Christianity under assault at home and abroad

By Tom Quiner

Hanna Suchocka was the first female Prime Minister of Poland. She served as the Polish Ambassador to the Holy See. Born in 1946, she witnessed the crushing imposition of secular atheism on Poland by the communist government.

She related what happened in Newt Gingrich’s documentary, “Nine Days that Changed the World” (which will be screened at the Fleur Cinema here in Des Moines on Saturday, October 6th at 11 AM).

Her very-Catholic father owned a pharmacy. The communists burst into her Dad’s private business and insisted on the removal of the crucifix which he proudly and sincerely displayed on the wall of his businesses’ property.

The communists would allow the very-Catholic Polish nation to worship, but they would not allow them religious freedom. Thus, the forced removal of the crucifix from the wall of a privately-owned business.

This documentary, “Nine Days that Changed the World,” is immediately relevant in light of the religious persecution taking place today in the U.S. and the Middle East.

Here in the U.S., the Obama administration has imposed the HHS mandate on Catholic business owners and organizations. They require Catholics to violate their religious conscience by providing abortifacients, sterilization surgery, and contraception for their employees.

If they refuse, they will be severely fined.

If they refuse to pay the fines, they will be shut down, and if necessary, imprisoned according to typical IRS protocol.

In essence, the Obama administration has burst into the office’s of Catholic business owners and Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals and said, “do what we tell you to do, even if it violates your religious freedoms, or we will punish you.”

This attack on religious liberty is pretty new for America, but it is nothing new in the Muslim nations.

Things are once again roiling in the Mid East. The latest Muslim-induced conflagration is the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and several other American citizens, as well as attacks on the U.S. embassy in Egypt.

These individuals did nothing to offend the local Muslims. Rather, it appears the spark was an anti-Mohammed movie produced by Americans.

Doesn’t matter to the Muslims. They insist on killing people when they see or hear something they don’t like, especially knowing that the Obama administration and their State Department will first apologize for free speech that offends Muslim sensibilities.

Unfortunately, none of this is new.

Christianity is under severe attack in Muslim-dominated countries.

Pope Benedict the XIV points out the …

“acts of discrimination against Christians, which are considered less grave and less worthy of attention on the part of governments and public opinion.”

The Holy Father beseeches Muslim leaders  …

“that their Christians fellow-citizens be able to live in security, continuing to contribute to the society in which they are fully members.”

The reaction? Muslims are “insulted” by the the Pope’s appeal.

The situation is dire. Afghanistan has designated Islam as the state religion:

“no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.”

If you are a Muslim and convert to Christianity, you will be killed.

In rioting Egypt, 20 million Christians live in fear. You dare not evangelize your faith, because you will be persecuted. It takes up to 30 years to get a permit to build a Church. And if you have an existing Church, you may be killed as happened to nine Christians at a midnight Mass a couple of years ago.

Catholic writer, George Marlin, reports about Catholic persecution in Iran:

In January, about seventy Christians were arrested for attending services in “house churches.” In a November 2010 letter to President Ahmadinejad, Pope Benedict asked why Christian minorities live as dhimmis, second-class citizens.

In Iraq, 77% of Christians have fled to avoid persecution. As Marlin reports:

On October 31, 2010, 58 people died and 70 were injured when an organization linked to al Qaeda attacked Baghdad’s Our Lady of Deliverance Syrian Catholic Cathedral during Sunday Mass. Among the dead were two young priests. Archbishop Louis Sako commented: “For us Christians of Iraq, martyrdom is the charism of our Church . . . .We are aware that bearing witness to Christ can mean martyrdom.”

In Pakistan, blaspheming Mohammed can get you a death sentence. Since 1986, 993 people have been charged with blasphemy.

In Saudi Arabia, public ceremonies or services by non-Islamic religions are banned.

In Yemen, according to Mr. Marlin, the situation is dire:

There are only 8,000 Christians in this nation of 24 million. Yet in February, Yemen’s al Qaeda leader called on Muslims to wage jihad against them.

I harken back to Poland. Pope John Paul II walked into the Lion’s den. He invoked Christ. He asked the Blessed Mother to intercede. He called on an army of Saints to pray for religious liberty.

He is our role model. Let us follow his lead. Pope Benedict is heading into the Mid East, Lebanon, soon. Let us and the heavenly hosts pray for a conversion of President Obama’s heart and the hearts of all of the oppressors of religious freedom at home and in the Mid East.

In America, it is our first amendment. If only our president would honor it.


  1. the frogman on April 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Am I the only one who senses that you are requesting that we honor Christians’ desire to live according to their religion, even when it violates the rights of others, but are complaining about Muslims being able to practice their religion precisely because it violates the rights of Christians?

    Either the right thing is for human rights to be respected in Islamic nations as well as in either Christian or secular nations, or to let the dominant religion have its say in the laws of the land.

    Sure. Let’s let Catholic business owners refuse to offer basic health care that is required of other companies because their religion is archaic enough to demand it. But then let’s also allow Muslims to kill people who convert to Christianity or who blaspheme Mohammed because their religion is archaic enough to demand it.

