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March 30, 2006

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» Evangelicals from Stix Blog
The New Republic's current edition has an article on the diminishing number of indigenous Iraqi Christians - and how misguided American Evangelicals are greatly responsible for their problems with the majority Iraqi Muslims. Apparently, the Evangelical... [Read More]

» Evangelicals from Stix Blog
The New Republic's current edition has an article on the diminishing number of indigenous Iraqi Christians - and how misguided American Evangelicals are greatly responsible for their problems with the majority Iraqi Muslims. Apparently, the Evangelical... [Read More]

Comments

dilys

Complicating this matter to the max is the meme among Evangelicals that the Orthodox and ethnic Catholics in these countries are "Christians in name only." At least may report it that way in "mission field reports" to their constituency.

xavier

Amy:
Hang on a sec. Why are journalists using the word aposate? Isn't is more appropriate to call a person a Moslem convert to------?
Dilys:
Yeah it,s really patronizing to read of such reports as if the Chaledeans and Assyrians 2 millenia existence meant nothing until the evangelicals came along to preach about Jesus for the first time. Arrrg!
xavier

xavier

Susan Peterson

I get furious when evangelicals set out to do missionary work among Catholics and Orthodox. They understand so little. And in this situation they are bringing down the wrath of the Iraqi muslims on the indigenous Christians.
Not that they are entirely to blame that the Muslims are murderous, but it sounds as if they do exacerbate the situation.

Here are people who have maintained their faith in a hostile environment for years and years, and American evangelicals come in and say they are "Christians in name only."

Aargh!
Susan Peterson

Ken

My sister-in-law is an Iraqi Christian. Assyrian/Nestorian from Mosul. She has nothing good to say about Islam.

Here are people who have maintained their faith in a hostile environment for years and years, and American evangelicals come in and say they are "Christians in name only."

...Who are all doomed to be Left Behind (TM).

At least they're not being told they're really Mystery Babylon, worshipping Satan under the names of Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz.

mulopwepaul

It didn't take long for Christian brotherhood to break down here, either, I note.

Blaming the evangelicals for their mere presence isn't going to stop the Muslims from beating the Assyrians down into dhimmis. That's going to be their objective no matter what.

The rights of minorities will always need to be protected by the possibility of force.

PVO

Caroline

Are Nestorian Christians any better in our eyes than Evangelicals? All heretics, no?

saint

The New Republic piece is online here Amy.


Al DelG


"Are Nestorian Christians any better in our eyes than Evangelicals? All heretics, no?"

Caroline --- most definitely not. Some Nestorians are considered schismatic while others, in particular the Iraqi Chaldeans are in full communion.

See -
http://www.nestorian.org/nestorian_church.html

Chris Sullivan

The best thing we can all do is to take up the call here for 2 Days of Fasting and Prayer for Iraq on Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th of April.

Gallipoli, reminds me of Where have all the flowers gone.

When are we going to realise that Christ and his Popes are right - violence, war, killing, and invasion never solves the problems but only exacerbates them and makes them worse ?

Thanks, Dubya, for ripping Iraq apart and causing such great suffering for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

God Bless

Donald R. McClarey

"Thanks, Dubya, for ripping Iraq apart and causing such great suffering for our brothers and sisters in Christ."

Chris, please learn something about Iraq. Christians were celebrating when Saddam was captured. Iraq was a bad place for Christians before Saddam, while he ruled, and it remains a bad place for Christians. This article from Christianity Today from 2003 helps put this issue in perspective.


"Home > Christianity Today Magazine > Weblog

Christianity Today, Week of December 15

Weblog: Iraqi Christians Celebrate Saddam's Capture
Chaldean Christian communities in the U.S. call arrest a Christmas present.
Complied by Rob Moll | posted 12/15/2003


In Chaldean communities near Detroit and San Diego news of Saddam Hussein's capture spread quickly. "I spoke with my sister in Iraq first thing, and she said the gunfire I heard in the background were coming from the people who are happy," Kinaya, a deacon at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, Michigan, told The Detroit Free Press. "The Iraqi people are a democratic people who are now celebrating their freedom."

