Beirut Blogging 1 : Do American Christians Care?

Beirut Blogging 1 : Do American Christians Care?

Welcome to the first of my blog posts on my trip to Beirut to cover the story o Syrian Christian refugees; please stay tuned to this site for more information. I also made this page tells you other ways you can follow the story in addition to getting my random thoughts, snarky asides and food photos while I’m over in the Middle East.

I left Dallas on Thursday afternoon, flew through Frankfurt and then got into Beirut on Friday afternoon local time. I chose to go to Lebanon for this part of the project because it’s one of the main countries where refugees from Syria are fleeing to. From my research, it seemed to have a lot of Western influence, including many people who speak English. (I speak no Arabic.)

Even before I got to Lebanon, I got some confirmation of my suspicion that the plight of Middle Eastern Christians may not be a big news story in the United States but it’s a real, major crisis and people connected to it in this part of the want to talk about it.

On the plane into Beirut, I sat next to a man named Fadi, a Lebanese native and Maronite Christian who was now living in France. His father had passed away in Lebanon a few months ago and now the family was getting together for a memorial.

We talked about the strikes by the Syrian rebels agains the town of Maaloula that I’ve written about for Breitbart News. I explained how most Americans weren’t really paying much attention to what was going on in Syria until President Barack Obama began to talk about attacking it recently. Fadi asked me:

“The Christians in the United States, do they care about what’s happening to the Christians here?”

Well, that’s the question for Americans, isn’t it? That’s the question for you, really.

So far, the media has decided you don’t care. The Obama administration appears to pinned their foreign policy public approval hopes in the Middle East on the notion that Americans will either not notice or not care what’s been happening to Christians here.

Fadi grew up in Lebanon during the civil war there. He said for many Lebanese, it created a sense of having no stable future. He felt the current Syrian strife was going to have the same effect.

Then Fadi introduced me to a woman in the seat in front of us who was Syrian. He told her what I was working on and she gave me her brother’s phone number, saying that he spoke better English than she did.

People want to talk about what’s going on with Christians here.

I landed at Beirut airport in the afternoon and coming off the plane, it was virtual indistinguishable from every American airport; big photos and ads for banks and watches.

I had no problems going through the Visa process. When I said I was American, I was waved through customs without even a look.

I was very tired after the flight. I checked into the apartment I’m renting a room in, got a bite to eat, a mobile phone for use while I’m in Beirut and went to bed. 

25 Comments

  1. Great to have your first report. Syrians and Lebanese are very friendly and hospitable, and I am glad you have been able to start networking even before your plane landed in Beirut :)

    You must be tired. When you are rested up there are a few typos you need to correct.

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  2. I am REALLY looking forward to more of your reporting Lee. This is a great first step talking to 2 people on a plane about the persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

    As a Christian, I DO care. However, most of my focus is here in the States try to wake people up so that we DON’T have this type of persecution in America. I am very aware of eschatology and that Scripture has no mention of “America”. I would be re-missed if I didn’t warn the American Christian that we on a pathway to (Ancient) Rome with blessing of the so-called Church “leadership”.

    I believe it will take more than stadiums filled with people to capacity reciting II Chronicles 7:14 (which is done out of context. A story for another time). It will take 1 of 2 things:

    A huge groundswell of repentance coming from the American Church leadership FIRST, THEN the congregations they serve..

    or

    A near-catastrophic judgment from God.

    I really hoping on the former. If the latter came by, the “garden variety” American Christian will swept away in the same fashion the everyone on the Earth who was outside the ark.

    Again, keep up the great work and keep ‘em comin’.

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  3. Oh, wow! I didn’t realize you were going immediately!

    I think Christians here do care. They just don’t know a lot of what’s going on. More importantly, they don’t know how to help. That’s why your work is so important.

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  4. Praying for your protection…now go out and bravely seek the truth!

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  5. Well done, my friend. Stay safe. Interesting about the airport experience and customs.

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  6. That’s the scandal. American Christians don’t care. I do. If you care donate to Rescue Christians dot org.

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    • I’ve contributed to barnabusfund.org

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  7. I just found your blog and will follow your reports. Both my parents are Armenian. My father survived the Armenian Genocide march into the Syrian desert in 1915. I grew up at the feet of my elders in the US that all survived the genocide. Most of my relatives did not survive.

    In Syria there are a lot of Armenians and many are auto mechanics that maintain Syrian government vehicles. For that reason, and being for being Christian, Armenians are targeted by the US backed ‘rebels’ fighting the Syrian government. I am told that many Armenians in Syria support the Syrian government. The reports I have seen are of Armenians being raped and murdered, and Churches being attacked. The memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide in Deir el Zor was bombed and I am sure not by the Syrian army.

    My request is that you please report on your blog on Armenians in Syria, and this of course goes as well for the Assyrians and other Orthodox Christians in Syria, many of whom fled the jihadis in Iraq and are now fleeing from Syria.

