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.