Sunday, 22 May 2016
Western Evangelism Encroaching On Syrian Orthodoxy
by Ghassan Kadi
When you close the door in the face of an evil like Daesh, another will find a way in through the window, and if you close the window, it will find a way through the keyhole. Such is the nature of insidious evil.
Western evangelists are now pushing to get a foothold in Syria. They cloak themselves with disguises of support and friendship and use words that are hard to reject, let alone criticize. But for what ends do they really want to help Syria?And since when have ultra-right-wing friends of Israel been friends of Syria?
There is clear evidence that the Unification Church (aka Moonies) has already spent funds on recruits in the name of charity. Also, a Republican American Senator, ie from the party that gave the world George W Bush, a Senator who openly supported Ted Cruz’s failed presidency bid, and had made many comments about his interest in Syrian Christians only, has made a trip to Syria.
Cruz is nothing more than a new-born nutcase. As a matter of fact, his father, evangelist Rafael Cruz, proclaimed that Christ was going to appear in Ted’s body after he gets elected as president, but his great vision was Trumped away.
The pro-Israel and anti-Muslim policies of Trump and Cruz are not very different. Perhaps the only difference is that Trump is forthcoming.
Cruz is as staunch as one can be in his support to Israel. He falls under the bigger umbrella description of a Christian Zionist. There are many such new-age “Churches” in the West. The “Chapel of the Holy Spirit and Performing Arts Ministries” and its associated churches for example, openly and overtly endorse the state of Israel, and organize annual visits for members. A prominent member associated with this network of Churches has also recently made a public visit to Syria. These are early warning signs yet text-book narrative of how missionaries creep into a community and get established.
Vicious and murderous as it is, Daesh is at least honest about its brutality. Daesh says it and does it as it believes it should be said and done. Daesh does not pretend to preach love, peace and fraternity, and on this count, we cannot accuse it of hypocrisy, cunning and deception.
But when people, individuals or groups, pretend to be friends of secular Syria when in reality they have an agenda that threatens her, then they can be as dangerous as Daesh, because they know how to hide and how to deceive.
I have had to deal with Western evangelists and their new-age Churches in the Levant for decades. I know what they instill into the minds of people in order to lure them. In fact, I had been approached by them for recruitment almost at the same time that I was approached by Islamist recruiters.
They are not much different from Daesh at all except in their attire, the manner in which they approach their would-be recruits, and most importantly perhaps, how they identify those who are vulnerable to their deception, and hence therefore brand them as recruitable.
Daesh promises would-be recruits the bounty of heaven. On the other hand, Western evangelists promise them the bounties of both earth and heaven.
During the civil war in Lebanon, the Lebanese Seventh Day Adventists, for example, were given the impression that they were protected by the USA, and that at the drop of a hat, if a single Adventist was harmed, the Mediterranean-based American Sixth Fleet would storm in to do what is needed to protect their community, with or without any need to ask for permission from the Lebanese Government. I have in fact heard this with my own ears, not once, but many times, because I lived close to their enclave and I knew many of their members.
And even though the Jehovah Witnesses, for example again, are in theory apolitical, in practice, their Levantine recruits live within this same false sense of Western-sponsored protection.
But this is not all. Those Churches offer jobs to the unemployable. They help members find housing, provide free education for their children, medical insurance, as well as other forms of financial security. They even canvass arranged marriages.
And where do you think those evangelists get their recruitment base mainly from? Any guess? Well, not from the Muslim community. Those who convert from Islam into any of those Christian cults are very few. They definitely do not get many recruits from the Catholics either, not only because of their strong affiliation to Rome, but also because Levantine Catholics, mainly Maronites, are fairly privileged, and in the case of Syria, Syrian Maronites seeking any demographic change or relocation, will probably seek refuge in Lebanon, and in Lebanon, they will be welcomed by the Maronite Church which would be happy to increase the numbers of the parishioners.
So where will the Levantine recruits of the Western evangelists come from then?
They will mainly come from one of the most ancient Churches in the world; the Syrian Orthodox Church.
As a matter of fact, all Lebanese and Syrians I know who have converted to any of those new-age cult Churches are, without any exceptions, originally from the Orthodox faith.
