The first confirmed coronavirus infection in Yemen was identified in a 60-year-old man on Good Friday. No additional cases have been reported since then, but that can hardly be for lack of transmission, for it’s difficult to imagine a country more ill-equipped to fight COVID-19’s spread. This small Middle Eastern nation has endured five years of violence, blockade, starvation, and epidemic, and its medical system was ravaged before the pandemic began. The United Nations considers Yemen’s condition the world’s worst humanitarian crisis—and it’s a crisis to which our government contributes.

Located at the southern edge of Saudi Arabia and bordering the Red Sea, Yemen is thought to be the home of the biblical queen of Sheba, and perhaps only biblical language can adequately convey its confluence of miseries. The prophets’ mournful condemnations of violence and oppression all find expression in Yemen: The combatants’ “feet run to evil, and they rush to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways.The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths” (Isa. 59:7–8, NRSV). Yemen illustrates all too well the way sin flows from sin (Ps. 7:14–16) and how human and natural evil can conspire in our fallen world.

When Yemen’s civil war began in 2015, it was little noticed in the United States. Widely ignored too was the Obama administration’s decision to support a coalition intervention led by Saudi Arabia to back the Yemeni government and oppose the Houthi rebels challenging its power. Then-President Barack Obama never obtained congressional authorization for US involvement ...

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The Lesser Kingdom
A prophetic, eclectic, and humble take on current issues, public policy, and political events with thoughts on faithful engagement.
Bonnie Kristian
Bonnie Kristian is a columnist at Christianity Today and deputy editor at The Week. She is the author of A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018) and Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (2022).
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