I’m watching C-SPAN’s Book TV this Sunday morning. An author, Lela Gilbert, is discussing her book, Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner. She was talking about the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Arab lands who had to flee after the founding of Israel. That went on from 1948 until the 1970s, but it’s only now being taken note of. Then she talked about what is going on with Christians in the Middle East. The Iraqi Christians didn’t see it coming, she said. They are still being attacked, and their numbers are a fraction of what they were. (We’ve written about this.) But Iraqi Christians have fled to Syria, and now they are in danger there. Egypt has millions of Christians, and the ones who have enough money to get out are getting out. The others will leave any way they can, lots of them.
There will be no Christians in the Middle East in a few years, except, ironically, in Israel. Lela Gilbert said the Christians’ plight is desperate. “Christians have no Israel,” nowhere to go where they will be automatically accepted. And Christians in the west do not take much interest in these beleaguered people. Their ancient liturgies and ways of worship are strange to most American Christians. Evangelicals consider them Catholic (which they are) and want to “convert” them. Christians usually don’t think of themselves as one people, the way Jews do, and that’s a sad thing. It wasn’t always that way.
I don’t see any solution. We unleashed “change” in the Middle East, and the change turned out to be all in the direction of Islamists taking power. The Jews found there was no room for them decades ago, and now the Christians are finding the same thing.