Skip to comments.Are There Any Christians in America?
Posted on 04/19/2004 4:36:17 PM PDT by Destro
August 10, 2003
Are There Any Christians in America?
By T.V. Weber
So many Orthodox Christians were martyred in the twentieth century that the number of those martyred in Roman times has become comparatively insignificant. Thats right: all of the human lion food, all of the human torches, and all of the other Christians executed, from the time of the stoning of Stephen until Emperor Constantines legalization of Christianity, are a mere drop in the bucket compared to those Christians who gave their lives in the twentieth century.
Americans have no concept of the price of faith. Overfed Baptists who condemn everyone who disagrees with them, secular Methodists who rationalize and condone just about every type of evil behavior, and Catholics who cheerfully deposit funds in the collection plate so that their bishop can pay off the victims of pedophile priests, have one thing in common: they simply do not get it.
Of course, there are those groups of adherents outside of mainstream Christianity, which the mainstream refers to as cults. They have their sacred books other than the Bible, or a Jesus who is not really the Son of God, or some leader who has had private revelations. By and large, with the exception of David Koreshs Branch Davidians, these quasi-Christian organizations have been allowed to preach their take on life with little or no interference from the government or the communities where they reside.
What a complacent and naively romanticized view of Christianity we have here in America! While the focus may change from denomination to denomination, or from cult to cult, the common expectation is that the living is easythat the need for sacrifice and courage is a thing of the distant past.
Thus, it is considered a major persecution when a boss suggests that an employee should not leave a Bible openor even closedon a desk at the office. A public school that lets the French club use a classroom after school, but wont let a student-run Bible-study club do the same, becomes a major target of Christian scorn. And what torture it is when a local church is not allowed to put up its traditional Nativity display in the town square! Any of us can still place an entire reenactment scene in our own front yard!
I hasten to point out that I do not intend to demean solid American Christians of any denomination. My observations should not be interpreted in any manner that suggests I am looking for excuses to find fault with other Christians, so as to curry favor from a zealous Orthodox Christian readership. My intention is simply to point out the fact that however well intentioned other American Christians might be, they seem to be completely indifferent to the plight of their Orthodox brothers and sisters in faith.
Persecution of Orthodox Christians
When the subject of recent persecution is broached, American Christians are quick to think of Protestants in China, or Catholics in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world where there is a strong missionary presence, but somehow the plight of Christians in the Orthodox world fails to show up on the radar screen as religious persecution.
How is it that we view the Nazi holocaust against the Jews as religious persecution, but the massive Nazi exterminations of Orthodox Christians as a non-eventeven when these Christians were slaughtered alongside the Jews in the very same death camps and killing fields? Over a million Serbs, Orthodox Christians, were executed by the forces of the Third Reich; approximately 700,000 of them perished at Jasenovac death camp. Auschwitz is preserved as a memorial to the Jews who perished there, and well it should be. Even prayer by a non-Jewish religious leader, such as the Pope, is viewed with suspicion. Yet, the world stood silently by when the Croatians took a bulldozer to the remnants of Jasenovac.
When we speak of Stalins mass murders, from the 1920s through the early 1950s, we rightly attribute it to the evils of Communism. But does anyone ever notice whom Stalin was starving to death? The Communists were, by definition, atheists. Atheism and materialism were key tenets of Soviet ideology. Thus, more often than not, their victims, in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other Slavic lands, were Orthodox Christians.
The long and agonizing destruction of Yugoslavia, particularly the last two rounds of warfare in Bosnia and Kosovo, involved considerable religious overtones. Had the world press viewed this conflict in the same terms as it did other conflicts based on religion, the war in Bosnia would have been clearly portrayed as Islamic forces fighting against Roman Catholic forces, both of which were fighting against Orthodox forces. The war in Kosovo would have been viewed as radical Islamic forces battling Orthodox forces. Instead, the wars were cast in terms of racial struggles.
