Christians aren’t the only ones who pay for Afghanistan’s lack of religious freedom?
The U.S.’s failure to intervene or even condemn Afghan officials who arrest Christians may be difficult to swallow for families of young Americans who are fighting – and dying – in a country that does not allow religious freedom for non-Muslims.
By Mindy Belz
10/9/2010 Afghanistan (World Magazine) – There are two ways we journalists digest and retell the often cruel and besetting news of this world: We wall off our hearts, perhaps hoping to leave a working passageway for stuff that might somehow affect us personally; or we let the bad stuff have its way. We may cope by distraction—submersing ourselves in cigarettes, booze, late-night reruns, pet grooming, Facebook, shopping, model train collecting, or other. We may manage the horrors of life by returning to the scene of the crime, or otherwise living dangerously, or by looking to someone mighty enough to save.
I never get my walls built high enough. I’m weak and want to indulge distracting habits when I learn (as I did this week) of Christian workers overseas kidnapped, tortured, and raped, so traumatized they were unable to speak once released. I confess that looking to someone mighty enough to save is sometimes my last resort. The bad actors of the world seem too wicked. But the persecuted Christians usually bring me up short, because they are living this battle I only write about; they have counted the cost of following Christ and have decided to go all the way.
Since Afghan Christians were arrested over the summer after a nationwide broadcast showed Muslim converts to Christianity being baptized, several have been released. Several were escorted across the border to Pakistan to safety—hardly a long-term solution. But several remain in jail—also quietly: They have not been charged with crimes nor have their cases received diplomatic or other public attention, though some have been beaten and tortured. So a climate of fear remains, as Christians in Afghanistan do not know what their enemies—either in or outside the government—will do next.