Roger Marsh: All of us as Americans are extremely blessed to live in a nation that protects our religious liberties, but because of those freedoms, we can become tone-deaf at times to the lack of faith expression elsewhere. The Western church is by and large very ignorant to the severe persecution other believers are experiencing. We want to continue shedding light on this serious problem though through this edition of Family Talk. So today, Dr. Dobson's guest, once again, will be best-selling author and human rights activist, Johnnie Moore.
Johnnie Moore is the head of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom, also known as USCIRF. He founded a PR firm called the KAIROS Company and serves as president of the Congress of Christian Leaders. Johnnie has extensive work balancing faith and foreign policy all over the world.
Today, he and Dr. Dobson will continue discussing the ongoing religiously motivated killings happening in Nigeria. They'll also consider what the church can do to help our endangered brothers and sisters in that area. Here again is Dr. Dobson with his guest, the Reverend Johnnie Moore, here on Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Let's talk about your book, The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa by Reverend Johnnie Moore and Rabbi Abraham Cooper. Talk a little bit about the message that you've conveyed.
Johnnie Moore: Yeah, I think, in addition to praying for the persecuted and educating ourselves on what's happening around the world, we have to take action, and this book I've co-written with Rabbi Cooper. So Rabbi Cooper and I are separated by 45 years. He lives on one side of the country, I live on a different side of the country. He's an Orthodox Jewish rabbi. I'm an evangelical Christian, and yet we're united together in our passion for action.
It's not enough to say that you care about something if you're not willing to do something about it. But The Next Jihad is also a story about Jewish and Christian cooperation. One of the amazing things about the world that we're living in now is after centuries and centuries of antisemitism largely led by dark moments in Christian history, there's this amazingly unique relationship between the evangelical Christian community around the world and the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Interestingly enough, the Simon Wiesenthal Center where Rabbi Cooper is, was the first organization in the world, a Jewish organization, not a Christian one, that said that ISIS was guilty of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria. It was Rabbi Cooper who encouraged me to go to Nigeria with him. It wasn't me, a Christian saying, "Rabbi, let's go to Nigeria. There's a problem there." It was Rabbi Cooper, an Orthodox Jew, who said, "Johnnie, we have to get to Nigeria. We've got to help these people."
As we were sitting on an airplane for hours and hours and hours, and we become good friends, Rabbi Cooper told me his stories about being an advocate for Jews trapped in the Soviet Union, as a leader of the Soviet Jew Removement, and it was a part of history I didn't even know about. As I was watching socialism become a fixation of American politics suddenly, I was immediately able to compare that to the past because of my good mentor and Rabbi friend, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who has fought these ideas for his entire life on behalf of his people and now he's fighting on behalf of ours too.
Dr. Dobson: Well, speak directly today to the mom who has three kids and the father who's trying to take care of his responsibilities, earn a living, and everything, and they've got all they can handle. They've got all they can do, but they've heard this message today and their hearts have been touched by it. What do you say to them?
Johnnie Moore: Well, the first thing I'd say is I feel your pain. I have a business. I have three kids, seven, six, and three and a half. Because of the pandemic, our oldest's school is closed. We're trying to educate. I get it. I know what it's like to be busy and have a thousand things going on. I got a day job and all of these things, but my kids, because I tell these stories, because they know what their dad does, I hope that they're learning from them.
What I would say to a busy family with small kids like my own, is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to your children is to tell them these stories, to use your time to show them that there're things worth making a difference in. I founded my company with the commitment from the very beginning that I would give between 10 and 20% of my time to helping persecuted Christians, and it's a commitment I've held to. I believe God's blessed my company because that's what I've done, because I've continued to fulfill that.
Dr. Dobson: There's no personal gain in that, is there? This is not to raise money. Yeah. At least not for yourself.
Johnnie Moore: Yeah. You do things because they're the right thing to do, but you know what I've discovered, the one who's been helped the most? It's been me! I mean, every time I go to try to help someone it's like oxygen to my faith.
Dr. Dobson: That's it.
Johnnie Moore: It's like, it puts everything in context. When I feel like it's a hard day in the United States, we don't know what's ahead of us. We don't know if there'll be a time in this country where we'll be persecuted in the ways that Christians around the world-
Dr. Dobson: It feels to me like that's coming.
