November 18, 2008

When Martyrdom is Meh

This week I received two interesting news pieces: One, in an email from friend Ben Morrison, was a call to prayer and fasting November 21-23 for Iranian Christians to be put to death, as becoming a Christian is to be soon punishable by such measures. Another news piece, as splashed across my home page, was that “meh” is to be an official word in the new Collins English Dictionary.

The word meh is a term for apathy. Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins Dictionaries, descibes it: “The origins of ‘meh’ are murky, but the term grew in popularity after being used in a 2001 episode of ‘The Simpsons’ in which Homer suggests a day trip to his children Bart and Lisa. They both just reply 'meh' and keep watching TV.”

Signs of the times…

While the big news about “meh” was found on major internet news sites including ABC News, France 24 International News, St. Petersburg Times, India Daily News and Analysis, a search on these same sites for “Iran” and “Christians” revealed nothing pertaining to what's going on. The only major internet media to cover the story was UK’s “Telegraph.” The article features a woman whose father was killed for converting to Christianity. The death sentence law also covers any bloggers who criticize Islam. The new law was approved by the Iranian parliament by 196 – 7 votes on September 9th and is simply awaiting its final stamp of approval before becoming official law.

While persecution is on the rise worldwide, especially in places like China, India and Iran, so is apathy. We seem to be drifting towards an apathetic point of no return. My mother never wanted to buy things from China because of the human rights abuses. Only now I’m beginning to understand her point of view. China enjoys “Most Favored Nation” status with the US as we silently buy up their products. Why? Because China has been America’s factory pumping out cheap products. It has been estimated that 3,000 have been killed in China for their faith since 2,000. This doesn’t include those merely tortured.

Since the recent Olympics, persecution against Chinese Christians has been on the rise, as noted by organization Voice of the Martyrs, which has a good website by the way, just to get an idea of what’s going on.

Not Just China, India and Iran

The anti-Christian bias is starting to get crazy in Western countries now too. The Berean Christian blog pointed out a case published in Canada: “Rev. Boissoin was prohibited for life from preaching sermons that are critical of homosexuality and was told that he cannot criticize homosexuality even in his private communications such as e-mails. Rev. Boissoin was also ordered to pay a total of $7,000 in fines.” This does not include personal expenses of about $100,000 required for his personal defense. The same judge dismissed a case vs. Music World regarding a CD and lyrics as follows: "Kill The Christian/You are the one we despise/Day in day out your words compromise lies/I will love watching you die." Can you say “double standard?”
This past week an incident was recorded in text and on video of gays attacking Christians who were simply out singing worship songs in California.

The silence of the world media and world leaders regarding Christian martyrdom in China, Iran and elsewhere underlines the fact that for true believers this is just the beginning, as prophesied. Like many verses, Mat 24:9 points this out: "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." It may do us well, and our brothers and sisters, to take time to pray and even fast from food for them in Iran and all countries where Christians are persecuted and martyred for their faith. In the Lord's eyes martyrdom is not at all meh. "Precious in the sight of the lord is the death of his saints" (Ps 116.15).

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