Iraq - end of Christianity 2
Christian Persecution

It is time to arm Iraq's anti-ISIS Christian militia

 

While HM Government faffs around arguing over whether we should be calling the Islamic State ‘ISIS’, ‘ISIL’ or ‘Daesh’ because, according to David Cameron, the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state, the Christians of Iraq are being systematically cleansed from a land they have inhabited since Thomas the Apostle and Thaddeus of Edessa first brought the gospel to Mesopotamia in the first century AD.

There is a long but very informative piece in The New York Times Magazine – Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? – which surveys the scene of the Islamist eradication of Christianity, with heart-rending stories from Qaraqosh and Mosul of torture, rape and summary beheadings of those who bear the mark of the ‘Nasrani’. The Islamic State may be ‘self-styled’ to David Cameron, or ‘so called’ for the BBC, but the Caliphate now stretches from Turkey’s border with Syria to south of Fallujah in Iraq. It walks like a state, and talks like a state..

What we don’t hear much about is the local fight-back. There are, apparently, Assyrian Christian militia units determined to defend their lives, property and (first and foremost) the expression of their faith against the murderous death cult which threatens their existence. We didn’t arm the Kurdish peshmerga, so they were forced to retreat as the Islamists advanced. ‘‘We didn’t have the weapons to stop them,’’ says Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the peshmerga. “..the Kurds had not allowed the people of the Nineveh Plain to arm themselves and had rounded up their weapons months earlier. Tens of thousands jammed into cars and fled along the narrow highway leading to the relative safety of Erbil, the Kurdish capital of Northern Iraq, 50 miles away.”

As ISIS (or whatever you want to call them) terrorise, murder, loot and destroy, they give the Christians a choice: “They could either convert or pay the jizya, the head tax levied against all ‘‘People of the Book’: Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews. If they refused, they would be killed, raped or enslaved, their wealth taken as spoils of war.” There are stories of those who choose to stay being whipped for refusing to convert to Islam, so the choice isn’t really a choice at all: it’s stay in fear and perpetual oppression, or depart for exile and hardship.The ‘cleansing’ has been brutal; the statistics are stark:

From 1910 to 2010, the number of Christians in the Middle East — in countries like Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Jordan — continued to decline; once 14 percent of the population, Christians now make up roughly 4 percent. (In Iran and Turkey, they’re all but gone.) In Lebanon, the only country in the region where Christians hold significant political power, their numbers have shrunk over the past century, to 34 percent from 78 percent of the population. Low birthrates have contributed to this decline, as well as hostile political environments and economic crisis. Fear is also a driver. The rise of extremist groups, as well as the perception that their communities are vanishing, causes people to leave.

..‘‘Since 2003, we’ve lost priests, bishops and more than 60 churches were bombed,’’ Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, said. With the fall of Saddam Hussein, Christians began to leave Iraq in large numbers, and the population shrank to less than 500,000 today from as many as 1.5 million in 2003.

It is a curious thing that as the ‘Christian West’ has helped to rid the world of “the biggest threats to world peace” – Saddam in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya – thousands upon thousands of Christians have been displaced, crucified or slaughtered; the rivers and seas have turned red with the blood of martyrs. And in Syria?

Since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Assad has allowed Christians to leave the country. Nearly a third of Syria’s Christians, about 600,000, have found themselves with no choice but to flee the country, driven out by extremist groups like the Nusra Front and now ISIS. ‘‘As president, he made the sheep and the wolf walk together,’’ Bassam said. ‘‘We don’t care if he stays or goes, we just want security.’’ Assad has used the rise of ISIS to solidify his own support among those who remain, sowing the same fear among them that he tries to spread in the West: that he is the only thing standing in the way of an ISIS takeover. This argument has been largely effective. As Samy Gemayel, leader of the Kataeb party in Lebanon, said: ‘‘When Christians saw Christians being beheaded, those who saw Assad as the enemy chose the lesser of two evils. Assad was the diet version of ISIS.’’

We can look at photographs of weeping widows and orphans, and we can watch TV footage of bombed-out churches, make-shift coffins and blood-spattered walls. But we can’t smell a land that reeks of decaying corpses, or feel the pain of those who are living through this great tribulation. Church of England Bishops call for asylum to be granted to their suffering Christian brothers and sisters, but the Government dare not be seen to discriminate against suffering Sunni Muslims, Yazidis, Shia Turkmen, Shabak, Kaka’i or the Mandeans, so it does nothing. Actually, not quite nothing: “..more than 100 British military experts have been training local forces in combat techniques, as well as showing them how to deal with car bombs.”