The Detroit area is home to about 100,000 Chaldean Christians, who saw Saddam's capture as a fitting gift as the church enters the Christmas season. "This is a great Christmas present," said Joseph Kassab, director of the Michigan chapter of the Chaldean National Congress," according to The Detroit News. An Associated Press story, which ran in several California papers reported on Chaldean reactions there. "It's a great joy for all the Iraqi people on this day, especially for Christians," said Noel Gorgis, pastor of St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, which has a large Iraqi congregation. "We prepare ourselves for joy on Christmas, and now that joy is complete."

However the celebrations were tempered with reminders of Saddam's cruelty, from which no one was exempt. "At Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit, Khatoum Mossa, 65, said her son lost most of his right arm fighting, against his will, for the Iraqi army in the first Persian Gulf War." The Detroit Free Press writes, "Khayon Al-Tamimi, 53, who is originally from Nasiriyah, Iraq, lost his brother and nephew when both were killed after they fought in Shi'ite uprisings against Hussein. … There is not one Iraqi family who didn't lose someone," he said.

According to the Press Enterprise in Southern California, "Hussein killed both Iraqi Muslims and Christians, destroying churches and forcing many to flee. 'It was just something that had to happen. He hurt everyone,' said Fadiah Ziro, 19, whose family members are Chaldean Christian refugees from Iraq. 'Maybe everything will just calm down (now).' "

There are conflicting estimates on the number of Christians in Iraq. Last month, Weblog ran through the numbers. "According to The Daily Telegraph of London, about 700,000 Chaldean Christians and more than a million Assyrian Christians live in Iraq. Operation World suggests that those figures are highly inflated, and says there are only 358,281 Christians in the country total (about 22,000 are identified as evangelicals). David Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia splits the difference, counting 730,774 Christians (74,800 evangelicals) among the population of 22,946,245."

Christians have been fleeing Iraq for decades, first under Saddam Hussein and now because of Muslim persecution. "The fundamentalists have put pressure on us as never before," said local priest Charlemagne Shmool after one of his parishioners had been killed by Muslims. "Within 10 years there will be no Christians in this area. We will be finished."

After a recent attack, ChaldeansOnline reported,

since the fall of Saddam Hussein, tens of targeted attacks were carried out against Iraqi Christians across Iraq. Last May, 2003 in Basra, southern Iraq, two Chaldean liquor owners were killed when their shops were attacked with machine guns. Also, two more Chaldeans were killed in Baghdad and for the same reason. Add to that, the burning down of many liquor factories and shops in the Greater Baghdad area which were all owned by Chaldean Christians.
Not only did those heinous crimes result in the loss of innocent lives, but worse they have created tremendous hardships for those Chaldean families whose very livelihood were attacked. With lack of alternative jobs, many of them are currently living off the charitable contributions of the local Chaldean churches.
Many "Arabs" have fled to the U.S and now number about 3.5 million, according to one report, and most of them are Assyrian and Chaldean Christians. There seems to be some confusion over how Christians are reported in census figures. Another story reports that Christians are not counted as Arabs on census figures. However, both stories report that many Christians are fleeing Middle Eastern countries because of persecution.

CT has dozens more articles from Iraq.

Copyright © 2003 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information."

The best thing we can do for any Christians in any Islamic state is to get them to the West as soon as possible.

mulopwepaul

Christianity requires witness to all nations. Having said that, all Christians who are not called to martyrdom need our support to be able to flee shari'a nations.

PVO

Marv

In most conquered countries I think you are going to find crowds lining the streets cheering the conquring heros. It would be unhealthy not to.

This leads me to think of Hitler when he visited conquered Paris during WWII. He toured the city in an open car. I'd like to see Bush do that through downtown Baghdad. When our illustrious leaders visit Iraq they sneak in secretly and they seldom set foot outside of the safety of the Green Zone.

As for the US's domestic Iraqi population - get real. In post 9/11 America most Arab Americans - Christian or Muslim - are very careful not to say anything negative about the war effort. Again, it is very unhealthy. You end up with the DHS breaking down your door and taking you away to who knows where for who knows how long.

Chris Sullivan

Iraq was a bad place for Christians before Saddam, while he ruled, and it remains a bad place for Christians.

Donald,

I think your charterisation completely ignores the real and tragic changes for Christians in Iraq now as compared to before the invasion.

Baghdad’s Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Abouna has given his bleakest assessment yet of the situation in Iraq

Why is it his bleakest assesment yet ?

