Checking your Christian sources

One of the useful YouTube channels on geopolitics, and particuarly on the ubiquitous Western Powers’ poisoning of geopolitics, is Redacted, run by an American husband and wife team with MSM journalism credentials, but operating out of Portugal.

A few days ago they drew attention to one of the many conflicts the world is not focused upon, that is to say the war in Tigray in Ethiopia, in which far more innocent people have died than in the Ukraine. Kudos to them for keeping an eye on, and researching in depth, conflicts ignored by the media, including the recent invasions of Somalia and now Haiti by American-instigated forces, the invasion of Armenia by Azerbaijan and so on.

The line they took on Ethiopia was that a genocide of the Tigrayan people is being perpetrated by the Ethiopian government, and that it was high time Western peace-keepers were sent in to protect them. My immediate reactions were twofold. Firstly, I recognised the conflict from a useful booklet on areas of Christian persecution published by the Barnabas Fund, which from memory seemed to correlate with their account. Secondly, I had the vague feeling that sending in western troops to help seemed less than a good idea, given how most of the failed states in the world have emerged from just such interventions.

What was more interesting though, was the comments of viewers, many of whom both from their names and comments evidently came from the region. Like most YouTube sites, given how social media works, most of Redacted’s comments are supportive of their stance on things. But in this case the overall sense of these comments was, “Oh dear, you’ve let yourselves down and allowed yourselves to push the propaganda of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.”

My interest piqued, I checked out the information in my Barnabas Fund booklet, and did notice anomalies I’d missed before. The first was that the TPLF was mentioned in passing as “the region’s dominant political party,” whilst its name is rather typical of the Marxist terrorist organisations of various countries rather than anything else. A second was that the massacring of Tigrayan Christians was being blamed on the government forces not only of Ethiopia from the south (of which Tigray is a region), but of the Eritrean government to the north, a double-whammy in need of explanation. Also strange was that it mentioned that Ethiopia is predominantly Orthodox Christian, and it wasn’t clear why they would be persecuting other Christians.

Redacted to their credit had, within a day or so, sought out the advice of a Canadian journalist, Jeff Pierce, who has spent years on the ground reporting on the conflict, and who as far as I could judge from a pretty long and informative interview, put the record straight by reference to the whole recent history of the country. To be succinct, his account was a lot more plausible than that of the previous video.

The strapline of his assessment is that the TPLF is yet another US-supported terrorist organisation, encouraged for US interests, which had been corruptly and violently ruling the whole of Ethiopia until ousted and confined to their home-base of Tigray, from which they have been organising bloody conflict and the killing of innocent civilians. Part of their strategy whilst in power was to get their protegees educated abroad and installed in influential positions – one notable example being Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, now leading the WHO, whose exemplary record during COVID we all know and admire, or not as the case may be.

One thing they learned from the West (and like other such organisations, with the funding and support of Western intelligence) was the power of propaganda. And so the sporadic news reports that the Redacted team had spotted in the media and become (rightly) incensed about were, like nearly everything we get in our press, fed to the news outlets by official sources channeling TPLF propaganda. In all likelihood it is the first stage of softening us up for regime change in Ethiopia.

Now the bottom line for me is that there was no hint of this whole story in the Barnabas Fund literature: the Christian interested in world affairs comes away with the impression that despotic Ethiopian and Eritrean governments are hell-bent on destroying Tigrayan Christians. But it seems to me more probable that, whilst the massacres and persecution are true, the actual reasons for it, and the true perpetrators, may be good propagandists playing the same blame-shifting games we have seen so often in Ukraine.

This suggests that, whilst it is is natural to assume that Christian organisations like Barnabas get their information directly from the persecuted believers, it is likely that they are as dependent for much of it on scrutiny of the news media – the Western news media – as the rest of us. And so such Christian sources may inadvertantly end up playing into the whole propaganda narrative of the Collective West, thus keeping Evangelicals on board with the Great Deception whilst they believe they are sharing the truth behind the headlines.

That innocent complicity seems a lot more likely to me than that the CIA or their proxies have infiltrated these outfits actively. I have heard Patrick Sookhdeo, Barnabas’s driving force, speak on more than one occasion, and have no doubt of both his honesty and his concern for the persecuted. But as I have often said, we cannot live in a propaganda state without some of it rubbing off. At the same time, the bigger such an organisation becomes, the more tempting (and easier, given a more diffuse operation) it would be for intelligence agencies to muscle in.

I note that nowhere in their persecuted church prayer guide is there any reference to the Western military invasions that have created so many of the situations where persecution occurs, such as Iraq, Syria or Libya. Indeed it quotes Pentagon reports uncritically. On China, it cites the human rights abuses against Uyghurs and others equally uncritically, in line with Western propaganda which may have a hidden agenda.

Neither is the perfidy of Western Intelligence’s cynical use of missionaries in creating legitimate suspicion of the churches ever mentioned: Russia’s actions against “undesirable foreign organisations” is assumed to be a sign of Russia’s oppressive regime rather than ours, bent on regime change by fair means or foul. Surely it is as significant that churches have been forcibly closed, and their pastors arrested, and many burned down, in Canada as it is that Russian churches experience legal difficulties in registration?

The net result is that Christians, particularly in the US and Britain, are nurtured in the illusion that we live in the Free World, even the Free Christian World, outside of which “in heathen lands afar, thick darkness broodeth yet.” Consequently we do not see that it is manifestly obvious that it is our civilisation that is experiencing stern judgement from God.

It is probably relevant that the prophet Jeremiah tells Jews to settle and build houses in Babylon immediately after Jerusalem’s fall, but prophesying the end of the Exile warns them to flee Babylon, now under judgement at the hands of a less evil empire. So we ought to be praying just as hard for mercy on ourselves as for relief of the persecuted saints abroad. It is at least arguable that much persecution arises because of how the “Christian West” has conducted itself, and still conducts itself, in those nations.

Practically speaking, I have no more power to influence Christian organisations than I have to open the eyes of my own friends, though if anyone from Barnabas Fund or similar organisations read them I urge them, “in the bowels of Christ,” to think outside the box of western Christendom. For the rest of us it behoves us to “be as wise as serpents, and innocent as doves” when we assess Christian sources, just as much as when we hear some news on the BBC. For it’s quite likely, sadly, that our Christian sources get many of their opinions from the BBC anyway.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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1 Response to Checking your Christian sources

  1. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

    Update: a useful interview with a Tigrayan journalist showing the nature of the Ethiopian conflict and the misleading western narrative here.

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