Out of the ColdCHARLES COLSON
For nearly thirty years, the phrase killing fields was synonymous with Cambodia. Between 1975 and 1979, the communist Khmer Rouge killed at least one million Cambodians in their attempt to reinvent their society.
to eliminate religion was at the heart of the killing fields. For Khmer Rouge
leader Pol Pot, religion was superstition and an impediment to his plans for a
If Pol Pot were alive today, he would be shocked to read the headline
in a recent edition of
The effects of the conversions transcend the merely personal. They have played an important role in bringing the Khmer Rouge "in from the cold" to help promote national unity.
The people of Pailin understand what many here in the West don't: Religion, especially Christianity, is an important part of a good and just society.
An example of how Westerners are ignorant of this was a recent interview of comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher. Speaking on the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Maher described what he called a "real dividing line between people of intelligence" and "people who are religious." While he graciously acknowledged that some religious people, like poet T. S. Eliot, are intelligent, he called religion "a neurological disorder."
In Maher's estimation, the "cure" for "this crazy, illogical thing" Christians call faith is to "really get therapy or take a pill."
The problem with nonsense like this is that, as columnist James Lileks noted, Maher's words "resonate" with many of our elites. They might not put it as indelicately, but they also think that religion is something to be overcome on the way to their idea of a good society.
The Cambodians know better. They have experienced a real-world attempt to overcome religion which left millions dead in its wake. Now they are seeing how Christianity is helping to heal the wounds left by that attempt.
What's true in
For further reading and information:
Learn more about what you and your church or Bible study group can do on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
Jason Burke, "Khmer Rouge
Embraces Jesus," Guardian (
Lorenzo Fazzini, "Between salvation and
gratitude, Christ in Cambodia," Asia News,
"Khmer Rouge: Christian
baptism after massacres," Asia News,
interview," CBC Online,
Read James Lileks's comments on the Canadian Broadcasting Company interview with Bill Maher (scroll toward the middle of the post).
Amy Argetsinger, "Homesick
and Stalled at LAX,"
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040917, "Thinking about Vietnam: Hanoi and the Church."
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040713," Faithful unto Death: The Plight of Burmese Christians."
Learn more about what you can do to help persecuted Christians at Stand Today's website.
Friends Like These," World,
and Children First," BreakPoint Online,
Nina Shea, In the Lion's Den (Broadman and Holman, 1997).
Paul Marshall, Their Blood Cries Out.
Charles Colson. "Out of the Cold." BreakPoint Commentary #041109 - 11/09/2004.
From BreakPoint ® Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, D.C. 20041-0500. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint ®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries ®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Charles Colson launched Prison Fellowship in 1976, following a seven-month prison sentence for Watergate-related crimes. Since then, Prison Fellowship has flourished into a U.S. ministry of 50,000 volunteers and has spread to more then 50 countries. Beyond his prison ministry, Colson is a Christian author, speaker, and commentator, who regularly confronts contemporary values from a biblically informed perspective. His "BreakPoint" radio commentaries now air daily across the U.S. and he has written 14 books, including Loving God, Answers to Your Kids' Questions, The Line Between Right & Wrong: Developing a Personal Code of Ethics, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages, and How Now Shall We Live: A Study Guide.
Copyright © 2004
Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.