It is nowhere near enough.

While the UN Security Council meets and debates what to do, the overwhelming perception is that of paralysis and inaction. Humanitarian aid is welcome, but there will be no end to its need unless and until the Islamic State has been degraded and wiped off the face of the earth. ‘‘Americans and the West were telling us they came to bring democracy, freedom and prosperity,’’ wrote Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon who addressed the Security Council. ‘‘What we are living is anarchy, war, death and the plight of three million refugees.’’

It has been nearly impossible for two U.S. presidents — Bush, a conservative evangelical; and Obama, a progressive liberal — to address the plight of Christians explicitly for fear of appearing to play into the crusader and ‘‘clash of civilizations’’ narratives the West is accused of embracing. In 2007, when Al Qaeda was kidnapping and killing priests in Mosul, Nina Shea, who was then a U.S. commissioner for religious freedom, says she approached the secretary of state at the time, Condoleezza Rice, who told her the United States didn’t intervene in ‘‘sectarian’’ issues.

..More recently, the White House has been criticized for eschewing the term ‘‘Christian’’ altogether. The issue of Christian persecution is politically charged; the Christian right has long used the idea that Christianity is imperiled to rally its base. When ISIS massacred Egyptian Copts in Libya this winter, the State Department came under fire for referring to the victims merely as ‘‘Egyptian citizens.’’ Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, says, ‘‘When ISIS is no longer said to have religious motivations nor the minorities it attacks to have religious identities, the Obama administration’s caution about religion becomes excessive.’’

Frankly, all this is as trivial as whether we call the Islamic State ‘ISIS’, ‘ISIL’ or ‘Daesh’. If you were a Christian in Qaraqosh and Mosul, you either flee for the plains of Nineveh or stay and fight for your life. We can weep with them and pray for them; we can send money or write letters of support. But if HM Government will not grant Iraqi Christians asylum, the least it could do is help to arm the anti-ISIS Christian militia. Yes, it will stoke civil war and stir sectarian strife, but the hope of defeating, humiliating and eradicating ISIS is the only hope for a more secure and stable world.

The Nineveh Plain Forces, a 500-member Assyrian Christian militia, patrols the town. The N.P.F. is one of five Assyrian militias formed during the past year after the rout of ISIS. It shares a double aim with two other militias, Dwekh Nawsha, an all-volunteer force of around 100, and the Nineveh Plains Protection Units, a battalion of more than 300: to help liberate Christian lands from ISIS and to protect their people, possibly as part of a nascent national guard, when they return home. The two other militias are the Syriac Military Council, which is fighting alongside the Kurds in northeastern Syria, and the Babylonian Brigades, which operate under Iraq’s Shia-dominated militias.

A few of these militias are aided by a handful of American, Canadian and British citizens, who, frustrated with their governments’ lack of response to ISIS, have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight on their own. Some come in the name of fellow Christians..

..In Iraq, the militias operate at the front only with the approval of the Kurdish peshmerga, who are using the fight against ISIS to expand their territory into the Nineveh Plain, long a disputed territory between Arabs and Kurds. Even to travel 1,000 yards between bases and forward posts, the Christian militias must ask the Kurds for permission. The Kurds are looking to integrate all the Christian militias into their force..

War is always tragedy, but a just war is the lesser evil. To stay is to die, and exile is death. Unless we are content to watch the systematic massacre of Iraq’s Christians and the eradication of Christianity from the Middle East, we must arm the anti-ISIS Christian militia. If we fail to do so, it won’t only be a porcelain statue of Jesus that’s missing its face.

  • The Explorer

    I can think of three arguments that could be given against arming Iraqi Christians. I am not saying they are valid arguments; simply that they are the sort of points that opponents of Christianity delight in making.
    1. Thou shalt not kill.
    2. You must turn the other cheek.
    3. To arm Christians against Muslims would be to be guilty of Islamophobia.

    • Dreadnaught

      You really want it both ways don’t you? But as you are directly unaffected by the suffering of others you are also in no doubt prepared to led others lay down their lives to preserve you own – the is a word for this, but I really can’t be arsed engaging with you.

      • The Explorer

        I’m afraid I don’t see how your statements follow on from mine; or how both ways (whatever they may be) follow on from three points.

        You don’t want to engage; fine. In which case, you could not have done better than not commenting in the first place.

  • Dreadnaught

    A knowing and courageous post YG. Bravo!

