I read two articles this morning that examined the challenges facing Arab-Christians. Both pieces highlighted the fact that the affairs of Christians in the Middle East are finally gaining some international recognition. The first was The Economist article "Hail to the King," which detailed a meeting His Majesty King Abdullah had with Christian evangelicals in Washington, D.C.:
The king did his best to accentuate the positive in relations between Abraham’s quarrelsome children. After deploring the destruction of Christian churches in Iraq — "breaking with a 1,400-year-old tradition of Christian-Muslim friendship," as he put it, a tad optimistically — he briefed luminaries of the religious right on his efforts to develop Christian pilgrimage sites and look after Jordanian Christians.
It went down well. "We are saying to King Abdullah, we support you, we pray for you, we can learn a lot from you," says Richard Cizik, a vice-president of the National Association of Evangelicals
The second was an editorial in today’s Washington Post by Robert Novak. The commentary examines the plight of Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank village of Aboud:
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., is taking an increased interest in the desperate plight of Christians in the Holy Land — to the point of politely and privately asking for help from George W. Bush. Immediately at stake is the West Bank village of Aboud, whose Christian roots go back two millennia, and which now is threatened by Israel’s security barrier.
"I am afraid that what is happening in the Holy Land is that we’re losing the presence of the Christian community," Cardinal McCarrick told me. As leader of his faith in the nation’s capital, he seeks friends on both sides of any political divide. Accordingly, the Cardinal told me the West Bank’s Christians are endangered by Palestinians (particularly since Hamas’ election victory). But there is no question for the Holy Land Christian Society, seeking to save their co-religionists, that water-hungry Jewish settlers benefit from the security wall.
While we are currently facing — at least according to some analysts — a cultural war between Islam and the West, I’m glad to see that despite being in the midst of this mayhem, the challenges currently facing Eastern Christians are not being neglected. Jordanian blogger Rami has an interesting commentary on the subject. Make sure to read his post.