Cranmer relates - again - the words of Canon Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad who speaks of Christians in that sorry nation:
"You know I love to show photos but the photo I was sent today was the most awful I have ever seen. A family of 8 all shot through the face laying in a pool of blood with their Bible open on the couch. They would not convert it cost them there life. I thought of asking if anybody wanted to see the picture but it is just too awful to show to anybody. This is Iraq today. The only hope and consolation is that all these dear people are now all with Yeshua in Glory."
This good man - a saintly man indeed - presents to us a real extermination, the murder, rape and destruction of a culture dating back over a thousand years. I hesitate to use the word 'genocide' it is too easily bandied about but the motivation of the men who killed that family is clear - they say their religion calls them to destroy Christianity and Christians.
And there are prayers - doubtless pained and anguished. But no protest, no flag burning, no calls for boycotts, no public condemnation from leading figures in the political opposition. Indeed there are no marches, no men, their heads half wrapped in scarves, crying 'death to all muslims' as they gather in anger at what is happening to an innocent Christian community.
I like to think that good Christian men and women would not gather in vengeance but rather to urge on a reluctant government some more vocal criticism of the men who murdered that family in Mosul, who shot thousands of others simply for being the wrong sort of Muslim.
At times I despair at this world, at the hatred that we see in so many places and at the persistence of lies, prejudice and evil. Indeed, for all the men like Andrew White who live each day in celebrating a god of love, there seem hundreds whose god it dark, vengeful and disturbed, who support murder, oppression, rape and the extermination of ancient communities in the name of that god. I hear people who tell me that it is not so, that these men are not of their religion. But do they spit on the ground before them, turn their backs on them, condemn them as the worst of sinners, as men headed for the loneliest, darkest part of hell? Do they throw them out from the place of worship, excommunicate and expel them? Do they?