    • IanCad

      Absolutely! Not only right on the money but a call to arms.
      It is perhaps a testimony to the weakness of character shown by our leaders that this nonsense continues.
      From the idiocy of Hague and Cameron calling for strikes on Assad to the appointment of the wholly gormless Phillip Hammond; Yes! He who after lumbering the taxpayers with the construction of obsolete aircraft carriers – without planes?! – was promoted to Foreign Secretary and promptly announced that we shouldn’t even talk to Assad!
      The inanity continues apace. O how I wish that Labour had won. We could have had a good housecleaning.
      I wonder how many on this blog appreciate HG’s outlay of time and effort to bring us such stirring fare?

      • The Explorer

        Didn’t Gordon Brown initiate the aircraft carriers? I thought there was debate about abandoning them, but cancellation costs would have been more expensive than continuing construction.

        • IanCad

          True; but isn’t the definition of insanity to continue to practice what doesn’t work?
          Further, the maintenance of such Neanderthal vessels will be enormously expensive.
          Cutting losses is always wise policy.

          • big

            Its the insanity of the foreign policy, not aircraft carriers , that is the problem.

          • IanCad

            Both! Aircraft carriers are so… last century.

          • big

            …..agree it would be interesting to see how carriers would perform in a war against a strong defence…. seem to remember reading a US war game, the enemy launched all its advanced missile …… the carrier group was toast.

          • IanCad

            It was in 2007, during war games in the Taiwan Straits, that a Chinese diesel sub surfaced within a short distance from a US aircraft carrier. This, when the crews were on high alert.
            I’ve said it several times, but I will repeat – the US would surely not be so foolish as to order these behemoths into the Persian Gulf during a shooting war; or would they?

          • big

            …yes i vaguely remember the sub incident, what i was refering was i think some kind of computer type simulation for the top staff, apparently after they got wiped out they stopped , started again , but of course won… talk about hubris.

      • big

        I thought it was Labour, sorry New Labour , who lied to take us into this stupid, and unnecessary war ……. whatever happened to “the ethical foreign policy”?

      • bluedog

        ‘ was promoted to Foreign Secretary and promptly announced that we shouldn’t even talk to Assad!’

        Hammond was probably doing Cameron’s bidding when he said this. After all, Cameron seems to have added Foreign Secretary to his own job description.

        • IanCad

          I, like you, had high hopes for Hammond. He’s a great disappointment, but you’re probably right – Cameron is running the show.

      • David

        Well said Ian – good, strong comment !

        • IanCad

          Thank you David.

  • big

    the Christian west destroys the Christian middle east….pure genius,or pure evil?

    • IanCad

      It would be kinder to call it stupidity.

      • big

        I couldn’t agree more.

    • The Explorer

      What’s this Christian west you’re talking about?

      • big

        You need to ask the author of this article , not me, personally i prefer “psychopathic west”

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, it’s so hard to work out who to back in the Middle East. During the period of the Lebanese civil war, this communicant recalls that the Christian militias were just as barbaric as their Muslim opponents and the West, rightly or wrongly, stayed pretty much on the sidelines. A brief US sortie ended in tragedy.
    We’re obviously sympathetic to the Christians, and we’ve been sympathetic to the Yazidis and the Kurds. But it’s perplexing to read that the Kurds seem to be giving the Christians are hard time. It goes without saying that if the Turks get involved, when they are not flattening IS they will be demolishing a few Kurdish villages too. As the Turks are Sunnis, one presumes that once they arrive in Syria they will also make a bee-line for the Shia, like Assad. Perhaps this will lead to a new Ottoman empire in the Middle East, or at very least, a large zone of Turkish dominance. One suspects the Turkish Army could take Shiite controlled Baghdad over a bank holiday weekend.
    Reading the excellent DebkaFile, one learns that the Egyptian Sinai is being heavily infiltrated by IS whose ideology is apparently making in roads in the ranks of the Egyptian military. IS seem to be trying to engineer the overthrow of President Al-Sisi, who courageously calls for the reform of Islam. Dangerous days for Israel.

    • avi barzel

      Dangerous days for Israel no matter how you cut it. I’m with those who are advocating for letting ISIS go all medieval in Gaza and PA against the PLO and Hamas. They will be undoubtedly savage to the civilians there, but cannot be that much worse for Israel; both the PLO and Hamas are held back only by their capability, not by any moral restraints and both have access to huge sums of money and arms, which ISIS, in that location will not.

      • bluedog

        Hmmm, but a policy of Darwinism is not without risks. What if the terror groups combine and turn on Israel? How do you distinguish between a rocket fired by IS or one from Hamas or PLO? The Israeli electorate for one would not appreciate the risks of waiting for certainty before a response. One can imagine that it is not beyond Hamas or PLO to declare a truce with IS in order to loose a few mutually agreed salvos into Israel.

