I was out on an errand last week when a pal who is an Anglican seminarian —strange several of my closest friends are clergy; no doubt there is a message there— mentioned to me that the president had just signed a bill to protect and support Christians in the Middle East who had been targeted for destruction by ISIS. The legislation also supports Yazidi victims of ISIS. As usual, well done, Mr. President. That goes more so in this holy season.
Now while ISIS has been soundly beaten, the consequences of their barbarity remain, as do remnants still trying to spread their odious power. The Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390) was signed on 12/11 and was actually a bipartisan effort that passed unanimously in both Houses. The advocacy was led by sherpas Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo of California. It took more than a year and a half to make it through Congress.
On hand for the formalities were various religious and diplomatic leaders to include Veep Pence, our Ambassador to the Vatican Callista Gingrich (nice work, Newt) and Supreme Knight (cool title) of the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson. I put in that plug for the Knights because I am a second-degree Knight myself. Hey, stop sniggering. I joined for the funny hats and because I thought that henceforth I had to be addressed as “Sir David.”
The population of Christians in the area is down significantly. Only less than 200,000 of the 500,000 that were in Iraq, before ISIS arrived in 2014, remain there. We routed them about a year ago, allowing Christians to celebrate Christmas in Mosul for the first time in four years. Along with associated security assistance, the funding that comes with the measure will restore, sometimes build, infrastructure bludgeoned by ISIS during its reign of evil incarnate. We’re not talking rebuilding Starbucks here. We’re talking the basic stuff like food, water, sanitation, electricity, etc.
Targeting of Christians is not limited to the Fertile Crescent, but is alive and flowing all over the world in morally repugnant places like the Sudan, China, and American college classrooms. The papacy, much to their ignominy, even cut a recent deal with the Chicoms allowing the Reds power over appointments of Roman Catholic clerical hierarchy in China. Another act by a pontiff who makes the Know-Nothing Party look like Mother Angelica. Christian slavery in the Sudan, much of it the result of the 1983 Sudanese Civil War, ranges up to 200,000 enslaved by Moslems who control the north. The captives sell for about the price of a knockoff NFL jersey.
I would like to say this list of horrors is somewhat surprising. But we know that today and throughout history religious bigotry seems to be the default setting for those weak of mind. I even had an acquaintance who I thought bereft of such idiocy tell me recently, all within thirty seconds, that the U.S. should have religious tests for holding office and that Catholics were not Christians. Besides the historical ignorance and basic stupidity of such assertions were the intellectually nerfy assumptions of wacky sources who probably riled her up with frothing hyperbole and sham history. She also wasn’t convinced the moon landings happened. Feeling the awkwardness one feels upon encountering a moderate- to slow-thinking cocker spaniel, I beat a hasty phone retreat and wondered how she had gotten through the riggings of my cretin net.
Now the international aspect of targeting Christians for destruction I quite understand. The Red Chinese can have no gods above the state and radical Islam is trying to put a competitor out of business, a high-pressure marketing strategy she rolled out about 1400 years ago. Her market share peaked a couple of times, but religious consumers usually prefer their theologies without mandatory beheadings or elective roof diving.
But the motivations of Western hatred of Christianity leave me with a cold bitterness towards the purveyors of it. It is, of course as are most Western intellectual fashions, based on jealousy and masochism. It is promulgated by those whose own lives tend to be shattered vessels of self-broken dreams and third-rate ideologies. Instead of looking in a mirror or reading an objective book of history, they will spew outward the miasma that engulfs their being and hold responsible their betters for all their own misfortunes.
It would be fine if they left the rest of us alone and focused on their own misery. But that wouldn’t be fun at all. So they infested Western culture, taking a beautiful, yet not perfect, aspect of it, Christianity, and slinging mud until by sheer frequency of delivery their twisted message began to take hold. Today, far from the initial phase of the program, anti-Christian bigotry and loathing constitute the ideals of a majority of Western intelligentsia so much so that the fondly remembered in comparison to his successor Pope Benedict XVI referred to Europe as “post-Christian.”
I should, as my faith instructs, wish good upon those who blight it with their internal neuroses and seek to mortally wound it for their own blood-stained benefits. I struggle with this, and with other more idealistic tenets of my belief, when faced with a base attack on its existence. I badly try to hope these morally barren churls will eventually see the golden beacon of faith and put away their hatred for at least tolerance of a different system of worship. But if history is instructive, and it always is, vigilance will do more than hope to enhance the survival prospects of the Christian West, faced as it is with enemies within and without. Sam Huntington, call your office.
But fear is not the order of the day. As at Lepanto and Vienna, as when individuals can respect the ideas of others who do them no harm, as when the West will recover its fiber from days of yore, so will the final triumph of Christendom ring out onto all lands where free people can still think, and love, and pray.