Asia Justice Middle East Politics

Sri Lankan Tragedy – Prejudice, Politicians and the Press

Christian Today asked me to write about the reporting of the Sri Lankan attacks on Christians after I tweeted about it.  This is the resultant article 
sri lanka
(Photo: Reuters)Police officials and catholic priests stand inside the church after a bomb blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019.

To some extent I blame social media. After every unspeakable terrorist tragedy our political leaders speak. I used to think that you could basically fill out a pro-forma tweet along the lines of “our thoughts and prayers are with the people of X, as they deal with this terrible tragedy…. love triumphs over hate….it must never happen again”. But the tragedies in Christchurch and Colombo have got me thinking the unthinkable. What if we react to different tragedies differently because of the way they are reported? What if the reporting actually makes the situations worse or even increases the likelihood of similar attacks happening again? Words matter.

Before I go on to explain, let me say that for the people in Sri Lanka, our thoughts and prayers are with them. At least from those of us who do pray. Especially those of us who regard our fellow Christians in Sri Lanka as family. The newspapers in the UK will report as a matter of priority the number of people with British connections who were killed. As Christians it’s not nationality that is our primary concern but all human beings made in the image of God and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. The church is the most multi-ethnic and multi-cultural body in the world. So for example, on Easter Sunday in my church as we stood to announce ‘Christ is Risen’, we also welcomed a Sri Lankan woman worshipping with us. We weep with those who weep.

But as the full horrors of the three attacks on churches, and the three on hotels holding Easter breakfasts, have unfolded I have noticed a rather strange pattern in the reporting and a contrast with the Christchurch shootings – where 50 Muslims were killed in the Mosque attack. Did you notice how I expressed that? I assumed that the Christchurch attack was a horrific attack by someone who chose his targets because they were Muslims.

But our politicians and media have struggled to say that the Sri Lankan attacks were on people who were targeted because they were Christians. Let me evidence this from three contrasting tweets.

Firstly these from Hilary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton

Then Barack Obama:

Barack Obama

And then this from the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who after Christchurch tweeted:

Nicola Sturgeon

And after the Sri Lankan massacres tweeted this:

Nicola Sturgeon

Can you spot the difference? Everyone condemns violence, everyone says the killings are bad – let’s take that as a genuine form of what I would call ‘we are all for motherhood and apple pie and against sin’ politics. But note how it is expressed. In Christchurch, it was Muslims who were killed. It was the Muslim community that was attacked in what is now generally described as racism. But in Sir Lanka it was humanity that was attacked.

In Christchurch it was a mosque that was attacked. In Sri Lanka it was ‘places of worship’ and ‘Easter worshippers’. This is a strange and new term to me. Do you worship Easter or is it just the fact that we are worshipping on Easter? According to Hilary Clinton, Easter weekend is a holy weekend for many faiths.

We are told we must take a stand against Islamophobia. But not a word about Christophobia. In Scotland, the First Minister and the Justice Secretary made a show of immediately going to a mosque to ‘express solidarity’ (a good thing to do) and flags were flown at half-mast from government buildings. But they did not visit Catholic cathedrals to express solidarity and the flags continued to fly.

Why is there that clear difference? I don’t think I am expressing a form of Christian paranoia. Nor are we playing some kind of identity politics ‘who is the greatest victim’ game. It’s possible that for some there is a subtle form of real racism (New Zealand is a Western ‘liberal’ country. Sri Lanka?). It is true that 17 Christians killed in Nigeria this weekend don’t even get a footnote in our press.

A second reason is ignorance. When Notre-Dame burned down, BBC News at Ten managed to get through their whole show without a single use of the words ‘Christian, Christianity, Catholic, Worship”. Part of that is due to ignorance – but it is an ignorance that breeds and feeds upon prejudice. The BBC had difficulty in putting the world ‘Catholic’ before ‘Notre Dame’, but shows no such reticence in putting it before ‘Paedophile Priest’. Words matter.

It seems that the main reason for this discrepancy is ideology and the phobia about Islamophobia. The zeitgeist of our governing classes means that they are terrified of being accused of being Islamophobic and at the same time of supporting ‘privileged’ Christianity.

