By Paul Bremmer
The worshipers in the church could hear the cries of people in the train car nearby drifting into their gathering.
The discomfort was plain on their faces as they listened to the captive Jews banging on the inside of their car, screaming for help. But not one of the parishioners heeded the distressed calls of their fellow human beings. Not one of them ran outside to offer help.
Instead, the pastor raised his voice so the congregation could hear the end of his sermon. When it came time to sing, the pastor instructed the choir and the congregation to sing a little louder to drown out the wailing prisoners.
That scene took place in Nazi Germany in 1943. A train carrying a load of Jewish prisoners to a concentration camp broke down outside a small Christian church. One young boy wandered outside to see what all the commotion was about, and what he saw haunted him forever.
Now an old man, his recollection of the incident formed the basis for “Sing a Little Louder,” a short movie that premiered Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Executive Producer Jason Jones hopes the film will stir Christians in the West to speak out on behalf of their persecuted brethren in the Middle East.
“What we’ve done is with this film, we’ve attached it, we’ve connected it to the plight of religious minorities today in the Middle East, and so our hope is we can use this film to get the church to use their voice to speak out today for Christians in Iraq, in Syria, in Egypt,” Jones told WND in an interview.
American Christians may not be literally ignoring cries for help as the German parishioners did, but they have become far too complacent, according to Jones.
“We’re not singing like they did, but we’re distracting ourselves with Bravo and the Food Channel and “Monday Night Football,” when instead, as the church … we should raise our voices for those who can’t protect themselves,” said Jones, the president of Movie to Movement.
Former Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., attended the premiere of “Sing a Little Louder” and addressed the audience before the screening.
“This is one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen,” he declared.
The congressman talked about the daily persecution that Christians endure in the Middle East.
“It’s unbelievable how the world can stand by. It’s genocide!” Wolf exclaimed. “This film should be shown to every American so they can see and understand.”
When the movie ended, the audience was silent. No one clapped. It would have seemed inappropriate after such a heartbreaking film. Royce Hood, a co-executive producer, told the audience the goal is to show the film in every church in America.
Juliana Taimoorazy, another co-executive producer, once faced religious persecution herself. As a Christian, she fled Iran in 1989 to escape the ruling Islamic regime. Today, as founder and president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, she helps foster awareness about the plight of Iraqi Christians and raise funds to deliver food and medicine to Iraq. This movie has a special resonance with her.
“This is what’s happening today,” she said. “The church in the West is singing louder and louder, completely ignoring the cries of my brothers and sisters, our brothers and sisters in Christ. These people are our brothers and sisters. We are members of one body.
“It’s important for the church to wake up, because these atrocities we see happening in a black hole called Iraq or a black hole called Syria can come to our shores. It is going to happen here if we don’t stand united with the persecuted church.”
Taimoorazy presented a slide show that included photographs of Middle Eastern Christian refugees who had been driven out of their homes. They were sleeping on church pews, on a church floor and on the ground outside. One picture even showed a woman sleeping next to a pile of garbage.
“What is greatly unnoticed is the human tragedy,” Taimoorazy told the audience.
But she said she didn’t want anyone to walk away feeling “hopeless and depressed.” Instead, she hoped to inspire the crowd to start fighting for their fellow Christians overseas.
“My message to you is,. become soldiers of Christ,” Taimoorazy urged.
Jones agreed with that sentiment, but went further, saying Christians must show love to not just other Christians, but all of humanity.
“Today, as Christians, we have every opportunity in the world to heroically raise our voice for those from the child in the womb to the child at Darfur, from the Yazidi on Mt. Sinjar to the young 14-year-old girl at a crisis pregnancy center in Aspen, Colorado,” Jones proclaimed. “And that’s our job as Christians, to raise our voice for ‘the other.'”
He said American Christians are uniquely qualified to speak out on behalf of “the other” because of all the various powers of communication they have at their disposal.
“I think a lot of times it’s not that we’re cowards; it’s that we don’t know our strength,” Jones contended. “We don’t know our privilege. As Americans, we are privileged. We have technology at our fingertips. We have Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Anybody sitting in their house can create a message, craft a message that can be heard around the world and inspire people to protect and stand up for life.”
That is exactly what Jones attempts to do with his organization, Movie to Movement. Through film, he tries to share the truth about the human person.
“And what is that truth?” Jones asked. “That we have incomparable dignity and beauty, that there is nothing in all the cosmos worth more than one single human person, whether it is the tiniest child in the womb or whether it is an elderly Yazidi man in Sinjar Mountain.
“As Americans, who else can do this? Anybody in the United States of America has the power to raise their voice to be heard around the world.”
Visit SingLouderMovie.com for more information about the project.