Johnnie Moore: For sure, there are people in this country that want that to happen. But by working with the persecuted church, it causes two things: it causes me to understand why our founders put religious freedom in the constitution in the way they did and why it has to be fought for every single day, every single election. Every election is the election of our lifetime. These freedoms are so fragile, we have to fight with all of our might for them. The other thing is for my spiritual life, it's easy to take your faith for granted, but when you sit down and you talk to these people and you hear their stories, then you realize, wow, I mean, this Christianity, following this resurrected Lord, it really, really is what it's cracked up to be.
Dr. Dobson: Is there any doubt that if Jesus were walking the dusty streets of Jerusalem and had an opportunity, he would be in Nigeria, he would be in the places where the people were being persecuted for following Him? You know He has a heart for those people. I think if we call on him on their behalf, he will hear and answer that prayer.
Johnnie Moore: Yeah. You know, the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he said, "Pray that we might be delivered from wicked and from evil people." In the book of Hebrews, it says, "Pray for those who are in prison as if you were in prison with them." Not just praying, I think every pastor in every church, 52 weeks a year, ought to be saying something about persecuted Christians around the world.
Johnnie Moore: I'm telling you, one of the reasons why the United States of America has been the shining light of freedom in all of human history is because from the very, very beginning we were tuned into this. One of the ways of securing and perhaps even saving our Republic is for Christians to start telling their children again the stories of persecuted Christians around the world. I have no question whatsoever, if Jesus himself were here today, He'd be in Nigeria.
Dr. Dobson: You know He would. Johnnie, this is a worldwide phenomenon. It's not just West Africa or Nigeria, but it's all around the world. There's tremendous persecution going on in China and other places. Talk about China specifically.
Johnnie Moore: Well, I'll tell you, the country that worries me the most in the world when you take everything into account, is China. You have the second most powerful country in the world, a huge rival of the United States of America. By the way, we did it to ourselves. We allowed China to grow, exploiting our resources, exploiting our intellectual property, our trade policies, all of these things under this premise that if we let China grow, it would change. But you know what's happened? Right now, we're having a relapse of the Cultural Revolution in China. In the last year and a half, the Chinese government has shut down every large evangelical church in the country. It's not just Christians, by the way, they have literally-
Dr. Dobson: Do we know that for a fact?
Johnnie Moore: We know it for a fact. They don't even hide it. When ISIS was moving across Syria and Iraq tearing down crosses off of churches and doing all these horrible things to people, in one state in China, the Chinese government removed 1,200 crosses from churches. It's not just Christians, I mean, in the Western part of the country, they're between four and 500, what the Chinese government call "reeducation centers." What they actually are, are concentration camps, where they have put Chinese Muslims to try to forcibly change their beliefs.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ, but as an advocate for religious freedom and human rights, we have to recognize that the United States government and previous administrations and previous policy decisions has enabled the Chinese government to become the single greatest threat to freedom in the entire world. It's not just China, it's North Korea, it's Iran. It's several other Arab countries.
In our report, in our annual report, the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, we have more than a dozen countries in the very top category. We have like 20 others in the second category. We are living at a time of modernity when everything's supposed to be sensible and everything else, and people are being killed for their religion every single day and most of them around the world are Christians. But here's the other side of the story: the church has never grown at such a rapid pace. In the same China where they keep shutting down all these churches and taking religious symbols and crosses off of churches, there are now more Christians in China than there are members of the Communist Party.
Dr. Dobson: Is that a fact?
Johnnie Moore: It's a fact, Dr. Dobson.
Dr. Dobson: Oh, my goodness.
Johnnie Moore: I mean, this is the amazing thing. This is the dual piece of it, right? The apostle Paul tells us to pray that the persecuted church will be delivered from wicked and from evil people. We have to fight with all of our might for these people, fight for them, advocate for them.
He also says, "and pray that the gospel will advance rapidly in these parts of the world." And as the gospel goes, it's a freedom-loving religion, that we have the freedom to believe, the freedom to change all of these things. It's a mind-opening experience. In the world that we're living in today, Christians are the most persecuted community in our world and the United States government has to do more about it.
What worries me the most about a President Biden is that where he's weak is in the most catastrophic places when it comes to religious freedom. When Biden was the vice-president of the United States we had an Iran deal which enabled the persecution of more people in Iran in the entire region. We had a relationship with China that enabled China to increase their persecution. When it comes to Nigeria, did you know that the Obama-Biden administration fought tooth and nail against designating Boko Haram a terrorist organization? These Barbarians-
Dr. Dobson: Why would that be?
