Monday, August 29, 2005

Why The Christians In Sudan?
Why The Jews?

In the Sudan, the Islamofascist government has been on a 22-year long spree of murdering Christians. All told, they have killed over 2 million people for the crime of believing that in Jesus and not Allah. Here's a little bit about Nina Shea, and her fight against the Islamofascist Genocide in the Sudan:

Shea and the coalition she helped assemble have been pushing for agreement for more than a decade. The 22-year genocidal jihad waged by the ruling National Islamic Front against Sudan's predominantly Christian and animist South has ended. But Shea and others say they will not rest until peace is restored to Darfur, where a second genocide rages on.

Drawing attention to religious persecution around the globe is something Shea has learned to do well. She is described by her friends as forthright and direct, and by her critics as "shrill." No matter. Her reputation as an intensely focused, doggedly persistent advocate of religious freedom led Newsweek magazine to credit her with "making Christian persecution Washington's hottest cause."

In uscirf meetings with President Bush, Shea will try to "buttonhole him and use the time to raise the issues she thinks need to be talked about," says colleague Paul Marshall. Marshall, senior fellow at the CRF and author of Their Blood Cries Out, a bestselling survey of religious persecution, adds, "She's not overawed by people."

Shea's approach is to bring together politically diverse coalitions of churches, religious groups, and civil-rights organizations to press for government action. It has proven effective. In 1998, Shea, McDonnell, Michael Horowitz, and others began laying the groundwork for the Sudan Coalition, a loosely affiliated network of human-rights groups, students, and religious organizations. It later joined forces with the Sudan Campaign, a group launched by African American civil-rights leaders, to pass the 2002 Sudan Peace Act.

In the early 1980s, the League sent her to El Salvador, where clandestine death squads were abducting and killing people by the thousands. "I was investigating disappearances and talking to families whose loved ones were being tortured and killed," Shea says. "It was a very intimidating environment."

On one prison visit, a notorious police official told Shea and her delegation to step inside a dark cell. He locked the door, then after an appropriate pause, jokingly opened it. The experience impressed upon Shea the protections her American citizenship afforded. "We could speak out when the locals could not," she says. But she still recognized what she was doing was risky:

In Latin America, she started to become disillusioned with what she calls her colleagues' "double standard on human rights."

"In my secular days, I really believed that the human-rights movement was altruistic," says Shea, a liberal Democrat when she joined the League. "Then I saw that when governments on the Left started abusing human rights, human rights were no longer important."

The last straw came when superiors began pressuring her to suppress her report on Sandinista atrocities. "I decided to dig in," Shea says. "Somebody had to stand up for these principles."

During these years, her spiritual life began to blossom. For a long period of about 15 years during college, law school, and at her job with the International League for Human Rights, she "really did not know any believing Christians," Shea says.

During her work in the '80s for the League, Shea began meeting Christians whose lives she describes as "a great witness." Shea recalls one Pentecostal preacher in the Dominican Republic living in a shack next to a garbage dump. "He was there, in the garbage dump, amidst the open sewers, trying to give dignity to people's lives," Shea says.

In Haiti, Shea met a Dutch priest and former classics professor who was starting schools and soup kitchens in "the worst slum of the Western world."

"They were living under constant threat, constant violence, and they were doing it out of love," she says. "It had a powerful impact on me. I saw this repeated in country after country."
What resulted was an "intellectual awakening" where the importance of religion, worship, and the role of religious figures became clearer, Shea says. "It was a rational commitment I made before becoming a Christian.

"I recognized there was something very powerful here, something that I found deeply attractive. At the same time, I observed prejudice in the secular culture against the people I found deeply heroic. Because of their love for others, these people were being persecuted, marginalized, and ignored.

"I started seeing how churches were crushed, and how religious people of all faiths were being crushed." She watched in Nicaragua as communists tried to manipulate the churches as they did in Eastern Europe. "They were replacing the priests with Marxist liberation priests.

"This was a powerful witness to me. It provoked a reckoning within me about what life was about and whom I admired." In addition, the fact that "these people were often dismissed by the press and human-rights groups" proved a powerful motivator.

Aside from a few Jewish groups, "no one was speaking out on behalf of persecuted religious figures," Shea says. "Certainly no one was speaking out for persecuted Christians. Something had to be done."

Shea turned her attention to the persecuted Christian church. "It jolted me into learning more about my faith as an adult. I really hadn't learned the Catholic Church's philosophy of life. I didn't learn it in school. I started delving into it as an adult."

In her 1997 book, In the Lion's Den, Shea wrote, "The shocking, untold story of our time is that more Christians have died in this century simply for being Christians than in the first 19 centuries after the birth of Christ."

