What Persecuted Syrians Can Teach Us About American Politics

Mindy Belz | November 29, 2016

Editors’ note: This year’s election season clearly revealed what many have long suspected: America is a deeply divided nation. What has caused this division? What is the way forward? How can evangelicals respond in a way that leads to healing and increased unity? The Gospel Coalition invited several writers and observers to explore those and related questions for an online symposium on the State of Evangelicalism.

On a balmy evening in another time zone, I sat down on a bench by a basketball court with the Chaldean bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, to talk about the future of Christians in the Middle East. Shadows fell amid the olive trees as night came on and the sound of Muslim calls to prayer went up from the mosques all around us. It was 2008, and I was in Syria covering the influx of refugees from the war in neighboring Iraq.

Children bounced balls and ran across the court as I told Bishop Audo about my stay. I had been pelted with rocks while walking with several Syrian Christians near the city’s landmark Citadel. The incident was mostly harmless but capped a week for me of feeling the rising Islamic fervor in Syria—more women…

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