President Bush and the Persecuted Church

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The officials in my country are afraid of President Bush, so they don't persecute Christians as much. Under Clinton it was very bad for us. Many of us were arrested, put in jail, and some were killed. With Clinton, it was very bad. But under President Bush, it has been so much better, so we are praying for him.

This is from a pastor in Uzbekistan, an officially Muslim country that I happen to have been to. It's reported by Admiral Quixote's Roundtable in a post intended for this week's Christian Carnival that didn't make it to the Carnival's host.

What this quote illustrates is that after having been free from Soviet control for a time, the formerly oppressed became the oppressors of all who would threaten the notion that to be Uzbek is to be Muslim (even though many Uzbeks are hardly religious). Evangelical Christians who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and offer it to all are thus severely persecuted in that land, simply for considering Muslims as possible audiences for their message.

Here is an element of the Bush presidency that I hadn't considered, but it fits with what I understand about how the government officials there operate. They welcomed Americans until they realized how many were Christians who were unafraid to talk about their faith. Then they began to crack down rather quickly once it became clear that they could get away with it without opposition from the American government. I was there around the time this crackdown started. They were deporting foreign Christians at first on the grounds of illegal missionary work, and when the U.S. government said nothing they began to do harsher things, eventually raiding people's apartments, imprisoning church leaders, and much worse things that I'm not willing to talk about in a public forum. The current administration has come down harder on that sort of thing, so this pastor's reaction is understandable. This may not be a sufficient reason for voting for Bush, but it's something Christians who are having trouble deciding should consider.

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I hope Christians realize they should turn out in droves to vote for Bush. If for no other reason than to have a believer in Christ in the White House.

I need more reason than that. I mean, c' 5 year old neice is a believer in Christ, but I don't want her running the country. Being a believer is neither a necessary, nor sufficient qualification for being a decent president. To imply that any and all believers would be better qualified than any and all unbelievers for the office of president is just silly. And to imply that it is my obligation to vote for a fellow Christian for no other reason except that he is a fellow Christian is both manipulative and unwise.

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