In wake of the most recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, the world has been in a state of recovery. Politics on surveillance are shifting as metropolitan cities increase their security budgets. Officials are on high alert and leaders of nations are beginning to stand together. With each attack, the world feels a little smaller as ISIS moves outward from the Middle East and into Western territory. It is easy to push the notion of terrorism aside when it is not in your front yard, but the reality of terrorism is continually creeping closer and closer to home and Christian comfort may no longer be an option.
With ISIS pushing their ideals towards the West, Europe is the closest target, explaining the high number of attacks executed in the last few years. According to CNN, the Islamic state declared its caliphate in June of 2014. Since then the terrorist group has hit 20 countries with 75 attacks killing at least 1,280 people and leaving more than 1,770 injured – numbers not including attacks in Iran or Syria. Out of the 75, Europe counts for 13 of these attacks.
Within the US, there have been five attacks since October 2014, amounting to 14 deaths, all due to the San Bernardino shooting. As terrible as this attack was, compared to the grand scale of things, US citizens have had little to worry about and there is one apparent reason. Since 9/11, the United States has spent $7.6 trillion on military spending and homeland security (NPP), therefore outspending every other country in defense. US citizens may not know all the ways our government protects us, and we may deem some tactics questionable – the recent Apple lawsuit comes to mind – but in the end, the U.S. population has had little to fear.
But just because the issue is not in front of us everyday, does not mean we can disregard it. “I feel like the average american lives in their own world. People are selfish,” as a former Marine, Sergeant Jeremy L. Thomson* understands the detachment from the issue the average US citizen feels, “it’s easy to be comfortable in a place where no one is threatening to kill you for your beliefs just cause.” The reality of bridging the gap from distant idea to close reality will likely not happen unless an attack hits close to home, but for the men and women who are directly affected, the war on terror is fought everyday. From Sergeant Thomson’s* Christian perspective he sees an internal conflict, “My faith plays a role because I am called to love everyone, but at the same time we are talking about terrorists who inflict fear on the population.” That’s where we have to understand that even though as Christians we are called to love our enemy, we are not called to be bystanders of evil.
So how can we feel so comfortable and continue to be ignorant when all 393 members from the House of Representatives voted to declare the actions of ISIS as a genocide against other religious groups, including Christians? The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide defines this as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” ISIS has announced time after time their persecution against Christians.
For instance, in September of 2014 the updated propaganda booklet entitled ‘Dabiq”, ISIS singles out Christianity as their number one enemy – the front cover showing the black ISIS flag flying high over the Vatican. An article in WND elaborates on the books contents saying, “The booklet describes the terrorist army’s desires to conquer Rome and break the cross.”
On March 15th of this year, Fox News released an article highlighting a video of ISIS burning Bibles and other Christian literature. This was in celebration for driving the last Christian out of Mosul. Outside of Mosul, the Christian population throughout Iraq has dropped to 275,000 from 1.5 million since May of 2014. “This has always been genocide,” David Curry from Open Doors USA told FoxNews.com. “The West has realized that they cannot deny it any longer.”=
It has become very apparent that individual countries cannot fight terrorism alone. Just as many US citizens find no point in being knowledgeable on the topic because what can one person do? We could all ask ourselves, “what is the point if I can do nothing about it?” As Christians, grasping the concept of a genocide of our own people is heart wrenching. Even though you may not know them personally, the people we believe to be our brothers and sisters in Christ are being martyred for their faith. That alone should compel you to go deeper in your faith or leave it aside, because it begs the question – would you die for your faith or denounce God?
*Name change for privacy