Comments 8

  1. Wow … This is one of the most engaging, challenging, and gut wrenching articles I have read on the Middle East in a long while. Thank you Joel.

  2. Thank you for this important article. Over 40 years ago Rev. W. Benson Male (my father-in-law and a retired Orthodox Presbyterian minister), spent a year in Lebanon and three years in Egypt. He saw first hand the struggles of Christians in the Middle-East even at that time. He wrote a pamphlet, “Who Owns Palestine?” to challenge the popular assumption that Arab peoples should be driven out of Palestine. While anti-Semitism is certainly always wrong, we do have to consider whether we stand most closely with largely secular Israeli’s or with Christian Arabs – our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died and for whom He intercedes at God’s right hand! Along with becoming aware of the persecution of our fellow-believers in the Middle-East and in Sudan, we need to remember the importance of prayer. Revelation 5:9-11 portrays the souls of the martyrs under the altar crying out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” In Revelation 8:3-5 it becomes clear that God’s judgments do not take place without the prayers of the saints. Surely God has authority to avenge those who persecute His people, but He has determined to begin His great work of judgment only “together with the prayers of the saints”. This should encourage us to remember our brothers and sisters regularly before His throne in heaven. Will we cry out to the Lord for His deliverance?

  3. An excellent analysis and call to action for American Christians. For historical reasons one can understand a bias in favor of the State of Israel, but for Saudi Arabia?! Joel, do you know how Christians are treated in Iran?

    1. Thank you very much, Professor Pryor. I know less about Iran. Christians there face state persecution, but they are not threatened in their existence, and unlike in Saudi Arabia, they are allowed to have open church services. People who convert to Christianity from Islam in Iran are often imprisoned or even killed. This is a good website run by Iranian Christians about these issues:

  4. Joel, you have given a perspective which very few have given. It seems most of the nations have chosen to serve money over God

  5. This is awfully good. I agree we should not let governmental, national, and political opinion to totally frame, shape, and direct how we see or what we see and who we see and value or fail to see and value. At the same time these issues are complex and we have stakes and sides as Americans and as Christians that are always in conflict. Politically Israel can be an ally to stand with but not blindly, naively, or through the lens of aberrant apocalypticism. Christians in Israel are better off and more secure than elsewhere in the middle east for a reason. This may be less true for Palestinian Christians, but sometimes these problems resemble European history. Arab Christians are often Arabs first and Christians second as German and French Christians were German and French first, Christian second in the 18th and 19th centuries. Perhaps if we were all Christians first we would be better off. It is hard to ignore the facts of realpolitik in the middle east, where true moderates, liberals, and more comfortably modern and western leaders are rare or in weak positions outside Israel. Our relationship with the Saudis is deplorable on the one hand, but on the other our interests align — not with wahhabism but the business of keeping Iran in check. Followed rationally that interest would have kept us out of Iraq. Perhaps the Christian thing to have done in that case would have been to think more shrewdly and act more innocently. Stability and many lives might have been saved.

    Sometimes the interest of supporting the least worst regimes may be a moral and strategic mistake as well. President Obama could not bring himself to keep his promise to recognize the Armenian genocide in Turkey, which Turkey still denies. Hitler himself, writing about his own “moral” justification for igniting genocide and world war referenced the Armenian massacre as something justified by everyone forgetting about it. The victors write a history where their might makes right, but only by standing with their victims can truth defeat this lie. So many lies, and so many victims — we should be more educated and careful with what we say and do in the world.

  6. Thanks for your article. You mention that the average American Christian can give money. I am aware of Voice of the Martyrs. Are there other organizations we can consider funding?

    1. Thanks Mark! There are many organizations based in the U.S. or Europe working to help persecuted Christians; most of them are woefully underfunded as opposed to other Christian relief or political organizations. As a staff member at Christian Solidarity International (who I am not speaking for in this article), I can really only speak to the quality of our work. We have a small staff and low overhead, and the vast majority of our budget goes to providing relief aid or microloans to refugees from persecution, getting people out of slavery in Sudan, medical treatment for victims of anti-Christian terrorism, and supporting Christian education in countries where Christian communities are threatened. Our main areas of work are Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, South Sudan and India. Our website is Please e-mail me if you have any more questions about it: Another good organization in Iraq specifically is the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization. It was founded by local Christians and focuses on relief and legal advocacy for all Iraq’s threatened religious and ethnic minority groups (Yazidis, Sabeans, Shabaks, etc.)

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