An African Perspective
As Americans approach their 2020 elections, few may be considering its implications for the persecuted church. Yet recent history reveals that the lives of many millions of Christians are drastically affected by United States foreign policy. As a missionary to the persecuted in Africa for over 38 years, I have served in 38 countries and been involved in 8 wars and 3 revolutions. I have seen first-hand the, often, disastrous consequences of White House policies.
Ideas and Elections Have Consequences
U.S. Foreign Policy often affects believers in Africa and the Middle East:
A Trail of Betrayal
During the 4 years of the presidency of Jimmy Carter, 13 countries fell to communism. In most cases, they did not just fall to communism, but were actually betrayed into the hands of communist revolutionaries. It was a major foreign policy goal of Jimmy Carter’s presidency to force the people of Rhodesia to hand over to Robert Mugabe’s ZANU terrorists. Americans removed Jimmy Carter from the presidency over 40 years ago. However, the longsuffering people of Zimbabwe are still stuck with Carter’s legacy in the form of Robert Mugabe’s murderous Marxist dictatorship and Mugabe’s Legacy in Zimbabwe Zimbabweans are still suffering under the Marxist ZANU, 40 years later, just one of Carter’s legacies. Iran is another.
A Legacy of Liberty
No countries fell to communism during the 8 years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. In fact, countries started to be freed from communist oppression. Ronald Reagan put freedom on the offensive, supported resistance movements in communist countries and helped win the Cold War that brought down the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. The collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe in 1989, brought about a new era of religious freedom and Missionary activity that had previously been inconceivable.
Strength and Weakness
As one politician observed: “There is nothing they despise more than weakness; there is nothing they respect more than strength!” America was plainly despised in the days of Jimmy Carter. However, under Ronald Reagan, America was respected.
During the confused and erratic Clinton era, we witnessed and experienced a steady increase of violent persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. It was in the 1990s that radical Islamic regimes, such as the National Islamic Front in Sudan, began systematic terror bombing campaigns of churches, hospitals and schools. It was at that time that I experienced artillery and aerial bombardments while ministering in churches in Sudan.
A Dramatic Decline of Bombings
However, as America began fighting back after the terror attacks of 11th September 2001, toppling the radical Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the bombing of churches in Northern Nigeria and South Sudan abruptly stopped. We enjoyed a period of relative peace and stability as radical Muslim regimes went on the defensive.
An Explosion of Persecution
However, after Obama became president of the U.S.A. and supported the so-called Arab Spring revolutions that toppled stable governments in Egypt and Libya there was an explosive escalation of violent attacks on Christians worldwide, particularly in the Muslim Middle East. Many hundreds of churches were bombed and burned throughout Northern Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Iraq in 8 years of Obama. The U.S. government destabilized governments and supported radical groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Nursa and ISIS. In Northern Nigeria, there were over 1,000 attacks on churches with 17,000 Christians killed by Boko Haram Jihadists just in a 5-year period (2010-2015). The U.S. engineered destabilization of the Middle East resulted in the catastrophic collapse of stable governments, the destruction of hundreds of historic churches and the deaths of many tens-of-thousands of Christians, especially in Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Millions of refugees fleeing the carnage in the Middle East flooded into Europe, leading to a shocking escalation of violent crime and terrorism.
American Foreign Policy Affects Lives
I am sure that most Americans do not think foreign policy when they vote for their president. However, believers in Africa and the Middle East would earnestly entreat our brethren in America to seriously consider the foreign policy implications of their votes. Lives are at stake. One of George Bush’s first actions as president in 2001 was to stop US funding of Planned Parenthood abortions in Africa. One of the very first acts of Barack Hussein Obama as president, in 2009, was to release hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood abortions in Africa. Hillary Clinton made clear her enthusiastic support for Planned Parenthood and its abortion agenda. President Donald Trump stopped U.S. taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood abortions in Africa.
Doomed by Disastrous Diplomacy
There is no doubt that millions of people died throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East because of the foreign policies of Jimmy Carter. Tens-of-millions continue to suffer to this day as a result of the Carter foreign policy legacy, including the people in Iran. It needs to be remembered that the Shah of Iran was one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East when Jimmy Carter’s State Department actively worked to betray their ally and push Iran over to the ayatollahs. The end result of that has yet to be seen as Iran continues to be a volatile part of the extremely violent Middle East. The full extent of the chaos caused by Obama’s foreign policies in the Middle East are yet to be calculated. “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore, the wrath of the Lord is upon you.” 2 Chronicles 19:2
However, as I wrote in my article: Ronald Reagan Saved Lives in Angola, there are many millions of people alive and free, today, because of the far-sighted and courageous foreign policies of President Ronald Reagan.
Cease-Fire in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan
The long-suffering persecuted Christians in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan have enjoyed over 3 years of relief from the decades of scorched earth and aerial bombardments by the government of Sudan. The Trump Administration prevailed upon the Sudan government to cease and desist hostile acts against the beleaguered people of the Nuba Mountains and South Kordofan, the Blue Nile and Darfur, in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions. As a result, hundreds of schools have been able to be established, churches planted, buildings repaired, crops harvested and other essential aspects of life, which had been virtually impossible under the incessant aerial bombardments of the government of Sudan’s Antonovs. MiG’s and Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships.
New Freedoms and Opportunities
From our first Mission to the Nuba Mountains in 1996, we have come under aerial bombardments, witnessed the devastation of the scorched earth Tamsit (combing) campaign of the National Islamic Front government of Omar Al-Bashir. Yet in the last 3 years, our Mission has been able to carry out extraordinary, far-ranging missions in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, delivering and distributing hundreds of thousands of Bibles and Christian books to hundreds of schools and churches throughout this island of Christianity in a sea of Islam. The people of the Nuba Mountains have asked us to communicate our gratitude for American intervention, which brought about such a dramatic improvement in their daily lives.
An Urgent Call to Prayer and Action
Ideas have consequences. What we sow, we reap. There are consequences for every action. We continue to pray that our Christian brethren in the United States will be in much prayer and seek the wisdom of God as they approach this critical election, November 2020.
Back to the Bible for Reformation and Revival
May we all be Faithful to God’s Word and effective in His service as we seek to reclaim our countries for Christ, laying solid Biblical foundations for Reformation and earnestly praying for Spiritual Revival. 8 November is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted, see: IDOP-Africa for more details.
May the Lord continue to be your strength and shield.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa