Christianity has been around for a few thousand years now. For virtually all of that time, it has been able to exist in Iraq, regardless of how brutal the regime in power at the time. Unfortunately, it appears as if that is about to change.

Apparently, one of the reasons that our military remains in Iraq is to build democracy. Well, the easiest part of democracy to understand is ‘majority rules’. A much more difficult aspect of democracy to appreciate is ‘respect the minority’. Apparently, when we decided that we were going to teach democracy to Iraqis, we managed to teach them the majority rules part, complete with ink-stained fingers, but never managed to get to the other parts of democracy.

Al Qaida has had trouble succeeding in Iraq. For a while, their tactic was to terrify people randomly. Well, an effect of this strategy was that everyone would be frightened of them. Once that happened, they found it difficult to get the majority of Iraqis to support them. So now, Al Qaida has decided that they have figured out a great way to build majority support…find a minority population and relentlessly terrorize it. The minority that they have gone after are the Christian population. The last few months have seen a relentless series of attacks upon Christians aiming at frightening them so much that those who do remain leave or face death.

Here are some examples:

• On October 31, a Baghdad church was bombed, killing 68 Christians.
• On one night in December, doorbells rang at a number of homes of Christians; when they answered, bombs exploded, killing or severely injuring them.
• Rockets have been directed at Christian homes and churches.

Meanwhile, the government has told Christians that they cannot be protected, and so this population should take whatever measures they can to protect themselves and their families. The way many of the Christians have employed for protection is to leave. Before our grand adventure in this country, there were 1.4 million Christians, who had peaceably built communities, and lived in harmony with their Islamic neighbors. Now, there are around 400,000 left, as most of the Christians have emigrated, primarily to Europe.

Today in the New York Times, the story is told of the town of Habbina Cece, where for millennia, a Christian community flourished and lived in harmony with their Islamic neighbors. Now, less than a decade after our arrival, there is one Christian left in the town. The rest have all left the nation.

When the last Christian leaves, will he please turn out the lights?