Christian martyrs praying before their deaths by the lions in Rome.
An Excellent Spirit has been praying, reading and praying some more about God’s direction for America and for His Body, the Church in America and for us at An Excellent Spirit. We saw this article by Pastor Michael Youssef.
Pastor Michael Youssef
Pastor Youssef, the Pastor of an Atlanta church was born and lived his early life in Egypt. He begins his article innocuously enough: “The behavior of the western media can only be described as cowardly. That news is not going to surprise any honest, fair-minded person. Anyone can see the glaring spinelessness in their reporting (or lack thereof) on the beleaguered freedom-loving souls in Egypt today. When thousands of people demonstrated against President Mubarak in January 2011, all major western media outlets sent reporters to Egypt, where they reported day and night. It was mostly inaccurate and biased, but at least they were reporting. Now that an Islamist government—which was falsely installed by the military council—is in power, there is deafening silence. As even more young, educated democracy seekers are wounded and killed than in the Revolution of 2011, the media still cannot be lured from its hiding places. Even after the Islamist President Morsi declared his dictatorship, western media said nothing. Well, nothing except for the occasional comment to support him and his push for total control—all the poor guy needs is the power to cleanse Egypt of the vestiges of the Mubarak regime. The media ignores the fact that government employees make up a majority of the country and can be categorized as vestiges of the Mubarak regime. I get it: the western media is scared. Most, if not all, are intimidated and fearful of Islamists. But no one buys their claim that they only fear being accused of Islamophobia. They really fear for their lives, and for their profits. And that fear is the root of their cowardice.”
Egyptians protesting Mursi’s power grab by Muslim Brotherhood.
Strong words from a Christian. Even stronger from an American Christian pastor and leader. That is not to say that American Christians have not had leaders who have spoken plainly and strongly. We have and continue to have. Nevertheless, this is 2012 and Americans have just re-elected the most anti-Christian, anti-Israel, pro Islam President in our history. Whether “we” thought about it or not, that is who we just re-elected and there is nothing short of impeachment that “we” can do if it turns out that “we” are not happy with that choice in the coming four years. The fact is that fewer Christians voted in the 2012 Presidential Election than in 2008 and the number has been going down every four years for some time. (Sources: Barna and Heritage)
An Excellent Spirit has reported on the state of America’s lamestream media since we began publishing in July 2012. The list of our posts is long, but you can review any or all here. Pastor Youssef is clear in his blame of our media for what he sees happening in Egypt, the world and ultimately, America. He calls their behavior “cowardly” and accuses the media of acting out of fear of Islamists. We are not so sure we agree with Youssef’s conclusion, but his facts are absolutely accurate. As an Egyptian American, his concern is genuine for his people in Egypt. “When the Director General of the BBC was asked why they had tried so hard to not offend Muslims, especially when they had often treated Christians with scorn, his honest answer was: a Christian has “broad shoulders” and can take it, but an Islamist may complain by saying, “I am loading my AK47.” As the power of fear and intimidation grows worldwide, the slippery slope of appeasement will make the leftist western media obsolete as a news source. An uninformed public will remain blissfully ignorant until it is too late to stop the media from becoming a dangerous tool in the Islamist’s pocket. Already it feels like I’m living back in Egypt during the 1960s when most of the nation’s media got their cues from Nasser. They would attack whom they knew Nasser wanted attacked. And they would remain silent on certain deadly issues if they knew he wanted them to close their eyes.” Not your usual ranting against a lame, leftist, see no evil, report no evil American media that “we” all have come to detest and mistrust.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Enforcers of the Faith
What is also true is that his prophetic pronouncement at the end of his piece is true of America and of the Body of Christ in America. “Today’s protestors represent the best of Egypt. They are Muslim men and Christian men. They are veiled women and unveiled women. They are united in a love for their country and disdain for what their Islamist president is doing to it. Unlike western media, they have shown courage time after time. They protested last year at enormous risk to their lives. Now they protest again make sure their courage has not been for nothing. But Morsi is an Islamist, and the media fears the Islamists. And Morsi is President Obama’s ally, and the media loves the U.S. president. That leaves the protestors out in the cold with the TV cameras turned off. The people of the West need to learn from their beleaguered freedom-loving Egyptian compatriots who are shedding their blood for true democracy. The people of the West need to wake up from their slumber, follow the example of the Egyptian protestors, and rise up against the deliberate deception of the western media. It is time for the people of the West—for all truth-loving people—to boycott the cowards and support the courageous. Emphasis ours.