So politicians and media alike (with rare and sometimes horrendous exceptions) struggle to say words like ‘Islam’ and ‘terrorism’ in the same sentence, or indeed ‘Christian’ and ‘victim’. I listened to one national news bulletin that started in the morning by describing the perpetrators as being unknown, then named them as ‘a local group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath’; then they progressed on to “local militants with international connections”. If you are familiar with the code you know what they are saying – without using the actual words.

I can understand the Sri Lankan government wanting to ease ethnic tensions and trying to prevent revenge attacks – although the attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka (who are around 10% of the population) have come from more militant Buddhists, rather than Christians. But I’m not sure that putting a block on Whatsapp and Facebook will do anything other than increase the rumours and fear.

Likewise I can understand why the powers that be rightly want to avoid stigmatising and blaming all Muslims. After all I did not look out yesterday at the Islamic festival taking place in my neighbour’s garden and think I should be calling the anti-terrorist squad! Our Muslim neighbours are good neighbours. But to gloss over the connection between Islam and Islamist terrorism does not just ignore the elephant in the room, but also runs the danger of making things worse. If news and reporting is suppressed in the interests of ideology and political power then that opens the door for real extremists and conspiracy theorists.

In the 24/7 world of modern media and the instant opinion of social media, the danger to immediately see everything through the eyes of our own ideological algorithms is greatly increased. Within hours of Christchurch, op-eds were being written about the dangers of the Far Right (a demonization which can be extended so far as to become almost meaningless, thus, ironically, helping the Far Right) – although none seemed to discuss that the killer also saw himself as an extreme environmentalist and video games player!

In the light of the Sri Lankan massacres, there were no opinion columns about the dangers of Islamic ideology. In fact there was almost the opposite. The Washington Post had this extraordinarily myopic headline the day after – Sri Lankan Bombings Stoke Far Right Anger in The West as if the primary concern after an Islamist attack that killed over 300 people, should be the Far Right!

How should Christians respond to all this? As people of the Word we know how important words are. We know that the tongue (or keyboard) can be a deadly poison. We must never seek to stir up hatred of individuals or groups. And we must always seek to know the truth. A degree of humility combined with an awareness that we are not omniscient should help restrain our speech, which we should always seek to make salt and light.

When the media and politicians are unbalanced and discriminatory we should resist the temptation to return fire for fire by being the same. Rather we should speak the truth in love, knowing that ultimately neither we nor the judges of this world are the ultimate Judge. There will come a day of Judgement.

Meanwhile whilst we have breath we will continue to fight for justice and proclaim the only One whose love can really overcome hate. We are not ashamed to name the name of Jesus, defend his Word, or preach his Cross. Much of the secular media and many of the politicians will not grasp that because they live in a fantasy world where their words are all that matters. As Christians, we have to live in the real world created and sustained by the only one whose words will last forever. Words matter because The Word matters.

David Robertson is a minister in the Free Church of Scotland. He blogs at

Quantum 38 – The Pope in Sudan; Notre Dame; Abortion in South Korea; Bejing; Folau and Vunipola; Barry Humphries; ‘White’ Libraries; Unscientific American; Aretha Franklin; Easter

Why Muslims are Welcome in Christian Scotland


  1. And conversely, very many hasty Tweets that came across my timeline immediately after the news broke cried out “anti-Christian atrocity!” with pictures of the wrecked Churches, while totally ignoring five of the eight targets that were not in fact religious buildings at all.
    Christchurch (tragically ironic name in the circumstances!) was much simpler to name fully straight away as there was only one target and one clearly targeted group. It is now apparent that all the Sri Lanka targets, however illogically, were seen as “the West” and therefore tainted by “crusaders” – but that was not clear before the investigation and identification of the murderers.
    The Lord knows there is enough real offence in this world without us seeing even more where it may not have been intended.

    1. Karen – the five targets that were also chosen were chosen because they were holding Easter Breakfasts to celebrate Easter. There was one clearly targeted group here – Christians. Those who did it even said they did it as retaliation for Christchurch. And yes suicide bombing churches on Easter Sunday would more than suggest who it was! But you miss completely the point of the article – so much so that it makes me wonder whether you have actually read it! I was talking about the politicians and media – who even after they knew were reluctant to use the term Christian…etc. I have detailed some of the evidence in the article. If you choose not to accept it thats fine..but please don’t accuse me of looking for offence….

