In 2004, local authorities burned down a Christian church in Laos simply because it was a Christian church. In November 2014 in Pakistan, “an angry mob attacked a man and his pregnant wife on Nov. 4, beat and burned them to death” because of rumors that the couple had desecrated the Quran, according to Voice of the Martyrs. In Uganda in December of 2011, radical Muslims attacked a Christian pastor with acid, forcing him to undergo many painful surgeries. And less than a week ago, ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.
I would assume most people have probably only heard about that latest ISIS attack. A lot of these violent, extremist actions are brushed under the rug. People may be somewhat aware of them, but not to the extent at which it happens across the world. Religious persecution is very real and surprisingly frequent. We in the U.S. can choose to ignore the majority of these happenings because they can be made to seem small or insignificant. We can also choose to ignore them because it is not something we have to deal with them in the slightest bit.
All too often, we as Americans tend to complain about our circumstances. From gay marriage to the “right to bear arms” to abortion debates, our concerns lie in areas that people around the world don’t even consider. Now, I’m not saying that these issues aren’t important to debate and discuss. But I think sometimes we forget to look at the bigger picture and realize how good we really have it.
In the South especially, people seem to be proud of their sweet tea, guns and freedom. But with what brevity do we say we take pride in those things? Do we really understand the weight of the freedoms that we have?
It’s almost unimaginable to think we could be told what religions we can and cannot practice, yet that is a reality across the globe.
When we throw around terms like “freedom” and “independence” we should make an effort to understand and appreciate how those words really apply to our society rather than only complaining about what we don’t have.
We don’t have religious persecution. We don’t have beheadings. We don’t have restrictions placed on what we can believe. We don’t have to live in fear.
We have nearly every kind of freedom imaginable in a healthy democratic society.
And for all of that, we should be extremely grateful.
It is important to be aware of what is going on in the world, even when the mainstream media doesn’t cover it to the degree that something like the recent beheadings were covered.
All in all, if we put our #firstworldproblems into their real context there is a lot we can learn. We have so little to truly complain about when it’s all put into perspective.
So next time you talk about how great America is, really mean it.