Because the invasion has made things worse.

Next time we think of invading a poor and small country, why not ask the body of Christ there if they want to be invaded and bombed and their country torn apart ?

Why weren't the body of Christ consulted ?

Because those behind the invasion weren't thinking of their interests but only of furthuring their own wealth and power.

God Bless

Mike L

Seems to me that someone is trying to rewrite history just a bit. Everything I have read says that Iraq was the most Christian tolerant of all the Islamic nations, but it sure isn't now.

Does anyone else remember the fears from the rest of the world that if we invaded Iraq we would de-stabilize the mid-east? I think that what we see is what they feared.

And finally, if I stir up an ant hill and someone gets bitten and dies, can I walk away and say, "gee, it isn't my fault, blame the ants."

Maybe we should do a bit of revising our ideas on just who is responsible.

Mike L

Maureen

Yeah, life was great under Saddam.

Christians weren't killed for being Christians; they were killed by Saddam's regime just for being alive, just like all the other Iraqis.

Ah, the wonderful brotherhood of being equally subject to rape, poison gas, prison, death, and disappearance without a trace! At any time, for no reason at all! Ah, the freedom!

Ken

Regarding my Iraqi/Assyrian sister-in-law:

She married my stepbrother HERE. IN AMERICA. And not only her but her entire family GOT OUT OF IRAQ, didn't they? The last of them made it out during the disruption of the First Gulf War, when Saddam still ruled.

P.S. To those who have read Frank Herbert's Dune: Did anyone notice how much Baba Saddam & Sons resembled Dune's fictional House Harkonnen?
Uday = Beast Rabban Harkonnen,
Qusay = "lovely, lovely" Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen,
and Baba Saddam = the Floating Fat Man himself.

Mike L

Yeah Maureen, and just who is at Gitmo? And of course tourturing Islamics because they might have some information for our military and launching pre-emtive attacks is all justified and approved by the Catechism.

Ah, the wonderful brotherhood of being equally subject to rape, poison gas, prison, death, and disappearance without a trace! At any time, for no reason at all! Ah, the freedom!

And now bombs fall from the air, people disapear without a trace, get shot, and bombed by the radicals.

And our administration wants an exemption to the any anti-tourture bill for the CIA.

Listen to the bishop, maybe life was bad under Sadam, it certainly isn't good under what is there now. And Sadam is no longer there to blame. He lost out when we stired up the ant hill

Mike L

JP

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Let's just say it's all MY fault, and have done with it. What do we do now? Do we bail, because our mere presence keeps the ants all stirred up, or does our withdrawal create a vacuum that poses an even greater threat to our Christian friends? I have yet to see an argument that I find convincing.

My only suggestion is that perhaps Pope Benedict should send Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald to Iraq:

http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=43289

He seems pretty sure of himself.

Mike L

JP, I think that you pretty well hit the nail on the head. What do we do now? Seems to me that when something isn't working, doing more of it is not likely to make it work better.

I don't know what to do about our Christian friends, nor do I know what to do about our Islamic friends, and I am pro life enough that I think even Islamic lives are valued by God.

I worry about us, too. When the Catholic population supports tourture at a higher rate than the general public, something is drastically wrong. Perhaps if we take a hard look at ourselves and our morals, we might do something. Otherwise I am afraid that we really will catch up to Saddam in the crimes he committed.

Mike L

JP

I worry about us too, Mike. In fact, I worry about us more than I worry about our Christian friends in Iraq. I'm an ignorant Catholic, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I was pretty certain the Church teaches A: suffering has a permanent place in this world and B: the end can never justify the means. Our Christian friends in Iraq (and China, and parts of Africa, etc.) walk daily in the valley of the shadow of death. They have for a long time, and indications are they will continue to do so indefinitely. If there is a just way to alleviate their suffering, it seems to me we are duty bound to do so, but how long have those answers eluded wiser heads than ours? I tremble when I consider trying to find a courage such as theirs in my own heart. And therein lies the problem - how quick we are to forget B, when the suffering in A is our own.

Jim in Chicago

Loved the gratuitious W/Hitler comparison.

Hmm, any reason to think that Hitler entering Paris might not be a valid comparison?

