One day after the terrorist attack which killed 129 people (so far) in Paris, France, you may see several posts circulating the internet in an attempt to shame people for praying for Paris. Because Paris wasn’t the only victim of terrorist action in the last couple of days. There was also an attack that killed 19 people in Baghdad, Iraq. And one that killed 43 people in Beirut, Lebanon, over the past couple of days. One of these posts claims racism is the reason that Paris is garnering more attention — because it is white people who died in Paris.
The attack in Paris resonates with us strongly in North America. It hits us close to home because Paris is familiar, not in colour, but in culture.
If you are American, France was, as Obama declared yesterday, one of your nation’s oldest allies. Don’t forget where the Statue of Liberty came from.
And if you are Canadian, France is the motherland to a large portion of the population. As Trudeau reminded us yesterday, they are our French cousins.
Paris is not just a popular, familiar tourist destination; it is a nation connected deeply to the roots of our own.
There is another reason why this tragedy has made such big news — it is newsworthy because it is rare. This is in stark comparison to the attacks that happen daily — yes, literally daily — in the Middle East. According to the wikipedia article circulated by the anti-mourners, there have been more than 300 terrorist attacks so far this year, only a handful on Western soil, and certainly none so large as the one in Paris yesterday.The overwhelming majority are in the Middle East.
The fact that Islamic terrorists are killing innocent people in the Middle East on a daily basis should not stop us from praying for their victims in Paris — we need more prayer, not less.
Of course we are mourning for France. Not only are we entitled to this outpouring of emotion for our oldest ally, our cousin, but France is entitled to this outflowing of prayer support from us.
I have to wonder if these posters would have espoused the same anti-mourning declarations after 9/11? I don’t think an American audience in those traumatized days would have stood for such an anti-American sentiment. We should not stand for such anti-France sentiment now.
But please know that our prayer for Paris does not mean that we are not also praying for the Middle East. We are.
The video prayer that I linked to in my tribute post to France is from Operation World, a site with prayer videos to help us pray for every nation. Sign up for their daily email to receive a video prayercast for a different nation every day.
And yes, Pray for Lebanon! Pray for Iraq!
But don’t let anybody shame you for praying for France.