There was a sentence in a recent story about the Gaza Strip disaster which caught my attention. It referred to vandals desecrating a church and its prayer books. Lost in the conflict raging in Palestine between Fatah vs. Hamas is the decline in the role of Christian Palestinians in issues dealing with the Middle East. Also lost is realization by those who consider themselves as defenders of the Middle East against Western imperialism is the role historically played by Christians in this area of the world.
Christians occupied important positions in Arafat’s original organization and it was assumed that Christians were as concerned about creating a viable Palestinian state as any Muslim. Christians also played important roles in Iraq, but in the aftermath of the great Bush crusade, hundreds of thousands of Iraq Christians are leaving their historic homeland because they are now regarded as evil doers and lackeys of Christian American imperialism. Many experts believe within five years virtually all Christians will have fled Iraq.
There is irony in Bush’s Christian Alliance, which seeks to restore Christian values, being the vehicle responsible for destruction of Christianity in the Middle East. Few in the Bush coterie of ignorance have the slightest grasp of an historic Christian presence in the Middle East and that Christians were involved in independence movements. There is further irony in Bush’s complaints about Iran, but never a comment about prejudice and bigotry confronting Coptic Christians in Egypt. Of course, Mubarak is a “good guy” and his lack of support for Coptic Christian rights is simply never discussed.
Some day, American Christians will wake up and confront the reality that George Bush has done more damage to world Christianity than any president in the history of the United States.