Genocide on slow-burn
I first fell in love with the Karen people of Burma decades ago, when I read Don Richardson’s amazing Eternity in Their Hearts. The Karen are a precious people that had never seen the white man, yet they began having dreams and visions that a white man would bring them news of the true God.
Through a set of miraculous circumstances (reminiscent of the time when Saul found his father’s lost donkeys at the word of the prophet Samuel), that is exactly what happened, as a missionary from the West came and revealed the nature of God’s infinite love to them.
The Karen responded enthusiastically, and they have formed a Christian enclave in the midst of southeast Asia for a century.
So it is sad to learn that, not only are they an oppressed minority, they are the target of a low-level genocide by the government of Myanmar.
This time it is not Islam that is the exterminator of Christian lives, but a totalitarian state. According to this Christian Post article, the Myanmar army is killing, raping, and stealing from the Karen at will, and forcing them to go unfed and plant only cash crops.
There are several factors at work, but one dominant one is that the ruling junta considers Christianity a threat to their control of the Burmese culture. They want to unify the nation under their rule using Buddhism as the spiritual cement. Christianity, and Christians, get in their way.
This nationalistic dynamic is a very common one, even in the Islamic nations. I would say that the use of religion for state purposes is the single most pervasive cause of persecution on the societal level.
I hurt for our brothers and sisters under this level of persecution. The devil has been turned loose, with nowhere left to run and with limited time to expend his wrath. He is targeting the saints viciously around the world.
We need to be in solidarity and intercession for our brothers, and as far as we are able we should be advocating on their behalf.
May the Lord grant them peace and security, and faithfulness in persecution, and may He make their witness effective and work good out of evil.