a mob as they left a funeral at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

The mob “pelted them with rocks and firebombs and fired birdshot, forcing them back inside the complex.”

The police response, much like the Western media’s, was to treat the event as an example of “sectarian violence.” Thus, they “fired tear gas, and the gas canisters landing inside church grounds caused a panic among the women and children,” to the delight of the assailants outside the church.

Daily_Commentary_4_19_13Labeling this event and other attacks on Coptic Christians as “sectarian violence” is the worst kind of moral equivalence. Violence against Christian minorities in the Islamic world is endemic, from Nigeria to Pakistan. And this violence goes largely uncommented-upon except on those rare occasions when Christians tire of turning the other cheek. Then, the tired cliché “sectarian violence” gets trotted out.

What’s being labeled “sectarian violence” is actually an attempt by some Muslims in Egypt to make life so miserable for Christians that they’ll either convert or leave the country. For groups such as the Salafis, who are aligned politically with Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood, the very presence of Christians in Egypt is an affront.

Thus, while countries like Egypt may be notionally committed to religious tolerance, if not actual religious freedom, their ability and, arguably, their willingness to enforce this tolerance is doubtful at best.

A statement from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said that he regarded an attack on the cathedral as an attack on himself. But this leaves the lack of security at the cathedral and the firing of tear gas into the cathedral an even bigger mystery.

So is Morsi being disingenuous, or is Egypt, as presently governed, incapable of extending even the most rudimentary religious freedom to a population whose presence there long predates Islam?Newsletter_Gen_180x180_B

A point made by “Jesus: Rise to Power” was that most of the persecution of the early Church was local in nature. With a few infamous exceptions such as Nero’s persecution and the Diocletian persecution of the early fourth century, Christians suffered at the hands of local officials and mobs. Little has changed in seventeen centuries.

A great deal of the ambivalence toward the so-called “Arab Spring” and the events in Syria comes from the concern over what will happen to the Christians in these countries. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was followed, in very short order, by open war on Iraq’s ancient Christian community. The ouster of Hosni Mubarak has accelerated the attacks on the Copts. Who knows what might happen to Christians in post-Assad Syria?

While we may not want to prop up autocrats, we should have an ongoing concern not to make things worse for our already-suffering Christian brothers and sisters. And we must pray and speak out on their behalf. And that includes for Pastor Saeed, who has been wrongly imprisoned and physically abused in Iran for months. His wife Naghmeh joins me for an update on her husband on BreakPoint This Week. To listen, go to BreakPoint.org and click on the "This Week" tab.

Further Reading and Information

BP-Takeaction_41913The Devil They Know: Regime Change and Christian Persecution - Next Steps

From inside torture chambers to outside churches and in homes, the walls and grounds are dripping with the blood of faithful Christians. As John says, the events of Christian persecution are either being misreported or overlooked by the press.  Tragically, many Christians are ignoring the problem, too.

But there is so much you can do—you can support ministries to victims of religious persecution.  You can tweet, blog, or write about individuals who are being persecuted for their faith.

We’ve included a list of organizations that are fighting on behalf of the persecuted.  It’s vital that you keep vigilant and speak out against this targeted violence.

Articles:

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church's Statement on Recent Attacks in Egypt
St. Mark DC | April 10, 2013

Websites:

BreakPoint This Week
John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | April 19, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs

Freedom House

International Christian Concern

Christian Solidarity International

Contact the White House

Contact the State Department

Contact your representatives in Congress


Comments:

Ken,

Clearly, what we mean here by democracy is not what was meant by Lenin, Marx or the Soviets. Language games and redefining terms were their specialty.

Blessings,

John
Democracy is a good thing???
John

God bless you for what you do brother, but this morning I could not believe what I heard you open your message with!!!

Democracy is a good thing...

REALLY???

Do you realize our Founding Father's believed otherwise and our military warned all recruits about the dangers of democracy until 1917?

So what has changed?

The spirit of this age has changed.

Karl Marx said said that peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.

And Lenin went on to say that democracy is indispensable to socialism and the goal of socialism is communism.

And then recently Mikhail Gorbachev,wrote in his book titled "Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World" (New York: Harper & Row, 1987).

"Every part of our program of perestroika--and the program as a whole, for that matter--is fully based on the principle of more socialism and more democracy...."

Now these are all godless and atheistic philosophies.

Please contact me, I believe I can help you peel back a few veils to reveal some deeper truths.

SDG!

ken