        As a supporter of Greater Israel, this communicant is tempted to see the collapse of the Egyptian raj in the Sinai as an opportunity to rebuild a buffer zone to the south, thus cutting off the access that Gaza and thus Hamas have into that peninsular. Probably best to leave the Sinai as a grey area, notionally Egyptian but effectively patrolled by Israel to purge the place of IS and Hamas.

        The highest danger could potentially come from Jordan. If IS are successfully infiltrating the Egyptian military, the situation is likely to be just as bad, if not worse, in Jordan. When Abdullah retreats to the UK permanently, the Jordanian border could become as dangerous as the IS areas within the Syrian border. A weak Shi-ite power like Assad in Syria would then be no disadvantage.

        Israel has to play her cards very carefully and avoid becoming over-extended, given the multiplicity of threats,

        • avi barzel

          First, begin with the alternative. The alternative is for Israel to throw its soldiers into a battle in defense of Palestinians. It makes sense to assist Egypt, which at least holds to a reluctant truce and its current government goes as far as it can to maintain it, but not so to plunge into a cauldron where not only ISIS, but dozens of splinter groups and competitors wll battle one another and Israel. Of course, in all of this Iran plays a huge role, and it already sides with Syria, which starves and massacres Palestinians for pleasure and which has teed-off Hamas and Hizbulah.

          Yes, if they had their wherewithal to combine forces, they could severely damage Israel, causing deaths in the tens of thousands and crashing its economy for years to come, but they do fear a devastating response that would make their temporary victory pointless, seeing that they wouldn’t be there to celebrate it…or to make it out of the region to make their withdrawals from the Zurich banks. You forget that for all the attempts of compliant media to remonticize these thugs and the witless peasants under them, both the PLO and Hamas are in it for the money and power. They exist not because they are capable of governing, or because they are scary warriors, but because they are protected by democracies and fed with a constant flow of billions from the West.

          • bluedog

            You are right about the influence of Iran, but in the early days of Hamas, Saudi Arabia was the principle benefactor. As Iranian influence has in fact waned, the Saudis are apparently making a recovery. The Saudis are belatedly realising the dangers of radical Islam as interpreted by IS and are reported to be bribing every non-IS Sunni faction they can find. If Hamas is becoming a Saudi proxy, as long as Hamas doesn’t splinter, it could be a development that assists Israel.

            We don’t know to what extent the agreement with Iran includes clauses that reduce Iran’s propensity to finance terror groups. Certainly Iran is actively supporting US efforts to help the very weak Iraqi government in combatting IS. The problem with IS is that it has become self-financing and its adherents are ideologically committed. However if IS is opposed by the leading Sunni Arab power and the leading Shi-ite power its opposition is considerable.

            I don’t suggest that the Israeli army invades Sinai. Note my comment about leaving Sinai a grey zone. But Israel surely needs to use special forces to counter any IS expansionism within the Sinai peninsular, with or without Egyptian consent. In that regard, the Sinai is a potential buffer zone for both Egypt and Israel.

            The performance of the EU is impossible to understand given Germany’s professed support for Israel.

  • David

    An excellent and courageous article Your Grace. Thank you indeed.
    I have always believed that, ideally, the “thou shalt not kill” command is the one that Christians must follow.
    But the reality is that we live in a fallen, evil world. To stop evil succeeding both prayer and direct physical intervention are necessary. This fight is ultimately a spiritual one, and let us never forgot that overarching fact. But the dark spiritual forces we oppose manifest themselves as physical forces.
    To crush this evil serpent requires both prayer and direct, decisive and determined military intervention. It must be utterly destroyed.
    My recently deceased father served under Field Marshall Montgomery, a committed, evangelical Anglican Christian and son of a bishop. His faith shaped his military strategy. That great general, and the relationship between his deep faith and military capabilities, those facts, have always influenced my thinking.
    I believe that the weak, the old the young, must be defended.
    Indeed the Truth of The Christian Gospel must be defended.
    Sometimes the Cross must march with the Sword.

    • big

      That sounds like crusader talk….

      • Inspector General

        Which is exactly what it is, and will be described in schools as the second period thereof in a few hundred years time, when Islam has been completely supressed and it’s adherence to made a criminal offence. These rotters are fighting for their very existence, as well as making their bid to Islamify the world…

        • big

          Not in the Uk …. in a couple of hundred years from now there wont be a white person left ,but yes it will be described as a crusade ….. albeit a crusade in which the west destroyed itself.

