Christians in Iraq at risk from ISIS

Mar Mattai monastery outside Mosul, continually inhabited by monks since the 4th century A.D. Chris De Bruyn / cc

Under Saddam Hussein, Christians in Iraq were not well-loved but they were tolerated. However, following the military adventurist campaigns of the United States and its allies, the situation for Iraqi Christians has become increasingly dire. A few days ago, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took over the Iraqi city of Mosul (incidentally, this city was once called Nineveh) and displaced over 500,000 people including most of Iraq’s remaining Christian population.

Interventionism often escalates extremist activity, and the Iraq War has spawned a variety of spin-off terrorist groups. Many of these groups strike out at their own people, including Christians. ISIS, remarkably, was even renounced by al-Qaeda for being too brutal.

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“Republican Politics According to the Bible” Book Review

imageReview of Wayne Grudem, Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Zondervan, 2010), 619 pgs., hardcover, $39.99.

I remember back in the mid 1990s when I was teaching theology and Zondervan published Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. I thought it was a good book, and now see that it has sold over 300,000 copies. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw that the author recently wrote an equally massive book on politics. It is not everyday when a theologian is found to have such a different field of interest and, in the case of Grudem, expertise.

As I have mentioned in some of my other reviews of Christian books (see here, here, here, here, and here), because one of my primary interests is the intersection of religion with politics and economics, I try to read and possibly review any books on these subjects. Although I am usually disappointed, Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (hereafter just Politics – According to the Bible), although it has much to disappoint, and much I vehemently disagree with, is still an important and needful work that I can recommend to Christians interested in religion and politics, albeit with many caveats.

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Why They Hate Us

"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. . . . America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." ~ George W. Bush, address to the nation, September 11, 2001

"They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." ~ George W. Bush, address to Congress, September 20, 2001

Of all the lies of the Bush administration used to justify the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this one has proven to be the most enduring – and the most wrong.

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