Johnnie Moore: Because they didn't want to "politicize religion" was their excuse. "This is not about religion," they said. And so, these terrorists can round people up, kidnap young women, behead people. In a UN report, not some right-wing religious freedom organization, a United Nations report said that between 50 and 70 little children had bombs strapped to them and were remotely blown up in the middle of Christian cities, and they wouldn't designate this group a terrorist organization? These are hugely, hugely alarming things.
Johnnie Moore: We can never let any American politicians sleep easy at night when these foreign policies promote such gross attacks on human dignity around the world. We got to write our letters. We got to make our phone calls. We get to hold our signs on streets. But most of all, you know what we do? We tell the truth and we tell the stories of the victims because then ultimately, as the Bible says, inside of us, we have this conscience that's knit into us. It can't be ripped out of us, and the prayer is, if you hear the voices of the victims long enough, then at least you're going to have to make a conscious choice to ignore them. One of the things that I'm determined to do as an individual is just to tell the stories of the victims again and again, and again, whether the victim is in Iran or China or Nigeria, or any of the other countries around the world.
Dr. Dobson: Johnnie, you are a good man. I appreciate the fact that you have a passion for those who are suffering. Those who are dying. I know the Lord is tender to those people and that need, and He has put it on your heart to carry it. I ask that our listeners to pray for you and that you will be successful. You're up against a mountain a mile high. Do you get discouraged when you look at the volume of people who are desperate?
Johnnie Moore: For me, if I can affect one life, that's enough. If I can affect 10 lives, even better. But you know what I've discovered? When you speak for the voiceless, it's unbelievable what can happen. At the end of the Obama administration, when Barack Obama, as president, and Joe Biden as vice-president, refuse to designate ISIS guilty of genocide in Iraq and Syria, despite what they were doing, because of the pressure put on Congress, we had unanimous resolutions passed in the House and in the Senate saying that ISIS was guilty of genocide, making it even impossible for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and John Kerry to not designate ISIS guilty of genocide. If we just raise our voice a little, it's surprising what can happen,
Dr. Dobson: Johnnie, how pervasive is this hostility to Christianity? What happens for example, at Christmastime, is that a time when the killing increases?
Johnnie Moore: While we're having our happiest time of the year with our families, Christian persecution around the world is worse, at its all-time worst, two times a year, Christmas and Easter. That's when the churches are bombed. That's when people are kidnapped. It's predictable. It's like clockwork.
Dr. Dobson: It's spiritual warfare, isn't it?
Johnnie Moore: I believe it is. Yeah, I believe it absolutely is spiritual warfare. One of the things that we can know for sure is that around Christmastime and around Easter, every single year, tens of thousands of Christians will be kidnapped, killed. It'll happen like clockwork. What's crazy about it is I can't think of a single time in my entire adult life when I was in a single church service over Christmas or Easter when a pastor or leader prayed for persecuted Christians, and yet that's when it happens the most.
Dr. Dobson: You know, I coined a phrase many years ago and I think I'm the only one's ever quoted it, I think it's good. It's called the Doctrine of Limited Tears. You know, there may be 50,000 people who die every day. You can't cry about them all. And so, we tend to cry about that which is closest to us and nearest to us, and whatever's outside of that is not allowed to get into our emotions. I think that's at work here. These people in West Africa live so far away, my goodness, like the other side of the world. I've got all these problems right here that I have to deal with and I have a doctor's appointment next week and I'm worried about that (I'm just illustrating how people are thinking). They don't have time and energy and emotions to cry about things that are awful and terrible, that are beyond that ring. Does that make sense?
Johnnie Moore: Yeah. I think the only way to address that is with intentionality. I have no expectation that every Christian in the world is suddenly going to talk every day and be as passionate as I personally feel called to be about this issue. But I think what we can do is when we're at the table over Thanksgiving we can tell our family how unique this experience is that we're having here compared to most Christians around the world. Christmastime comes around and we tell the story about King Herod trying to kill all the children, how many children will die today?
As Americans and we're struggling to put our kids through school in the middle of all these regulations and everything because of the pandemic or all that we're losing because of it. I mean only God knows that these regulations have affected the kids in the worst situation more than anyone else. But in a country like Nigeria, the 10 and a half million children, they haven't been in school for a really, really long time and they're roaming the streets. We have to try to put these things in context.
Even when it comes to politics, we have to put things in context, Dr. Dobson. Everyone's fixated on our election, well, there's another election that happened 200 years: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. John Adams was depressed that Thomas Jefferson was going to become the president of the United States. John Adams and every other conservative in his party believed that Thomas Jefferson was the worst nightmare, that he was going to bring into the United States all the worst impulses of the French Revolution. He was accused of being an atheist. He was everything that Washington and Adams had worked the hardest to protect from, and Jefferson won the election.
