‘Like Lambs to the Slaughter’

It began as a typical worship service at a large, evangelical church in Oromo, Ethiopia. But the sermon was abruptly interrupted when government soldiers burst through the doors. Many worshipers were arrested, and some later died in jail. The pastor was set free—but only after his eyes were plucked out. This horrific story was recounted in a recent Wall Street Journal article by Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Horowitz hopes to bring international attention to the plight of Christians who are being persecuted and often killed for their faith. The examples are heartbreakingly plentiful. In Pakistan, speaking against Mohammed is punishable by death. In Sudan, Christian children as young as six are sold into slavery. Christian converts in Egypt are imprisoned and tortured. In Saudi Arabia, citizens are paid a bounty of $3,000 for exposing a home Bible study class. Instead of helping these people, the U.S. government often makes their plight worse. When Christians escape from oppressive regimes, they contact U.S. embassies. Our laws demand that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigate claims of religious persecution. But instead, the INS usually sends these Christians back home. They are literally delivering them up like lambs to the slaughter. Ironically, it isn't evangelicals leading the fight to defend persecuted Christians. Instead, much of the frontline fighting has been done by Michael Horowitz, an American Jew. Last summer, Horowitz fired off letters to 150 American mission boards asking them to help him do something about the persecution of Christians worldwide. Their response? So far, a resounding silence. It's a reaction that appalls Horowitz. He says, "If I'd written an article about anti-Semitism in Islamic countries, by now I'd be overwhelmed with calls from Christian groups. "Why," he asks, "is the Christian community so indifferent about fighting for the human rights of its own people?" Good question. Instead of sitting in our comfortable churches, lifting our voices in song, we ought to be on our feet howling in outrage. We ought to be calling our leaders in Washington, demanding that something be done about the INS violations that betray the very people we've historically thrown our gates open to: victims of religious persecution. Remember, more than 300 years ago, the Puritans fled to America because of religious persecution. And 100 years later, Quakers dropped anchor here for the same reason. Armenian and Assyrian Christians who fled Turkey in the early 20th Century were welcomed here with open arms. Why then, are we now slamming the door on Christians from Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and China? Why are we turning a blind eye to violations that lead to the torture and murder of millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ? If you'd like to help, call BreakPoint to request information on how you can pressure our government to help persecuted Christians around the world—believers who deserve more from us than to be delivered up to their oppressors . . . like lambs to the slaughter.


Chuck Colson


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