          • Inspector General

            Can’t see how the West, by asserting its massive power, can at the same time be destroying itself.

          • big

            birthrates……

          • big

            …massive fire power has reduced the region to chaos, not control, not democracy, not peace, just good old fashioned chaos.

          • Inspector General

            We can ‘t be held responsible for the warring traits of the less achieving of the races.

          • big

            if all we offer is war, are we not a less achieving race?

          • Inspector General

            They have a choice – be pacified or be destroyed. More of a choice than they’re giving out…

            When you feel despair, there’s nothing to perk a fellow up quite like looking to the future. There may come a time when the earth is at peace. If such a time ever does come, this is the way it will be achieved. Purification through death.

          • big

            Do you practice goose- stepping in your spare time?

          • Inspector General

            What kind of silly arse question is that?

          • big

            Well lets see…… so far today we have had …gasing people, purification through death,and finally the delightful activity of rifle butting people in the head…..well,well,well are you sure you are a Christian?

          • Powerdaddy

            He’s not a Christian, I’ve checked.

          • Inspector General

            It has always been a source of amusement that fellows who want nothing to do with God are more than happy to tell a Christian how he should be.

          • big

            hi inspector still awake.

          • Inspector General

            …will lead to insurrections no doubt. But they will be dealt with.

          • big

            …only by the white minority… sorry to say it, but we are on the wrong side of history,moral, intellectual, cultural,demographic decline is here and the process will only gain momentum.

          • Inspector General

            When at war, we don’t have any need for faint hearts and doom merchants. We never have in the past, not now, nor tomorrow.

        • big

          I now understand why UKIP are called nutters.

    • IanCad

      And therein you have perfectly described the Christian role in a just cause.
      Protection of the weak and persecuted – our brothers who are suffering; our family.
      “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”
      1 Timothy 5:8
      Your father’s service should be celebrated and remembered by all who bask in the liberties of today – or at least – what’s left of them.
      A good point re: Montgomery. Orde Wingate was another whose faith prompted him to don the sword.
      As the Inspector just stated: “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

      • David

        Indeed, and thank you.
        The Christian goes to war not in a bloodlust, but after a sober analysis reveals that, with regret, such actions are very necessary to protect all that is good, noble, truthful and right, and to protect the persecuted, the weak and the fallen.

        Emperor Constantine’s Army Prayer is helpful.
        “We know Thou art God alone;
        We recognise in Thee our King.
        We call on Thee for aid.
        From Thee we receive victory,
        through thee we are made greater than our
        enemies.

        • IanCad

          Not a fan of Constantine, but I’d sure echo his prayer when the guns begin to shoot.

    • Jack understands the actual commandment to be: “Thou shalt do no murder.” The term used is “rasah”. Although its exact meaning defies explanation, it appears to refer to killing that is inherently evil.

      • David

        Thank you.
        Old versions of the Ten Commandments do use that phrase,
        “Thou shalt do no…..”
        Checking the origins and exact meanings of the words, when fully understood, is always the scholarly and correct way to proceed.
        Jack, you are a gentleman and a scholar !

      • Pubcrawler

        That’s how the translators of the Septuagint took it. The Vulgate is a bit vaguer.

  • Martin

    I have never thought that taking up arms in defence of Christians could be justified from Scripture.

    Indeed, I’d suggest that the only ‘arms’ available to us are our spiritual ones. Is not the Lord capable of the defence of His people?

    • Inspector General

      Onwards, Christian soldiers!

      • sarky

        More like dads army! !

        • Inspector General

          Away with you, fool. Lest a Christian rifle butt be used to knock some sense and respect into your simpleton’s head…

          • sarky

            Thats the thing with these christian soldiers, they don’t like it up ’em.

      • Martin

        IG

        Are you suggesting that is Scripture or are you thinking of this:

        For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
        (Ephesians 6:12-13 [ESV])

        • Inspector General

          Martin. Jesus was thought to have been a messiah general come to rid Judea of the Roman’s. Although he put people right on that one, he did so without doing a Ghandi, and by doing so, or not doing so to be more accurate, paved the way for Christian might of arms.

          • Martin

            IG

            Jesus purpose in coming was to die on the cross, to bear His people’s sin. He was not a warlord.

    • big

      Yep, sounds a whole lot more sensible than bombing people.

    • Anton

      As I read the Bible they have the right of self-defence as people, not as Christians; and we are free to help them as such.

      • Martin

        Anton

        As I read the Bible Christians have no right of self-defence.

