Since last summer, the plight of Assyrian Christians and the Yazidis in Iraq has been on the front pages of every news outlet in the Western world. The tragic fate of these people has drawn the attention of people from the left to the right, Christian and non-Christian.
Yet, Mainline Protestants in America have remained conspicuously silent.
In the past few weeks, ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Following that, the terrorist group kidnapped more than 200 Assyrian Christians in northeast Syria and has also systematically destroyed the centuries-old works of art housed in the Mosul Museum in northern Iraq.
Yet, if you visit the news section of the United Church of Christ’s website, you would be hard pressed to find anything about the Assyrian people and their fate. It took my denomination nearly four days to issue an odd statement of solidarity with the “Egyptian partners.”
The denomination’s official Facebook page shows something similar. Since the beheadings, it ran three stories about real and alleged instances of discrimination against Muslims in the United States, the same number about the Keystone Pipeline, and one story about the beheading of Copts. It took two days for the Assyrians to make it to their wall.
To be fair, my denomination is not alone in their indifference. A cursory glance through the website of Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Lutheran churches yields similarly meager results.
Which brings me to a quote from Rabbi Abraham Heschel:
Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself; it is more universal, more contagious, more dangerous. A silent justification, it makes possible an evil erupting as an exception, becoming the rule, and in turn being accepted.
Not all Christians have remained silent on the issue — both the Church of Scotland and the Church of England in the United Kingdom have been relentless in highlighting the plight of Christian minorities in the Middle East. The Moderator of the Kirk and Pope Francis called immediately for prayers for the release of the Assyrians.
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SOURCE: On Faith