      1. “Those who did it even said they did it as retaliation for Christchurch.”

        Where do you source that claim from David? All I have been able to find is that a Sri Lankan government minister suggested that the attacks may have been in retaliation for the Christchurch shooting, but a terrorism expert from Deakin University points out that the planning involved in the Sri Lankan attacks would have taken months, which rules out any such motive of revenge.

      2. All of which information came out some time later: not in the first hours after the atrocity, when it was a very reasonable hypothesis (and one I made myself, but didn’t prematurely shout about online) but not yet a firm certainty.
        Do we think those “Easter Breakfasts” (and your comment is the first I’ve heard about that detail) were a Eucharist? Or are we making the same error the attackers themselves do, in lumping together “the West” – which you and I know is *anything* but default Christian – and its merely cultural use of the holiday, with “Crusaders”? If only their crude assumption that everybody West of Jerusalem is Christian WAS true!
        Yes there is a case to be made that attacks on Christians are under-reported, and I am normally right behind it: but it does the case no good to use one of the weaker examples and aim it so obviously at people you already disapprove of and say so regularly. It merely invites what my old discussion group would have called a “MRD” – the famous quote “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?”
        I hope next Sunday we will see outside those Churches decent people from the country’s other faiths standing with us, as happened at least once in Egypt and as some good folks did for mosques after Christchurch here. I also see the country’s Government being held to account, and anticipate the outcome of investigations to see if it was genuine failure or something worse. Every Government will hopefully be looking to its duty and paying, perhaps, more attention to intelligence reports. Especially as we old colonial countries are the ones who can expect terrorism from *both* ends – and that’s without adding the old mess kicking off again in Ireland.
        The fact is that Christians have always had to deal with the paradox that we both preach and practise non-aggression ourselves, while demanding those outside stand by and protect us. Islam is far less inconveniently ambiguous about the bearing of arms and it’s arguably more to their credit when they refuse to do it.
        These are the times, as a famous atheist once said, that try men’s souls. May the Lord hold us steady to the end.

      3. And yet they did not correct or change their comments when the information came out. I won’t repeat myself but the difference in language is very revealing. This is not a weaker example of attacks on Christians being unreported – its one of the strongest examples and helps explain why that is the case. Because our leaders (apparently like you) don’t recognise that it was attacks on Christians because of their faith, but rather attacks on the West – ironically therefore justifying them as an act of war….

      4. Excellent article. I wholeheartedly agree. There is no doubt in my mind that this is ideologically driven.The choice of words is very telling.The “progressive” elites despise Christianity and can’t even acknowledge their sufferings . Sickening and deceitful.

  2. When is a Christian not a Christian?
    When they are:
    1 At “Church”
    2 at a “place of worship”
    3 Easter worshippers
    4 when the attack is on “a place of worship”
    5 when the attack is “on a place of worship”

  3. The difference is the consistent message of Islam that it is one community, which transcends location or nationality, aspiring to convert the whole world to faith in its tenets. An assault on one muslim is an assault on all muslims.

    In theory, almost the same should be said of the Christian faith, but in practice Christians lack the strength of global vision and treat what is happening in other countries as “their” problem, not ours. An assault on a Christian in Nigeria, or the murder of Christians in North Korea, is viewed as a political act or a crime, irrespective of the faith of the victim, carried out by foreigners.

    Christianity is tragically disunited, spiritually and geographically, following the Reformation. The vision of “the Catholic Church” during preceding centuries was a Christendom in which the Communion of the Saints was felt far more strongly as a present reality. There are now literally thousands of denominations, most of them local and defined more by culture than by doctrine.

    We should not be surprised when politicians and media commentators respond to Islam, with its much more consistent message, and its strength of feeling about the fate of fellow-believers, in a way which upholds Islam’s view of itself.

    The same voices have come largely to airbrush Christianity out of their consciousness, precisely because Christendom, such as it is, does not speak up clearly and with one voice on behalf of itself or of Christians.

    This has to change. Not by arming ourselves or by any kind of belligerence, but by working seriously to recover the unity of the church, and by demanding protection and justice for Christians everywhere in the world, in the many places where we continue to be like “sheep to the slaughter” on account of our faith.

    1. You over emphasise the ‘unity’ of Islam – there are at least three different sects of it in my own town! Although of course I agree with you about the unity of the Church – and its necessity….

