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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Sunday, November 20, 2005


From First Things:

Richard John Neuhaus writes:

As Allen Hertzke spelled out recently in FIRST THINGS (see “The Shame of Darfur,” October), one of the great changes of recent years has been the determination of evangelical Protestants in this country to get serious about human rights, and about religious freedom in particular. Michael Cromartie, who also heads up evangelical studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, is chairman of the Commission on International Religious Freedom. This week, the commission, which operates out of the State Department, issued a blistering report on religious persecution in North Korea.

Based on eyewitness accounts of those who have fled the North Korean dictatorship, the stories curdle the blood. For instance, in the building of a highway near Pyongyang, a house was demolished and a Bible was discovered hidden between bricks. Along with it was a list identifying a Christian pastor, two assistant pastors, two elders, and 20 members of the congregation.

All were rounded up and the five Christian leaders were told they could avoid death if they denied their faith and swore to serve only Kim Jong Il and his father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of the communist dictatorship. Refusing to do so, they were forced to lie down and a steamroller used in the highway construction was driven over them. The report continues, “Fellow parishioners who had been assembled to watch the execution cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed beneath the steamroller.”

The persecution, imprisonment, and killings of Christians in North Korea involve hundreds of thousands. President Bush this week spoke out forcefully on human rights and religious freedom in North Korea, as well as China, in his visit to Asia. Many of the details on concentration camps and other horrors in North Korea were collected by the intrepid human rights activist David Hawk. Credit for leading congressional concern goes to Representatives Chris Smith of New Jersey and Frank Wolf of Virginia, who were also instrumental in establishing the religious freedom commission in the State Department.

Insiders say that the commission has over the years been marginalized in the department, since professional foreign service officers tend to view human rights and religious freedom as nuisances that distract attention from the “real business” of conducting foreign affairs. With Michael Cromartie heading the commission, backed by the support of Smith, Wolf, and others in Congress, it seems we will be hearing more about religious persecution, and not only in North Korea.

A crucial test case is Saudi Arabia. Those who call themselves “realists” in the foreign policy establishment have for decades given the Saudis a pass, not only in turning a blind eye to its persecution of any religious expression that violates its established Wahhabist version of Islam but also in ignoring its export of Islamic radicalism around the world.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birdnow ...

You have a different definition of when life begins than I do. That is why there is no hypocrisy in my argument that the death penalty is morally represhensible and the right of a woman to choose. NONE.

There is much hypocrisy in yours, however, in that you are most likely anti-choice and pro-death penalty.

Good day!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Welcome, anonymous! It`s always good to have a person with the courage of their convictions!

Your ``different definition of when life begins`` is a b.s. argument; perhaps someone can define you as not alive, if you annoy them? You choose to make this argument to defend the indefensible. I hate to point out to you that virtually all women have a choice-they can choose not to gratify their lusts.

I still haven`t gotten those numbers of rape-pregnancies, Anonymous. What`s keeping you?

You seem awefully forgiving of rapists and murderers, while you ruthlessly condemn the innocent.

2:06 PM  

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