I am neither an Orthodox nor am I trying to defend Orthodoxy per se. What I am defending is the ancient Syrian culture, of which Orthodoxy is a prime back bone.
This narrative is based on historic facts that I learnt and experienced as I lived them in Lebanon, and I can see the potential for the same recurring in Syria.
Once Western evangelists set a foothold in Syria, if they are allowed to, they will play the same recruitment tricks, and unless stopped, Orthodoxy will be the biggest loser.
The same Western evangelists who have shed crocodile tears when the Syrian Aramaic town Maaloola fell under the rule of the Islamists, will attempt to destroy its infrastructure by swaying and snatching away the parishioners.
Once converts are created, they will be alienated from their community and their sense of national and regional belonging will be eroded. They will be instructed not to vote, not to donate blood, not to join the military, not to engage in political or religious activities, not to trust others, not to marry outside their faith, and above all, they will be told that should life get tough, they will be the first to get visas into the West.
The potential danger of alienating and radicalizing Syria’s Christians is not any less disastrous for Syria than radicalizing her Muslims. They both serve the same objectives of the same Empire, but in subtly different ways.
After all, when Syria rises victorious, and she will, what will underpin her victory is the religious plurality that she will be able to uphold and preserve. An integral part will be in preserving the ancient Syrian Orthodox Church. Destroy it and you will give Daesh an easier chance for resurgence, and a stronger opportunity for winning the next round in the future, if there will be another one.
The above-mentioned American Senator met with President Assad, but this meeting was misread by the supporters of the former. They regarded the meeting as an endorsement of anyone who “supports” Syria. There is more than meets the eyes here. Syrian officials, including the President, meet with all sorts of diplomats and officials all the time. They even meet with the ”opposition” in Geneva and Vienna. What some short-sighted observers are unable to comprehendis that unlike UN officials and “opposition” leaders that Syrian officials meet with as diplomacy stipulates, this particular Senator has camouflaged himself with the cloak of a supporter. He and his followers seem to think that they have been able to hide what is behind their masks, but the mask is not as opaque as they hope.
It would be wrong to say, for fairness, that all Western evangelists are wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Perhaps those of them who “live on the hill” are, but most of the foot soldiers are delusional enough to believe that they are actually on a mission from God. Either way, they are equally harmful and the naïve nature of the latter group does not render them any less dangerous.
Considering that evangelists nowadays start their illustrious careers on social media, including blogs and Facebook groups, it becomes incumbent upon us, the electronic cyber-based army of secular Syria and the polycentric new world to be aware of them, identify them and stop them in their tracks early in the mark and before their efforts blossom.
This will be, at least for a while, the new direction of the defensive war against the intrusion of the Empire into the Levant.
At present, not even Hezbollah is making any warnings about Western evangelists.It is still very early days, but unless the alarm bells are raised now, they will be flooding in thousands. We have seen them do this in many war-ravaged countries before. In the not too distant past, Western evangelists from mainstream Western Churches flooded Vietnamese refugee camps and competed on recruiting them. The humanitarian aid they provided was conditional to conversion, and many of the refugees were turned into mobile billboard by “donating” to them T-shirts and sweaters bearing the name of Churches. The new-age churches are therefore not alone in their rabid recruitment drive. They have learned scavenging from more ancient institutions.
It would not take a stroke of genius to speculate that the recent visits of some Western evangelists to Syria have been watched and monitored by many similar-minded aspiring “heroes”. Unless stopped, they will come in droves. They will “invade” every evangelical space they can find enough holes to poke their noses in. Where they don’t find holes, they will use drills.
In most instances, before they set up evangelizing schools, they will create a circle of trust for themselves in order to protect their backs and sway their supporters from seeing what is beneath their veil. Then, they proceed to forming charity groups.
In places like Syria now, there are thousands upon thousands of people who genuinely need charity. They are very vulnerable and they will accept charity from anyone, and they cannot be blamed. The evangelists will “use” their charitable camouflage and portray it as a reflection of their “inner goodness”; and thus capture the hearts of those who believe them.
