In a statement that reveals yet again how out of touch the administration is, Josh Earnest, White House spokesman, said that the massive suicide bombing in Lahore, in which 70 people were killed and about 300 injured, didn’t simply target Christians since many Muslims were victims as well.
Yet the terrorist organization that launched the attack and is a Taliban splinter group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, said it specifically targeted Christians celebrating Easter in the park. The same militant group also took responsibility for the twin bombings of a Christian church in Lahore last year. Christians account for two percent of Pakistan’s total population.
Admittedly most of those killed were Muslims, and the loss of innocent life whether Muslim or Christian, is to be lamented. However, the U.S. State Department did not respond to the aftermath of the attack as one specifically targeting Christians.
This attack underscored the precarious position of Pakistan’s minorities and the significant fact that, despite increased military vigilance, extremists are still capable of staging wide-scale assaults. Prime Minister Sharif announced recognition of holidays celebrated by Pakistan’s minorities – the Hindu festival of Holi as well as Easter. Unfortunately, if the Taliban members got the message, they chose to ignore it.
Speaking to the bereaved who lost a son in battle during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln noted, “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom.”
I too pray that those Christians and minorities facing hostility in Pakistan and throughout the Middle East can be sheltered from further bereavement. But the odds are not with them. Militant Islam will not tolerate minority religious views or even majority views that are inconsistent with Islam. Submit or die or accept dhimmitude status are the alternatives laid out by the apostles of hate.
Many in the West refuse to believe this declaration even though it arises again and again in sermons and admonitions. It is striking, particularly at this moment, that many people – including those in positions of authority – tend to preserve an image of reality that in retrospect is the obverse of the evidence. Some would ignore the information that does not fit an existing thesis; they will twist and turn evidence until it confirms, or at least does not contradict, the prevailing belief system.
The extremists in Islam are telling us they will not moderate their positions. Christians will be killed because they are not Muslims. That is a reality many refuse to heed, making the murders in Lahore merely another moment in an historical montage. Boris Pasternak, the author of Doctor Zhivago, noted quite poignantly, “I think that if the beast who sleeps in men could be held down of threats – any kind of threat, whether of jail or of retribution after death – then the highest emblem of humanity would be the lion tamer in the circus with his whip, not the prophet who sacrificed himself.”
For Christians facing genocide, they need lion tamers; those who can defend against the kind of atrocity seen in Lahore. Is Lahore a wake up call for those who refuse to recognize evil? The world waits for an answer.