Peaceful Egyptians demonstrate for democracy in Cairo
As we said, Youssef is a pastor and Christian leader who has spent more of his life in the “west” than living in the land of his birth. Nevertheless, he is more than qualified, both as an Egyptian who has been back to the Middle East umpteen times and as a Christian leader, educator and spiritual disciple of Jesus Christ, to warn his people (“us” brothers and sisters in Christ) of the perils we now face in this dangerous world that our inattention has brought to America. We have been asleep. We have not voted. We have not been informed. We do not, as does Pastor Youssef, speak out about what we see, much less of what we are ignorant.
The Catholic Church in Egypt speaks out despite fear of reprisal.
Why? Of what are we, the Body of Christ, if anything, afraid? Why do our leaders, men and women who are unafraid to face death and dismemberment to spread the gospel, keep silent about what is going on in the world and in America? Where have all the martyrs gone?
From the start of the Christian church, martyrs have been among those who have testified to the character, the divinity and the love of Jesus Christ and of God, the Father. Beginning with Stephen, perhaps the first martyr and continuing down the ages, Wikipedia tells us that the Body of Christ, as the church is called by God, has been led and established in the world by martyrs. From St. Stephen, Protomartyr, who was stoned in 34 AD., we know that those that followed him in martydom for Christ included the Apostles and Gospel writers. St. James the Great (Son of Zebedee) was beheaded in 44 AD. St. Philip the Apostle was crucified in 54 AD. St. Matthew the Evangelist killed with a halberd (a combination of battle axe and spear) in 60 AD. St. James the Just, beaten to death with a club after being crucified and stoned. St. Matthias was stoned and beheaded. St. Andrew, St. Peter’s brother, was crucified. St. Mark the Evangelist, was dragged in the streets of Alexandria then beheaded. St. Peter, crucified upside-down. St. Paul, beheaded in Rome. St. Jude was martyred in Syria in AD 65. St. Bartholomew flayed alive and crucified in Armenia during the first century. St. Thomas the Apostle was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in AD 72. St. Luke the Evangelist was hanged at age 84 in Boeotia, Greece.
The Apostles Peter and Paul – Early Christian Martyrs
From this beginning, the list of Christian martyrs is long and distinguished but almost devoid of Americans. Other than Mormon church founders Joseph Smith and Hyram Smith and Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa who were martyred in what is now Washington state, the only other listed martyrs who were Americans were five young Christian missionaries in Ecuador, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming 1956 and Roger Youderian who were killed while attempting to evangelize the Waodani people.
That is somewhat like our American good fortune and our heritage in living, since our inception in relative peace and prosperity. Americans are among the most fortunate and free people in the history of man in both a material and physical sense. We have reported before the estimate that of the billions of people that God has created since He created Adam, less than 5% of those have ever lived in comparable freedom and prosperity as have Americans. That is why untold hundreds of millions have come to our shores seeking and finding a better life.
