Sunday, November 14, 2010

Returning to reality: Politics, Christianity, and the world

When absorbed in an intense election campaign, it is easy to forget about important topics that have little to do with politics (on the surface, anyway).

After all, politics is politics. While voters were focused on whether or not Delaware senate candidate Christine O'Donnell was a witch, more atrocities unfolded in the Middle East.

Earlier this month, a militant group with links to al Qaeda announced that it is turning up the heat on people of faith in Iraq. It announced that all Christians in the Middle East are now "legitimate targets" because of unresolved conflicts with some members of that community.

I can only speak for myself when I state that I thought all Christians were already targets for al Qaeda. Their radical interpretation of Islam denounces just about everybody who supports Israel. Since many Christians do that, I think it is safe to say many of that faith have been walking around with a big red target on them for quite a while.

In this current situation, al Qaeda in Iraq believes that Coptic Christian churches in Egypt are detaining women attempting to convert to Islam. Both the Egyptian Interior Ministry and the Coptic Church of Cairo have declined to comment on the matter, according to

Because of this, the militant group is ramping up the rhetoric and has already taken deadly actions against some. For example, terrorists recently attacked a church in Baghdad as it began its evening worship service.

Initially, 120 were held hostage, but after security forces raided the church, 58 were killed and many wounded.

Unfortunately, this gruesome event likely will not be the last one. The group continues to apply pressure.

During the recent election, the need to emphasize human rights to the international community was barely mentioned. Of course, this is understandable.

With our economy in a mess and a war that continues, circumstances like the one just described gets brushed to the side. This is unfortunate, but it is a fact of life. Maybe it would have been different if some rich people had been killed.

However, we must never forget just how powerful a force for good America can be when it comes to this. Despite our nation's spiritual apathy, religious freedom is one of the rights that makes our nation so unique.

As Iraq continues to develop itself in the post-Saddam Hussein era, it will need constant guidance regarding what is truly important when building a nation. It is in our nation's best interest if Iraq does not become a fundamentalist state that oversimplifies what western culture is all about.

If Iraq develops in a good way, it can have a tremendous impact on spiritual freedom. All right-thinking people understand that religion cannot be crammed down a person's throat. Any time we hear of a government telling its people what its religion will be, we should realize a lot of people will be persecuted.

This is because a person's faith is the most intimate aspect of his life. At least, it should be. When we hear of a government trying to force people into a specific faith, many people openly rebel.

We hear of this all over the word. As much as people try to sugarcoat what China is, it is not a friend to Christianity.

The bottom line is people of faith all over the world need our help. On a personal level, we can all help.

But our government can, too. With all the election rhetoric dying down, hopefully, politicians will see there is work to do when it comes to human rights.

There is a lot of self-righteousness in Washington. The time has come to truly practice what we preach on this matter.

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