A sacrificial lamb

Blog Image 761144 - Flowers
The condemned man and his family

In today’s column, I write about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and use as an example the death sentence handed down to a Christian pastor accused of apostasy.  Tragically, it appears that the execution will be going forward, possibly before week’s end.  But you don’t see anyone standing in line with candles lit in front of the jail where he is being held, as you did earlier this month on the eve of Troy Davis’s execution.  That’s partly because there is no such thing as freedom of worship in Iran, but I think it also has to do with the priorities of some anti-death penalty types, who pick and choose their righteous causes very carefully.  A convicted cop killer from Georgia apparently deserved a lot of attention, but a Christian minister who was never accused of anything other than worshipping the ‘wrong’ way is inconsequential.  Please keep Youcef  Nadarkhani in your prayers.

On a similar note, my friend Keith sent me this superb article written by Joseph Bottum about how Christians are sometimes our own worst enemies, always trying to avoid making waves over the River Jordan, as it were. 

The U.S. State Department's annual report on international religious freedom describes hundreds of incidents of religious bigotry and violence, especially in the Arab-Muslim world, Asia, and nations of the former Soviet bloc.


You know who is to blame for all this persecution, of course: The Christians are. Or so, at least, the mainline Christian organizations seem anxious to assure us. The victimized Christians in these countries have "asked for it:" by the very act of being open believers and missionaries, they are intensifying the global threat to freedom of religion. So the World Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Holy See, and the World Evangelical Alliance have joined together to do something about it—by urging their fellow Christians to behave less provocatively.

Call me crazy, but trying to tell Christians that the way to avoid being murdered while worshiping at a church in Egypt is to just shut up and lie low seems a little like blaming the victim to me.  Just  saying.

And speaking of victims, real or faux, here is an exchange I had this morning with a fellow who was a bit annoyed that I called Iranians “Arab monsters” as opposed to “Non-Arab monsters:”

From: Irate reader (not his real name)
Subject: Iranians are not Arabs - please correct your article
To: cflowers1961@yahoo.com
Date: Friday, September 30, 2011, 12:07 PM

Your article is entitled "Christine M. Flowers: The very real persecution of Christians in the Arab world"

The first example you cite is about Mr. Naderkhani, who is being persecuted in Iran.

Iranians are not Arabs, and Iran is not an Arab country. So I'm not quite sure why that's relevant to the "persecution of Christians in the Arab world"

Similarly, you later mention Afghanistan, also NOT an Arab country.

Basically, you are just lumping Iran in with a bunch of other unrelated Arab countries, despite the obvious factual inaccuracy of this. If your intent is just to perpetuate ignorance and racism against Arabs by throwing in the misdeeds of Iran with them, then congratulations you have succeeded. Or maybe you are just ignorant yourself. In either case, pathetic.

From: Christine (real name)
Subject: Iranians are not Arabs - please correct your article
To: Irate Reader
Date: Friday, September 30, 2011, 12:15 PM

I'm familiar with the Iranian preoccupation with distinguishing themselves from "the Arab World."  A college friend was of Iranian descent, and always made sure to say she was "Persian" which I think is a bit archaic since Persia ceased to exist a very long time ago, but never mind.


You have completely missed, and on purpose, I suspect, the point of the article:  Iran is a regime that enforces sharia, a code that targets non-Muslims for persecution when interpreted by the non-Arab Iranians who, for example, are very close to executing a pastor (probably this weekend, at last report)  Your narrow focus on semantics, while nominally accurate, does not do very much to disprove my theory that many who practice Islam are slaves to a philosophy of victimization, and who continue to ignore the crimes committed in the name of Allah.


And I will note for the record that I have no problem with Arabs, many of whom I have helped obtain asylum in the United States.  Invariably, they were fleeing persecution from their native countries because those open-minded regimes in the Middle East chose persecution over tolerance.


Thanks for writing, and for confirming my belief that any criticism whatsoever of Islam provokes this type of knee-jerk attack.


As all religions say, and some actually mean, peace be upon you



Never let it be said I don’t answer my emails.

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