We can’t go out into the streets and do evangelism and tell them what the gospel is, but we can show it.” So said Canon Andrew White last week addressing a small group of local Christians in New York City. A couple of days earlier, he gave the opening prayer in the U. S. Senate, which you can watch at C-SPAN.
The streets are in Baghdad, and the “showing” mainly takes the form of a medical clinic, humanitarian relief, and reconciliation of hostile factions in the country. (The clinic treats 150 people each dayCanon White trained in the U.K. as a “gas man,” one who administers anesthesia.) His organization is The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East whose home page today has a video labeled “Iraqi TV Host Breaks Down in Tears at Plight of Christians.” Beneath it reads, “DON’T BE SILENT AS A NEW HOLOCAUST UNFOLDS!”
After an opening prayer and the greeting, “It’s wonderful to come together with my sisters and my brothers who love Jesus,” Canon White proceeded to detail some of the abominable conditions faced every day by Sunnis, Shiites, and, most of all, Christians.
“There were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, and now we’re down to 300,000.” They have been killed, beaten, and harassed, their houses have been defaced, their churches vandalized. “What is happening now is worse than anything that has happened before.” White says of Iraqi Christians, “These people have suffered so much,” and they say to him, “We’re finished, we’ve got nothing.” In fact, Canon White predicted, looking ahead to but a few years from now, “I don’t think there will be any Christians in Iraq.”
If the United States or anyone else were to intervene, he added, the flight of Christians out of Iraq wouldn’t reverse. “Even if ISIS is defeated, Christians probably won’t go back because their neighbors didn’t defend them.” The abominations FRRME confronts are beyond an American’s imagining. (In this video from August, he details a few of the barbarisms.) Kidnappings, for instance, are regular business practices: “We’re trying to buy the girls back, and all they want to know is how much money we’ve got.”
Asked what Iraqis think about Americans, he replied, “They don’t like you and they’re scared of you. They don’t know anything about American policy. They don’t know what President Obama said last week. They don’t care about it.”
In the midst of it all, though, faith is secure. “My hope is based on Jesus’s bloodnothing else.”
And as the persecutions continue, “We are becoming MORE Christian.”