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Friday, June 20, 2014

How Increased Security For The Church Can Be A Trap

In Star Wars Episodes V and VI, "it's a trap" became trademark statement. Princess Leia yells it when Luke finds his friends who were being held hostage by Darth Vader. It is also said in dismay by Admiral Ackbar during the attack on the 2nd Death Star. Both traps were signaled by bad circumstances and yet both situations were alluring. In part 2 of an interview, Dr. David Curry, from the group Open Doors USA, which is an advocacy group for Christians who are persecuted, unwittingly described a trap for Egyptian Christians in an interview published in the Christian Post (click here). Unlike the described traps from Star Wars, the trap for the Egyptian Christians was set in a relatively positive set of circumstances, the reduction in persecution. He attributed this reduction to government efforts to protect Christians.

It isn't that I am for the persecution of Christians, I am not. After all, I am a Christian. And because of having grown up in a country where Christians were not only protected, but privileged, I don't have much stomach for persecution and suffering. However, should Egyptian Christians align themselves with the government too closely in order to return the favor, then what could happen to them is what happened to Syrian Christians who aligned themselves with Bashar al-Assad's government. Just as when the Arab Spring turned revolution broke out, Syrian Christians were attacked for being too strongly associated with a dictator who violently suppressed the rights of others, any movement against the current Egyptian regime could see Christians being attacked as well for being allies of the Egyptian government.

Curry is careful to not provide a political analysis of the current Egyptian regime though such is partially described in a previous post on this blog (click here). The current Egyptian regime has not only been overly harsh against the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that governed Egypt as tyrants themselves, they have imprisoned thousands of the peaceful revolutionaries too as it has made protesting illegal. In fact, the current regime has violated the rights of so many Egyptians that the Obama Administration is cutting back in delivering promised military aid, something that has never occurred before even when Mubarak was Egypt's leader.

But it is not like Syrian and Egyptian Christians are the only ones vulnerable to traps, so are Christians from the West. Only for us, the lure is different, the lure is prosperity. We have enjoyed such a wonderful prosperity that we have learned to overlook how that prosperity extracts its toll from others. We have become anesthetized by comfort. Thus, we have lent the Christian name to the inhumane side of our prosperity.

To only be concerned with the welfare of one's own group is to volunteer to be nearsighted. And the unfortunate part of being nearsighted is that we cannot clearly see the dangers that lurk on the horizon. So we live in a false sense of security, we have fallen for a trap.

Now that reasoning is based on self-interest and we are called to be better than that. For Christians to represent God, we are to be interested in principles and morals and should thus object to the unfair treatment of anyone, even our enemies. Such a stand has already been taken by some of the revolutionaries in Egypt who both protested the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and yet opposed the human rights violations against the same Brotherhood who viewed them as enemies.

If we Christians are going to display the love of God which He constantly shows to us, then we can never be content with being treated fairly. Rather, we need to speak out against all oppression and injustice even when doing so risks the privileges and comforts that have come our way. After all, didn't Jesus let go of His lofty position to come and die for us?




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