From the Pastor

Dear friends,

When I turned on my iPhone Wednesday morning, I received news of NBC’s decision to fire popular Today Show host Matt Lauer after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced on Monday night. It’s the latest in what has become a rather aggressive, way-too-late, and altogether unrealistic, campaign to remove harassment and abuse from society, especially the workplace. Charlie Rose, John Conyers, Al Franken, Matt Lauer — names that just the other week were the popular, feel-good faces of TV and Congress. Today, well, not so much. It makes you wonder who’s next.

Perhaps missed in the news cycle was the Pope’s highly significant visit to Myanmar yesterday. Most of us didn’t even know where Myanmar was a few weeks ago, but recently the country has come under extreme scrutiny as more than 620,000 of the Rohingya ethnic group have fled across the border to Bangladesh since August, when the Myanmar military began a crackdown in response to Rohingya attacks on military security posts. In a matter of weeks, the Rohingya — Muslims in a majority Buddhist country — were stripped of their citizenship and threatened of their lives. The UN reports that the death toll may be “extremely high.”

The Pope’s visit brings international attention to a country that would prefer keep hush-hush about the crisis. The president — a Nobel Peace prize winner, of all things — has kept mum, allowing the military carte blanche in a most brutal form of ethnic cleansing.

Why does such a thing go unnoticed in the West? No doubt our attention has been turned to Hollywood and Congress and sexual harassment, as it should be. But in the midst of the latest scandal in the US, I’d invite you to peer into the county of Myanmar and the easy-to-forget minority that is being severely persecuted these days. Pray for a peaceful intervention there. Pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. And pray that the Pope’s visit will bring an outcry that is sorely needed.

Peace to you this week. I’ll see you in church.

+Pastor Rhodes