    • quinersdiner on April 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

      You sense incorrectly. I oppose Muslim killing of the innocent as much as I oppose human abortionists killing the innocents, just as the American Creed expresses in its acknowledgement of Man’s fundamental right to life. Regarding the HSA Mandate, sterilization, morning-after human abortion pills, and contraception have nothing to do with basic health care. Thanks for writing.

  2. the frogman on April 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I can understand why someone would perhaps defend the Catholic church’s stance on contraception, but to say that it has nothing to do with basic health care is, I’m afraid to say, quite wide of the mark. You are being dishonest with yourself if you can see no way in which contraception applies to health care.

    • quinersdiner on April 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Take it up with the World Health Organization.

      An international panel of twenty-one experts from eight countries, including representatives from the National Institute of Health, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, reviewed the openly available published scientific literature and concluded that both oral contraceptives and HRT (hormone replacement therapy) were Group I carcinogens, known to cause cancer in humans. The IARC determined there was a positive relationship between exposure to oral contraceptives/HRT and a variety of cancers, specifically breast cancer, based on published data from studies in which chance, bias and confounding variables could be ruled out with reasonable confidence. That’s why the WHO does NOT consider contraception health care.

      Contraception should be an individual’s choice, not something coerced on us by Big Government.

      • the frogman on April 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm

        I appreciate that there can be contraindications for (almost?) every medical procedure or product. That doesn’t disqualify them from being categorized as health care. (Otherwise, what say should the WHO have in something that is not health care?) In addition, equating oral contraceptives and HRT to “contraception” in general is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

        I would suspect that the law requiring Catholic owners of businesses to provide contraception along with the other benefits of their health care plan is not an attempt to force people to use contraceptives or HRT, but rather to allow the individual to make a choice rather than the employer.

        Or maybe not. I’m not familiar with the exact provisions of the law in question. Maybe the law really is an attempt to coerce all of us to stop having children. But I rather doubt it. My health plan, which I receive through my employer, offers contraception as part of the benefits it helps pay for. To my knowledge, my wife was never forced to use contraception.

        Look, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Due to the tenets of my religion, I am opposed to contraception on moral grounds,” or even going farther and saying, “I also expect that people who use contraception will be at increased risk of other diseases or ill-effects that God understands but that the medical community may or may not be aware of.” But claiming that your religion should be protected by law in its desire to revoke the individual rights of others? That’s only separated by degrees from what you complain that the Muslims are doing.

        • quinersdiner on April 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm

          You are kidding, right? Are you suggesting that a Catholic business owner who does not want to be coerced by the government into providing immoral products and services in his health insurance plans, due to his religion, is the moral equivalent of Muslims who want to kill the infidels?

          Give me a break.

          Why do you think insurance premiums keep going up? One reason is due to federal and state mandates. If someone wants birth control, fine. Let them pay for it on their own. Or let their employer negotiate a plan with their insurance provider with the benefits they want to offer. But the government should not mandate it.

          To recap, there are two reasons why:

          1. It raises insurance premiums.
          2. In the case of contraception, morning-after-abortion pills, and sterilization, it is a violation of an employer’s 1st Amendment rights.

          If Obama and his party had been up-front about this mandate, Obamacare would never have passed.

      • the frogman on April 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

        I’m no fan of Obamacare, either. And to an extent, I agree with your assessment that people should pay for preventive care themselves. It can only drive up premiums when standard care is included in the plans. However, the problem is that experience has shown that preventive care is avoided when it has an apparent cost, and then emergency care, which is far more expensive, is utilized instead. By giving the illusion of “free” preventive care, more people will use it, and this actually ends up lowering the overall cost of insurance.

        I don’t think that a conscientious Catholic business owner who feels morally bound to deny another person access to contraception is the equivalent of a Muslim killing an apostate. There is a huge moral gap between killing someone and refusing to give them a cookie. The equivalence comes only from the fact that each group sees their personal religious beliefs as something that is higher than law and thus should be protected by law.

        Your argument in your post was that Christians are the victims of being denied rights by other groups, and hey, how come we Catholic business owners can’t deny rights to our employees? Take your pick. Do you want rights protected regardless of the religious climate of the society? Or do you want religious ideas to trump all other concerns?

        • quinersdiner on April 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

          Contraception is not a right. Morning-after abortion pills are not a right. Sterilization is not a right. However, no one ever prevented anyone from purchasing these products and services on the private market before the HHS Mandate was imposed. A Catholic business owner who did not want to pay for such coverage was certainly not denying anyone their rights, since his employees were free to purchase such products directly. Or if they really, really wanted that kind of insurance coverage, they could look for a job with an employer who was willing to provide it.

          Regarding preventative care, it is not cost-effective. I wrote about it a while back:

  3. the frogman on May 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for your patience in explaining to me your position. I can understand having an honest difference of opinion about the best approach for efficient and effective health care. I can understand concerns about some types of health care offerings, and even disagreements about the wisdom of providing services that have been linked to cancer.

    Those are all valid reasons to debate the policy decisions recently made. I think if your post had brought up these concerns, it would have made your position clear. Instead, though, you presented a message of victimization and religious discrimination. I think that only serves to muddy the debate that you would probably like to have surrounding the latest moves by the HHS.

  4. D.E. Cantor on January 30, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    While I agree with you on the issue of persecution of Christians overseas, IMHO anything going on in this USA pales in comparison to the carnage and destruction of Christians and churches in other parts of the world.