Bethlehem: Christians abused by Islamists, but keep it to yourself…

Adorned altar next to graffiti

Altar in Bethlehem, ©2013 Alessandro Grasso

Here’s a thought-provoking link. (Notice that my original Italian link was from a different source, but it takes literally 0 seconds to find a different independent report that connects the inevitable dots getting to the same conclusion.)

Christians flee from Bethlehem. Media sources will blame Israel again, but they mostly emigrate due to Islamists.

This article strikes a chord with me because I was visiting there in September, and I noticed the puzzling zeal with which the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land jumped at the opportunity to blame the Exodus of Christians on the economic crisis (!)

I was appalled at their promptly applying the lazy scheme Israelis=oppressors, Palestinians=helpless victims, without any nuance or doubt…
Such a deplorable attidude contrasts vividly with the admirable, tangible and effective activity of the charity initiatives by the Minor Franciscan Friars there.

I understand there is a long history of grievances, reciprocal mistreatment and provocations with the Israelis. A friar merrily walking through the Jewish Quarter can be easily targeted, insulted and spit upon. Or so they told me, but it’s not the kind of fear you invent out of thin air.

Jewish authorities are definitely not blameless either.
But there is no way we can justify this trying to minimize the harassment of Christians by Muslims, artificially keeping the latter in a role of privileged victims always deserving to be excused and protected. There’s this delusional hope that just by acting as if there were no Muslim supremacism to speak of, pretending to lump together all the Non-Jews and insisting it’s just “Palestinians”, sooner or later this anti-Christian hatred could magically disappear.

It doesn’t work like that. You’d think they could begin to change and see each other as peers if the problem were to lie in some ingrained but unjustified hatred on the part of a culture that nonetheless values equality, comprised of people educated to empathize since childhood: practically on the brink of having a sort of epiphany, like a blindfold suddenly falling from their eyes. On the contrary, they consider treating Christians as second class citizens as an expression of a superior, unquestionable justice. They feel happy and secure in their contempt.

The history of cultures is essentially marked and determined by powerful symbols. When I was there, sleeping in a residence situated next to the Church of the Nativity, and I was awakened in the heart of the night by the grim, stifling wail coming from the muezzin, I got a tangible first-hand experience of the concept of submission. It didn’t surprise me though. It’s all about letting people know, feel, breathe, day by day, the answer to the question “Who’s the boss?” Who is ruling over those holy places. Even when this kind of supremacy isn’t yet sanctioned by a legal code nor obvious to everyone, it’s in the air, in the sounds.

Maybe the role for the Church in the modern world consists of this: serving the poor through material means without ever asking for anything; even giving up on teaching. Becoming a modern Guy Fawkes burnt in effigy on public squares, stoically taking hits, and yet still facing the dominant ideology with humble self-deprecation, kneeling, not daring to express a politically incorrect thought, never uttering a clear “No!” to any self-styled victim group that is actually crybullying its way into a smashing, oppressive victory.

The first and foremost duty, to properly serve the Gospel, would be to teach all those “Engaged Christians” fixated on “Social Justice” the subtle difference between being good and being a sucker. Even and especially when raising your head would translate into an occasion to sow discord.
There’s a noble form of charity in saying “unacceptable” things and stoking angry reactions by people who happen to be dead wrong but unwilling to put up with dissonant voices.

Merry Christmas…

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