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To the shores of Tripoli….

February 16, 2015

Most of you will recognize that phrase as from the Marine Corp Hymn, the oldest official song in our nation.  That line is from the Battle of Derne, fought in 1804 in the Barbary War.  Just a few days ago something else happened on the shores of Tripoli.  21 Coptic Christians, most of whom were poor people who had migrated from Egypt to find work, were beheaded by ISIS.  It was reported that many of them cried out “Oh God!” or “Oh Jesus!” as they were pushed to their knees and beheaded.  As always, ISIS released a video of their gruesome actions.

The heading on the video was “People of the Cross.”  In a tragic way I find that title beautiful.  These brothers in the faith lost their lives in the most barbaric of ways simply because they followed Jesus who, like them, was put to a gruesome death.  May their blood cry out to God as the blood of Abel did.

May their blood also be a sign to Christians in America who have cried persecution all too often.  It is time to stop pretending that being asked to bake a cake for a gay wedding is persecution.  It is time to stop crying persecution when we lose a tax exemption due to discriminatory hiring policy for the Noah’s Ark replica we are building.  It is time to stop saying that granting the same sex couple down the street the same right to marry that I have is persecuting me.

There is real and horrifying persecution around the world, and Christians are not the only target.  I’ve seen the disgusting video of an auction selling Yazidi women and girls into sex slavery too.  Sometimes, as in Central Africa, Christians are doing the persecuting.  The problem is real and deserves our prayers and attention.

But what American Christians face is nothing like persecution and it is time to stop calling it that.  So here is my request…

The next time you feel the need to cry persecution or about your “loss of religious freedom” here in America, stop and think.  Think about the image of 21 Christians in orange jump suits kneeling with knives at their throats.  Think about their cries of “Oh Jesus!”  Think about their blood staining the shores of Tripoli.  And vow never again to cry persecution over some minor loss of privilege in a land that gives us so much.

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From → Christianity

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