A month ago ten humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan, most of them apparently called to medical mission by a deep Christian faith, were massacred by the Taliban. The New York Times’ front-page caption beneath their pictures read: “Humanitarian Victims of Afghan Violence.” The story began: “Their devotion was perhaps most evident in what they gave up to carry out their mission.” My question: should we not be calling them Christian martyrs? Perhaps the Times’ neutral language was meant to counter the Taliban charge that they were proselytizers; to assert that they were humanitarians, not missionaries. And perhaps the genre of their deaths is yet to be worked through by their friends and families—and by all of us.

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