Syria is complicated. But American Christians shouldn’t use that complexity as an excuse for silence
As we can see, since World War I, Great Britain and the U.S. have been interfering in Iraq on the assumption that “Iraqis are Muslims”—with terrible consequences for those Iraqis who aren’t. If we are to avoid turning that assumption into a self-fulfilling prophecy, great care must be taken: a care that recognizes that human beings are not transplantable puzzle pieces, but image-bearers of the Most High God, with all the beauty, freedom and diversity that title brings.
American Christians who care about the fate of Christianity in Iraq now have a very small window of time in which to make their voice heard on this issue. If no protection is forthcoming, the last Iraqi Christians will leave, and Iraq will join much of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as a Christian-free zone – until such time as God decides, in his mercy, to light the lamp of the gospel in that broken country once more.
It is my hope that in telling the story of the body of Christ – the church – in the Middle East, we can shed some light on this confusing and tortured region, and better understand the contradiction between America’s noble goals in the Middle East, and the terrible wreckage it has created there.
In this series of columns for iAt, I will endeavor to tell the story of the United States and Middle Eastern Christians, from the 1950s until today. But first, I want to set the stage by challenging how we think about persecution. How do we make mental sense of horror movie scenes like the bloodbath at St. Mark’s?
None of these sad truths seem to fit the questions we normally ask about American wars: “Are we winning?” “Are we safer?” “Who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys?” Rather, in the Battle for Mosul, all the major players are “bad."