From Christianity Today Syrian Christians rejected protestors' demands for embattled president Bashar al-Assad to resign. But Christians did broadly endorse democratic reforms that would bring an end to dictatorship.
"We do not support those who are calling for the fall of the regime, simply because we are [for] the process of reform and changes," said Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, at a religious summit in France.
In late May, International Christian Concern, an evangelical ministry to the persecuted church, released to Christianity Today an anonymous open letter from a "trusted Syrian source" that explains why many Syrian Christians support Assad's regime. The two-page letter calls for help from the larger Christian community. It says in part:
• "Christian service has flourished remarkably in Syria. We regard Syria as a model Arab country when it comes to freedom of worship."
• Radical Muslim groups are "responsible for the disturbance" in the country. "Christians are the first to be persecuted when we talk about governmental change."
• "We are seeking [Christians'] help to prevent what happened in Iraq and Egypt from happening in Syria. Christian service in Syria is in danger now."
An influential Syrian seminary educator who asked not to be named told CT that Syrian Christians are very aware of what happened to Christians in Iraq, including the estimated 500,000 Christian refugees who fled to Syria during the Iraq war.
"[Syrian Christians] are unwilling to see themselves becoming refugees in Lebanon," said the educator, who is currently in the United States to teach. He told CT that a majority of Syria's 1.4 million Christians want the Assad government to speed up reforms. "In a nutshell, Syrian Christians desire to have both—the regime and the reforms."
Syrian Christians see their nation as a Middle East oasis of religious freedom compared with Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Open Doors ranks Syria as 38th on its 2011 list of the world's worst persecutors of Christians. The secular government allows churches to preach, teach, evangelize, publish religious materials, and build sanctuaries. Christians have access to education and employment.
We had occasion to stop into the Red Lion for lunch this Saturday (the eve of my 62nd birthday) as my wife asked where I would most like to go.
My family's been stopping by the place off and on for ages, my mother visited the Red Lion in the 20's and 30's with her parents, and I recall my first introduction in 1958. With a family that's been in New England since 1620, it's a safe assumption that previous generations were familiar with the Stockbridge operation as well. This afternoon we dined in the tavern; and from my vantage point I saw something that surely didn't exist until fairly recently.
A hook at the bar upon which women can safely hang their purses. (Circled above)
Oh........of course. Lunch was great. Good service, delicious coffee, etc. It's the The Red Lion for crying out-loud, what did you expect?