        • Anton

          We read it differently then. Christians may not use force in furtherance of the kingdom of God. In other situations they may, depending on the details.

          • saintmark

            Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples if they had a cloak to sell it and buy a sword? Presumably for defence

          • Martin

            Anton

            Where do you read that?

          • Anton

            Where do you read otherwise?

            Suppose you see two thugs beating up a little old lady. You are a Christian and you yell to them to stop. They turn on you, intending to incapacitate you before continuing with her. What do you do?

          • Martin

            Anton

            Strange, I thought we were talking about arming Christians. What was it Paul wrote:

            Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
            (II Corinthians 11:23-27 [ESV])

            And how many Christians have been killed in communist lands yet no one has thought of arming them.

    • David

      Like you The Puritans believed that we should live our lives doing literally, only, that which the Bible states we may do, and nothing else at all.

      Most protestants of their era believed that we should not do, that which the Bible advises we should not do. For those things that are not mentioned we must examine the consequences around either doing, or refraining from doing, the action in question. That wider approach has appealed more to most Christians over the ages I’d say.

      The Bible is not a total instruction manual, but it does offer immense amounts of wisdom, and we must pay it great attention.

      Although I am not an expert on early American history, I understand that The Quakers of the early American settlements were pacifists, like you. When the natives attacked they only survived because the other non-puritan settlers defended the whole settlement. Is that your approach ?

      • Martin

        David

        My understanding is that it was the native Americans helped the settlers to survive, but then I’m not a student of early American history either.

        And I’d describe the Bible as teaching principles far more than it gives rules. But is not the Lord capable of defending those who are His?

        • David

          Your para. one. Always happy to learn history. I have a vague recollection that the American Indians taught the settlers, very early on, about crops and the such like, but later turned hostile as increasing numbers arrived. But I don’t claim great expertise on this. Where’s Carl when there’s a US question to be answered ?
          Your para. two. I agree with your point about principles not rules. But what exactly do you mean by “But is not The Lord capable of defending those who are His?”
          Of course He is capable, of anything and everything ! But because of free will, he doesn’t normally intervene physically in human on human wars. He always cares for us spiritually of course, come what may, if we continue placing our trust in Him.
          We are not to just wait for a miraculous delivery, I believe. Look at the reality of the Middle East. Just as in Genesis, after the expulsion, we are told to work for our livings, so we must work at the physical defence of the weak, the young and the vulnerable. I do not believe that a loving God expects us to sit and watch whilst our children’s throats are being slit – that’s the ugly truth of what is happening in this fallen world. Your point seems more a poetic one than a practical one.

          • Martin

            David

            I too have only a limited knowledge of that history.

            As to free will, what free will? Mankind is enslaved by sin and hence the will is under the control of the master. God has allowed His people to die martyrs death, yet sometimes miraculously saved them. Who are we to say?

    • sarky

      No. Obviously.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        What would you know about it?

        • sarky

          Well all the evidence would suggest that god is conspicuous by his absence.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Did you not just take a breath, and when you stop breathing it will be at His hand.

    • Inspector General

      Martin. We all need to do our bit. Look, we’ll need chaps to parley face to face with the Saracen. Can we at least put you down for that. You’ll be unarmed, of course.

      • Martin

        IG

        I think I’d be more likely to cause a war. 😉

    • They, and we, would be defending their lives against an unjust aggressor. Jack believes this is a positive duty, not murder.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Is there such a thing as a just aggressor?

  • Inspector General

    Time to revive an old British custom dating from WWII. The dropping of weapons to resistance groups as they bravely fight off the evil that would destroy them.

    Churchill would be proud, what!

    • David

      Indeed Inspector !
      But this time they need more than Sten Guns, grenades and explosives.

      • Inspector General

        One does believe we’ve come a long way since Sten guns. Unpleasant things that tended to jam at the wrong moment and cost the lives of some very brave men undoubtedly…

        • David

          Indeed again.
          Their only advantage was that they were light, cheap and therefore plentiful, but also very inaccurate.

          • Inspector General

            The Long Range Desert Group of the Eight army certainly didn’t use them, having much more trust in sensible items like Sterlings and Thompsons. But it’s the marvellous Lee Enfield they’ll need out there…

          • David

            Ah yes, the Legendary Long Range Desert Group, that wonderful band of egalitarian desert marauders.
            When I arrived at University, as a fresh faced Geography undergraduate I was delighted to discover that the senior Prof. had been an officer in the LRDG. He was a lovely man.
            I realised I had arrived at the right place !

