In a passionate speech presenting the historic sacrifice made by
Iraqi Christians on Wednesday, Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Sarhad
Yawsip Jammo said that although Iraqi Christians have been slaughtered
in masses by ISIS, Iraqi Christians have been proudly losing their lives
in the name of Jesus since before Islam existed.
Skyline Wesleyan Church's Future Conference in San Diego, Jammo, who's a
native of Baghdad with ancestral ties to the Nineveh Plains and serves
as bishop of a Chaldean Catholic Diocese that spans throughout the
Western U.S., explained that the Chaldean Christian community's
experience of being forced to choose between paying a tax for their
faith or being killed predates ISIS' brutal demand.
In fact, Jammo
explained that Chaldean Christians were first asked to pay taxes in
order to celebrate their faith in the year 339 under the rule of King
Shapur II, when he told Christians that they must pay double taxes if
they wish to continue worshiping Jesus without being killed.
"[The Chaldean patriarch] said, 'No, this is my land. This is my
right given by God to me and Jesus is my Lord and I will not pay taxes
for that.' 'Then you will be killed. This is up to you,' Jammo detailed.
"He and thousands others [became martyrs]. This is 339, much before
Islam, much before ISIS. And then, Islam came."
highlighted the kidnappings and murders of two Nineveh pastors in 2008 —
one being the Chaldean Bishop of Mosul and the other being a priest who
Jammo had the pleasure of teaching in Rome — who were kidnapped,
tortured, killed, mutilated and dumped in the street simply because they
As countless Christians have been martyred by
ISIS in the last year for refusing to deny Jesus, Jammo urged Christians
across the world, who are fortunate enough to freely enjoy their faith
without it potentially costing them their lives, not to forget the fatal
sacrifices that Chaldean Christians have made for the land of Abraham.
is the one side of the battlefield that you should observe. We should
observe, this reality. It's one thing to be comfortable professing our
faith, enjoy, clapping hands, singing, what a grace to have freedom to
do that," the 74-year-old asserted. "But don't forget that this is not
the whole field. Chaldeans were for 2,000 years and still now they are
at the front. We must share our blessings. We don't complain. We are
privileged to give our blood to witness that Jesus is Lord and that
salvation is at hand."
"We are not disheartened. We are not
discouraged. The Lord said that his church, that the gates of hell will
not prevail against his church," Jammo continued, followed by resounding
applause. "I always wondered — a gate does not fight. So Lord Jesus,
what do you mean by that — 'the gates of hell will not prevail.' The
gate doesn't fight. No, you attack the gates of hell and the gates will
As over 120,000 Christians have been displaced by ISIS
and the militant group continues to maintain a stronghold in Mosul and
Christian lands in the Nineveh Plains, the bishop argued that only Jesus
will be remedy and the people must repent and share Jesus with the
"Where is Jonas? 'Jonas, please go to Nineveh.' So this is
the message of Jonas, for us too — that we must repent and purify our
soul to the Lord Jesus and share our faith with each other, and that is
why I came here to you to share my faith, with pastor Jim [Garlow], with
all of you, so that you know Jesus must be the remedy to this sick
world," Jammo stated. "He is the remedy. He is the savior. He is the
solution, instead of fighting each other. Now go together. Go together
and confront the world. Go together and challenge the gates of hell."
Diego-based Chaldean-American humanitarian, Mark Arabo, also spoke at
the conference and was critical of President Barack Obama and Congress
for not airlifting the displaced Iraqi Christians out of Iraq to safety.
"It's our disfunction in Washington, It's our dysfunction in Congress
and the White House that has put [Iraqi Christians] to death. It's our
disfunction. It's Obama's dysfunction," Arabo argued. "When Saigon fell,
the United States airlifted 150,000 Vietnamese. In the 1990s, President
Clinton saved the folks in Bosnia and Rwanda. This is our moment to
save these people."
Arabo, who founded the Minority Humanitarian
Organization, has lobbied for the passage of House Resolution 1568, the
Protecting Religious Minorities Persecuted by ISIS Act, which would
require the State Department to expedite visa processing for Iraqi
Christians seeking refuge.
However, Arabo has been disheartened by
the lack of concern shown by the president, who has all but completely
disregarded Arabo's call to save the Christians.
"I have had the
privilege of meeting a few different presidents. In my brief exchanges
with President Obama, I said, 'Mr. Obama, this is your legacy. President
Ford did it, President Clinton did it,'" Arabo explained to Obama. "You should take Air Force One to Iraq and airlift all the children and
all the Christians and bring them over to America.' He gave me a real
political answer that was very long-winded and not really deep. I said,
'history is very patient and history is very objective.'"
exchanges with the White House and president have been very direct," he
added. "I think Jimmy Carter would have saved the Christians. The
president has failed tremendously with the Christians and Congress has