Western reporters were astounded when Serbs in Kosovo would offer weapons or protection to their Shiptar neighbors, whom the Western press called Albanians, or even Kosovars. It never occurred to the reporters that there might be a reason why some of the Shiptars got along well with their Serbian neighbors in Kosovo, while others did not. The fact that Christian neighbors might offer one another protection from attack by Islamic extremists was well beyond the intelligencein either sense of the wordof any American reporter prior to September 11, 2001.
But are there any Christians in America? Any Christian should have realized that the Kosovo War was a conflict between Christian Serbia and Muslim extremists who have slowly invaded Kosovothe Serbian Holy Landand claimed it as their own. Serbian Americans, Greek Americans, Macedonian Americans, Russian Americans, and so forth, seemed to be the only ones in this part of the world who got it.
So, a more interesting question would be: are there any real Christians in America, other than the Orthodox? If so, why did these Christians not object to Clintons war on Christianity in the Balkans?
What Happens During Other Religious Conflicts?
For many years, in the view of the American public, the Troubles in Northern Ireland represented the quintessential conflict based upon religious differences. But on a deeper level, it is not a question of religion, but a question of British occupation of Ireland, that has always motivated the conflict. Yet, as news reportage would have it, one side is described as Roman Catholic, while the other side is characterized as Protestant without any focus on denomination or on the tenets of their beliefs. This conflict is primarily a British problem, but it has become a big issue to the U.S. government, as well.
What does the world communitysuch as it isdo about the problem in Northern Ireland? They encourage the warring sides to make peace. How does the world community enforce the peace? It applies diplomatic pressure.
There never is any use of force by theU.S. dominatedworld community. And heres why: There simply are too many Roman Catholics and too many Protestants in the United States to admit that possibility.
Another hot spot of religious war is Israel. The Western press seems to endlessly belabor the fact that the Israelis are Jews, but, at least until the September 11 attack, they barely seemed to notice that the vast majority of the Arabs who are claming status as Palestinians are Muslims. Of course, any remark to that effect invites critics to haul out a few dozen non-Muslims who side with the Muslim Palestinians. After all, whenever people choose sides, there are always exceptions. Every American who finished grade school should know that even the makeup of the opposing armies in American War for Independence was not that cut-and-dried. George Washington crossed the Delaware to defeat German (then known as Prussian and Hessian), not British, troops. It was the French forces, not American forces, who caused the British to throw in the towel after Cornwallis surrendered. So, spare me the tale about your uncle who claims to be a Unitarian or whatever, but who lives in Gaza and supports the Palestinians.
The Middle East peace process has been a major part of the agenda that American Presidents have been expected to manage, ever since the days when Jimmy Carter roamed the White House and complained that the U.S. Presidency was too big of a job for one man to handle.
Once again, do we ever threaten to bomb either the Israelis or the Palestinians into submission? No. For one thing, there are enough Jews in America to keep the government from bombing the Israelis. Similarly, there are a number of reasons why we dont bomb the Palestinians into submission: there are too many anti-Semites in the U.S.; we are too devoted to protecting Islam, so that Muslim countries do not shut off the flow of oil; and too many of those petrodollars have found their way into American politics. Anyone who doubts that the latter is a factor should think back to Abscam. It is simply too easy to influence American leaders with campaign contributions. Of course, the Clinton presidencyand the Dole candidacyare clear evidence that nobody cares all that much when American politicians are bought by foreign dollars.
Clintons Balkans Policy Was a War Against Christianity
I recently attended a Christian writers conference, as much of my work is potentially salable in that area. I knew that the where-do-you-go-to-church type of question would come up. Having had considerable exposure to both the Evangelical and Roman Catholic worlds prior to marrying a Serbian-American and converting to Orthodoxy, I thought that I knew the Christian world fairly well. So, I expected that I would need to explain what the Eastern Orthodox Church was. While little else has changed in Evangelical Protestant circles, it seems that they now know that Orthodox Christianity exists.
