Thursday, January 17, 2008
Difficult Time to Be a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Jew or a....
Well, it looks like it is a difficult time to be a Christian. In India the National Commission for Minorities determined that the deadly attacks in Orissa were preplanned. The attacks, the acts of Hindu fanatics (not to be confused with mainline Hindus) have now spread. Only weeks after the attacks in four districts of Orissa province attacks have now occurred in neighboring Chhattisgarh. The attacks were very specific and focused on a health camp that was accused of participating in conversion ceremonies.
On 15 January a missionary priest was shot and killed in Cotabato City in the Philippines. The priest, Father Jesus Reynaldo Roda, was killed by a suspected Abu Sayyaf extremist. The priest had been threatened in the past but never asked for a transfer. Father Roda was known for his generosity and kindness and Catholics and Muslims joined together at Holy Rosary Church to mourned his death.
Cotabato City is located in Mindanao and is part of the Muslim Autonomous region. The outpouring of support came from locals and Islamic leadership. The fear expressed is that the priest’s death reflects the heightened tension between Christians and Muslims in the Philippines.
Lebanon’s Chaldean Christian churches are now filling up. Not because of converts or a growing native Lebanese Chaldean population. Rather, refugees from Iraq’s Christian population are finding their way to Lebanon. While the number of Iraqi refugees to Lebanon are small in comparison to Iraqi refugees to Syria and Jordan the numbers are still stretching the resources of the Lebanese community.
So, it is difficult to be a Christian at this time. It is also difficult to be Muslim in many parts of the world. It is difficult to be a Jew, not only in the Middle East but the familiar face of anti-Semitism can again be found around the world. It is difficult to be a Buddhist in Burma. It is difficult to be a person of faith today and even harder to be true to your own faith and still respect the faith of your neighbor. And yet, what other acceptable alternative is there?