Less than a year ago, the Muslims over at Marion tried to kill me for “evangelizing.” I narrowly escaped, and was transferred over here. Then in November, the Muslims over here put a hit out on all the Christians in the unit. My good friend was taken hostage, his hands were tied behind his back, he was stabbed in the heart, then his head was sawed off with a wire while he was still alive. Getting his head all the way off was harder than expected, so once he was dead, the job was left unfinished and the next victim was attacked. He got stabbed 12 times before another Christian man could get to him and block the Jihadi. If we hadn’t circled the wagons and stopped the killing like we did, I’d have been next, along with two other friends of mine.
Why all this bloodshed? Because we sang some hymns. Because we wouldn’t convert to Islam. Because we were Christians. The chaplain wears body armor when he comes down here. And I’m walking around in a T-shirt. This isn’t flag football, or summer camp, or Facebook. Not everyone comes home from this.
Do you know how many people I’ve seen convert to Islam in this unit? Most of them! And it doesn’t matter if they are Christians, Jews, Catholics, secular, Odinist, or whatever. Almost everyone converts to Islam shortly after arriving here. Why? Because they don’t want to face the persecution. I’ve been here 7 years. I’m one of the few who has held fast.
If I had a red button in front of me that would make this all end and let me walk out the gate, I’d press it without a moment’s hesitation. But if I had a red button I could push that would take me back to before prison, to before any of this nightmare ever happened, and make it like none of it ever took place –I mean this — I would not push that button. I couldn’t do it.
I could follow Jesus all my life. I could get all the schooling in systematic theology (like I did). I could be a good person. But until you follow Jesus through the smoke of battle, where torture is routine, and people are actually dying martyr’s deaths, your faith is new in the box. And that’s why I would not push that red button — because I could not put my faith back in its box. Just as I was born and then born again, I grew up and then grew up again. And I would not dare undo that. Not even to save me from this, the worst pain I have ever known.