It may have helped that a new Orthodox church building had been built across the railroad tracks from the Wheaton College Campus, where the conference was being held. Whatever the reason, but it was fairly refreshing so be recognized as an Orthodox without confusion. When the subject came up, I merely reached for the Orthodox cross around my neck and said Orthodox. No one mistakenly added the word Greek; as it had once been commonly assumed, throughout most of the U.S., that only Greeks could be Orthodox. They treated me like everyone else; one woman even commented, That is the original Christianity.
So, it appears that Evangelical Christians tend to know more about Orthodox Christians than typically did only a few years ago. While the American news media can confuse anything, those who follow world events tend to have a good idea what religions are practiced by various groups of people. This is especially true for those in government.
Reflecting back on the events of the Clinton presidency, it should be obvious exactly where he and Hillary have always stood on the issue of Christianity. In addition to Bills womanizing and Hillarys efforts to make herself appear palatable to gay and lesbian voters, their record on Christianity is clear. Hilarys defense has always been that she and Bill have been plagued by a vast-right wing conspiracy. It does not take too much deep thinking to translate vast right-wing conspiracy as a code word for the so-called Christian Right. While it is obvious that the Clintons are at war with the Christian Right, perhaps they are also at war with any Christian who is not pro-Clinton. So, with the exception of pro-adultery Christians and pro-homosexual Christians, the Clintons have no use for Christianity.
Orthodox Christians must pose a particular problem for the Clintons. There is no chance that Orthodox Christianity will alter its tenets to fit the leftist agenda sponsored by the Clintons.
So, what is the most politically expedient way for the Clintons to display the deepest possible contempt for Christianity? Had they gone any further to support anti-Christian policies in America, the so-called Christian Right would have had tremendous ammunition for opposing the Clintons and for raising money for Republican candidates. Elderly hypocrites who had been willing sacrifice all other principles to support Clinton because he would protect their Social Security paymentssomething they were in no danger of losingwould no longer be able to do so. There is a final type of retirement where Social Security, pensions, and other earthly assets are not needed.
But singling out and targeting one fairly small group of Orthodox Christiansincluding many who were more or less estranged from the faith as a result of Communist occupationwould be easy. There would be no major backlash at home; American Christians have no concept of the foundations of their faith. They have no understanding of persecution.
Martyrs often are persecuted for both religious and political reasons. Joan of Arc has been a popular topic for films in recent years. The Catholic Church executed her during the Middle Ages. In the early 20th century, the same Catholic Church decided to consider her a saint, as well as a martyr.
The Orthodox Church recently recognized two martyred saints who were murdered after Kosovo had been turned over to the KFOR occupation forces. KFOR has given the KLA free rein to persecute the Serbs who had been left behind. Without Clinton, there would have been two fewer saints, and, at least, two more living Serbian Orthodox priests in Kosovo. Of course, many other Serbs, Shiptars, and people of many other nationalities lost their lives due to Clintons actions.
While we are micro-inspecting George W. Bushs reasons for invading Iraq, we seem to ignore the fact that Clintons reasons for the Kosovo War and ongoing occupation were, and are, completely bogus. During more than four years of occupation, we still do not have a shred of evidence that any Serbs did anything wrong to any of the Shiptars. Yet, there is no groundswell of opinion in American demanding an investigation, nor the withdrawal of our troops from the Balkans.
Clinton was able to condemn the Serbsa Christian peopleand virtually no one has come to their defense. He was able to use American resources to create an establishment of religion in Kosovo, namely Islam. Likewise, he has used American resources to prohibit the free exercise of religion in much of Kosovo, namely Christianity.
Clearly, the war in Kosovo was, and still is, a war against Christianity. Yet, no major Christian organization other than the Orthodox has taken a stand against the Kosovo War and the continued occupation of Kosovo, a province of Serbia, by KLA and KFOR forces.
Therefore, I must ask again: Are there any Christians in America?
Sadly, I admit I didn't know what was going on at the time, I do now of course, and am sickened. We were clearly on the wrong side, and this makes me wonder even more about Clinton's lack of reaction to Islamic terrorists who attacked us during his reign.
