Turning a Blind Eye to Murdered Christians

FrontPage Magazine | Mark D. Tooley | Aug. 17, 2009

In June, North Korean’s beastly communist dictatorship executed a 33 year old Christian woman for distributing Bibles, while also imprisoning her 3 little children, husband and parents, in conditions undoubtedly ghastly.

Several weeks ago, mobs involving hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of enraged radical Islamists destroyed several Christian villages in Pakistan, responding to incendiary rumors about Christians supposedly desecrating the Koran. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, and at least 14 Christians were murdered, including three Christian women and a child who were burned alive as the radicals torched houses and shops.

U.S. church groups largely have been stunningly silent about these atrocities. At least the Geneva-based World Council of Churches and the Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury denounced the Pakistani outrages.

But U.S. church groups like to reserve their fire for what’s really important, such as denouncing Israel for evicting two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem. On August 2, Israeli police, executing a court order, evicted 50 Palestinians from their houses in the Sheikh Jarrah section of East Jerusalem. Apparently the Palestinian tenants were refusing to pay rent to the Jewish owners, claiming that the homes were rightfully theirs. The Jewish landlords sought the court order against the tenants. The legal history behind the properties, across decades of Israeli, Jordanian, British and Ottoman control, is naturally messy.

This messiness did not hinder Churches for Middle East Peace almost immediately to contact Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to demand that the U.S. “insist on the immediate reversal of this ill-considered eviction and on the restoration of these houses to their former residents.” The signers include the Catholic Bishop who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, the President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the General Minister of the United Church of Christ, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the National Council of Churches, and several left-leaning Catholic orders, among others.

Maybe all these senior church officials are still drafting their statements of concern about the murdered Christians in Pakistan and the executed North Korean Christian woman, along with her imprisoned family. But it took only five days for Churches of Middle East Peace to organize its denunciation of Israel after the August 2 evictions, which followed the North Korean and Pakistani murders. It’s not clear why it should take two weeks, or two months, to condemn what should be manifestly deplorable to all in North Korea and Pakistan. The evicted Palestinians lost their homes and their belongings were removed to the street. Hurtful and humiliating, no doubt. But several hundred Pakistanis had their homes and all their belongings burned to the ground by angry mobs motivated by hateful mosque gossip, with 14 Christians dead, and little response from Pakistani police. The North Korean woman was quickly executed after a fraudulent trial, where she was accused of espionage, while all her immediate family were quickly imprisoned in retribution and for example to others. Why do home evictions, however unfortunate, gain more church sympathy than murders and mass arson, or state-ordered execution for religious belief?

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