As one example, tens of thousands of Muslims in Egypt began angry demonstrations against the appointment of Coptic Christian Emad Mikhail to be the new governor of the southern Egyptian province of Qena, replacing a Muslim who held that office. The Friday protests coincided with the Muslim and Jewish Sabbath and with Good Friday, among the most sacred days of devout Christians. The religious nature of these demonstrations was obvious. The protesters began their demonstrations after leaving mosques.Their demand was to replace Mikhail with a Muslim governor. Islam, these protesters believe, does not allow an infidel to govern Muslims.
Some Coptic Christians were also troubled by the appointment, citing that Christian officers often failed to genuinely protect the interests of other Christians. Coptic Christians need real protection. Although they comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, their status has never been secure, and relations cooled significantly when a suicide bomber killed himself — and 21 Christians — on January 1, outside a church in Alexandria.
The fate of Christians and Jews around the world is a legitimate concern for Americans. Our nation was founded quite straightforwardly upon Judeo-Christian theology and values. The pursuit of a U.S. foreign policy designed to take into consideration the interests of both Jews and Christians has been a consistent theme of our nation. Both peoples came to America, in many cases, to live freely and without persecution.
Tragically, the fate of Christians around the world has stopped being a factor in our policies. The invasion of Iraq, for example, has resulted in a significant increase in the persecution of Christians and their massive migration out of Iraq. Iraqi Christians are actually worse off as a result of our intervention there. Whatever syrupy hopes globalists might profess for “democratic” Iraq, it is impossible to see that land of ancient rivalries and hatreds evolving into a free and righteous nation when those very people who have created the notion of human freedom, Christians and also Jews, have fled the land.
Persecution of Christians, in fact, has been the salient feature of nearly every odious totalitarianism of modern history. The persecution of Christians in imperial Japan was noted even by agnostic Americans who viewed the Christian faith as foolish. The persecution of Christians in Nazi Germany was noted by nearly everyone who wrote on the subject during the years before the defeat of Germany. Hitler and all the other leaders of the Third Reich professed utter contempt for Christianity, and the closing of churches and monasteries, the hauling of priests and ministers to concentration camps, and other vile mistreatment was once common knowledge.
Soviets, of course, reviled Christianity and put true Christians in the Gulag. The OGPU and its successors also infiltrated seminaries and placed agents within the Russian Orthodox Church (just as the Soviet Union used such sweet-sounding groups as the National Council of Churches as a front organization which always, conveniently, found America and its values “un-Christian” and Marxism to be some sort of rudimentary Christian faith). Men such as John Hadam captured the spirit of this age well when he wrote in 1941 (before Barbarossa) in his book God and the World at War: “For people after people the light of freedom has gone out at the bidding of the totalitarianisms of Russia, Japan, Germany and Italy … Men are tortured and slaughtered in the name of a new religion of the all-powerful state … The attack of all totalitarianisms on religion is significant … the real basis for their hostility is that … a church is witness to, and claims the loyalty of men to, a moral power beyond and greater than the ideal totalitarian state.”
The brutal murder by Chinese Communists of Christians such as John Birch are proof of how mendacious and hateful toward Christians they were at the end of the Second World War, when Christians had been helping them defeat the Japanese. Nothing out of Chinese government policy since then gives any hope of change. The persecution of the faithful in China may take different forms and be muddled by a statist church which is the mockery of true Christianity, but the roots of persecution are ever present.
Less noticed, but very real, is the venom which Brahmanism spits at Christianity. Mahatma Gandhi, who was intensely disliked by the “untouchables” of India, found the universal brotherhood which Christianity offered to be contrary to Indian values. Contrary to much common belief, Gandhi did not reject the caste system, but believed that it should be simplified and reformed. While Christian missionaries in India helped end the suttee, child marriage (and young girls forced to bear children), thugee, and other vices of Hinduism, Gandhi displayed an appalling lack of gratitude toward the British and the West. Today, the persecution of Christians in India is very real. The conversion of untouchables (now called “Dalits”) is a particular sore point, and those Dalits who renounce Hinduism are denied government benefits provided to other Dalits.
And, of course, Europe is receding into the darkness of paganism. The shocking lack of resistance to Muslim infiltration in much of western Europe is because the thin gruel of progressive secularism offers nothing tangible to resist Islam. The searching of the soul for meaning, an itch placed there by our Creator, will find something to scratch it with — that is certain.
So it was that many former Communists spoke of their former “ideology” as rather an intolerant religion and described Marxism as “The God That Failed.” The savage Shinto of imperial Japan, the radical Muslims of the Indian Ocean basin, the brutal pagans of Nazi Germany — all the ugly spirits which menace our world — are opposed by people such as Mother Teresa, who came into India bringing only God’s compassionate love, and David Livingston, who entered the unknown heartland of an uncivilized continent to bring that same love.
Do we yearn for that overworked desideratum, “world peace”? Then we should all tell the aching hearts and angry minds of Muslims in Egypt or Hindus in India and of Marxists everywhere that the answer they seek is not in any hateful ideology, but rather in a glorious theology.
Photo: An Iraqi man grieves at a funeral for two slain Christian brothers in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 23, 2010: AP Images