Yes, he and Hillary are anti Christian, that was made clear many times in this country, yet as stated in this article, too many Christians vote for the party of their pocketbook, ignoring such things as mentioned here, and the party of abortion, homosexuals, etc.
I think I am depressed now! But this article is just great, and very much needed.
One element missing was the definition of a Christian.
You moved right into an alignment of Orthodox Christians with 'being' a Christian and, quite frankly ... I didn't see the connect.
What is Orthodox?
What is (a) Christian.
What's the difference (if any)?
Correct. The news media managed to pretty well swamp this issue for nearly all Americans. I was stunned when I met a Serbian friend of a friend, and heard a very different story from everything I'd heard in the press. I really didn't know what to think.
We need more education....
I see now that you were not the author.
I apologize for that.
The questions remain.
"Over 300,000 Orthodox clerics were murdered by the Bolsheviks, and those who today recall these statistics and martyrs are largely restricted to White Russian circles of aging émigrés. The National Council of Churches, which bleeds so ostentatiously for the liberation forces and terrorists of Africa and Central America, have yet to organize even a memorial service for their coreligionists in the Workers Paradise. Religious scholars have not, so far as I know, devoted much effort to acquainting congregations and church hierarchies with the specifics of Communist and Socialist antireligious activities. From Under the Rubble, which updates the situation, is not now extolled from pulpits, so far as I know, nor is it included among stacks of worthy reading for mainstream congregations in the West. Yet From Under the Rubble warns, it points out, it compares, it points a finger toward the path upon which we are unwittingly embarked and it makes its case by calling attention to not only Landmarks, but to what has happened since, which proves beyond question the arguments made by Landmarks."
"What is not so expected is that so many western Christians, Americans in particular, are willing to believe the worst about their eastern Christian cousins, who, only lately freed from Islamic (and later, in most cases, communist) servitude, are desperately attempting to avoid a repeat of the experience. Today, when all of the Russian North Caucasus is subject to plunder and hostage-taking razzias staged from Shari'a-ruled Chechnya, when not just Nagorno-Karabakh but Armenia proper is in danger of a repeat of 1915, when Cyprus and Greece receive unvarnished threats to their territorial integrity on a weekly basis for the offense of purchasing defensive weapons, and when the borders of Serbia are rapidly approaching those of the pashaluk of Belgrade to suit America's new-found friends in Bosnia and Kosovo, organized Roman Catholic and Protestant sentiment in America overwhelmingly sides with non- and anti-Christian elite opinion in its pro-Muslim, anti-Orthodox tendency."
"For example, in 1993 statements were issued by a number of Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican spokesmen in the United States urging military intervention on behalf of the Islamic regime in Sarajevo. "We are convinced that there is just cause to use force to defend largely helpless people in Bosnia against aggression and barbarism that are destroying the very foundations of society and threaten large numbers of people," wrote the chairman of the U.S. Catholic Conference, at a time when the Muslim beneficiaries of the called-for intervention were not only roasting alive Serb POWs impaled on spits but were slaughtering Roman Catholic Croats by the hundreds in an offensive in central Bosnia. "What is going on in Bosnia is genocide by any other name," observed a prominent Baptist spokesman: "The ghosts of Auschwitz and Dachau have come back to haunt us. If we do nothing we are morally culpable." "Those of us who opposed the Gulf War believed that war was not the answer," opined the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, "but today we find ourselves confronted with an evil war, the sure elimination of which may be possible only by means of armed intervention." Thus did high-minded guardians of the West's Christian integrity give their blessing for NATO to assist the resumption of jihad in Europe. Granted, they were themselves to some extent victims of the melodramatic media coverage that has characterized the Balkan war, but that's not much of an excuse. Who told them to believe everything dished up by CNN?"
It is always good to endear your audience.
OK. Then piss on T.V. Weber's minority whining. He should have stuck to reporting on UFOs.
It is always good to endear your audience.
I was thinking the same thing. He alienated his target audience. In the second paragraph no less. Not too smooth. Fat lot of good it does to make a point if nobody sticks around to hear it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.