English Romantic (and anti-Christian) poet John Keats said, “I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion – I have shudder’d at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyr’d for my religion Love is my religion And I could die for that. I could die for you.” – John Keats (1795-1821 An Excellent Spirit has found some who died for Christ and for His people in modern times. Chief among these is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and Nazi resister. Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. He strongly opposed Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender. If ever a Christian loved God more than his life, it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
America’s martyrs are not the traditional kind of resisters of tyranny of man or devil. They are our dead soldiers and sailors, men and women, who have preserved American freedom with their lives. We celebrate them in places all over the world and principally at Arlington National Cemetery. That has been the American Way. Our country has been blessed to have hundreds of thousands of graves with names on them, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to commemorate those who are not known by name and few forgotten dead like the rest of the world. In 1864, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton officially designated Arlington Mansion and two hundred surrounding acres as a United States military cemetery. Today, more than 300,000 people are buried at Arlington Cemetery. On Arlington’s 612 Acres there are approximately 6,900 burials a year and two American President’s are buried there. (President Kennedy and President Taft) These then are our martyrs to date in America.
Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day
An Excellent Spirit has reported many times on what occurred in Benghazi Libya on September 11th of this year. Here What we have not said, as yet, is that the four men who died there will most probably be listed in Wikipedia’s list of martyrs and, perhaps, soon. The reason we hesitate about the timing of the listing is that the same lamestream media that Dr. Youssef lambastes in his article has almost totally ignored the Benghazi murders and the cover up and now is engaged in a cover up of the original cover up. Confusing? That is exactly the point. “They” do not want “us” to know anything about Benghazi. In case any of “us” care, and the polls say we do not, “they” want us as completely ignorant as we can be. What of the hearings we were told would take place after the Election? What about all those sound bites that we would hear from Clinton, Patreaus, even the President? Where have they gone? As the song tells us prophetically, “They are gone to graveyards, every one. When will we ever learn?”
Four men, Americans and in the service, not of some Christian missionary group or church, or like those Dr. Youssef describes in Egypt, freedom fighters, but diplomats and US soldiers tasked with protecting diplomats, died. They died brutally and at least one or two of them died unnecessarily according to the little we have been told. We do know that Ambassador Christopher Stevens detailed the danger right up to and including the day he died and nothing was done to prevent his death or support his mission. We know that the US Government apparently through the State Department that is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers (Huma Abedin) was in charge of part of the security that failed to protect our men.The families of those who died in Benghazi on September 11th still have not been given what any soldier’s family gets, official notification by the US Government of the death, its cause and other details.
An Excellent Spirit has reported that what was actually happening in Benghazi may have had a lot more to do with the deaths of the four American martyrs- there! We said it! – than President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton or even the Congressional investigators want the American people to know. This is the latest we have seen in the disappearing stories on a scandal that was compared with Watergate a few short weeks ago.
That brings us back to where we started with Pastor Michael Youssef and his article. When Youssef says “The people of the West need to wake up from their slumber, follow the example of the Egyptian protestors, and rise up against the deliberate deception of the western media. It is time for the people of the West—for all truth-loving people—to boycott the cowards and support the courageous.” whom is he speaking about? Who are the “cowards” and who are the “courageous”?
Perhaps as important as those questions are, if America is to be saved from what is coming on every front (economic-Fiscal Cliff, Taxmageddon, collapse; social– class warfare, culture shock and sharia Americana; military & security– sequestration cuts, missile defense cuts, military cuts and more to name just a few), what is the Christian church in America to do? What are the leaders of the church in America to do? When will they do it, whatever it is?
Scene from American “Mega Church” Service
Dr .Michael Youssef may have just started something. There are many more just like him in America. Men and women of great conviction and mission who have been involved and care, but who have not spoken up as loudly as Youssef has. There are many who are involved and who are leading but there are few who even approach the question of what they are willing to put on the table, as did Bonhoeffer and the Apostles and those in between. It is beginning to look like times have not changed all that much and “we” the people who have conveniently forgotten about our past, will now be called upon to repeat it to a great degree. An Excellent Spirit prays it is not so, but our faith in those prayers is more challenged every day.
Lord God of Hosts! Be with America and the Body of Christ in America yet! Help us not to forget what You remember always: the lives of each one who has been martyred for You and why their martyrdom was and is necessary. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.
Dr. Michael Youssef is the author of 27 books including his most recent and timely Blindsided: The Radical Islamic Conquest. His blog: www.michaelyoussef.com