Philip C Johnson, Ph.D.
April 28, 2019
To say things have been tough on religious groups lately would be an understatement. On March 15th, two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand were attacked killing 50 people. One week ago today, on April 21st, Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, 253 people were killed in an attack in Sri Lanka, specifically targeting churches, Christians and high-end hotels. And yesterday, Saturday, April 27th, (on the last day of Passover) a Synagogue in the San Diego area (Poway) was attacked, killing one and wounding three others. Here’s what we can learn:
What are the similarities among the attacks?
- All three incidents were acts of evil.
- All three attacks were against religious groups.
- All three attacks took innocent lives and left other lives shattered.
- The episodes provided a reminder that evil does exist in this world. Clearly exists.
That’s about it as far a similarities.
How are the attacks different?
- Both the mosque attack and the synagogue attacks were perpetrated by lone terrorists who were motivated by either a white-supremacist ideology or an anti-Semitic ideology. Not a religious ideology.
“The Sri Lanka terrorists left no manifesto – because there was no reason to explain. Their manifesto was written 1400 years ago in the form of the Koran.”
- The attacks on churches in Sri Lanka were committed by a local radical Muslim group and aided by an international network of terrorist. ISIS has taken credit for the attack. (Side note: ISIS may have lost its territory, but their ideas are still alive and well and like a nasty virus, they are adapting to new ways of spreading their beliefs, weaponizing followers and bringing death.)
- The terror attacks in Sri Lanka were on a much larger scale, including attacks on three churches and 2 luxury hotels and killing at least 253 people and wounding hundreds more.
- Both the Christchurch mosque and Poway synagogue attackers left manifestos explaining their actions and rationale in often incoherent ways.
- The Sri Lanka terrorists left no manifesto – because there was no reason to explain. Their manifesto was written 1400 years ago in the form of the Koran. But we’re not supposed to discuss that, right? We’re not supposed to express concern over the ideology and beliefs of a large religious group that could motivate (OK, mandate) its followers to commit such an evil act. The attacks were motivated by a religious ideology – an ideology held by a lot of people – not by everyone, but by too many. Don’t expect the media to mention that or to talk about that motivation as much as they spoke about the random musings of the New Zealand mosque attacker. The belief of some (too many) Muslims to take the Koran literally, obligates fundamentalist to engage in such horrific actions.
- Political and media leaders were quick to condemn the violence in New Zealand and the San Diego area and show their solidarity with the Muslim and Jewish communities. Regarding the mosque attacks, the media was quick to blame every possible conservative thinker or person who ever questioned the ideology behind Islam – blaming them for inciting violence against Muslims, simply by questioning the teachings of a religion that in intrinsically tied to terrorism. But the media was hesitant and slow to link the attacks in Sri Lanka to Islamist, radical beliefs.
The Sound of an Echo Chamber:
One of the odder pieces of communication in the aftermath of the attacks in Sri Lanka was the response of two Western leaders – Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Apparently, they both tweeted essentially the same thing expressing their concern and condolences for the “Easter Worshippers” in Sri Lanka. (Both using the same British spelling of the word “worshippers, instead of the American version “worshiper”.) It would be hard to believe that one voice was not echoing the other. (Hillary’s tweet came about about 3 hours after Obama’s.) But why these particular words? I do not know any Christians who worship Easter. And the word “church” was not mentioned. Why not refer to them as Christians? Everyone referred to those killed at the Christchurch mosque as Muslims and some went as far as to wear the traditional hijab head scarf in solidarity with the Islamic community. So, which non-Christians are wearing crosses around their neck in support of the Christian community?
“The left has essentially forbidden mention of all the anti-Christian murders perpetrated by Muslims in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and of all the Muslim desecration of churches in Europe, Africa and anywhere else.”
Both leaders, when responding to the Christchurch mosque attacks condemned white supremacy – and they should – but why didn’t they condemn radical Islam in Sri Lanka? Why are they afraid to identify the ideology of a group that has murdered more people, more Christians and even more Muslims than any white supremacist.
According to Dennis Prager in an article for realclearpolitics.com, “The reason neither of them (Obama and Clinton) mentioned Christians or churches is that the left has essentially forbidden mention of all the anti-Christian murders perpetrated by Muslims in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and of all the Muslim desecration of churches in Europe, Africa and anywhere else. This is part of the same phenomenon — that I and others have documented — of British police and politicians covering up six years of rape of 1,400 of English girls by Muslim “grooming gangs” in Rotherham and elsewhere in England.
Essentially, the left’s rule is that nothing bad — no matter how true — may be said about Muslims or Islam and nothing good — no matter how true — may be said of Christians or Christianity.”
The Persecution of Christians
The media and some politicians may not want to talk about or report on Christian persecution. But the facts tell a different story and it’s time we recognize that: Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. This is backed up by a number of sources, including OpenDoorsUSA.com and the Pew Research Center, as reported at amazing.facts.org and Katie Palich’s article on townhall.com.
“But the facts tell a different story and it’s time we recognize that: Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world.”
According to OpenDoorsUSA, an organization that tracks global Christian persecution, 15 of the top 20 most dangerous places for Christians are Muslim majority countries. According to Open Doors, on average, every MONTH, “345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons. 105 Churches and Christian buildings are burned or attacked. 219 Christians are detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned. During the 2019 reporting period, 4,236 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons.” That’s 11 Christians killed every day for their faith. Check out the full report here and here.
The media doesn’t cover Christian persecution because it doesn’t fit their narrative of the promotion and protection of the “victim” in a world of victim identity politics and philosophy. It certainly doesn’t fit the narrative that Islam is a religion of peace. Yes, there are people who identify as Muslims who are peaceful – but that characterization would offend ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram – who were responsible for well over half of all terror-related attacks in 2018. And I haven’t even mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and it subsidiaries – and the list goes on.
So, the plight of Christians is roundly ignored by the press and politicians. God forbid we even name Christians as victims. It simply wouldn’t fit into the preconceived story that the media is selling – that Christians and the West in general are the natural aggressors in the world and the oppressors of classes of “victims.”
“The media doesn’t cover Christian persecution because it doesn’t fit their narrative of the promotion and protection of the “victim” in a world of victim identity politics and philosophy.”
One of my heroes in the world of geopolitics is Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó. As a representative of the people of Hungary, he is not afraid to recognize Hungary’s Christian heritage, the fact that Christians are being persecuted and Hungary’s Christian community’s responsibility to help brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering around the world. Currently, Hungary is helping to rebuild houses and Christian churches in the Middle East. I like it when I see benevolent, God-honoring faith put into action. Given the violence of the past two months, we need more of that.