“The very concept of freedom, including religious freedom, has ancient Christian roots.” Ken Starr
“Contrary to popular perceptions, the precursors for modern ideas of liberty are rooted in Jewish scripture and the writings of early Christians such as St. Paul, Tertullian and Lactantius.” Ibid
Christian persecution in the Middle East undermines hope for democracy.
Ken Starr, “No tolerance without Christianity,” USA Today.com, December 13, 2013
In a recent speech at Georgetown University, a British cabinet minister said some startling things about Christians in the Middle East:
“Across the world, people are being singled out and hounded out simply for the faith they hold…. [Middle Eastern Christians] are rooted in their societies, adopting and even shaping local customs. Yet … [a] mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is real danger that Christianity will become extinct.”
Such a public expression of concern about Christians is unusual for a Western government official. This speech was particularly striking because it was delivered by a Muslim – Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a Brit born of Pakistani parents. Warsi understands better than most the costs to the Middle East if Christians flee.
The silence of Western governments about this phenomenon and its primary cause – the rise of Islamist extremism – is at best short sighted. The Christian exodus represents not only a humanitarian crisis, but a looming national security problem for the West.
As Baroness Warsi notes, Christians have helped shape the cultures they are now fleeing. In Iraq, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, Christian communities have lived and worked for almost two millennia. If they continue to exit the region, or if they continue to be persecuted and repressed, the increasingly thin chances that Middle Eastern countries will develop into stable, peaceful societies, free of violent religious extremism, will virtually disappear. Continue reading