In Christian Persecution

It is religious persecution on a horrific scale, involving massacres, bombings, slavery, beheadings and mass rape.

So why don’t our churches protest at this slaughter of their own?

Yes, Christians are now the prime target of unbelievably barbaric attacks in the Middle East and Africa, yet Australia’s bishops, ministers, priests, church “social justice” units and Christian aid groups—usually so vocal—are now near mute.

Nothing better demonstrates the fear our political and media class has of offending Islam than this failure of churches to speak out to save fellow Christians.

In Nigeria, the Islamist Boko Haram has killed more than 10,000 Christians in six years and abducted more than 1,000 women. This month [May 2015] more than 200 of the 700 women and children rescued from Boko Haram were found to be pregnant.

“Every day they would come around and tell us we were infidels, that we should convert and accept their religion,” 27-year-old Lami Musa told the BBC.

In Kenya last month [April], Islamists attacked a university, letting Muslim students go but murdering Christians, more than 140.

In Libya in April, ISIS jihadis filmed themselves beheading 30 Ethiopian Christians, and warning Christian viewers to convert. In February, 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt were also decapitated.

In Italy, police arrested 15 Muslim boat people for allegedly murdering 12 Christians on their voyage from Libya.

In Iraq, ISIS last year drove out the 10,000 remaining Christians of Mosul, leaving it without Christians for the first time in 2000 years. Three quarters of the 1.5 million Christians who lived in Iraq under Saddam Hussein are now gone.

In Syria, the Catholic St Vincent de Paul agency reported Islamists had kidnapped Christians and told them to convert or die.

Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Aleppo, said the Syrian city had now lost two thirds of the 170,000 Catholics it had a few decades ago.

Priests and bishops had been kidnapped or murdered, and many Christians had fled.

And the reaction?

The secular media seems reluctant to describe just what is happening.

This week The New York Times ran a long feature on the mass rape and deliberate impregnation of women by Boko Haram without once mentioning the victims were Christians.

On three successive days after the slaughter of the Kenyan university students, ABC television news reports did not mention the killers were Muslims or dead students Christian.

Sure, such media outlets are militantly secular, even actively anti-Christian.

Being of the Left, they also tend not to defend a principle but a side and are therefore unwilling to legitimise warnings from conservatives that some Islamic followers menace our freedoms, particularly the freedoms of women, gays and Christians.

But what can explain the silence of the churches? True, Pope Francis, at least, has sounded the alarm.

On Easter Monday he urged the world not to “look the other way” as “our brothers and sisters … are persecuted, exiled, killed, beheaded, for the only reason of being a Christian”.

Yet even our own churches in Australia—normally so keen to defend every other faith—seem unwilling to defend their own. The only press release issued lately by the Uniting Church that discusses the Middle East criticises not the murder of Christians by Muslims but the alleged meanness of Jews to Muslims, drawing attention to a “critique of the policies of the government of Israel”.

The Baptists’ webpage of “articles and statements” includes criticisms of government policies on boat children in detention, illegal immigrants and global warming—all part of the Left’s catechism—but it says absolutely no-thing about the murder and rape of fellow believers.

Melbourne’s Anglican diocese has a list of news items on its web page that has nothing about the Middle East since last October and then it criticised not ISIS’s persecution of Christians but Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

You have to go back to last August to find Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier issuing a press statement on the persecution of Christians—a request that the Government take in more Iraqi Christians “facing forced conversion or death”.

The churches are not alone, of course, in failing to take on Islamists even in the life-or-death defence of their own. Feminists have been virtually silent on the rape of the Yazidi women and did no more than tweet #bringbackourgirls a year ago in what appeared a token protest at the abduction and rape of women by Boko Haram.

Our gay groups and the Greens have said nothing about ISIS stoning gays or throwing them off buildings.

But why this silence of the churches?

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