      1. The are numerous sects of islam, but they are consistent when speaking out to the non-islamic world, that they are the “umma”, one nation. Media commentators and politicians are generally clueless about the differences between denominations: and so they seize upon repeated statements made by islam about itself and accept them at face value. On the other hand, Christendom does not have (credible) leaders or a shared narrative, and it is so divided that it cannot speak even for itself. This is why your blog is so refreshing!

  4. An accurate condensed version of the article above, Geoff , not lost on this prole .

    Would that our Lord would come soon !

    1. Amen and Amen, Gylen. (A Western Isle type Revival would be welcome. Or would it?)
      But, no longer young, I’m more likely to meet Him before His return as He brings me home.

  5. This was very well written and aggregates the thoughts and reflections of a Christian regarding this horrific attack beautifully.
    Thank you for being a voice of reason, truth seeker and ambassador for Christ in this wicked and distorted world.
    God Bless from Melbourne, Aus

  6. That time of judgement is distinctly closer! As Watchmen we are exhorted by Jesus himself to not only see the signs of the times but to seek the Holy Spirit’s discernment to interpret them.

    All of these attacks and the state of our society surely indicate the imminence of the revealing of the Anti-Christ much sooner than most are currently imagining. The upcoming Euro elections and the Trump/Kushner peace deal could be key to the hastening on of that prophetic date.

    I am currently reading The Rise of the Little Horn by Jonathan Dane, which identifies Donald Trump as the prince who is to come and was mostly written before he became the most powerful man in the world. Others have identified a possible candidate closer to home – Emmanuel Macron, who identifies with the Roman God Jupiter and is having a remarkably charmed life in spite of just about the whole of France wanting him out.

    Before I get the usual accusations that we cannot know these things just a reminder of what Jesus said to the pharisees who failed miserably to read the signs of his coming:

    “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came and tested Jesus by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2But He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red;’ 3and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times!…” Matt 16:2

    A trumpet call was the alert to be sounded! How near we may be the The Last Trump? Jesus instructs all believers to be constantly on watch, especially as ‘the blessed hope of the church ‘is the ultimate promise.

    1. Jude,
      consider carefully that it may be your own inability to read the signs of the times that has you grubbing about at the bottom of such an unprofitable rabbit hole. We are told quite clearly who antichrist is: [1 Jn. 2:22b.] ‘This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.’
      NB. that would mean that there are many antichrists but that is also stated quite clearly in 1 Jn. 2:18.

  7. Sturgeon does not even acknowledge that these were attacks on PEOPLE. A direct and vile expression of anti-Christian hatred. An attack on a place of worship could be somebody throwing a stone through a window.

  8. Hi I love your podcast – can you share the name of your Christian rapper at the end of each show? I checked high and low in your website but can’t locate it. I found you here in Ohio, US at Janet Parschall show. Love it! I’m naturalized Brazilian for 40 years. My son moved to Brazil when everyone wants to live here?! He likes rap, hip hop, I would love to share the Christian rap artist you play at the end of each podcast with you! Blessings

  9. If you dealt with Scripture with the level of eisegesis and confirmation bias you deal with the words of people, you’d dismiss yourself as a heretic. Seriously? The Christchurch attack was exclusively on a Mosque during prayer; the Sri Lanka attacks were on a churches and hotels; so it seems very clear that not all of the people targeted were Christians. Your post contains a grain a truth, multiplied by gallons of Christian paranoia.

    1. Yes – I do deal with Scripture at that level – in fact even more so – thats my job! Words matter.

      This was an attack on people who were perceived to be Christians. You assume that people in a Mosquew were there to pray- what do you think people in a church were there to do? The majority in the hotels were probably Western – but the majority in the churches were Sri Lankan….they were targeted BECAUSE they were Christian. Each month over 400 people are killed specifically because they are Christian (the real figure is probably a lot higher). What puzzles me is why you want to ignore that and claim paranoia?

