Here we are again, 365 days past the last Christmas holiday and the "Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men" feelings we all hoped would overtake those of dread for the future seem as far away as 2011. With the mass murders in Connecticut, Oregon and New York recently, the politics of the fiscal cliff, jobs and the economy have taken a national toll on our collective psyche. Yet we bounce back, we are resilient enough to somehow drag ourselves back from the brink, rebuilding what was lost and carrying on with, as the British are fond of saying a "stiff upper lip."
Here in America we still have the ability to say, think, write and worship what we please, despite the concerted effort by our enemies to curtail those rights. In other countries those rights are either restricted or banned outright for certain religious groups, especially Christians. Christmas is an especially dangerous times for worshippers of Christ who live where Allah reigns supreme. Some countries such as Indonesia, presented as a bastion of Muslim moderation to the West are in reality hotbeds of Islamic supremacism, espressing itself in ways such as the throwing of rotten eggs, urine and dung at Christians trying to hold Christmas Mass on a plot of land that has been approved for a new church but has been roadblocked by the local Islamists. Far from an isolated incident, the Archbishop of Jakarta Mgr. Ignatius Suharyo has complained to the government for a long time about the problems Christians have in getting building permits for new churches. The Archbishop believes that every religion should be equal in building houses of worship, and the sentiment is a noble one. When you have Islam in control, sentimentality is not a quality that expresses itself within that control.
Pakistan, a supposed ally of the US is, for all intent and purpose a pure Islamic country with sharia laws in effect and a leadership committed more to Islamic ideology than secular rights. Christians in Pakistan have been persecuted, demonized and hounded for their beliefs since the partition of India into Pakistan in 1947, and this year the violence and persecution has reached new levels. Churches burned down, Christians driven from their homes and land and murder of whole families has driven most out of Pakistan, leaving just 2% of the population as Christian. This is a particularly dark year for Christians in Pakistan, says the HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), citing blasphemy laws as a primary example of Christian persecution. Blasphemy laws via the sharia have also taken their toll on Muslims who have challenged them. Salman Taseer, former Governor of Punjab Province was killed by his bodyguard because he spoke out against blasphemy laws. Ironically, criticising blasphemy laws is in itself blasphemy, so the death of Taseer was legal within Islamic dogma. Also, Pakistan's former Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti was murdered for questioning blasphemy laws. Islamic tolerance for anything un-Islamic affects both Muslims and non-Muslims in a negative way.
Nigerian Christians, as with Pakistani Christians have been subjected to the same kind of Qur'an-inspired subjugation over the past years. Last Christmas, 44 were murdered by Boko Haram when they drove an explosive-laden car into St.Teresa's Church, as well as the bombing of two other churches the same Christmas day which killed an additional 40 people. In 2012, Nigerian Christians are more afraid than ever, worrying about more jihad violence and more bombings. They have every right to be scared; Islam dictates that Christians are to be demeaned, enslaved or converted to Islam, there are no other options. Even Christians in Iraq are at risk. This year, at Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church services are finally being held in a newly refurbished building, damaged during the jihad killing of 44 worshippers in 2010. Security is tight, as Muslims in the area are known to treat less than kindly Christians who refuse to abandon the land of their ancestors.
Civitas, a think tank that regularly releases reports on religious persecution says in their latest report that Christianity is almost at the end of its life. The reason most associated with this decline is militant Islam, and the reason no one talks about it is so as not to be seen as a "racist." This aversion to speak truths about Islam helps it to succeed as a replacement for Christianity, and the birthrate among Muslims in non-Muslim countries is double the native population, thus assuring the demise of non-Islamic cultures through birthrate acculturation. It is estimated that between half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have either fled or been killed in the last century. The persecution of Christians by Islam has created the situation where today, it is under the threat of death that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, or do anything that identifies them as a Christian. Religious freedom, a right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is under serious attack, and it is Christians who are suffering the greatest under this Islamic yoke.
Christmas is a time for "Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men" but for many who struggle under the oppressive and ideological harness of Islam this is a lost proposition. We have it pretty good here in the good ole' USA, we must not forget those who do not have it as easily as we do. Islam is no friend of Christmas but we must always do what we can to make it a bright and warm doorway for all to enter who embrace the family of man.
Merry Christmas, and may God bless everyone