May 9, 2004
A Navy chaplain who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom believes the civilian population of that country is ready for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lieutenant Carey Cash was assigned to the First Battalion of the Fifth Marine Regiment during the opening months of the war. In his book, A Table In the Presence (W Publishing Group, 2004), Cash says the troops were told all kinds of horror stories about how the Iraqi people would react to Christians.
The stories he was told suggested that the Iraqis would be leery of Christians, if not downright hostile, but the Christian author and military officer says the troops discovered this was not the case at all.
"Every time I had interactions with Iraqi civilians, it was the exact opposite," Cash says, adding that those Iraqis apparently loved and welcomed the Americans. For himself and the Marines he accompanied, the chaplain says, "the specter of Christian-hating Islamic people" was simply not in evidence among the ordinary citizens.
Of course, the author notes, anti-American sentiment was palpable among Iraqi insurgents and Saddam loyalists. "Certainly when you talk about the Republican Guard and the Bath party, I think that, yes, that was there," he says.
Cash says the Iraqis seem burdened under Islam. He believes this creates an openness to Christianity, he says, "in part because Islam, as a cultural motif, does oppress. And I think that says that one day, perhaps, a new day may dawn in that nation where the gospel can be proclaimed without fear of reprisal, and where it can liberate men, women, and children unlike they've ever known."
Despite the influence of Islam in Iraq, Cash says he finds there is great openness to Christianity there now, and he feels that believers currently serving in that country will have an even better opportunity to share their faith in the future.
© 2004 Agape Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.