    As you start issuing your reports on the plight of Christians in Syria I will bring your reports to the attention of the Armenian and Assyrian news sites.

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    • Thank you for your comments & insight. That is the problem with most American christians. We don’t know who our friends are or who to trust. I understand why the Syrian Christians don’t back the rebels, but how could they back the Syrian government after this chemical slaughter of it’s own people? American Christians care deeply, pray for our brothers & sisters in Christ throughout the world and are willing to help financially. We just don’t want our hard earned money to get into the hands of those who will do harm to those we’re trying to help.

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  8. Just don’t understand why you had up leave Breibert? Do you think he would have wanted this outcome?
    Please be careful over there and continue updates.

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  9. I guess I don’t know if I do care. I mean, yes, I care, but also I can’t see any future at all for Christians in the muslim world.

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  10. Of course we *care.* Each and every week in our church, we pray for the persecuted and name the countries by name.

    Many of us are not rich, and feel helpless about how to help. The recession has hit Christian families hard in the United States. We are often single-earner families, and many of us homeschool or have our children in private Christian schools.

    We definitely share news on social media.

    The liberal media does not care, that much is guaranteed. There’s something extremely fishy going on with Barack Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood. We can pray that the truth will be known to all the American people and that it will be so overwhelming that it cannot be denied.

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  11. I hate to say it but too many American evangelicals are caught up with eschatology and the end-times obsession, and won’t support anyone in the MidEast other than Israel. Many don’t consider the Church of the East legitimate anyway, either because of deviation of doctrine or because of more recent problematical political support for bastards like Hussein and Assad.

    Of course that leaves the “mainstream” Protestants, who are too busy with “save the world” politics, and the Catholics, who would love nothing better but to have the region purged of their eastern competitors.

    You can get some American Christians like me to support your side, but much more work needs to be done and you need to start outreach with other church groups of all denominations. That just hasn’t been seriously done until now.

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  12. I care and I vote!

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  13. As an American Christian, I have no one to support in Syria other than Christians, or non-Christians who believe in equality. I feel deep hurt as the Church is wounded and that our conflict will be long. I do not know the kind of support they need.

    The Syrian government needs to be replaced and prosecuted, but one reason I did not support an attack on Syria is that many of the rebels seem odious – not deserving a chemical attack, but still odious. Innocents were killed and hurt, but what can I do to help, other than pray, which my church is doing.

    Money needs have to be backed with a plan, so there has to be more than a fund.

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  14. The American press is untrustworthy regarding religious issues. It is a political entity. Just because the American press isn’t reporting doesn’t mean Christians in America don’t care and aren’t paying attention. We do care and we are paying attention. But gone are the days when this government might do something for the right reasons.

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  15. this question about support should not only be directed to u.s. christians. I am jewish and have posted many related articles on my facebook page. There is an ideological battle raging. I fear that Europe is going to lose . The Judeo-Christian values our nation is based on allows for our freedom. I suspect the Islamic values would not be so welcoming to us.

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  16. Yeah, but just at the moment the Evangelicals, the Baptists, and so forth are thinking the love of Christ and not forming regiments, painting crosses on our clothes, and buying AR-15′s. Day may come though when we get more sympathy for armed pilgrimages to the historical lands of the Church.

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  17. I am a unbeliever and I care. These are ancient communities, many going back to the beginnings of Christianity. The world is a better place with them in it. My personal concern is St Catherine’s in the Sinai. The Egyptian authorities have ordered the monastery closed while they conduct their offensive against the Muslim radicals on the peninsula. And those suffering most are the monastery’s Bedouin neighbors who provide services to the now-absent pilgrims. They are having to sell their camels to feed their families, thereby endangering their futures.
    http://www.sinaimonastery.com/en/index.php?lid=1

    Of course, other Christian communities are suffering much worse. It is a horror.

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  18. I think they would care if they knew – but so few know any more than the main stream media tells them so they have no clue

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  19. What about Christians in South Asia? As an India born Christian and now a proud and grateful naturalized US citizen, persecuted minority Christian minority immigrants from around the World would make very loyal citizens for generations compared to any other group including Europeans immigrants.

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  20. The American Christians probably care, however the media only talks to the “mainline churches’ which form a completely different group. And they have traditionally (since 1967) supported the various Arab causes in the Middle east.

    Cheers

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  21. I dont’ think it is that American Christians don’t care, they simply don’t know.

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  22. Thank you for your work & reporting. Our prayers are with you.

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  23. It depends on your definition of Christians. If you are talking about mainline denominations, then probably no. They seem more concerned with protecting the environment and getting gay marriage to be legal. Bible believing Christians, however, do care. .Our church has a bunch of sister churches around the world in places like Egypt, Iraq, and Vietnam, where Christians are regularly persecuted. Please keep up your great reporting, so we can know what is going on and know how to pray for our Syrian brothers and sisters.

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