            He had pursued his academic interests in Desert Geomorphology (dunes etc), by sketching and recording the desert formations and shapes, as he navigated his group across the trackless wastes, to do their necessary mischief. No doubt his men must have a chuckle at him.
            Great stuff. Creep in under darkness, blow up their installations, cause mayhem, scare the hell out of them, and then scarper, all before they’ve woken up ! But, as you say, not using Sten Guns. Lee Enfield’s are more the ticket !

          • Inspector General

            Marvellous bunch of fellows, and volunteers to a man. What a magnificent show they put up!

          • Jack is proud to report his father, God rest his soul, was part of the Eight Army (Essex Regiment) and fought across North Africa and Italy.

          • My maternal grandfather was in that outfit too.

          • Now you’re making Jack feel old. Dad rarely spoke about his experiences, but did take me to the restored monastery at Monte CasIno.

          • bluedog

            The Sterling was a post-war replacement for the Sten, Inspector. Fired a 9mm round that scarcely penetrate wet cardboard.

          • Inspector General

            Greetings blue. One took his information on the subject from an article written about the famous monochrome movie of the 1950s depicting the Long Range Desert Group in action , where the actors concerned were shown erroneously fielding the untrusted Stens. Although the Sterling was around in 1944, it was being trialled then, and the Wiki article on the group does not mention the Sterling even as a possiblity. Besides, the Eight Army would have been in Italy by then. Still, the men had plenty of captured German equivalents they could have justifiably put their faith in. The Inspector certainly would have.

          • CliveM

            You can always rely on German engineering and quality!

          • bluedog

            You’re correct, Inspector. Wiki does mention early trials of the weapon in 1944. Thought it was a much later development.

    • big

      Hi Inspector,Churchill would have probably advocated poison gas..

      • Inspector General

        Yes. Yes he would. Of course, not every version of poison gas is lethal. Certain types incapacitate.

        • big

          How about anthrax?

          • Inspector General

            Not subtle enough.

          • big

            long lasting though.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes, he would, and it could be done with wisdom.

  • Anton

    “There is a long but very informative piece in The New York Times Magazine – Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?”

    Ahem. No it’s not. Christianity is safe to practice in Israel.

  • len

    All Islamic Terrorists are empowered by an evil spiritual force.
    Spiritual powers can only be defeated with spiritual weapons which God has given Christians to use.The problem at the moment is that secular powers are in the process of disarming Christians and removing God from the battlefield.
    We are reaping what we have sown (or rather what secular governments have sown) and these selfsame secular governments by their intervention in Iraq and Syria have opened the gates of Hell but have now withdrawn from the unholy mess they have helped create and look on as the butchery goes on without restraint.

    • Powerdaddy

      They have iron chariots, your God is screwed! 🙂

      • The Explorer

        You’re saying his God exists?

        • Powerdaddy

          I don’t know, but I doubt it, you should ask him.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    A bold and courageous piece.
    According to David Cameron, the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state
    I think many of us here we would say that Cameron is not a Christian but he is in a state; but that changes nothing, he is still the PM and allowing his Government to persecute true Christians and undermine the Christian nature of our nation. It may not be long before Islam pushes all else out of there way in the UK too. What then D.C.

    Yes, it will stoke civil war and stir sectarian strife,

    Is that not what Cameron did in Libya? He had to have his little war without considering the long term consequences. It was also what Blair, Brown and Cameron have done by destabilising the racial mix of this nation with uncontrolled immigration. The Brits have been extremely tolerant so far but who knows when a time may come that some will say enough is enough.

    Cameron and American leaders may discount Christians in far away (and near) lands as inconsequential. Let it be known that God is God and HE will contend for HIS people and Cameron and all the others will then be inconsequential.

  • Owl

    Excellent YG.
    We appear to be in a cultural war. Islam against all the rest.
    Either we submit to Islam or stop it dead in it’s tracks.
    History already answers that question. There is no middle way.

  • “After having confirmed with our friends in Pakistan, we wanted to share the good news with you that Asia Bibi’s death sentence has been suspended!

    On Wednesday, this past week, the Pakistani Supreme Court decided that the judicial processes of the lower courts suffered from serious defects and have, therefore, ordered for new hearings to be held at a later date.

    Of course, this is fantastic news and a step in the right direction! But, just because her death sentence has been suspended, does not mean it has been canceled. At least now, however, a fair trial is on the horizon, and we may have every hope that Asia Bibi will be released from prison in the not-so-distant future.

