Letters to the Editor
Members of the Grand Priory are encouraged to send in letters, discussing articles that appear in "Abraham’s Tent” or contribute observations dealing with a better understanding of the three great monotheistic religions as they impact Christians in the Holy Land. As an Order, we are singularly blessed with a wide-ranging knowledge of this subject and the “Letters” section may prove as valuable as many of the articles that appear, dealing with this subject.
("Abraham’s Tent" reserves the right to edit all correspondence, in keeping with the nature and direction of the magazine).
Comments Concerning Christianity in the Holy Land Today
Chev. Lt. Col. USAF (Ret) Robert S. Miller, KCTJ, GMTJ
The Priory of The Temple Church
As a youth, I was educated in local Moslem and non-Moslem schools in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq between 1948 and 1964. For me, having seen the unmitigated misery of Christendom up close in my youth in the Middle East, my Templar associates today have some appreciation for what it means to look after those less fortunate than ourselves. In America our sacrifices are too often defined much differently than those in the Third World. For Christians in the Holy Land it means frequently watching loved ones shot before their eyes on the streets, losing their homes, being made refugees without any legal recourse or advocates to help them obtain justice.
I recall my first visit to Jerusalem in 1950, when my parents drove by private car from Beirut into the Bekaa Valley, then south to Amman, across the Jordan River, and up the narrow twisting roads through the barren wilderness known even then as the “Valley of Death” between Jericho and Jerusalem.
I was eight years old then and recall the thousands of children, like me, living everywhere in squalid refugee tent cities around Jerusalem. Many were begging for a piaster… any coin with which to help their families survive another day. I now realize that, at that time, one in four of those wretches were Christians like me, and that their numbers in the Holy Land then exceeded a million.
I have made many more visits to Jerusalem and the surrounding area in the last half century. While the tent camps have largely disappeared, and their Christian occupants have virtually disappeared because of never-ending persecution and hopelessness, the one-hundred-thousand who remain desperately need our help. Christians around Jerusalem today number less than one-in-ten on the West Bank, and one-in-thirty in the whole country of Israel. Theirs has been an unforgiveable saga. Caught in the massive displacement of traditional populations required to accommodate huge new inflows of European and immigrants from other lands, the Christians there died forgotten or sought sanctuary elsewhere.
Today it is up to us to demand to know who has rights in the Holy Land and Jerusalem. In fact all have rights … the followers of Moses, Mohammed, and especially followers of Christ. Historically, it has been up to the Knights Templars to secure that right for all. The Founders of our Order sacrificed their wealth and lives, by the thousands, to preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land. Can we Templars today do any less than to financially support our Christian brothers who survive there against all odds?
Clayton Michael Kemmerer
LTC Thomas P. Curtis II
Rev. Michael P. Forbes
David D. Fautua
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