Monday, 27 December 2010

Sorrowful Christmas

Yesterday I blogged about how Christmas is surrounded by days and feasts commemorating those who have died violently or sacrificed much as a result of religious hatred and persecution. Yesterday was St Stephen's day and tomorrow is Holy Innocents. At the same time as Michael Scott-Joynt  takes up the slightly wearying refrain that Christians in the UK are subject to various hardships, we might do worse than remember the very real violence and atrocity which Christians in Iraq are facing. Many Christians have fled Baghdad after the attacks back in October, and those who remain have celebrated Christmas in deep grief and in fear for their lives, unable to openly express their faith. This  article , a short news report from Youtube, is well worth watching.


  1. It is a testimony to the cheapening, to the point of meaninglessness, of our public dialogue, that the Christian minority which was protected and free under the rule of the "despot" Saddam Hussein, is, thanks to the benevolence of democracy, persecuted and in danger of extinction.

    The effete narcissism and moral lethargy of the Church are very much to blame for not standing implacably in the way of the destructive imperial arrogance of our two countries, which have created this horrendous situation.

  2. Strong views, but I have to say I agree with you. Nice to hear from you, it's been a while:)

  3. wayward disciple, i think you must not have been in the uk when half the nation stood up and disagreed with this war. some yes perhaps many began this period misunderstanding the 'politics' and real issues not most people do despair and have taken to their feet including the leaders of the church.
    blogs like this are a testament to it, that we are saddened, living in grief, hoping for a way to make a change.
    With governments now moving further and further from listening or even giving an ear to the church in decisions, the church has very little say and will have even less in the future.

  4. There was a great deal of protest against the war at the time. I don't really remember if any church leaders spoke out against it. I do wonder if now we are in danger of ignoring the legacy we have left behind there though.

    Apart from whingeing that Christianity is sidelined, I don't hear the church speak up very powerfully on issues of the day, maybe I'm just not listening, or maybe it is because of the lack of credence or role given to the Church in our society.

  5. it would be wonderful if the church were not only able to speak up, as i remember they did, but also continue to speak up as i am sure they do, but also act.

    If we could act to enable people to have the finances they need. Surely this is something that should come via the priests who are serving. The needs of the people should be shared with the church and the world and then we should have systems in place that enable us to support our brother and sisters both in prayer and practically.

    I get frustrated that systems are not easily accessible and problems and needs shared.

    my father in law spends much of his time raising funds and then taking that to pakistan to do exactly this. making sure it goes to the people and is used wisely is essential but not hard.

  6. I remember the pre-war protests clearly, and most of all the unity between Christians and Muslims that was evident there.

    I was serving on a national urban community forum at the time with a number of local Muslim leaders from around the country. We all converged on London for the march united in purpose and hope.

    Tony Blair's woeful epitaph is not just that he sat comfortably in George W's pocket, but that he squandered this genuine sense of national and religious unity against the war.

    Furthermore, if the money poured into the war on Iraq had been used to rebuild Afghanistan when the Taliban were still a defeated force, we would not be fighting an unwinnable war there now, further increasing religious divisions at home and abroad.

    I fear that it may take several generations to rebuild a sense of national and religious unity in this country, and in the meantime Christians and Muslims continue to die in the Middle East in unforgivable numbers.

  7. It is a situation of our making that we seem to largely ignore now. I also see no signs of remorse from Blair.
    As I said, there was much protest at the time. I remember a muslim student of mine going to London to protest. I don't remember any church leaders speaking out strongly though? Could anyone give me a name of a bishop (Archbishop?) that was prepared to really speak up strongly against the war? They don't seem to speak out emphatically on anything now - other than that Christians are seen as relics and not allowed to discriminate as they see fit...hmmm.)

  8. I saw, across the planet, including in the U.S. and U.K., millions of people protesting the war. The fact that our leaders went ahead in spite of the outcry, and in spite of the illegality of the attack, shows that the purported democracy of our two nations is a sham.

    My point is that the leaders of the Churches have the moral duty and the intellectual resources to mount a devastating and sustained campaign of resistance against the leaders who initiate and wage wars of aggression, and also to appeal to the consciences of military personnel, particularly enlisted men and women, not to put their souls in jeopardy by cooperating in a massive systematic evil. The reason that the Church lacks influence is that it has sidelined itself (as usual) by focusing on intra-ecclesial struggles over sex, and even there it has shown little courage or resolve. It has made itself foolish and irrelevant.