    But, in the meantime, we need to persevere in prayer and continue petitioning for her release.”
    ( CitizenGO)

    • Pubcrawler
      • It makes one so angry and full of rage to read about this woman’s experience and the silence of the Western media about it. Imagine if it was a homosexual. Steven Fry would be crying and Hollywood would be preparing a blockbuster that would break all records. Remember that film in the 1970’s, ‘Midnight Run’, that changed the perceptions of a generation towards Turkey? Where is the equivalent for Asia Bibi?

        • CliveM

          There was a very good Channel 4 documentary on this. But you are right is is shameful how we have looked the other way over what is happening.

          • Pubcrawler

            Not just looked the other way: lobbed them £1.17bn in aid over 2011 to 2015.

          • CliveM

            Apologies PC, £1.17bn in aid to who?

          • Pubcrawler

            Sorry, should have provided a link: to Pakistan

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27208964

            “The UK says Pakistan has pressing economic, educational and health problems, with 60 million families below the food poverty line, as well as a large diaspora in the UK and growing trade links.

            “It argues Pakistan deserves increased support as it is a strategically vital country in the fight against radicalisation and terrorism across the region and elsewhere.”

            Hmm. How’s that working out?

          • CliveM

            Sometimes Govt action defies belief. There are parts of the world where that could be well spent, but we keep on rewarding failure in our overseas aid policy.

          • Pubcrawler

            I wouldn’t be surprised if Baroness Arsi had some involvement in these discussions. Not that I’m in any way accusing her of any sort of malpractice or favouritism, that would be so out of character.

          • CliveM

            Heaven forfend!

          • Royinsouthwest

            Well, Danegeld was very successful for Ethelred the Unready, wasn’t it?

            It will probably be equally successful for Cameron the Clueless.

        • avi barzel

          That would be Midnight Express.

          • Thank you. Jack couldn’t recall the title.

          • avi barzel

            Bet ya you remember the the airport scene with the dude sweating buckets, though. Iconic.

          • It’s “the tongue” scene Jack remembers most. Cheered … then froze.

  • “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

  • Orwell Ian

    according to David Cameron, the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state

    Question for the Prime Minister. Could he explain why Islamic State is not Islamic when those rallying to its flag are all self-identifying Muslims?

    • The Explorer

      Americans hqve identified q srange new disease known as ABIS: Anything BUt iSLam Syndrome
      COnfront them with a Jihadim beheading a victim while yelling “Allahu Akbar!” and they are baffled. WHat coul dbe the motivastion? RAcism? Poor housing? LAck of educational opportunity? i

      • Orwell Ian

        Experts believe that ABIS syndrome originated from close contact with their Musloid-in-Chief. As a carrier he ought to have his earthling status revoked and be deported to the planet from which he came before the entire nation succumbs to PC paralysis.

  • sarky

    Should we start arming rebel groups? Worked out well for the CIA and Al Qaeda didn’t it?

    • Inspector General

      It’s very easy to rubbish the CIA, but at the time, and with Soviet expansion apparent, it seemed a good idea at the time…

      • sarky

        And so could this. …..

        • CliveM

          So what to do? Just wait for all the minorities to be wiped out or kicked out?

          Easy to criticise, but what do you think will work instead ?

          • sarky

            Boots on the ground.

          • CliveM

            But that’s not going to happen. Frankly the UK doesn’t have the numbers anymore to make a difference and the US ain’t going to.

    • Gra Gill

      They were islamic !

  • Billo Qasira

    Christianity if finished in the middle-east. When Islam takes over, its curtains for everyone else.

  • Blakenburg

    The World may in time be divided between Islam and Christianity. However, Christianity will still struggle due to weak leadership through appeasement and the policy of ‘turning the other cheek’.

  • Shockingly, a recent poll show only 27% of Brits would be willing to fight for their country today and the majority of Western European countries are the same. France, Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany all had less than 30% willing to take up arms for their country. America stood at 44%.

    The poll also showed that the Middle East and North Africa had the most people willing to fight for their country, with 83% across the region saying they would. Guess what? These are Muslim nations.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/03/25/statista-infographic-uk_n_6940594.html

    • Dominic Stockford

      Well, given that I’m one of that 27%, but my age rather makes the action more of an inaction (despite what films might pretend us over 50’s can manage) and so I’d guess that those who not only would, but also could, fight for the country is probably down to a feeble few.

  • The Explorer

    ‘Revelation’ 13:7. “The Beast was allowed to make war on God’s holy people and to conquer them.” Our thinking must accommodate this puzzling/troubling verse. Whatever ‘the Beast’ may be, it had/has/will have a time of divinely-permitted ascendancy.