What's wrong with Christian groups helping Iraqis?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jude, May 20, 2003.

  1. Jude

    Jude
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    What's wrong with Christian groups helping Iraqis?

    BY VINCENT CARROLL

    When an outfit that has successfully disbursed humanitarian aid world-wide
    for 30 years announces that it intends to expand its efforts to
    postwar Iraq, you'd think the news would be met with enthusiasm. Yet
    reaction to just such an announcement by Samaritan's Purse, headed by
    the Rev. Franklin Graham, has been anything but positive, revealing
    much about the cultural divide in America over Christian evangelism.

    Maureen Dowd, the New York Times' faithful barometer of liberal
    intolerance, mocked Samaritan's Purse for "waiting to inveigle Iraqi
    infidels with a blend of kitchen pantry and Elmer Gantry." Others
    simply wrung their hands over the possibility that relief workers might
    push their religion on resentful Muslims and evoke ugly images of a
    colonial past or--in all seriousness--the Crusades.

    To be sure, Samaritan's Purse is something of a special case because of
    Mr. Graham's over-the-top charge after the Sept. 11 attacks that Islam
    is a "very evil and wicked religion"--a remark widely deplored in
    evangelical circles, too. But critics have also been hard on other
    evangelical groups that have expressed interest in Iraqi relief work.
    What really bothers them is not so much Mr. Graham's view of Islam but
    their own view of Christianity--or at least any version of it that
    actively seeks to spread the faith. Such a goal is simply
    incomprehensible to those imbued with the modern gospel of militant
    pluralism, which equates religious certitude with jackboots and
    cudgels.

    What else but such incomprehension would motivate Terry Gross, on
    National Public Radio's "Fresh Air," to ask R. Albert Mohler Jr.,
    president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, whether he was
    a closet theocrat because he favors missionary efforts in Iraq? "Does
    religious liberty mean to you the right to practice any religion--
    Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity," intoned Mr. Gross on
    a recent broadcast, "or does religious liberty mean to you the right to
    practice Christianity?" A few days later on CNN, anchor Fredricka
    Whitfield wanted to know why Dr. Mohler was suggesting to Muslim people
    "that their religion is not good enough."

    It so happens that evangelical Christians have been combining religious
    certitude with a commitment to religious liberty for over 200 years--at
    least since Baptists from New England to North Carolina lobbied for
    minority rights in the 1770s; meanwhile, groups such as Samaritan's
    Purse and the Southern Baptist Convention, which also hopes to send aid
    to Iraq, have developed more than a smattering of experience in how to
    live and work among non-Christians abroad without turning them into
    adversaries.

    Samaritan's Purse runs projects in more than 100 countries, including
    Pakistan and Afghanistan. It builds hospitals, clinics and schools,
    ministers to the sick and starving, trains local nurses, and
    distributes millions of gifts under Operation Christmas Child--all
    without inciting the backlash its detractors evidently expect. Perhaps
    that is because its workers understand, as Mr. Graham explained in a
    recent Los Angeles Times op-ed, that they "don't have to preach in
    order to be a Christian relief organization. Sometimes the best
    preaching we can do is simply being there with a cup of cold water,
    exhibiting Christ's spirit of serving others." If Samaritan's Purse
    volunteers are allowed into Iraq, Mr. Graham predicted, "they will be
    able to quickly provide clean drinking water to 20,000 people,
    temporary shelters for 4,000 families and medical supplies for 100,000
    Iraqis"--with "no strings attached."

    As for converts, who knows? As Stephen Neill recounts in "A History of
    Christian Missions," Muslim societies have been notoriously difficult
    targets ever since the great expansion of Christian missionary activity
    in the 19th century. After spending many years in the Punjab and Iran,
    for example, one Anglican missionary offered this sobering admission:
    "I am not reaping the harvest; I scarcely claim to be sowing the seed;
    I am hardly plowing the soil; but I am gathering the stones. That, too,
    is missionary work; let it be supported by loving sympathy and fervent
    prayer."

    Progress was even more glacial in the Arabian peninsula. At a
    missionary conference in 1938, Mr. Neill writes, "the most moving of
    all the speeches was that of the veteran Dr. Paul Harrison, who, having
    told the story of the five converts that the mission had won in 50
    years, sat down with the quiet words, 'The Church in Arabia salutes
    you.' "

    One can well imagine how the Maureen Dowds of Harrison's day must have
    scorned such patient selflessness.

    Mr. Carroll is editor of the editorial pages at Denver's Rocky Mountain
    News.

    END
     
  2. WPutnam

    WPutnam
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    An interesting article, sir.

    But I am wondering how those brave evangelists managed to do this without getting thrown out of country, let alone, have their heads severed.

    During the Gulf War, U.S. Forces in Saudi Arabia were forbidden to practice their religion (to the Saudi's knowledge, I understand), let alone evangelize, and what a scandal for women, being in charge of an air crew maintaining a fighter jet!

    I am more and more coming to the conclusion that Islam is a perverse religion, as it seems that no matter where they border and come into contact with other religious systems, they cause great strife. The one exception seems to be Turkey, which has a secular government that maintains control.

    The crusades had their bad moments; evil things did indeed, follow along with them, but thank God for them for at least one thing; for if the Islamic forces had been allowed to prevail, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris would sport minerets today!

    But they are children of God and need our prayers...

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    Lord, grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change,
    the courage to change the things that I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.
    Living one day at a time,
    enjoying one moment at a time;
    accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
    taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
    not as I would have it;
    trusting that you will make all things right
    if I surrender to Your will;
    so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
    Amen.


    [ May 20, 2003, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: WPutnam ]
     
  3. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
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    Nothing , as long as those E-E-EVIL, RADICAL, IN-TOLERENT, NARROW MINDED Christians don't try to tell anyone about their "WEIRD" and childish beliefs (God is just their adult version of Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny!)! :confused:

    Now if they want to talk New Age, Humanism, Re-incarnation, Buhddaism, Islam yada, yada, yada, then OK; BUT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT JESUS OR CHRIST!! :rolleyes:

    ( For the benefit of the "few", this is total sarcasm! [​IMG] )
     
  4. Johnv

    Johnv
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    Not sure what that was supposed to mean :confused:

    But, when your neighbor needs help, Jesus said, we're to help: If they're hungry, we need to feed them. If they're thirsty, we give them drink, etc etc etc.
     

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