“Orange Is the New Color of Martyrdom”

I have mixed feelings about the campaign launched by a Catholic priest on Capitol Hill to get Christians to wear or display orange clothes or ribbons to draw attention to the plight of co-religionists being executed in orange jumpsuits by IS. It was described in an article entitled “Orange is the New Color of Martyrdom” in a conservative Catholic publication, the Wanderer, and has gotten a boost from Fox News, and less specific encouragement from Pope Francis, who recently spoke about an upsurge in global persecution of Christians.

On the one hand, it’s good to see conservative American Christians recognizing actual persecution in all its savagery, as opposed to the ersatz persecution of having to practice non-discrimination or respect unbelievers.

On the other hand, given all the terrible unacknowledged evils going on in the world, do we really need more attention for IS atrocities? Yes, I understand this campaign is aimed at helping specifically Christian victims of IS. But the thing about the terrorist group is that it pretty much beheads people unwilling to submit to its rule without regard to race, religion or national origin. Muslims are far and away the most frequent victims.

There’s a rather unsavory history, which I should not have to spell out, of Christians protecting “their own” in a genocidal environment at the expense of others. I’d say solidarity with all the victims of war and terrorism–whatever the color they wear at the time of their death–is the best course of spiritual and political action.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.