By Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Columnist
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife Columns)– Is it now time for Christians to accept defeat in the face of the Islamic State group’s genocidal onslaught in Iraq, and admit that our faith has no viable future – in the short term, at least – in that country? Certainly – and sadly – that’s the message that is increasingly being heard from experts.
Nina Shea is an international human rights lawyer and director of the U.S.-based Center for Religious Freedom. She has an impressive record of fighting, peacefully, on behalf of Mideast Christians. But now she is bluntly calling for “a new strategy.”
Shea has a plan. “The only achievable strategy under the current circumstances is to prepare for an orderly resettlement of these Christians (and Yazidis) in the West,” she writes in an article at National Review Online. “It is a bitter development for the Church and for them, being discarded after 2,000 years of history, through no fault of their own,” Shea admits. “But it is the most humane of the alternatives. Otherwise they face indigence and exile or, worse, slaughter at the hands of jihadists.”
Iraqi Christians can’t expect protection from Iraq’s army. Barry Posen, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program, has published a story on the Defense One website titled: “The Iraqi Army No Longer Exists.”
In other words, there is no remaining force that, realistically, is going to halt Islamic State militants as they continue their drive to subjugate the region’s Christians. Even the U.S. does not appear willing to do stop them, Shea notes.
Stephen Walt, an international relations professor at Harvard University, concedes that the Islamic State group looks like becoming a real and viable state.
His article on the Foreign Affairs website has the telling sub-title: “Live with it.”
All this confirms what historian Walter Russell Mead told a Hudson Institute conference last month. Christians and other minorities in the region must either “fort up or flee.”
Yet the time to “fort up” has long passed.
Christians might find some comfort, – as I try to do – with thoughts of how faith in Jesus Christ is blooming in many other parts of the world. But let us not delude ourselves. This is a tragedy of monumental proportions.
(Martin Roth (www.authormartinroth.com) BosNewsLife’s Senior Columnist, is an Australian journalist and a former Tokyo-based foreign correspondent. He is the author of “Journey Out Of Nothing: My Buddhist Path to Christianity” and of the Brother Half Angel series of thrillers, which focus on the persecuted church. BosNewsLife Columns distributes opinionated columns and commentaries providing a fresh perspective on issues in the news. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BosNewsLife News Agency or its parent company).