Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What about ISIS?

The wave of  militant Islam seems to be washing over many parts of the Middle East.  In Iraq, cities are being captured and Christians slaughtered.  Pleas have gone out to Christians in the West to pray and support the persecuted church.

The Arabic letter nun
To call attention to the crisis, many Christ followers on social media have changed their profile pictures to the Arabic letter nun.  According to Wikipedia, militant Islamists spray paint this letter on the houses of Christians who have fled the massacre.

The ISIS surge appears to be the culmination of jihadists' work over many decades to set up a Caliphate, or Muslim empire.  They are seizing the opportune moment.  Thanks to the U.S. military, much of their opposition has been wiped out, and Iraq looks ripe for the picking.

What should be done about ISIS?  The world looks on in horror as the jihadists slaughter all who will not convert.  Naturally Americans look to our government to step in and fix things.  Unfortunately, our past efforts to fix things have contributed significantly to the current mess.  Western interference in the Middle East since World War II has systematically alienated governments in virtually every country.

American foreign policy is such a mess that I don't advocate any military action.  But politicians love wars, and I see no reason they would steer clear of this one.

I am wondering how Christians should respond.  Of course we need to pray.  We need to trust that God can use even horrific events for good.  But we can't hide behind faith to avoid stepping up to help those in need.  After all, in the story of the Good Samaritan, the religious people apparently used their religion to justify their failure to help.

Samaritan's Purse now provides humanitarian aid for refugees, fleeing the atrocities.  The Orthodox Christian Network offers eight suggested ways to help the victims of ISIS, some of which I would endorse.

We can't ignore this historic turn of events in the Middle East.  May God lead his people around the world to stand firm for Christ and step up for one another.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.