My last post about the phony "War On Christmas" got more responses than any other since I started this blog, so here's another. This one deals with a real war, and it's real effect on Christmas. Via Daily Kos, I found this Reuter's report Fear overshadows Christmas joy in Baghdad. Here's an excerpt.
The festive lights and glittery decorations of years past are nowhere to be seen.
A small, unshapely tree with silver and purple ornaments stands near the pulpit -- a poor substitute for a traditional giant Christmas tree that, in years past, was decorated to the sounds of young men and women singing hymns.
Just six women came to evening prayers a few days ahead of Christmas, leaving rows of pews empty in the dimly lit church.
It wasn't always this way.
"We used to celebrate this occasion by praying, and hundreds of believers would gather and wish each other well in the church lobby," said Father Boutros Haddad, the priest at the church in Baghdad's predominantly Christian neighborhood. "But we've stopped this because of the security situation."
Yet another somber Christmas is rolling by for Iraq's roughly 600,000 Christians, who enjoyed relative freedom under Saddam, but now live in fear of attacks from increasingly powerful Islamist groups and militias.
Since Saddam's downfall, churches have been bombed, Christian-run liquor stores attacked and many more in the small community killed or kidnapped.
With it becoming increasingly clear that the newly freed Iraqis are voting along relgious/ethic lines that will propel that country into the hands of fundamentalist Islamists, the outlook for not just Christmas, but for the Iraqi Christian minority's freedom of religion, looks pretty bleak
An unexpected side-effect of trying to project American values into the Middle East by creating an island of democracy and freedom in Iraq through the use of force? No. Not really. Not unexpected at all.