ISIS, the Persecuted Church, and Christmas in Wartime

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and I authored an article published today at the Washington Post on telling the truth about what’s at stake for persecuted Christians in the Middle East:

Reports suggest that the State Department is ready to designate the Islamic State’s terror against the Yazidis as genocide, which it clearly is, but they might not to do so for equally embattled Christian communities. This is only one part of a refusal to come to grips with the full weight of these facts.

We, of course, care deeply about defending our fellow Christians, but one does not have to share our religious conviction to see the moral obligation that belongs to us as Americans. With our many blessings comes a duty to stand on the side of the oppressed, which is why a pillar of American foreign policy has always been moral clarity. Sadly, today that pillar is crumbling.

Read the entire article here.

As you know, I don’t endorse candidates for president, and there are several candidates who are very good on the plight of persecuted Christians. Senator Rubio is a friend and he and I have worked closely together for several years on issues of international religious freedom. I don’t think there’s been a stronger voice on these issues in the United States Congress since our beloved co-laborer Frank Wolf of Virginia retired from the House. He thought it was important to speak to this issue from two different wings of American concern, from the state and from the church. I agree, and am happy to work with him—and with everyone else of similar concern—on these questions.

To our shame, our brothers and sisters in Christ are being ignored in the upheaval in the Middle East. At Christmastime, above all times, churches should remember our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, who are singing hymns as they watch for a black flag on the horizon. And the state should do its Romans 13 duty to uphold justice and punish evildoers, regardless of who is in the White House and what party is in control of any branch of government.


Image credit (resized), licensed under CC 2.0.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.