Saturday, January 19, 2008

No Thanks, Rambo

rambo Apparently those of us who work with persecuted Christians have a new ally. Wait for it…Rambo.

In the latest and most violent of his onscreen adventures, John Rambo, living in northern Thailand and running a longboat business on the Salween River, is approached by a group of Christian human rights missionaries requiring transportation for delivering humanitarian aid to the persecuted Karen people in Burma. This he reluctantly does. Less than two weeks later, the minister in charge of the mission finds Rambo and tells him that the aid workers have not returned and the embassies have not helped locate them. He tells Rambo that he has mortgaged his home and raised money from his congregation to hire mercenaries to rescue the missionaries, who are being held captive by the brutal Burmese army. Rambo is grudgingly convinced by his mentor to take on the mission, despite his having turned from his prior violent life. What follows is the most violent Rambo film yet, as Rambo shots and stabs the missionaries to freedom.

I sincerely hope that no one (and least of all those who persecute Christians) believes that any reputable Christian mission organization would ever engage in such actions. For the record, The Voice of the Martyrs would never condone, much less instigate, vigilante violence to rescue any of our staff should they be taken hostage by a foreign government. We are not even prepared to pay ransom demands. The call of Jesus to turn the other cheek is specifically applicable to such situations.

While I am intrigued that Hollywood has discovered persecution and organizations whose staff risk their own safety and sometimes even their lives to serve those who suffer from it, I am not nearly so pleased with how Hollywood thinks we should deal with those who instigate it. Better to follow some of the suggestions we bring up in the February edition of our newsletter which focuses on how we should respond to persecutors. The call is to take up the weapons of prayer and the pen, not the bullet and the Bowie knife.

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