Don’t Speak

My favorite No Doubt song goes by the same title. However the meaning of that song has nothing to do with the context of my article. What happens when we don’t speak up when we see an egregious wrong committed? I keep a picture of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on my desk along with his quote to remind me. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us innocent. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” What was Pastor Bonhoeffer talking about? Silence in the face of the Nazi Holocaust.

There is another holocaust going on right now. Christians are being exterminated, or religiously cleansed, throughout the Middle East and northern Africa. Do we hear outrage from the media, UN or NATO? Our own US President was warned a year ago about the dangerous Islamic terrorist group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq). The Iraqi government begged him to take down these terrorists while they were still in the formation process, yet the Administration did nothing and it’s still doing nothing. Not to act is to act.

Who is speaking up? The Iraqi Prime Minister has condemned the atrocities. Pope Francis has spoken out as has numerous Christian and Jewish leaders, but local and national media refuse to cover it. It’s up to us to get the word out to our family and friends about the possible extinction of Christians in the Middle East, especially in the wake of the loss of religious freedom here in the US. That is exactly what Bonhoeffer was doing—sounding the alarm about what he saw in his homeland and he couldn’t understand why others weren’t doing the same. Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.

Christianity was first brought to modern-day Iraq by Jesus’s Apostle, St. Thomas, in the 1st Century. Mosul, Iraq, is the capital of the Ninevah Province. It is thought to be the birthplace of Abraham and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Mass has been celebrated in Mosul every day for over 1,600 years but that tradition abruptly ended when ISIS issued an ultimatum to the Christian community, “Convert to Islam, leave or die.” ISIS burned the Syriac Catholic Diocese, a 1,600-year-old church and Mar Behnam Monastery, an1800-year-old church to the ground. Earlier this month, members of ISIS took sledgehammers to the tomb of the biblical prophet, Jonah, and just 3 days ago CNN reported that they put explosives around the site and blew it up.

Iraqi Christian homes were marked with the letter “N” in Arabic, which means “Nazara” or Christian. As Iraqi Christians fled their homes last Saturday they were robbed of all their possessions. His Beatitude Mar Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church wrote, “We do not know what will happen in future days because in Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.D.s for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation.” In 2003 there were over 1,000,000 Christians living in Iraq. That number is now approximately 250,000 and falling. Does any of this sound familiar?

When we don’t know our history we have a tendency to repeat it. We can’t afford to be Neville Chamberlain, British prime minister from 1937 to 1940, who believed by appeasing Hitler’s Germany, Britain would be left alone. We know how that turned out. Nor can we forget the history between Hitler and the Middle East. The country of Persia changed its name to Iran in 1935 at the urging of the Iranian Ambassador to Germany who was a Nazi sympathizer. Thousands of years ago Iran was known as Aryānām, Land of Aryans in Persian. Hitler believed Germans were direct descendants of an Aryan race, a pure-blooded German race. Hitler, playing on their identity and their shared hatred of the Jews, formed an unholy alliance. It is also believed Hitler had much to do with the Iraqi coup in 1941. Why would Hitler woo the Middle East? Because he would then control the vast supply of oil for Germany.

You can’t deny the shared hatred of Jews, marking Christian homes, businesses and houses of worship with the letter “N” (remember the yellow star of David?), the abduction, killing and expelling of minorities (including other Muslims), use of the words ethnic cleansing and extinction. The parallel between the Nazi holocaust and the Islamic holocaust is compelling. And if we are doomed to repeat history, we won’t act until this nation is once again the victim of a massive terrorist attack.

The world is a different place than it was in the 1930’s. But some things never change. Nobody wants war, but as Christians we have more at stake. God said of Israel “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” – Genesis 12:3. God will not hold us innocent.

Nazi concentration camps were preserved so people would never forget. We can visit the Holocaust museums here in Chicago and in Washington, DC. The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place used to be required reading in all grammar and high schools. 9/11 was only 13 years ago. Anyone under the age of 15 doesn’t remember it and most television stations won’t show the images because they may upset some viewers. Really? So you expect people to remember the Holocaust over 70 years ago? Thanks to Common Core, nationalized school curriculum, the Holocaust and World War II are no longer taught in US schools. Do you think this is just an oversight? Not to speak is to speak.

As Christians we have a moral obligation to speak the truth. Tell your friends and neighbors about the Christian Holocaust taking place right now. Talk to your parish priest about it—I bet he knows. Encourage him to speak about it in his next sermon. Host a screening of Schindler’s List, The Hiding Place or For Greater Glory. Remind all of the courage of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Corrie ten Boom. Explain to them who the Righteous Among Nations were. I would also share with them the story of the persecution of Catholics during the Cristero War in Mexico 1926-1929 and the 25 Mexican saints and martyrs who remained true to their faith. And please share the words immortalized by Pastor Bonhoeffer who had the courage to both speak and act.

 

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Hello and Welcome to Life Lines by Lucie

Just do it!  I’ve been debating whether to start a blog for months.  Today the Holy Spirit went all Nike on me.  So I did it.

Life Lines by Lucie is written with a unique female Catholic perspective.  You will notice all my posts are titled after some of my favorite songs–although the post itself may not have anything to do with the meaning of that song.  I write what the Spirit compels me to write.

You will find timely, sometimes humorous, always thought-provoking prose (or at least I pray you do) about what I’m thinking, seeing or feeling.  I can’t say it’s not based on my particular mood for the day, well you know how that goes.  The Spirit moves in mysterious ways.

Fire and brimstone?  Not here.  However, watch out if someone eats the last rice crispy treat or I’ve misplaced my favorite umbrella with the silver handle.  It will not be pretty.

A little bit about myself?  Well I’m just a regular mom with one step in the metropolis that is Chicago and the other foot in rural Indiana.  I like the best of the both worlds.  There is much to say about both places.  I have been writing since I could.  I’ve been published a few times and written about subjects as diverse as science fiction, fan fiction and romance–but personal experience pieces were always my favorite.  I was born a Catholic but drifted away once my children became teenagers.  Still I was always searching for that something that made me whole and content.  I tried out different religions but when it was all said and done–I chose to be a Catholic and fell in love with Jesus in the process.  I now have a wonderful personal relationship with Jesus that I cherish each day.  I chose to be a Catholic–how great is that?

Well, again, I truly hope you enjoy my posts and I look forward to hearing from you.

God bless and always remember, God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

Lucie