BLOG 223 October 27, 2014
Westerners have a hard time accepting fighting and killing for religious reasons. The concept is completely foreign to our way of life. You can think that the Jehovah Witnesses are a cult and the Book of Mormon a bizarre fabrication, but you wouldn’t go around shooting their adherents. Pluralism means you live and let live without any group being shown social preference.
Sorry. In the Middle East, they kill each other.
In Iraq, IS (or the Islamic State earlier called ISIS) announced in every mosque that Christians must convert to Islam or pay an exorbitant fine. Failure to do either leaves them “nothing but the sword.” Towns like Mosul and the surrounding Plain have been the Christian heartland for 2,000 years. Today, these Christians are running for their lives. In Baghdad, Monsignor Pios Cacha predicted that Christians would be facing the same eradication that the Jewish community experienced half a century earlier. Once a city with a Jewish population of 150,000, only 10 Jews remain in Iraq today.
The establishment of the Christian community preceded the birth of Muhammad by 600 years. In the first century, the preaching of Saints Thomas and Thaddeus established a church that flourished in Assyria. Today, the massacres by IS are wiping out this heritage.
The religious group called the Yazidis experienced the same threat. The Yazidis fled to the barren Sinjar mountains to escape IS. As Is closed in on them, their plight with no food and water was one of the reasons that finally pushed Obama into approving airstrikes.
The rationale for this killing spree had been postulated to be revenge because they consider Christians and Yazidis to be apostates who will not join the caliphate the IS is pushing. Fear has sent 2 millenniums of inhabitants running for their lives.
The Sunday, October 26, edition of the New York Times ran a front page story on the horrors facing the IS hostages that were recently beheaded. Following interrogations, beatings, and isolation in Syria, the hostages were starved and pushed to the psychological limits of sanity. When the final executions came, the world watched in horror as throats were slashed and men beheaded.
In the year of our Lord two thousand and fourteen, how can we accept these totally unacceptable acts? We cannot.
We are now in a phase where the United States has finally responded (after a far too long delay) to these murderers. American and Allied airplanes are taking a toll on the IS troops and pushing back. The world appears to be waking up to the fact that religious wars produce the worst and most barbaric assaults in history.
Civilization itself remains on trial.