Lebanese Priest Discusses Threats to Christianity - Religious Freedom News

Lebanese Priest Discusses Threats to Christianity

Six Congressional Members Urge Stronger Action to Protect Religious Liberty
December 7, 2017
Jordan: Calls on Arabs, Muslims to Defend Jerusalem
December 7, 2017

Lebanese Priest Discusses Threats to Christianity

According to a Maronite Catholic priest from the region of Lebanon, if the Christian populations are to be left unchecked they could be removed from the Holy Land, The Courier informs.

The Reverent Emanuel Nakhle gave a speech recently, describing current events through political, historical, social and religious lenses. The Reverent serves Holy Family Maronite Church, a Lebanese congregation in Mendota Heights, Minn. He speaks fluent Arabic, French, English and Italian. He also speaks Syriac Aramaic, the native tongue of Jesus. The Maronite Church is the largest Christian denomination in the country of Lebanon and it is united with the Roman Catholic Church but preserves its historic rituals, practices and traditions.

Nakhle arrived in the Cedar Valley with the help of the American Association of Lutheran Churches and its retired bishop, the Rev. Dr. Duane Lindberg. The AALC shaped the relationship with the Maronite denomination solely to support the Middle East’s populations that are historically Christian.

“You have a Lutheran body giving money to a Roman Catholic body so close to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation; if that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is,” Lindberg said while introducing Nakhle.

Nakhle thinks that the current threat of fundamentalist Islamic groups and mismanagement of post-civil war Syria could erase the decreasing Christian population located in Lebanon.

“The war in Syria caused civilian people to flee their homes and towns out of the surrounding countries, into Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon,” said Nakhle. “Among the faith communities, Christians paid … the highest price (for the war), having been completely cleansed out from ISIS areas and from areas occupied by what’s defined ‘moderate opposition.’”

The loss of Lebanon’s Christian heritage would be dire, he added. “Christianity started in the Holy Land and spread first to the countries around, including Lebanon or Phoenicia, Syria and Mesopotamia, or Iraq,” said Nakhle. “The Apostles crossed the shores of Phoenicia to reach Antioch, the Roman capital of Syria.” For many decades, sectarian conflicts has left strong marks in the Middle East. However, in the past 15 years many groups have emerged exploiting increased religious intolerance and fanaticism, said Nakhle.

“Christian communities struggle to survive in the midst of the rise of violence and radical Islam in the region today,” said Nakhle. “The situation of war in the Middle East is constantly changing.”

The reverent credits U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and is also grateful that the two leaders have publicly supported Lebanon and the Christian religion there.