Oooh, ooh, here's one. Gestapo rounding up people and either shooting them outright or sending them to concentration camps? Think that had anything to do with it? (Oh but we do that too you say? Really? Really? If that's what you think the US does then ask yourself how the Germans would've gone about pacifying Iraq)

Oh, and the Gestapo, now they could torture. hoy boy, none of this playing loud music, turning the ac up and keeping folks up all night. No siree.

Any others? Anyone? Marv?

God bless.

Jim in Chicago

I apologize for the snark above, but it's disagreeable to find that commentators immediately turned this post into an opportunity for Bush-bashing.

The first piece Amy posted is particularly troubling b/c Abouna seems from what I've read to be a supporter of the invasion, and a critic of the way the western media have portrayed the war. Note to Chris, google him and you'll see why this is "his bleakest assessment yet" -- his other assessments weren't all that bad.

It is the case, however, that Iraqi Christians have been fleeingthe country for decades. The 1990s. especially immediately after the Gulf War, was a particularly bad time for them. Sanctions hit Christians particularly hard, and Saddam's attempts to Islamicize -- the words added to the flag and the Koran written in his blood -- helped feed dislike of the Christians.

Per Chris who also said: "Next time we think of invading a poor and small country, why not ask the body of Christ there if they want to be invaded and bombed and their country torn apart ?"

Well, I think that all the people ought to have a say. Per the Christians in Iraq, the exiles interviewed in the X'ty Today piece posted above sure seemed happy enough that Saddam was gone so they surely supported US efforts. As for the rest of Iraq a January poll showed that 64% say things today are getting better and 77% say ousting Saddam was worth it despite the subsequent violence. That's from Worldpublicopinion.org, and iirc a similar poll commissioned by a number of international media orgs found similar sentiment last fall.

Donald R. McClarey

Jim, the Hitler in Paris-Bush in Baghdad comparison has been a popular one on "historical revisionist" holocaust denial websites since 2003 where der Fuehrer fans congregate. The comparison is as worthless from a historical standpoint as those websites. Hitler and his forces were of the same stamp as the Jihadis in our time. If Hitler had been harmed or jeered at, Paris would have been leveled. The French knew that. Look at what the Nazis did to Lidice and Lezaky after the assassination of Heydrich.

Donald R. McClarey

One of the first articles to raise the comparison in 2003


"Hitler in Paris, Bush in Baghdad: Comparisons

by Eric Mueller

THE contrast between George Bush's two-hour secret trip to occupied Baghdad in November 2003 and Adolf Hitler's visit to occupied Paris in June 1940 invites some interesting comparisons.

President Bush was in Baghdad for only two and a half hours (or two, depending on the report one reads). His presence there wasn't announced until after he had left. He never took so much as a step outside the US-occupied airport which is also the main US airfield in occupied Iraq.

I don't imagine that Hitler's visit to France was widely publicised in advance among the French people either, but he does seem to have enjoyed something of a tour of the French capital.

I am not in any way raising this issue in order to contrast the personal courage of Hitler and Bush, which is a complex and minor issue, but to contrast the two occupations.

During and since World War II we who live in the Allied countries have been given to understand that the French populace loathed the Germans and of course Hitler worst of all of them.

Yet somehow that supposedly unspeakable and unique and incomparable "barbarity" and "brutality" of the Germans elicited among the French nothing of the sort of massive popular armed resistance and mass visceral outrage that the US forces and their president have aroused among Iraqis.

Hitler could visit occupied Paris and see the sights. Bush had to sneak in and out of US-occupied Baghdad and dared not stay more than two or three hours, or venture outside the armed airport -- not even guarded and accompanied by the most powerfully equipped army on earth.

If the German occupation of France has been portrayed as almost an archetype of oppression and evil, how must we regard, and how will future generations regard, the US occupation of Iraq?"

Jeff

...apparently Hitler went into Paris with more than enough troops.

Sigh.

Can we all agree at minimum to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who face persecution, that they may be steadfast in their witness?

Marv

"If Hitler had been harmed or jeered at, Paris would have been leveled. The French knew that. Look at what the Nazis did to Lidice and Lezaky after the assassination of Heydrich."

I tend to remember that the hated President Clinton leveled several blocks of downtown Baghdad in the early '90's because of an alleged assasination plot against Bush Sr. that was allegedly tied to Iraq.

