In his latest Century column, global Christianity
expert Philip Jenkins discusses the persecution and hardship faced
by Christians in the Middle East in the last hundred years (subscription
required). Jenkins points out that the fall of secular groups in the region in
more recent years "has been cumulatively disastrous for Christian populations."
Case in point: Iraqi Christians, who have largely been expelled or exiled since
the fall of Saddam.
This week saw the sentencing--to death--of the three men behind
the al-Qaida attack on a Baghdad cathedral last fall, which killed 68. But
there was also another attack this week, a car bomb that
wounded at least 20 people outside a church in Kirkuk, north of Baghdad.
Jenkins's column ends with
this: "The main mystery in this story is why Western Christians seem neither to
know nor care about the catastrophe that has unfolded before them in the
ancient heartlands of their faith." Even when we do know, what will it
take--and what will it mean--to care?