Last week, people from around the world stood in solidarity with the Jewish people on Yom HaShoah. Holocaust Remembrance Day is a solemn and sacred day of remembrance for the six million Jewish men, women, and children who perished in the Holocaust.
Watching the Obama administration feverously try to sell the Iranian Nuclear agreement brings back frightening comparisons to Neville Chamberlain’s overly optimistic defense of Adolph Hitler’s intentions before all hell broke loose in Europe. The Iranian leaders’ open threats of death to Israel and America are portrayed as internal posturing, while the criticism of the deal by Israel and Congress are portrayed as unrealistic and unconstructive. But Iran’s support for terrorism around the Middle East, their past broken agreements and thwarted inspections, and their lack of religious freedom fosters more concerns than confidence.
As horrendous as the Nazi’s final solution to exterminate the Jews was, they never invited the world media to cover their atrocities. It was only after World War II that the world was confronted with the unseen horrors and mass killings.
The Islamic evil that we face can’t be ignored. Rogue Islamic regimes promote an Islamic caliphate and promise to wipe Israel, our best regional ally, from the face of the earth. They support Islamic terrorists who don’t hide their atrocities from the media, but eagerly broadcast their killings.
In Garissa, Kenya, a small group of Al-Shabab terrorists broke into dorms and a Christian prayer service at Garissa University killing 147 and wounding many more. In a March bombing in Lahore, Pakistan, fourteen Christians were killed and seventy wounded. Before that, ISIS beheaded twenty Egyptian Christians and broadcast it to the world. Around the Middle East and in Africa, it appears to be open season on Christians and Jews.
On a trip to Israel in 2005, our group met with Josh Reinstein, the Director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. Realizing the need for Christian support for Israel, Reinstein warned that with growing Islamic populations, Europe was already lost. Only the US, Canada and Australia had the foundational Judeo-Christian values that must lead them to stand against the coming Islamic caliphate.
American Christians have been a comfortable majority. They haven’t had to defend their faith or to face any real persecution. Now, the dire plight of their brothers and sisters in faith around the world seems hard to believe. Are we called to do more than pray?
Elie Wiesel, in his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, reminded the world, "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
Are we to be lamb or lion? During the exodus journey, the prophet Balaam declared that the forces of the Lord’s people were as irresistible as a mighty lion or lioness. Isaiah talked of a time when Israel’s lion-like God will come to fight for his people and Jerusalem in prevailing over their enemies. Micah saw a time when “survivors from Jacob will live among the nations, in the midst of many peoples. They will be like a lion among the animals of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which attacks when it passes through; it rips its prey and there is no one to stop it. Lift your hand triumphantly against your adversaries; may all your enemies be destroyed!”
Jesus admitted that wars would continue. St. Augustine and Aquinas posed the just war theory and the need to stand against evil.
Yes, Christians are called to love our enemies, to pray for them, to witness to the grace of God. But where is the just war support to face our generation’s genocidal threat? What if the world had not come together to defeat Hitler?
Ever since God came down from Mt. Sinai and put up a Stop sign to man’s sin, the Judeo-Christian faiths have been hated. In ancient times, our brothers and sisters in Christ faced gladiators and lions in the amphitheater because of their faith. What does it mean to take a stand against evil in our time?