As the Christian community seeks to celebrate the holiday of Christmas around the world, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) urges Christian faithful in churches and in private celebrations around the world to take a moment to remember those Christians that have been killed and injured by violent extremists because of their Christian faith. Let the Christian community remember that the celebration of Christmas also comes with a responsibility to help those who are struggling, those who need material and emotional support, and those who need hope and faith. The lesson of Christmas for the Christian community provides the promise of eternal life for its believers, but let us also remember the lessons to “love on another” here on Earth.
With the constant wave after wave of violence, terror, persecution, and tragedy around the world, there are those who have become numb to the horrors our fellow human beings are suffering. The Christian community must remember that among the struggling, there is often little and limited support for Christian minorities, as well as those Christians targeted in terror attacks anywhere in the world.
A day after the attack in latest attack in Melbourne, Australia, the victims are already being forgotten and news of their attack is being ignored. The grim reality is that in too much of the world, terror attacks are becoming “normal” to too many, and attacks on houses of worship, particularly when they involve attacks on Christian minorities often fail to get the world’s attention.
So R.E.A.L. urges the Christian community to continue to stand up for the human rights of freedom of religion, guaranteed to all people under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The disinterest of the “mainstream” news media cannot be a barrier to the Christian community taking an active role in making the world aware of targeted attacks on their freedom of religion and members of their faith community. The Christian community cannot accept the weariness of apathy, not from its own community, when there are so many others, including the news media, willing to turn their back in neglect on the attacks on the suffering of Christians.
Let us not forget what we learned from history in the 20th century. Even during Adolf Hitler’s Holocaust, the so-called mainstream news media did not aggressively and actively promote the reports of such crimes against humanity. Not only must Jewish individuals say “Never Again” when it comes to the Holocaust and such genocide, so too the Christian community must also say “Never Again” in depending on the news media and others to report on such atrocities. The Christian community must be its own news media on the attacks on Christians. This is not the responsibility of just a handful of hard-working and courageous Internet blogs and Christian human rights activists.
There are approximately 37,000,000 Christian churches in the world, and an estimated 2,400,000,000 Christians in the world. That is the Christian community that owns the responsibility for Christian human rights, not 10-20 Internet blogs, or a small number of Christian human rights activists. It is unreasonable and irresponsible for the Christian community to tolerate literal terrorist attacks on Christian community churches without a global statement of rejection, and the outstretched arms of the Christian community to help those fellow Christians who are literally under attack for their faith.
We see in too much of the world, Christians under attack, as we saw a week ago in the ISIS terror attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist church in Quetta, Pakistan, and as we have seen too often in attacks on Christian churches in Egypt, Communist China, Communist Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, India, and attacks on Christians throughout the Western world, including attacks on churches in Europe and the United States of America. The grim and dire reports of totalitarian states such as North Korea and the horrors visited upon Christians have also been part of recent reports.
Christians continue to face more threats of terrorism. In Pakistan, the U.S. Government has announced a warning to all of its employees in Pakistan to stay away from houses of worship in Pakistan, during the Christmas holiday season, after the ISIS terror attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist church in Quetta. In addition to the numerous terror attacks on Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, we receive news today of another mob attack on a church in Egypt due to extremist incitement. In the United States of America, a planned terrorist attack on Christmas Day by an ISIS supporter in San Francisco, California has just been foiled, and more threats are expected over the weekend and on Christmas Day.
The global Christian community must pray for protection. But the lessons of Christmas for the Christian community also call for acts of responsibility as well.
Christians are not taught to be weak. The call to love one another and for mercy are some of the most demanding calls for strength that exists in human existence. The core of the Christmas story is one of Responsibility and Sacrifice, that God would give a son in human form, to lead his people to grace and eternal life by seeking forgiveness for sin and faith. This is not a story of weakness. It is a story of strength. It is the most profound and dramatic story calling for RESPONSIBILITY that the world has ever heard.
Responsibility is a fundamental Christian value.
The Christian community has a responsibility: to protect their fellow worshipers, to protect those whose freedom of religion is imperiled by hate and terror, to protect those vulnerable individuals who cannot defend themselves, to call for a real effort to challenge and defy extremist ideologies -not simply terrorist tactics, and to help those who have been the victims of crimes against the Christian community.
Responsible for Equality And Liberty calls for the Christian Community, the 37,000,000 Christian churches, and the 2,400,000,000 Christians to work together to respect the Christian value of responsibility for the imperiled and attacked members of its community.
The Christmas holiday is about giving, in the joy of the gift that the world received through Jesus Christ. Amidst the Christian communities’ celebrations, the faithful must also be responsible for their suffering brothers and sisters in their communities and around the world.
We need more aggressive and more active responsibility to work to end the attacks on Christians and work to ensure their freedom. Certainly, the very least of such responsibility is to remember and help the victims of attacks on Christian churches. The British Pakistan Christian Association (BPCA), Open Doors, ChinaAid, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) have all worked directly with R.E.A.L. in the past, and R.E.A.L. can vouch for their good work, among other charity groups, including Barnabas Aid, and Aid to the Church in Need.
If the Christian community is not helping Christian charities help the victims of those literally attacked during Christian worship services, then a basic part of its Christian (especially during Christmas) responsibility is not being met.
The BPCA has reported extensively on the December 17, 2017 attack on the Bethel Methodist Church in Quetta (committed during a pre-Christmas service on the nativity story), its members killed, and their funeral. Pakistan Christian Pastor Asif Jhon reports that one small child injured (among many injured) during the terrorist attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church is still in critical condition. The pastor met with members of the family of victims, including one man who he knew that was killed.
R.E.A.L. calls for everyone in the Christian community to help those donation funds for Christian victims of such terrorism and persecution, such as the BPCA’s donation fund, which seeks to help the Quetta church and those in need, as well as the efforts by Pakistan Christian Pastor Asif Jhon, who has established a martyred Children’s Education Fund to help build the education of those children whose Christian parents were killed in terror attacks on Pakistan Christian churches.
The responsibility of mercy and compassion are the most important gifts that any member of the Christian community can provide at Christmas time. It is essential that the Christian value of such responsibility for the Christian churches and its believers, is respected by the Christian community as part of the joy and celebration of Christmas.
We urge all to be Responsible for Equality And Liberty.