      1. You see there you go again, this time misreading what I’ve written. Nowhere do I ignore the reality of persecution, or claim that the Sri Lanka attacks weren’t in part that. What I’m saying is that I think you’re misreading (perhaps wilfully) the words of leaders, and taking a reading of their words that is not the plain and obvious one. I find this sort of game playing with identity politics at a time of tragedy highly distasteful. I am a preacher and pastor also; what you are doing is profoundly un-pastoral. I have skin in this game. Similar things as you say now were said to when I buried my good friend and church warden, murdered my Islamic fundmanentalist terrorists in a violent and indiscriminate massacre. I can tell you now, his close friends (like me) and his family, found the sort of tasteless game playing you are doing here vile. Instead, we got on the with business of preaching Jesus, resurrection and hope to over 1000 people, including politicians; and a nationwide live TV audience. I suggest you try to do the same, rather than score points in phoney war of identity politics. Persecution is real; you don’t need to stir the pot by lazily interpreting well-meant messages of world leaders.

      2. I read exactly what you wrote – accusing me of paranoia – and responded to it. I did not misread the words of leaders and for you to accuse me of doing so willfully is to accuse me of lying. To accuse someone of lying because you don’t agree with them is not something that a pastor/preacher should be doing….doesn’t the Bible have something to say about spreading false reports and slander? And you call me ‘vile’, lazy etc….all very ‘pastoral’!

        I have skin in this game too. What was your point? I am not doing a ‘tasteless game’ nor am I engaging in identity politics. I happen to believe that thousands of Christians are being killed every year for their faith and that has largely been ignored by Western governments and media. This is also something that the Jeremy Hunt has said in the past week, and several other commentators who are not Christians.

        This is not a phoney war of identity politics – this is about Christian brothers and sisters being killed because of their faith and about pointing out the inconsistency of our political leaders for refusing to recognise that. And my interpretation of these ‘wee meant messages of world leaders as not lazy – it took a great deal of hard work, thought and prayer to work out why the differences and what was going on. You of course can feel free to disagree but I would prefer you to stay away from my timeline if you are going to call me a vile liar….I could really do without that kind of ‘Christian leader comment. Very depressing and sad….

  10. I agree with your analysis about the awkwardness politicians feel talking about Christians.

    But I don’t think that’s the main reason for their reluctance to condemn Islamic terrorists.

    Instead I’d suggest that they are equally ashamed of the west’s record in the Islamic world.

    Already this century we (mainly the US and UK) have waged war on Muslim countries and killed, at absolute minimum, 200,000 Muslims in wars Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) and possibly up to 1 million.

    Whilst there are some differences (e.g. western forces targeted mainly military forces, though, of course, most of those were conscripts) I think it’s fair to say most Western politicians are (and should be) painfully aware that they (we) have dealt catastrophically badly with the Muslim world and that the rise of radical Islam over 50 years can be directly traced to aspects of western foreign policy.

    I don’t see many of my fellow evangelicals owning those deaths as Muslims.

    1. And yet it was Clinton and Obama who did much of the bombing – so I don’t think that is their reluctance. Yes there is a connection between the rise of radical Islam and the ridiculous neo-liberal belief that everyone in the world would want democracy without Christianity. And no the deaths in these wars were not just Muslim deaths – nor was it a war against Islam – in the Iraq wars we were fighting on the side of Muslim nations such as Saudi, Kuwait and Jordan. It was a stupid disaster – in Iraq there were 500,000 Christians – no it is less than 100,000 as they have been driven out.

  11. Excellent article. The behavior and prejudice of the media and the politicians can best be described as moral cowardice. They don’t dare to address the root cause of Islamic terrorism particularly against Christians. They use words like Islamism and Islamists to make us believe as if these terrorists are not true Muslims or as if they follow a pervasive form of Islam. The goal of Islamic terrorism is subjugation and stopping anyone from criticizing Islam and sadly they are winning. After every terrorist attacked, we hear from the media and the political leaders how Islam is a religion of peace and terrorists are loving this. Islam, after each attack, should instead be exposed and criticized. The root cause of Islamic terrorism is the ideology itself, not few brainwashed or misinformed people. These terrorists are intelligent (usually graduates from British universities) and mostly are well off, so they understand their religion and know exactly what is required from them. Appeasement can never defeat such an ideology. But I am afraid, appeasement is all we have from our media and political leaders. It is time to tell them that enough is enough before it is too late.

  12. Giles Fraser wrote very well on the actual day – making the case coolly, without hostility and accusation, and admitting those of our mistakes that contribute to the general queasiness about defending “Christians”. And even he left “child molesting” off his list of what people “associate Christianity with” – perhaps it’s such a huge “elephant in the room” he could take it as read.

