Christian Persecution Around the World
By Jack Kerwick
Pope Francis, the Holy See of the church to which I’ve belonged my entire life and that I continue to regularly attend, has spent relatively little time during his tenure devoting much energy to underscoring the Church’s traditional, however Politically Incorrect, positions on such hotbed issues as abortion, same-sex marriage, and, say, Jesus’s unique standing in God’s economy of salvation.
And even though it is the baptismal promise of every Roman Catholic to renounce Satan and all of his works, to unequivocally repudiate evil wherever it rears its hideous head, Francis scarcely speaks to the abominations of the world.
He can, however, be counted upon to renounce capitalism, climate change, and the members of Western lands who lack enthusiasm for welcoming into their home countries untold numbers of Third World aliens who are not only demanding citizenship and material support, but who have created a number of other social problems (like criminality). The Pope repeatedly informs us that this skepticism reflects a deficiency of Christian charity.
Francis has shed many tears and engaged in much handwringing over the legions of Muslims that have flooded Europe in recent years demanding support while claiming to be refugees. However, for the millions of his fellow Christians who have been made to endure unimaginable suffering (not infrequently administered to them by Muslims) Francis has said relatively little.
He has said nothing, for example, about the fact that Iran is ramping up its persecution of its Christian citizens.
Nor has Pope Francis commented on the fact that in Burma as many as 1.6 million Christians are being targeted by what Open Doors refers to as “a genocidal war.” The Kachin State, in Burma’s northern region, consists of Christians who once traded their natural resources in amber and jade for cash, food, and textiles.
Today, they trade for guns.
According to Open Doors:
“Representatives of the Kachin Independence Army told Sky News earlier this year that the Tamadaw, the Myanmar [Burmese] military, has been targeting the Kachin for years. And while the conflict is as complicated as it is violent, some believe that the government is trying to wipe them out because roughly 95 percent are Christian.”
The Burmese soldiers “[have] burned more than 400 villages and 300 churches in Kachin, displacing an estimated 130,000 people over the past seven years.” Moreover, since April, just a few months ago, “more than 7,000 people have fled their homes [.]”
To its eternal credit, The Guardian, of all outlets, has done its bit to call attention to what it characterizes as “Myanmar’s invisible war on the Kachin Christian minority.” “Many” of the over 130,000 Christians to have been displaced over the years “are stranded in the jungle or trapped in conflict zones.” To compound this tragedy, “aid agencies say they are being blocked from providing food and other vitals supplies to civilians trapped in the forest”—which amounts to a violation of international law.
The Guardian quotes both Stella Naw, a political analyst and writer, and San Htoi, joint secretary of Kachin Women’s Association Thailand. Naw states that although this is “a war where civilians are being systematically targeted by members of Burma army,” “the international community chooses to overlook it.”
Htoi concurs. “It’s an invisible war,” she insists. To prove her point, Htoi alludes to the United Nations’ Security Council’s recent visit to Burma, a visit during which they didn’t come close to Kachin. “They left the country without knowing” a thing about the latter.
In Mali, a predominantly Islamic country that, owing to its secularism, had been relatively tolerant of the Christian minority in its midst, a militant Islamic group has gained control of some regions. Consequently, life has not been kind to Christians.
The story of “Naomi” is not atypical. Naomi hails from an Islamic family. Upon the death of her father which occurred when Naomi was eight, she and her siblings went to live with her uncle. He sent the girls to an international Christian school, the institution to which Muslim parents would send their children if they wanted for them to be able to land lucrative occupations. Naomi explains that, given her hatred of all things Christian at the time, there was never any concern on the part of anyone that she would ever convert to Christianity.
But, when she was twelve, the unthinkable occurred and Naomi became a Christian.
Her family disowned her, evicting her from her home.
A missionary family, temporarily living in Mali, took in Naomi and, according to her, treated her like one of their own. “They loved me like their own daughter,” Naomi recalls. “From them, I learned more about Christ and grew in my faith.”
Yet when her adopted family returned to their home country, Naomi returned to her family, whose members would regularly and “cruelly” harass her for her faith. They would spit at her and curse the blood that they shared with her.
At 16, Naomi met a man from Belgium and married him. Together they had two children, Ibrahim and Youssouf. They remained, however, in Mali, where their Muslim neighbors would call Naomi a “kafir” (infidel) whenever she would walk through town or shop in the market place.
Matters, though, would get worse.
Naomi’s family, “more than once,” sent jihadists to her home to intimidate and harm her and her own family. When her husband was away on a business trip, he was murdered, gunned down in cold blood. “He was killed for his faith, and for marrying an ex-Muslim,” Naomi says. To this day, she remains oblivious to the location of her remains.
When the jihadists subsequently invaded her home, they abducted her one son, a young teenager, Youssouf, as she and the boy’s brother watched in horror. “Ibrahim, my second son, was terrified,” Naomi remembers. “He held on to me and kept whispering, ‘Jesus help us, Jesus help us.’”
As soon as the men left with her son, Naomi began praying. “I was on my knees all the time, pleading for the Lord to protect my son.”
Thankfully, within two days, Youssouf returned home. He was “whipped severely,” but because he pretended to be deaf and mute, his captors released him.
Youssouf and his brother Ibrahim are both traumatized from this event. Open Doors managed to secure for Naomi and her sons a place to live, something for which she is thankful. Nevertheless, though life is better than what it had been, she remains the target of relentless pressure from her Islamic neighbors who “laugh at me when I sing and pray.”
Pope Francis, who can’t resist issuing public denunciations of free enterprise, “climate change,” and “xenophobia” (when the latter is allegedly being committed by Western peoples toward Islamic and other immigrants), will say nothing about the Naomis of the world.
In both of these respects, he proves himself to be a member in good standing of the international community of elites.