Again, you fail to address the issue if the removal of Saddam was so popular in Iraq. Why is Bush not treated like a hero? Why does he sneak in like a thief in the night and then sneak back out. Instead you engage in ad hominem attacks.

JP

Terik Aziz, who was Saddam's Foreign Minister, is a Chaldean Catholic as well as a senior Baath Party memember. He was Saddam's face to the world for over 15 years. This Chaldean Catholic subscribed to the invasion of Iran in 1981, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, as well as several bloody incursions into Kurdistan, organizing visits with AQ and the Taliban during the 90s. As Foreign Minister he was more than likely aware of the 1993 attempt on Bush 41's life. Aziz was also partly responsible for the huge sums of oil money (24 billion dollars) to go Saddam's palaces instead of the people (as written by the Oil for Food Program of 1998).

Yet, when in suited him, he became a pious cahtolic. In 2003 he made it a point to visit the Vatican and the tomb of St Francis. With so much blood on his hands, it was a wonder the Vatican allowed him a state visit. Prehaps it benefited Chaldean Catholics to have one of thier own in such a high position. The Baathists were secularists; religious affiliation meant nothing to them. The Sunnis are not the ones who are killing Chaladeans. It is the Shiites. The Shiites suffered the most under Sunni rule, and it doesn't help the Chaldeans now to have one of thier own being tried as a war criminal.

Donald R. McClarey

"Again, you fail to address the issue if the removal of Saddam was so popular in Iraq. Why is Bush not treated like a hero? Why does he sneak in like a thief in the night and then sneak back out. Instead you engage in ad hominem attacks."

No Marv, just showing where you might be getting your material. Iraq is a dangerous place because a small group of Iraqis, an odd combination of Baathist die-hards, Shia radicals supported by Iran, and foreign terrorists, want to murder their way to power. As the elections show, these groups have little popular support, hence their reliance on suicide bombers who almost always target other Iraqis, not American troops who are able to defend themselves. They hope to create enough chaos and to cow the population sufficiently so that they can stage a coup after the Americans depart. Your comparison between France 40 and Iraq 2006 shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both historical events.

JP

Marv,
There was nothing alleged about the assasination attempt on Bush 41.

You are also seem to have no ability in seperating the hatred and fear of Saddam with an attempt by Syrian Baathists, and Iranian Shiites to gain control of Iraq. Most of the weapons, money and terrorists in Iraq today come from places like Cairo, Terhan, Tunis, Hamburg, and Marsailles.

Julia

I would think it's appropriate not to list Chaldean and Assyrian Catholics as "Arab" because they are not Arabs. The Arabs came in with the Muslim conquerers; they are not indigenous to Iraq or Iran as are the great majority of the Christians in the area.

Ed the Roman

The French did not even need the example of Lidice. They only had to see what the SS had done during the invasion. For starters, every church in the zone of an SS unit was desecrated.

The invasion of France was an intentional attack on the French people, not governemtn, in a way that OIF simply is not an attack on the Iraqi people.

If we'd treated them the way the Germans treated France, they'd be much, much quieter. It's still better that we didn't do that.

George Lee

Chris Sullivan asks: "When are we going to realise that Christ and his Popes are right - violence, war, killing, and invasion never solves the problems but only exacerbates them and makes them worse ?"

A few days after the liberation of Rome, Lieutenant General Mark Clark, Commander of the Fifth Allied Army, paid his respects to the Pope: "I am afraid you have been disturbed by the noise of my tanks. I am sorry." Pius XII smiled and replied: "General, any time you come to liberate Rome, you can make just as much noise as you like."

How did the invasion of Italy or of northern France make everything worse, as Sullivan says? Did it not solve problems, as he maintains such things never do?

Huge numbers of people were killed in both those invasions. Between 12 and 14 thousand French civilians were killed unitentionally in norther France alone just in the first few days of the Normandy invasion. But who would be so obtuse as to maintain that all these deaths, and those of the combatants, "exacerbated" the situation? Made them "worse" Well, Chris Sullivan would.

Examples could be multiplied, but I hope just one more will do. It took about 700 years of warfare to drive the Moslems out of Spain and make it possible for Catholics to practice their faith in...peace. Yes, peace.

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