ANALYSIS: 60 Minutes and the Persecuted Iraqi Christians
The recent 60 Minutes segment on the state of Christianity in Iraq was an eye-opening reminder of what real persecution looks like.
Not known for their robust support of Christianity in general, or Christian values in particular, CBS’ long-running television news magazine program 60 Minutes produced a powerful segment on the plight of Christians in Iraq over the weekend that demands a viewing.
The segment speaks for itself, but there are a few specific points made in the course of it that are noteworthy.
First, the threats that Christians in this part of the world are facing put little squabbles about such trivialities as worship music styles and the “pews vs. chairs” for Sunday services debate into their proper context.
Second, at least some of the church leaders in Iraq have voiced dismay over America’s withdrawal of troops in 2011. One priest interviewed in the 60 Minutes segment said that our leaving prematurely in 2011 was far worse than President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. We can debate the reasons for “Why We Went In” until the cows come home — and there is a time and place for that discussion — but I doubt that even the president himself is pleased with the results since we left Iraq roughly three years ago.
Lastly, it is strange to see Iraqi Christians “bear arms” to protect their homes and loved ones. We are used to seeing brave American soldiers going off to basic training or to far-away foreign bases in countries like Afghanistan, but it puts things in perspective to realize that the armed soldiers 60 Minutes featured in their piece must defend the villages and countryside they grew up in. For most of us, “fighting” for the things we believe in means going to the polls on election day and posting articles on Facebook and Twitter.
But, historically, the Iraqi Christian experience may be more typical. Imagine how much human (and Christian) history has been punctuated by danger and violence of one sort or another. Even though the heinous acts perpetrated by ISIS are especially grotesque, Christians in countries like Iraq and Syria have seen violence around them their entire lives. And they are willing to both fight (defensively) and die in the name of Christ.
We should care much more than we do about the persecution taking place in the Middle East. We should also be humbled by the courage and conviction exhibited by these brothers and sisters in Christ.