    Now we hear that the number of casualties was overstated by around a hundred. The only decent response is “Praise the Lord” but there will be plenty of others.

    “See, they bigged it up to get our sympathy.”
    “Maybe the other stories are exaggerated.”
    “If they lie about that – and don’t forget those cover-ups…..”

    And on our side, C S Lewis posed a critical test we should apply to our own selves with all prayer and humility. God send we do not fall!

    “Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.”

  13. This is one of the more moderate and well thought through comments on this issue and does raise a genuine issue for debate. I actually like the last three paragraphs.. I’m not totally convinced of the analysis that suggests Muslims are privileged from criticism.. there are plenty of rabid attacks on them in the press and from right wing politicians. Yes more liberal politicians and commentators are being careful, diplomatic and sensitive about how they respond to atrocities from people with a Muslim background.. I think the response when Christians are attacked is not so much about secular prejudice against Christians but deeply seated taken for granted assumptions – such that the West (and it’s colonial successors) is still Christian by default – though in UK and Europe so few believe and practice.. and mainstream narratives find it hard to comprehend where Christians are a distinct people and may be a threatened minority group. What we must avoid as Christians is a paranoid persecution complex, claiming distinct victim privilege, using the term Christophobia etc. (see my blog for why )We must not fall for an identity politics where Christianity is claimed as a marker of white supremacy, nationalism or defence of civilisation – and linked to make America, Britain, France, Poland, Hungary great again. And we must continue to protest and show an alternative way of peace when any religious group is attacked and persecuted be they Muslims as in NZ, Christians as in Sri Lanka, or Jews as in USA this last few weeks, whether the hatred comes from governments or non state actors.

    1. Thanks Greg for your comment. The argument is not that Muslims are privileged from criticism – it is that the Islamic faith is privileged by many because of fear of being accused of Islamaphobia. The liberals in the West do not regard the West as Christian. I don’t think when 400 Christians (at least) per month are being killed that calling those who challenge that ‘paranoid persecution complex’!

      Nor was the article arguing for white supremacy – I suspect that almost all the Christians killed in Sri Lanka were not white!

      1. I recognize there is a fear of critiquing Islam.. mainly by secular folk who are so religiously illiterate that they can’t word their critique without damning all Muslims who have many competing traditions of interpretation of their foundational texts. And yes there is power in a calling anyone racist or “X-phobic”. That’s why I’m so concerned about Christians following the same route.. with a strong essentialised identity politics, a Christianism and accusations of “Christophobia”. My point is that while it’s right to call out persecution, and attempts at “ethno-religious” genocide against Christians we have to do that without special pleading for ourselves. It is so alarming as I and Giles Fraser have said that tiny irritations and hostile comments we face in the West are treated in the same way as killings … and even more alarming that there are extremist white supremacist “Christians” deliberately using this sort of language – Nicolas Adams posted this really helpul analysis the other day

        and there was this in the Guardian the other week

        and then there was this

        Horrible time we are living in.. we need divine wisdom in responding well.

  14. Thank you, David for a carefully written and researched article. We should be aware of the unintentional bias (sometimes intentional) in the media, but as you rightly point out, let’s not fight fire with fire. These days, a single viral message can be more powerful than an army, never mind a sword! Let’s return the hatred with love, and pray for our persecutors that they disband and stop these terrorist attacks on our brothers and sisters.

    I think Alan Marsh is also correct that we Christians are often weak at expressing our common identity with Christians all around the world (Hebrews 10:32-36, Romans 12:15). Perhaps we need to remind Christians to respond with statements similar to these:
    “This attack on the global Church is an attack on us all” (or, even, on Jesus himself, Acts 9:4-5)
    “Our family in Sri Lanka, our brothers and sisters, have been mercilessly attacked, and our hearts grieve for them”
    The media might be taken aback for a while, but I think they would get used to it. Let’s not fall into the trap of allowing a thorough-going secularism to affect the language we use (I know that I’m guilty of secularising my own language sometimes!)
    And let’s continue to pray for those churches in Sri Lanka. While our newspapers move on to the next story, our brothers and sisters will continue to miss those who were murdered, and care for the wounded.

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