Force is not a particularly effect way to have an individual choose sides during a conflict.
This past weekend the Wall Street Journal ran an article about Christians in Syria who are in dire straights. Syria, a predominantly Muslim nation, is engulfed in a brutal civil war with regional and international implications at stake. According to WSJ Muslims and Christians have been living with little friction or conflict throughout the Assad regime’s reign and now with the regime losing power, many Christians worry that a change in power might result in a change in attitude from their Muslim neighbors.
“But Syria’s Christian communities are being severely tested by the uprising that has racked the country for more than a year. They think back to 636, when the Christian Byzantine emperor Heraclius saw his army defeated by Muslim forces south of present-day Damascus. ‘Peace be with you Syria. What a beautiful land you will be for our enemies,’ he lamented before fleeing north to Antioch. In the 8th century, a famed Damascus church was razed to make way for the Umayyad Mosque—today one of Islam’s holiest sites.”
So at a time when Christians in America are entrenching themselves on sides of political issues as the 2012 Presidential campaigns ratchet up the rhetoric, our brothers and sisters in Syria are holding on, literally, for dear life. Where we take for granted our ability as Christians to support any political party, the fact that Christians in Syria are caught in the middle of a civil war means that they are now caught between rebels fighters and a regime that is attempting to stir up ancient rivalries in order to maintain power and control.