|23/5/05||Just what every Iraqi needs: A Bible|
Monday/Tuesday, May 23-24, 2005
Enough is enough for the Christian community in Iraq. The head of Iraq’s largest Christian community, Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, recently scathingly attacked the evangelical Christians who have taken their crusade to Iraq since the illegal U.S. invasion of March 2003.
Delly told Al-Jazeera News on May 19 that Iraq did not need Christian missionaries because its churches dated back long before Protestantism.[*] He objected to the aspect of trying to convert Muslims and said, “You can’t even talk about that here.”
According to Delly, the evangelicals attract poor youths with displays of money and then “take them out in cars to have fun. Then, they take photos and send them here, to Germany, to the United States and say Œlook how many Muslims have become Christian.’”
Delly was a strong opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. When he was asked if he had contacts with U.S. authorities, he said:
Frankly, I try to avoid meeting them as much as possible. They are the occupiers. The occupied don’t want to be occupied. That’s human nature.
To me, it is problematic that Christian evangelical organizations from the United States are now flooding Bibles into Iraq when, prior to March 2003, few knew the location of the country, and fewer still could point out Iraq on a map. In fact, many cheered on the March 2003 invasion.
Pat Robertson was openly hostile toward Iraq. He accused the U.S. administration of being soft on Iraq. Yet, his group had thousands of Bibles to take to the country once the U.S. destroyed it.
Jerry Falwell, another U.S. icon to the evangelical citizenry of the U.S. was in on the venture as well. In 2002, he said that, according to his interpretation of Christianity, Mohammed was a terrorist. Therefore, kicking the merde out of a country populated by a Muslim majority was necessary in the fight against terrorism.
In July 2002, I interviewed George Galloway, the peace activist who recently won a seat in the British Parliament. He told me how religious groups in England and Europe were paramount in the peace effort. Then, I told him how many U.S. religious organizations were calling for war and he was quite surprised. We talked for a while on the difference between U.S. evangelical Christianity and the Christianity practiced in Europe.
By the autumn of 2002, various U.S. groups had placed orders for thousands of Bibles, in the anticipation of an invasion. Robertson bragged about how many thousand he had on hand to use when the time came.
After the invasion, Iraq was flooded with Bibles and U.S. citizens teaching the Iraqis the errors of their ways. They would save the morally-corrupt Iraqis and get them away from their religion of Islam.
The missionaries have paid a price. In March 2004, four U.S. Baptist missionaries were killed in Iraq. The following month, seven South Korean Presbyterians were kidnapped, but eventually released. Two months later, a South Korean evangelical Christian was beheaded.
When word gets back to the U.S. about such violence, it only adds fuel to the already rabid ideas of the evangelicals. To them, their warped opinions had been proven: the barbarians must be tamed and only Christ can do that.
As an atheist, I am neutral about religion. I do not denigrate the aspect of various faiths unless, as in the case of some fundamentalist Christians, the concepts of science or knowledge are under threat. Or, if a religion is outright racist or homophobic, I will state my opposition to those aspects. But, I do not consider one religion to be superior to another.
Today, evangelical Christianity has been self-appointed to change everyone in the world and make them adhere to the evangelical mode of Christianity. This is where it differs from most world religions. Just imagine a hoard of Muslims arriving in the U.S. with thousands of copies of the Koran and publicly stating they were about to save the population of the country. Within hours, there would be many new cells erected at Guantanamo and the Muslims would have an all-expenses paid trip to Cuba.
Campus Crusade for Christ is an outfit based in Orlando, Florida. The name is fairly well-known and little-criticized because most people assume they do good work. The name of the organization sounds benign, however, its work is far from harmless. On its website, you can see dozens of pictures of Bible-thumping in Iraq. Also, there is the mandatory “Send us your money” message.
Let me highlight a few statements made from its “Bibles for the Middle East” section:
People in this part of the world are desperate for such materials. 2004 was declared the Year of the Bible throughout the Arab world and interest is high. Thousands of people are seeking to receive a copy of the Bible.
So, with a new year before us and so many opportunities on the horizon, would you consider a gift of $50 to get 25 Bibles into the hands of people in spiritually dark countries? Whatever you could do would be a tremendous blessing during a time of great spiritual hunger.
People in these nations are hungry for God’s Word, our staff are willing to risk their lives to deliver it.
Another section called “Iraq Schoolbags” offers the following statements:
Praise God with me. Because thanks to your prayers and gifts, the doors are open to share the love of Christ with the next generation of Iraqis ˜ young boys and girls who are open to new ideas and who are the future teachers of their nation.
Continuing a strategy first launched last year, their goal is to distribute 100,000 school bags to these little ones, each fitted with urgently needed paper, pencils, and other school materials, along with evangelistic children’s books. In this way, just weeks from now, thousands of future Iraqi leaders will have the opportunity to come to know Christ.
I’m sure you praise God with me for this excitement and for the fact that, thanks to this distribution, a generation of Iraqis is finally hearing the Truth about Christ.
From 1991 until 2003, Iraq was unable to import paper and pencils for its students. Many times, the Iraqi government pleaded with the world to rectify this injustice. Where was the Campus Crusade for Christ? Most of its affiliated groups are ultra-conservative and supported the sanctions against Iraq.
Today, the organization takes credit for bringing pencils and paper to Iraq. But, inside the package is the obligatory Christian propaganda. I would commend them if they supplied only pencils and paper, but if that were the criteria, the group would stay home in Florida.
Iraq’s Christians have been in existence for almost 10-times longer than the United States. The country is well aware of Christianity.
Until March 2003, Iraqi Christians and Muslims lived in peace. Neither side tried to convert the other. Even Jews lived in Iraq in harmony. But, the new Iraq is on the verge of sectarian violence that could become ugly. All because of the intervention of the U.S.
Christian evangelists who travel to Iraq to save the savages are merely taking a cue from their masters in Washington. They are so ignorant that they think Iraqis have never heard of Christ and must be taught to see the light. In reality, most Iraqi Christians and Muslims are probably more knowledgeable about Christianity’s history than the light-skinned invaders from the Florida group.
U.S. bombs and missiles destroyed the physical portion of Iraq. Now, zealous missionaries are trying to destroy the belief system of Iraq. Fortunately, for the Iraqi people, neither ploy has worked to destroy their will. Resistance works at many levels.
[ * ] …Not only Iraq’s Christian community …but the Islamic KORAN already states the belief in Jesus:
Behold! The angels said: ‘O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word
…The Holy Quran, Chapter 3, Al Imran 45 …plus 24 more times!