Viewpoint: Concern at destruction of Middle East Christians

Fr Robin Gibbons

Fr Robin Gibbons

What is happening to the Christian communities in the Middle East is nothing less than martyrdom and destruction of their heritage and our ancient origins. The news in Iraq is more than grim, it is catastrophic, and yet, where is the voice of the Western Christian community? The Anglican Church voted for Women Bishops last week and good for it, but in all their rejoicing did anybody in General Synod raise a voice to speak out for the daily martyrdom and destruction of a faith that has remained rooted in a country and culture for two thousand years? They may have, but all those bottles of champagne and jubilant voices cannot drown out the cries of those who daily are being persecuted and killed for their faith.

This is the reality of Christianity at the knife edge and we who are so spoilt, so rich in resources and privilege need to now turn our attention to our own faith. How many Roman Catholic parishes this week drew attention to something so incredible that we cannot comprehend it, that today perhaps the LAST Christian has left Mosul?

Think of that, let this quote prick our consciences and get us moving out of our spiritual comfort zone:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that the persecution of Iraqi Christians who have been driven from their homes in Mosul by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants could constitute a crime against humanity, Agence France-Presse reported.

We have it so easy those of us in democratic countries, we talk of a Christianity being under threat of bias in the media, and yes that exists, but it is of a different order to the magnitude of the situation these Christians face. Other bad news, the dreadful calamity of the aircraft shot down over Ukraine, the humanitarian situation in Gaza claim our attention, but surely we still have room in our hearts and breath in our voices to speak out nationally and internationally for those of our own faith, our Eastern brothers and Sisters.

They too are the little ones of the world, remember the words of Matthew's Gospel (Mt 10: 32-33) "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven." We are being called to be witnesses, this is no empty challenge, we are being called by the Spirit to stand up and speak out for those who cannot speak, we are being called to witness to Christ in these members of His body.

Tags: Anglican Church, Christian communities, Fr Robin Gibbons, Iraq, Middle East, Women Bishops

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