Thursday, March 08, 2007

Different states of Christianity

Midyat and the Tur 'Abdin region used to be the home of the Aramean people. They used their own dialect of the Aramaic language and were Christians.
However, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire when Aramean lands were split between Turkey, Syria and Iraq many Arameans left the area to find homes in the West, forming the diaspora.
They were later joined by more in the 1960's when the Christians of Tur Abdin were being pressured by Kurdish people moving in, extorting money for their armed struggle against the Turkish authorities.
The churches went into severe decline, but recently, with Turkey being more open towards Christians money has been coming in from the disapora to rennovate and bring new life into the churches. However, in Midyat, a town of 60,000 people, it seems as if there are not more than about 20 Christian/Aramean families left.

The Christians are also making a comeback here in Holland as they were the big winners in the electiosn we had yesterday for the Provincial governments (and indirectly, the First Chamber). They saw their vote go up by 60% from 3.4% of the electorate to 5.7%, a reward for stepping into the governing coalition in the national government where they have made their mark on topics such as abortion/adoption, euthanesia and gay rights.

In the meantime, the British government published its planned regulations under the Sexual Orientation Act today, whereby it will be forbidden to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods and services, and also where gay establishments are not allowed to bar non-gay people.To everyone's relief, there are no new exemptions for religious minded people, whereby the British Government has obviously come to the conclusion that when there is a clash of rights, gay rights must be put before the ‘rights’ of the religious. Excellent news!

This follows closely on from a case where a mischievous Christian magistrate resigned because he did not want to preside over cases to decide whether or not a particular gay couple are allowed to adopt a baby/child and took his case to an employment tribunal. This because to do so would conflict with his Bible-influenced views. Quite rightly, he lost.

So, where in Turkey, Christians are fighting for survival, we have Christians in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom fighting for their rights to discriminate. I know whose side I am on.


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