On the eve before his inauguration, John Adams was sitting in the White House. They didn't have the name for it yet, it was newly built, and he's signing commissions for judges and the chief justice of the Supreme Court had retired because he was old, and between the election and between inauguration, John Adams replaced the Supreme Court chief justice with John Marshall. John Adams knew that despite not having the presidency and despite not having the Congress, they at least had the courts, 200 years ago.
John Adams believed he was, "Saving the Republic," by that singular decision. And so, even when you look at the 2020 election, like lots of Americans have remarkably similar feelings to what John Adams had all those many centuries ago, two centuries ago. Yet there's one thing that's true: our founders, partly because of their Judeo-Christian ideas, created a sturdy nation that ensured that the representative voice of the people would be there, there would always be checks and balances. They also taught us that it's fragile and we have to fight every election like we're going to lose it. But even in 2020, you know what we discovered?
Dr. Dobson: Mm-hmm (negative).
Johnnie Moore: The largest turnout of evangelical voters in American history. Over seven and a half million more evangelicals voted in 2020 than in 2016. I think context is important. It's important for politics. It's important for American history and it's important for Christians as we look at our faith and freedom in the context of those around the world who don't enjoy the faith and freedom that we have.
Dr. Dobson: That's really powerful Johnnie. That really is. Maybe that'll give some hope to people who are despairing. You know, one of the things that Chuck Colson said to me over and over again when I saw us losing ground is, that despair is a sin. It means that you're no longer depending on the Lord. That held me back at times when I felt like throwing my hands in the air. I certainly feel that way now, but the Lord's in control, and we can't lose track of that.
Johnnie Moore: Yeah, and it makes us pray. God expects us to do our part and he's going to do his part, but we have to always rely on Him. It's amazing, I remember in 2015 before the 2016 election, like all the press reports where this was the first election in American history, modern American history, where the evangelical vote wasn't going to matter at all. These are all the news reports, there wasn't even reporting on evangelicals, and evangelicals came out in at that point, their most significant numbers in modern American history and probably determined the presidency and lots of other things. In 2020, even more.
The Latino community in the United States is shifting in their political views. Why are they shifting? Because many American Latinos are now evangelical Christians. It's the values that are shifting and changing. When they see socialism come in vogue in the United States of America, they say, "This is why I fled Cuba. This is why I fled Venezuela. It's not going to happen here." Look, I mean, I think we have to have our eyes wide open as to the complexity of the times that we're living in. We had to be sons of Issachar, right?
Dr. Dobson: Yeah.
Johnnie Moore: Who understood their times and knew what to do-
Dr. Dobson: And knew what to do.
Johnnie Moore: But God always has his remnant. In the United States of America, that remnant in 2020 represented almost 30% of the total electorate, more than at any point in our history.
Dr. Dobson: Wow. I would love it if this program would help to bring about that response. Our prayers are with you and I appreciate your flying here to Colorado Springs to be with us today. The name of the book again is The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa by Reverend Johnnie Moore, whom I'm talking to, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper. Give him my regards too.
Johnnie Moore: I will.
Dr. Dobson: Keep up the good work my friend.
Johnnie Moore: Thank you, Dr. Dobson.
Roger Marsh: A stirring and eye-opening conversation about the persecuted church today here on Family Talk. We must continually pray for those believers who are being savagely attacked for their faith. I hope their courageous example has inspired you to stand bravely for your beliefs as well.
Go now to drjamesdobson.org and learn more about today's guest, the Reverend Johnnie Moore. On today's broadcast, you can see how you can purchase a copy of his latest book called The Next Jihad. There you can also discover more about Johnnie's work on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Connect with all this content by going to drjamesdobson.org, and then clicking on the broadcast page.
Well, that's all the time we have for today. Be sure to join us again tomorrow for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
Dr. Dobson: This is James Dobson, again. As we close today's program, I just want to thank so many of you out there who make this broadcast possible with your contributions. I want to tell you how much your generosity is appreciated.
Roger Marsh: Hey everyone, Roger Marsh here. When you think about your family and where they will be when you're no longer living, are you worried? Are you confident? Are you hopeful? What kind of legacy are you leaving for your children and their children? Here at Family Talk, we're committed to helping you understand the legacy that you're leaving for your family. Join us today at drjamesdobson.org for helpful insights, tips, and advice from Dr. James Dobson himself, and remember: your legacy matters.