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For such a time as this: the suffering church

ICC Note:

A commentary on the persecuted church and why America needs to make their needs known to the presidential candidates as something that the country cares about.

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1/30/2008 Indonesia (FloridaBaptistWitness) For the next 10 months, presidential candidates will be telling us how they plan to make the world a safer place for Americans. Now, that’s good, of course, but there are other people whose safety American Christians ought to be concerned about: that is, Christians suffering for their faith around the world.

As its name suggests, the greatest object of the Alliance’s ire are converts to Christianity. A spokesman told Al Jazeera that “Conversions to Christianity in Indonesia . . . have become increasingly serious.” He then added that “in my judgment I think it is a bigger evil than terrorism.”

Given the well-documented willingness of Islamic radicals to use violence to further their ends, calling anything a “bigger evil than terrorism” is no idle threat. It is the verbal equivalent of painting a “bull’s-eye” on the back of every Javanese Christian.

While Islam is the religion typically associated with the persecution of Christians, it does not have a monopoly on the practice.

In the week following Christmas, Hindu extremists burned 14 churches and killed one Christian in the Indian state of Orissa. The attacks are part of a larger campaign of violence prompted by Hindu fears over—that’s right—people converting to Christianity.

You probably will not hear this issue brought up at a presidential debate. That is why American Christians have to make the mistreatment of their brethren an issue in this year’s elections.

This is especially true given our privileged position: We are citizens of the most powerful nation on earth, a nation for whom freedom of religion is, arguably, the first freedom.

We also have experience at bringing the suffering of people in faraway places to the attention of our fellow Americans, whether it has been the plight of North Koreans, the Sudanese, or the global AIDS crisis.

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