SAUDI ARABIA – Saudis Draw Line in the Sand for Christians

The Patriot Post | 050518

Imagine a country of 830,000 square miles — bigger than Alaska — without a single church. Right now, that’s Saudi Arabia. For Christians, it’s a suffocating place to live. Bibles are illegal, and Muslims knows that if they convert, there’s a very real chance they’ll face the death penalty. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has again identified Saudi Arabia as a country of particular concern. So this week’s news — that Saudi Arabia might finally be opening the doors to Christian churches — is a breakthrough of epic proportions.

For the first time in history, Vatican officials sat down with Saudi officials and signed an agreement to let churches put down real roots without fear of government retaliation. Cardinal Tauran, who helped pave the way for the deal, told the royal family that Pope Francis has been following the plight of the “hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Saudi kingdom with close attention.” That must have resonated with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, who’s been genuinely invested in turning Muslims away from the violence of radical Islam.

With his government in turmoil, bin Salman knows this is an opportunity to make a sign of good faith to the West. Maybe he’s making a bid for foreign support for his reforms. Or maybe he’s trying to build a stronger alliance against Iran. Either way, it’s a historic pact.