Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Invisible Christians

It is unfortunate that it is taking large amounts of violence to wake Americans up to the fact that there are Christians living in places like Egypt and Iraq and that these communities are centuries old and in danger of being destroyed. But then again, how many Americans realize that large numbers of Japanese Christians died in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki? According to a 1962 Time magazine article, up to forty percent of Nagasaki’s Christian population was killed in the atomic bombing of the city. 

Part of the blame can probably be chalked up to a general ignorance of the outside world on the part of many Americans. But I wonder if perhaps the growing tendency to combine Christianity with aggressive American nationalism blinds many American Christians to the fact that our policies are not always in the best interests of Christians living abroad. For example, support for Muslim rebels in the Balkans and the Caucasus has largely backfired as we now see how radical many of these rebels were and how badly they have treated the Christian Serbs and Russians who were unlucky enough to come under their attack. The toppling of the admittedly dreadful regime of Saddam Hussein opened up a Pandora’s Box of sectarian violence that has devastated the Iraqi Christian population, not to mention Iraqis of all faiths.  

Perhaps many American Christians have a hard time identifying with the Christians of the East because their faith may seem “alien” to people who attend megachurches or because they may not even be “real” Christians in the eyes of some “Bible-believing” folks. In any case, I hope that by learning more about oppressed Christians abroad, we can be more critical about how our policies impact these people. The invisible are now visible.


  1. Afraid I can't really have much optimism here, especially after reading Orthodox converts saying that criticising Israel is anti-western.

  2. @Gregor,

    Thank you for the comment. I would think Orthodox Christians would be more likely to have a more critical view of Israel because of the way Palestinian Christians have been treated by the Israeli government. Are uncritical attitudes towards Israel more prevalent among converts as opposed to "cradle" Orthodox Christians?