What lurks underneath the Daesh mask reaches the hearts and minds of vulnerable Sunni Muslims only. Daesh capitalizes on their anger and radical views and intensifies them. But what is beyond the mask of Western evangelists capitalizes on general human goodness, and it sees all people as potential targets; without any exception.
Those seemingly benign and allegedly benevolent and charitable evangelists have a history of centuries of deception and experience in knowing how to find the weak spots in good people, how to capture them and how to entrap them.
As the gallant Syrian Army continues to fight along with the support of the most prominent anti-Empire global force, the force of Russia, the Cyber-warfare goes on and takes a different direction.
When the “War On Syria” started over five years ago, the information war was about exposing who was fighting who.
At that time, it was difficult, and almost impossible, to explain and prove that the West was supporting an Islamist Jihadi war against secular Syria when the world believed that the West was fighting those same Jihadists in Afghanistan.
A lot has changed since, and as the masks fell, one by one, even as old partners in the “Anti-Syrian Coalition” find themselves competing and fighting each other in pursuit of any scraps they can grasp, a new mask emerges, and it lurks unnoticed and wishes to remain unnoticed.
The new mask is devious and treacherous.
To unmask this mask will take more than just exposing the lies of the mainstream media (MSM) news.
In the past, the MSM lies were on the “other side” of the fence. This time, the new mask is within our ranks. It has found its way within us, and what it is hiding behind, has become a part-and-parcel of the cyber pro-Syria community we all created.
In their rise to infamy, Western evangelists, aka Christian Zionists, set precedents that give them impunity that elevates them to levels that are beyond reproach and criticism. Say one word to expose them and an army of supporters will jump in their defense, and we have seen this happen very recently. They will stop at nothing. They will change tactics, they will suddenly take turns of convenience, have ghost writers pitching in to make them suddenly look eloquent prolific writers, wise and alluring, and we have also seen this happen quite recently.
And who will be the army of the defenders of the evangelists?
They will come from different walks of life. Most of them will be genuine and honest believers in the deceivers. Many others will be decent people who will give anyone who supports them the moral benefit of the doubt. Then there are those who feel embarrassed for supporting the evangelical intruders and feel that they under an obligation to defend those intruders, who are getting exposed, in order to safeguard themselves. But there will also be those who have vested interests and personal scores to settle. Once again, we have seen evidence of all of the above quite recently.
To wrap this up, we must go back to the initial pertinent questions.
Since when have right-wing American “Christian” evangelists been interested in the victims of American foreign policies?
Since when have they been friends with Syria; Israel’s main archenemy?
Why do they lecture us about their alleged love for Syria without making a single comment about their stand on Israel?
Why do they express concern about Syria’s Christians without expressing any concern about the plight of Christian Palestinians?
How do they explain having members of Churches that are overtly supportive of Israel?
What do they have to hide?
The reality, they are solely and only Muslim-hating bigots; not any better than Daesh, and not any different, except in shallow skin-deep appearances. They want to capitalize on the anti-Daesh passion in order to push their own cultish bandwagon.
Why are they and their supporters so infuriated because they are now getting exposed?
Why are they fabricating unsubstantiated stories?
Why are former “enemies”, half of whom do not even talk to each other, getting united in order to stifle the exposure?
As mentioned above, in this time and age, those weasels start their careers on social media, and it is on social media that we, the true soldiers for secular Syria, united, can put their careers to an end.
When we befriend them and support them, we are inadvertently giving them oxygen and inviting them into Syria.
Just like five years ago or so we had to look within our own ranks to sort the alleged supporters of Palestine from the enemies of Syria, we now need to weed out evangelists from true friends.
If genuine and unencumbered supporters of Syria see through the evangelist mask, unite in what makes them stand up against Western imperialism, in all of its forms, including religious imperialism, then no one can stop them.
The new challenge begins with recognizing that there is no difference at all between Western-sponsored “Muslim” military offensives and Western-sponsored “Christian” evangelical incursions.
Daesh is not any more Muslim than those Western evangelists are Christian.
This is perhaps the bottom line that ought to be cognized and discerned. And if Daesh decapitates, Western evangelism kills minds, stifles souls and enslaves whole communities. They literally see parishioners as sheep, but this is not what the “Good Shepherd” intended when He proclaimed that He was the way to the Truth.River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian