Friday, June 6, 2014

21st Century Christian Martyrs

Kirsten Powers, writing at The Daily Beast, reminds us of the slow-burning holocaust occurring today around the world but particularly in Muslim and atheistic countries. It's the oppression, torture and murder of tens of thousands of Christians whose only crime, like the Christians in ancient Rome, is that they refuse to accept the religion of those in power. The details are horrifying. It's perhaps the greatest human rights crisis of the last sixty years, but the Obama administration seems to have little to say about it.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from Powers' essay:
Some of the most harrowing stories about how Christians are persecuted have come from the African country of Eritrea, which Open Doors lists as the twelfth worst country in the world for Christian persecution. In his 2013 book, The Global War on Christians, reporter John L. Allen Jr., writes that in Eritrea, Christians are sent to the Me’eter military camp and prison, which he describes as a “concentration camp for Christians.” It is believed to house thousands being punished for their religious beliefs.

Prisoners are packed into 40’x38’ metal shipping containers, normally used for transporting cargo. It is so cramped that it’s impossible to lie down and difficult even to find a place to sit. “The metal exacerbates the desert temperatures, which means bone chilling cold at night and wilting heat during the day....believed to reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher,” Allen writes. One former inmate…described [it] as “giant ovens baking people alive.” Prisoners are given next to nothing to drink so “they sometimes end up drinking their own scant sweat and urine to stay alive.”

The prisoners are tortured, sexually abused, and have no contact with the outside world. One survivor of the prison described witnessing a fellow female inmate “who had been beaten so badly her uterus was actually hanging outside her body. The survivor desperately tried to push the uterus back in” but couldn’t prevent the inmate’s excruciating death.
The situation is different but no less horrific in North Korea and Syria. Read about it at the link. Powers closes her piece with this:
At a December 2013 speech to a conference organized by Georgetown’s Religious Freedom Project, Allen told the audience, “I always ask Christians in countries [where persecution occurs], what can we do for you? The number one thing they say is, “Don’t forget about us.”
It would certainly be welcome if our leaders in Washington would show the world that they haven't forgotten these wretched martyrs and that they care as deeply for them and their circumstances as they do for, say, same-sex couples who want to marry.