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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Remember Them: Christians Terrorized in Egypt, Syria

Amidst the busyness of our lives we often need the admonishment: "Remember!" We use it in slogans to bring to mind the lessons of history. Remember the Alamo. 9-11: Never forget. Or maybe for our Occupy friends: Remember, remember the 5th of November. The author of Hebrews exhorted his readers: "Remember those in prison as though you were in prison with them, and those ill-treated as though you too felt their torment" (Hebrews 13:3 NET).

This verse first impacted me nineteen years ago when my wife's grandmother introduced me to The Voice of the Martyrs. Upon her recommendation I requested a copy of Richard Wurmbrand's Tortured for Christ. I remember reading the book while flying on missions when I was in the military. When I finished the book I immediately called The Voice of the Martyrs and asked how I could help. Several months later I was passing out Gospel cassettes in Arabic to third-country-nationals working in Saudi Arabia.

Hebrews 13:3 came to my mind again this week as I read of yet another round of Islamic attacks upon Coptic Christians in Egypt. Loyalists to the Obama-backed Mohamed Morsi regime fire-bombed three churches in central Egypt on August 14th. Another church was attacked the next day. These are the latest in what some are calling a "war of retaliation" following the Coptic church's support of Morsi's removal. However, as one commentator has pointed out, "The Brotherhood is not 'retaliating' against Christians. Islamic supremacists are persecuting Christians . . . which is what they do in Muslim-majority countries."

Meanwhile, the religious cleansing of Christians continues in Syria. Jihadists of the Obama-backed Free Syrian Army are intensely targeting Christians which has caused many of them to flee to the slums of Turkey. The Carmelite nun Sister Agnes-Miriam reported back in December that "an estimated 300,000 Christians have been displaced in the conflict, with 80,000 forced out of the Homs region alone." Agnes-Miriam provided these figures in the same interview in which she told of a Christian, Andrei Arbashe, being thrown to the dogs after his kidnapping and beheading at the hands of Obama-supported rebels in Ras Al-Ayn.

Hebrews 13:3 calls upon Christians to remember these brothers and sisters in Christ as if we were feeling this torment ourselves. If I was experiencing this persecution I would want it to stop. I would want to know that help was on the way. I would want to know that I have not been forgotten. What can we do for these Christians who are being attacked by Islamists across the Middle East?

1) Call upon President Obama to stop his active support of the Islamist regimes who are violently cleansing their countries of Christians. Demand that Congress cease all funding for jihadist rebels who are using their resources to behead Christians and displace them from their homes. This week the activist community I co-created, Evangelicals for Liberty, reported on Sen. Rand Paul's attempts to stop the billions in illegal foreign aid that is currently flowing into Egypt. Sen. Paul states,
 "While President Obama 'condemns the violence in Egypt', his Administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for it. The law is very clear when a coup d'├ętat takes place, foreign aid must stop, regardless of the circumstances. With more than 500 dead and thousands more injured this week alone, chaos only continues to grow in Egypt. So Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law, and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt." 
 President Obama could have easily used the coup as a face-saving event to withdraw his financial support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt yet he refuses to do so. With elected officials returning to their home districts for summer recess, now is a opportune time to make our voices heard on American-funded attacks upon Christians in Egypt and Syria.

2) Support Christian ministries on the ground in areas of high persecution. In a recent article entitled, Syrian Refugees 'Hungry for Message of Jesus;' Christians Urged to Help, the Christian Post reported on World Compassion's relief efforts in Syria. Executive Director for Terry Law Ministries, Eric English, explained, "It was just amazing because the Bibles went faster than the food did. They were very hungry for the message of Jesus Christ." English continued, "The tragedy of the Syrian war has created a vast opportunity for the Gospel to be ministered in the Middle East. On a social level, we have a responsibility to respond to the crisis as Christians, and to help people who are in need." Ministries on the ground in these areas have a tremendous opportunity to share the Gospel and provide relief but they need the support of Christians around the globe.

3) Educate yourself, your family, and your church about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world. The Voice of the Martyrs is a great place to begin your education. I encourage you to sign up for their monthly newsletter and ask to receive a free copy of the book, Tortured for Christ. VOM also has resources for children such as their website: http://www.kidsofcourage.com/. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is the first Sunday in November. VOM states, "In September, VOM will offer several resources to help facilitate your IDOP event, including a short, inspirational video, brochures and prayer cards." Now is a perfect time to prepare.

Christian persecution is running rampant in the Middle East. We owe it to our brothers in sisters in Christ to remember them as if we, too, were experiencing their torment.

This article originally appeared at ClashDaily.

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