IT IS THE HOLIEST week of the year, but evil doesn't consult calendars. Or perhaps it does. Perhaps malevolence seeks out those moments when it will cause the most damage, cull the most victims, make the greatest impact in an age where shock value and reality collide.
So it shouldn't be a surprise that ISIS focused its nihilistic hatred on Christians in that sacred instant when we are called to commemorate the long Calvary and ultimate victory of our blessed lord. Palm Sunday marks the glorious arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem, following his destiny toward the final meal, temporal betrayal, the hill of crosses, and then triumph.
Those who hate us knew this. It's been no secret, these last two millennia. And so they chose this week to send a message, written in the blood of over a hundred Coptic Christian worshippers in Egypt, that they will not stop until all of us who kneel at the cross are destroyed. Our temples, our voices, our footprints must be erased. What better way to send that messsge than at a moment when our hearts and minds are focused on our faith?
ISIS lives for attention, survives on it like thirsty refugees in the desert. Without attention, it will not disappear but will be less threatening, deprived of oxygen and incapable of attracting new acolytes.
So part of me rebels against giving it that attention, helping to spread its message even while attacking it. Ignorance, here, would be bliss for the soul. But it would dishonor the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ to look away from their broken bodies and crumbling churches, this week especially.
We in America have had little experience with this type of hatred. While opponents of our current president have tried to compare the overturned headstones in Jewish cemeteries (evil, toxic symbolism) and hateful rhetoric about Islam (the sign of ignorant bigots,) and while these instances of intolerance are a moral devolution, a rejection of our aspirational American identity, it is simply not the same thing as a wholesale war in Christians in the Middle East. It's not, and I don't care how many upstanding citizens write to tell me that they create dangerous precedents for hate.
They do, and they are disgusting, but they are not of the same level as murdered Christians. Perhaps these instances of intolerance will rise to that level, as happened in Germany and Rwanda and Bosnia, but that's doubtful. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marching in the streets show how doubtful and improbable it is.
But there is a massacre of faith happening now, today, and it will happen again tomorrow. It's more important than the outrage raised by a stupid Pepsi ad, or women who think they are under seige by crude comments, or again, kids who can't use the bathroom of their choice.
I'm angry that I have to worry about such lesser offenses, such unimportant controversies of the first, pampered world. My brothers and sisters are dying, Calvary is planted with crosses and my people are being nailed to them, over, and over, and over again.
Christians are being killed only because they are Christian. Jews are being murdered alongside of them, and we need to acknowledge that this is what matters, dammit. Offense at campaign rhetoric, offense at tone-deaf commercials and offense at the dictates of actual human biology are, frankly, irrelevant in this moment.
Anything that we can do to save these defenseless, voiceless beings must be done, in the same brave manner that Donald Trump tried to avenge murdered Muslim children. Attention must be paid, and all the other controversies need to be put in second place. Even, and I say this with a heavy heart, the fight for the unborn must yield to the fight to save living, breathing victims of this religious genocide.
Write to our congressman. Show the pictures of the bleeding. Scream out about these evil massacres, to anyone who will listen. I will use the tools in my power, the press, and asylum law, to make the point.
Inform yourself and join me, however you can. Start with this, the holiest of weeks.
Christine Flowers is a lawyer