Are christians endangered species?
There is something peculiar about the Christian religion. It is one built on a deep foundation of love for humanity. That foundation is Christ Himself Who readily gave His life, so that all who believe may be saved. For followers of Christ, emulating Him in this present world comes with lots of sacrifices and self-denial. They are called to emulate the Founder Who personifies love Himself. Thus, in whatever situation comes their way, their first reaction would be: how would Christ react to this situation? Would He be angry or persevere? Would He retaliate or be withdrawn? Would He strike back with force or just turn the other cheek, as He once told His followers to do?
Being a true Christian in many parts of the world can be very frustrating. You are daily confronted with knotty situations that tend to put your faith under constant scrutiny. Should I or should I not? In several parts of Europe, Asia, Middle East and Even America, Christians are constantly facing persecution on account of their faith. They are threatened with violence and all sorts of intimidation just because they refuse to compromise their faith. And what is their faith? It is the adherents of the teachings of their founder; Jesus Christ Who preached love throughout His stay on earth. A Christian is a special breed, who believes that he should not be bound by the ethical and liberal teachings of the secular world. While the rest of the world may see nothing wrong in the use of contraceptives, for instance, the true follower of Christ would never even think of it as a likely option. While the man next door may see nothing wrong in hitting back at his attacker, the believer would see such as running contrary to the teachings of his Master Who advocated turning the right cheek. Indeed, being a Christian can sometime be frustrating.
It may be for this reason that some fanatics across the world, including Nigeria find it very convenient to molest Christians at the slightest provocation or for no reasons at all. They lash out at every opportunity to unleash mayhem on hapless believers, who choose to live their lives peacefully and in conformity and in line with the teachings of their Master. Or how else would you describe the incessant massacre of Christians in many parts of the world, including here in Nigeria, even to the extent of bombing their places of worship? Why is it still difficult for Christians in the North to acquire lands for religious purposes? And for most of the time, one hardly hears of reprisals. Worse still, little is known of government’s efforts to defend their interest or bring perpetrators to book. Why does it appear as if certain government policies are deliberately made to benefit those of a certain religion to the detriment of others? Can one then rightly describe Christians as toothless dogs? Is it that they are helpless? Truly, it is challenging being a Christian in this clime.
It is in light of this that the recent death sentence passed on five Christian youths in a High Court in Adamawa State comes under scrutiny. Many are already wondering at the speed at which the sentences were passed, even as killer herdsmen go about their killing spree without any atom of molestation. How justifiable is the sentence in the midst of the large picture of events confronting us? Is it that the system has been deliberately skewed to place Christians at a disadvantage? Is there truly a hidden agenda by a certain religion to dominate the others and control the apparatus of the entire nation? These are some of the questions that have been, and are still begging for answers.
Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.