During an address by Shea at Catholic University Law School, a member of the audience identified himself as a representative from the Sudan embassy; he also said he was from the state of Nuba, where the pro-government imams had issued a fatwa against insurgents. "Nina took him on," McDonnell recalls. "

She basically said, 'You are from Nuba, and the government of Sudan has tried to totally wipe out your people! How dare you sell out your own people!'"

Asked where she finds her ongoing passion, as well as her strength during times of discouragement, Shea says, "As a Catholic, I find my strength at Mass and in sharing in the Eucharist with other believers, but another great source of strength is Daniel 6:22." It's a verse that inspired the title of her book. "I love that image of God sending his angel to close the mouths of the lions," she says.

I like how Shea describes her conversion as an "intellectual awakening" and a "rational act" inspired by seeing how important people of faith were to the world. I have had a similar experience over the past few years. I have been a Christian for quite a while, but the last few years have taught me the importance of my faith.

(I do not write any of this to convert anybody. Whatever you believe is alright with me, as long as you love your neighbor, and are grateful to the God who created you. Whatever name you want to call God by, is ok with me, but if you feel no thankfulness to God, and you don't love your neighbor, then that is too bad for you. A hell is opening up in your soul this very day, and it will only grow. I don't need to convert you. You will find your own way.)

Anyway, back to my experience. Having worked with the other members of CUANAS, and having looked, for so long, at the menace of anti-Semitism, I have seen what happens when people put their faith in power ideologies, rather than love and the grace of God.

It is clear to me that it is only those who have a powerful faith in God, and who believe it is their duty to sacrifice themselves in His name, who are willing to help Jews. All others find excuses for why those who hate Jews might have a point here or there.

Dennis Prager says he found God in a classroom at Columbia University, when he realized how much the foolish beliefs of many of his professors contrasted with the level of their intellect, it became clear to him that the verse from Psalm 111 which says, "Wisdom begins with fear of God" was being played out for him in the flesh.

Similarly, I have come to an intellectual awakening. I have realized that there is no rational reason for the level of hatred directed at Jews. There is nothing special enough about Jews as a people. They have too many different opinions. They perform too many different functions in society. They contribute a tremendous amount to the world, and yet there are good Jews, and there are bad Jews, just as there are good and bad in any other race.

The Jews may have been appointed to carry God's Law through the ages, but they have often not behaved according to God's Law. On the other hand, from my experience Jews are extraordinarily charitable people. But, of course, this is no reason to hate Jews.

So, why is it that people who are obsessed with attaining ultimate power (Hitler, Stalin, Khomeini, Bin Laden, etc.) inevitably turn their wrath on Jews? Why do they become obsessed with the idea of killing Jews?

Ask yourself, why would Hitler say, "You will see how little time we shall need in order to upset the ideas and the criteria for the whole world, simply and purely by attacking Judaism. The struggle for world domination will be fought entirely between Germans and Jews. All else is facade and illusion"?

Why would he say that? The answer is this:

Because obsession with the attainment of ultimate power is demonic, and the Jews are the Chosen People of God. They are God's people, so those who act according to the demonic, those who are obsessed with ultimate power will inevitably come to the belief (as if by delirium) that the first thing they need to do to attain the unlimited power they seek, is to kill the Jews.

If killing the Jews is so incredibly important to all the most evil people in history, then we ought to come to the conclusion that keeping the Jews safe must be very important to all of us who would like to see the world survive and bloom.

P.S. I realize that it must seem odd to see someone the use the term "intellectual awakening" to describe the process of coming to the the conclusion that hatred of the Jews is demonic in origin. Of course, demons, if they exist, are spiritual, not physical, in nature.

But, the reason I used the term intellectual awakening is because, as in the case of Nina Shea and Dennis Prager, my faith was awakened through the observation of phenomena in the physical world. In other words, I observed the hatred directed at the Jews. I considered the possible motivating factors for this hatred. I came to the conclusion that none of these motivating factors made sense, except the one proposed by the Bible.

In the case of Dennis Pragers' conversion, one could say, yes but there could be reasons, other than spiritual, for extremely intellectual professors believing such foolishness. Yes, there could be, but Mr. Prager considered the various reasons and came to the intellectual conclusion that the answer provided by the Bible (that those who do not fear God will fall to foolishness) was the correct conclusion.

That's what I have done. No motivating factor which exists in the physical world is sufficient to explain the obsessive hatred directed at Jews. Jews are hated in nations, and by people (such as Malaysians) who have never even seen a Jew. So, where does the hatred come from?

Why is this obsessive hatred not directed at another group, like Filipinos for instance? Can you imagine the whole world hating Filipinos? There are probably a similar number of Filipinos in the world? Why doesn't the world start directing it's resevoir of hatred at Filipinos?

Because they are not God's Chosen People. That's why.