In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – and everything in between – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?
“Viewpoint” allows your Prayer Team’s talented writing team to express their opinions on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree with all they have to say. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say, and perhaps even receive a response back from the writer.
Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders.
ISIS And “Irreplaceable History”
Pondering proper perspectives on Iraqi Christians
By Nikolas Grosfield
You may have heard: Iraq is in trouble—again. Radical Islamist terrorists are destroying much of the country—again. And some people want to blame the U.S. President—again.
Is this 2014 or 2004?
The Shiite-led Iraqi government under Nuri al-Maliki has never been really popular or powerful. Corrupt and fractured, Al-Maliki’s government always has maintained some level of cooperation with the United States since he was first elected in 2006. But this relationship has been lukewarm in the best of times.
On the other hand, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (a.k.a. Syria), ISIS, has been fighting government forces all year with alarming speed and conquest. A Sunni Al-Qaeda offshoot under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS has fought against the Syrian and Iraqi governments hoping to make room for its own strict, brutal caliphate.
The response of the U.S. government has been strong—in words. The Department of State’s July 18 press release includes phrases like “condemns in the strongest terms,” “we are outraged,” and “these abominable actions.” Lacking any notion of action, one comes to the final, bold sentence: “The United States stands with all the Iraqi people against the threat from [ISIS].”
Obviously, Americans are sick of deploying their uniformed men and women to the Middle East. This translates clearly in Washington, which has done little in the region this year besides the use of unpopular drone attacks and unsuccessful diplomatic trips by executive and legislative branch officials alike.
But among those who call for action against ISIS, an even deeper problem might exist. The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey wrote a fairly good piece on ISIS’ current path of destruction in Iraq. He was so concerned, in fact, that he called the carnage “irreplaceable history.” That is, the many ancient biblical sites around the nation—which comprises much of ancient Babylon, Assyria, and Nineveh—need to be saved from radical Islamists who are destroying them left and right.
Dickey is right, and the terrorists are totally wrong. But calling biblical locations “irreplaceable” is dangerous when biblical followers are being threatened or even killed. Christians—along with all other innocent victims of terrorism—are the real “irreplaceable history,” not mere tourist traps and artifacts. But when people mix those up, they do not stand against the awful loss of freedom and life.
To be fair, Dickey may have written other articles about the human suffering ISIS is espousing. But even so, his left-leaning website is not alone in overlooking such misery. Popular radio talk show host Sean Hannity, a staunch conservative, condemned ISIS attacks several times a couple of weeks ago. He noted the killing of civilians and the ruining of traditional biblical sites. He never used words such as “irreplaceable history”—but time after time he gave equal air time and emotional flare to both murder and vandalism.
Again, this sends the wrong message. It gets Christians halfway around the world all huffy about historical places they have never heard of. Meanwhile, they miss the real headline that their fellow sojourners in faith in faraway lands desperately need their help and prayers.
King Solomon asked God’s blessing over foreigners, “for they shall hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm.” When they pray, he pleaded, “Hear in heaven Your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You.” (1 Kings 8:41-43) If Solomon was thinking about these people’s landmarks and tombstones, he leaves that out. He was recalling the people themselves, and the potential they had to know and glorify God.
Maybe ironically, the State Department seems more on track than Dickey or Hannity. At least its press release focuses entirely on the plight of Iraqi Christians. With more prayers and noise from the government’s employers—the American people—the government’s nice words may turn into real change.
Nikolas Grosfield is a part-time writer, rancher, and editor. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Cedarville University and has written more than 100 articles for a wide variety of media outlets. A proud Montanan, Nik is a full-time child of God, husband of Elsbeth, and father of Oliver.
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