Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Taliban Murders a Victory for South Korea's Missionaries

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Psalm 116.15

Second Korean Hostage In Afghanistan Shot Dead
7/30/2007 3:11:39 PM

Taliban militants have killed a second South Korean from a group of 23 held hostage in south Afghanistan on Monday. A spokesman for the militants has said that they have shot dead the Christian missionary because the Afghan authorities did not listen to their demands. It is reported that the Taliban will kill more hostages if Kabul ignores their demand to release rebel prisoners, but the militants gave no new deadline.With this, the number of Koreans killed by the hijackers since they have captured 23 Koreans 12 days ago from a bus in Ghazni province to the southwest of Kabul has increased to two. The militants killed the leader of the group on Wednesday after an earlier deadline passed. The office of the governor of Ghazni and local police have confirmed the killing. The identity of the victim has not been disclosed, except that it is a male. The rebels had threatened to start killing the South Korean hostages if their demand for releasing militants from prison was not met within the deadline. The capturers have extended the deadline seven times since the Christian missionaries including women were abducted.Earlier on Monday, Afghan governor Waheedullah Mujadadi had pleaded with the militants to give more time for negotiations.

The quiet story of the South Korean Christian missionaries being murdered one by one by a Taliban gang in Pakistan is not attracting very much attention. It’s easy to miss the story among the growing pile of reports of battles large and small being fought by Islam against the rest of the world on cultural, political, and military fronts.

It needs to be kept in mind, though, that in spite of what our political leaders have to say, (out of deference, really, to the limits of our secular democracies to wage wars of religion), this struggle with Islam is first and foremost a religious war. The Taliban murdered the missionaries mainly because they are Christians, and secondarily to terrify South Korea into squelching its generous evangelistic impulse to keep sending missionaries to Taliban-land in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This latter tactic seems to be having at least some success: in South Korea there have been angry outburst directed at the missionaries, for being foolish enough to “to go to Afghanistan and preach about the Christian God," (“South Koreans question Afghan aid mission”).

Not that all all South Koreans are critical. One Christian says that, in spite of the critics, “Some Korean Christians think it's a good thing to go to Afghanistan and die trying to proselytize on behalf of their religion."

That's die trying to proselytize, notice, not kill.

I understand that South Korea is second only to the USA in the number of missionaries they send abroad. Seeing Christian missionaries murdered this way, by the worst examples of the worst and most demonic perversion of monotheistic religion, is painful. But I can’t believe any Christian martyrdom is ever a tragedy, when each martyr's death is always a victory in the larger, and often unrecognized, spiritual battle that rages.

As the Korean Christian pointed out, some Christians think it’s a “good idea,” to die trying to proselytize. While I’ve never personally known a Christian martyr (now Christians with martyr complexes, that's another story), but I’m sure risking life never seems like a good idea to the martyrs’ survivors. Those left behind regret that more caution would have spared their loved one’s life. History records that the Judean Christians warned St. Paul that if he returned to Jerusalem it would surely lead to his death, and even St. Peter tried to prevent Jesus from his mission in Jerusalem, but to no avail.

Here's a thought: Do you remember Ann Coulter’s famous suggestion after 9/11 that our best response to Islamism would be to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity"? ("Journalism: Where even the men are women").

The model she had in mind, by the way, was not the made-up myth of the Crusades, but the much more recent American policy in the Far East after World War II and the Korean War:

“this is…what America [did] after World War II, after the Korean War. MacArthur put out a call for Christian missionaries to come, and missionaries poured into Japan. They poured into Korea. It didn't work as well, the conversion in Japan, but it certainly did in Korea."

Now, while the armies of civiliazation struggle against flesh-and-blood Islamic adversaries in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, South Koreans are alongside anxious to wagethe genuine spiritual warfare by sending Ambassadors for Christ into some of the most malevolently anti-Christian corners of the planet.

Ann Coulter made a great point, as usual. It seems to me McArthur's timing couldn't have been better.

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