Islamic militants in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories (PT) have threatened to destroy churches and kill Christians in response to Pope Benedict's speech at the University of Regensburg. It seems that a 14th Century Byzantine emperor quoted in the Pope's address had asserted that violent Islamic jihad is evil and essentially unreasonable because it is contrary to the very nature of God. The pope himself has said his talk was meant to increase dialogue between religious traditions. If his only true intention was to cultivate dialogue and not to criticize, why did the pope decide to evoke Islamic violence rather than the history of Catholic violence to make his point? What, exactly, does he mean to say about the differences between Christianity and Islam? For that matter, what about the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism?
Let’s look at some raw and painful facts. Two of seven churches already attacked in PT have been destroyed. A 70-year-old nun was ambushed and shot in the back in Somalia. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has vowed to 'destroy the cross', slit the throats of Christians and make their belongings and children the bounty of the mujahideen.
Note 1: Pray for these most vulnerable and endangered Christian believers, that God will be their deliverer.
Note 2: Ramadan starts on 24 September - the 30 Day Muslim Prayer Focus is available at <http://www.30-days.net/>.
Note 3:For the full text of the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg: <http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=46474>
Note 4: I personally disagree with the Pope's assertion that the Reformers sacrificed reason in the pursuit of Biblical faith but do not see this as grounds for global Protestant rioting.